Thursday, December 29, 2011

It's CURTAINS for you!

Sister A. finished the last of the drapes last night. This is a ridiculously huge project--curtains for every major room in the house--that she set for herself shortly after we bought the new house. We had picked colors to repaint the various rooms, and in a moment of insanity, A. volunteered to make drapes for the entire house. So then we went even more bananas picking out way-spiffy fabrics for the drapes. This is what she picked for her room:

White striped damask with big peonies and greenery to go with her green wall color. And last night, in a burst of industry, A. finished this last set of drapes. Et voila!

Trés spifferoo, huh? And with this last set of drapes, everything we wanted to do to the inside of the house is DONE.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

A genuine white Christmas

Merry Christmas!

I have photographic proof that we do occasionally have a white Christmas around here....

The crepe myrtles were covered with white blobs this morning.
The neighbor's pine tree.
Snow-laced trees across the street from us.
Grumpy old man with beard? Devoted sentinel? Wicked Witch's henchman?
More lacy trees.
We've had a lovely Christmas day, with an exchange of stockings, oatmeal with raisins for breakfast, a cherry pie waiting on the oven while dinner cooks, and general laziness all around. And, of course, chocolate!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Never shop while punchy

Replacing my queen bed with a full bed back in July, during the Big Remodel, was a reasonable decision--the queen-size sleigh bed I'd bought for a larger bedroom in my old house was way too big for my smaller bedroom in this house. The bed I bought to replace it, however, was not such a hot decision. We were exhausted with work and lack of sleep at the time we bought that cheap thing and probably should not have been driving, much less shopping for furniture. Oh well, live & learn. Less than half a year later, the no-name mattress already has a sizeable dip in the center. The headboard, of course, was shit from the get-go.

Well, I spotted (online) an all-wood bedframe on sale at what I consider the best furniture store in town. We went to have a look at its construction. It's a good, sturdy bedframe, what they call a panel bed--I guess because the head- and footboards are basically square with basically square designs on 'em. It looked great in the store; it looks even better in my bedroom.

Sammy snoopervised the bed-changing process, of course. Minnie was hiding in the den.

The new bedframe is very close to matching the nightstand and dresser I bought with the queen sleigh bed; the n. & d. are just a little bit redder. Close enough for gub'mint work.

Now all I gotta do is find a sale on a good mattress (top only; I can still use the crappy set's box spring), then I'll be happy.

In kitty news, Gram is doing better and was moved to a nursing home a few days ago, so Annabelle may get to keep her person for a while longer. I know Gram is hoping to move back home soon. We're rubbing our lucky kitty feet for her continued improvement, but we've told her daughter and granddaughter that we'll still be here for Annabelle if/when necessary.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Our little refugee

We're getting an addition to our household soon, and we won't even have to hire a handyman for it. This one is short and fuzzy and upset right now that her person has disappeared. Meet Annabelle.

Annabelle with her person, "Gram".

Look at that silly face!

She belongs to the grandmother of one of Sister A's friends. The grandmother is in the hospital and it's not looking good for her, so she's worried sick about her kitty. The granddaughter contacted A., describing Annabelle as "a sweet little kitty....She is a smart girl ~ doesn't care too much for men. ;-) ...She's an indoor/outdoor ladies' cat, litter trained and a true snuggler." She's also been spayed and is caught up on her shots.

A. and I talked about it, and we decided to take Annabelle in. I know Sammi would like a playmate (Minnie still interprets her chasing as aggression). We would love for either of our kitties to have a cuddle-mate. We hope the interactions of our trio won't morph into a huge, jealousy-charged cat fight. There's no way to tell how this will go, but we've got room and we'd like to help this little girl. I don't know when Annabelle will arrive, but it'll probably be soon.

We're going to start her out in the sewing room and try to introduce everyone gradually. Wish us luck!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving Day!

This year I am thankful for:
  • my good job;

  • the fact that my good job feels a whole lot more secure than it did early this year, thanks to a new Big Boss who has pulled us back from the red-ink-painted brink, and an Assistant Big Boss who understands that putting out a quality product is a good thing and requires good people to do it, and who recognizes that those people know what they're doing and can offer good ideas about how to improve the biz (instead of ignoring us and treating us like witless peons);

  • our wonderful house;

  • the fact that all the remodeling of our wonderful house is DONE and will be paid off in only five years;

  • our two sweet kitties (OK, mostly sweet)...who, unfortunately, don't get along, but ya can't have everything; and

  • our discovery last Thanksgiving that Welch's Sparkling Grape Juice is an excellent substitute for folks who can't drink wine anymore (onaccounta it messes with our stupid Meniere's heads).  :)
Sister A. has been busy making more drapes lately--she's only got one more set left to go (she left the ones for her bedroom for last). Both sets of the den drapes are now done and looking totally fab.

As you can see, Sammi came to snoopervise the photo session. Minnie did, too, at one point, then she retired to my chair to curl up for her midmorning nap. I was lucky to get pretty good pix of them today, so here are our furkids....

Sammi by the French doors
Sammi on the cork floor of the kitchen
Minnie by the French doors
Minnie in her favorite napping spot, my office chair,
pretending to sleep through the camera flash.
I expect our kitties are grateful to have a nice house to live in with plenty of food and treats and soft places to sleep. Either that, or they accept it all as their due. Being cats, I suspect the latter. Good thing they're cute!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Owed to a Spell Chequer

Eye halve a spelling chequer
It came with my pea sea
It plainly marques four my revue
Miss steaks eye kin knot sea.
Eye strike a key and type a word
Eye weight four it two say
Weather eye am wrong oar write
It shows me strait a weigh.
As soon as a mist ache is maid
It nose bee fore two long
And eye can put the error rite
Its rare lea ever wrong.
Eye have run this poem threw it
I am shore your pleased two no
Its letter perfect awl the weigh
My chequer tolled me sew.

(I have no idea who wrote this. I was looking for something else on my pea sea (or is that pee see?) and found it tucked away among my favorite things.)  :)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

A slight dusting...

On the left is a photo from the Dust Bowl days around here. And on the right is what my neck of the woods looked like late afternoon yesterday (paired photos from

That's a whole bunch of drought-scorched cotton fields in the air, pushed by a cold front with wind gusts up to 75 mph. It swarmed in like the plagues of Egypt, turning the daylight a dark, rusty brown at 5:30 p.m.

"Brown Monday," indeed.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

"Stick a fork in me, I'm DONE."

When we ordered the new Silestone countertops from Home Depot, we were told delivery would take as long as 4-6 weeks, but we got the call that they had arrived at Home Depot well before the four-week mark--yay! We scheduled installation for the following Monday (the 10th) and the countertop guys whipped through the job in a couple of hours. First, Handy Frank came by to pull out the old sink and the last remnants of the fake-butcher-block laminate. Then the counter guys put up a ledger board to support the Silestone over the trash-&-recycle space.

Then the smaller bits of countertop were installed on either side of the stove....

And here's one of the counter guys working on the big section, cutting the hole for the sink....

(I'm sure our neighbors have been lovin' us to bits during all this.)

Then the big piece went in--or, rather, big pieces, because they had to do this long stretch in two parts. But the seam barely shows.

The counter guys popped the sink in to see if it fit, and we could see how good the finished counter would look.

Handy Frank came back later to hook up the sink, but he didn't have a spot in his schedule right then to do the rest of it, so we had to wait a few days before he could tile the backsplash and do the other last little bits of work we managed to find for him. We were a little worried about the backsplash tile after it was up--it looked kinda dark--but after Frank put the white grout on...oh, my, yes.  :)

It's finished. It's gorgeous. We love it. And now the whole project is DONE.

Saturday, October 1, 2011


My bedroom at the old house was bigger than my bedroom at the house my sister and I share now. Until April 2010, I didn't know I'd be downsizing. In fact, I had reason to expect an even larger bedroom in my future shared digs with Sis. We had planned for a long time that, after her hubby pooped off (he's a lot older than she is), we'd throw in together--I would move into her big house in the little town where she lived and take up residence in hubby's old room, which is ridiculously big.

So, about a year prior to April 2010, I decided to pop for a queen bedroom set, because I needed the storage of the dresser and tall chest of drawers, and I like to stretch my legs in bed. Also, I had room for bigger furniture then and would still have room for it in the future. So I got it. Not just any queen bed, though--a freakin' sleigh bed! Talk about fancy! Here it is at the old house:

Big & tall & curvy & not one squeak outta the frame. (I hate squeaky bedframes--they wake me up.) I loved it.

Then life happened, and Sister A. and I wound up buying a house together here in my neck o' the woods instead of hers, and while there were a couple of houses we looked at that had a large bedroom for me, they didn't work for us in other respects.

This house we picked is just right for us. But my bedroom is quite a bit smaller than my old one. There was no room for my tall chest of drawers from the fancy bedroom set; it went into the den immediately for storage duty there. I could just shoehorn the rest of my furniture--big dresser, nightstand, and the monster queen sleigh bed--into my bedroom, but there wasn't much walking space around the bed. Still, I had just bought that set, and I loved my bed, and I was determined to keep it.

During our recent remodel, though, when we had to move every stick of furniture at some point, I finally admitted that my dang bed was too dang big for my dang bedroom. So, dang it, let's sell it and get a more compact, full-size bed.

Here's how much floorspace I had with the queen bed (note the amount of rug showing):

And here's the new, smaller bed, with smaller headboard, and a lot more rug showing:

It makes quite a lot of difference. I don't have to crab-walk between the bed and the dresser anymore--I can just walk in and pull out drawers like a person. And I can walk straight across my bedroom from the bathroom to the window without detouring around the end of the bed. Minnie has a little longer jump from the bed to the dresser, but she can make it. Alas, she can no longer jump from the foot of the bed to her cat tree at the far end of the window, but I expect she'll manage.

The headboard looks nice, although it's made of shit particle board and printed vinyl "veneer". It goes pretty well with the dresser and nightstand from the queen set. The mattress is comfortable, the plain metal Hollywood frame & cheap headboard don't squeak after they're screwed together tightly, plus I've got room to walk around now, so that's what counts.

It's just not as purty.

(Yes, I know, I'm a spoiled little baby.)

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Kitchen cabinets and all floors DONE

The kitchen cabinets and all the floors in the house were actually finished last Saturday--a week ago--but we've been so completely dead since then, catching up on our sleep, I haven't gotten around to putting up pix until now. The week before last was grueling. The flooring guys worked hard and long to make up time lost avoiding contact with the scary asbestos-containing linoleum (or the black "cut-back" mastic under it, or both--I forget the final verdict or whether there ever was one). Wednesday, Thursday, Friday were all late nights for them, but Saturday was the worst--they didn't finish until nearly 1 am. But then, thankfully, they were completely finished.

I wound up taking part of Thursday and all day Friday off from work to help Sister A. with moving stuff around and generally keeping her sane while the guys worked and we waited to jump in and do our next bit. As the guys finished rooms, we put them back together. Keep in mind, we replaced every single floor in the entire house, so ALL the furniture had to be removed from every room at some point. And after the floor was finished in each room, we had to do a lightning vac-&-Swiffer of all the sawdust, cement dust, and general messy-guy dust before the furniture could be moved back in. Some things we could move ourselves; others had to wait for the guys. But it was sure nice seeing the rooms come together again.

Here's Sister A's reassembled bedroom with its new floor, the tiger-stripe bamboo:

The sewing room (a work in progress, obviously):

The hallway, with Sammi, who expresses her approval of the new floors by flopping down on them anywhere and everywhere:

My bedroom, with Minnie, who likes the new floors just as much as her cousin (but, really, what can beat a nap in your very own cat tree?):

By the way, the cats look quite calm and collected in those photos because they were taken this morning. During the worst of the remodel, they were totally freaked out. Sammi managed to stay inside the house (close to Mama!) even with all the hammering and strangers, but Minnie got right the hell away from this place and stayed away until the whine of saws and all that other racket was over. Saturday night, when the guys worked so horribly late, I managed to grab her around midnight and shut her in my room with me until the guys were gone (my room was done at that point). I did lots of petting and cooing to calm her down, but it took quite a while. She wasn't even next door to normal until after I got out of the shower (my bathroom's an en suite, so I didn't have to leave her alone) and the guys had finally collected their tools and dragged their weary bods home. It was a few days before she really believed the noise and workers and displaced furniture everywhere were all over.

Here's the finished living room this morning, complete with relaxing co-home-owner:

The finished kitchen and utility room, with cork floor:

And my den, with bamboo floors and my old WalMart fake-light-oak bookshelves after an espresso paint job (pretty nice results for 14 bucks!):

We are thrilled with how the floors turned out--it really was worth the late nights and sleep deprivation! But we are equally thrilled to be getting the house back to normal. Yesterday, we finally moved the last of our shelves, book-boxes, and bags of Sister A's quilting fabrics out of the garage and into the house, so we were able to put the cars in their home again; A. got the living room books put in their shelves; and I started the same with the den books.

We are wrecked, but recovering, and very happy with the results.

The only jobs remaining are the installation of the new countertops when they arrive, the backsplash tiling after that, and any last little touch-ups for our honey-do man. Then the house will be done.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Progress, a snag, more progress, another snag

The kitchen cabinets are done, fabulous, and even have some of our wayward supplies in 'em! Here are the south and north banks, respectively:

Notice the fashionable countertops--three sheets of cardboard strapped together with packing tape. They're surprisingly sturdy! The countertop template guy is coming next Tuesday to measure for the real thing, but these stand-ins will do just fine until the real countertops arrive.

Pardon the lousy pix--I didn't realize how dusty the camera lens was, plus I had to shoot from the doorways today because the flooring guys are working in the dining area. YAY! That red stuff on the floor is underlayment.

You may notice that there's a gap at the top of the cabinets; that's because Sister A. is a shrimp vertically challenged and needs the wall cabinets to start no higher than 15" over the base cabinets; otherwise, she wouldn't be able to reach more than one shelf without a stepstool. So the cabinets didn't go up as high as expected. We're going to have Handy Frank add a sort of border above the crown molding that'll go straight up to the ceiling, painted the same color as the cabinets. Frank & A. held a "cabinet meeting" while the installer finished his last little bits.

That was all Tuesday. I took off work Tuesday to help move stuff from room to room for the flooring guys, who were scheduled to start that day. We moved our first little bits into the den and the guys got to work, but then they ran into a roadblock--they found more of the old linoleum and black mastic under the carpet in A's bedroom and the sewing room. The company says it's got asbestos in it, so all work had to stop until the flippin' lino was out. They wouldn't even pull up the rest of the carpet! Thank goodness, they did move the furniture out of those two rooms (and into my now very crowded den). After they were safely away in their non-asbestos-breathing bureaucracy, A. and I ripped up the rest of the carpet in both rooms and I learned how to pry up carpet tack. Golly, what fun that was. But we got 'er done. We left the lino for Frank to scrape up; we didn't have the tools (or the oomphs) for it.

We were totally dead by the time Frank came to scrape up the lino for us, take out huge heavy buckets of carpet tack and other trash, put up the microwave, and fight with the sink connections. That lasted until nearly 9pm. We fell into bed the minute he was out the door. And, oh holy crap, were we sore!

Alley's bed, of course, was no longer in her bedroom--she's camping in the den until her room is finished.

Today, there wasn't anything I could help with, so I went to work to sleep get things done there. Here on the home front, the flooring guys started work, and had even put down underlayment and a couple rows of boards in A's bedroom, when they ran into another problem: the concrete slab floor wasn't level. So they had to pour thinset (cement) to level it off, and, of course, drying it all took time (especially because it's humid today). They found the same problem in the sewing room and kitchen/dining area; more thinset, more drying time. Finally, they were able to get started laying cork in the dining area/kitchen sometime after I got home from work. At this writing, it's after 8pm, and they're still at it. But we'll have a finished kitchen and dining area tonight, by gum!

During all the work today, my bedroom somehow got turned into a supply depot for doors, underlayment, and bits of flooring:

I sincerely hope there'll be somewhere else to put that stuff before I hit the hay.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Cabinet Day!

"And now...let the wild rumpus start!" --Where the Wild Things Are, Maurice Sendak

The cabinet installers began work today and, oh my, are the new cabinets gorgeous or what! We are very pleased with them. I was blown away when I got home from work and saw the nearly-reconstructed kitchen. Here are some pix Sister A. took while the guys were working.

The new cabinets emerge from their boxes.

The first two wall cabinets are up on the stove side of the room (south).

The old sink base is gone (along with the sink, of course). There was a problem with the cut-off valves--they were plastic and looked brittle or scary or something--but Handy Frank came to the rescue and replaced them for us. Now the guys can proceed.

The second pair of south-wall cabinets go up.

Next, the installers put up the window-side (north) wall cabinets. And, yes, that is one very muscle-y young man there. Judging by his T-shirt ("Fill the Boot" for MDA), he's also a firefighter.

All the north-wall cabinets are up, along with the valance, which may be my favorite thing in this whole room (so far).

Tomorrow morning, before the cabinet guys come back, A. and I will zoom over to Home Depot to order the countertops and schedule measurement for same. The cabinet guys are due back around 9:30-10am to finish their installation; they figure they'll be done around noon or 1pm. The flooring installers are scheduled to arrive around 11am, so there'll be overlapping work going on, but they shouldn't get in each other's way.

A. and I will be carrying electronics from room to room as the flooring guys work. In between such fun, however, after the cabinets are all in, we shall be happily restoring our kitchen to functionality.

Our poor kitties--more stompy boots & hammering & general destruction/construction in the house tomorrow, all adding to their already freaked-out state. They'll have to hide in the bathrooms for a while, I guess--those will be the only places that aren't being worked in tomorrow...maybe!