Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Lucky Hearts

Remember this blog post?

I am currently the proud wearer of that beautiful necklace! I came home from work to a package on our front step (which, hey, no one had to sign for - that's a little scary, right? I'm glad it was still at our house and that the item in the box wasn't of huge monetary value..) that had Joe's name on it. I called him at work, asked if he had ordered a car part or something. He dodged my question, said he couldn't remember, that I should just open it for him.

::squeal:: I think it might just be my new favorite necklace... and I love that Joe was thoughtful enough to gift it to me! I don't think he even reads this blog on a regular basis, so either someone clued him in, or he's just that damn good. ;)

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Working Hard

As I hinted in my last post, we worked hard this weekend in addition to the little bit of fun I had!

Saturday we picked up the lawn dethatcher. I will never, in a million years, attempt that again. Dethatching sucks. The machine sucks. The stuff it kicks up (thatch, some grass, some dirt, because the machine sucked!) is heavy and a PITA to bag. The machine came with a bagger, but it didn't work well and totally sucked. We ended up getting thru 1/4 of our nearly quarter-acre lot before we called it quits. We filled 6 bags with the clippings. 6 bags! I will happily hire a lawn service to finish this job for us. I doubt we'll do it this fall, but I am considering hiring someone to get our lawn into a condition that we can just maintain on our own once they've rehabbed it.

After the dethatching debacle, we decided to do a bit of cleaning up with the plantings around the house. Our trees have dropped seeds and little baby saplings are growing in the hostas, the seedum, the bushes, the whole deal. We have a few rather ugly plants that my mother-in-law so kindly tried to trim up to make them look better, but in the end, I said eff it and we are going to tear them out. When your shrubs are so overgrown that they are mostly dead, dry branches, they aren't worth trimming. I just need Joe to go to town with a towstrap and his mom's SUV this next weekend to tear the largest bush out. Might as well get it over with before winter!

On Sunday, Joe and I got started in on the last of the gutter guard. I'm so thankful that we finally finished this (3 feet at a time!) because when the winds started picking up later Sunday afternoon, it was nice to know that all of our fall leaves weren't going to collect in the gutters. They weren't a huge price investment, but I think that the effort will pay off very quickly. The last thing I want to be doing is going up on a ladder weekly to clean leaves out of our gutters!

My dad came over to help trim up our pine tree later that afternoon. We spent about 2 hours trimming and bundling up branches. The pine looks so much better with it's lowest branches about 4 feet from the ground! It looks much cleaner, and now we are able to see if someone pulls into our driveway. It wasn't too tough of work, but I really need to invest in a pair of gloves. I was wearing Joe's mechanic gloves, which didn't keep all of the pine needles from stabbing me! Thankfully we were finished up with the chain-sawing and were able to hear the last successful drive by the Vikings on dad's trusty DeWalt radio!


see our hideous and neglected lawn? sadness...

The rest of Sunday was spent in the garage - Joe and his dad were setting up a countertop that can drop down in the winter to allow for Porsche and motorcycle storage. We also had to chase down a master link (??) for our garage door chain... Yeah, it's way above my head. All I knew was that the garage door chain broke, and the door could only be opened manually. It was the dumbest little part that we had to run to a few different hardware stores to find, and it baffles me that something that small was holding our garage opener chain together. Thankfully that is fixed now, in time for our first frost (!!) tonight. I love parking in a garage almost as much as I love being able to do laundry at home.

More work is in store for this evening. I think we might start in on the trim (finally, I've been talking about doing this for 2 weeks no...) and hopefully my father-in-law and I will finalize our plans for the wooden window valance we are designing. I also hope to get a few photos of the pine tree up...

Monday, September 28, 2009

Weekend Awesomeness

I worked and played hard this weekend.

Saturday night was a birthday party for 2 friends. I took the light rail into downtown (The best accessory for a bra top and low rise jeans is a very pregnant belly, right? At least the woman sitting behind me on the train thought so...) which guaranteed that I would have a good night! No car = no limits! Did a little drinking, played some darts, got my cheecks pinched (against my will), did some drinking and dancing, witnessed a fight, danced a whole lot more, took a random limo ride around downtown and eventually got picked up my awesome red-headed husband... fun times. Just a regular old Saturday night, right?

Thanks to the weekend, I have the dirtiest rap songs of all time stuck in my head. Yikes! R. Kelly's 'Bump & Grind' is the most G rated song that I am humming... But I had an awesome time and am reminded every single time I go downtown that I need to do that more often.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Rain?!

Although the rain is MUCH NEEDED, I can't help but feel a bit frantic. Joe and I are planning on some serious lawn rehab this weekend. We have an overgrown pine that we are going to trim up a bit. Our lawn needs dethatching, so we've rented a power rake and are going to go to town on that. We have to install gutter guards on the back half of the house. Rain would seriously delay our plans, and being that we have reserved and are paying for the power rake, I'd love to be able to use it.

If lawncare takes a rain delay, I have grand plans of (finally) sanding the trim in the hallway and living room. I might take advantage of the already humid weather and attempt to strip the "country chic" wallpaper border in the kitchen. I need to turn our guest bedroom into an empty room and not the dumping ground it has become over the past month. (MONTH!? We've been in our house 2 days short of a month!)

No weekend is complete without some fun, though. I'm desperately looking forward to a friend's birthday extravaganza as a reward for all of my hard work during the day on Saturday. Fingers crossed that Mom Nature gives us a beautiful, dry, brisk fall day tomorrow...

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Crickets & Spiders

For living in the city, we have a ridiculous amount of crickets in our yard. This morning, our cats seemed to be fixed on something. Dolce, totally in hunter mode, crouched low. Auto was all up in the action, pouncing and swatting with every little step he took. Joe broke up the party, swiped up the cricket in a tissue, and flushed him.

Thankfully, I know if/when the crickets make it inside, they just won't last very long. Our cats are stealth and will hunt down anything that is moving (even if it is their shadows). Awesome. I'm not creeped out by crickets as much as I am just annoyed by them. The crickets chirping outside is one thing, but if you get one cricket in your house and it just let's out it's singular chirp now and again - it's so nagging, annoying, frustrating...

We have a stump in our front yard... Now sure how long the tree has been gone - at least a year because it isn't in any of the MLS listing photos of our house. What is left of the stump is a strange bump next to a depression in the ground. The center of the stump is rotted out, and sadly, nasty bugs are living in it. I can usually handle nasty bugs, but spiders are a different story. ::shudder:: Every time I've been in our front lawn, I've had a spider crawl up my leg, and of course it's been nice, so my legs have been mostly bare. Creeps me out. Scream like a tiny-shrill-school-girl creeps me out. The spiders are everywhere... and I realize that there are benefits to spiders (less mosquitos, yay!) I just can't handle the idea of one crawling up my leg. We hope to grind the stump down, or at least level the area a bit, and do some landscaping... but I can't even think about doing anything in the ground near the spider home. I have no idea if it's even possible to get rid of spiders that live outside.. but I'm seriously considering hiring a service. Spiders are and will continiue to be my #1 Irrational Fear.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Goal: Housewarming Party

Joe and I want to throw ourselves a housewarming party over the weekend before Thanksgiving. November 14th or 15th... So, I obviously have a list of things I would like to accomplish. Hopefully a looming deadline will light a fire under me and I'll get this all accomplished.

- Paint trim in hallway and living room
- Paint walls in hallway and living room
- Hang art (something!) in living room and kitchen
- Paint kitchen walls
- Cut a cat door for the basement (explanation? I hate seeing our unfinished basement thru the open door, and we have to leave the door open for the cats and their litter box. I want to cut a cat door for them)
- Change outlets & covers to white in the living room, hallway, and kitchen
- Hang a 'curtain' of some sort to close off the laundry area from the rest of the basement (and also hide the litter boxes, which are in the laundry area)
- Make and install window valance box in living room
- Hang drapery panels in the living room

It seems somewhat attainable - obviously I'll have Joe and our families to help a bit. Fingers crossed, if we pull off a housewarming party, that maybe we'll be able to throw my "Mc" family christmas! It would be really awesome, it's helpful if someone in the B-Town area throws the party, and I'd love to feel confident to show our house off with some pride.

In other home related news.. our dishwasher is broken. It's a hideous portable dishwasher, and it appears to be from the stone ages. We ran it for the first time this past saturday... and it flooded our kitchen. The water won't drain out of it now (at least not the way it's intended, it'll drain out the bottom all it wants...) and today I finally made Joe move the damn thing outside. It smelled awful from whatever water was stagnant in the machine. We are back to not having a dishwasher. I am disappointed, but we lived with a crappy and by default never used dishwasher in the SLA.. so we can live a bit longer sans dishwasher. We are thinking about buying a kitchen cart with a butcher block top - something that will fit in the space where the dishwasher once sat. It'd be nice to roll it out into the kitchen and use it for food prep, as our countertop space is somewhat limited. It'll be awesome if we have the housewarming and christmas parties, as it'll give a great place to serve some food from. So... I'm on the lookout for a cart of some sort. IKEA, maybe?

Sunday, September 20, 2009

First Anniversary Photos

My girlfriend Laura has the same snazzy camera that I have... but she's been doing a lot more practicing that I have been! I mentioned to her that I wanted to do 1st Anniversary photos, and she offered to take them. Laura and Nathan were in town on our anniversary weekend, so we set out for Downtown Minneapolis bright and early on Saturday, September 12th..











I had wanted to get a photo of us on Joe's motorcycle at our wedding... but with the rain we had that day, it wasn't a safe idea. I'm so glad that Laura was willing to try out a few new techniques with us, and I am super excited about how the pictures turned out! It was a super fun way to celebrate our anniversary... now I just have to decide which ones to print!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Homeownership Fairy - Strikes again!

The Homeownership Fairy strikes again!



He (my father-in-law) measured, made and installed a microwave cabinet for Joe and I! How awesome! It frees up a bunch of counter space raising it up, and the toaster and coffee maker still fit under it. I came home from work to find this project completed, and couldn't be more appreciative!

Joe will most likely appreciate this not only because of how much we wanted this, but because of how it frees up our (rolling) dishwasher. The microwave was sitting on top of it, making it tough to run the dishwasher. Now that the dishwasher can be rolled around the room at will, we'll actually be prone to using it! Of course, I wouldn't complain a bit if the homeownership fairy decided to permanently install our dishwasher so the rolling factor doesn't matter.. ;)

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Adjusting

It has been interesting, watching our cats adjust to their new home...

Surprisingly, Dolce has been really great. He is so incredibly happy, calm, affectionate... not at all how we expected him to be. He is the cat that hates change, gets stressed out and serious anxiety if you even rearrange the furniture. However, he is flourishing, it's so nice... His fat lump of a body can finally jump up and look out the windows, and he's started to favor the office window sill as his favorite nap spot.



Autobahn is a different story, though. He is having the hardest time... and it makes me so sad. He has never been a big eater, but now he's even worse. He will hide in the unfinished basement rafters for a day or two. He'll finally come down, but then the slightest sound, even just a footstep, will send him shooting back into hiding. He doesn't even snuggle anymore.. :(

Today I saw a ton of Auto, but he was behaving like a total freak.. running around crazy, shaking his head, shoving his paws into his ears.. and I figured he had a bug or something in his ear. We went to the vet, because I couldn't see anything. Auto has a nasty ear infection, says the doc, and it means Joe and I have to give him some ointment stuff in his ear every morning and at night, for 2 weeks.

I just know that this post is committing me to crazy cat-lady status.. but they are my babies! (My babies?... further proof. Anita = cat lady) I'm hoping that Auto gets rid of the infection and starts behaving like our old cat.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Riverview Wine Bar

I went to the Riverview Wine Bar with Laura x2 and Laura's friend Jill on Saturday night.

OMG. 3 words:

Pear Gorgonzola Pizza. Pear, gorgonzola cheese, walnuts and carmelized onions, on a thin, crispy, crackery pizza crust... ::drool::

And the port soaked pears on the cheese plate are exactly how nature intends pears to be served. Not to mention that the wine list is awesome, very extensive, and our server knew her stuff. They have many different wine flights on the menu, which is a fun way to taste a country's wine, or a specific varietal.

Awesome experience, highly recommended!

Monday, September 14, 2009

A master bedroom

A master bedroom. Completed to the best of my current ability. I really, really love it!



Bedding - Bed Bath & Beyond
Paint color - Benjamin Moore Del Mar Blue
Night stands, lamps and art - IKEA
Rug - Target

Sunday, September 13, 2009

1 year

September 13, 2008.



The most beautiful, romantic, rainy wedding day that any couple would be lucky to have! If rain is a blessing on your wedding day, Joe and I were blessed a million times over. No words can fully explain the emotions of that day, and no words can fully explain the emotions I feel today.









One year of promises, challenges, changes and most importantly, love. It hasn't always been easy, but it has always been worth it. xoxoxxoo to my Joe..

Friday, September 11, 2009

Homeownership Fairy

We have a homeownership fairy. We've come home numerous times to find things in our driveway or propped up against our garage.

- A shower curtain (from my mother in law, freshly hemmed to the length we needed. We purchased it too long)
- 4 drapery panels for our bedroom (from my mother in law)
- Scaffolding (from my Dad, his work loaned it to us to paint the garage)
- A long, office quality countertop (from my uncle Joe, to be installed in husband Joe's garage)
- Window well covers (from my father in law)
- A file cabinet (from my uncle Joe, recovered from an office building that he's tearing apart to be thrown away)

It's pretty awesome! I love coming home to find things we need waiting for me! Now, if only there could be a visit or two from a jewelry box fairy or even a bank account fairy...

Wanting

All of the frugality over the past few months leaves me wanting stuff. It's bad... I want:

A white pumpkin to dress up our front door for fall.

A silver necklace - something light and casual.. I like this one from Blue Nile at the moment.



This rug, from Crate and Barrel, to put in my living room.



A dark denim jacket - with a slightly fitted shape that falls at the hip.

Mascara - I'm nearly out of my beloved DiorShow.

A wuppy. Yes, a wuppy. I'm whining for a puppy. This one is stupid, though, as we will get one once the time is right. At the moment, it's not the right time.

Some vintage Champagne. GOOD champagne, Like Dom... because I just want some Champagne.



Silver toned flats. But I need arch support, and so far, I can only feed cheap, not good for my feet flats. I continue the hunt..

The Nambe butterfly bowl.



So - I'll most likely get the pumpkin. I will get a tube of the mascara eventually. And I might get a pair of the silver toned flats, if I ever find them. I've got to try and curb the wants...

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Biting my tongue

I am still learning one of the greatest lessons for our marriage. Sadly, yes, it involves biting my tongue, but it's not exactly a bad thing.

Joe and I got into a stupid argument this morning. It was mainly (Ok, completely) my fault. I had to be to work extra early. He got up to make coffee, my breakfast (a bagel) and my lunch. I was running late, and as I grabbed my breakfast, I tossed the knife he used for my bagel into the sink.

Joe: "You could have left that on the counter, I can take care of it."
Me: "No, because you won't clean up the cream cheese if it gets on the counter." J: "Yes I will wipe the counter!"
M: "No, Joe, you always say you will, but you never do. I'd rather just put the knife in the sink so I don't have to deal with it."

This is where biting my tongue could have come in helpful, because I left off the part of the conversation where we were angry and arguing with each other. Over a knife and a dirty countertop.

I apologized. I'm not wrong in the fact that Joe never wipes down the kitchen counter. If left to his own devices, there will be a weeks worth of crumbs, toast and bagel chunks and random condiments splattered on the countertops. But.. is it worth arguing over? Not really. It's all about picking your battles, and the battle of the dirty countertop is not the battle I want to get into at 5:45 in the morning.

So, I sucked it up. Bit my tongue. Apologized for starting a "fight" this morning. It's just not worth it. I am sure that eventually, there will be something more worthy of an argument (we aren't perfect, I know we will argue) and why turn him and myself bitter over stupid things? Knives and dirty countertops are stupid things.

I am just thankful that we are figuring these types of things out early..

Monday, September 7, 2009

Educational Goals: Socialism Version

President Obama pre-released his speech he plans to give to school children tomorrow.

Find it here.

I just have to say.. damn him and his message. ::sarcasm:: Stay in school - pffft! Only for socialists. REAL Americans don't listen to B/S like this. REAL Americans do what they want. REAL Americans think messages like this are for French Fry eating, Birkenstock wearing hippies.

Oh wait. The speech isn't full of liberal bias and propaganda? The speech is about personal responsiblity and taking charge of your education?

Oh. Okay. Well, keep your kids out of school anyway. Because forcing your child to skip the first day of school for the year is all about helping them find success. ::eye roll::

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Laundry

I haven't been so overjoyed to do laundry in.. well, about 5 years. Why?

This is the first time in forever that I have had a full sized washing machine and dryer in my HOME. I don't have to bag and bin everything up to drive to some dump of a laundromat or to drive to a family members home. I can sit in my pajamas and do laundry at home. Full loads of laundry, not the crappy 2 pair of jeans size loads that stackable apartment size washing machines can carry.

Our house was sold with a washer and dryer in the classic color of harvest gold.



We removed those babies today and replaced them with new-to-us machines we bought (for $180 total, booyah!) on Craigslist. Yes, I know, the pictures are of our dingy unfinished basement. Basements are nasty. And god why haven't we removed the clothes chute bag that the sellers left? yuck. But the machines are BEAUTIFUL. And at our house. And I am in my pajamas doing laundry. JOY.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Stay in school!

"Stay in school!"

Good message, yes? Oh, apparently NOT if you are the President of the United States. If you are the President of the United States, the last thing you should plan on doing for the first day of school is record a live statement, asking children to stay in school, because education is the key to success.

I want to know - what the EFF is wrong with people? Why is the President sending this message a BAD thing?

When GWB gave speeches and although I do not agree with an ounce of what he was doing, I listened. Because he was the PRESIDENT. After he was done speaking, my family and I would discuss what he said. It creates discussion, regardless of whether you agree with what he said or not, it creates discussion.

It creates discussion.

When has this EVER been a bad thing in our schools?

So you don't want to interrupt the first days lessons at school to show a message from the President. Fine.. don't do it. But tell me what has EVER been accomplished in the first day of school? I went K-12 and then some, and I can tell you that nothing was accomplished in the first day. Why not do something that might actually cause the students to talk about something other than their new school clothes, how much they hate the start of school in the fall, and the football game coming up on friday.

So, "Stay in school" kids.. or not. Depending on the message your parents/school district/teachers want you to hear.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Ooops?

I feel like a blogger idiot, as I can't seem to get the photos to shrink until clicked on. Blogger-users.. help?

Also - my apologies for the spots on the pictures in the bedroom post. I think my camera must have picked up some dust from the carpet pad, as there are spots everywhere. :(

A close-enough-to-completed master bedroom


Still on the to do list: Hang the (cheap-o!) velvet panels on the windows. (Side note: I've decided to skip the silk dupioni panels until the budget allows me to do them exactly how I want them...) Find a blind or shade alternative to the nasty roller shades. I'm thinking cellular shades, but haven't fully decided so I am waiting to purchase them. Hang some art. Finish the light and outlet covers. Find a dust ruffle for the bed. Graduate to a REAL bed, with headboard.

However, I am ok sharing what we've got... because honestly, it's the little things that seem to take the longest.

We started with this:



And started tearing up the nasty carpet:



We painted out the trim:



We painted the walls once:



And because we hated how the paint (Ben by Benjamin Moore) covered (can you see the white streaks?), we painted again...

Once all of that was over, we threw down a rug, put the bed in, threw on the very wrinkled duvet, plugged in a few cheap Ikea lamps, and we went to bed.



We used Benjamin Moore paint. Vapor is the color on the trim, and Del Mar Blue is on the walls. We started using the Low-VOC "Ben" line - and we hated it. The paint didn't stay mixed, the color would streak and there would be pools of un-tinted white paint in the tray and on the roller. We hoped that it would dry and not be noticeable, but no dice. So, we repainted it in Benjamin Moore's "Regal" paint line, in the same color. I love how the repaint turned out, the color is everything I wanted. It looks blue in some light, green in other light. It's dramatic, and it changes with the time of day... I am so enamored with the paint color!

The rest of the room is a work in progress. Eventually, as the bank account allows, we'd like to upgrade to more grown up furniture. The Ikea stuff we have now is fine, does the job, but isn't my ultimate style. A headboard/real bed frame would be fabulous. I might have to nag for a few weeks in order to get some help in hanging some art and the drapery panels. But.. we'll get there.

I feel like I need to goal myself for a 100% completed photo in 6 months. Doable, right? I hope so...

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Wading

I feel like Joe and I have been just wading in homeownership. There is so much to learn!

The funny highlights of the last few days:
- We both nearly had a heart attack on Sunday night when we realized that we didn't have hot water!! Thinking the worst (that our HW Heater was broken), we ran into the basement with a flashlight. Flashlight? Not sure why, as we DO have working lights down there! Looking at the HW Heater, we noticed it was set to pilot, and from our home inspection, I remember being told that if set to pilot, it will not heat the water. So we turned the knob, and were enjoying hot water within minutes.
- Our lawn mower leaks a little bit of oil. Which isn't really a funny story, but it leads into a funny story...
- I nearly died for the peonies. Ok, I didn't nearly die.. but I considered it for a moment. Joe worked on the lawn mower's oil leak, and once he was convinced he had it fixed, he started up the mower and started helping my brother Sean (who Joe contracted to mow our lawn until winter) with the last bit of the lawn. Joe saw a large chunk of "grass" and decided to hack at it with the mower. Except that chunk of grass was a peony bush!! For a split second, I considered hurling myself at the peony in order to save it from the mower, but instead resorted to screaming and waving my arms at Joe like a total lunatic until he stopped. Later did I learn that you have to cut them back in the fall anyway, but I wasn't quite ready to part with the poor thing.

My other thoughts to summarize the week:
- I think that all garbage companies and employees, even the suburban Minneapolis companies, are mobsters. Picking up our ripped up carpet during off hours, at no charge, with a flick of a business card and "call me if you need anything hauled away, I've got you covered."
- Anthropologie has really really REALLY adorable doormats. But are they $40+ adorable? Let's just see if I go back for it later this week...
- A house with finished square footage of 500 sq ft more than our last apartment is HUGE in comparison, and we aren't even starting to count the garage or the unfinished basement. And it's quiet. Almost too quiet.
- I think we need an air purifier, if only for the white noise it makes. You can't even whisper (much less anything else, wink wink) without feeling like you are yelling into a megaphone in the quiet house.

My favorite purchase:
- Well, besides the house itself... A key hook from Anthropologie. Joe insists on a place to hang keys, which I basically loathe. Unless it's cute.


I know, I know, I promised pictures soon. For the people who actually know me in real life, they can check out facebook. The rest must catch snippets from Twitter until I am able to get internet hooked up at home. Which will be sometime later this week, hopefully. Our bedroom is looking stunning, though, and I am very excited to share! I'm hoping I can convince Joe to hang a few photos and finish changing the outlets and covers tonight.