Wednesday, July 30, 2008

"So Much Joy in Life, So Many Pleasures All Around..."

I only slept about five hours last night, after working fairly hard helping my dad tear out cabinets. Today we finished the job and moved all my appliances out to the garage where they will be out of the way of the cabinet and flooring installation.

I took a shower about 10:00 and then laid down to read a bit. I was pretty tired and figured I would be ready to sleep shortly.

I was wrong.

It's now almost 1:00 a.m. and I can't sleep to save my life.

My "bedroom" is currently relocated to my computer room as I offered my bed to my parents. As they are in their upper 60s (Mom) and early 70s (Dad), it is much easier for me to get up from and down onto an air mattress on the floor than it is for them. The air mattress is actually quite comfortable, and still queen sized so there is plenty of room for me and my furry children, so that's not the issue. And I'm obviously tired enough after having worked all day on only five hours of sleep (last night I got to sleep okay, but woke up at 5:00 a.m. to use the bathroom and couldn't go back to sleep).

So what's the issue with my insomnia? Just your garden variety case of not being able to turn my mind off. I keep thinking of all the things I need to do in the next few days. Once Monday gets here, the remainder of the kitchen project is pretty much out of my hands, but until then, we have some wiring to do, a heat/air register to replace and patch around, and more of the old flooring needs to be pulled up. And that's just tomorrow while my parents are still here. After that I have to finish patching, sand the patches, wash the walls and ceiling, and paint. I also have an electrical outlet and a light fixture to change. Oh, and did I mention that I need to move a bunch of the new cabinets around in my garage so that I can get to my painting supplies? Or the fact that, now that my kitchen has been completely gutted (I'll post a picture soon), I have no kitchen sink to wash up in after cleaning and painting? Or that all of my cooking for the next week and a half will have to be microwave meals cooked in my spare bedroom? Which is on the opposite end of my house from my garage, the current location of my refrigerator? Or that I can't even do laundry because the new flooring is going into my utility room as well, so the washer and dryer are also in the garage?

I wonder why I can't sleep.

**Title of post from "Who Needs Sleep?" by the Bare Naked Ladies**

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Sunday, July 27, 2008


I finally got started on packing up my kitchen today. This is harder than it sounds. I thought it wouldn't be a big deal... I mean, it's not like I haven't had to do this several times when I've moved from place to place. But this time is a little different because I'm not simply moving from one kitchen to another where I can unpack everything in a matter of a day or two.

Because my parents are going to be here for the next two to three days, I need to be able to feed them as well as myself. While the cabinets need to be cleaned out to start with tear out tomorrow, I will still have access to a stove until Tuesday or Wednesday and will need it for what I have planned for tomorrow night's dinner. So I need to keep out appropriate cooking supplies. Once the range has been moved to the garage, I will be without one for about a week and a half, leaving me to cook using only the microwave, slow-cooker, and George Foreman grill. Though I won't have appliances in my kitchen for quite some time, I will be able to move a few things into the new cabinets once they are installed (likely on Monday of next week).

But I digress. I have a habit of doing that.

I pulled the boxes to pack the dishes in down from the attic, but when I opened them up I got a bit of a surprise that had me very confused for a few minutes. The newspaper that packed the main box was The Michigan Daily from February of 1997. Well, considering that this is the newspaper of the University of Michigan (while I am a Spartan), I was pretty befuddled. I mean, my ex-fiance was a Wolverine, but why would I have newspaper from his college? The date was also a little odd... February of 1997 was when our engagement ended. Suddenly it dawned on me. When we were in college, I had lent G. an extra set of dishes that my mom had down in the basement. When we broke up, I demanded that everything he had of mine be returned... hence the newspaper from that college and that date in my dish box.

I had a bit of a laugh once I remembered the back story. It would be even better if I still had those dishes.

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Saturday, July 12, 2008

Meet Eddie

This is my new baby, Eddie. He's a year and a half old and weighs about 27 pounds.

I've been thinking about getting another dog for a year or two, but it's one of those things that I had always put to the back of my mind. Some conversations and events this week caused me to start thinking about it a little more seriously. I was looking on last night for dogs that the local rescues had for adoption and saw this picture that looked so much like Copper that it was uncanny (I'm not sure how long this link will work since he is adopted now).

The rescue that was caring for Eddie is usually at PetSmart on Saturdays, so I took the chance that he might be there and he was. He instantly came up to me wagging his tail when I walked up to his pen and he just stared at me the whole time, no matter where I walked to. The man who was fostering him was there, so I was able to ask him all about Eddie. He assured me that he is great with cats and kids and is just a sweet little boy. We walked around the store together and got to know one another. He was very easy to fall in love with, so he came home with me.

I brought him into the backyard first and let him check it out and get the message that it is where he needs to do his business (he is already housetrained, but I figure that it doesn't hurt to reinforce!). After a few minutes I brought Copper out, too, so they could sniff each other over. Copper had the hair sticking up on her back for a few minutes, but she quickly got used to him. For the most part they seem to know that the other is there, but they aren't too interested.

When we came in the house, I braced myself for the real scene... how would he react to Coal? And how would Coal react to him? I still remember the first night with Copper. She was in her crate in the living room while Coal and I were in the bedroom. Coal refused to even stay in the same room as Copper, instead opting to sit in the bedroom and hiss (and he is really not much of a hisser). It took four days before he would be in the same room with the puppy.

Luckily, this was not the case this time. Coal was a little wary of Eddie, and Eddie just carefully sniffed at Coal, but neither of them made much of a scene. They've both had numerous opportunities to check each other over and it seems to be a non-issue... what a relief!

I had to go back up to PetSmart after a call telling me that they forgot to give me his rabies vaccination certification, so I took both dogs with me. After dinner I took them both for a walk around the neighborhood and now we are all sacked out for the evening.

Afterall, it has been a very long, exciting day for the whole family!

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Thursday, July 10, 2008

"Once Upon a Time, Not So Long Ago..."

Monday night I joined a couple of my co-workers for an evening with Jon Bon Jovi and friends. Damn... that man is ageless... and hot. We actually just went to a Bon Jovi concert in February, but the show was so awesome that, when we learned that they were coming back to the Palace in July, we shelled out for even better seats than last time.
I'm no reviewer, so I'll simply say this: a fantastic night with great friends, rocking with one of the best in the business.

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Thursday, July 03, 2008

And We Have a Winner...

Not sure exactly how it will be phrased, but this summer will be something along the lines of the Summer of Kitchen Remodeling, the Summer of Home Improvement, or the Summer of Additional Debt Accumulation.

When I bought my house four years ago, I believed that I would live here for five or six years. When that time came, I planned on selling my house and buying a newer and larger house. I like my house and I love my neighborhood, but it is fairly small. It is only two bedrooms and I have very little storage space because there is no basement. So my spare bedroom is really more of a sewing/storage/junk room. It works okay because I rarely have house guests (and when I do it is easy enough to move things for a brief period) and it is just me and the fur children, so I don't have a great need for a second bedroom at this point in my life. But, of course, I hope that will change one day in the not-too-distant future. When it does, I certainly need to be able to eliminate the other purposes of my second bedroom. That is only going to be done through some massive cleaning and elimination of unnecessary items from my house, and I realize that.

But the other thing I don't particularly like about my house is my kitchen. It's not a bad place. In fact, many people comment on how cute and/or unique it is, particularly when they see it in pictures.

My kitchen still has the original 1950s metal cabinetry, and people will comment on its "retro" style (is it considered "retro" when it's original?). I will admit that, in pictures, it looks kind of cool. But when you look at it close up, you see how well-worn it really is. And, I admit that a very careful paint job might actually do wonders for it.

But aesthetics are not the only issue. If they were, I would deal with them. One issue is the dishwasher. Because people didn't have built in dishwashers in 1956, I have a portable one. I don't mind rolling it across the room to the sink on the occasions when I need to use it, but when it is not in use, it takes up a corner of the room. The other thing is that, due to the lack of counter space, I have my microwave on a separate stand, so that takes up a little more floor space in the relatively small room. Since I don't have a seperate dining area, my kitchen table has to go in the kitchen as well. Before you know it, there's only a path to get from one side to the other.

I know this part will sound silly, too. I want a side-by-side refridgerator that has water and ice in the door. It's ridiculous. But these refriderators are all larger than the one I currently have, which, as you can see, barely fits into the available space.

I actually have to open the freezer door in order to open the left hand cupboard above it. That can't be good.

So there you have it. All the reasons that a larger house would be welcome, despite my status a single person. Well, once I checked the local listings, I knew that a larger house is not in the forseeable future. I knew the real estate market was bad, but I guess I didn't realize how big of shambles it really was in. I paid just a hair over $100,000 for my house four years ago. Today, comparable houses in my area are listing between $80,000 and $85,000. There is no way I can afford to sell my house. So now I have to make it the house I want to live in for the next few years.

On Friday I ordered my new cabinets and countertop. They will arrive in about three weeks. Prior to installation, my dad will be coming up to tear out the old ones. Once the new cabinets are in, the countertop people will come out to make a template, then it will be two to three weeks until that is installed (along with the kitchen sink!). In the meantime, the new floor will be laid (and also into the utility room, which currently has commercial carpeting) and the new appliances will be delivered. Once the countertop and sink are installed, Mom and Dad will return to do the plumbing, hook up the dishwasher and refridgerator water lines and install the microwave over the range. Everything should be completed about the time I go back to school in the fall (or hopefully a little before).

So that's how I found my theme for the summer of 2008.

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Wednesday, July 02, 2008

I Work Well Under Pressure

I've always known it. I think I wrote some of my best papers in college the night before they were due. So here's a quick rundown of all that I accomplished in the 32 hours immediately preceeding my party on Saturday.

Beginning at noon on Friday, I:
  • Helped in the selection of a new staff member at work.
  • Did some home improvement warehouse shopping (more on this later).
  • Did my grocery/party munchy shopping.
  • Made Jello shots.
  • Steam cleaned my carpets.
  • Cleaned my spare bedroom and moved the cat litter box in there from the kitchen.
  • Slept for eight hours.
  • Picked up The Host from the library.
  • Bought mulch, firewood, and ice for the party.
  • Trimmed the backyard.
  • Finished trimming the backyard by hand after string trimmer ran out of string.
  • Scrubbed patio umbrella.
  • Assembled backyard firebowl.
  • Baked brownies.
  • Placed new mulch in flowerbeds and around lilac bush.
  • Created party playlist on iTunes.

This was probably the most productive 32 hours in my entire summer so far. So I guess the moral of the story is, if I want to get something done, I need a deadline.

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