Archive for the ‘domestic banter’ Category

In honor of Margaret and Amy, who asked very nicely for these pictures, I give you the final paint job pictures:

A few shots before the painter’s tape was removed…
directly from patio doors

(With a “before” picture, in case you can’t remember the horror of that wallpaper…)

Looking into the kitchen from the living room…
north/west corner
I love how much the woodwork pops out with this new color!

(The reference picture, from the same point…)
(I hate even looking at this now. I’m amazed we lived with it for a year.)

The south-ish wall.
painting by Matt
The painting is by a friend of ours, Matt, who picked up painting all on his own and is self-taught. We have several other canvases of his, and this one (which previously lived in NinjaHusband’s office) fit right in with the kitchen. Hooray!

Kitchen, looking left from main room

We still have a lot to put into it, but I’m so happy with the way it looks now. So. Happy. The dining table and the bookshelf have switched places, so it’s easier to get in and out through our patio doors, which is a big improvement. The kitchen feels much more liveable and happy now.


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My memories of Day Two of The Great Wallpaper Caper are a bit vague and misty, probably due to the sheer excruciating pain of the tiny bathroom. I hate that thing now.

Moving on!

We got the dining area completely paper-free,


as well as the over-the-sink area,


and realized that the pantry was apparently installed after they wallpapered the alcove. Seriously, the paper went all the way back.

I will make you my bitch over the next 5 hours!

NinjaHusband decided to just cover the food and cut the paper where it met the woodwork, and that is what we did.


That’s kind of it for pictures from Day 2, and I will tell you why. It is because I spent 90% of my day in the tiny tiny bathroom, spraying disgusting chemicals onto the walls and into the air and over my head, and not getting very far. I have said before that I don’t have a big ability to focus on projects that I hate, unless there is suitable compensation, and on this day the radio was too far away from the bathroom for me to hear it (plus I had the overhead fan on constantly).

You know how doing a sucky job can be made better, or at least marginally less sucky, if you can rock out to good music? I know how that works too, and it wasn’t happening for me in the tiny tiny bathroom. All I heard was the roar of the fans (the overhead plus the floor fan), the skish skish of the spray bottle of Dif, and the voice in my head going on and on about “Why am I in this bathroom? How come N gets to be in the big huge kitchen where no Dif spray lands on him because he can MOVE OUT OF ITS WAY? Why the buggering fuck isn’t this paper coming off easily OH MY GOD?” And so on. All of this crap kind of washed up on the shore of my mind, piling higher and higher as the day went on until about 2:00 in the afternoon when I went to pull off a strip of paper THAT I HAD WORKED LONG AND HARD TO LOOSEN and it just broke. Immediately I flipped out (quietly, and I didn’t break anything [maturity!!!], but still totally flipped out), washed my hands, and walked out the door. I threw a terse and snappy “I’m going for a walk and when I come back there should be something else I can do” at NinjaHusband and then went on a walk around our neighborhood.

Twenty minutes of hard walking will do wonders for my ability to cope with a situation. Hell, just getting out of that tiny tiny bathroom did wonders for my ability to cope. At 2:30 some friends of ours stopped by to see how things were getting on and their enthusiasm helped me feel loads better.

The kitchen did get completely de-papered that weekend, but the tiny tiny bathroom … well. There is still a bunch of paper to remove. Most of it is because I bailed, but a lot is because we have to take apart the toilet to remove the wallpaper behind it. At this point we don’t know what we’re going to do to the decor (other than paint the walls), and we figure we’ll just tackle that room all at once, rather than taking the toilet apart twice or leaving it unusable for however long it takes us to get the bathroom sorted.

As I type the kitchen is almost done. I’ll put up pictures of the rest of the process soon.

Final count: Round 1 to Keyberts, Round 2 to Satan’s Wallpaper.

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I haven’t forgotten or fallen off the internet again, just couldn’t upload pictures at home (grr!) and had to wait till I got to the public library where the internet connection is fat and happy.


A few last looks…

The kitchen, looking in front of the patio doors

The tiny bathroom. Notice the floor-to-ceiling wallpaper. This will be important later.

The table and patio doors

We covered the table, laid out the tools, and moved the whole thing into the center-ish of the dining area. Then the mayhem began.


NinjaHusband started on the wall with the patio doors.


I started in the tiny bathroom. Why? N is way more meticulous and can stay focused longer than me, so why wasn’t he in the horrible, awful enclosed space?


There was much wailing and gnashing of teeth on my part. I do not enjoy tiny, enclosed spaces filled with wallpaper-stripping chemicals and floor-to-ceiling wallpaper and really bad lighting. I may have stomped around a bit. Miyagi sensed my wrath and, in her despair and confusion, gave a cry for help.


De-papering continued…

Hello! I am the obnoxious yellow that lurked beneath your horrific wallpaper!

Heather, bless her, stopped by to give us a hand…

And also to mock us, apparently

And I found these two gems in the tiny tiny bathroom…

Speaking of obnoxious paint beneath the wallpaper…


Somewhere in the depths of this tiny tiny bathroom’s history, someone decided to try their hand at a free-form mural of … flowers? coral? …something totally ugly. And when they wisely decided to cover that up, they sadly (a) chose this wallpaper, and (b) when they got to this inset to hold a medicine cabinet which is looking at the backside of the drywall from the kitchen wall, chose to paper the BACKSIDE OF THE DRYWALL. Because that makes all the sense.

After that discovery, we decided to pack it in for the day and drink some beer. Wouldn’t you?

Round Two coming soon.

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I figured out why I haven’t been as warm as usual.
Im on ur heatingvents...
I’m on ur heatingvents, stealing ur heats

Miyagi has found a new favorite lounging spot.

(Don’t forget, the birthday contest is still going through Thursday night, ending at midnight!)

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Like any good horror story, this one has an exclamation point.

Last Sunday, the 10th, my brother-in-law came over to help us get some things done around the house. This is no mere jaunt across town for him — no, he drove over an hour one way to give us a bunch of his time and energy. And last Sunday he brought his pressure-washer.

(Here I should preface the whole story with: the house we just bought had been vacant for over a year. We knew going in that it had been empty for a while, but not quite this long. Anyhow, back to the story.)

Our patio, of which I do not have a picture, is under a beautiful locust tree in a shady corner. Lovely for sitting outside enjoying a margarita (on the rocks with salt and lime, please), but not lovely for the concrete, which had developed some serious mossy-looking growth all over it. It was no longer grey, it was green. Blegh.

So Heath brought his pressure-washer. And hooked it up to the admittedly ancient-looking garden hose that we had inherited, and hooked the hose up to the outside spigot. Nothing. As in, no water pressure. There would be a little bit, but it conked out pretty quickly. We determined the hose was bad (no kidding — it’s got folds that won’t unfold) and I run out to Lowe’s with Heath to buy a new garden hose. Triumph! All will be well now!

Except no, it wasn’t. Still no water pressure. It wasn’t the pressure washer’s fault, said the two mechanical-minded guys. Maybe it’s the spigot? Is it a frost-free spigot (warning: video starts when you link)? Because it should be. No, it wasn’t a frost-free spigot. Is there mineral build-up? Sort of, but not really. NinjaHusband jiggled something and realigned something, and that seemed to do nothing, so we unhooked the hose from the washer and from the outside spigot and were ready to call it a day on the pressure-washing.

Then, NinjaHusband turned on the outside spigot, and this came galumphing out:

fully disgusting.

Only, it didn’t come out like that at first. It came out looking like red soft-serve ice cream, in all its gloopy glory. What the damn hell is coming out of my pipes? What did I just get myself into? How much did I just pay for this house?

From the spigot

It poured and poured and eventually the water got clearer, but still red, then orange, then yellowish, and we all three were standing there utterly gobsmacked. What the hell was this stuff? Then NinjaHusband picked some of it up and looked more closely.

Not eggs.

It was in bits.

Round bits.

Kind of translucent and squishy bits.

Kind of like… eggs?

Um. What? At this point I kind of lost my head, my ability to cope, and almost lost my grip on acceptible grown-up behavior. I really wanted to freak out and yell or cry or vomit or perform some action that was on the same freak-out level as the gunk coming out of my pipes. But I didn’t. Instead I called my dad. No, it can’t be eggs. It’s probably a mixture of sand and rust. Just run the water through the pipe for five minutes every few days and it’ll be gone.

I thanked my dad and hung up, still not really sure — sand isn’t squishy. After the water ran clear and we ran the gunk out of the new garden hose, Heath was able to run the pressure-washer and get the mossy algae off our patio. We kept working on the house stuff but were still pretty weirded out by the Mysterious Red Goo From The Outside Spigot.

When 6:00 rolled around I headed out to knit night and took my pictures with me. I described the stuff to my knitter group (probably in a high-pitched and panicky-sounding way) and everyone said, Oh it’s rust, don’t worry, it’s sediment, your town’s water is kind of rusty, full of minerals, etc. Then I showed them the pictures.

Silence blanketed the table (hard to do with our group). The consensus was that we should get that shit checked out immediately. IMMEDIATELY. “Dude, those look like spider eggs.” “That looks a lot like worm eggs.” And one delightful person said “Yeah, that could be salamander eggs.” What the hell? How is this in any way helpful to my state of mind, which is supposed to be one of relaxation while I’m at knit night? How, I ask you.

So I called my town’s water district first thing Monday morning. I was told there was no way anything could be living in the water, that the chlorine was high enough, that they test it daily, that the well we’re on is the best in town… but they’re sending someone out to take a sample right away.

An hour and a half later I get a call from the water softener place. “Hi we got a call from the city and they brought over a sample of the stuff that was coming out of your pipes.” Turns out that …
IT WAS NOT EGGS. It was old, old water softener medium. How old? Well, it turns out the water softener (that we were bypassing, thank god) is original to the house (that is, April of 1974, nineteen seventy-fucking-four). And something in it broke. And released these old particles into our pipes. Fortunately, the goop was only in that one pipe leading to the Outside Spigot (that the previous owner likely never turned on) and we don’t have to spend thousands of dollars to get it out of the other plumbing. And then dude tried to hard-sell me a new water softener.

So I can rest easy, content that spiders are not laying eggs in my pipes, nor are salamanders about to crawl out of the dishwasher.

But it was absolutly horrifying for an entire afternoon.

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I have packed up the tea cabinet.

Additional tea stash

This is a feat precariously balanced between AWESOME! and SUCK! because if I run out of my carefully set-aside packets of green tea in the middle of this move, I will not be held responsible for my actions. While I can wake up as early as the next bird to start working, I often crash at about 3:00pm and need just a bit of caffeine to jump my batteries back into action before I decide that the whole moving thing is just too much of a hassle, and maybe we could just live in the rented U-Haul for a couple days? (Not too much caffeine, or I’ll start acting like a five-year-old after Halloween candy, but with more tweak.) There is the easy way to move house, and then there’s the way that keeps Kathy from her mildly caffeinated elixur of goodness.

Things are moving along. I am sorting as I go, so as to not haul a bunch of crap I don’t want into the new house. I’m taking this as a sign of maturity and forethought, as it’s something I’ve never done before. In all my previous moves (seven of them, from going away to college at 18 up to moving into the current apartment at 24, once a year for seven years oh my god) I just threw stuff in boxes at the last possible minute and thought I’d sort through my crap when I got to my new place. Of course I didn’t go through the crap, I just stuffed it under the bed or into a closet or whatever passed for storage space wherever I lived. I was too excited to live in my new space and to hang my pictures and to put away my underwear to deal with boring stuff like the notes from past classes that I will never need but that I brought with me.

Not this time (for the most part).

Despite my essentially clutter-friendly nature, I’m really trying to keep my belongings out of my space and in whatever space I allow them. Following that, I’m really trying to keep the crap out of my belongings. If I don’t love it, it’s getting kicked out of the house. Posters that I got at a college poster sale? Gone. Picture frames I received as a gift that are not my style? Outta here. Notes from college classes? Seriously, I’m not going into politics or history, so I’m not keeping the PoliSci 341 notes any longer. My hope is that now that most of the crap is gone I’ll be able to better store my Actual Stuff neatly and securely, so that it doesn’t take over the living space. Any suggestions?

Mug shot
This is a mug shot.

I plan to document my … um, plan as I put it into practice, so maybe that will help keep me working on the clutter-free lifestyle I’ve heard is so fabulous. Watch for pictures, especially the early ones because this house we’re moving into has some fantastic wallpaper. And by fantastic I mean wacky-approaching-hideous. It’s going down.

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Best Picture Ever

Happy Anniversary, sweetheart.

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