Thursday, September 27, 2007

Getting misty-eyed over horse poop.

Well, not over horsepoop but over the kindness of the folks who are giving me a bunch of already well-composted horsepoop. A woman with whom I've exchanged lots of different things on Freecycle has a horse farm, and I had planned on going to her house this weekend to pick up as much well-composted horsepoop as I could get, in order to start working it into the garden beds that I plan to start preparing for the spring.

Then life exploded: Not only did I find out a week ago that my mom has a "severe bacterial infection consistent with active TB" and has been put on the meds used to treat multiple-drug-resistant TB (even though she's not yet officially diagnosed until they hear back from the CDC), we also got word that V's dad was just put into a nursing home and has been asking for Von, though they've been basically estranged for years. So we're going up there this weekend.

When I told my Freecycle friend that I wouldn't be able to pick up the composted manure this weekend, she and her husband offered to bag it up and deliver it for me. Normally I'm very reluctant to allow folks to do things for me that I can't necessarily repay in kind, but I'm learning to accept people's kindnesses.

While I'm at it, I want to do a shout-out to Deb, another person I met through Freecycle who is now a friend and neighbor. She is going to take care of our dogs this weekend, and despite being currently unemployed she is adamantly refusing payment.

What someone told me this morning, when I was expressing my discomfort about accepting people's generous offers to help out with things like this, is that I've always been a giver and never want to allow others to give back, but that it's time I learned that "what goes around comes around" applies not only to folks who do ugly things to other people, but to people who frequently try to be there for other people. It really is not comfortable for me, but I guess this is a lesson I should learn. It's humbling, and definitely makes me misty-eyed with thanks.

Monday, September 24, 2007

I want to be a foodie.

I'm not totally sure what really constitutes a "foodie" (a judge just used the term on Iron Chef) but my presumption of its meaning seems to really capture what I want: I want to really know food, know GOOD food, know how to plan simple but delicious meals that focus on seasonal and local foods, and know how to prepare really good food. The first thing out of my mouth every time I'm asked what I'd do if I won the lottery is that I'd attend a good chef school or get private training in cooking techniques. Ten years ago I seriously considered bagging a lifetime of techie work to go to chef school, but I just couldn't rationalize putting that kind of effort into trying to get into a job with terrible hours, rotten pay to start, difficult working conditions, and where women still have a rough time proving themselves to be as worthy as the guys. All I really want to do is learn to cook really well for myself and the people I love.

I don't do too bad, though. I'm a totally improvisational/gut instinct cook, which usually works and sometimes doesn't. I love cookbooks and cooking-related magazines and websites and cooking shows, but to me a recipe is simply a guide; in fact I wish I could be more disciplined to follow certain recipes in order to use them as a basis for learning a core set of techniques.

I am pretty proud of some of the things I made recently, though. The other night when our friends were in town, I made local kale sautéed in a really good olive oil with white beans, onions and garlic; penne pasta (boxed) with more olive oil and fresh grated really good parmesean cheese; and shrimp coated with a slightly spicy dry rub and course salt mixture and then pan grilled in my granny's 60+ year old cast iron skillet (one of my most precious possessions). Then tonight it was more pan-grilled shrimp, but this time coated with a paste of olive oil, salt, pepper and a little bit of brown sugar; simple white rice cooked with salt and olive oil and butter; and a sauce made from butter, lots of garlic, a bit of vietnamese red pepper/garlic sauce, a bit of brown sugar, a little squeeze of lime, and a whole lemon - I then took the sauce and used it to deglaze the pan once the shrimp were done. I'd planned to also roast some fresh local brussels sprouts, but it was late and they take about 45 minutes to roast properly, so that will make it into a different meal in a day or two.

What I enjoy most is figuring out how to make really good food that doesn't take hours and hours to fix. Tonight's dinner took me 20 minutes - the time it took the rice to cook. Dinner the other night took maybe 30, but a good 10 of that was just from washing the local farm-grown kale which is always dirtier than the presumably pre-washed stuff from the grocery store. I'm the queen of the quick meal, baby. I just want to be the queen of the quick meal made using better techniques, more focus on local ingredients, and a greater variety of foods and dishes.

If anyone reads this far, then there's a chance that you're a foodie as well. If you know of sites or blogs that really feed that need to learn more about cooking and share ideas and recipes, please let me know about them!!

Friday, September 21, 2007

What makes a house into a home.

The past few days have been delightful. Some very special friends from New Orleans have been here since Tuesday night, and I'm very sad that they'll be leaving tomorrow (Friday). It's been great having them here to just hang out, watching their two children explore the house, having our two granddaughters over to visit and observing how they interact, sharing meals together, running errands together. We've both joked (though it will never happen) about their buying the house next to ours. It would just make me beyond thrilled to have someone live next door who were truly close friends like this.

Oh, and my friend even willingly and with a smile on her face did some touch-ups on the dining room paint and did the cutting-in for our stairway, so that now all we need to do is roll it!!

So that's the story behind the sappy post title: It's when a house is filled with friends and family that you love that it really becomes a home.

Happy Birthday, Von!!! I love you (even though I doubt you'll read this!) and love the home that we have together.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

There's something just immensely soothing to an old house freak about just reading through the titles in a forum populated by old house freaks like me:
  • Vintage thermostats
  • Carpet vs wood floor
  • Save the Moss House!
  • Bathroom pictures
  • Would you paint this screen door?
  • BEES!!
  • What was the purpose of this dormer window?
  • Ghost story, anyone?
  • What I did this weekend
I don't even have to read the threads, just reading the titles is enough to start feeling at home. These are my people, my tribe. They GET IT in a way that non-old house lovers will never understand.

Now, off to look at bathroom pictures and maybe write about what I did this weekend.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

It seemed like a good idea at the time.

You know your body is going to hurt by the end of the day when your gardening tool of choice necessity turns out to be a heavy pickax.

Let me explain.

We have an odd backwards-L-shaped lot. Our garage and garden shed are situated along the line between the two sections, and the rest of the side section is a huge parking lot extra-wide driveway. Between the vast wasted space in that area, the good sun, and the lack of dogs to pee on my veggies, I decided that it was a great spot to put my garden.

Round 1 was to dig up the area that's not officially part of the driveway because it's to the side of the garage, behind the garden shed, and everything we put there did very well. My plans for the spring were to redo the whole area into six or eight 4x4 raised beds, to do "square foot gardening," and building and prepping those beds is on my fall to-do list.

I came across some broccoli plants for fall planting and bought some thinking "I can just set up one of the 4x4's and plant these!! It shouldn't take any time at all, since I already have a 4x4 frame built and ready to go!! Ah, the enthusiasm of idiots innocents.

Looking over the site I was certain that the hardest part was simply going to be to hoe out the weeds then hand-till the spot and dig in some well-rotted compost that I was going to swing over and pick up from a horse-owning gardening friend who has way too much compost ready and waiting to be used.


The weeds on that side of the driveway hid the fact that there wasn't just a scattering of gravel there (it had looked like most of the gravel was in front of the garage). There was a good 6-8"+ of very hard-packed gravel. I'm not an expert gardener, but despite the fact that the weeds were clearly loving it, I didn't think the broccoli would be as fond of those conditions.

The gravel-packed dirt just laughed at the shovel. It broke the handle of my favorite hoe. It refused to allow the gardening fork or heavy rake any headway. So out comes the pickax.

What followed was a workout that no one at Gold's Gym could have forced me into. It doesn't sound as much work as it is, but (in stages) I loosened the soil with the pickax to make it possible to shovel it up, then put 1-2 shovelfuls at a time into one of those 1'x2' or so plastic thingies that serve as a base for a group of plants at the garden store, shook and massaged it over the wheelbarrow to separate the gravel (which mostly stayed in) from the dirt (which mostly sifted through), dumped the gravel onto a tarp, repeat repeat repeat until the wheelbarrow was mostly full and I had a large pile of gravel (both substances being about equal in builk). I then took the gravel over to spread in sparse areas of the driveway that are supposed to have gravel, dumped the dirt from the wheelbarrow onto a second tarp, and repeated THAT cycle probably 10-12 times.

When I started, my plan to get out all the gravel. About 1/4 of the way through I figured I'd be satisfied with most of it. As I was nearing the end of what I accomplished I decided that 6" was deep enough no matter how much gravel was left.

Of course, what comes out must go back in. At this point, going to the horse farm to get compost wasn't going to happen, so I put in about half the dirt, mixed the other half with a bag of fine chicken-scratched (and chicken pooped) leaf mulch that I had left over from the main garden bed, and put that back in.

I then couldn't find my hand spade. I couldn't find ANY of my hand spades. After 20 minutes of looking, and an aborted attempt to just poke holes with a pointed 2x2, I finally found an old rusted bent cheapo spade in a basket of my granddaughter's old play-in-the-sand toys that would just freakin' have to do. I got my broccoli planted and managed to summon the energy to put my tools away.

Oh and then since Von's still out of commission with a post-surgical hand, I then cooked dinner, washed the day's dishes, cleaned up the kitchen, de-ribbed the kale I bought today at he local produce market, did two loads of wash, and took a shower.

My body HURTS.

And if my friendly neighborhood rabbit decides that broccoli shoots are the best thing going, that little fucker's going to be introduced to Julia Child. Actually, I think one of my Jacques Pépin cookbooks has a section with full-color photo-illustrated very detailed step-by-step instructions for skinning a rabbit. I've always avoided it before, but under those circumstances I'd open it with pleasure.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

The Joys of Organizing

There are just some times when the satisfaction of finally tackling a long-overdue organization project is better than "the joys of sex." The work I did on the garage today was definitely one of those times. I'm not done, not even close to halfway. But damn, it feels good. I'm having to work around a few things that I just can't do/move by myself, but I should have a lot of it done by tomorrow.

As predicted, I'm starting to find things that I thought we'd lost forever - or things that we've already long replaced. Like leashes. After we moved in last year, we couldn't find any of the dogs' leashes. We now have three dogs, only two that can be walked (the other is too old and falls down too much), and five retractable plus seven regular leashes, and enough dog toys to last the pugs until their old age. And since I'm starting on the big stuff, like moving large piles of wood out of the way and getting rid of totally non-functional furniture and things that must be freecycled, I'm sure I'll discover an entire Lowes store worth of stuff that we need before I'm done -- or at least stuff that we needed at some point recently, but then ultimately replaced because we couldn't find it.

I tried my damndest to hide the gigantic professionally framed oil-retouched photograph that my folks had done of me when I was five years old, thinking that Von (who loves it) must have forgotten it by now, but wouldn't you know it that Von would come in and spot it tucked behind a cabinet before noticing practically anything else of my work, scold me for trying to get rid of it, then put up a huge fight to hang it in the living room. I'll hang ME in the living room before I let that picture live in there. We each have our own private rooms on the 3rd floor, and Von can put that picture up there where I don't have to see it, thankyouverymuch.

I took before pics of the garage and I'll take and post the before and after pics once I'm done.

Now if I could just figure out what to do with the extra picnic table set that lives in the middle of the garage that we never use but won't get rid of because Von and Chanel hand-stenciled it...

Friday, September 14, 2007

A note to my houseblog friends

While I really haven't been commenting much lately on most folks' blogs, I wanted to just do a heads-up that if you start seeing comments from "Leslie," that's me (probably - unless there's another Leslie). It just dawned on me that I'm trying to maintain three separate blogs but all three were being signed "Georgetown House" and that was just seeming weird.

So now it's just me. Leslie. But still at Georgetown house.

Maybe once the pie is done I'll go read me some houseblogs. It's been too long time away.

Sushi and Peach Pie

It keeps threatening rain so that's reason enough for me to bag the weeding I had told myself I should do.

Instead, Von and I just finished off the supermarket sushi that I bought as a "thought you might enjoy this" treat that in truth was as much for myself as for the poor patient, and I'm waiting for a pot of water to boil so that I can peel the local peaches I bought for a big yummy peach pie. Again, "oh honey, this is a yummy treat just for you!!" Yeah, right.

On the "oh shit" side of things, I just realized that my dishwasher (Von) is completely and irreparably out of commission for the next week, meaning that I'll be doing all the cooking AND washing the dishes. **mumblegrumblegrowlcuss**

So, I've got "Party Favorites" cranked up on the cable-feed music with the bass a little extra-thumpy, I'll make up a yummy fresh peach pie, do the dishes, and maybe sip on a chocolate martini or something equally decadent while I'm at it.

Von's hand surgery today means...

...that I can focus on whatever I want to get done this weekend without having to negotiate priorities. Von definitely isn't big on prioritizing gardening or organizing, even if I'm the only one working on it, so this is my chance, especially since we're still riding on the high that comes from finishing a big [for us] project (dining room/hallway painting). Go, Vicodin!

So far my tentative plans are:

  • Sit on my ass doing nothing for a bit longer
  • Go out and apply the weedkiller that I've reluctantly accepted is our only real option in the driveway
  • Chop out as many weeds as possible then start putting newspaper (NOT weedkiller) down on the weeds/grass in the area I plan on turning into garden beds to help keep them from regrowing/growing more.
  • Pick up the grandkids and go play for the afternoon at the local Pridefest
  • Do some spare room organizing in preparations for some much loved house guests who are arriving in a few days.
Sunday (high 60's and clear - WOOT! for the weather!)
  • Start getting the garage organized
  • See if my friend will come over with her tiller to help me move some flowers

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Just in case anyone is interested...

I created a separate blog that I'm going to use for general updates, ramblings, to-do lists, questions to the universe, and rants (probably thickly laced with profanity) with regard to this wedding that I'm now going to be planning. If you're masochist enough to want to read about this stuff, the website is

Fulfilling my Grandmotherly duties

As I have mentioned before (for those who do not know this already) grandmothers are legally required to foist pictures (and, when possible, videos) of their grandchildren onto unwilling strangers on at least a semi-annual basis, particularly for any major event in their grandchildrens' lives.

So here, for your viewing pleasure, is my baby granddaughter finally walking, after many weeks of only taking one or two very tentative steps at a time:

Soon to come: Elder granddaughter doing her self-choreographed dance moves while singing to Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus. I know y'all just can't WAIT for that one!!

(and yes, those are my two fugly free couches in the background with their ill-fitting need-to-be-tucked-back-in-place slipcovers. One of these days we'll have grownup furniture in the living room, I swear it.)

It figures.

"Hmmm, it's 12:15, the plumber said he'd be here sometime in the early afternoon, I'm just going to squeeze in a very quick shower before he gets here. I mean, what's the chance of his getting here in the 3-4 minutes it takes me to do a quick PTA? :::turning on the water, stepping in, quickly lathering my hair::: ok it would really be hysterical if right now while I've got a head full of suds, suddenly the water...."

::klank sputter drip nothing::

It was less than 60 seconds after stepping into the shower that he turned the water off.

At least the plumber, his helper and I were all laughing when I opened the door, wrapped solidly in my most modest robe but otherwise dripping wet, and asked him to give me just five more minutes of water before he got started.

Now I need to have him show me where the house shutoff is located, since I have absolutely no idea.

And just to make sure that I don't forget it: Happy 90th Birthday (tomorrow) to my beloved Granny. You will always be my greatest inspiration, the one true hero of my life, the person who taught me the most about being a strong independent woman and about how to give completely unconditional love. You no longer know who I am, but your smile and your voice still show me who you really are. I love you with every cell in my body and every bit of my soul.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

*tink*tink*tink tink* May I have your attention please?

Our priorities with regards to what we work on over the next year or so may have just changed, though which direction they'll change will depend on whether we decide to get married here at the house (making more visible projects a higher priority) or somewhere else (making saving money a higher priority).

Yup, folks, we're getting married.

Not that we don't already consider ourselves married already; in fact we had a private (just the two of us) ceremony formally expressing our commitment to each other several years ago. But this will be the part where I finally have a reason to put on a fancy dress, Von gets an excuse to wear a tux, we get to hang out with a few dozen of our friends and family, and more than anything, we get to exchange vows with those friends, family, and God as our witnesses -- all of whom we hope will share in our happiness, celebrate with us, hold us to those vows, and support us through times when things aren't going so well. And then we dance. And eat. And dance some more. And hope there are a few Lowes' gift certificates slipped our way as gifts.

So far we're pretty light on the details: Von asked me the other night if we could get married with a public ceremony, and I said yes, and that's about as far as our conversations have gone . Since the only time for us to do something like this is while I'm on summer break, I'm guessing late spring 2009, since I can't imagine my getting my act together enough to plan this for next year, or our getting our finances together enough post-all our recent big expenses, plus I'm not into the heat and humidity of our summers here. When we were semi-planning something like this years ago (before life got in the way), we decided on a Jewish wedding (since I'm Jewish though basically no one else there will be) and a Latin reception (since Von's PuertoRican and Dominican). We want low key and low budget, and since it will be a stretch if we come up with even just 50 people to invite, that will help keep the expenses low and the intimacy high.

One thing we do want though, is a "honeymoon" in Canada where we will have a short civil service, so that at least someone somewhere will recognize that when we're a couple who owns a house, pays our taxes, fights but works it out, wills each other everything, works together to help raise our grandchildren, and is willing to make a personal and legally binding commitment to each other, then dammit we're married, and we are NOT legally strangers as the US and most state governments consider us to be. It's hard enough knowing that no matter what kind of paperwork we draw up, I could be denied access to Von's hospital room if she were to become seriously ill, that her father from whom she is totally estranged could swoop down and take her body away from her and bury her in a dress while their evangelical church prayed over what a sinful life she'd led, that Von will have to pay taxes on everything I leave to her if I die, that if Von dies in the line of duty I am not entitled to the same compensation that any other spouse would get, and the list goes on and on and on. Why do so many folks insist that my wanting those things is asking for "special rights?" Whose marriage am we hurting by wanting our relationship to be both legally binding and legally recognized?

Sorry to get so political and near-pitiful on you, folks. But there is no question that Von is my life-mate, my spouse in not only my eyes but our family's, our friends', our coworkers', and our God's. I'm just tired of fighting, and sad that we have to get passports in order to get to a more civilized country who will legally recognize our commitment to each other.

(fyi, MA requires you to live there to be married there, and I'm not willing to settle for the "separate but kinda sorta equal" that a few other states have provided.)

Ahhhhhh, now THAT felt good...

After an entire summer of putting off fixing the outside spigot ourselves (which the PO's inconveniently placed inside the crawlspace) with its broken handle and its shutoff that doesn't shut off, I just placed a call to a Highly Recommended Plumber who will be here in 15 minutes. We plan to hire him to fix all that needs fixing plus put the faucet on the OUTSIDE of the foundation where we really need it to be.

I haven't met him yet but this guy sounds like exactly the type of plumber we've been dreaming of finding: For years he owned one of the ares larger plumbing business but it just got to where, to quote my HVAC contractor who recommended him, "it just wasn't fun any more" since all he was doing was running the business and supervising a large staff who was mostly doing big new construction jobs. He wanted to go back to actually doing plumbing, so he sold the business for a buttload of money and is back to doing mostly relatively small jobs where it's just him and maybe one occasional assistant.

So, we're slowly finding all the essentials in life: A good electrician, a good plumber (if he works out, that is), and a good general handyman. Now if I could only find someone within 40 miles who was willing to work on my Mazda minivan I'd be happy.

Update: Got an immediate good impression of him. He's going to come do the work tomorrow, "shouldn't be more than $150, depends on how long it takes me to drill through that beam there." He's going to put in a spigot that doesn't need to be shut off during the winter. And it's worth way more than $150 to have someone else take on this task. WOOOT!!

Now if I could just win the lottery and hire folks to do EVERYthing around here. I am most definitely not one of those folks who does this work for the joy of it; I'd be very happy to let someone who really knew what they were doing do it all, thank you very much.

The Pee-Proof floor is finally done

And here we have it folks. While the rest of you are showing off your gorgeous kitchens, rooms full of custom made-by-you woodwork, the bathroom you remodeled last weekend, and (for the angolito types among us) this month's house purchase and remodel, I'll show off my measely little hallway, now made relatively pee-proof because of the big guy in the first picture is an obsessive marker (which is probably how he ended up in pug rescue to begin with).

Bad doggie hallway:

Nice doggie hallway:

(minus the dogs, all the dog's stuff, the cabinet at the end, the new trim so we just put back the old, etc.)

Not only does the paint look a lot lighter on my monitor than for real, the wall at the end of the hallway looks white! It's not, it's the same Cincinnatian Hotel Taupe as the rest of the hall and dining room, a color I'd describe as a golden-brown coffee with a lot of cream in it.

One thing I'm going to do to add to its pee-proofness is run some clear caulk under the baseboards,so that if the little ****er lifts his leg on something, it can't run under the baseboards to where we can't clean it up properly.

The vinyl sheet flooring is only considered a 5-year plan; we hope he'll either grow out of his marking, or I'll kill him, we'll see which one it is.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Does this make me somehow less of a REAL do-it-yourselfer?

I know that the decision I made yesterday certainly hurts my creds as a serious tool-slut in some folks' eyes, that's for sure.

I bought a finish nailer. Yes, that's a normal thing for a DIY-ing tool-slut to buy.

But I didn't buy a pneumatic nailer, I bought a Black & Decker Firestorm 18v 18 gauge electric/cordless nailer. Not one of those propane-based cordless nailers, just an ordinary cordless tool.

I anticipate so many of my house-fixup friends cringing and gnashing their teeth as they read about this. "WHY?!? Why not a pneumatic? Why waste your money on this cordless piece of crap when you could get a good compressor/nailer kit for only twice that?"

Probably someday I'll start doing the pneumatic tool route. But as I look at the projects we're realistically facing in the next few years, about the only thing we need is a finish nailer, and about the only thing we'll need it for is hanging some trim, installing a bit of wainscoting, and maybe assembling a medicine cabinet (hmmm... I need to add "build medicine cabinet" to my "50 by 50" list). And I just really like the idea of a totally cordless nailer. I checked with a couple of people who have the B&D nailer who said that it does just fine for what they need. I checked the reviews on various sites and they all were fine. I live close to a B&D outlet. I got a brand new one for around $100. It has a two year warranty and they give you a brand new one with a brand new 2-year warranty if anything goes wrong. I tried it, putting back up some of the trim we removed from the hallway, and it works GREAT.

So yeah, ok, it's not pneumatic. But don't even think of trying to challenge my tool-slut creds.

Now if this one last patch would just hurry up and dry so I could paint it so I could put the rest of the trim up, I'd take pics to post!

Thursday, September 6, 2007

The original flooring is dead. Long live the floor.

We think we're nearly ready to pull the plug on all our hopes of restoring our dining room floor. We were so excited a few months ago when we realized that there was original wood flooring under the dining room's nasty carpet. But it's wasn't exactly the fairy tale that others get to live, of pulling back carpet to find a beautiful condition original floor underneath. This floor wasn't in great condition, and we think there's a good chance that we'll never get it to even decent condition, particularly relative to the money and work we'd be sinking into it, because
  • it was never finished to begin with
  • it's probably much lower quality wood, meant as simply a subfloor to the linoleum that was in that room when it was originally the kitchen, the 30's version of a plywood subfloor
  • it can't be refinished until days and days and days of backbreaking scraping are done to take up the glue and felt from the old linoleum (floor refinishers won't touch it until every bit is gone)
  • we can't tell how badly it might be stained under all that felt and glue (it was a kitchen, after all, and a kitchen that had a fire no less)
  • there are a whole bunch of holes where water pipes and drain pipes and radiator pipes poked through the floor that would have to be patched
  • there is about 5sq ft that is missing and just has plywood in its place.
Add all those together, and it just seems not worth the effort. Not cost effective, not time effective, and no guarantees that I wouldn't slit my wrists with a floor scraper before we were 1/4 of the way done.

So we haven't said our final goodbye's or made our final decision yet, but the I think we're hearing the death rattle. I'm investigating other flooring - just to help us make a decision. I've emailed someone who, a few months ago, had a good price on salvaged heart pine - just in case we decide to go that way.

If we end up giving up on the original floor, I'll be sad but I won't mourn for long. I'll be too busy arguing with V over the fact that we absolutely positively could not even consider the possibility of putting back that badly stained 1x6 construction-grade lumber that the PO's used as "baseboards" throughout the house, not on top of newly refinished floors. No way, uh-uh, fuhgedaboudit. I will sneak out in the middle of the night and bring it all to the landfill if I must, in order to keep it from going back up in that dining room. V doesn't even fully realize yet that the battle lines have been firmly drawn on this issue and I WILL emerge victorious. But she'll be ok being the conquered one once she sees how nice it will look with baseboards that actually look good.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

A'painting we will go

We're finally painting the dog hallway (done except for some touch-ups) and we're in the middle of painting the dining room, which we hope to finish by this weekend. Finally found a color that we both said "YES! THAT one!" to - Just happened to be one of the historic colors: Cincinnatian Hotel Taupe, which translates to a kind of coffee heavy with cream with a hint of gold. My first choice was very similar and I wanted it just for the name: Dust Bunny. Now, how appropriate would THAT have been, huh? We'll hopefully get the baseboards back up in the hallway tonight, so I'll take pictures of our New Improved Doggie Hallway. The appearance (and, I'll fess up, the SMELL) is like night and day.

We finally caved and decided we're going to try and hire someone to do the dining room floor. It's just too much work, and we're too impatient. OK, and too lazy. That's one hell of a job. I start calling floor contractors today, starting with one that a coworker recently used and loved.

I miss blogging, and even more than that I miss reading other houseblogs, but life's just been too busy these days. Perhaps after the semester gets fully running, there will be time to just kick back and read.