Saturday, August 31, 2013

Home Improvement

Or, perhaps this should be titled, 'why I avoid home improvement like the plague'.

Fixing up one's home always seems like such a great idea. Grab a little paint, throw up some pictures, make a fixture tweak here or there and instantly your home is more beautiful, more light, more valuable. You are to feel productive and accomplished and a better person. There are blogs detailing the joys and how tos of this. There are infinite books and websites and stores devoted to this very theme. And maybe this is some people's life, but it just doesn't work for me.

Since I moved into my house the shower rod has been falling apart. The place in the middle where the two parts of the rod connect was broken. With each passing year, the risk of them separating grew exponentially. In the last year or two, duct tape was all that kept my shower curtain off the ground. So, after the success of the kitchen (work I did not do, mind you), I decided to do a little bathroom make-over. All fired up, I ordered a new shower rod (a curved one that magically creates extra space), a new shower head and a new plastic liner.

Part 1, installing the shower head was as a house make over dream, old one off, new one screws in place. Works. Happy. Done. I'm a great person! Why didn't I do this years ago.

Unfortunately, Part 2, the shower rod proved a bit more challenging. It seems to install a shower rod you need a drill. It also seems that you need to take a couple extra trips to the hardware store to 1st get a different shower rod because the first one you bought wasn't expandable and didn't fit and 2nd to get screws because the 2nd rod you bought  that said on the package 'all hardware included' ONLY CAME WITH DRY WALL SCREWS. Then you need to borrow a drill from a friend. THEN when you try to install the shower rod you figure out it is virtually impossible for one person to hold the shower rod and drill over one's head while simultaneously holding (and drilling) a screw. Not to mention you realize you have never actually used a drill before.

What do I do?
SO, you have to invite a friend over and promise him dinner so he can help install your shower rod. (Now a necessity because the old one is off and you can't take a shower). Then as your friend is helping install the shower rod at 7:30 pm on a Sunday evening, you figure out that a. the batteries on the drill are almost dead and b. the screws you were given by the hardware store guy are too long and the 100+ year old wood in your house is too solid - particularly for a dead battery drill.

So, long story not so short, in the end you get the new rod installed - but not on Sunday night and the screws still aren't in the wall all the way and the pretty cups that fit on the end of the rod either a. (one side) don't snap in as the directions say they will or

b. (other side) doesn't go in at all because you had to flip the rod in another direction so all the hardware is sticking out.

Still waiting for the solution to this mess.
But, you can now take a shower and the new shower head is nice and your elbows no longer hit the shower curtain, so it's a winnish. But, of course, now you remember why you didn't do this years ago!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Daisy's Big Adventure

*** WARNING this blog may contain way too many ridiculously cute animal photos. Proceed with caution.
Feels/looks like home.
I think it is safe to say that of the two kids, Otto is the adventurer of the family. From his homeless beginnings on an Indian reservation in Eastern WA, to his hiking adventures through the Rockies last year Otto has seen it all (or close)!  Daisy, however, doesn't get out much. I rescued her from PAWS (85th and Greenwood) drove her to the old MLK house where she stayed put until 2005. Then she drove straight to Beacon Hill where she has spent every night since. She's a homebody, really.

Usually when I go out of town for the weekend, I stick a bunch of food in bowl, tell her to try not to eat it all in the first hour, and head out, leaving her by herself for x number of days. If I go for longer, I'll have someone stop by every day or two to give her some food and some love (It's usually fine, except one time when raccoons broke into the house and terrified the poor thing - I didn't see her for days when I got back). Anyhow, now Daisy has a thyroid condition that requires pills twice a day. So, when I headed up to Hood Canal for three days, I thought maybe I would see what bringing her looked like. (I tried the same thing in July, but she caught wind of it and disappeared so completely I had to leave her at home at the last minute.).

We loaded up the car with cat food, cat litter and a cat, and headed out for the big adventure. And aside from the car trip and the first few terrifying hours at the cabin, I think she kind of liked it. In a little extra adventure, I carried her to the end of the yard to look at the canal a couple times. It's a little strange to think that Daisy has NEVER seen a large body of water. She found it a little terrifying and scratched herself out of my arms and ran quickly back to the cabin both times. Anyhow, some pictures of the weekend and Daisy's wild adventure!

Daisy loved the car ride!
The car trip was better than I thought it would be. I took the ferry on the way up and opened the box so she could see out. She stayed in the box and it all worked out. On the way home, I drove around. Again, I opened the box. She stayed in and/or peer out for about 60 miles when she decided to come on out and see what was going on. I think where she really wanted to be was by my feet. Since that wasn't an option, I became the crazy cat lady I am not even verging on being and held her in my lap for 20 miles or so.
Hiding in the bedroom in the first couple hours.


Exploring x 2 
Hmm, maybe not so bad.

Mostly to torture my mom, I placed Daisy on various tables whenever possible. My mom was not impressed or amused.

An exciting trip out to the car port.
And back.
Windows with good views. 
Cosy places to sleep. I could live like this.
 In other exciting weekend news!
We picked black berries on the side of the road (Daisy did not join).

We looked really cute. 
We went to a farmer's market with very few farmers.
We ran into some Seahawks fans at the Belfair fun walk (Humane society fundraiser).
AND, we lay on our bed and watched the sun set.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Things that rock about my kitchen

As you can see I seem to be in a bit of a blog slump. Summer fun. High school reunions. 5 year blog anniversaries (!!). None of these seem to be inspiring a blog post. So, I have had this sitting in the wings for a while and I thought I would entertain you all (or at least my mom), with the things I most like about my kitchen. As you read you may notice a theme. Basically, the best thing about my kitchen is that there is a home for everything!  As my long time readers know, I am not a neat and tidy person. So it is nice to have a space that reduces the amount of crap I have to look at. Crap reduction, the perfect reason for a kitchen remodel!

1. Lots and lots of cupboards. In the new space everything fits in a cupboard or drawer, so I don't have shit hanging out the counters. This makes me oh so happy!  (That one thing hanging on the counter is my new crock for sauerkraut. I'll let you know in a couple weeks how it works).

2. Pantry!  My pantry, only 4 inches deep, took this tiny worthless spot of wall (there is a chimney behind it making the wall stick out about a foot) and turned it into an awesome storage space. All my extra crap goes in here. Plus daily supplements, bottles of wine, stuff I need but never use.

3. These beautiful tucked away drawers hold a. a much bigger junk drawer that can actually be opened and closed without a lot of tucking and manipulating b. the cuisinart and crock pot - so they don't live on the counter  and c. ?? the bottom drawer contains things so rarely used I don't even know what's there. Light bulbs I think. Maybe some linens.

4. Pantry x 2! Veggies in a drawer, which is awesome when you buy not so ripe avocados.

5. Baby drawers I thought I would never use, but it turns out they're perfect for sponges, plastic bags and bottles of kitchen cleansers.

6. Freezer!! The freezer in the new fridge is huge. All my meat. All my raw animal food. It all fits. Plus I have ice!

7. This is silly, but i love the grid in the sink. You can wash dishes and leave them there to dry. You can wash veggies and put them in the sink and know they aren't lying in all the dirt you just washed off them. You can own a stainless steel sink and not scratching it every two seconds.

8. Dishwasher. I had a dishwasher before but it was small and I never used it. Now I am actually using my dishwasher and it makes life so much easier!

9. This should really be #1, the compost container built into the counter is so cool - probably worth the price of the kitchen on it's own.

10. Spice rack drawer. I was hemming and hawing about what to do about spices - build something special? Buy something special?  Instead I took and idea from my friend Chris and used the drawer closest to the stove for spices. I still have way too much stuff in baggies, but it's so much easier to find everything than it was before.

11. Refrigerator. Just because it looks cool in its cabinet coat.

12. New plates and bowls. Before the remodel I owned two plates that could go in the dishwasher. (I owned more plates, but they had to be hand washed). To get in with the dishwasher program, I went to my favorite place, Posh in Chicago, and ordered this super basic restaurant china. It rocks, and looks so pretty on the black counter.

13. And finally, this RC was a present from my mom. Kitchen warmer!