Monday, September 20, 2010

Living Room Updates

The world's slowest decorating project, which happens to be taking place in our very own home,
took a giant leap forward over the weekend. After officially living in our first home for over a year, we finally invested in some reasonably priced lamps for the side tables in our living room. Prior to last Saturday, the only light in the room came from a small floor lamp. The second picture has a better view of the lamp base.

Those of you who are familiar with our living room will also notice the addition of the green and gold suitcase on the shelf beneath the coffee table. It belonged to my grandmother (it has her initials on it!). I relocated it from the basement in August after we had our water problems. I kind of like it in this spot, though, so it will probably stay in this location for quite some time. The colors match and it adds a little more personality to the space.

Here's a close up of one of the lamps:

The base and post are antique bronze. At either end of the beaded post are glass balls that have gold flecks on them. The lamp shade is gold. This picture doesn't do it much justice. You'll just have to trust me when I say it looks good.

I also found (thanks to the 30 boxes of "memories" from my closet at my parents' house that recently made their way to our house) three brass animal figurines that I used to play with at my grandparents' house. When my grandpa moved from that house, I requested the trio and they must have sat in one of those boxes for the past twenty years. We now have a small owl (in the above picture), an elephant and a snail. I love having them in our living room.

All for now, and probably the next few weeks. Life is busy. Life is good. :)

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

An update.

One-and-a-half weeks into the school year and there is much to report:

1. I am so blessed to work with such an amazing team of energetic, driven people. The classroom teachers I get to work with this year are fabulous, and I know from my short term subbing last spring that the sped coordinator is going to be an excellent mentor. We've spent the last 8 days in training and have our open house tomorrow night. I am really excited for next Tuesday!

2. Tomorrow also marks the first day that I get to dress up for my new job. G had absolutely no problem with me revamping my wardrobe (yes, MV, you read that correctly) and I am excited to cut the tags off of one of my new outfits:

I have some cute black flats with little ruffles on the toes that I'm planning to wear with the dress.

3. G and I are currently obsessed with Häagen-Dazs new ice cream Five. It is incredible.

We've only tried mint, but I have every intention of trying every flavor I can find. It's hard for us to admit, but it might surpass our love of Ben and Jerry's.

3. I finished another chapter of my dissertation. *Insert major sigh of relief here.* Two down, five to go. Keep sending me pictures of your smiling babies and small children. Excellent motivation.

4. Speaking of babies, the major highlight of the time that's passed since my last post was definitely meeting one of my nearest and dearest friend's baby girl, Harper. So tiny. So cute. I (rudely) arrived at my friend's in-laws' house earlier than I probably should have, but I really wanted to squeeze in some time with the baby. And my friend, of course. I couldn't focus all morning, so I finally just jumped in the car and headed south for Cleveland, MN. I managed to get in some quality QT with my girls before other people arrived so even though I had to leave earlier than I wanted (dissertation chapter deadline), I left with a happy heart. What a honey.

5. We've scheduled visits with G's grandparents for the next two Saturdays. I am looking forward to seeing them!

6. My dad has started working security for sporting events. The man just cannot retire. He loves being active. He emailed me tonight and casually mentioned that he's taking a bus to Kansas City to work security for a pro football game. I think he's serious. That's crazy.

7. G has been practicing his trumpet for a wedding in September. Rachael, you should know that he sounds amazing. Also, since Mary has given him permission to play whatever he wants as prelude, you should probably know that he's selected the following pieces (performed at the same or slightly better level as the featured performer): First, second, and third. No need to stress out about the accompaniments and rhythms. R has volunteered to run both the cd player and the metronome so V can focus on her dancing.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

My parents' new place...

G and I went to check out my parents' new digs last night. They don't officially close on the house until tomorrow, but their realtor is pretty awesome and unlocks the house for them whenever they want to show it to someone. My parents described the house as "retro" and reminded us - several times - to "look for its potential."

The house was built by a physician in the 1950s. He and his sister were the its only occupants. He died a while ago and willed the house to his church, but stipulated that his sister had the right to live in it for as long as she wished. She relocated to a nursing home and the church put the house up for sale over the summer. While I can't be certain, I don't think anything has changed - linoleum, light fixtures, counter tops, wood floors - since the physician built the house. I took a whole bunch of pictures but I haven't had time to download them yet. Maybe tonight. The coolest, most retro part of the house?

The vintage counter tops:

Yup. This is it, only the background is yellow and the boomerangs are blue and green (I think). Hanging above the peninsula in the kitchen is this amazing saucer-like light fixture that is brass colored and has a ring of small holes around the edge.

Some people travel and golf in their retirement. My parents? They take on remodeling projects. To each their own. Between their new home and our unexpected basement renovations, we'll have plenty of projects to keep us busy.

I'll try to post more pictures tonight or tomorrow!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

1. This is disgusting.

2. The look on my husband's face this morning after I reminded him that starting next Monday, when I go back to work full time, household chores go back to 50/50? Priceless.

3. I have so much laundry to finish before next Monday. And cleaning. Going to see how much I can tackle today...

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Basement

Now that the basement has unexpectedly risen to the top of our "to-do" list, we need to start thinking about how we're going to tackle this project. We need to invest some time and resources into exploring the source of the problem, but once those tasks have been finished the fun can start.

The insurance estimate? Nonexistent. Apparently insurance doesn't cover water seeping up through the foundation.

While the basement will require some major time and and investment, the renovations don't have to happen within a particular time frame, so that's a big plus. That means we can take our time and do things right. I'm a little afraid, though, when I think back to how long it took us to finish the comparatively simple task of painting and installing new outlets and switches in our living room. Hopefully this won't take as long...

We have two big questions to think about as we contemplate the renovation phase for the basement:

1. Do we tackle the fourth bedroom since we're already finishing the main living space in the basement? This would involve installing two new small windows (the current windows are the only remaining "old" windows and need to be replaced sometime soon), installing new ceiling panels (as a temporary fix), ripping down the fake wood paneling and installing new flooring.

2. What kind of flooring do we go with? My parents installed tile when they remodeled their home's basement, and it looks really nice. Carpet, linoleum and vinyl are not options for me despite the cost benefits of the latter two. I just can't do it. That leaves tile and Pergo, which is the engineered wood-like flooring we have upstairs. Thoughts?

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Last Thursday evening, we journeyed up to Park Rapids for my aunt's seventy-fifth birthday party. She and her husband planned a seventy-five mile bike trip for that Friday. They are both part of a cycling club in the area and in addition to the 10+ family members who made the trip to Park Rapids, there were about fifty other riders who biked at least part of the trip and even more joined us for a celebratory cookout after the ride was finished.

My aunt, a Red Rider, is a biking machine. She easily finished 80+ miles while G and I didn't quite reach the finish line. G wisely stopped at the halfway mark (my parents worked the food stop, so they gave him a ride back) and I suffered through a few more miles. I stopped seventeen miles short of the goal. There was no way I was going to make it too much farther. Despite the fact neither of us made the full route (note: the majority of the riders were 65+, and 21 of them all made it to the end), we were pleased, especially since it was the first time we'd cycled all summer. We spent Friday evening and most of Saturday nursing our sore butts and thigh muscles. I'm still a little tender, but G seems to have made a full recovery.

When we returned home on Saturday night, I went across the street to chat with our neighbor and ask if anything exciting had happened while we were away. He mentioned that he had heard we had over 5 inches of rain on Thursday night and that the sump pump in his house had been running ever since. I went back to our house and told G about the rain. He decided to go downstairs to see if our sump pump had been running, and soon discovered it hadn't done its job. We were welcomed home to a partially flooded basement.

[That box? Most of it was filled with my pictures from college. Oy.]

It could have been a lot worse. A whole lot worse. Fortunately, the water was restricted to a space covering about 1/4 of our basement. Unfortunately, our big storage closet was included in that space so several boxes, a few appliances and some other things - including most of my horn music (which is expensive when you add it all up!) - did receive some water damage. Some of our good friends immediately volunteered to come over and help us assess the situation. The boys ripped out the carpet and padding from the area that was damaged, sucked up the water that had pooled under the padding with the wet/dry vac, and carried the ruined materials to the garage to dry out. Now we're waiting for our insurance guy to assess the damage (we took pictures of everything as it existed when we first found it) so we can figure out the next step in the cleaning process.

So much for renovating our bathroom before the basement! Oh well, like I said, it could have been so much worse.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The electrician called.

He canceled, mentioning that "he'd try to reschedule sometime next week."

It is now 87 degrees in our house.