Kitchen Living Room

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Tufty Ready to Go

As I mentioned in this post, Tufty (the button tufted upholstered ottoman) arrived with a broken leg. I called the number listed on the informational booklet in the box, and the company who made Tufty promptly sent me four new legs.

So now I have seven Tufty legs. But I only need four. After popping them on the bottom of the ottoman, Tufty was ready to go. Ta-da!

So far so good.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

My Happiness Project

Over my school break I read Gretchen Rubin's The Happiness Project. It was very inspiring. Everyday I find myself thinking over some her thoughts on how to be happier, and I find myself a little overwhelmed trying to remember them all. I decided to make my own Happiness Resolutions in order to make it easier to remember (and apply) what I learned from her book. Gretchen gives you her own happiness resolutions, so I used hers as a jumping off point. Some of them match hers exactly and others I made up for myself. I thought 10 would be a good number:

1. Eat real food
2. Avoid talking about money
3. Be generous
4. Give energy to my interests
5. Exercise everyday
6. Curate a simple life
7. Listen
8. Say thanks
9. Uplift others
10. Be Lou

I'm keeping a copy of these resolutions in my email inbox so that I can refer to them easily. So far the most difficult resolution is to "Be Lou." The idea behind that one is to be yourself. It sounds easy, but it's really not! I often want to do things because I think that's what I'm Supposed to do, or it's something that I would want to do if I was some perfect idea of myself. But I'm not...I'm just Lou. Do I want to be the kind of person that can bungee jump and ride roller coasters? Yes. Yes! I want to be brave and awesome and do those daring things. BUT, do I want to do those things? No. They terrify me and just thinking about them makes me sick. So why can't I just Be Lou? That's the idea. It's not to say that I shouldn't push myself or try new things, but to understand that what I just plain old don't like is OK. I want to accept myself and accept the idea that I just don't want to ride a roller coaster. And then not worry about it anymore or make myself feel guilty for it.

Get the idea? I'm going to explore some more of my resolutions as I try to follow them in my life.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Introducing: Tufty

Remember when I was considering which ottoman/coffee table to buy? Well...

Tufty, Sleeping Upside Down

Everyone, meet Tufty! He is currently suffering from a broken leg, however. He is sleeping in the living room. He's quite comfortable because he has built-in tuft. He arrived fresh from the factory yesterday. Lucky that he's an ottoman, and that the people who made Tufty are very nice. They are mailing us a new leg today. Yay!

One Broken Tufty Leg, in Two Pieces

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Airbnb Professional Photography

The moment we've all been waiting for...professional photography of 650 square feet! Back in March I requested that a FREE professional photographer be sent out to my place to take pictures for airbnb. Two months later and the pictures are here. I'll shut up now so you can take a look at what my place looks like through the lens of a professional!

Ok, so yeah, I only shut up for a little bit. But I had to point out the elephant in the room. My half un-grouted kitchen backsplash. HAHA. Laugh with me. It helps.

Sad face. Carty wasn't yet installed when these pictures were taken. You win some, you lose some!

The bedroom looks plain old weird in professional photos. It doesn't...clash.. this much in person. 

Hope you enjoyed!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

How to Not Do Your Econ Homework

Have you ever thought about what your friends' talents are? Or just their hobbies? Some people have very distinct interests. When I think of myself though, I just see a whole slew of stuff that I'm trying out without being particularly good at anything. I see my half finished kitchen tiling job, a quarter of a painting I started, a stack of books I started and never finished. That used to make me feel pretty guilty. BUT, not anymore. Recently I read Steven Johnson's Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation, and I feel a lot better.

Why? Well, because he talks about how being into different things can be OK and can actually spark innovation. For example, last night I wanted to start on my economics homework after finishing the econ readings, but instead I read some of the Johnson book for fun. It just so happens that the book was actually talking about economics in a way much different than my econ book itself was, so I learned something new. And that's one of the basic ideas in Johnson's book - different ideas running together from disparate places is a GOOD thing. The act of ideas colliding from separate fields brings new perspective. I really like this idea and I can see it ring true in my own life. At work I can sit at my desk for an hour trying to solve a problem until I want to cry, or I can think about something else for awhile and come back to the problem later. Nine times out of ten I will have a new way of looking at the problem, and I will solve it. So next time you are about to throw something (or cry) try working on something else. Even if it's just an elaborate way to get yourself out of doing your econ homework. It works for me!

I recommend Johnson's book for a quick and interesting read. It provides fascinating history behind many modern day ideas and inventions without being a history book. He provides theories on which environments and interactions help the development of good ideas. It's also inspiring to see his perspective, what I understood to be that good ideas don't just come from pure genius, something in the brain that we can't lock down, they come from a concoction of social interaction and dissemination of existing ideas and theories.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Tales of a Pint-sized Hoarder

Just like my goose egg! (Not.)
Today is mothers day! (I don't use an apostrophe because it confuses me in this case. Is it mother's day as in MY mother's day? Or is it mothers' day as in all mothers' day? Wait, do you capitalize it?) So I thought I would share a story that incorporates both my grandma and my mother. But really it's about me. However this is my blog so that's appropriate.

I was talking to my grammie (known as Grammie but I couldn't capitalize it before because I was referring to her as mine) on the phone a few months ago and she was making me laugh and laugh. We were remembering the time I hoarded a goose egg from her and my grandpa's cabin when I was very young (but old enough to remember clearly). She was jokingly referring to the egg as 'a real treasure.' Which caused me to laugh every time she said it. It was a real treasure, lemme tell ya!

As a child I was definitely a compulsive hoarder, and my inability to stop made me very upset with myself. I had nearly constant panicked thoughts like: what if I NEED this later? I most certainly will! And: this is awesome, how could I possibly throw this away? Etc. However, I was wise enough to know that my behavior was embarrassing and unacceptable. For an elementary school kid, all I needed to know was that it was the dreaded WEIRD. I did NOT want to be weird. So I hid it.

I was only ever caught (that I know of) three times.

From here

I had two average sized wall closets against a single wall in my room growing up. One was very nicely organized (I even liked to trick myself into thinking I wasn't a hoarder), but the other one further from the door was an entirely different story. I only ever opened it to shove more stuff inside, but I had to be careful because when my mom painstakingly turned my room into a Beauty and the Beast bonanza, she removed the folding wooden closet doors and installed yellow curtains with pink roses to cover the closets. As a result, treasures (yes, I'm still laughing) could easily tumble out. Well, only if it was piled haphazardly to the rafters and close to bursting with my collections. (And of course this closet was.) I don't think my mom ever looked in there (and I'm pretty certain my dad didn't). Except, one day, she did. And I'll never forget the look on her face. What I interpreted as kind of like, "Well, my daughter is insane. But, let's look on the bright side, she doesn't torture small animals!" (Except that one time I cut a worm in half in front of a younger family friend. Sorry, mom.) The issue was "resolved" by my mom telling me to clean it up. Then I think she probably walked away and took a giant Mind Sponge and scrubbed away that memory. (Whoops, here it is again! Sorry about that, mom!) That was incident 1.

Cut along the dotted lines. From here

Then later, I was at school and we were cutting up pieces of paper (if you have already changed your high opinion of me, you should stop reading now because this will really freak you out) and I of course I had to keep the scraps. STOP! I KNOW! You're thinking "OH MY GOD, WHAT?!" But yes, I had to! I had tons of reasoning!! Let me explain!!! The paper had tiny little adorable scissors on it where it showed you to cut. And I might need those little pictures for something! I could make Barbie scissors. Lots of them! Like hundreds of paper Barbie sized scissors so Barbie could have an elementary classroom size bucket of them for...crafts. She could have an entire ELEMENTARY SCHOOL'S worth of scissors! Paper scissors. Then Kelley or Kimmy or BARBIE'S LITTLE SISTER would never be in need of scissors! And if Ken ever took up scrapbooking he would NEVER RUN OUT OF FAKE PAPER SCISSORS. Just his size! Tiny! Teensy. 

Barbie I Can Be Doll - Teacher

I never did anything with the scraps I saved. I just took them home and put them in the closet I mentioned earlier. The Treasures Closet. One day someone at school, I have no idea who, but one of my fellow students, caught me shoving these papers in my eggplant-purple L.L. Bean backpack. I would sneak off, but this time someone was hanging out in the cubby area where our backpacks lived, and I didn't notice him/her until too late. He/she asked me what I was doing. Of course I heard, "Hey, whatcha doin'?" as, "WHAT ARE YOU DOING, YOU FREAK!!!!!!!" So I freaked out and I tried to explain, but I could tell it didn't work as his/her eyes became bigger and bigger. That was incident 2. 

I totally need this bracelet! (Kidding.)

The last time I was caught was when my mom was FORCING me to clean out my desk. I had this nice yellow desk that she painted for me and added blue knobs to (holy crud, sound familiar? I do that to desks all of the time...). Anyway, I was cleaning it out and we were all having a good time and stuff until my mom said, "What. Is. That. Smell." And I thought it sounded like a funny thing to ask, but she clearly wasn't amused. She looked horrified. I had horrific flashbacks to the Treasure Closet discovery! But I distinctly remember giggling nervously and saying, "I don't know." Because I had forgotten about my prized treasure in the tupperware container. At some point probably close to a year prior I had put the egg that my grandparents let me take home (I guess they couldn't say, "No" to me) in a tupperware container in the back of a desk drawer and forgot about it. Again, I'll never forget what my mom said. "What. Is. THIS." She said surprisingly calmly as she pried open a corner of the lid. The room was quickly evacuated and the egg was disposed of. I think my mom initially said something about how we couldn't throw away Grammie's tupperware, but I think that idea was soon forgotten as the smell permeated further into the house. That was incident 3.

So, yes, I am a HOARDER. I saved scraps of paper and eggs! Eggs that were definitely not golden! Throw me down the chute! I'm happy to say that now, over 15 years later, I am mostly recovered. But I still have my tendencies. My boyfriend has pointed a finger at me with wild eyes and said, "You are. A. Box. HOARDER!" in the past as we stood amidst a veritable sea of boxes in the attic of our old house. I'm growing though, people, I'm growing. I've graduated from rotten eggs to boxes. PROGRESS.

Happy Mothers Day!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Skeleton Key!

Since I read every single Nancy Drew as a child, I've always been interested in mysterious things like old photographs! and hidden rooms! and secret passageways! and secrets!

At some point I heard about the concept of a "skeleton key" which of course I took literally.

Skull (somehow the entire skeleton dropped out at some point) + Key = Skeleton Key!

Although I later learned through much frustration that it was not in fact as I pictured! A skeleton key was really just a key that could open many doors. Arrghh! Much less creepy! But this gets me to my 650 square feet related point. I want to be able to lock/unlock my bedroom door and bathroom door with a key. Why? Because it would be COOL.

I have old glass doorknobs on both doors. They have keyholes. So far so good! I just need a key. I did some research online and found this thread

It sounds like you can go to Home Depot and buy a skeleton key that might work.
Home Depot sells skeleton keys. We recently needed a second key for a lock like that (60 years old) and the one we bought at HD worked perfectly.
posted by kimdog at 7:15 PM on May 1 [1 favorite]
It MIGHT work? Well, you know I'm game. So I guess sometime soon I will be exploring the fine world of locksmithing. What's that? You think I should just grout the other side of my kitchen? YOU'RE NO FUN.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Spiders, Water, & New Windows

While I was doing the inspection with the inspector a few weeks before I bought the place, we noticed (it was pouring rain) that water was leaking inside the condo through the cheap aluminum windows in the bedroom. So you're probably thinking, "And you still bought the place?!" BUT, but, it's OK to buy a place with defects, you just have to know what you're getting yourself into. Hence the inspector. 

One of the first nights I stayed in the condo, a huge spider sauntered out of the side of the bathroom window and greeted me. That was awful. So that's how I decided which three (I have six) windows to replace FIRST in the condo. The two aluminum ones and the one original one in the bathroom. Aka Water 1 Window, Water 2 Window, and Spider Window. I also knew I would probably have to open the window during showers in the bathroom due to the lack of an exhaust fan and I didn't want to wrestle with a stuck window every time (that was before I bought Eva the dehumidifier.) 

So last October (in 2011), I had those three windows replaced in the condo. They were ordered over Labor day weekend in September because Home Depot had a great sale going on. The entire process takes weeks though, so they weren't installed until about a month later. Here's the process we took:
  1. Visited Home Depot to speak with the sales representative and setup an appointment for her to come to the condo.
  2. The sales representative visited the condo and measured and provided a total price. At this meeting any decisions about styles/quality had to be made. We paid and setup a time for the next appointment.
  3. The project manager stopped by a week or so later and took final measurements.
  4. The installers came and put the windows in. Before they left I had to sign paperwork that said everything was complete, except there was a broken part on one of the outer window panes so I had them make a note about it.
  5. A woman called me from Home Depot to schedule a time for the new window pane to be installed to fix the cracked one.
  6. The project manager (from step 3) came back and fixed the window.
These pictures are seriously old. Here's a view of the old aluminum living room window (taken while standing in the dining room).

Another view of the same living room window above. 

This is the old aluminum bedroom window. 

My view out of the big bedroom window. 

A better view of the old aluminum window in the bedroom. Notice the two white vertical boards that helped to frame the window - they're gone now. 

This shot shows you how rotted the wood is from water leaking through the window. 

Here's a peek at the old bathroom window (original to the building, I think) before I took down the stained glass window that came with the place. 

And the bathroom window with the stained glass removed, before it was replaced.

The open cavity of a the bathroom window. Welcome, spiders! Welcome one and all!

This part was kinda cool, when they removed the bedroom window. Such a big open space! I felt like I lived in a treehouse. 

And after the windows were installed!

Another one of the bedroom. 

And the bathroom. 

Choosing the style of the windows was difficult for me. I ended up considering what other people had done in the building (by walking around outside). It seemed to me like most people had chosen a large "empty" window in the middle of the big windows with the little "paneled" windows on the side. (They're just one big window, really.) The big windows are called Sliders. Little hamburgers! AHEM I mean little veggie burger sliders!

From this website

Oh my GOD is that a pineapple on top? I think I just barfed. I can hardly stand to look at them. Anyway, maybe you thought of this kind of Sliders instead:

Sliders, TV SHOW!

I know I thought of eating veggie sliders while watching Sliders. But that's just me. WHAT WERE WE TALKING ABOUT?!

Oh, right. Windows. The bathroom window is not a slider, it's known as double-hung. I think because it opens from the top and the bottom. But why I would open it from the top, I don't know because there's no screen on the top half. Spiders, anyone?

Overall my impression with Home Depot's window installation process was good. They are REALLY pushy when it comes to selling the windows, and then they take a long time to install them. But they are honest about the long wait time. So you know what you're getting into, at least. I wasn't mad about the broken part of the window since they eventually fixed it. I just don't get weirded out about stuff like that. NOW, if I had some strange contractor install them from nowhereville I probably would have been nervous that he wouldn't have come back. But since it was Home Depot I felt like I could count on them. Is that weird? Anyway it all worked out in the end. Also their prices were better than the quotes I received from contractors. Thousands of dollars better. And I found my contractor-quote-people off Angie's List. Interesting, right?? The installation guys were better than the sales/contractor/measuring people from Home Depot. They were nice and pretty fast, I thought. One guy kept having fights with his girlfriend on his cell phone, but we all have bad days. Whatever!

Now that I've had the windows for months and months, I'm still happy. And I gotta get those other three replaced. The sound difference is incredible. When I'm in the dining room (no windows replaced) I can hear every sound from the building across from me. When I'm in the bathroom (window replaced) with the door closed, the sound disappears.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Bedroom Curtains: Complete

Last week I finished hanging up the bedroom curtains. It took me awhile (surprise) in part because I had to spray paint the curtain rod, brackets, and finials. (Oh, look at that. I spray painted the curtain rod back in February. February 10th. Haha.)

They were oil rubbed bronze. That's dark brown. Now they're satin nickel. Just like many other things in my house, including a light fixture and a toilet roll holder. 


And here's the other, larger window, too.