Posted in daily, life, The Joy of Homeownership

It Inevitably Includes “Do The Laundry” And “Wash The Dishes”

I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned this, but I’m a big list-maker. I’m constantly writing down items I need from the store, tasks I need to finish around the house and the like. Now, mind you, I don’t always finish all the tasks on these lists, as evidenced by the grass that hasn’t gotten cut in over two weeks (It’s been raining and I’ve been busy. Don’t judge me), but list-making helps me organize my thoughts and prioritize what I’d like to finish first.

I blame this list-making tendency on habits I picked up from working in a job where I have to have my schedule prepared a day or two ahead of time. I need to make sure a patient’s paperwork is all in order, that I have the correct study ordered, they’ve had all the necessary pre-screening tests, and all the billing forms are ready. So over the years I guess I’ve gotten used to being organized and prepared. Also, if you subscribed to the whole horoscope thing (and I kind of do, but I’m not married to the idea), you could blame my propensity for preparedness and organization on being a Virgo, but that wouldn’t explain the state of my spare bedroom, because dudes, you do NOT want to go in there.

I don’t even think you could, physically.

Because my work schedule was recently changed to four ten-hour days and I get a whole day during the week off, I’ve become more and more proactive with getting things done around my house. Since I started working two jobs last year and am still attempting to have some sort of social life, I wasn’t getting a lot of “at home” time to focus on things like vacuuming and doing the laundry, but now with this one extra day during the week (and an unspoken unwillingness to constantly fill that day with hours working at the second job), I have actually been able to scratch a lot of the tasks off the “Get Shit Done At Home” list, and I’m also making “To Do In The Near Future” lists, like look for new end tables for the living room and plan a party around the holidays.

Is this Bizarro World, or is this just what being a responsible adult feels like? HOLY CRAP WHO AM I?

Posted in daily, pictures, stuff that happens in my head, The Joy of Homeownership

A Conversation With My Mother That Didn’t Actually Take Place But Totally Could Have (With Pictures).

“Hi honey! Dad said the new brick border you guys put in yesterday looks really nice.”

“Hi Momma. Yeah, it looks great, Daddy does good work. My legs are wicked sore though.”

“I bet! He mentioned you were going to go to Lowe’s for flowers?”

“Yeah, a few marigolds for the planters and a Shasta daisy to replace the one that didn’t make the winter. Oh, and I got a Gerber daisy for the other planter. And some other stuff.”

“What do you mean, other stuff?”

“Well, I know I said I wasn’t going to bother, but the tomatoes were right there….”

“Uh-huh, how many did you buy?”

“Oh, just one, but I got some herbs too.”

“What kind?”

“Basil, cilantro, some italian parsley, and mint.”

“Wait. I know why you got the basil, parsley, and cilantro — but what are you going to make with mint?”

“Duh, mom. Mojitos.”

“That’s my girl.”

Posted in daily, The Joy of Homeownership

Cleaning House

I’ve spent most of my time the past two months doing a lot of work around the house with my mom & dad. We started in the living room and replaced the carpet with laminate flooring. I’m officially loving it. No more vacuuming! No more dust and dog hair!

It started like this:

And ended up like this:

Could you die? It’s fabulous.

Jasper, however? Oh, he hateses it he does, precious. He slips and slides all over the place. It’s funny yet pathetic at the same time.

We also did some improvements outside, re-organizing my small garden shed and re-planting my flower bed in the rear of the house. We replaced the horrid scalloped brick border with some fancy tumbled brick and the black mulch that never seems to stay put with some pretty landscaping stones. I didn’t get a chance to take a picture of the flower bed, but trust me. It’s an improvement.

I’ve also taken some time (with mom and dad’s help) to do some major spring cleaning. I’m pretty good about keeping the main areas of the house tidy, but some rooms – the spare room and basement, specifically – were embarrassing. Worse than a frat house. Like one of those houses you see on Clean House or Hoarders, even. Not so anymore, however. The spare room is being turned into an office – eventually. I’m painting it, putting in some bookshelves, possibly a small desk – it’ll be nice to have a place to organize everything. It’s going to take a while, especially with my extra help soon focusing on their own home (as they well should), but I’m hoping that I’ll have a nice little office by July 4th.

And he won’t be allowed in it.
Posted in daily, Kitchen Remodel, la familia, The Joy of Homeownership

The Long-Awaited And Highly Anticipated Final Kitchen Renovation Post, Six Months Later.

Alternate Title: How to Remodel a Kitchen for under Three Grand.

Or: Next Year, I’m Using My Tax Return For A Friggin’ Vacation.

Step One:
Do the majority of the work yourself, or find someone in your family that will do the work for cheap. And by cheap I mean: will work for lunch, beer, and a nice dinner out when all is said and done.
Enter Big Poppa.

Honestly and truly, if it weren’t for my father, this project would have never gotten done, because I simply did not have the budget to hire a contractor or handyman.
My daddy is awesome. I love him dearly. I owe him a steak. And possibly some King Crab legs.

Step Two:
Realize that you will not be able to do everything. My main goal with the renovation was to install a new floor, and maybe get a fridge. I told Big Poppa going into the project if anything else was to be done, I would want to do it right; remove the wallpaper, install new countertops, paint the cabinets, replace fixtures, new sink…I knew I would never be able to afford brand new cabinets, and I was okay with that. I think they came out pretty nice anyway. I ended up not getting the new fridge yet, deciding instead to focus on the big picture since the fridge is still in working condition. I’m going to do some bargain hunting after Christmas, maybe then.

100_1214 by you.

I got extremely lucky with the new countertops, which brings me to…

Step Three:
DO NOT be afraid to bargain hunt. Do your homework when you’re shopping for materials. Do the leg work. Look online for coupons, check craigslist, poll your coworkers, comparison shop. If I hadn’t done that, I would have never found the remnant sale at the stone yard, and therefore would never have gotten my gorgeous countertops.

100_1226 by you.

Sigh. So pretty….

One good tip: Look on eBay for coupons for Lowe’s and/or Home Depot. They can usually be bought for about two dollars each, and can save you a buttload of money.

Step Four:
Be prepared for mistakes. For foul-ups. For cussing, for fighting, and for whining. Oh, good lord, the whining.

100_1361 by you.

Mostly on my part. (Yes, that is a Hello Kitty toaster. Don’t judge me.)

Step Five:
Be patient. Don’t expect the project to get done over night. We started the renovation back in early May, and just finished last weekend. Six months, start to finish.

100_1362 by you.

Not that we were working every weekend for six months straight, obviously. Just be aware, life gets in the way. I didn’t want my dad’s summer to be taken away from him. I made sure he wasn’t pressured to get the floor finished. I understood he had things at his house he wanted to get done as well. Something to think about when relying on friends/family to help or to do the work for you.

100_1365 by you.

Frustrating? You bet your ass. There were weeks when I just wanted to finish the work myself. When I wanted to throw my hands up in defeat and say, “Screw it, I’ll just live with the crappy linoleum.”

100_1367 by you.

But I was patient. And I waited. And finally, three weeks ago, we began the final stages of this project, this renovation. This labor of love.

100_1368 by you.
100_1371 by you.

Because I loved this project, no matter how frustrating it got.

Finished, finally. by you.

I love my dad. For taking on this project, for dealing with my incessant whining, and for helping me realize my ‘vision’ for my kitchen (why, hello, melodrama. Welcome to my blog.).

100_1369 by you.

100_1372 by you.

And I really love my kitchen.

Posted in daily, Kitchen Remodel, la familia, The Joy of Homeownership

Also it’s 8:30 but it feels like 9:30.

Now that the time change nonsense is out of the way, can we please get on with November? Every time we have to change the clocks I have to go through the whole “It feels like this time, but it’s actually this time” dance with Big Poppa, who’s a total goober that thinks he’s funny and that it’s the first time I’ve heard that joke. But he’s my daddy and he does things like remodel my kitchen and take me to Penn State games so I let it slide.

Speaking of the kitchen reno, you should know that it’s pretty much done. We started on the floor last weekend and just finished it yesterday. We just have to put in stuff with names like ‘Base Shoe’ and “Cave Moulding’, which are the kind of things you install so you don’t have an inch of space between the floor and the wall, so it’s kind of important? I guess. I’ll have pictures up after today, hopefully.

On a side note, I previously mentioned we were thinking about taking the new floor all the way into the living room, which would look awesome, but after the experience we had installing the kitchen floor, that’s not going to happen right away. I won’t get into the details just in case anyone who might want to purchase my house in the future somehow finds this entry, but last weekend was not fun. There were many ‘sons of bitches’ and ‘mother effers’ and ‘stupid whores’ in my kitchen last weekend. And they were all related to the laminate flooring. Odd. So we’re going to wait until after the holidays to install the living room floor.

Yay, new project.

She says without an ounce of excitement.

Posted in daily, Jasper, life, the damn dog, The Joy of Homeownership

Eviction Notice

Dear Canine Resident at (address redacted), Allentown, PA:

It has come to management’s attention that recent actions and activities in which you have taken part are in direct violation to the residence and cohabitation contract you entered into in April of 2004.

Upon agreement of said contract, it was management’s responsibility to provide the shelter, food, and water necessesary, with additional needs such as bathing, grooming, walks, and veterinary visits included on a strictly as-needed basis.

Not exclusive to contract were fringe benefits such as treats, belly rubs, ear scritches, and couch time. During initial negotiations management agreed to forgo the need for Snuggle Time directly related to Resident’s ‘Good Boy’ status, seeing as Resident was initially and continually resistant to said Snuggle Time.

However, in light of recent incidents in which Management’s living room carpet has been used as a restroom, Management has deemed it necessary to remind you of your ‘Good Boy’ obligations, wherein it is your responsibility to conduct your Important Business outside the Residence. To facilitate the carrying on of Important Business outside the Residence, Management has agreed to participate in additional outings and longer walks.

Should Resident continue to befoul the inside of the Residence, Management will have no course but to help Resident find other accomodations, perhaps at (address redacted) in the Poconos, PA.
Thank you for your kind and prompt attention to this matter.

Jennifer C.
Management, (address redacted), Allentown, PA.

Dear Management,

Kindly suck it.



Posted in daily, life, The Joy of Homeownership

If You Say ‘Nesting", You Get Smacked.

This weekend I was feeling oddly domestic. I mowed the lawn and whacked the hell out of some weeds. I vacuumed and dusted. I made pancakes and sausage for Big Poppa, who was under the kitchen sink again to finish the plumbing. I even cleaned the ceiling fan in the kitchen. I went so far as to (Ok, this is embarassing) clean the scuff marks from my shoes that I’m too lazy to walk up so I just sort of toss them up there off the walls going up the stairs with one of those Magic Erasers. It got to the point where, while I was sitting watching a little TV and eating lunch, I got up and dusted part of the coffee table that I missed BECAUSE IT BOTHERED ME. I interrupted a meal TO CLEAN SOMETHING.

What is that about? And how can I make sure it happens again?

Posted in daily, Kitchen Remodel, life, The Joy of Homeownership

Project: Kitchen; Day Eleventy Thousand and Twenty-Seven

Or so it feels.

Tasks assigned at beginning of Project: Kitchen:
1. Pain Cabinets. Replace hardware.
2. Remove the ‘God-Forsaken’ wall paper, sand, prime, and paint walls.
Mutha-Humpin’ CHECK!
3. Replace range hood.

Check. (Namaste, Buddha)

4. Replace overhead light that resembles a frosted glass breast with brighter, more modern light fixture.

Erm, check. And how about a HALLELUJAH! ?

5. Replace nasty-ass burnt sienna/orange laminate counters with gorgeous OMFGSQUEEIT’SSOPRETTYMEWANT granite:

Giggity-giggity. Check.

6. Replace tired-ass sink and lame dripping faucet with New! Awesome! Under-mount! Sink! And one of those faucets with the pull-out sprayers:

Check. *air hump*

7. Replace ugly, nasty, worn-out, damaged cheapo stick-on lineolum floor tiles with pretty cherry wood laminate:
Almost done, my babies. Then my house, my life, and my (waning more each day) sanity can return to normal.
Posted in daily, Jasper, Kitchen Remodel, The Joy of Homeownership

The Inevitable Snag

The beauty of an eat-in kitchen is in the name: You can eat. In your kitchen. There’s room to cook and serve a meal. And when you renovate said eat-in kitchen, there’s enough space to move all your shit to one side of the room while you work on the other.

And that’s what I’ve been living with for the past week. Everything from the countertops was pushed onto my table and everything in the drawers was put in a box and dumped unceremoniously in the living room.

Like this, only more stabby.

And that’s how I was living with my kitchen for over a week. I dealt with it, but my latent OCD was thisclose to making me flip the fuck out.

Saturday, we didn’t make a huge amount of progress, but finished painting all the cabinets and doors, and finished sanding, priming and painting the ‘kitchen’ half of my kitchen. So that’s all done, which enabled me to move everything back onto the countertops and off my table, which allowed me to breathe again. The twitching and the voices stopped, too, so, you know, bonus.

We tried to get the doors hung back on the cabinets, but alas, as it always goes when I attempt a home improvement project, it turns out I bought the wrong effing hinges. I’ve sinced returned the wrong effing hinges to the hinge store and proceeded to purchase the correct effing hinges, but have not attempted to hang my cabinet doors back up due to my inability to screw in or nail anything in a straight line.

So I continue to live like this, with my freak doorless cabinets, wide open for the world to see.

I know, white people’s problems.

At least I’ve got one door up. (I had to make sure I actually did buy the correct hinges and that they worked correctly. You should have seen me trying to hang this damn door. There were quite a few sons of bitches in my kitchen the other night, and it’s TOTALLY THE DOORS’ FAULT.)

Isn’t it beautiful? I stare at it all day. I stroke it lovingly and dream of the day all my cabinets will have doors.

Why, no, I don’t think I have a ‘problem’ at all.

“I do. I’m so over this shit. I can haz Snausages nao?”

Coming up this weekend: Picking out granite at the remnant sale (SQUEEE!), actually making a fucking decision re: the new flooring, and, whattayaknow, more painting! Huzzah!

Posted in daily, Kitchen Remodel, The Joy of Homeownership

Project Kitchen; End Day 1


And now that I’m seeing the changes taking place, I’m really liking what I’m seeing. I took this past Thursday and Friday off to prep the kitchen and go to Lowes for supplies. I had a coupon for 10% off my whole order, so I got my new light fixture, range hood, paint, drawer hinges and handles, etc.

Big Poppa and Momma-San arrived around 10 A.M., and we were off to the races. Dad had the doors sanded and off the cupboards in no time, and mom started on the wall paper. We didn’t get it all down, we’re focusing on the area around the stove and fridge this weekend so the kitchen is still functional during the week. I stuck mostly with priming and painting the cupboards – I did the doors and drawer fronts outside, then came inside to finish the cupboards.

I couldn’t get a lot of painting done while Mom and Dad were still here (I have a ‘thing’ with working in crowded spaces. For some reason I get anxious and claustrophobic, and three people in an 11×13 kitchen with many tools and shit [not to mention a dog underfoot] gets crowded pretty damn quickly, hence why I stayed outside most of the day), so after they hit the road around 6:30, I finished the two coats on the cupboards, and slapped the topcoat on them and the drawers as well. Now it’s 11:30 and I’m tired as a motherfucker, so here’s some pics of our progress.

My sad little door-less freak cupboards. I’m really liking the white, though. It opens up the space and makes the kitchen so much brighter.

Speaking of brighter, I *love* the color yellow I picked. It’s a light, buttery yellow, and it really pops against the white cupboards and the green paint I have for under the chair rail.

The chair rail that’s hidden behind this mess. Hold me.