[livejournal.com profile] jeffreyab asked for pictures. They're behind the cut for anyone else who's curious. Please excuse the pile of laundry to be folded. Read more... )
First off, let me start by saying that I realize how lucky and fortunate I am that Eric and I can afford to have someone come and clean our house for us every two weeks. It's a luxury that we really, really appreciate.

That said, it does lead to some bizarre homecomings. Yesterday, for whatever reason, our cleaner had closed the blinds on both the front and back full light doors. In the upstairs bathroom, I found Eric's electric razor neatly put away - in the water glass. The bath mat (one of those towel like things you find in hotels, not the fluffy rubber backed kind) was neatly folded and hung on top of my towel (yuck - one of these things goes on the floor and one goes on my body - let's not mix them up, okay?). My slippers had been hidden away in the closet - this seems to happen every time, and I'm really not sure why - Eric's slippers always stay where he left them...

Pretty piddly little things, and not really worth complaining about. We use a service, and despite their claims that you'll almost always get one of the two people who did your initial clean and know your house, it seems like we have a constant stream of different people with different styles coming through. Even so, generally speaking, they do a good job and we're happy with them - there's just a few oddities.

We do have two legitimate beefs from yesterday, though - the cleaner didn't lock the door when she left, and she left the bottle of stainless steel cleaner sitting out on the counter, open. I don't want to be one of those obnoxious complaining types, though, so I don't think I'll bring any of the rest of it up.

I've always said that I appreciate a bit of surreal in my day, and an electric razor in your water glass certainly fits the bill...
Another weekend with the 'rents, a few more things knocked off the to-do list.

My Dad and Eric sponge-painted the baby's room. This took longer than it would have to just flat paint it, but we are all pleased with the effect. We also rearranged the room so that the bed that's in there isn't blocking the closet anymore. We have to decide if we're going to keep the bed in there for a while as we'd planned - it takes up more room than we'd like. But it's useful guest space, especially with the baby sleeping in our room.

Dad and Eric got all four ceiling fans up - one in the living room, den, and both bedrooms. I'm very pleased to have the one in the living room up, because it will give us more overhead light in the living room, which I've wanted for a while.

Edith got two panels of the drapes fully lined. She ran out of time for the other two, and just tacked in their lining until her next visit, when she'll finish those, and hem all of the drapes to the same height. Plus she took the drapes for the back window and the kitchen window home to work on.

After they left, Eric and I installed our nifty keen medicine cabinet. We've had a constant battle with our developer about our medicine cabinet. We were supposed to have a small mirror and medicine cabinet upstairs, and a wide mirror and no medicine cabinet downstairs. They reversed them, and were giving us a hard time about fixing the situation. So our developer just told us to buy a medicine cabinet, install it, and give him the bill. We didn't find any standard medicine cabinets that we liked, but we did find this incredibly neat corner medicine cabinet that mounts over your existing mirror. Here's a link to a similar style of cabinet (we have just one slanted mirror, on the right hand side). It works in the space much better, and let us keep our really excellent frog picture that matches our bathroom decor perfectly, as well as letting us mount our hand towel bar exactly where we wanted it. Big wins all around, as we are much happier with this solution than if they'd done it right in the first place.

They're planning to come back once more before the baby's due date - we're still working out exact dates. As Eric said, it's great having them around - they do a lot of work, but even more importantly, they provide us with the external motivation to do the work too. Otherwise we'd end up sitting around, or running errands, or hanging out with friends - we're never this productive on our own! And they really do like helping out. From the signs they were seeing, it didn't seem like any of us kids were going to give them grandkids, so they retired and started RVing full time. Boom - now all four of us kids are in various stages of childrearing! They feel bad that they can't contribute financially, but we keep assuring them that we value their time and expertise far more than their money.
I did get my egg this morning. And after watching my stepmom suffering trying to cut drapery lining on my kitchen counter with a too small ruler, I also got her access to a sewer's cutting table. Have I mentioned that I love living in cohousing?

The great drapery project is still underway - we got off to a late start. The baby's room has been painted, however. On Edith's suggestion, we ended up using a sponging effect, with a darker & brighter blue paint on top of the light blue green that was on the walls. It turned out really nicely, especially since Eric and my Dad had never done it before. It's bright and cheerful and will go really well with the border we have picked out. It's sort of a watery effect, which is what we were going for. All that's left to do for now is to put all the furniture back in the room, but we'll wait until after we get back from dinner to do that.

It turned out to be a beautiful and sunny day, and it was really nice to have the windows open. There were people out flying kites when I went to check the mail.


Mar. 19th, 2004 11:15 am
Feeling and looking huge today. I think all that stretching yesterday was the baby repositioning, cause I seem to be carrying a little lower today and feeling some pressure in my pelvis that has me thinking the baby is starting to move down. Nothing really extreme yet - I don't feel like the baby's head it stuck between my legs, for example, and I'm only waddling slightly more than usual - but things just feel a little different.

My dad and stepmom are coming to visit for the weekend. The big plan for the weekend is painting - definitely Little Bean's room, and hopefully also the downstairs hallway and entryway, and maybe the upstairs hallway too. My stepmom is bringing along her sewing machine so she can make some modifications to the curtains we bought a while ago. We had hoped to put up the wallpaper border in LB's room as well, but unless there's a shipment of wallpaper sitting on my front porch when I get home today, that will have to wait. As I mentioned in an earlier post, fitting the cosleeper in our bedroom is going to involve some slight rearrangment of furniture (besides removing one of the nightstands, we have to shift the bed over by about 4 inches) so if my Dad helps get that done this weekend, then it will be already to go when it comes time to move the cosleeper into the bedroom.

I'm going to call a pediatrician today to make an appointment to check them out. It's Liberty Pediatrics, which everyone raves about - they are cosleeping friendly, support informed/selective vaccination, and will come to your house for your first postpartum visit! They don't accept my insurance, but my midwives tell me that they are willing to work out special arrangements for New Moon clients. So I have to see what those arrangements are, and then figure out how that would work with my insurance. And investigate other pediatricians if it's going to be too expensive or annoying.

And that's what's up with me and LB.
Random is meowing incessantly this morning, and it's driving me crazy. He appears to want more food, although he's already had his breakfast, so why he'd expect anything else I have no idea. He doesn't want to come up on the couch and cuddle like he usually does in the morning. I really don't know what his story is. I think he's acting out because the last two nights, Eric exiled him to the basement when he started meowing in the middle of the night. Of course, my reaction to him meowing nonstop this morning has been to exile him to the basement again, so that's a course of action that he really should reconsider.

We're supposed to have some repair people coming out today to look at the leak in our roof and some heating/cooling problems we're having, so I'm working from home. I did actually bring some work home to do, and should do it, but I'm also hoping to get some stuff done around the house. I've already got a load of laundry in the washer. Other things I'd like to get done include cleaning the refrigerator (something in there smells bad) and sorting and organizing all of the baby stuff I got from my shower. I also need to call This End Up and order a loveseat and a dresser. The dresser will be going into our room, and my current dresser will then become the baby's dresser.

I have to figure out whether or not we signed up for common meal tonight. If not, I might have to actually cook dinner. I haven't cooked at home in weeks, although I have cooked community meal twice, and made baked goods for common house committee meetings the last two Saturdays. I'm just loving having our meal program up and running - before I felt pretty isolated - I loved my house and everything, but I didn't have that sense of community that we were looking to get from being in cohousing. But now that I can relax and chat and have dinner with my neighbors a few nights a week, I feel much more connected. It's great!

Speaking of common meal, last night I was on duty as head cook again. The menu included a Morrocan Cabbage and Orange Salad, Moroccan Chick Pea and Carrot Stew and Banana Cake for dessert. I had intended to serve the stew with couscous, in keeping with the Moroccan theme, but the previous night's cooks made way too much rice, so I just used their leftovers instead, which worked out just fine. Whereas for my last meal I was worried about spending too much money, I definitely don't have that worry this time! Using almost entirely organic ingredients, I spent around $50 to feed 30 adults and 7 children. I don't really count the children, because they mostly ate out of the picky eater cabinet - I didn't take great efforts to make a kid friendly meal, figuring that's what the picky eater cabinet is for. And although I was worried about it a lot when I was cooking, we ended up with just enough food - no leftovers to speak of, but I think everyone got enough to eat. Even if I'd had to buy couscous, I probably would have spent well under $60.

I got a strong reminder about upsizing recipes, though! The stew recipe usually makes around 4-6 portions, so I had roughly multiplied it by five. I knew that I'd need to make modifications to the spices and not just multiply them outright. And because I was feeding a wide range of different people, I wanted to make the dish mild, and let people add hot sauce at the table if they were so inclined. My estimates on the cinnamon and turmeric turned out well. But the regular size recipe calls for 1/4 to 1/2 tsp of cayenne pepper. Wanting to have the flavor from the cayenne, but not the heat, I added less than a 1/2 tsp of cayenne to the entire pot. Much to my surprise and chagrin, it was noticeably spicy! The people at my table really appreciated that it had a little bit of a kick to it, but I felt bad.

One my assistant cooks was really complimentary about how easy it was to work with me, how calm the kitchen was, and that everything flowed so smoothly and easily. I try to think and plan for these things in advance, so I can be prepared when the time comes, and that definitely pays off. But this was very similar to feedback I received about program ops at Torcon - even though it was a really awful situation, because I was able to stay calm and cheerful despite the circumstances, the atmosphere of the room stayed positive and everyone else was able to relax too. I consider this a really valuable skill/talent/whatever, and am really glad that its something I'm able to do.

For my next meal (March 31st), I'm planning to do a Mediterranean theme menu - hummus, tabouli, cucumber and yogurt salad, pita, maybe some falafel, and some sort of marinated meat.

House Day

Mar. 7th, 2004 08:59 am
Eric and I spent Saturday afternoon doing things around the house. We didn't get as much done as we had hoped/planned, but isn't that how it always goes?

The main thing we accomplished was to empty out our bedroom closet and install the organizer that we bought months ago. This adds a bunch of shelf space in the closet for sweaters and the like, and creates a two-tiered hanging area for Eric's shirts and pants. There's another full height hanging area where my hanging clothes go. As it turned out, Eric gained some hanging space and I lost some, so I'll have to be more diligent about rotating clothes through or exploring other options. But I finally have a place to store all of my sweaters, so I consider it a win overall. And it's just so much more organized that it was!

To further enhance our organizational capacity, we headed out to Bed, Bath and Beyond to explore storage options. We each got a little chest of plastic drawers that fits into our respective sides of the closet and gives us storage space for various assorted crap. Today I need to sort through my crap and get it into its drawers. In an attempt to address the hanging space loss, I also picked up a blouse hanger that hangs five shirts on a single tiered hanger. If I like the way it works I may pick up some more, and my hanging concern days will be past. Unless I get a job that requires me to dress professionally more often - but we'll cross that bridge when we come to it. There's a modification we can do to the closet organizer that will give me another 4 inches of curtain rod, but it will cut down on shelf space, so it's a trade-off.

The other thing we did was to clean out and organize the linen closet. We still had things sitting in boxes from when we moved in and put them there "temporarily." So we got some other organizers from BB&B to try to manage that space better. One of the things we have to do soon is sort through the vast amounts of blankets and linens that we have, and figure out what we need to keep and what we can get rid of. Of the keepers, some may go back in the linen closet, while others will end up under the bed. We looked at the rolling underbed boxes that Rubbermaid makes, but getting enough to do what we wanted to do was looking really expensive. So we came across these expandable clear plastic sacks of a sort, and got some of those to try - we'll see how they work.

Doesn't sound like much, I know, but we're happy with our progress. I want to take new pictures of the house to update my website - we've got curtains now, and I still don't have our new dining room table up there - and I'll be sure to take a picture of the closet too.
My aching back and an interesting dream )
Jewelry, and a Raise! )
Getting away from it all to an unexpected destination )
The further evolution of a house )

And that probably sums up my life right now. It came out much more verbose than I was expecting - but I guess a lot of stuff happened yesterday!
My new phone has been activated, and is working. I got an over-the-ear headset for it too, so I don't have to worry about irradiating my brain. Now comes the hard part - transferring over all those phone numbers!

But it's worth it. It weighs about a quarter of what my old phone did, and a longer lasting battery. Plus it's able to send text messages, something my old phone couldn't do.

I called AT&T to get text messaging turned on, and at the same time signed up for a new contract with more minutes. Now that my cell phone is my only phone, I found that I was frequently going over my minutes. Now I have 700 minutes plus unlimited nights and weekends, so I should be fine!

In other news, we went to the new Lowe's that's just opened near our house and discovered that they make a rod extender for the curtain rod we bought on our last trip, which turned out to be a little too short - functional, but not quite what we wanted aesthetically. So we went ahead and bought the extenders, plus curtain rods and curtains for the other windows in the living room and dining room. And we looked at rugs, and tile, and other things that we still need to get everything finished up the way we'd like it. It's coming along nicely!

I came home to an inbox full of mail. A mailing list that I'm on changed over its format today, and it's gone crazy! It's been sending out one message per minute since 6:51 pm. I've got them all filtering directly into the trash now, but it's still really annoying. And when I click the unsubscribe link I get an error. Similarly, the "edit preferences" page is not working correctly, so I can't change any of my mail settings there (like giving it a fake email address or something). I've sent a complaint email to the list owner, and hopefully it will get fixed soon!


Jan. 19th, 2004 11:37 am
Furniture delivery guys have been and gone, and we are now the proud owners of a boot bench, a lovely table and chair set, and two nightstands. The nightstands look much larger than I had remembered them, but we measured before we went in, so they must be okay. I'll have to wait until Eric gets home tonight to move the old one out and put the new ones in.

The table is lovely and makes me very happy. We're all going to greatly appreciate the boot bench too, especially in these wet and snowy winter days.

New pictures for the website coming soon.
Hey - I skipped a day posting to LJ and didn't even notice it. That's great - I've been online too much lately and I'm trying to cut back. But of course, now I'm back at work and we all know what _that_ means... So, have some updates (all, coincidentally* enough, beginning with the letter C).

Cost of Window Treatments )
Cooking with Neighbors )
ConFusion )
Carpooling )

* Alright, not entirely coincidentally. I will admit to hacking the first one, after realizing that the next three started with C all on their own.
I haven't really done anything but surf LJ and read and answer email. Pathetic.

Thinking a lot about what I'm going to do after the baby is born. How long to take off, should I go back to work full or part time, how to afford childcare if I do, if it would be possible to manage going back to school part-time. If I want to look for a different job, and what the heck kind of job I might be interested in and able to get. Given that if I wasn't pregnant, I would have quit my current job by now (or at least be heavy into a job search), it's clear that I need to give that last more thought. Looking through old LJ posts from last year, I'm seeing "I'm bored with my job" posts months and months ago, so this is not just a new problem.

Lots to think about.

On a non-work related, buy laziness-related note, I do want to start being better about fulfilling my cohousing committments. To that end, I really need to drag myself off the couch to go to a committee meeting - committee membership is one of the responsibiliites that I have been shirking so far, and there's a common house meeting starting in ten minutes.

After the meeting, Eric and I are going down to Deluxe Drapery and Shade to see what our window treatment consultant has come up with - she came out to the house to measure and take a look on Tuesday, and should have fabric samples and preliminary prices for us today. I think we're going to have major sticker shock.
Anyone who came to the housewarming party and saw the basement would be utterly amazed to see the same space today. Vertical storage is the bomb! Eric and my Dad put up brackets and installed shelves all over the basement, allowing us to store all of our junk much more accessibly. Going through it all we've found more stuff to throw away, recycle, or take to the reuse center. Some stuff went yesterday, and rest is being collected up for our next trip there. Eric is down in the basement organizing and sorting now. I tried to help, but much of what's there is his stuff, and I was not being very helpful, so I thought I'd get out of his way.

We'll be finishing the basement eventually, so most of this is just temporary storage that we'll move or eliminate once we get to that stage. There are three long shelves in an out of the way location and they will probably stay where they are. Hopefully we'll eventually be able to consolidate all of our stuff onto those three shelves. That would feel to me like an acceptable amount of random stuff to have. Eric's planning to build himself a small workshop space in the basement, so some of it will end up there eventually.

Another addition that will probably be permanent are two shelves over the washer and dryer, to keep all of our laundry supplies accessible, but not jumbled on top of the dryer. They're great!

And I finally got around to buying myself a wine rack with reasonable storage (44 bottles). I've managed to get rid of a few bottles over the last couple of weeks, so I'm only using about 1/3 of the space. But once I get back to wine club events (and can start drinking the stuff more regularly) I expect that I'll welcome the extra space. This way I'll be able to buy cases or half cases of things I really like when I can get them ultra cheap. I'm still regretting not buying more of my favorite Alsatian sparkler when I could get it for $5.49/bottle! I'm not to the point (yet) of investing in a temperature controlled unit, or building a custom cellar, so I won't be doing a lot of long-term cellaring or anything.

In other news, the long promised winter storm has arrived, after circling around us all day. I hope my dad and stepmom don't get hit too hard by it on the way home. We had a really nice visit - they were really helpful around the house, and nice to spend time with too. They're planning to come back around the beginning of March and told us to start putting together a list of things they can help out with. Edith and I got looking for fabric for Little Bean's room online, and found some on eBay, so I made my first ever e-Bay bid. If we win, we'll have 27 pre-cut and ironed tropical fish quilting squares for Edith to use for Little Bean's quilt.

Eric and I are supposed to be venturing out in the snow ourselves in about an hour, to go have our belated holiday celebration with Jon and Sarah and Theo and Scott and Sue and Alex. Hopefully the weather doesn't get too viscious - the main roads will be fine, but our little road gets quite slippery.



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