So: furniture shopping

If you ever need to furnish an entire house including all the kitchen stuff, may I suggest that getting up early and arriving at IKEA before it’s open is the way to go? Using the list you made using their website. After you have a coffee and cinnamon roll to prepare for the task, you find a nice coworker like Jaspareet K who offers to make you a pull list plus do the order form for the rest of the stuff that isn’t self-serve.

While she does the paperwork, go to the kitchen section and pull all that stuff on your list. Plus a few other things that weren’t there.

When you get to the self-serve warehouse, get someone to help you stage all the stuff you’re buying since you’ll have a ton of carts and those flat things. Then once you’ve got everything, get a couple of people to help you through the lineup. Buy the bags–you’ll need them.

Then get one of the guys who works in the loading zone to help you load. And load and load.

Buy some food at the Swedish market. It’s going to be a long day and meatballs might be just what you need. Get the lingonberries too. It’s kind of like cranberry sauce, right?

Wait as the rest of the order gets pulled from the back. Chill because it’s the biggest heaviest stuff that they’re getting. That chill time plus the drive time will let your body relax since the truck will need to be unpacked and it will be time for more lifting. Write your blog. Cool down. Take a photo:

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After we load ’em up, we’ll be heading out to the Owl House.

Happy Thanksgiving! I am thankful that so far everything’s working out as planned. And I am grateful for all the preparation that Bruce did.

No gratuitous dog photo today. The Gs are enjoying Thanksgiving with their pals Tracy and Larry.

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So: renos and reunions

Wow! What a weekend. Today alone was an amazing high energy day. We managed to install our new pantry cabinets, put the pantry back, and entertain a friend from college!

First of all, hanging out with IdaRose for the first time in a very long time was awesome. It was a big surprise since we heard from her yesterday, but the Mortroski Mid-century has a welcome mat out 24-7 so we were ready.

I wish we lived closer, we’d probably have lots of fun dinners and do cool things together. And I wish I wasn’t traveling this week while she’s in Dallas because I’d love to take her to some of the museums and restaurants. But at least we had a lovely dinner and a few hours together tonight.

And before she came over, Bruce and I were very busy today (I realize this is a surprise):

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Putting together the new cabinets for the pantry. Notice the supervisor.

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The gutted closet that will be a pantry. Notice the new supervisor.

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Bruce doing the finesse stuff.

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The final result

People, this is an Ikea setup. We are very impressed! We have 1/2 for pantry items (canned goods, staples) and 1/2 for cleaning stuff (home for vacuum, broom, steam mop, cleaning supplies). It’s lovely and well thought-out. Works for us–and we could get it all installed in a Sunday.

So: highlights

I’ve been lazy this week, with good reason. Wednesday, I was stuck at the Atlanta airport for weather and mechanical problems for 5 hours. I was busy with work most of that so it wasn’t so bad but still. I had weather issues getting there and sleeping issues once I got there. If it wasn’t for the people and the great meeting, it would have been a hair puller of a trip.

But don’t think for a moment that it wasn’t a great week. Here are a few highlights since my last post:

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It looks meager, but at least there was a harvest. This is the time of year where any plants that are still alive are an amazing victory as it hits three digits every day for the next two months. I may have an invention for this though. Stay tuned.

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My childhood jewelry box repainted by artist Lisa Loria showed up yesterday and it’s stunning. Even prettier than the photo. A definite highlight of the month.

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I found this strange vine attacking the creeping rosemary today. It looks like a Little Shop of Horrors green bean! Yanked the sucker out of the front plants.

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The countertop dudes came and gave us counters in under two hours. Love love love the quartz.

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This is pretty exciting because now the lounge and the living/dining room are pretty much DONE! It looks great too.

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The seaming of the dining room countertop was so cool. The machine vibrated and hummed as it squeezed the small piece to the big one.

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You can only see the seam very close up.

So then, it’s the weekend. Tomorrow we’ll be putting finishing touches on the fabulous new office. I just love it–Bruce’s color choices were amazing. It is such a comfortable tv venue now. And probably a delightful place to work although the Gs and I preferred the kitchen table as usual

It’s Godiva’s birthday on Sunday (Bastille Day is the day we picked for her) so we’re going to go swimming. Our friends are away and offered us their pool. Godiva loves to swim so its the perfect birthday for a 4 year old. I’m sure there will be photos. Plus George needs to learn…

Sow: fall/DIY/dog saving

For a weekend, this ranks right up with our top #10 busiest. Friday, surface of the sun all-you-can-eat (or not) baseball for Bruce’s work.

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Yesterday?

Well, I was supposed to work. Instead I spent time up in the peach tree, harvesting:

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It was a fair haul. Not as good as last year but the fruit is larger. The composter got a lot of half eaten or bird pecked peaches, but I know it will be delicious dirt one day. George wanted to eat any peaches that fell on the ground.

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Lots of garden work. More tomatoes harvested. The first okra came in. The last cucumber.

We grilled the okra tonight–amazing. Just toss with olive oil and salt and pepper. Delicious. NOT slimy at all.

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Pulled out the last of the carrots.

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Lots of garden is cleared so we can start the fall planting in a few weeks. Hard to believe!

Another big beet harvest with more to come.

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Dunked all of the rain barrels (those are the little donuts).

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One of the beets was really big. That’s Bruce’s iPhone next to the beet.

Saturday was also the day we kept working on the family room/lounge. Our little fridge for beer, wine and drinks came in so Bruce and the Gs took the truck to go and get it. Bruce and I went to pick up the last cabinet after confirming the fridge’s dimensions in real life, in place, not just at the store. And a shower solidified my farmer’s tan.

And then there was the more somber purpose of today: saving the Gs and their pals. We spent 6 hours in a dog first aid and CPR class learning what to do if there’s an emergency. Sobering. But good. I feel a lot better since I am prepared for the worst.

Now, Bruce is assembling that last cabinet so we can do a preliminary countertop measurement.

Our pal the electrician is coming by on Tuesday since we uncovered another issue while attempting to install a replacement ceiling fan in the office/tv room. He needs to move the new fridge plug anyway and better understand what else still needs to happen.

The plumber needs to visit to remove and cap the wet bar sink, making it a more useful dry bar.

See what I mean about busy? And I’m traveling all week this week, leaving Bruce to harvest tomatoes, okra, peppers and chard. Back Thursday!

So: a break + photos

So, you haven’t heard from me for a few days. Unfortunately life has a funny way of filling up all of my writing spaces when I skip a day. Or maybe subconsciously I wanted a May 2-4 weekend (aka Victoria Day weekend) last weekend instead of Memorial Day this coming weekend. Not sure, but all I know is sentences did not get strung together and very few photos got taken. But maybe this post will make up for it!

Friday night we went to the BARC (Build A Rescue Clinic) Gala for Mazie’s Mission, the awesome rescue organization that saved George. Since it was a 1970s party, Bruce and I put on our vintage best:

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100% authentic 1970s polyester, baby!

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many guys with real hairdos like Bruce’s chose to accessorize with big hair

The outfits were even more amazing than last year. Lots of tie-dye and polyester but also:

great shoes

great shoes (don’t worry, fishy isn’t real)

fun spinning disco ball centerpieces

fun spinning disco ball centerpieces

Mazie’s Mission needs $3 million to build their clinic. As I mentioned in last post, Mazie’s Mission was founded by veterinarian Dr. Erin Shults to bring a self-sustaining, focused approach to animal welfare with the purpose of eliminating unnecessary euthanasia. They provide medical care, expert forensic evidence and adoption assistance to shelters, rescue groups, first responders and other non-profit animal welfare groups. The ultimate goal of Mazie’s Mission will be to establish a world class hospital and lifetime sanctuary for the care of those animals that cannot find a home.

My photos aren’t great (lighting wasn’t ideal to shoot these photos), but they’ll give you an idea. And if you’re interested in learning more or making a donation, visit their website. Or ask me. I might be able to answer your question too.

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aerial view of the clinic grounds

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another view of the clinic buildings

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architect’s rendering of the buildings

It’s a great cause and one I’m definitely proud to support since George was a beneficiary of Mazie’s Mission and Dr. Schults’ skill as a veterinary surgeon. She is an amazing person and it would be fantastic to help her bring her vision into reality.

Speaking of George, he was a bit of a mess yesterday:

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poor Georgie hurt his toe! he’s wearing a human’s sock (mine) to keep from licking it.

Notice his “bandaged” right foot. We woke up to George licking his foot. Sometime between his final let out of the night and his first let out of the am, George was most likely bit by a bug. He licked his swollen toe until it was nice and red. Since it was Sunday, our vet clinic wasn’t open but luckily we have a good friend (hi Christine!) who is a vet tech. She helped us to figure out what we should do to make him more comfortable and also if we needed to go to the emergency clinic (no, thank goodness). Because we had a bunch of medications on hand (a benefit of having Guinness), we were able to get him somewhat fixed up and feeling better fast.

First, I soaked his foot in Epsom salts for 15 minutes. Then I applied some Tritop antibiotic cream, fed him a delicious Benedryl and Rimadyl (anti-inflamatory) wedge of Laughing Cow Lite cheese (the best pill hider for the Gs), and “bandaged” his foot with a sock (mine) and some paper painters’ tape (to keep sock on and prevent sock from getting wet from licks). There was no morning walk for poor George and he woefully waited at the big bay window for Godiva and Guinness to return. Even though he had no mobility issues, we thought it would be better for him to rest and relax (and he’s good at snoozing).

His foot got soaked 3 times yesterday (plus ointment application and a clean sock) and once so far today. His toe seems much less swollen and it is definitely not as red. I saw a bump that looks like an ant bite (itchy!) so maybe that was what happened. If it’s not better by tomorrow morning, our vet tech friend wants me to take him to the vet. They are planning the Mortroski Wing at the vet clinic, so why not, right? Seriously, he’ll be going if it’s not better tonight.

Other weekend highlights included braving the crowds at Costco on a Saturday (not recommended unless you pack your patience), cleaning the very dusty and dirty Mortroski Midcentury, continuing to put away the stuff relocated because of the flooring and trim installation, the usual assortment of household chores, and finally some cabinet installation that hit a speed bump (it has since been figured out so we can hopefully work on it more tonight):

getting the new dark wood cabinets in place -- they will have drawers so being light colored on the inside will help us see what's in there

getting the new cabinets in place

No time for harvesting except for the peas (tons of snow peas and a cupful of sweet English peas for Bruce) for Saturday night supper, a bit of spinach for Sunday morning’s omelette, some lettuce for Sunday lunch’s salmon burgers (nice to have a produce stand in the backyard), so I squeezed some in before work today. Other than a plethora of weeds, today’s haul was tons of rainbow chard, red romaine, lots of mixed lettuce of all types, baby carrots (the real ones not the shaved down large ones), radishes, and chioggia and Detroit red beets.

Check out my biggest chioggia beet to date:

beetzilla!

beetzilla!

Yes, I’ll be roasting beets when I get home tonight.

The tomato forrest was bird netted this morning. I was especially worried about the succulent little sweet 100s — they look like they’re potential bird candy. Found a bit of blossom rot on the Burpee Big Boys, but after some research they could be too wet or not have enough calcium to support themselves. I will pick up some calcium for them later this week and watch their water supply.

Other than that, it’s back to work. We moved floors on Friday so it’s been a bit chaotic in the office for the past few days and rather noisy today with drills, saws, etc. Kind of reminds me of home!

sow: obscene harvest

obscene! yes, that is our kitchen table groaning under the weight of the bounty

obscene! yes, that is our kitchen table groaning under the weight of the bounty

Don’t worry, friends. That craziness will feed 3 other families this week in addition to Bruce and me. It was a productive two weeks for spinach, chard, mixed salad greens, cilantro, mint, parsley, oregano, red velvet lettuce, candy cane beets (the very first ones!) and bok choi. And it felt awesome to pick everything, feel the sun on my back (hello, farmers’ tan!) and do a little weeding this morning. It’s an exciting time on the Urban Farm — English peas are podding, snow peas are flowering, okra plants are sprouting, salad greens are weed-like, tomato plants are getting huge, peppers are starting to flower, beets/carrots/radishes are all forming, herbs are going insane. So much is going on. The Urban Farm is looking very pretty and there’s lots of deliciousness about to happen. Ah, the relaxation.

As you surmised from yesterday, it’s not been a restful or relaxing weekend around here. Dumps, IKEA, moving furniture, getting rid of stuff, etc, etc, etc. And there will be no rest this week. Destroy! Rip out! Sort! Give away! Donate! Put away! Spring cleaning on steroids. Or as I like to think of it an extended Date Night. At least there’s wine every night as a reward for so much physical labor.

Officially, today we became carpet-free home. All of the beige big box store lowest possible grade carpet is gone. It was an excellent magnet for black lab and yellow lab/golden retriever hair and dander. My allergies (nose and eyes) are going insane with the amount of 47 years of dirt, dust, dog hair and dander that I sucked up with the shop vac and the Dyson Monster. But after a shower and a little down time, I’m feeling better. Still I’m having Zyrtec with a Benedryl chaser tonight before bed. That and all the carrying, hammering, prying, cursing, and working will ensure a sound night’s sleep.

The trim around doors and floors in some of the rooms and hall is also gone. It is a bit unattractive around here and most of our furniture is either in the garage, the living/dining room, or back in the office (office furniture only). We still have a lot of work to do on the office, but we need somewhere clean where we can sit and rest after all of our work. In our bedroom, we put down blankets before we dropped our mattress on the bare floor. And we put some blankets under the dog beds too. We are wearing flip flops inside the house at the moment, despite the double vacuuming efforts. The Gs don’t seem to mind the bare concrete.

However, the Gs are a little unsure of what’s going on. George is slowly but surely getting over his phobia of loud sounds, power tools, the shop vac, and swearing. Godiva and Guinness are happy that we’re leaving all of the back doors open and they can come and go out for a squirrel hunt/bark/pee as they please.  There was lots of snoozing in the sun by those lazy hounds punctuated by squirrel chasing and a little visiting with our friend Camille. Despite the inside the house chaos, the Gs had an awesome weekend outside. Good thing since they’ll have another next weekend.

No sense of getting ahead of ourselves: this week will be busy. We have several rooms and closets yet to prep (aka things to destroy and remove) for Saturday’s bamboo-ing. We need to pour a bit of concrete in the lounge to level the floors where the wet bar and the tv cabinet used to be. We need to assemble the new cabinets on the tv side and get them in place for the bamboo dudes. And there’s a trip to IKEA in order on Thursday night.

We’re going to need our pal Jim the Master Plumber to come and remove/cap the wet bar sink and our other pal David the Master Electrician to move the plug. We’re not keeping the bar wet since in the nearly two years we’ve lived here we’ve never used the sink. But we’ll be adding a beverage fridge eventually so we need to make sure the electrical is ok. David loves what we’re doing with the place—he enjoys being part of the process and likes seeing the progress. Maybe that’s because he’s our age and wishes he had the energy and stamina to make his wife happy with the kind of improvements we’re doing. Seventy-one year old Jim is amused by our renos—the Urban Farm allowed him to share his dating exploits with Bruce (never with me, he’s too Southern). Apparently in East Texas if you are a single man of a certain age, the garden clubs are the best places to meet oil money widows. Rush out there everyone!

Well, George is snoring (loudly) and it’s time for bed. Hope you all had as excellent of a weekend as we did. (Yes. I know we’re crazy.)

 

 

So: today’s DIY adventure

We had an adventure today. Not only did we par down the possessions, we also ripped out more carpet and got to visit our local dump. All of us. Yes, the 3G Network went with us in the truck to experience the transfer station with us. If you want to imagine the experience, imagine the worst smell you can remember. Then imagine contractors and homeowners making a pile of stuff in a giant building scented with the worst smell you can remember. That’s the dump. Ick, but on our way to the dump we saw 1) a pretty cool looking biker bar, 2) a trail around a lake that looks like a great dog walk, 3) plenty of unique and strange import stores.

We did a ton of work today, but there’s still lots to do: pull up the smooth edge in the two guest bedrooms and then vacuum up all of the bits left behind; break down the furniture in our bedroom and move it to the garage and porch; rip out the bedroom carpet (then all of it will finally be out); pull out the smooth edge in our room; remove all of the trim in three bedrooms.

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And we went to IKEA. If you’ve ever visited an Ikea store, you know that it is a place to be avoided at all costs, especially on the weekend. But unfortunately, the cabinets they offer are part of our design for this stage of the reno. And it is open until 9 pm  on Saturdays and there is a big sale on for cabinets (ends tomorrow). We went and arrived around 5 pm. Thanks for Kyle H. we got most of the pieces we need to make our new dining room built-in buffet (perfect for dinner parties) and for our new lounge cabinet. He was amazingly helpful and maximized the spaces we have. Bravo, Kyle H.! You are a cabinet planning genius! Thank you.

We’ll worry about the countertop later (quartz is what we are thinking), but for now, we’ve got lounge cabinets to get in place by Saturday when the flooring magicians show up. Those poor dudes have to get the whole rest of the house paved, I mean, bamboo-zled, by Saturday night. I will be outside, weeding the front plants and tinkering around with the Urban Farm while I entertain the Gs (I can’t wait).

The house is pretty bare at the moment. so please don’t drop by unless you want to sit outside. The patio is looking just fine as is the front porch, but rooms really do look bigger with furniture in them just like the real estate agents say. Our real estate agent would be horrified to see what we’ve done with the place. But don’t worry, we’re not inviting her over until we’re done.

Speaking of furniture, Guinness is THRILLED that the office/tv watching space has furniture again (we moved everything back since this will be our only space where we can chill next week and next weekend until the new floor is all in). He is much happier now that his favorite nap sofa is available to him. The office still needs work, but we’ll get it done once we can put all of the other furniture (now in the garage and dining room) back where it goes. It needs paint. It needs another row of our custom panelling. It needs a cool ceiling fan. It needs stain. It needs organization and throw pillows. And a three large-ish dogs to nap in it.

Tonight we’re all chilling. Godiva is exhausted from playing ball (we had a little happy hour on the patio and chucked the ball to her for the whole hour). Guinness and George are exhausted from their latest attempts at squirrel hunting (I pity the fat rats with better PR because their days are numbered. Ick.) Bruce is exhausted from carrying huge rolls of gnarly carpet, flats from IKEA, and chucking stuff into piles at the dump. I’m just happy to remain vertical at the moment and have the strength to type. It’s been a very physical day.

So we must head to bed and rest up for another physical day. The good thing is we can rest on Monday.