Friday, August 16, 2013

Carrots and Critters

Apologies for yet another extended period of silence. We are still waiting on Google Fiber to install and set up Internet in our area, so I'm without it at home. It's making me a little (okay, a lot) crazy. Since most of the work I do happens over the web, and I just learned it will be another month until we're all set up, I'm about to break down and get a hotspot to hold us over. It may not be the most frugal thing in the world, but I'm going to start losing money soon if I can't get online when I need to, and driving to the studio at midnight to send quick edits for a copywriting project is perhaps a little more frugal than I'm willing to be. Plus, that wastes gas money. (So there?)

Moving and going back to freelance is a lot to do at one time, and I've been neglecting more than this blog. I hate to admit it, but I also sort of abandoned our community garden. It wasn't purposeful, I've just been so behind on everything I hadn't really made it back to the old neighborhood to tend to it. Yesterday, I finally stopped by. It was overgrown in a pretty sad way, and we lost most of our beans, some kale and some Japanese eggplant. I wouldn't feel so terrible about all of that, had I not recently thrown out some of my CSA veggies because we didn't cook them in time. I have excuses — it took about two weeks to get the kitchen fully unpacked, and the move was exhausting — but I hate wasting food.

On the bright side, I was able to get some herbs to transplant to our extra lot, and I made a very happy discovery: we have carrots. Real, full-grown carrots.

I also made a not-so-happy discovery earlier in the week: Brown recluse spiders. In our basement. Where our new bedroom is. I am FREAKING OUT.

For the two or so weeks we've been in the new house, we'd been sleeping an old queen-size bed in what will be the guest room on the main floor. Our king-size bed was delivered this week, so we finally moved into our new "master suite" which was built, but never finished, in the basement. It's a very cool space, with an old fireplace, a bathroom vanity made of reclaimed wood, and a Kyle-size shower that makes me feel like I'm at a spa. But it needs light covers, trim, and caulk in a bad way.

While cleaning the room in preparation for the bed delivery Tuesday, I discovered that we have a brown recluse spider issue. The issue being: we have them. I never saw them upstairs, but they're in the basement. It doesn't seem to be a crazy infestation or anything, but one is one too many. And I've definitely seen more than one. I've put together a natural repellent that I think is working, and I'm finally a little less frazzled than I've been for the last few days, so I'm not going to work myself into a frenzy right before the weekend. So, more on the spideymonsters later. Probably much more.

For now, here are some images of life lately. Well, at least the non-creepy parts.

Work has been pretty great and I've been able to do a lot of food styling. (Don't worry, these pictures aren't the final product, just process. I'm the stylist, not the photographer... and do you really think I'd leave an ice cube on the table like that?)

My partner Jeff takes the real photos.

At home, we finally unpacked the last of the kitchen stuff and got back to cooking. I was able to prepare two weeks' worth of colorful CSA potatoes for dinner on Wednesday (with enough for leftovers last night), and Kyle grilled beer can chickens. (Yes, that's Bud Light you see up their butts; it's surplus from our wedding.)

I'm also in the process of building my closet in a corner of the basement (though that's on hold for obvious reasons) and I've managed to disassemble, clean and reassemble our fans. All three were having issues and making noises, and now they all purr like kittens. They look nice, too.

Jack is not at all bothered by sleeping the basement, but he chases bunnies into the bushes in the dark and eats his own poop, so I'm not that surprised. I just hope he doesn't get a brown recluse bite down there on the floor.

That's all for now. Hopefully I'll get a hotspot this weekend and get back to regular posting next week. Unless, of course, I end up in the hospital from a brown recluse spider bite — which would be really terrible considering I'm currently uninsured. 

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Monday, August 5, 2013

Saying Goodbye to the Old House

I've had a pretty insanely busy month. We closed on a house, I quit my job, and we went to Chicago for a week. Then, as soon as we got back, I was scrounging up freelance work and painting the living room, kitchen, and dining room of the new house. That took me a week and then some, and I was there until 2 am many nights. About a week later, we started moving in. Though we hired movers for the furniture, the move was its own special kind of hell, and it took us a week to get completely moved out of the rental house we'd lived in since December 2010.

As I finally — finally! — loaded the last of our stuff into my car, I started to get a little sad. I wasn't attached to the house so much as the memories that we created in it. It's the first place Kyle and I picked out together, it's where we lived when we got engaged, and where we lived when we got married. It's where we hosted our first Christmas for both of our families, and countless cookouts, dinner parties, and accidental dance parties with friends. It's where just the two of us had a drunken pots-and-pans jamboree on Kyle's thirty-somethingth birthday, and where I woke up the next morning to find my underwear on the stove. It's where we lived when we loved each other so much we couldn't stand it, and where we lived when we wanted to strangle each other.

Plus, it's just a cool old house. So, I decided to document some of what I will miss, like the old door handles that I'm pretty sure date back to when the house was built in 1913.

The remnants of beautiful wallpaper in the two (tiny) upstairs closets.

The old heating vents.

The sunroom off of the master bedroom I didn't use often enough (or really at all, for anything other than storage, sadly).

The farmhouse sink in the kitchen — a kitchen that was open to the dining room.

And the exposed brick flue, that I know also exists in our new old house. I just need to expose it.

Of course, in addition to the tiny closets, there are other things I won't miss, like the bathroom floor that was impossible to keep clean. No combination of Bon Ami, Mrs. Meyer's, and elbow grease could brighten those once-white tiles.

Speaking of the bathroom, it was a construction site for the last year or so. (And while I'm complaining about the bathroom, I am thrilled that we will have more than one in the new house. Not only will Kyle and I not have to wait for the other to be done in the bathroom every morning, I can have a guest bathroom that I keep clean and nice, and a private bathroom that I will try to keep clean and nice but I know will get trashed with dirty clothes and toothpaste splatters on the mirror from time to time.)

I also won't miss the fact that while the house had central air and heat, the second floor was a swamp in the summer time (requiring a window unit to stay cool at night) and freezing in the winter (so we had to use a space heater on the coldest nights). The old, possibly original, single-paned windows also made for shockingly-high utility bills.

Overall, it was a wonderful place for us to live for two-and-a-half years. I'm glad I was able to snap a few pictures before I left for good, and I'm so excited to make memories, messes, and eventually a couple of babies in the new house.

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