Thursday, August 28, 2008

If that doesn't say it all...

I know everyone likes to keep it non political and when I stray no one reads, but eff it. I am totally into the Dem Convention and I am so excited.

****meant to blog this last night before the announcement, but after the McCain "Good for you" BS ad, I SO knew he was going to announce a women VP and of course he did. Too bad he couldn't get Kay Bailey Hutchison. It would've been a real race then. Gov. Sarah Palin is a former beauty queen from a sketchy state. Yawn. But glass ceilings be damned either way, I suppose****

****had to add this little thought from Al Gore: "One of the greatest gifts of our democracy is the opportunity it offers us every four years to change course. It’s not a guarantee; it’s only an opportunity. The question facing us is, simply put, will we seize this opportunity for change?"****

From an excerpt of the Barack Obama's speech, titled "The American Promise," released today by Obama's campaign:

“But the record’s clear: John McCain has voted with George Bush ninety percent of the time. Senator McCain likes to talk about judgment, but really, what does it say about your judgment when you think George Bush was right more than ninety percent of the time? I don’t know about you, but I’m not ready to take a ten percent chance on change.”

Preach on.


see the rest of the speech preview here

I've been watching the Democratic Convention and so many spectacular things have been said. Hillary was spot on, glad to see Bill finally step up and stop acting like the stodgy old man he's been acting like lately, loved Michelle Obama's speech -- very full of hope right now.

I am scared for our country. Not because Obama might lead it but because he might not. Tonight's speech from Barack Obama will come on the 45th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech and march on Washington. The comparisons are constantly there and rightly so. He has risen to accomplish one of the highest feats any citizen can and he is African American. Maybe one day that won't matter, but today it does. I find him to be an engaging, kind hearted man who stays above the fray and makes valid arguments rather that venomous mud slinging. My fear comes from the chaos that ensued when MLK was assassinated and Americans who had lost hope rioted the streets. My fear comes from morons who might want to assasinate this man due to his race. My fear comes from citizens who are so filled with hope right now who may feel that hope is lost if McCain emerges victoriously and riot. I hope that no matter what happens that the citizens will react in a way that respects fellow man just as Obama and MLK would want. Scary stuff to think about.

I loved his memoir Dreams of my Father which was written by Obama right after being elected the first black president of the Harvard Law Review. Maybe he knew where his life would someday take it, but I didn't feel like he was a politician trying to paint the right image. He spoke of race in a unique way that only a man with a caucasian mother and a Kenyan father could. Somehow his own experience and the way he tells it makes me think he is in the unique position to be the one capable of beginning to build a meaningful bridge to the racial divide that still exists. He also didn't try to pretend he smoked but didn't inhale -- he inhaled. So take that! But seriously, it is a lovely memoir of someone who was trying so hard to figure out his identity through his life and journeys in Hawaii, Indonesia, Chicago and Kenya. It reminded me of the writings of one of my favorite black writers Chinua Achebe, rightly so since he is acknowledged directly in the novel. I would be honored and proud if this man represented our country as the president.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Rainy day blues

Ugh, day two of constant rain and I just want to stay inside with the covers over my head. Wah. I still have a wretched cough after fighting two different colds, I have gained three pounds in the last two days - all in my uterus and no not like that, and it is raining and I want to curl up and enjoy it. So before I go for the day, I'll enjoy these last moments of laziness and update here.

Decided to embark on some random firsts for Dylan these last couple weeks to make his summer so special and prolly just give me stuff to scrap. Took Dylan to Memorial City Mall to play and I had him ride the carousel for the first time. He insisted on sitting on the benches normally reserved for grandmothers and small infants, whatever floats your boat. He spoke very highly later of the horses with the "flowers on their bum bum" to anyone who would listen.

2008-08-07 Carousel 003

If that didn't already make me mother of the year, we went bowling with Granny, Paw Paw and Taylor when Taylor was here. I was shocked and amazed to see little shoes Dylan's size. They are so cute and he asked for them all week. "Mama? Mama, 10 shoes?" He's a 10 in bowling shoes and he was obsessed with the numbers. Interesting fact, I am 8, Karen 9, Dylan 10, Paul 11. Got this cute video of Dylan's bowling efforts too, love Flickr video

2008-08-08 Bowling 002

He also got to play guitar with his Grandpa Benny. I figure these pics will be valuable when he's a real rock star making money and loving the groupies. Unfortch, he kept thinking he dropped his finger in there or something. Grandpa Benny had been joking about it and I think he thought there were fingers hanging out in the hole

And finally, some housing update. Last week was heavy trash, so the boys went wild in the backyard pulling down all the skanky trees they could so we could have another pile like this at the curb:

2008-08-14 Brookwoods trash 1

Jason designed and executed this awesome tiling work in the hall bath's shower:

2008-08-17 Brookwoods tiling 3

and I worked on planning the driveway work. Remember how I said the neighbor converted a garage and then piggybacked on our driveway? Well, we've been trying to plan how we dig a trench to seperate the driveways and it has changed a couple million times. I want to give the neighbors a full 10 foot driveway even if it means giving up some of ours because I think if their driveway is usable, they may not sue. Not to mention if they need an extra foot and a half, that can pull out their bushes. But really, after standing in the kitchen and staring at their house and living at Karen and Paul's and enjoying the security afforded by a driveway gate, we've decided to dig up a trench two feet wide parellel to the house and ending at the end of the house. We are going to build a fence in the trench so no more looking at the neighbors and then get a black wrought iron gate. Will allow some safe parking and a nice contained area to play too. Here's me getting to work with sidewalk chalk trying to decide exactly where it should all go, don't worry about the cracks or nastiness. Driveway cutting and repair of cracks should be fun times!

2008-08-17 Brookwoods driveway 1

2008-08-17 Brookwoods driveway 3

2008-08-17 Brookwoods driveway 4

Til next time!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

The Return of Pimp and Ho and other adventures

I'll start with the breaking news. There have now been two new Pimp and Ho sightings. I saw them walking down the street the other day and was excited but yesterday was the sighting to top them all. We parked at the Walgreens across from the Jack in the Box they seem to do a lot of business in and they literally walked straight towards us. It was like seeing Amy Winehouse in the flesh, you want to know more. I was going into Walgreens, they were going to Walgreens and I totally stalked them in Walgreens. I want to know what makes this odd couple of business peeps tick. I thought he looked like 50 Cent from a distance but up close he had unruly chin hair and wild eyes. And she just looks like every dirty crusty McHerpes I ever saw in a real AA meeting (some of you may know what I mean). Pale, crusty skin and bleached dirty hair with two inches of black hair peeking through. I can see them on the top of a wedding cake now. I heard her say she needed tape for a window, some I assume some unruly john's had his head smashed in her window or shots were fired. Very cool, I am hip to the street.

Other than that excitement, not much going on. This is sort of a random post, I haven't taken pics really lately at the house because things are less life shattering. Are you interested in seeing ceiling fans hung? Trash thrown away? See, we're doing finishing work on a lot of things right now so I've been reluctant to post. But I will say this. The house is truly coming together. And it is awesome, I'm actually getting excited. I will take pics at the end of the weekend and update you to it all, I promise. Tile is going to begin laying today or tomorrow and that's some cool stuff.

And if you think I'm slowing down on my trips to Ikea, think again. We've been going, it's still been sucking. The highlight of that place is truly the $1 ice cream cone, but only on a self indulgent cheat day. Yesterday we went because somehow Jason had left the slats to a day bed we got for the guest room on the cart and we decided we wanted them since we paid for them. The bed itself is clever:


It's a twin day bed but the bottom part pulls out like a trundle and is the same height, so it makes a queen or king size bed. So Andi, I got the hook up! And the bottom part is all drawers so it is like 3 gigantic drawers of storage for sheets and whatnot. I dig it. But those elusive slats, you gotta have them. 13 for the top bed, 12 for the bottom. $38 for the slats themselves because everything you buy at Ikea comes in three different boxes and for a $399 bed, that splits up to $38 dedicated to slats. And I get it, that's probably the highest quality product they have in the store because it is made of, drumroll please, actual wood. Not particle board. Not laminate. Real wood slats. Absorb that for a minute. So it's a sacrifice to possibly give them to us twice.

My perspective is this. Yes, we left them on the cart after we paid for them. Our bad. But here's where I was unwilling to waver, I have dedicated literally hours to fixing their screw ups. Figuring out which of the 150 kitchen parts was either missing or wrong. Realizing that the original lady messed up and ordered doors too long for drawers so that the kitchen had to be redesigned instead of waiting another month for doors. And yes, don't forget the time I've dedicated to trying to pay the credit card that no one wants to actually charge. And we're about $6K to them in this house already and remember, this is our second kitchen with them. So eff you, it is your turn to give me the benefit of the doubt that I am not a slat stealing slut and just me the slats. Jason's actually physically with me for this visit and I am trying to say all this in the nicest possible way.

There were two people helping us, the nicest lady ever and then the one who had all the control and an ax to grind. She, out of some principle unbeknownst to me, was not going to let me be the exception to The Rules. The Rules state that when things are left in the cart, they are signed in. The Rules assume all Ikea employees do their job and since I still haven't been charged for $5K worth of cabinets, I disagree. The Rules state if it isn't in said log, then video camera footage must be utilized. But she said I had waited too long, as if I couldn't leave my bong for the last 13 days and therefore couldn't be helped. I smiled and said that I knew that was awhile but unfortch we were trying to put together the $5k worth of cabinets and other $1k of misc Ikeaness and therefore this hadn't been realized until then. I want a supervisor, she wants my soul and at some point I break. Crap. Ikea won. I cried. I felt it coming up and gave Jason the look of panic and asked him to finish this while I went and grabbed the soda he wanted. See, I wanted to play nice and frankly Jason would have character assassinated this biznatch and made her regret ever living if given the chance. He can be mean and sometimes that rocks. But I tried to play nice and in the end I cried.

I went and took care of our other business and met up with him later. He of course got a supervisor who was supernice, gave him the slats immediately and the most joyous part was that Jason could see The Rule Enforcer and the supervisor talking and the Enforcer really wanted us to lose. This was war. But the supervisor told her to eff off I guess, we got the slats, and she walked away pissed as hell. That's how I like it. Too bad I know I'll prolly be back next week asking that skank for something else in the name of customer service. But the bed is together and it is pretty cool for what it is. It goes in the scrap room of joy and will be a great addition. Come stay sometime, we now have room for you!

I got a haircut. Most of you know this. I'm sort of shocked at how weird people are about stuff like that. I'll start by saying I love it and don't regret it for a sec. I like it when it is straight and I even like it when the humidity strikes and it is flippy all over the place. The reactions of others though... My mom gave me same freaked out face she did when she stepped into the tetanus land that was our new house for the first time. Why would you do that, she asks, as though I have chosen on a whim to amputate my thumbs. And everyone else has reacted in a range of ways from saying it is adorable to not saying much other than offering odd advice on how to take care of it like I am seeking guidance depsite the fact that I'm not wearing a "Help me" sign. I guess I surround myself with oddballs, lol. Today at Pablo's party, Gaby brought me her ten inches she cut months ago that's she's never gotten around to shipping off to Locks of Love so I can send them off together like a set of pigtails. Except hers is this gorgeous thick black braid and mine is bleh, processed (but still meets guidelines) and simply disappointing next to hers. Here I am in my glory.

2008-08-08 Haircut 004

And I usually as a rule don't put scrappy stuff on here. If you're a fellow scrapper, you prolly see my stuff elsewhere so why do it here. This is a personality blog, so I usually stick to that. But I will make the exception this time to say that I am very excited about this kit at Simply Obsessed ( so impressed that this time around October Afternoon is ready to go right out of CHA. If you aren't set up to already get this kit, get your hands on it. I have this and all the add-ons on order. Now I will have to steal me more slats to pay for all of it since we are broke...kidding, of course, about the slats. I didn't take the effen slats.


Saturday, August 02, 2008

Try not to pee yourself...

Yup, already another blog update. IT'S THAT AWESOME!! Progress is a great thing and we are making some excellent progress at the house. First of all, the faux wood blinds (2" Levelor if particulars tickle your fancy) came in a week early and so the other night Jason went ahead and installed them in Dylan's room, one of the master windows (you know, the ones the Window Guys actually did replace as opposed to the second one that STILL hasn't been done), the two in the playroom and the breakfast room. Unfortch, the bath ones were never produced so I had to call them and have them actually make them and send them. Since we got these all a week early, I was super nice about it. But they are gorgeous and block out sooo much light which is nice for the bat cave effect we dig and the energy they save in cooling. The ones Jason did corresponded to the east and west windows =) Here are some pics, and yes I did rearrange Dylan's room already. I finally made it work, it is a tricky small space.

2008-08-02 Brookwoods 001

2008-08-02 Brookwoods 002

2008-08-02 Brookwoods 003

That in itself was going to make for a pretty enthusiastic post, but wait I'm not done. This morning, Jason, Paul, Karen (MIL) and I all were at the house by 8 am (Dyl too) for some useful time. Holy crap. Holy. Crap. I could have called this post Eff Ikea, but they can't all have the same title, can they? Those cabinets that I still haven't paid for offered all kinds of surprises. Let me explain the Ikea process with cabinetry. Let's say I want one base cabinet. That is actually several individual orders. A simple one is a box, a door, toekicks, the shelf and the hinges. That's five things rung up seperately, and I guarantee you received seperately. I wanted mine to have a shorter door and a drawer on top, adding two and making a total of 7. There were at least 23 cabinets. Multiply that by a min of 5 pieces and you are at 115 pieces. Panels and custom pieces bring us well over 130 at least. Get where I am going? Unfortch (this is the word of the day), the lady typed this in wrong despite my very specific instructions. I got full doors, no drawers. It's confusing, and as I told the lady at Ikea when I went to check in on items she admitted were never ordered but were "paid for" (I use that term lightly), it all a pile of crap until you get it together. So stuff I ordered in June, have been collecting as things arrive for weeks, has all been a pile of crap until now. And let me say, those Swedish names (Liljestad, Perfekt, so on) sound more like procedures at a foreign torture site than anything that would be slightly meaningful to the renovation process. So there were some surprises as we went along, but all in all I only had a decently small pile of returns (10-15 boxes) and only 3 orders to place tomorrow morning (Ikea, Sun at 10 am is my official weekly mass these days). I am still waiting on those things that were never ordered though. So we dealt with about 75 things today -- shelves are later and boxes are already together. Toekicks are returned because Paul has a better system of building a plywood base as opposed to trying to make a bunch of toekicks all even (right...) But there are good surprises too. The lady meant for me to have all those cabinets with drawers, so the drawers were there. We made two 15" cabinets full of drawers (that's eight right there!). The cooktop I chose is two 36" wide drawers instead of a cabinet with two shelves -- drawers for pots and drawers for pans! The corner has a lazy susan with two racks, yay for tupperware. So many cool custom pieces that remind me that Ikea isn't quite ready to be renamed Satan Inc. And yes, I went with another set of glass doors like in the last kitchen. Just a pair, but I dig em. The only two cabinets that will ever look pretty on the inside. Oh, and the Silestone that was in the kitchen when we bought the house looks AWESOME on these and it is a perfect fit. The walls are still open there for the lighting that will go under the cabinets soon. We ordered a piece for the island so that will come later and the old island top is going on the desk in the living room behind Dylan. It will be cut to fit, so it won't be as big as it looks behind Dylan. Anyways, here's the journey of the day...

2008-08-02 Brookwoods 007

2008-08-02 Brookwoods 006

2008-08-02 Brookwoods 011

2008-08-02 Brookwoods 019

2008-08-02 Brookwoods 020

2008-08-02 Brookwoods 022

2008-08-02 Brookwoods 015

So yeah, an awesome day. Jason also got fans up in the spare room and the master, Karen assembled fans for Dylan's room and the living room and door knobs were beginning to be installed in most rooms. All in all amazingness. I'll be off to Ikea in the morning and Target. Turns out when your windows look that cool with super special wood blinds, you don't want to cover them up with drapes so I have a bit to return. Happily.

Oh yes -- I meant to talk about the green things you can do during renovation that rock. It's a sad, wasteful process unfortunately but frankly living in 60+ year old filth ain't always better and many of the changes (added insulation, new windows, blinds) actually cut down on energy costs and fossil fuel usage and we like that. We saw early on that the curb is enough for a lot of the trash -- when you nicely put it out, it will be nicely picked through by others. We put the doors and drawers for example in their own pile - all picked up. The nasty stuff is on the bottom because no one needs or wants that without a tetanus shot. But remember the 130+ items from Ikea? At least 75 of those came in some form of cardboard. That's a lot of cardboard and then if you add those to the 11 mega sized ones from Levelor blinds and then moving boxes (all were from previous moves and many are reused, but not all)... well you are talking about a lot of cardboard. I have made an effort to pile them up again and again and bring them to the neighborhood recycling bins. It's win-win -- I think. I found out that one of them I was using doesn't actually take cardboard so I may have just dumped them, but I think the others do. The effort should award me good karma anyway.

If you're still reading, thanks. If I had to take a gander, I would say that the complete renovation of the interior will be completed in almost exactly two months from the day we closed on the house (maybe the weekend of the 23rd?). That isn't including the converted garage and studio that we need to work on later or the exterior work of those two buildings (and the painting of the whole thing), but we didn't really expect to do those before move-in anyways, as a matter of budget, time or priority. That plus the month it took to fix up and close on the sale of Foxwood and then the month it took to close on Brookwoods will put us as almost exactly four months of in-law living. I wish I could complain, but that's been the easiest part of the whole process. I would never have guessed it would be this easy to coexist and I wouldn't mind living right next door instead of ten doors down; I think that is a testament to the easy, cool people that Dylan calls Granny and Paw Paw. They rock.