Wednesday, August 31, 2011

In Matching Pink Dresses

This is one of my favorite photos of Anna and I of all time. I look at old pictures of us more often that I like to admit, but I rediscovered this one on facebook awhile back, and I absolutely love Anna's description of it - I had completely forgotten the black dragon hoodie!

"back when we wore matching dresses and bows and pink before we started beating each other up and had to be put in separate rooms before we sent a one dollar black dragon hoodie back and forth in the mail and before natalie could knit and tried to teach me and it was unsuccessful and then we tolerated each other and started wearing matching guster shirts and swinging from ropes near dams and got matching bows again. i lost my dad's wedding ring in that chair."

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

summer wind down

Milwaukee students may have summer for just a couple more days before they go back to school this Thursday, but Richard is already back in his classroom today.  We spent yesterday rearranging his room and getting things together, and he'll spend the next couple of days at meetings and finishing up his plans for the year.

While we were at school yesterday Miss Wicket had her very first haircut.  She's not nearly as shaggy now, and she looks much more like a miniature schnauzer.

It's hard to believe that summer is over already, but while summer has been winding down work at the house has been ramping up.  So much was done in the kitchen over the weekend, we even have a brand new floor already!  Just a few more touches before the last of the cabinets go in and then it will be a bit longer before the final countertop goes in, but a plywood counter will be better than what we're working on now... which is nothing.  We've got all the normal kitchen appliances, minus the fridge, taking up residence in the corner of the living room and it is strange to say the least.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Friday Inspiration: The Red River

Little Songs About The Big Picture
Little Songs About the Big Picture by The Red River

As it is with quite a lot of the music I enjoy I was introduced to The Red River by Miss Anna (of General Oglethorpe and the Panhandlers).  She sent me a package this past winter that included a mix cd with a few of their songs.  When I visited Savannah for the General O CD release party back in February I even had the chance to hear The Red River play at The Wormhole.

Every one of their songs is worth a listen, and while the ambiance at The Wormhole may have been lacking the show was just lovely, and I hope I get the chance to see them again... perhaps the next time they swing through the Midwest.

I often find myself putting on their Tiny Desk Concert from NPR when I'm puttering about working on things in the office, writing or making things.  If any Red River kids stumble across this, I just want you to know the next time you're in Milwaukee you have a place to stay with us if you need.  Good luck, and thanks for the inspiration.

Monday, August 22, 2011

The R's of our new house

I've noticed that quite a few things going on in our house right now can be summed up nicely by words that begin with the letter R.  Renovate, repair, replace, rescue, reinvent.

We renovated the bathroom, removing all the mauve tile and the moisture damaged walls behind them, as well as the tub, toilet and vanity.  We replaced most of these items.  A new sink and vanity, an upgraded tub.  Help was graciously provided from my father-in-law and brother-in-law in replacing the floor and running new plumbing and electric.  We did manage to rescue a couple of things from the bathroom, both to cut down on costs and to keep some of the charms of this house.

As a cost saving venture we kept the closet the way it was instead of installing a new system.  I stripped the mauve (are we sensing a theme?) wallpaper off the pine board shelves, but while solid they were both a bit smelly and sticky so it took some scrubbing with vinegar and a last ditch rub down with goo-gone that has left them nearly new.

Both Richard and I enjoyed the style of the medicine cabinet that was installed in the wall above the sink, but the orange-ish wood work of the frame was a little too dated for our bathroom reinvention.  It took a couple of well timed hot as blazes afternoons to sand down the wood frame, clean out the inside and the glass shelves and then paint the frame to match the rest of our black and white bathroom.

After sanding off the previous finish so the wood grain would show through the new paint I taped off the inside with blue painter's tape and a thick garbage bag.  Then I used my go-to spray paint of choice Rustoleum in Satin Black.

And here's what the finished product looks like in the only odd angle I was able to take a picture without including the mess that is the bathroom door.  It is most certainly a 50's piece, and I think the black really makes it pop with all sorts of mid-century goodness in our white updated bathroom.

Progress feels good.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Summer of Forgotten Things and Mislaid Plans

This will surely be known as the summer of forgotten things.  Forgotten plans, forgotten projects, forgotten gardening, and forgotten placement of the kitchen shears.  And that's ok, because we're having so much fun with the things we have been remembering.

Remembering to adopt a puppy to add to our family, remembering to go to the museum with Uncle Bob, Debbie, Grandpa, Tia and Chris.

Remembering to have dinner with my parents in the middle of the week for no special reason, remembering to stop at Lambau Field before coming home after Brian and Randi's wedding in Green Bay.

We said we knew what we were heading into when we bought a house, and in a way I know we expected to be overwhelmed.  It has been fun thus far, and I'm always looking forward to that sense of accomplishment that comes from the completion of even little steps and eventually whole projects.

Richard and his Dad worked on the kitchen all day today, rerunning gas pipe and prepping the pluming to move to the opposite wall, and the projects that await us only keep mounting.  Today I ran a load of laundry and tried organizing the bathroom closet, which until now has been home to boxes and paint cans, but now actually houses cleaning supplies and that hair conditioner that I was in search of for the last week.  

I was rather excited last night when I saw Mom's "bounty" of white totes she brought home from her pharmacy where they had been replaced with new ones.  The last time her pharmacy replaced the totes I was in high school, and mom managed to bring home some which I promptly used to store my cd collection under my bed.  Now they really help with organizing the rather deep bathroom closet so that everything can always be within reach.

Progress is progress, no matter how small the steps.  And I'll always be happy with this home, even if it never looks like a glossy magazine styled house... especially if it never looks like a magazine styled house.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Playing House and other eventful things

Our house is slowly coming together as we finish projects and keep unpacking one box at a time.  On top of all our projects and settling in we're trying to pack in all the fun we can before the summer officially ends and Richard is back at school.

Our friend Matthias is staying with us for a while and not only is he quick to help out but it is really wonderful to have the chance to visit with him after such a long time.  All three of us (plus Wicket) went up to Oshkosh for Gallery Walk this past Saturday.  There was very little walking to be done for us as we would move only a few feet before Wicket had charmed someone else into petting and playing.  We did visit Atomic Katz and saw Pam's new jewelry, and met with Pam and her husband Joe at Peabody's for a drink after the walk just before heading home.

On the home-front the bathroom is now completely functional but still needs a few finishing touches before it's really done.  Just some baseboards and a few paint touch ups and I may even be ready to share pictures.  So now the kitchen overhaul begins.  The cabinets were delivered earlier today, and we've already begun the demolition.  Fortunately the Richard and Matthias will be doing the heavy lifting and cabinet removal tomorrow while I'm at work.

This weekend Richard and I journey up to Green Bay for a wedding, making it the first time we will leave Wicket overnight with someone.  Fingers crossed that everything goes smoothly, both at the wedding and for the little pup.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Meet Wicket

Richard and I have added a new member to our family, and she's quite furry.

Her name is Wicket (yes, just like the Ewok) and she was a miraculous find - a humane society puppy that I'm not allergic to.  The Wisconsin Humane Society even listed her estimated birthday as May 10, 2011 - my birthday - so we're sure to remember it and I rather look forward to sharing the day with our furry little girl.

We adopted her about two weeks ago, on Thursday July 21, and she's fitting in quite nicely around here and is taking well to potty training. Amongst all the projects we've been working hard on, she is certainly the most entertaining and my favorite.