Monday, February 28, 2011

House Remodel Phase 1 is coming along

This post is really for Paul's brother Dave.  Paul says that every time he talks to Dave, all Dave wants is to see photos of how the texture looks on the walls now that they have been painted.  And since this "finishing" stage of trimwork and baseboard are taking a little bit longer than I anticipated, I figured we would go ahead and post something now rather than wait for the final "reveal."  I have a feeling that these photos may look boring and repetitive since they are all just of blank walls.  Sorry about that. 

A little list of what we have done so far on the bedroom remodels:
  • moved everything out of the four bedrooms into the garage and/or living room
  • stripped the old trim and baseboard
  • installed new light fixtures
  • replaced all the windows
  • had insulation blown into all the exterior walls
  • installed new doors
  • textured all walls
  • sanded the texture
  • removed old carpets
  • painted walls
  • installed trim around windows, closets and doors
We tried to be smart and buy paint samples to put up on the walls before committing to a color, but that didn't work out so hot.  We totally repainted three rooms after a first coat.  The green was too vivid and as much as we wanted a green nursery, we went with a neutral color.  And although we both LOVED the gray colors in small quantities, once we painted an entire room gray, it just felt too cave-like.  So, we went with two different shades of a neutral khaki/brown color that we are very happy with. 

We really liked the darkest color, but it just didn't work in this room.

We tried the second green from the right in the middle of the far wall.  It was just too much.

Beige.  Much better.

I helped with the painting too - we just don't have photos of it.  I painted all of the corners and edges of the rooms.

Oh, and did I mention that we had our fence redone?  I haven't taken very good photos of it, but you can see what it looks like through these window shots.  Before:
That palm frond hanging off our neighbors house came from our tree.  We have had a couple of those fronds fall on our house and they freak us out every time.  It sounds like somebody fell from a plane onto our house!

The fence is now a couple feet taller which provides much more privacy.  And it is not falling down.
 Paul has done a great job on all of the trimwork.  He would call Dave to get instructions on what to do, then go do it.  I am super impressed.

Yucky nasty old sills.

Nice lines, eh?  Dave, do not say anything mean if these are not 100% perfect.

The master bedroom.  Door to hall, door to bathroom, and closet - all trimmed out and ready for baseboard.

Paul is currently finishing up the baseboards, then we will be patching nail holes in the trim, caulking the trim, taping around all trim, and finally painting the trim.  Then carpet goes in.  We are hoping to be done within the next 2-3 weeks so that we can have everything moved back in by the end of March. 

I have been a slave-driver and have been making him work every night, so these photos were taken tonight and the lighting isn't so great, but you can see the texture on the walls a little bit better I think.

My dad doesn't read this blog, but Mom, you can tell him that I posted a picture of the air compressor and nail guns that you guys got Paul for Christmas.  He is obviously making good use of these tools.


More texturing.

I think I tell Paul at least once a day that if he cuts off his fingers I am not going to find the little nubs and take him to the hospital so he better be careful with these power saws.

This picture is to show some of the baseboard that Paul already has up in the nursery.

Another shot of the nursery closet.

Sleeping in our living room hasn't been so bad.  It has meant having the TV in our bedroom for the first time in our marriage, which Paul enjoys although I prefer not having a TV in the same room where I sleep.  I have enjoyed having a fireplace in our bedroom.  Not for the bow-chicka-wow-wow factor, but just because I'm something of a pyromaniac. 
Blech.  We are still living with dust only this is from all the sawing outside that gets tracked in.  I want my bedroom back.
And finally, one of me pretending I am cool by making a peace sign:

That's it!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

If I could, I would...

  • Adopt twins
  • Go on 'Survivor'
  • Climb Mt. Everest and Mt. Kilamanjaro
  • Make fudge
  • Stop eating ice cream
  • Get a book published
  • Sail around the world on a yacht
  • Go skydiving
  • Shave my head
  • Learn to speak Chinese
  • Move to Germany
  • Open up a dessert shop just so I could try out recipes and not have to be stuck eating all of the results
  • Go on 'The Amazing Race'
  • Start a scholarship for my alma mater
  • Visit the Galapagos Islands, Easter Island, Madagascar, and New Zealand
  • Swim with dolphins
  • Run another marathon
  • Redo college all over again (without changing a thing)
  • Pay off all of our student loan debt
  • Go to Disneyland
  • Build an addition on our house so we could have a full-size master bathroom and walk-in closet
  • Plant tulip bulbs
  • Do a family history tour of Scotland, Denmark, and England
  • Permanently darken my blonde eyebrows
  • Practice yoga twice a week
  • Dress like Emma Pillsbury from Glee
  • Donate my hair to Locks of Love
  • Take ballroom dance classes with Paul again

Friday, February 25, 2011

The Wild

Last night, just as I was on the cusp of sleep, Paul and I were awoken by a horrible, scary screaming sound.  The volume moderated but continued and mostly sound like really, really loud wind and for a minute or two, we thought maybe it was just the storm that is supposed to blow in today.  In fact, forecasters are predicting snow in the Bay Area.  SNOW! 

But the sound was just too loud to be the wind, so Paul got out of bed to figure out what was the cause of all the ruckus.  Turns out, there were two racoons having a crazed tussle on our neighbors roof right behind us.  The racoons were HUGE and scary, especially making the noises they were making.  We watched them for about five minutes, listening to their shrieks and watching them rise up and charge each other.   It was very violent and pretty creepy.  Finally one of them slunk away, defeated, and we were able to go back to sleep. 

I dreamt about animals that went crazy and attacked humans - like man-eating shrimp. 

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Miss Emma-Lou

Last night, just after I got home from work, my phone started ringing.  Caller ID said that it was my sister Jennie, but when I picked up, there was nobody there except heavy breathing.  Like a stalker or axe murderer.  After thinking it could be a bad connection and saying "Jennie? Jennie?" a few times, it hit me and a huge smile spread across my face as I said "Emma?

Emma can't talk yet, but she called her Aunt Amy and it made me so happy.  Okay, so she didn't know what she was doing and just accidentally unlocked Jennie's phone, chose my number on speed dial, and pressed send - but I'll take it. 

Me teaching Emma how to use her toy cell phone over Christmas.  Apparently she has ditched the toy in favor of the real deal.
Jennie heard me on the phone and took it from Emma and apologized for the prank call.  So instead we got on Skype and I got to play "Where's your nose?" and "Where's Amy's nose?" with Emma and we engaged in a little "I'm a Little Teapot" action.  It was awesome.  Especially when Emma showed off "Where's your tongue?" by sticking her tongue out and waggling it all over her face. 

I can't wait to see her in April!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Missionary Valentine

Today's post is brought to you by my sister Jessica.  It is a paragraph from her most recent email from Uruguay and I thought it was so hilarious that I just had to post it here:

On Monday night I could not sleep so I got up at three and spent a couple hours making valentine cards for hna smith and crofts.  They turned out so cute!  On the inside i wrote, ´´I hope your valentine´s day is filled with faith, hope, charity, and LOVE!!´´ and i used a heart in love instead of v.  And then I put a picture of me with a heart cutout framing my face and then cut out hearts glued all around it with sayings on them like conversation hearts.  But the sayings were like this, ´´be my baptism´´ ´´will you marry...eachother!´´  ´´u r smokin´...stop!´´ u r white!´´  ´´let´s pray together´´ ´´can i have your numbers?´´  ´´4ever...families´´  ´´c curch!´´  etc.  They were super funny, or at least I thought so.
Mi hermanita in Montevideo on her preparation day.
Oh Jess, you crack me up.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Reading List

Here are the results of my most recent trip to the library:

The Feminine Mistake - Leslie Bennetts
I Am America (And So Can You) - Stephen Colbert
Swoon - Nina Malkin (YA lit.)
Catch-22 - Joseph Heller
The 13th Hour - Richard Doetsch

I decided to start with Mr. Colbert first.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Cairo on my mind

I think I may possibly have PTSD from our visit to Egypt a little over a year ago.  It was a fairly traumatic experience for me and Paul.  Normally we are fearless travellers and we have never had a problem with the people or cultures of any of the places we have visited.  We aren't the type of "tourists" who seek out the nearest McDonald's and only stay at a Holiday Inn.  We eat local, we stay in hostels or bed and breakfasts or small hotels, we use public transportation, and we try to learn and use words and phrases in the language of the country.  But Egypt was something else. 

It didn't help that it was Ramadan and impossible to get any food when we got there.  It also didn't help that when we finally were able to eat, I ended up getting food poisoning and found myself thinking that I would die on the floor of a filthy hostel just a block off Tahrir Square.  But the real problem was that we had a hard time adapting to the people.  The Egyptian culture is so ... different.  For the most part, the people we interacted with were pushy and abrasive and downright mean.  As a woman, I have never been treated so poorly and there was one time when Paul had to step in and defend me from an extremely aggressive and insulting man who was leering at me and getting much to close for comfort.  Amazingly, the one person we really connected with in Egypt was a teenage Egyptian boy working at McDonald's (the only place I felt safe to eat at after puking my guts out for three days).  He explained to us that treatment of foreigners by Egyptians was a big problem that nobody knew how to solve.

But seeing the news stories over the past few days about the unrest in Egypt has really affected me.  I am drawn to the images - captivated by the violence in a place of which I have few pleasant memories.  And I am saddened for the Egyptian people.  I read one news story that was trying to make sense of the situation and the journalist explained that the Egyptians he spoke with can't articulate what they do want in a leader, they just know that they don't want the leader they have now.  I worry for them.  I see photos of the crowds in Tahrir Square and I remember walking through there on our way to the Egyptian Museum (the pink building you can see in a lot of the photos of the rioting). 

Anyway, after clicking through story after story and looking at gruesome images of today's violence, I decided to open up my file of photos from our trip to Egypt and browse through them.  And I was surprised to remember the beauty that we saw there:  gorgeous sunsets, haunting ancient structures carved from stone, sand stretching for miles and miles.

These photos also make me so thankful to be safe and sound at home.  But despite the bad experiences we had there, my heart goes out to Egypt and its people tonight.