Category Archives: home

Moral conundrum

I believe I had shared earlier that there was a possibility my brother might come live with us for awhile.  Well, it has come to pass!  He secured himself a full-time job only a few minutes from our house, and he starts in three weeks!  So he’s moving down here in two weeks, and we are all excited.

He’ll be staying in the spare bedroom we have on our lower level, which has an adjoining full bathroom.  Comfy enough, I think, for cheap digs.  We still need to paint the room before he moves in; it is in SORE need of a coat of paint.

I have a leftover can of off-white and was going to use that.

But my brother just called me a loser in a message board.

I am tempted to exact revenge a la paint color.  Pink perhaps?  Chartreuse?  Neon orange?  A dingy, depressing gray?

Alas, I am too cheap to spend $30 on a new gallon of paint for such a purpose, so he will get his off-white anyway.

The fact that he’s calling me a loser and that I’m contemplating revenge for it shows we often act like bratty little kids with each other, rather than the grown-ups we are.  That’s one thing I am worried about with him living here, that we will end up being stupid and jerky with each other.  Hopefully we can both make a conscious effort to act like adults and avoid the name-calling and shouting matches that have occasionally plagued our ‘adult’ interactions.  I theorize it’s because I haven’t lived at home since going away to college and we don’t really have much practice being adults together, so when a little conflict arises we both revert to how we acted ten, fifteen years ago.

And the stars aligned…

… at the mall, anyway!

I did some shopping today, with the goal of purchasing these things:

1) A tie-out chain for Bailey.  We have one but it’s too short, and until our yard is fenced in, well, she does OK staying in close range but she’s getting braver, and we only live about 4 houses away from a pretty busy street.

2) A curtain rod and curtains for the sliding glass door in our dining room, which is now painted Tomato Bisque.  It looks like a pumpkin.  But considering my big holiday to host here is Thanksgiving it will work beautifully.

3) Some sort of warmish shirt in bright yellow for Lane.  She is going to be Belle for Halloween.  Having suffered the anguish as a child, growing up in Buffalo more Halloweens than not of having to wear my winter coat over my Halloween costume, it is one of my goals as a cool-ish sort of mom to help my kids avoid having to cover their Halloween costumes with winter coats as much as is reasonably possible.  When I could pick their costumes I would pick warm ones, with head coverings.  Which is why this year Jake is Cookie Monster, complete with hood with googly eyes on top.  Lane’s dress is decidedly NOT cool-weather friendly.

4) Tights for Lane, as she is a girl enamored with wearing dresses and skirts.

Usually when I head out of the house with a list like this, I find like two of the four things, nothing close to one of the things despite going to seventeen different potential stores, and then so many choices for another thing that I get overwhelmed and my brain shuts down.

I am pleased as punch to report I was able to successfully, satisfactorily check off every item on my list!

The tie-out was at Home Depot, which I knew because that’s where I bought the first one.  I grabbed the last one on the shelf.  :whew:

The curtain rod and curtains I bought at Bed, Bath & Beyond.  The rod is OK, it’s not exactly what I had in mind but it didn’t break the bank and it matches the chandelier in the dining room well enough.  The curtains are sort of a shiny sort of material, with subtle embroidered flowers, they are dark brown and simply lovely.  I can’t wait to get them up.  I, with more forethought than usual, took a painted sample of the paint with me for comparison purposes, so I’m fairly confident the whole ensemble is going to look pretty nice in the room, and the curtains contrast a lot so they’re pretty certain to pop without being loud.  I’m pleased.

The tights I got at Old Navy, the first store we went looking for them.  I like to buy thick tights, like cotton tights, rather than the thinner microfiber tights, and Old Navy was a fairly safe bet for those.  I got three pairs that I am very happy with.

Old Navy also came through with a shirt for under the Belle dress.  I found there in the girls’ section a selection of microfiber hoodies in a vast array of colors, one being nearly the same yellow of the Belle dress.  The hoodie may be just a little more bright but it will do!  It’s big enough that I can smack a couple extra layers down underneath it, and thin enough that even with a couple layers it will fit under the dress, which has some room to spare on Lane’s lanky frame.  Actually, Lane has a pretty thin Thinsulate winter coat that I think would fit under the hoodie, and then under the dress too.  If needed we can bundle her up quite a bit without committing the awful child fashion faux pas that is a coat-over-a-Halloween-costume, and yet still maintaining the full color theme.  And, as a bonus, a yellow hood to keep her ears warm if she starts getting cold!  I could not have been more giddy to find a suitable option.

Thus, I am sitting here typing this feeling oddly content with life.  Not from the shopping and spending money (because not counting the window treatments I didn’t spend very much… and even on the window treatments I stayed like $40 under my spending limit in my head) but just because I actually set out to get a couple things done today and got them all done.  Yay.

Trekkin’ around the state

It’s been a whirlwind few days!

As I mentioned previously, Lane went to Buffalo on Monday.  My dad was here visiting for one night with his fiancee from Sunday to Monday, and as they were preparing to leave, Lane started saying she REALLLLY wanted to go to Buffalo with Grandpa Jerry.  Well, he’s retired, and she wouldn’t miss anything more than a few days of preschool and a dance class.  So she went.  By all reports they had a blast.  Tuesday was an off weather day in Buffalo so they hung out at home and watched movies, and Wednesday they went to the Buffalo Zoo.  (I am happy to report no polar bears died while they were visiting.)

Then, Jake and I drove up there on Wednesday afternoon and got there about 9:00 p.m.  Thursday was general hanging-out-with-relatives, and my dad took Jake to see choo-choos (my dad used to work on the railroad).

I also had a very sweet, very frank conversation with my brother about life stuff and relationship stuff of which I will not violate his confidence by divulging the details here, but it make my heart sigh, in that good way.  He’s a good egg who just needs to sort out his priorities a little and really realize he’s more grown-up and mature than he gives himself credit for.

Then, Friday, the kids and I headed for the Albany area, where we visited with my friend Amanda and her new, perfect little baby, and where Frank rendez-vous’ed with us.  We stayed there last night, and then went to my friend Cari’s daughter’s first birthday party, where we also saw other friends we hadn’t seen in awhile, being caught up in the whole moving-into-our-house-and-getting-it-spiffied-up whirlwind, as we are.  But there are tentative plans to get together with the other friends in the next couple weeks, and for Amanda to visit at some point in November, so we’re getting caught up, socially, which feels good.

And now we are home, and I’m sitting on my own couch, and I’m relishing that we don’t have to travel anywhere until Christmas (unless we choose to do so otherwise, before then).  Not that we won’t be busy – we have a dining room that needs wallpaper stripped and a coat of the “tomato bisque” paint I bought before Thanksgiving, among a couple other rooms that need painting.  But after our last two busy weekends… bring on the paint.  🙂

I am a DIY goddess

I just spent over six hours tiling our downstairs hallway.  Our downstairs, as we live in a raised ranch, consists of a laundry room, garage, bathroom, family room, and a spare bedroom.  Every room on the level enters into this smallish hallway.  All told, it’s probably 12 feet long by 4 feet wide, with one zig-zag.

When we moved in, the family room, bedroom and hallway all had this brownish-gray carpet, which was a bit stained up and the color was just dreary.  We replaced the carpet recently in the two rooms with more wall-to-wall, but significantly lighter in color.  This left the hallway with the bare commercial style flecky asbestos-containing tiles, which, in addition to just being pretty ugly, were also slippery as hell, as my ankle can attest when I came off the stairs too quickly and completely wiped out, twisting said ankle in the process.

I had previously selected and bought for the floor vinyl plank peel-and-stick tile at Lowe’s.  I cannot find the stuff I bought on the Lowe’s website, but here is a similar product, in a very similar color. (The stuff I got at Lowe’s was only 98¢ a square foot, though.)  I found myself with some free time today, as Lane took an impromptu trip to Buffalo with her Grandpa Jerry.  (Jake and I will be going in two days to rendezvous with here there, and then Friday we’ll drive to the Albany area to visit friends.)  So I started on the tile project, and between Jake playing well by himself for awhile, and then taking a 3+ hour nap, I was able to finish the whole hallway.  And might I brag, it looks pretty darned good!  The stuff was easy to install and really looks nice.  For peel-and-stick vinyl tile, at any rate.  It just needs to be trimmed out with some new quarter-round and those metal threshold things and we’ll be all set.  Yay!

Trifecta of crappitude

Today is one of those days, where like the planets align to put you in a shit mood.

I’m on the tail-end of what is my fifth menstrual cycle in five years.  Pregnancy & breastfeeding is pretty good for holding Aunt Flo at bay.  But man, once she weasels her way back into your life she smacks you upside the head and kicks your ass.

I’m sick.  Not sick enough to be bedridden, but enough that I’m in a fog and I’m a lung cookie factory.

Today is also the tenth anniversary of my mom’s death.  So I can’t help but participate in the reflection that such an anniversary propagates, and it’s not exactly a mood enhancer.

Luckily my life’s not completely in the toilet (even if between the lung cookies and the hygiene needs I feel like I’m in the bathroom more than I’m not).  This week is the week I do my once-quarterly consulting work for my old company, so I’ve got stuff to keep me busy and the kids are spending a bunch of time at their grandparents’, so it’s been relatively calm and quiet this week.  Plus the consulting work means I get a sweet little paycheck in a couple weeks, which I’m tempted to deposit completely in my IRA and go on a stock spending spree.  The account in general may be in the shitter but there are some SWEET deals to be had on Wall Street right now.  This in general is conducive to optimism.  And of course the whole how-lucky-I-am facts around having a great husband and awesome kids.  As much as situations are conspiring to try to make me have a shitty day, it’s hard to stay down for long.  That’s definitely saying something, right?

Curse thee, CFL light bulbs

Really, I have no problem with CFLs.  I think they’re super.  I want them in every possible light fixture in my house.

Problem is, the light fixtures don’t want them.  The majority of those 30 or so recessed lights in our house were arbitrarily made so that only a light bulb with a narrow neck can be put into it.  Hence, a CFL, with its ballast near the screw cap, is decidedly wider than a regular ol’ incandescent, and won’t fit into these fixtures.  The can lights in my kitchen, they have two little metal tabs near where you screw the light bulb in, that from what I can determine serve no functional purpose for the light whatsoever, except they effectively keep CFLs from being screwed in tight enough to work.  It’s driving me crazy.  Right now I’m facing having to replace at least 15 of the 30 recessed fixtures in my house just so I can get my jollies by putting CFLs in them.  And I haven’t even ventured to try putting CFLs in all of them yet.

And, I have a 3-way torchiere lamp so I bought a 3-way CFL to put in there… and do you think the damned CFL fit in that?  Well, I wouldn’t be complaining if the answer was yes.

I suppose it’s not unexpected.  When most of the can lights were installed in this house, years ago (probably at least 10-15 years ago) who’d seen a CFL except maybe in IKEA, who carried them only because they were so much more common in Europe?  It still is frustrating me like crazy.  Argh!

Progress

Things are getting done around our new abode, which is encouraging.

Our living room is all painted — three walls are the same warm beige (“oat cake” says Behr) as our bedroom with one accent wall of Ladybug Red.  And Frank likes it.  Yay!  I’m fairly confident in my color choices and I like to go out on a limb sometimes.  Nothing that a can of primer can’t fix, right?  I figured he’d be wishy-washy on the red at best, and he’s actually digging it.  Cool!  Our next color challenge is to pick a color for our dining room.  I was, and still am somewhat, leaning toward a muted, darkish orange color for the dining room… but just now I started playing with some warm browns and ooooooohh.  I’ve never painted a room a dark brown before.  I’ve done navy blue in a half-bath, but never a whole room of something so dark.  It might be fun.

Frank and his dad tackled a bunch of clearing out the overgrown landscaping this weekend, and I conquered more of it this afternoon.  Then I dug a two-foot hole and set up our new roadside mailbox at the behest of the postal service (with a bit of help from my father in-law — but I did dig the whole hole myself with a post hole digger).

Frank and I just finished changing out all the switches and outlets in the living room to shiny new stuff and adding dimmers and all that fun stuff.  I gotta say, nothing makes me feel more like I’m a cool, confident adult than installing a dimmer switch, and I say that without a hint of sarcasm.  Just gotta shampoo the rug in there, and put in our furniture.  The cable company is coming next Tuesday to install cable for us, and our own internet service (right now my only internet is off of the in-laws’ router, for which we can only get a signal against the outside wall of our dining room, which is why I’m sitting here on a cushion from our couch instead of the dozen or so infinitely more comfortable spots in our house.)

The last couple days have felt quite productive.  Tomorrow, I’m spending a day with just Lane, while Jake gets to hang out with his grandparents for the day.  I figure since she’s starting pre-K next week, we should do some sort of send-off, to kind of celebrate her last days before she becomes SCHOOL AGED.  Ack!  So, she and I are going to drive down to Sesame Place for some kickin’ mom-and-daughter time.