Thursday, April 29, 2010

It's Like If These Walls Could Take Pictures, But it is a Person Instead

Remember when I told you that B met the son of the people that owned the house before the people that owned the house before us? Tongue twister alert! Well, anyway, that guy stealthily (is that a word?) slipped a CD into our mailbox. Much to our surprise, and relief, it was full of pictures that those owners took right before they sold the house to the people before us. It answered some questions we had and was just so very cool.

Now I want to share them with you. It looks like I have uploaded the photos all backwards, so I will start with what the room looks like now and then show you what it looked like then (roughly 2004).

This is the back bedroom. This is not the most recent picture, but remember my camera died? I didn't want to give you the most recent picture as I promised you an update on our plans. Look for that on Sunday. Here is the next to recent picture:

That was before the floors were redone. And then after:

And then their picture:

Obviously the people before us just kept those same valances. It also appears that there was carpeting in there originally. Why the prior owners ripped that out just to paint it blue with stars and make it a cat room is beyond me.

Next up, is our master bedroom. Here it is after the paint and curtains but pre-carpeting:

Here it is pre-curtains:

And then their picture:

Obviously the prior owners to us kept those same curtains and that same carpet for 5 years. I am beginning to notice a pattern.

Next up, the bathroom. A little harder to tell because it is such a small space. But here is ours after we painted the walls white (instead of peach like the prior owners had it):

And theirs with wallpaper!

Next is the dining room in our famous pumpkin terra cotta color, or whatever it is:

And theirs. Love that clock and their table and chairs!

Ours again:

And theirs. Why couldn't they have left that dining room set?

The kitchen when we got it. Yes, I realized I haven't posted an updated picture as to what B did with it. One day.

And theirs. Look at all of that counter space! And there is no jagged cut in the counter like there is currently. There are four drawers, not ONE. I could go on and on.

There are more pictures, outside pictures. However, this was a lot for one post so look for those tomorrow.

Does anyone else have pictures of what their house looked like before the bought it or earlier?

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Taking Spooning to a Whole New Level

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

It's All Fun and Games Until Someone Shreds a Finger

Last week I was having problems with my assistant. She wasn't assisting me. At all. Not only that, but what she was doing reached new heights of problematic so I took it up with my HR guy. Later, my colleague reported that my assistant was in there talking to the HR guy:

J: Sounds like HR guy is having a meeting with your assistant.
Me: I was wondering. Can you hear them?
J: Not really. Sometimes I can. It cuts in and out. I could definitely tell that it was her talking about the things you emailed her. *
Me: Oh good. I hope she doesn't plan on killing me later.
J: Ha. Ha.
Me: It's all fun and games until someone has a weapon.
J: Go and take her scissors out of her desk. Although I guess she could always try to stab you with a pencil.
Me: Great! I have already suffered one scissor injury already. Another one would just make this week PERFECT.

Yes, I had already been cut with scissors. The night before. By my HUSBAND. You see, my mother decided to gift me with these scissors that I guess would be called shredding scissors. They have many blades and can shred documents. Although not credit cards. Trust. I have the injury to prove it.

B was very eager to test out these new scissors and I insisted they could cut up credit cards. In fact, I was going to hand him one to cut up RIGHT THEN. So I leaned over with the card and B totally cut my finger. I immediately screamed "LOOK WHAT YOU DID" to which he responded "it is so deep it is not even bleeding yet." Nice.

Then it started bleeding. Yes, I thought I might have to get stitches. No, I did not. Yes, I had to beg B to help me put a band aid on it despite the fact that he is the one that injured me. So he slapped some Neosporin on it and declared "It will be healed in 5 days. That is what the tube said." For the record, there is a scar.

And I still have that damn credit card.**

*Apparently my assistant did not like my helpful emails pointing out her problematic assisting.

**But I don't have that assistant anymore.

***I win.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Sunday Showoff: Go Toward the Light

This week's Sunday Showoff was supposed to be about the back room, but then I realized I never took pictures of the kind-of-finished product. I grabbed my camera, but it screamed "low battery" at me and turned itself off. It is now banished to the corner where it is charging. Sadly, the back room will have to wait until next week.

This week I will just show off two items we recently acquired. The first is one that B found and which I fell in love with. Look at this gorgeous lamp:

It gives off the warmest and best glow in the living room. I want more of them! I want one for my office. Huh, maybe I should have asked for one for my birthday. Hindsight. Anyway, here is the view from the top:

So pretty, right? I feel that it falls somewhere in between old fashioned and current. I could be totally wrong. What do I really know? This isn't a design blog, that's for sure.

The second item is a piece of art work that I picked up for my real office, you know the one I go to during the week to get paid? Not the one where I sit and type up blogs and enter contests.

I am really bad about hanging up pictures and diplomas in my office. I am trying to turn it around. One day when my Mom and I were at Marshalls, I spotted this and thought it was perfect! Seriously, I feel like this multiple times a day.

Everyone that has come into my office has smiled when they saw it. I hope that means that they like it and not that they think I am a lunatic. Well, I would settle for both.

Next week will have the back room, I promise. Also, stay tuned this week for a special post on more history of our house. I am really excited for that post.*

*I get excited easily.

**That's what she said.

***Do people still say that?

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Also, it is Not a Birthday Celebration Until Your Husband Threatens Someone with Bodily Harm a/k/a Romance at its Finest

B would like me to point out that my entire birthday was not full of gas problems and starvation. He is right. He took me out to a nice dinner that night. He also decided we should stop at our local big box store to pick up some Coke Zero. I have a drinking problem. He was excited because the cases were on sale for $5.00.

They didn't have any.

The rest of the story is best told through a conversation with my Mom:

Mom: Hi! Done with dinner already?
Me: Yes, we are at the store. B wants to buy some Coke Zero because it is on sale. They do not have any. He just got into a huge argument with a random worker he dragged down the aisle.
Mom: Uh oh.
Me: Yep. He told the guy he just didn't believe there weren't more in the back. This was [insert big named store here]. They had to have more than 5 cases. Then he pointed to the area and made the guy count with him as to how many cases could fit in the empty spot.
Mom: Oh boy.
Me: Yep. Then he told the guy to "grab your two way. We're going in the back." B took the guy in the back to convince him that there are no more cases.
Me: I haven't seen him since.

My Mom and I discuss B's penchant for trouble making for a good 10 minutes.

Me: This is boring.
Mom: I bet.
Me: Oh no!
Mom: What?
Me: The guy is back! Gerry is back but B is nowhere to be found?
Mom: What?
Me: Where is B? WHAT DID HE DO TO B?
Mom: I don't know! Where could he be?
Me: Do you think Gerry killed B? I SAW YOU GO IN THE BACK WITH HIM - THERE IS A WITNESS!
Mom: Are you yelling at the worker? Really?
Me: YES! How else will he know that I can turn him in if B shows up dead somewhere?
Me: How am I even supposed to find B, dead or alive?
Mom: I wonder where he is...

B was safe. The store employees, however, were not. He made his way up to the Assistant Manager who still could not produce any cases of Coke. There was some lame explanation as to how the Coke guy makes deliveries every day. My Mom pointedly stated that delivery five cases of pop a day would seem like a waste of gas. So true. That is why we are not heads of corporations I guess.

The assistant manager did let B get two 12 packs of Coke for $5.00 much to the confusion and bewilderment of the cashier who said "But they are $3.98 each!"

That B. He is getting things done.

Best birthday gift ever.*

*Well, actually, an iPhone would be the best birthday gift ever. Stupid Apple & AT&T - OPEN UP THE IPHONE TO ALL CELLPHONE PROVIDERS.**

**This has been a public service announcement from an avid Apple fan and lifelong Verizon lover.

***You are welcome.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Of Birthdays, Gas Cans and Limited Internet

I have to hurry up and write this post because B has informed me that he wants to get on the internet "soon" and our router is broke so only one of us can be on at a time. What kind of shit is that? And it was my birthday yesterday. So technically this is my birthday week and I should have ALL of the internet time I want, but apparently not.

So I know you are thinking I probably had a magical birthday filled with laughter, presents, sleeping in and cupcakes. Alas, that is not true. Although I often fancy that is the life I lead, in reality my birthday was like any other day save a few things.

First, unlike my friend who works for the county and gets her birthday off as a HOLIDAY, I had to go to the office. The plan was to leave early. I also went in late because, face it, if you can't sleep in a little on your birthday, when can you? (P.S. the answer is all of the other days this week and last. I seem to have a problem).

My one colleague and I had a meeting at noon so off we went. Before we left, however, we planned on going to lunch after and even planned the place and exactly what we were having. We were already starving. As the meeting finished, I looked down and saw that the office called. Then the office called my colleague. Another colleague was stranded on the freeway because her car ran out of gas.

I repeat - her car ran out of gas. On.The.Freeway.

She is in her late 40s. Too old to run out of gas. Too old to run out of gas four times in the last six months. So, yes, we had to go rescue her. No, she was not nearby. Yes, she called us 18 times during the drive to keep us updated. No, I was not amused. By then we were RAVISHED. When my colleague asked her how this happened she thanked us for coming but then told us not to ask anything else because she was cranky.

I WAS CRANKY. And starving. Sigh.

I ate lunch at 2:00. I left the office at 4:00. Least productive day ever and it wasn't even that fun. On a side note, I texted B when we were on the side of the freeway and my two cohorts were messing around with the gas can.* He responded with "at least you know your way around a gas can. Smart ass.

Two weeks ago, I decided to go fill up my tank. I took Jersey for the ride because B was mowing the lawn and she was playing chicken with the mower. B insisted that I fill up the gas can for the mower. He quickly showed me how to open it and sent me on my way.

Yeah, I couldn't open it when I got there. I drove back home, told him, listened to him sigh, then he opened it and MADE ME GO BACK. Jersey and I were not amused. Later he told me that he would never come rescue me if I were out of gas. I just laughed and told him I would find some man to do it. He responded with:

"Oh, like today."

I didn't even try, mister. I didn't even try.

*No, I did not get out of the car to assist with the gas can. I told them it was too dangerous as my side was on the traffic side. Later my one colleague told everyone that I said "I'm not getting out to do shit." I didn't say that, but it sure does sound like me.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Sunday Showoff: Blueprints and Baking Powder

Remember I told you B had plans to frame and hang the original blueprints of our house? Well he did it. He framed them and hung them in the dining room. He was torn between that room and the living room. Who knows, we may change our minds later as B finds more gems to frame and hang up. He has quite the eye.

So here is one on the left side of the room which is looking more orange than usual because of the sunlight:

And the other one on the right side which looks more clay like in color due to lack of light:

Here are some close ups of the blueprints. They were in rough shape with some tears. The place we had them framed at, our local Michael's, did a fantastic job of framing the prints so the tears are minimized. This is the front of the house:

And the back:

It is so interesting to me that our house has all of the same features and designs as are on the blueprints. Nothing has changed! That is what will pain me about replacing the windows. Although they are extremely drafty and there are a few I have to literally fight with to get closed, they are originals and are so unique.

Next, B went on ebay and found an original magazine ad from Better Homes and Gardens around the time our house was made featuring a baking powder and advertising it as being used in homes in our area. How fun is that? He ordered it and framed it:

And then hung it on our kitchen wall:

I love the idea!! He is a genius and I think it looks fantastic. I cannot wait to find (or have B find) more unique decorating items like these.

Thanks for letting me show off our recent decorating gems. Next week, I will show you the newly painted backroom and share our big plan for its use.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

How Was I Supposed to Know French Toast was Bread Especially When it Tastes Like Dog?

Remember how I gave up bread for Lent and no one knew what that meant? Well, it didn't get any easier in those 40 days. FYI - Lent is 40 days long. That is hella long when you cannot eat bread or sweets.

Anyhow, I was constantly having to answer questions about whether a particular item was considered bread. Wasn't bread a starch? Isn't pasta a starch? How can you eat pasta? Or - rice is a grain, bread is made with grains - YOU ARE CHEATING! It was like taking the LSAT all over again. Sometimes I just gave up and agreed with people.

It was a tough 40 days.

However, I was doing good. No bread. No toast. No bagels. It was a sad existence but I was prevailing. I was a winner. That is, until shortly before my trial. B wanted to go out to breakfast which is unusual for him. In fact, I think he ordered lunch. Actually, I think it was almost lunch time, I just hadn't eaten breakfast. Anyhow, none of that is the point.

This is the point.

We ordered our food (whether breakfast or lunch) and eagerly awaited for it to come. Once the plates were delivered, however, I suddenly gasped - LOUDLY:

B: What is it?
Me: This is TOAST.
Me: I have a giant plate of TOAST.
B: What did you order?
Me: Um, french toast...
Me: That's BREAD.
B: No shit.
Me: I hope God forgives me.

So, yes, I messed up by eating something with the very name of the thing I gave up. Seriously. It couldn't have been any worse unless I ate, I don't know, BREAD.

Also, disturbing? The French Toast tasted like Jersey. I know what you are thinking - "are you insane in the membrane?" Perhaps. But when I was eating the french toast I thought it tasted like Jersey, or had the same consistency? No, I have never eaten dog and I certainly haven't eaten Jersey. I imagine, however, that is what it would have tasted like. I even shared this with B. He must be used to my insane commentary because he didn't even blink. Later, however, he grabbed a piece, shoved it in his mouth and in between chewing said:

"This doesn't taste like Jersey at all."

As if that was a perfectly acceptable thing to think, but I was just wrong.

God, I love that man.

Also, God, I am sorry that I ate toast that I should have known was bread because the recipe is basically "dip BREAD in egg and grill it."

39 out of 40 ain't so bad is it?

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

It is Like the Movie Pay It Forward But No One Dies. I Think.

Hopefully I didn't ruin that movie for you. But, really? It came out in 2000. That is 10 years ago. a decade, if you will. If I cannot talk about the plot or twists of a movie that came out a decade ago, there is something wrong. Also, if you have not seen the movie yet, you probably will not. Reminds me of people that still won't say what the twist is in The Sixth Sense. Hell, that one came out the year before. Who are these people that do not see these movies?

Hi, Mom!

So I am going to go out on a limb in here and say I didn't ruin anything for anyone. But even if I did, it was for a good cause. Or about a good cause. Or just good. You choose.

The premise of Pay It Forward for those of you who saw it, well really for those of you that haven't, was for each person to do something kind and selfless for someone else who would in turn pay it forward. Get it? So clever with the title. Since then, I have heard a lot of stories about things like that happening, usually in fast food drive thrus, coffee houses, etc. I have never had it happen to me.

Until a few weeks ago, that is.

I was on my usual early morning kick to get my usual Starbucks drink. Seriously, even though I go through the drive thru, they know me. One time the drink orderer put in the wrong size but when I pulled up to the window, the guy said "Don't worry, we made the right size." Starbucks has serious talent. Someone should do a study as to how they get such great people working there.

Anyhow, I pulled up, slipped my card out of the window to pay and was greeted by my usual guy who, much to my surprise said:

Guy: Venti Chai?
Me: Yep.
Guy: It has already been paid.
Guy: The girl in front of you paid for yours.
Guy: She said she just wanted to do something nice for someone today.
Guy: ...
Guy: Are you okay?

There I sat with my card hanging out of my window and I think a bit slack jawed. After a brief moment I said "Yes, I am okay. Here, pay for the person behind me." After he made sure I was serious, he swiped my card and handed me my drink. As I left I said "make sure to tell the person behind me the same thing."

Mind you, at that moment in time I had no idea who was behind me, how many people were in the car, how many drinks had been ordered or what I had just agreed to pay. Regardless, I felt elated as I drove off. Someone who didn't know me, bought me a drink. And I did the same for someone else.

I wish I knew more about this woman. Heck, I don't even remember her car. I could not even tell you on any given day what kind of car or people are right behind me or right in front of me. But I do remember how great that feeling was and I know that I will continue to pay it forward every chance I get.

Random acts of kindness rock. Go get yourself one!

And get yourself a Venti nonfat, extra hot, Chai latte. Those things are yummy.

Monday, April 12, 2010

The Tolerability of a Prison is Directly Related to the Size of Your Cage

Now that B is back to work, Jersey spends more time alone during the day. As you can imagine, she has grown a bit and things that used to fit her no longer fit her.

Exhibit A:

Luckily we have her somewhat crate trained (except at night and that is a different story). However, she doesn't have much room to walk around. Spending 6-8 hours laying (or squatting) in a crate didn't sound like so much fun to B so he decided he was going to DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT.

An idea was born.

B decided Jersey was going to get her own little area in the basement where she could walk around, chew things, and stretch her legs. The question, however, was how were we going to keep her down there? We have no basement door and we have shelves full of food that, given the chance and 8 hours of alone time, she could do a lot of damage.

Never one to back down from a challenge, B went to his favorite store and got a bunch of lumber. And a lattice looking fence thing:

That looks impressive. At least to me. B then spent quite a few nights sawing, pounding, but luckily not cursing. Tonight was the big reveal (although I had been peeking the whole time). Behold Jersey's new dog pen:

It is anchored to the wall and that pole (although B is going to anchor that side a little more. Her crate, if you look very hard, is way in the back. There is a lot of room for her to roam.

This is the door. It even has hinges.

So it can open:
Right now B is just working on securing it so Jersey cannot push it open and squeeze herself through like she does with the neighbor's fence outside.

This is a view from inside the pen:

Hopefully, Jersey will like her new hang out spot. She really only has to use it when we are gone. At least we won't feel too bad about keeping her locked up while we are at work. I have already told her it is just temporary anyhow.

I plan on winning the lottery.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

It's Like If These Walls Could Talk, But it is a Person Telling the Story

You have heard the expression "if these walls could talk", haven't you? Actually, now when I hear that expression I think of the miniseries that was on HBO. There were two parts, the first part had to do with abortion in various periods of times and the second had to do with lesbianism over certain time periods. This post is about neither.

As I am sure you know if you are a regular reader of this blog, we love old homes. We love touring them, seeing them, living in them. We were completely thrilled that we actually have the original blueprints to our house and the original deeds dating back to when it was built in the 1930s.

Every so often we will hear stories about previous owners from our neighbors, especially the ones that didn't want us to get air, since they have lived here the longest. Usually the stories are about the couple we bought the house from and usually start with "That Mandy sure did like to drink..." Seriously, one day I am going to have to share some of the stories with you. They are too fun.

And every once in a while we we will hear about the couple before them. An older couple that lived here a while. The ones who planted all of our beautiful flowers around the house. But we don't know too much about them, mostly their name and they liked flowers. For blog purposes, I will call them the Bunkers. Why? I think it would be a hoot if Archie Bunker lived in my house. Well, as long as he didn't smoke that nasty cigar.

So, to the point, the other day B comes home and says "Guess who I met?" all excitedly. I have no clue. That man meets all kinds of people. Turns out he met the Bunkers' son. He was doing some work on the house across the street. So B forced him to come tour our house because he wanted answers about our kitchen. You know - the kitchen with the very tiny dishwasher, the weird cut out, and only one drawer? Yes, B demanded answers.

This is what he found out. The Bunkers always had their fridge in the weird cut out. Always.

We thought it might have been the stove area or a heater, but he confirmed it was the fridge. He also said that the ownes before us tore up cabinets, the counter, and A DRAWER to move the fridge over to the other area:

If I could find them, I think I might kill them. They removed storage to create nothing but space. Oh and to get a bigger fridge. Also? They put in that teeny tiny dishwasher. His parents always had a portable one. Now, I wouldn't want a portable one either, but it would seem to me maybe putting a full size one where the fridge is might be a better idea. But what do I know? I am just someone that doesn't like having to run the dishwasher EVERY day and sometimes twice. We own stock in Electrasol.

Another fun fact? The door on the right in this picture was completely covered when the Bunkers bought it. The whole room was *gasp* full of paneling. It wasn't until they looked at the blueprints that they realized there was a door there and opened it back up:

And this weird area in the basement? It was a bar area like some had predicted:

Also? We are only the FOURTH owners of this home. Before the Bunkers, the house was built for a big funeral home family in the area. They owned it, the Bunkers, the Schmidts, and then us. Fascinating.

B plans on framing the blueprints and putting them on the wall. I think he is a decorating genius.

*Yes, these are super old pictures of the house, but I am behind in updating you on our progress and didn't want to ruin any surprises.

Monday, April 05, 2010

It Really Isn't Easter Until You Have Insulted the Easter Bunny in a Passive-Aggressive Letter

Good things happen when computers break. It is true, just ask my Mom. Her computer broke about a month ago and it took about a week to fix. She said she would be okay. She was wrong. Toward the end of the week she started cleaning! Cleaning! I told the computer guy to put a rush on her computer. He got it to me the next day.

Good things come when your Mom's computer is broken and she starts cleaning. What good things? Oh maybe letters you wrote as a kid that she dug up from some old trunk in the garage that until that moment in time was mainly used as an indicator that your car was up as far as it could go. The trunk is kind of dented.

Good things come in letters written by children. Especially letters to the Easter Bunny. Do children even write letters to the Easter Bunny? Where do you send it? I need answers! I should have answers because as you can see below I wrote one myself. Wherever it was supposed to be sent, it obviously just went to my Mom. I don't mean to ruin the surprise, but I am pretty sure she was the Easter Bunny. Don't tell the children.

I would like to say I was very young when I wrote this. However, I signed my name in cursive. Also? It is quite deep for a child. Peruse for yourself:

In case you cannot read that clearly, it says:

Dear Easter Bunny,
I, Yesterday watched: the Easter Bunny is coming to town. It was cute, but some of it was scary. Have a Happy Easter. You know what Easter is really when Jesus died on the cross, not really eggs and other stuff like jelly beans and things. I think you shouldn't even come to kids houses because you know it's really to think about Jesus and when he died. But it's still fun having you.

And the second page...

My bedroom is a MESS. I still want you to come. I LOVE YOU.


That, my friends, is the very definition of Catholic guilt. When your religious side clashes with your secular side at such a young age, there is nothing to do than to try to rectify it by insulting the Easter Bunny while inviting him into your messy bedroom. Just like the Catholic church. Or dating.

So, with that, I hope that the Easter Bunny visited your house, messy or not, and brought eggs and jelly beans and all that "stuff." Or, if you are religious, I hope you thought a lot about Jesus and his death.

But I hope he didn't visit your house literally. That would have the makings of a bad horror flick.*

*Is there such a thing as religious horror genre for films like a religious porn genre?**

**Wait. Is there a religious porn genre? Don't tell me if there is. I liked it better when I didn't know the answer.

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