Friday, April 14, 2006

Cats Love Me

But I don't love cats.

Upon arrival home one day this week, I hear a mewing sound. I have to investigate, because it isn't immediately obvious where the sound is coming from. Finally, I see the little furry yellow cat in the dogwood in our front yard. She has a little bell around her neck and she is terrified. Here little kitty, here little kitty, I say. I reach for her, she fretfully climbs downward toward me, and when she reaches me, uses me as a launching pad down.

It is painful.

The pain from the scratches on my arm and neck is only subdued by the sheer gratitude she shows me. She rubs all over my legs, like I am her hero.

That's how I saw it then, anyway. Now, with the scratches a few days old and itchy, I want to put a hit out on the cute kitty. Seriously.

Otherwise, things are great in "This Old House." A new fence, a new roof, and new appliances -- it's a work zone, but I CAN see the light at the end of the tunnel.

I think I'll be taking Fred's advice on the wallpaper removal. I'll let you all know how the product works.

At least the hounds are THRILLED with the new digs. Maggie just gave me a snuggle.

Yeah. That's what it is all about.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Dog Can't Hold Her Licker

My ankle is shriveling up because Daisy has been licking it for the last ten minutes.

She is nervous because there are roofers atop the house hammering away. It's a very personal noise -- like someone is standing next to me, knocking on the wall. I could have all the blinds drawn, and be in a very private place, but the noise will still invade.

I arrived home late from work today and Len is in Seattle again, so I expected chaos in the house. The hounds were very happy to see me, and I noted one small Daisy-sized accident, but other than that, they seem to have returned to their pre-Seattle routine.

I fed them and took them out for a nice long walk. I met a new neighbor, Dennis, who has a dog and marveled at my ability to handle four at once. He saw me near the end of the walk. He remarked on Scully's and Maggie's pooping skills (simultaneous and on the same spot -- it was surreal, but very easy to scoop up) and mentioned he'd seen Len with them before. Everyone likes these guys.

Suzy and Clark were our first official visitors. They stopped in on their way home from Augusta on Saturday and had dinner with us. We LOVED seeing them and look forward to them coming for a longer stay sometime soon.

I'm not sure how late these roofers will be here -- it's already 7 p.m. and Len said it would only take a day. From what I can see, they have two days left on this job. I can't wait for them to leave. I want to hang out in the back yard with the hounds while the sun is still out. It's been such a lovely day.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Wallpaper? Who invented this crap?

Wallpaper sucks.

I actually plan to install a bit of wallpaper in my house, it's true, but in general, wallpaper sucks.

I remember scraping wallpaper off the walls of both the Michigan houses we owned -- hating every minute in the second house. The first house, thankfully, featured the kind where removal is relatively easy -- almost like the folks who installed the stuff said to themselves, "who in their right mind will like this after a couple years on the wall?" They thoughtfully made that stuff the peal off variety.

The Woods Road house only had two rooms with wallpaper, one big and one small, but in order to get the crap off I had to rent a steamer and struggle through that process. Those are three days I'll never get back.

But, beware the single woman in a house for twelve years. I say this because men don't care about wallpaper -- until it's time to remove it. Men do not choose this stuff--women do.

Don't misunderstand, I'm not a hater. Wallpaper can be cool. But not in my house. And, invariably, I seem to be the person who has to de-install this shit.

The woman who owned our house until March 8, 2006, apparently LOVED wallpaper. It's in the kitchen, it's in both bathrooms, it's in the hallway, it's in the dining room. I did not think about the consequences of these facts when I bought this place.

I recently began the process of wallpaper removal. I bought the Tiger, I bought DIF, I bought the special Tiger scraper. No luck. It seems I'll be heading toward the steamer rental store soon. The best I could do with the DIF and Tiger was a few half-inch-wide strips here and there on a wall.

There is a chair rail in the dining room. I'm not going to strip the paper below the rail. Instead, I'm going to install a textured paintable paper there and paint it -- then glaze it to show off the texture. Sounds kinda cool but will probably be something someone strips off with distain someday.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Progress at last

We've been in the house in Decatur now for nearly a month. Our stuff is here in relatively reasonable places, but we can't finish unpacking and arranging until the storage building arrives. It's not a big house, and we have ten bicycles perched in various places throughout the place and we live with four dogs. I'm feeling pretty frustrated because I have no where to move stuff out of the way of any painting and wallpaper scraping activities I'd like to do.

But, we did order the building, a 10x12 model that will hold all the cycles and garden gear and tools, etc., and will even have a loft for things like Christmas and other holiday boxes or whatever else we decide to store there. Our new privacy fence is scheduled to be installed tomorrow, which will really be nice in the mornings when I'm not properly dressed to take the hounds on a nature-call walk. It was really difficult for me last week when Len was in Seattle and I was handling all four at once, many, many times each day!

My birthday was last week, and we went to a nice little French cafe in Decatur called Cafe Alsace. We took MARTA the one stop to the square and then back and walked home from the station. It was pretty fabulous! I'm loving the lack of driving we do now.

But, speaking of driving, we do a lot of it on the weekends. We've been to Home Depot about a zillion times, and since we want to replace the kitchen appliances, we've been to the Sears scratch and dent store and Lowes and any other appliance store we can find. Once all this commerce is complete, I hope the car sits idle for long, long periods between rides!

Len got a subscription to Consumer Reports on line to research the appliances. After all the appliances we have had in all the various homes we've owned, we have a pretty good idea of what we like and don't like. Our kitchen in Smyrna was by far the very nicest we have ever had. I loved the powerful cooktop and the double ovens, but the dishwasher was very loud and the microwave was just odd thanks to its weird controls. Our range in Seattle had a nice oven, with pretty even heat, but simmering was not an option on any of the burners. Just like the burners on this stove in Decatur, the only option was boil high or boil low.

And, this is a personal choice, but I really feel that stainless steel only looks good on the professional series appliances like Viking or the Jenn-Air we had in Smyrna and the like. To me, a Kenmore range with stainless steel is like a house with brick only on the front. Why bother? So, we wanted black because it will flow nicely with the style of the kitchen.

We found a great GE Profile range. It has two ovens: An oversized oven on top and where the broiler or storage drawer would be on another range, a small oven. There are five burners with the continuous grate feature, or you can pull off the center grate and exchange it with a griddle plate. The burner under that grate is oblong. There are two super-powerful burners and a mid-range, and one with an ultra-low simmer feature. Best of all, Consumer Reports rates it a good buy!

After going through the CR site, I decided on a couple refrigerators and dishwashers -- all either Kenmore or Kitchen Aid, and we headed out to the closest Sears store. I didn't want to spend much more than $500 for the dishwasher, but the one I really wanted was a $900 Kenmore! But, on the CR site, I found a very nice alternative for $500 and planned to get that one. When we got to Sears, the one I really wanted, the $900 one, was on close-out for $550! It was a floor model and black! We snatched that one right up.

As for the frig, we were really limited by the height restriction from our cabinets. We found a very nice black side by side Kenmore that fits the space. The microwave that we already have in the kitchen, which happens to be black, also happens to be the highest rated of its type on CR -- so no need to get a new Microwave!

The coolest news, though, was if I got a Sears credit card, I'd get a 20 percent rebate on all Kenmore products I bought with the card that day. So,yes, I got a card! We'll get something like $300 back!

It was a great shopping experience! The new stuff will be delivered April 14. Hurrah!

Now, for Len news. He was accepted at Georgia State Law School! The reason that is such great news is that he had not yet been accepted to any Atlanta school when we moved here and in the back of my mind I started to freak out since the decision process was taking so long. Phew! Now we wait to hear from Emory and see what Len decides. Life is good.