Tuesday, October 30, 2007

It's a beige world

When I moved into Tim's condo, he had painted only one wall in the whole place. He painted the brick red dining "room" and fireplace. It was . . . a bold choice of color. I decided that I wanted to paint the master bedroom, upstairs hallway, and downstairs powder room. They had been contractor white for far too long. He pretty much let me choose whichever color I wanted and each room ended up a beautiful shade of . . . beige. Tim complained and complained about the beige and told anyone who would listen that I picked the safest, most boring non-color ever.

Now, when I open my new Domino or Elle Decor, I naturally gravitate towards rooms that are not drenched in color. I like the calming influence of neutrals. Some may consider that boring, but it's just me. I can't help it. Fast forward to the new house where we have some beige walls, and some red walls, and some yellow and green walls. Last night I pulled out the Benjamin Moore color wheel (we didn't steal it! the painter left it at the last place!) to peruse some possible colors. I settled on three colors for our master bedroom, a light greenish-gray, a pale blue-gray, and a very neutral beige. The beige was there for comparison sake only. I gave Tim the swatches and asked his opinion. He took one look and pointed to the beige. My mouth hit the floor. And he wasn't kidding.

Now, when I end up with a beige house, you know who to blame.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

I Choose Door #3

We've made it through the first week with flying colors! Or, more appropriately, flying boxes! Rooms are arranged, boxes are (mostly) unpacked, and the animals are still alive. I think it has been a most productive first week. My question to you is this: we have three bedrooms. The first is clearly ours, the second will be a guest room for all of our lovely (albeit marginally intoxicated at the time) friends, and the third . . .well, it WAS a nursery. It will most likely be a nursery again. In the future. But for now, it needs a new identity. Part of me loves the idea of an office, but seriously? I have my own pretty cube at work (I'm not there now, typing this, no way, never, shhhhhh), and I don't EVER do work from home. Yay for banker's hours! What would be the point of having a home office? So I can read even MORE blogs?

Tim needs one, and he has succesfully turned the basement into his own version of the man cave. He's all set. He just needs a fridge. And that is against my better judgment. So, what should I do with my third bedroom for the time being? Right now it is a lovely shade of green with tiny Winnie the Pooh stencils. Sorry, but I don't like the Pooh. That will most definitely be going far, far away. So I will have to paint--preferably something that does not need to be changed when we turn it back into a nursery.

Besides an office, what is another use for an empty room? Should I go all Candy Spelling and have a gift wrap room? Nope, too much pressure come the holidays when everyone will expect a beautifully appointed gift. (If you didn't catch it, that is a pretty pathetic excuse NOT to have a gift wrap room. A more appropriate excuse would be that I don't want to be associated with Candy Spelling. Now Tori? Maybe. Her show is funny!) A craft room? A storage room? A shut the door and stop obsessing over it for god's sake room?

Pictures to come, I promise!!! I can't find the power cord to my computer at home, so I will have to do some digging. Continue waiting with bated breath. . .

Friday, October 19, 2007


So, I've seen this going around on a number of blogs, and it seems like an interesting idea. I consider this a little introspective look at what's going on in my life. Maybe a little narcissistic, but isn't a blog considered that anyways?

Right now:

I am thrilled . . . about our new house (duh). It makes me so happy to wake up in it every morning. I hear birds chirping; it's absolutely divine.

I don't miss . . . the ambulances roaring by in the middle of the night or bus route #77 to Diversey and Lakeshore announcing its arrival every 8-10 minutes, 24 hours a day at our old place. I also don't miss having to leash up Miss Lily Pants for every walk. Our backyard rocks.

I'm planning . . . what color to paint the pepto bismol pink guest bedroom. Pale pale green or blue? I fear the green can turn out minty toothpaste-like. I don't need bathroom staples on my walls thankyouverymuch.

I'm listening to . . . classical music in my cube at work. I'm trying it as a calming mechanism. I've been overly hyped up and kind of crazy lately, so I'm hoping this will help me be more serene. I also tried yoga to do that but that didn't take.

I'm looking forward to . . . for the immediate future, our weekend. We have some fun plans with friends we haven't seen in a while, and I get to show my lovely grandmother our new house. For the not so immediate future, I'm looking forward to feeling more settled in the house and tackling some decorating projects.

I'm wanting . . . way too many things to list. All material goods of course. For myself, a few new wintry things like herringbone pants, and a new bag. For the house, the perfect kitchen table, a new TV, art for my bare walls, new bedding, the list goes on. All in due time.

So there you have it.

Also, a very Happy Birthday shout out to D! Welcome to 26 my dearest. And a welcome back to S. . .your wedding was gorgeous, and you were a stunning bride!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

We're going green!

When Tim and I decided to buy this old house, we understood that we are going to have to do more upkeep than if we had bought a new house. We also know that a 122 year old house may have good bones, but renovations will be required. So, we agreed that any changes to the home would be done in an environmentally-friendly manner.

Now, I am not one to jump on every trend or bandwagon, but preserving our world is one thing I completely support. It's not trendy, it's not cool, it's necessary. We're fortunate to live in the only recycling test district in Chicago. This means that we have designated recycling bins that are picked up on garbage day, rather than using the "blue bags" that other Chicago residents just toss in with their regular garbage. Supposedly, these designated bins are more successful than the "blue bags" at getting the recycling actually recycled. We're on board for this program 150%.

So, that's one step in the right direction. Another idea we had, and we got this from "Living with Ed" on HGTV (check it out, great show!), is to use a soybean based foam-like insulation that you blow into your attic spaces and between walls. It's naturally derived, completely renewable, and doesn't give off any toxic waste. My guess, and this is a wild one, but my 122 year old house may need a little assistance with insulation. We're going with the soybean product, and we hope to have it installed by the end of this winter. Reviews to come.

Yesterday we replaced a number of old lightbulbs with the flourescent bulbs. I'll be honest, I have always hated the bright white light that flourescent bulbs give off, but Benards of all places actually sells flourescents that have the same "soft white" light that incandescent bulbs give off. Sign me up! I can't find these at Home Despot, or maybe I'm just ignorant. Either way, this is a simple, inexpensive way to make a small change. And save some money on your bills. Same thing with buying Energy Star rated appliances. We're going to need a new washing machine and dryer in the near future, and we're not even going to waste our time with products that aren't energy efficient. And these tankless hotwater heaters?! So freaking cool! When we need a new one, that is at the top of the list.

Another great idea that we're contemplating is bringing in skylights to reduce the number of electric lights we need to have on. These are not your standard rectangular style skylights. These are reflective tunnels that come in many diameters that you install in your roof and then snake down into the room where you desire more natural light. Its great because you can bring in natural sunlight from your second story roof down to your basement, or first floor dining room in our case. Again, Benards is selling a version that I checked out last night. And in time there will be even more like-minded products to choose from.

We would also like to replace our kitchen countertops eventually. We have a laminate right now that looks fine and is in good condition, but it's just not great. Tim and I have been doing lots of research into natural vs. manufactured stones and materials and the different effects the harvesting/manufacturing has on the environment. Ideally we would like to find a product that is locally created so we don't have to think about the environmental costs of its traveling to get to us. We'll get back to you when we figure it out. There is so much information flooding the marketplace right now. This is not going to be an easy decision.

And the piece de resistance, BMW is launching a "greener" version of the the 3 series Tim currently owns. Now, just so you all don't think we're image snobs, Tim has owned cars from every manufacturer out there, and firmly believes that the Germans know what's up better than anyone else. They may be slow to get on the green wagon, but they're getting there. They just want to make sure its a perfect product. So, once we see that BMW symbol go green, you better believe we both will be the first ones in line. For now, its the gas guzzlers for us and our shame at the pump next to Lis's pretty blue Prius.

Those are all endeavors that require expense. A few ways to think about it is to really recycle everything. And I don't mean your soda cans and plastics. I mean buying old furniture and making it new again by reupholstering or painting it. Craigslist is a gold mine for this sort of thing, and Ebay has been doing it for years. We buy new when you can re-use? I know this is not always ideal, and some things will be bought fresh off the department store floor, but it's a great alternative.

I'm going to continue doing as much research as I can on new products, materials, and processes, and make wise decisions on our energy consumption. I want a healthy home in which to raise our children. I want to look back on the changes we make to this house and know we did the best we could in protecting the environment.

Monday, October 15, 2007

A new beginning

We did it! We are officially moved in and climbing out from the sea of boxes. I am thrilled. The house is beautiful and perfect. I'll get pictures up as soon as AT&T can get their act together and get us connected to the internet. Only a couple of very minor issues, but overall, we had a smooth move and an easy first day in our new home.

I can't wait for the memories we're going to create here.

And a great big thank you to those who helped us unpack and keep focused! We couldn't have done it without you!

(By the way, my new neighbor, A, had already baked us muffins by the time our moving truck showed up. She rocks. She is so getting a thank you note.)

Thursday, October 11, 2007

The last post in which there is some semblance of a complaint

Stress manifests itself in different ways. Some people fall ill, others overeat. Some may just spend some extra time in bed or in the bath. Me? I feel drunk, all the time. I lose my short-term memory, I can't walk in a straight line, and my head is swirling. Its kind of surreal actually. But as of tomorrow (eeeeek!!!) it will all be better. We close tomorrow. I still can't believe it.

I can't wait.

Monday, October 8, 2007


We're so close. I can feel it. I'm nervous, excited, terrified, thrilled, and most of all happy. I spent most of last night awake, staring at the ceiling and thinking about the new ceiling I'll be staring at in a few short days. It's not ours, yet it will be . . . all of it. Four walls, a ceiling, and a floor. All of it, ours. So cool.

We close Friday, and move in Saturday. In the words of my eternally wise grandmother, "You are changing the toilet seats right?" Umm . . . yes. Now that you mention it. . .

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

It's my birthday-wheeeeeee!

Thanks to all who have made this such a special day already! I truly appreciate it!

Monday, October 1, 2007

I heart moving

It's official. We've sold our condo, and we're now homeless. In a manner of speaking of course. The closing itself went smoothly. The actual moving did not. On Thursday of last week, I had scheduled our move for 2:30 pm. The day before I went and picked up the key to our storage unit and made sure of their hours and policies, etc. I confirmed with the movers and went to sleep for the last night in our place feeling confident everything would be fine. I woke up Thursday ready to go. We took the cat and dog to my parents' house to get them out of the way and then went back to the condo to finish up some packing and wait for the movers.

At 1 pm I got a call from the moving company scheduler, E. E told me that the movers were going to be late because the elevator in the building that they were at for the move before us had broken and the guys were going to have to use the stairs. She gave me an ETA of 3:30-4 pm. Ok, fine. This kind of thing happens. I figured that as long as they were there by 4, we would have plenty of time to move everything out and into storage by the closing time of 10 pm. That's a whole 6 hours, and my estimate told me the move would take 3.5 hours. We're doing great! Rah rah, go Team!

My enthusiasm began to wan when the movers still hadn't arrived by 4:30 pm. Our stress levels were building. Finally at 4:45 pm, the three movers showed up with their truck. Within minutes they were moving boxes. About an hour into the move the job foreman, A, took me aside and told me the move looks like it'll take 6 hours. That was a huge surprise since the estimate seemed fairly tight, and I didn't have that many more boxes than I had anticipated. I told A that we didn't have 6 hours since we have to be moved into the storage facility by 10 pm. He kept going and they tried their best to move quickly. E called and tried to tell me I underestimated the amount of stuff we had. I told her to call me only with good news.

E calls at about 7:45 pm asking how the job was going. I told her that we were only half done and that I was extremely worried we weren't going to be finished by 10 pm. She asked if she could send a 4th guy out and I agreed. Of course you can! Whatever it takes. My new slogan.

The 4th guy was the laziest, most incompetent man on earth. He wasted time dragging his feet and drinking his Monster Energy drink. Hello . . . mister No-Energy man, get your ass in gear! We don't have time for you to "rest". YOU just got here. So, at 9:30 pm I am officially freaking out and decided to head over to the storage facility to see if I could get the door open at 10 for the truck. As I pulled in and used the code to open the door, the alarms went off. I thought that was a nice touch. Here storage user, don't freak out! We're just so happy you're here we want to make the lights flash and wake the neighbors. I called the 1-800 number to see how I could open the door after 10 pm if needed. My conversation with the gentleman on the line went like this:

Me: Sir, what happens if I'm in the garage after 10 pm and need to get my truck in to unload?
Man: Ma'am, I don't mean to alarm you, but you need to leave the facility immediately. After 10 pm the facility is on lock down and no doors will open to let you out. You will be stuck until morning.
Me: What? Huh? Say that again.
Man: Please head out now before you are locked in.
Me: (expletives)
Man: Ma'am?
Me: Sorry! Ok, I'm out now.
Man: Maybe you should call your movers . . .
Me: Buddy, you better believe they are getting a call from me.
Man: Thanks for calling. Have a great night! Good luck!
Me: Hah.

So, basically, the movers had to finish loading the truck still and then keep it in a secure location overnight because they were late and screwed up the whole day. The best part is that they couldn't tell me exactly when I could expect them to unload the truck since they were so booked. Sweet. My stuff is somewhere in Chicago for the night, possibly longer.

The next morning, Friday, we had our closing, handed over the keys and told him we left eggs and a loaf of bread in the refrigerator on accident. Make yourself a sandwich friend. At 1:00 pm I got a call that the truck would be there at 1:30 - 2 pm to unload at the storage unit. Tim and I highttailed it from the Loop up north and made it there on time. Much to my surprise they were half done. They had 6 guys and were moving at lightning speed. Finally at about 3 pm they were done and paid. I sold a kidney for this.

All in all, this was the worst moving experience of my young life. It wasn't anyone's fault per se. They were late because of an unforeseen problem and that threw off everything else. The moving company handled it professionally and made it as easy as they could. But now I know. . .I need 4 guys, a bigger truck, and the first move of the day. I've got it all figured out for October 13th. Make no mistake, E, if this takes as long the second time, its YOUR fault.