Sunday, August 31, 2008

Is That Chinese Food?

[That was the question posed to us by one of the wood floor workers yesterday evening as we sat at the dining room table having dinner...]

Yes. [By which we mean you can't have any.]

Where'd you get it?

[Presumably a Chinese restaurant?!?]

Sunny Garden [And no, you still can't have any.]

How far?

[Fumbled attempts at directions] [And NO, you really can't have any.]

It's okay. I have GPS.

He then proceeded to leave, we guess buy some food, and then sit in our driveway in a parked and darkened van for three hours until the floor dried. [Alas, they had foolishly shellacked their equipment into our utility room and we weren't amenable to letting them come back in the morning to retrieve it.]

Bag o' Yarn!

Yesterday I got a surprise bag o' yarn in the mail from KK in Manhattan!! What a wonderful surprise! Big shout out thank you. Got to love crafters!!

Comic Timing

Today while we were out, we had a bag of Miss B.'s toys with us. One of the toys is a round dog thing that laughs and giggles when you shake it. At one point we're driving along and the Husband made a comment about what gas prices should be given inflation, etc. and as soon as he made mention of gas being $1.97 per gallon we heard a laugh from out of the toy bag. Then, not too much later, when the Husband made a statement to the effect that the road we were taking had a marginally better chance of us not getting into an accident, again, incredulous laughter from the toy bag.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Update on the Sting.

Okay so, if you know me well then you know that I'm a sweller. I get a mosquito bite and the thing swells up like a golf ball. I don't understand it, but that's just how my body works (this may explain a lot of why I tend not to be outdoorsy, that and what happens to me when I'm exposed to poison ivy... but that's a whole other thing entirely). I got stung on Tuesday and yesterday I got really swollen. This morning? I could actually bearly open my left eye. I looked like Quasimodo. I called my doctor's office and they suggested going with Benadryl instead of Trichlormiton (or however it's spelled/said...) and that I could put cortizone cream on the area as well (which is totally counterintuitive since those creams always say to *AVOID THE EYE AREA*!!!) I've done this and the swelling has gone down a bit (thankfully) but now I have a giant red ring around my eye. Earlier today I had to go to Pins and Needles, my local knitting shop, to exchange a pair of needles and I took off my sunglasses and the woman just stared. I half-heartedly said: "I got stung in the eye by a bee" Her response? "I was going to ask you about that, it's not black and blue so I knew you weren't punched." Not really your typical knitting store banter. I have tried to limit my contact with the outside world for the past two days because I really can't get used to wearing sunglasses indoors or when interacting with others. It just seems way too Lindsay Lohan. Though, in the words of Posh Spice, quoted from an article in a recent Allure Magazine, "Sunglasses hide a multitude of sins". True, and who even suspected she knew how to use the word multitude?!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


Below is a picture of the floor, after staining. The folks from The Best Little Floor House in Jersey were here today and did a great job with the sanding/staining. The color is a bit darker than it was before, but up close and in person it looks really great. They'll be back on Friday to do the polyurethane. Also, you'll note there are walls (at least some walls...)

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

I Don't Think There's Anything Else to Say...

other than I got stung in the eyebrow by a bee/hornet/wasp/yellow jacket. I'm not sure which. All I know is two of whatever did a very kamikaze-esque attack on me as I attempted to get the mail.

Soundtrack for Life

The Husband had noted what a great soundtrack Casino Royale (2006) had. We got him the disk and he was nice enough to leave it for us in the wagon today. It's pretty cool because you're driving around and you almost feel like you could be in a Bond movie (he has been known to drive a BMW, even if it wasn't a wagon and I'm sure even JB could scare up some intrigue at Home Depot and the post office if given the chance).

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Faber Birren!

Woo-hoo! Today I got notification in the mail from the good folks at the Stamford Art Association that one of my photos from the Paris trip has been selected to appear in the 28th Annual Faber Birren Color Award Show (which, this year is being jurored by a curatorial assistant from MoMA... as in the real MoMA, not the MoMA of Des Moines or something). How neat is that? There's an opening reception on September 28th and if you're in the neighborhood you should check out the show!

What Weef Brings to the Remodeling Table.

iPod! Yes, during last night's master drywall session (which of course, only could begin once Miss B. went to bed...) I offered a helping hand, but most importantly I was in the kitchen for moral support and to work the Bose iPod Sound-dock. First Song? Nothing says kitchen remodel quite like "Woman in Love" by Barbra Streisand. Kudos to the Husband for putting up with that one (it would have only been better if it was one of Barbra's duets with Barry Gibb!!!)

Tonight is day two of Wall Watch '08 (What is wall watch? well, given that some of the walls are afixed with liquid nails, you figure it out.) I also add good advice to any remodeling job. Such as, when the Husband noted that one of the old bombshelter walls was bowed, what was my answer? Break some of that concrete off with a hammer!

Today we painted drylock on the concrete portion of the walls of the kitchen which are exterior. The Husband is also installing all of our floorboards. Yes, Virginia, not only do we have walls, but we have a floor too!

Walls, We Have Walls!

Yes, we have walls (some of them at least) and a ceiling! How exciting.

Scarily, below is wall and not-wall. The not-wall is what's left of what was under our cabinet/tiled wall where our cooktop used to be. It is the heart of the "bombshelter" mentality that whomever did the kitchen last implemented. Let's just say that nothing really can penetrate cinderblock that's been sheathed in metal lathe and an inch and a half of concrete.

Thursday, August 21, 2008


Today Hector from Mr. Handyman finished up his work on the ceiling! (Yes, we have a ceiling!) He even did the soffit area above the windows which had been ripped to shreds during the demo process. The state of the kitchen reminds me of the line from The Money Pit: "Are you testing missles here?" At least we have a ceiling. Game Plan: we're putting up walls (most of them) between now and Monday when Mr. Handyman comes back to do the mudwork. Wednesday? Floor is being refinished. At least things are moving.

In other news, again trying to prove that there is an evolutionary connection between humans and apes, I used my big toe to unlock the wagon the other day. What? My hands were full and the keys were in my purse.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


The train is stopped, in North Elizabeth (I think) and we're waiting for an ambulance for one of the passengers. I've already read People and now I'm half way through InStyle. I fear I may run out of reading material.

Chris Isaak, Again

Tonight I headed in to the city to see Chris Isaak at the Nokia Theater in Times Square! Thanks to Mel for joining me!! The Nokia theater is pretty neat, kind of like a big night club. We were in the general admission/standing section and got pretty great views of the stage. At one point, during a rendition of "Are You Lonesome Tonight" Chris Isaak walked through the crowd and came *this close* to us! So close, in fact, we were touched by the security staff. The show was great fun! Now its back to P-town by train (at least its a doubledecker) oh, and, it was a beautiful night too- 75, breezy and no humidity! A perfect evening to visit Times Square and environs.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


We went to Gymboree this afternoon. The regular crowd of kids weren't there (though there were a couple of familiar faces including Luke-y and his mom and Tattooed biker mom and her baby... who's name we've never known...) Mostly, though, class was inhabited by newcomers including a baby named Siddartha and one named Giada. Next week we're expecting to be introduced to Ivanhoe and Bobby Flay.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Clean and Jerk

In the spirit of the women's weightlifting competition that the Husband watched the other night, today I went to HD to pick up some supplies for the kitchen job. Mr. Handyman is coming on Wednesday to do the ceiling but we're providing the materials. I was in the building materials aisle and I got a big bucket of joint compound. It was heavy, but it didn't have to go far to get onto the bottom of the cart.

When I got out to the car I picked this thing up off the cart and moved it to the ground. I tried to pick it up and realized there was no way I was getting it all the way into the trunk, so I figured I'd bring it around and put it in the front passenger wheel well. I looked at the bucket to see just how much it weighed. 6.1 pounds? I thought, no, that can't be right. It's not right, my eyesight must be going too... it's a SIXTY-ONE pound bucket of joint compound. Or the equivilent of carrying three Miss Babys. That's more than half of my body weight! But I did managed to get it both into the car and back out once we got home. This, however, reinforcing the idea that I no longer want to have to lift heavy objects EVER again!

Wasting Time...

Okay, I should be doing my ICLE homework. Ugh.

Today I felt tired and then later in the day I started to get a little light-headed/nauseous (okay, mom, don't worry, blood pressure is fine)... but if you're already lightheaded, I wouldn't recommend pulling out some pesky-not-yet-dissolved dissolveable stitches from one's wisdom tooth hole with a tweezer. Yeah, that really won't help matters much.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

And the list continues....

HD wants $2200 to put down a tile floor in our *laundry room* (all 106 square feet of it). Plumbing's done and the inspector has signed off... woo-hoo! We're scheduled to pick up our new floor boards on Sunday. Next Tuesday? Floor refinishing estimate is scheduled, additional cabinets are being delivered and Verizon is coming to install a new cable line for the kitchen tv! Wednesday? Drywall.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

What's Going On?

Wisdom tooth removal worked out well on Monday (thanks for everybody's well wishes), and was followed in the afternoon by a meeting with our HD kitchen designer, the representative from HD's contracting company and their subcontractor. The question is, was it better or worse that I had Novocaine earlier in the day? Did it make me more subdued or did the wisdom tooth extraction discomfort make me more agitated? Who knows, all I do know is that for the first part of the meeting I still had a gauze pad in my gum area so I was talking like Peter Sellers impersonating Marlon Brando. Halfway through the meeting I pulled out the gauze pad so I could speak more easily and by the end of the meeting the subcontractor quit. What, he had attitude issues!? Now we're waiting to hear back from HD on what work they will be doing and just how much money they're going to be crediting us since they didn't do any of the plumbing work we had contracted for, and the plumbers who did the work had to do additional work that HD's contractor had assured us wouldn't need to be done.

In other news, the Mom and Dad left to go back to ATL this afternoon-- big Kudos to the Mom and Dad for both staying with us while our kitchen upheaval is afoot (and thus, living with plastic silverware and a make-shift cooking situation) and for watching Miss B while I did the infamous NJCLE.

Here's a new look by Miss B, we like to call it "Oh, no you di-n't"

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


Yup, its an Olympic sport. And they swiffer the court between sets. Who knew? (You expect the judges to be barbequeing on the sidelines...)

Sunday, August 10, 2008

When do the '08 Birds of Prey Go On Sale?

Cloaking devices, one step closer.

More Progress...

In connection with the new main drain and the general clearing out of the crappy plumbing nightmare that used to reside behind our "access panel" in the kitchen, today the Husband (with help of the Dad) put in some new subflooring.

You can also check out the stone wall!

And, look at that brandy-new PVC. Thank goodness, no more cast iron. Not to mention that, now we no longer have a rubber drainhose from the washing machine running *under* our floor! Talk about progress.


So, I do love the whole statcounter application and like to check periodically to see what google searches and otherwise are bringing visitors to the site. Lately we've had a decline in folks searching for either Sting's favorite pasta or Tom Selleck's Avocado ranch. Instead, people have been searching for "corn chowder" (seasonal, I guess...), toy assembly instructions and chuck taylor low tops. I also got a random search for "scarlett johannson boob feel". Do remember this is a family-friendly blog, so please keep the boob feel requests to a minimum.

In other statcounter news, to our mysterious reader from the Minneapolis area, I do hope you go to visit the AZ Gallery to check out the photo I'll have on display! I have read that the gallery is next door (or in some other close proximity) to the Tanpopo Noodle House!

I Think This Image Speaks for Itself...

That was the small backhoe in the yard to work on the drainline. Now that's done and the plumbers are coming back on Tuesday to finish the work and sometime next week we'll have the plumbing inspected. Downside? Tonight the washer hook-up must have come undone again because I had a utility room floor full of standing water. (Second time in four or five days... Ugh.)

But, on the bright side, we did give our materials list to Frank and he expects to have our floorboards in two or three days. We also did some test matching of stain on one of our old boards that the Husband had planed and a pumpkin pine board that Frank gave us and Minwax's "Gunstock" oil-based stain was a near perfect match for the color that our floors are now. It's just a shade lighter, which given that one of the goals of this remodel is to make the kitchen brighter, lighter should work.

Once the pluming inspection is done we can drywall the ceiling and essentially every other wall in the place, then once the new floorboards are down we can get the floor sanded. Once the drywall is done and the floor sanded the cabinets can go in. Once the cabinets are in, we can get the countertop templates made and have the floor stained/refinished. Meanwhile, Tuesday is the measure day for the utility room floor... the utility room floor will need to be installed at some point preferably before the kitchen floor is sanded (as the w/d will need to be moved out of the utility room and most likely into the kitchen while the work is being done...)

Monday is our big meeting with the folks from the HD and their subcontractor Carlos. So far all Carlos' guys have done was some light demo (while they did remove the cabinets and the ceiling, the plumbers and electricians have removed more of the walls than they did...) they have done nothing else. Carlos started off on a slightly wrong foot initially by filing our permits with the wrong township (who called me and then I had to pick them up and take them to the right township). Then when he and his guys showed up to do the demo he argued that while he would demo the ceiling, carting away the demolished ceiling wasn't in the contract (because that makes so much sense!) We figured that it was a good idea to meet with Carlos, our HD designer and the contracting company who hired Carlos to go over exactly what is in our contract, since Carlos seems to think that much of cabinetry installation is our burden, even though at this stage it seems like that's all we're really paying HD to do.

Tomorrow? Some plastering.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

More Stuff and Dinner.

One backhoe later, we have a new drain pipe. We also have a large hole in the backyard. But the backhoe is still in the yard and supposedly tomorrow it will be filled and reseeded. The plumbers think they'll actually be able to finish all of their work tomorrow... then we have drywall people coming on Tuesday and a floor measure scheduled for the utility/laundry room also on Tuesday.

What's left? Well, a lot. We have to make our materials list for the hardwood floor this weekend and get that to Agincourt for fabrication of our floorboards. Then I have to find a new person to refinish the floors since Blue Knight wasn't going to be available until September (and they didn't seem too thrilled about doing the work anyway). Then we have to have the range hood vented to the outside, have the cabinets installed, have the granite templates made and have the finish electrical done. I also still need to order my faucet, pick out a disposal and compactor and order subway tile for the backsplash. But we do feel like we're making progress.

In other news, on the cooking front we bought a rice cooker! Last night we barbequed chicken kabobs on the grill and had yellow rice from the ye old rice cooker. Tonight? We grilled salmon on cedar planks (which caught fire, just a little bit), had more yellow rice and made fruit/bell pepper salsa. It was generally yummy. Shout out to the Mom who was in charge of grilling the salmon!

One More Thing.

Cashmerino Aran. I had been knitting a sweater for Baby out of Debbie Bliss' Cashmerino Aran and I ran out of yarn. Really I think I probably have the extra ball of yarn somewhere but I can't find it. Does my local yarn store have this? No. The Wooly Lamb? They do but not in colorway 300205. What about Rowan Denim? The Itty Bitty Hats book (which, I found thanks to Thisbe and could quite possibly be the best baby hat book ever!) has a nifty hat made in denim with a felted flower attached. Nobody carries denim, or at least it seems that way. Thankfully the Cucumberpatch has both! and they're being shipped *from the UK* for only $5 flat rate. How cool is that?

Today's Updates

Vin Diesel and his crew showed up this morning (I think there were at least three guys, possibly four, there were easily three trucks in the driveway...) to begin the day by putting a camera in the drain line. Yeah. That just sounds like already we're going to get expensive.

Then, I'm here at CLE. It's Professional Responsibility day. Midway through the first hour we lose sound. When this happened on the first day immediately an Eddie Haskell from the audience jumped up and went outside to complain. Today? We all just sat here. You hear a few chuckles from the back of the room. Then somebody says "we're getting as much out of this as we were before". They fix the sound after about 5-6 minutes. Is the tape rewound? Nope.

Next thing, the guy on the video says that we're going to be watching a few vignettes. I hadn't thought much of it. Then I realize we're watching the people on the tape watch vignettes. You hear music start, the lights go down. They're watching a video and we're watching a video of people watching a video. After a few moments the person who did the tape actually moved the camera and focused in on the screen, but it was a bit surreal-- watching a videotape of a show projected on the screen that we're watching this show projected on. Clearly film quality and sound were issues.

At least today I'm utilizing the free (?) wi-fi.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008


For some reason I am *so* sleepy right now (I suppose it could have something to do with sitting through this lecture on how to fill out the NJ transfer inheritance tax form...) I went to sleep not too late, woke up not to early and have been caffineated, but still... at any time my head is going to hit the desk.

What's Next?

Plumbing! We got a call this morning bright and early to say that the plumbers will be starting work tomorrow morning.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

CLE: Day Two

Today's lecture is "Real Estate Closings" complex real estate financing transactions? Leasing? REITs? Nope. Residential house closings. Yeah, because I don't know anything about this. So far we've gone through a title report, survey, line-by-line of a form of house sale contract and right now we're going through a HUD statement. Line by line.

Again, this would be great for a first year who has never practiced and who plans to be a sole practictioner. If that's not you, then you've just wasted 6 hours of your life that you're never getting back.

Monday, August 04, 2008

The Batman

Sorry to go against conventional wisdom but, The Dark Knight? I thought it was boring. Really boring. We went to a 10:35pm showing and there was something wrong with the reels so they just kept showing us preview after preview such that the movie didn't start until 11! Then it was like two and a half hours long. We had watched a behind the scenes thing on tv and it talked about how Christopher Nolan didn't want to use CGI. Normally I would agree with that but come on, Gotham is supposed to be kind of creepy, not sunny Chicago. And Maggie Gyllenhaal? Sorry, I have to say even Katie Holmes was better. Thoughts?


Today I'm doing my CLE for NJ. Unfortunately, for those of us who have joined the NJ Bar late, even if you have been practicing in another state for a dog's age you're stuck doing a first year CLE course (for a week, with homework). I'm at the seminar, I walk in and there's a giant projector screen with a lecture being shown. Is it live? Are we doing a video conference where the lecturer can see us too? Nope. It's a videotape. We've now actually lost sound.

I get to look forward to a whole week of this in an uncomfortable chair in a room with insufficient air conditioning! In NY I've been practicing long enough where I can do CLE via videotape, but I can do that at home, on my couch, thanks to a webcast (oh, and no homework).

Now the silence has just been broken by a Bon Jovi ringtone. Which I guess proves I'm in New Jersey.

Can I just say, my compatriots here are taking this very seriously, about half of them are taking notes on laptops. I'm getting bad flashbacks to law school.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

A Portrait of America

I've had another photo chosen for a show! A picture I took on the Paris trip will be shown in the "Portrait of America" show at the AZ Gallery in St. Paul, Minnesota (the show is going on during the Republican Convention... so we'll see if they get some good foot traffic!)

Let Me Tell You About My Floor...

The hardwood floor people, as I mentioned before, really don't want to have anything to do with our floor. "It's below grade" Apparently, the American Association of Wood Floor Workers or something or other doesn't recommend installing hardwoods below grade. Okay, but 80% of the floor is already covered with hardwoods that looked pretty neat, why would I want to rip that up? So, we found a local guy who has pumpkin pine and other reclaimed woods at decent prices and they'll mill them for us. As with the bulk of our home improvement projects that which starts out with people doing the work for us usually devolves into us doing the work ourselves. For now it looks like we're going to be figuring out how to rearrange certain of the floor boards (very Tetris-esque) in order to patch the areas which don't have wood currently, and then attaching the boards to the subfloor (omg, there actually is a subfloor! Who knew!?!) Then either we'll be sanding the floor down or perhaps we can find someone who will do it... and then refinishing. Oy!

Otherwise, still waiting for the plumbing permit.

Friday, August 01, 2008

What Else is New

Today we passed our rough electrical inspection but it was day two of no work while we await word on our plumbing permit. The hardwood floor guy came by to give an estimate and basically wanted nothing to do with our floor, suggesting we pull it up and use tile or laminate. Needless to say that's not happening so instead we're off to find reclaimed pumpkin pine as there was no floor under the cabinets. Interestingly, though the floor boards did appear to be notched for the cabinets so it is not completely clear what came first... the floor or the cabinets? Either way it's staying.

On other fronts, tonight I made stuffed shells in the toaster oven... in an Emile Henry loaf pan (as I didn't buy a tinfoil pan when I was at Wegmans and the "disposable" bakeware that I did buy at Wegmans was not rated for either toaster oven use or for baking longer than an hour (neither of which was clear until you unwrapped the packaging...) The shells actually weren't bad!