Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Next Showing 4:25

The Blue Ray DVD player is installed and might I add... it does make a very pretty picture!
So you are all welcome to bring your HD DVDs over and we can watch them.

Arnold was just happy to get a new box to play in. Damn spoiled cat.

It's all fun and games until someone pukes up a balloon string.

In a previous post I talked about the fact that it was Dave's birthday. Just thought I share some of the "highlights."

He made it very clear that "all he wanted was a Blue Ray player and nothing else." End quote. But of course I couldn't very well have nothing for him to rip open on his actual day now could I? So I got a few goodies (Better Off Dead on DVD, Vandaley Industries, Importing Fine Latex Goods tee shirt, etc.) wrapped them up and put them in the bedroom so he'd see them when he went to change after work. To add to the surprise I got 10 helium balloons and put them in room and shut the door. So when he opened the door - AHHH!! they would hit him in the face and the presents would be underneath! Fun huh?

But when he got home he decided to stay in his work clothes since we were heading out for dinner. CRAP! What to do now? Luckily, Arnold the cat was hanging out by that door (just dying to know what those balloons were about) so I played it off like one of his toys was in there and could he go get it for Arnold?

Worked like a charm. And Dave was surprised so that was nice. I was pretty proud of myself for getting those balloons and seeing his face when he opened the door. That is..... until they started to deflate.... and fall within Arnold's reach.

It wasn't like he was trying to pop them... No. He was more interested in the strings tied to each balloon. I would find him just chewing away, happy as a clam. I was usually quick enough to rescue the balloon and get the string before he swallowed it. But Thursday night we went out again and I forgot to put one up. We woke up to cat puke, speckled with brightly colored ribbon.


Monday, July 28, 2008

Shopping with your husband is dangerous.

Saturday was yet another extremely hot and muggy day; so much so - the windows were sweating from all the AC. So I decided it was just too hot to do any work outside.... And I really couldn't spend my entire Saturday cooped up inside the house, now could I? What's a girl to do? Go shopping of course! Perfect!

My downfall? I asked Dave, "Want to come with me?"

(Strike 1)

We decided to grab a bite, then head onto the stores. I'm envisioning us antiquing... Dave I guess had other plans. As we are driving towards the shopping mecca of town, he says to me, "Want to get Chick-Fil-A?" Sure. "Yeah," he proceeds, "It's right across from Best Buy. I can get my Blue Ray player while we're over there."

I know what you're thinking. But truth be told, we were planning on getting the Blue Ray, HD, DVD Player at some point anyway. Dave got some money and a Best Buy gift card for his birthday last week. So it was not a shock... I just didn't take into account how EXPENSIVE this Saturday was going to be. But I am getting ahead of myself....

We ate then hopped across the street to the store, and went looking for a PS3. Dave had planned on getting the PlayStation 3 because as every male will tell you "It's the cheapest HD DVD player out there." But alas - they were none to be found. Much like the sales people...
After almost tackling one as he came around the corner, we found out that they had stopped making the PS3. The conversation then went something like this:

Sales Person: They discontinued that model.

Me: Can we call another Best Buy and see if they have any left?

SP: They don't have any.

Me: No other stores in Jacksonville?

SP: Nope.

Me: You're telling me that no one has a box hiding in the back of a warehouse somewhere? Everyone in Northeast Florida is OUT?

SP: Yup.

Me: Huh.

SP: BUT You're in luck!!!! We still have the more expensive version available. Why here it is right here!

Me: How much?

SP: Only 100 bucks more than the one you wanted... oh and you have to pay 25 bucks for the remote. It's the cheapest player out there so you might as well get it.

Me: Oh really? How come I see Blue Ray players over there, cheaper, and they come with the remote, free of charge?

SP: Uhh... I have to help this customer over here... uhhh...

Dave was completely mortified, but we ended up getting a non-game-DVD-player for 400 bucks, like we planned on. What I didn't plan on was the $100 cable that you apparently need to hook it up to the TV.
(So much for saving 25 bucks on a remote.)

Then as we are walking out, Dave says "You know... we need HD DVDs to play on this. Let's get 1......... or 2." Ok sure. It's your birthday! Why not? How much do these cost?

(Strike 2)

$30 for a freakin DVD!!!!! That's it - get us out of this store before we have to take out a second mortgage on the house!!!!

We then proceeded to stop at the Antique mall (Finally!) and I got to do my intended shopping for a chandelier. But every one that we looked at I heard "It's up to you babe. You know I'm no good with this stuff."

(Strike 3. You're out.)

I gave up and took my very expensive cable and my bored husband back home.

Damn. I really am getting tired of looking at a lightbulb over my dining room table.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Look What I Did! Contest: Wallpaper House of Horrors

HouseBlogs feature story

Looking back on all the renovations we've done on this house in 1 year... I have to say it's hard to pick just one! (Who could forget the toilet we installed ourselves, only to realize that it was crooked? Always a good party story.) But I think by far the most dramatic change to the house, and the one that gives us the most pride, is all the effort we took in stripping the wallpaper off of the whoooole house. That's right. Almost 85% of the house was wallpapered - even the CEILING in some places.

We tested out the "paint over it" theory and I have to admit... I'm not a fan. While it does provide a quick fix to usually an awful situation... To a perfectionist like myself I was not completely satisfied because you can still see some of the seams. It's just inevitable.

So we decided to strip. And strip. And strip. But it was worth it when the neighbors came over and said "Wow! How did you ever get that hideous paper off??" Here are a few before and after photos...Enjoy! And P.S...if you're thinking of stripping wallpaper anytime soon... please do not call me. I will be washing my hair that day.

The kitchen. When was this ever in style?

We have two bathrooms... Both had very hippie looking flowered paper... and yes, both went up onto the ceiling. Interesting design theory!

The Master Bedroom could have been a nursery! It was papered with pink and blue stripes. This was by far the hardest to get off because I am assuming it was the "newest." It looked like it had been applied in the 1980's. We eventually reclaimed the walls... and they turned out pretty well.

The dining room had an added bonus!! When we stripped this wallpaper we suddenly smelled smoke - all the time. Turns out the previous owners must have smoked a pack of cigs after dinner, and therefore it coated the walls underneath. You can see in one of these pictures how brown the wall is. I had to scrub the living daylights out of it before we primed with 2 coats of oil based Kilz!! Yuck!

Ahh and finally but definitely not least... Dave's favorite. The 3D hallway paper. This wallpaper was so old it basically crumbled into a big gooey mess when we tried to strip it. Fun times.

“This post was written for Houseblogs.net as part of a sweepstakes sponsored by True Value.”

Hell Lowe...(s)

After sleeping in until 10am on Saturday, and 2 cups of coffee... I felt a renewed sense of energy. I went rummaging in my "pile-o-paper" to find those old Lowes and Home Depot gift cards that people have given us. (And by pile-o-paper I really mean "stack-of-old-bills,receipts,and-coupons-I-am-meaning-to-organize-one-day." ) We then went to Lowes armed with a list of things to buy to start various projects around the house. We fought the crowds and found ALMOST everything on our list.

I intended to buy a chandelier for the dining room, but just couldn't pull the trigger on any of the very generic looking brands they had hanging in the store. I just want to find something that is A. unique and B. jives with the 1940's architecture of our house. Is that too much to ask for?
Here is the chandelier that was hanging in the house when we put an offer on it. I'm not sure that's very 1940's-esque either... The owners tried to get us to shell out an extra $750 for it. We respectfully declined...
And they left us with this. Nice huh? While it does provide light... it's not the most fashionable...
So the hunt for a chandelier continues.
In the meantime we bought a much needed ceiling fan for our bedroom. Right now we've got a really weird gray looking one... I think it might be an outside fan because the entire thing seems to be made of plastic. Either way - it's getting the boot and the new Hunter fan will be ushered in this week! The only thing that concerns me is the fake architecture circle thing that is covering the hole where the fan is attached to the ceiling. (I have no idea what that's called.) I'm afraid that there might be a reason that they went with that "look".... possibly to cover up a bad decision or a structural mistake?

Friday, July 18, 2008

Procrastination is the name of the game.

I'll admit it. I'm lazy.

But sometimes I feel like I deserve to be lazy. I work full time, 30 miles from home, AND take care of all the cooking and cleaning in the house, DAMNNIT! I work very hard at keeping everyone on track at work (and at home) So why do I feel so guilty?
Maybe it's because I've been blogging about this bathroom for months. It was supposed to be our summer project.

Last night while lying on the couch... I realized that I don't think Dave or I really want to get started on another project. We have become master procrastinators, doing anything and everything to avoid the task at hand. This week we were planning on at least starting to strip the walls... But we never did. Instead, I did every available bit o laundry in the house, gave the cat a bath, went to the dentist... I even left the state and flew to NY. Dave is no better. He went out with his friends, fixed a fan that hasn't worked in 2 years, built Arnold a scratching post, and started working out again.

So I guess you could say procrastination is making us be more "productive"... but not for the right reasons.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

To strip.... or Not to strip. That is the question.

We've decided to give up on the yard and move our antics inside the house where the air temp is a constant 78 degrees and the fridge is always in arms reach. The project at hand? The master bathroom.

The first thing to do is to strip the wallpaper. We've already decided we don't really like the "look" of painted wallpaper - if you can call it that. Plus stripping it off will make "Phase 2" that much easier. But I digress... Let's talk about Phase 1!

The tile is in good shape, and we've already replaced the sink, toilet, faucets and shower head. So the goal of Phase 1 is to:
1. Strip the wallpaper and paint the walls
2. Replace the shabby chic light fixture
3. Get the grout steam cleaned
4. Hang some shelves or hooks
5. And figure out a way to install a vent in the ceiling.

Phase 2 would be putting in a new vanity that has a double sink - which would mean more plumbing too, but I'm confident that's possible.

The only thing we are unsure of is whether to strip the wallpaper on the ceiling. That's right - the wallpaper travels up the wall onto the ceiling. It's madness.

I've stripped the wallpaper in the hall, bedroom, and dining room so I pretty much have it down to a science on the walls... but I have never tackled a ceiling before. We could strip the walls and paint over the ceiling paper - but the pattern is SO BRIGHT I'm afraid that it would take multiple coats to get it anywhere near a decent shade of white.
I guess it all depends how the walls go... we'll take it from there.

Monday, July 14, 2008

What a weekend.

I am trying my hardest to stay awake at work today; drifting in between surfing the web and occasionally getting up to get another cup of coffee... and just generally avoiding real work of any kind. It's a shame I just can't get up and go home and save everyone time and money, but alas my ass is planted firmly in the chair until 5pm - it's the plight of the salaried employee.

I had a whirlwind of a weekend - Kara and I flew up to NYC for my cousin Jen's bachelorette party. It was ALOT of fun... we ended up going to the Bon Jovi concert in Central Park, and then barhopping down the street afterward. We only got about 3 hours of sleep and then it was back on the plane and our fun trip was over faster than you can say "drunken debauchery."
Jen, the bride, enjoying the fishbowl drink at Jimmys... or Jim's.... something like that..

But today while I am counting down the minutes down until quittin time, I stumbled upon Houseblogs.net. A fantastic site devoted to people who blog about home renovation. Most are young couples who have bought old houses because they love them (and maybe some were a little naive, like us?) and are keeping the world abreast of the progress. Reading about all these couples and their endless energy made me tired... and a little sad. I think I miss doing projects! It feels funny to say that. Now don't get me wrong - I do NOT miss staying up to midnight trying to get the last little bit o grout all wiped off of the tiles... but I do miss getting involved in something, researching what works for our house, and then when it's all done and installed sitting back and looking at how great it looks! Whatever it may be!

I suppose you could say that "the yard" has become our biggest project yet. But I think we are going to have to put this one on the back burner pretty soon and just try to maintain what we've already got growing. It's getting too hot to work outside on the weekends and the growing season is essentially over here in Florida. Nothing but weeds can withstand the heat. So maybe it's time to start tackling one of the projects that are on my "Someday" list... something inside... where the air conditioner is pumping...

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

One man's trash is another man's treasure.

Having no internet or cable in the house has it's advantages sometimes.

It started out as a transition thing - We decided to kick Comcast to the curb when we moved into Ardsley, and then when we sold Belmonte we would sign up with a satellite company like Dish network, etc. But as the months drag on... and still no offers on Belmonte.... we are starting to wonder if we should abandon our plan? Will I ever be able to watch Bravo again?

The point being - we still have no cable, July 2008.

So earlier this week, Dave was attacking some small projects around the house because there was literally NOTHING good on TV. I, on the other hand, had resigned myself to the fact that I was going to relax on the couch and watch something if it killed me so I picked the best out of all the crummy shows and was trying my hardest to get into it. Suddenly about 10:30 Dave came bursting through the door and announced "Come outside - I need to show you something." (Thank God, something to do!)
I went with him to the garage and he proudly stood next to his work bench and smiled at me. "What?" I asked as I stifled a yawn.

He then flipped a switch on the old metal fan that's been sitting on that work bench for almost a year.
I couldn't believe it! Dave got it to work! It's an old GE metal desk fan that we acquired about 2 years ago. My neighbor Edna was cleaning her house and called me to come take a look at all her "loot" to see if we wanted any. As soon as I saw that fan I thought, well that's cool, even if it doesn't work any more. I took it home and it sat on a dresser at Belmonte for a year. It then survived to move to Ardsley where it promptly sat on Dave's workbench for yet another year.
And now it's finally got some life! It's VERY powerful too.
Nice job Dave!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Sam and Mr. Clark

We've now got a "yard guy" and a "bug guy" on retainer.
So if you have a problem with either your yard, or your bugs.... I can say to you, "I've got a guy." (Cool huh?)

We came across the yard guy totally by accident. I had been begging Dave for months to PLEASE let me get some estimates on getting some help with the front yard. He denied me time and time again. But then one day we were having dinner at Players Grill and this nice man leaned over and said, "Excuse me but I couldn't help hear you say you have a dollarweed problem.... You can't kill that in the summer. You can only kill it in the winter." Turns out - Sam runs his own yard business, and we have 2 friends in common! Dave thought it was a sign. So he relented and Sam cleaned up our front yard just in time for the holiday. Whew!
The bug guy was a little harder to come by... I researched all the prices of the major companies in town. They were all pretty similar so I thought I'd just pick at random... but at the very last minute I decided to call a small local pest company because it was literally around the corner from us. I ended up liking the receptionist from Clark Pest Control so much... I went with them! What really sealed the deal though was that Mr. Clark himself came out to do the inspection. (Nice!) And in talking to him, he told me he actually sprayed a few of our neighbors houses so I felt like I was in good company.

And I've got a lead on a good house painter.... but we might have to wait until the fall for that one...

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Another caper...

Two nights ago Dave came inside after mowing the grass and asked,
"Did you have a party and didn't tell me?"

After addressing Dave's fear of being left out, I discovered that he was talking about a stash of solo cups he found in the back right corner of the yard, behind some bushes. Odd.

There are several possible answers to this latest caper:
1.) Some litterbug threw them over the fence into our yard.
B.) Some teenage kids were drinking in our backyard while we were drinking in the Caribbean.
or 3.) There's a bum living in our backyard while we are at work.

The only reason I mention #3 is because this actually happened to a woman one street over. She is old and feeble and didn't get out much, and apparently some homeless man set up shop in her backyard behind a bush and she never knew!! It went on for several months. They finally caught the guy because he was stealing some other neighbor's newspaper and taking it back to his home (behind the bush).
What if he's returned? Maybe he went riding his bike through the hood (Oh yeah! He has a BIKE. This guy is the richest bum I've ever seen.) and took one look at our house, with the peeling paint, and the overgrown bushes and said, "THAT'S IT! It's perfect! I think I'll move in tomorrow."

So it could be any of those options...
Or maybe it's the note bandit? He's been awfully quiet... maybe he switched from notes to solo cups???
I need a nanny cam for the backyard... Arnold is not paying enough attention to what's going on while we are at work. All he does is nap. Damn spoiled cat.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008


I guess it was inevitable.

We live in Florida and it's been raining every day for the past 2 weeks and all that wet wood on the new shed smelled too good to pass up. Termites are attacking it. I opened the door yesterday and you could see them crawling everywhere! IIIICK!

So we have the pest company coming Thursday to give us an estimate. It's a good thing I already had an appt with them... I had them coming to spray for the usual household annoyance - roach, ant, fly, water bug, etc. - but now they are also going to take a look at the shed and tell us what they think.

When we bought the house in August we had a clean WDO. And that new wooden shed wasn't built until March of this year. So they couldn't have been here long. We didn't see any termites until about 2 weeks ago. I think it's because of all the rain. My poor shed! Being eaten alive!

Vacation Blues.

So we're back from our LOOOOOOONG vacation at Bolongo Bay and I have to admit that I have a touch of the vacation blues. It was so relaxing! We really recharged our batteries. I didn't realize how stressed Dave has been... he slept so much I had to practically drag him out of bed before lunch everyday. (Ironically that's what happened to me when we first came to Bolongo in 2004 for our honeymoon. I had been so stressed about the wedding that all I wanted to do was sleep!)
It was a vacation in every sense of the word. We literally did nothing. The agenda every day went something like this:

Before 10am: Wake up, walk 20 feet to restaurant for breakfast.
11am: Put on bathing suit.
11:08 Find a beach chair with a good view.
1:30pm: Walk to the bar. Get sandwich and first drink of the day.
2:35pm: Get a new drink.
3:07pm: Get a new drink.
3:28pm: Get a new drink.
3:53pm: Get a new drink.
4:15...... Feeling sleepy and sunburned. Walk back to room for a nap.
Sometime before 9pm: Wake up and have dinner.

I think it's the little things that really make it a fantastic trip. Someone else cooks dinner every night... You don't have to make your bed or clean your room because you've got a maid... You wake up to the sound of the water crashing on the beach. Ahhh...
Check out our pictures... I think we got a few good ones.