Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Dec. 26th

So I'm at the 'rents house. We left NC on Thursday afternoon and arrived on Friday night. This means I survived a 2 day car trip - a truly signifigant and amazing thing. The only thing more amazing is that I'll have to do it again next week. Oof. Trying not to think about that.

Anywoo, I don't have my laptop with me & can't upload any photos, so like the rest of the blogospere I'm going to abandon the internet for a bit and enjoy real life for a change. Hooray! Hope you all are safe and warm and enjoying your holidays!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Dining Room: After

On Saturday afternoon I made a roast chicken with potatoes for lunch. While everything was cooking, I started cleaning up the dining room with the idea that we could eat lunch in there. The chicken was ready before the room, but that's okay. The point is that by Saturday afternoon, we finally - FINALLY - had our dining room back. Here's what it looks like now. And I must say that I am in LOVE. My love for this room now surpasses my adoration of my washing machine. Didn't think that could happen, didja.

The sad truth is that, for months now, the only table we've eaten around is the coffee table. We haven't even had friends over because we had no place to put them. Well, we did feed Kevein and Shawna in the living room that one time, but it was a bit of a headache. But those days are behind us now! We wasted no time in taking advantage of our new dining room. On Sunday night, Kevin and Shawna came over for dinner, video games, and a movie (the last in the Bourne series. The four of us have been catching up on them together). Very fun & a great way to break in the new room. And they were impressed by how nicely it turned out. Yay!

The other great thing is that we now have our breakfast nook back, too. For months it has been crammed with furniture from other places, but no more! Now we have two proper tables where we can eat! Will the wonders ever cease?!?!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Painting madness: Success!

This, my friends, it what is commonly known as a vast improvement.

This is a before & after shot all in one. Above the chair rail is the original color. Below it is the new lovely green. I think the old color looks a lot better in this photo than it does in reality. Just please believe me when I say that it was foul.

And here's a bit of what the dining room looks like now!

I still have some work to do on the ceilings so I can't completely remove the rosin paper yet, but I thought I'd pull back a corner just to see how the wood looks with the green. Don't worry about the white stuff on the floor to the right; that is NOT paint! It's leftover dust from when I scraped the ceiling.

Speaking of Scooby Do, I ordered a rug off of My hope is to put it in the living room. I'm a bit nervous, though, since I wasn't able to touch it first, but Laura says that she's bought tons of stuff on Overstock before & has always been happy with her purchases. Fingers crossed!

And speaking of Laura, I went to her house on Wednesday and met a bunch of REALLY wonderful ladies! A couple of them asked me if I'd be interested in having lunch with them sometime which thrilled me to bits. Two others have invited me to their home to watch Project Runway. And Laura and I decided to organize a tea party at a local tea house for sometime after the holidays. Talk about a successful evening! I'm especially thrilled because it means that I have something to look forward to after returning from Oklahoma at the end of the month. Leaving "home" & returning here can be so difficult for me, but I think me new-found friends will make it easier.

Must run. Tim's work place's holiday party is tonight & I need to make sure there's no more paint stuck in my hair.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Painting madness: Buying!

I made a decision. I bought paint! Wee!!! I was inspired by a video I watched on the TED website about the paradox of choice ( Click here to watch it ). Basically, he talks about how sometimes when we have too many options, we become paralyzed & cannot decide which choice is right for us because we're so worried about getting it wrong. If you've ever been to a home improvement store & stood in front of a wall of paint chips, you can understand why this message resonated with me. So I just said, "Screw it! I'm buying paint!" Maybe I'll start working on the dining room tonight. We'll see.

In other news, the weather madness continues. My parents & about 600,000 other people in the Tulsa area still do not have power. Dad says that most of their trees are damaged. At least George and Derek still have power ... or at least they did when I spoke to Derek last night.

On the other side of the coin, it has been extremely warm here. Yesterday's high was 81F - an all-time high for the entire month of December. And here's the forecast for the rest of the week.

It's suposed to be much cooler this weekend, so I better get all of this painting done quickly!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Painting madness: Testing

My mother called this morning to let me know that they have no electricity at their house. An ice storm hit Green Country last night & she is trapped at home with nothing to do but watch the icicles grow.

Meanwhile, it is unseasonably warm here. Check out the weather forecast for Raleigh & Durham this week.

Madness! Yesterday we went to the Durham Chorale's Christmas Concert (Jennifer was singing) and it was so warm that we didn't need jackets. Some members of the audience were wearing shorts. Granted, I'm grateful for the warm weather because it means I can get a lot of painting done this week, but it certainly doesn't feel Christmas-y.

Speaking of painting, we tested some colors this weekend. I am in love with Oklahoma Wheat! Or rather, "Safari". You see, there's a particular type of paint that I want to use (Benjamin Moore's Aura). It's very durable, washable, & has low fumes. In the Aura line, Oklahoma Wheat is known as Safari. It's the same color (the paint chips look exactly the same) so I'm just going to keep on thinking of it as Oklahoma Wheat.
I put some patches of it in the living room, downstairs hallway, and upstairs hallway. It looks 1000% better than the dreary beigey-lavender-grey that we currently have all over the place. It's warm and homey, while also feeling light. It's yellow, but it isn't YELLOW, if ya know what I mean. The house is going to feel so much happier & more welcoming when we're done. I can't wait!

Meanwhile in the dining room, we're tinkering with different shades of green. We've tested 3 so far & found a lighter green that Tim likes (Croquet - the color on the right in these photos), but I'm afraid it has a little too much grey in it. Honestly, I'm so sick of looking at paint that I feel an urge to just paint that room Oklahoma Wheat, too. Kevin & Shawna were over on Saturday night & we asked them what they thought. Kevin was noncommital. Shawna said shes like the old color. Clearly these people cannot be trusted.

Maybe I should look at the other side of the color wheel. A part of me thinks that a warm pink could be a great color for a dining room. Or not. Hmm.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Painting madness: inspiration

Once upon a time, I worked in a costume shop for a university. We made all of the costumes for every play, musical, dance, and opera that went up on our university's stage. It could be stressful, but we had a blast. I worked with 3 flamingly gay men, which made it all the more interesting. Just me, a drag queen, a couple Bears, and all the fancy, creative costumes you could possibly imagine. How could that not be fun, ya know?

My specialty in the costume shop was hand sewing - or as the boys loved to say "hand jobs". As in, "Hey Mary, I need you to give me a hand job [snicker]". Note that only gay men speaking to their beloved fag hags can get away with this kind of humor. Note also that this never. gets. old.

The reason why I became Queen of the Hand Jobs is because I have meticulous attention to detail. If something needs to be done just so - if you really truly care about the placement of every single stitch - I am your girl. The only drawback is that perfection takes time. Also, there are very few things in stage costuming that require fine detail work (the audience was always at least 20 feet away from our university's stage). And yet, I had this urge to make ALL of my work perfect. Therefore, I was slow. My boss, Robert, learned this sad fact about me. Whenever he gave me a job that needed to be done quickly, he would tell me to be a Speed Demon. If he saw me poking along on my machine on some silly sleeve for a supporting character, Robert would bellow, "I need you to be a Speed Demon, Mary! Speeeeeeed Demon!" & I'd wake up from my reverie of obsessive focus & pick up the pace.

Ah, if only Robert was still in my life now, for I have gotten myself wrapped up into my little perfectionistic world again & I need someone like him to come over, slap me around, and remind me to stop sweating the small stuff.

The small stuff in this case is painting. I know, I know, I picked out paint colors ages ago, right? But getting started on the painting project is scaring me. Paint costs money! Plus, this is Our House - a major investment! And if I spend all of that time preparing the walls and painting and then I don't like the results, then that could affect the value of the house! Plus it's a lot of money & time wasted. Never mind the fact that I'm already wasting a hell of a lot of time agonizing over this. At least I'm not wasting money yet, right?

My biggest hang-up in the paint department - the sticking point that is causing me the most grief - is the kitchen.

Oh, the kitchen. Why must it torture me so. There are lots of things about it that are ugly, but we aren't in a position to change out things right now (well, except for the dead microwave/hood seen in the breakfast nook in these pics. We got rid of that last week). We can paint, though. And boy does this room ever need painting. I hate the blue paint in the kitchen with a loathing that I usually reserve for Jefferson Starship and The Eagles. However, I can't settle on a new color. And seeing as the kitchen is connected to the living room, hallway and dining room, I feel that the color I paint the kitchen has a major influence on the colors I paint the other areas. So of course I can't paint anything in any room until I've nailed down a final color pallet, yes?

Anyway. I know this is getting long, so I'm just going to post some inspirational pics. You see, I've been feeling a leaning towards happy, colorful prints for the kitchen. Madness, I know. But the stereotypical yellow kitchen is such a boring cliche & I want to avoid that. I want something a little different. So here are some inspirational pieces that have caught my eye.

First: The sheets I recently bought at Target. Cuter in person, too. If you are smart you will buy some today. Only $20!

Concert poster for everybody's favorite band that features a trumpet, Cake! I don't own this poster, but I'm thinking about getting it despite the fact that I've never been to Milwaukee.

Third, this print from The Black Apple's on-line shop on Etsy. I don't own this yet, but I fully intend to. I've bought other things from Emily before & I think she's super fab.

Lastly, my Le Creuset cookware.

Luckily for me, I do own this. I have 5 pieces of Le Creuset cookware. And I LOVE their gorgeous red color. I have enough storage that they don't need to sit out all the time, but I don't mind at all if one is sitting on the stove just 'cause.

So that's my color story. But what does this say? What should I do? Well, besides paint the kitchen cabinets white (don't go there). Decisions, decisions ...

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Amazing happenings

An amazing thing happened today, children. I had telephone conversations with three people and NOT ONCE did I erupt into a coughing fit during said calls! Not one single time! This is a huge milestone, people. I have been coughing soooooooo damn much over the last month. I have avoided going out with people & calling friends on the phone because talking - simply talking! - caused me to repeatedly hack and cough and spit up phlegm. It's been nasty. But now! Now I'm actually starting to sound like a person who is NOT dying of consumption! Imagine that! I mean, I'm still coughing a bit so it's not like a Healing Fairy flew down & hit me on the head with her magic wand or anything. But seriously. The difference is amazing.

Other amazing happenings:
1. My father shaved off his mustache for the first time in 35 years. No really. I have never ever seen my father without his mustache. Color me highly intrigued.
2. My brother, Mike, is currently in Los Angeles on a photography job. This is the same guy who got laid off from his old, sucky job a couple of months ago. Now he is pursuing his dreams & traveling around the country. How cool is that?!?
3. The house next door (dubbed "Scary House" by george when she was visiting last spring) was painted over the weekend. It is now a clean, cheerful white & doesn't look the least bit scary anymore.
4. I found a video game I like. The last time I liked playing a particular video game was back in 1983 when I played the Smurfs game on our ColecoVision. This new game - the game that sucked up almost my entire weekend - is Lego Star Wars II for the XBox 360. Tim doesn't seem to like it as much as I do, which is a shame, but he's still managed to log in many an hour playing the game with me.