Sunday, December 11, 2011

Finishing Up

Finally it is really starting to look like a home. Every wall has been repainted, tan colored ceilings and now sparkling white, old single paned windows are now larger and brighter and actually keep the heat in, room have been enlarged, and there are now baseboards among other things. There are a few odds and ends that need wrapping up and a couple rooms full of 'stuff' that needs to be unpacked, but overall the house is very near being done. So here are some long awaited pictures.

An improvement, no?

Friday, November 11, 2011

I haven't updated on the house project in a while. I do have a good excuse. The past several weeks I have been undergoing the glories of morning sickness. (Which btw is a misnomer because it has nothing to do with just the morning hours)

The house has been undergoing transformation in the meantime, however. Somehow I have even managed to document the important parts.Some walls got torn out for a modest remodel of this oddly designed house.

What used to be an entry closet, bedroom closet, and built in bookshelf were torn out. You will see the reasons why shortly.

 The other side of the orange wall - inside the bedroom.

 And the carpets and baseboards were removed. Can't wait to get rid of the purple wall!

October 29th was the final move in date and thanks to friends the contents of an unpacked apartment was moved over to the house.

This is what it looked like for the first couple weeks. Actually, it looked a little worse than this, this is a cleaned up version.

 The above is my little morning sickness station. Note the computer on propped up on a box to enable easy watching of Netflix. Out of sight are the gingerale cans and soda cracker boxes :D

Yesterday Dad and Taylor arrived all ready to work. Here's the magic they have performed so far!

 Getting ready to put up some walls.

 And wa-la! The holes are walled up.

The other side of the walled up holes. The starting of a walk-in closet. Everybody loves a walk-in closet. And by removing the previous entry and bedroom closet, the room gained about two feet as well as the large closet. Win win.

The kitchen is currently still undergoing its transformation, but Taylor our professional expert is hard at work and soon the final results will be seen.

More exciting updates will be forthcoming! Stay tuned.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

The First Step


      Yesterday Craig Sproul and Big Z came over to the house with us. We attacked the kitchen and I braved the bathroom. Big Z was a great help, I think the flower helped keep him focus.

      I used bleach inside all the cupboards and ruined a sponge. The cupboards were filled with dishes and odds and ends which filled two or three of those extra large leaf bags. The few items you see on the counter below along with a small box of things were a few saveable items. The fridge and the stove had to go, so an appliance remover took them off our hands. And I really can't wait to cut that tree down so we'll actually be able to see outside the window.

    It could have been much worse under the stove and fridge, but the linoleum was replace almost 2 years ago, so there was not enough time for the floor to build up to a worse level of filth.

     Paden wanted to brave the floor cleaning. So he grabbed the broom and mopped up the floor getting the worst of it off. Unfortunately I didn't take a picture of what an improvement it made, but that will come later.

     The kitchen is now completely sanitized. All that's left is to get rid of the hideous paint. Big Z agreed that the color is just not a kitchen color. It's a bathroom color. Color is important, and kitchens should not be soothing minty colors. They should have deeper and strong tones, or else sterile clean tones. Right now if I were to cook in that kitchen I'd feel like I was cooking in a bathroom. And that's just weird.

    Speaking of the bathroom, I don't have any pictures of that yet either although I spent a lot of time in there. It already looks a better, but that tub is nowhere near done. I poured ammonia (nearly killed my lungs) into the tub and spread lots of baking soda over it. After scrubbing off the top layer of stains, I reapplied the solution and it is now sitting and hopefully soaking into those stains. I don't know how white this tub will end up, but it won't be from lack of trying.

      And so it begins.

Thursday, September 29, 2011


This blog may have been silent and uneventful this summer, but that was not case in our lives.

The biggest change is that we have made the tragic discovery that Paden is intolerant to gluten. Oh, and likely allergic to red dye too. Coming from someone who holds bagels as near and dear to his heart as he does, this is a hard blow. Fortunately Winco does sell gluten free bagels, but nobody pretends they taste like a wheat bagel.

Also, Kara got happily married off. We had a disastrous trip to Chicago, just about everything that could go wrong did go wrong, from retarded seat assignments, to staying in a house with water so bad Paden caught an ear infection, to missing our flight by so short an amount of time we got to watch the plane slowly back out of the gate, to listening to a hysterical black woman (who apparently drank too much and missed her flight) all night long as we tried to sleep in the airport. Believe me, I could go on; it was an unforgettable trip. But Kara and Peter did get happily married so the mission was well accomplished.

We took a few trips, had a few out of town (even out of country) guests, went to a few more weddings, joined the church choir, and lived the general life style of work and friends our life revolves around for the time being.

Just last week, we took a trip down to KS to see the in laws. It was a great trip and I believe it's safe to say everyone had an enjoyable time. While we were visiting it was decided that we would be moving into the Corleone house.

Yes, moving into the house of  Corleone.

We won't be moving in tomorrow, or next week, or the week after that. These pictures will explain why.

WARNING: The following pictures are NOT for the faint of heart.

We inherited a couch and a couple lamps... oh, and a bunch of ink too.

Chris Krueger built that table. It's really big. And most people get bruised knees from sitting there.

Here's the kitchen. I didn't take picture of the inside of the fridge. You're welcome.

Anybody lose something?

Yeah.... we can't get a new tub either because we'd have to tear downs walls to get it into the bathroom.

Yes, that is a Koala bear. Maybe it was the offer that couldn't be refused.

Lovely carpet.

This is where the Godfather made his cave.

I'm super excited to have a W/D in the house!
But as you can probably deduce, there is no dishwasher.... :(

So these are all the before pictures. I'm a little nervous about the tub and I've learnt that even canned food I once believed would get mankind through Y2K can expire. Members of the Corleone house were generous enough to offer their help tomorrow. We'll see what kind of progress we can make. We've given ourselves a month to make this house shine again with even more than its former glory.

This will be the first house we will have lived in together. I'm excited.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

If You Don't First Suceed, Try, Try Again.

When Valentines, a first anniversary, or some big change in your life rolls round, you want to celebrate with some kind of perfect date. You imagine your first valentines with the man you are going to marry with romantic reservations at some fine restaurant with a good wine menu. Your first anniversary you expect to be something beyond an ordinary day of literally doing nothing. And you definitely don't expect to puke your guts out after the meal celebrating a big move and new venture in your life. I don't know who has it out for us, but we seem to be followed by bad luck when it comes to these big nights.

Despite all our preparation and anticipation for our first valentines, the night turned into what you might go ahead and call a disaster. There is a fine local restaurant that serves good wines and gourmet foods that we chose to make reservations at for our special night. We figured we'd have ourselves a good bottle of wine with some tasty appetizers - this place made a macaroni and cheese worth dying for. A week or so before February 14th rolled round, Paden went by the restaurant and happened to speak with the manager himself. He made the reservation, took home a wine list and a food menu and we did our research on the wines so we'd known which bottle to pick for our splurge.

February 14th dawned. We got all dressed up and felt all lovely dovey as we walked arm in arm into the restaurant. Everything was going splendidly until they brought the menu. Now if we had been more savvy perhaps we would have predicted this, but we were new to the whole Valentines date thing and were rather perturbed to see a small one sided menu placed in front of us that bore no resemblance to the menu we had been given the week before. When we asked for the wine menu, we were informed the three choices of at the bottom were all they were serving that night. Not only that, but they were only offering them by the glass at the same price that would have gotten you an entire bottle the other 364 days of the years. To top it all off, there was no ordering a couple appetizers to go with the wine. No, you had to order a 5 course meal (of which you had only 2 choices which, if I remember correctly, did NOT include that macorni dish.). At first we talked about splitting the meal, but the waitress was quick to inform us with a sneer that that was not done. The rude waitress was the cherry on top.

All of a sudden our bottle of wine and appetizer for under fifty bucks was turning into a meal well over a hundred dollars. To top it all off, neither of us were that hungry since we had not intended to order an entire meal. To order those two meals would have been to waste enough food to feed half an African village. Paden had a tortured look on his face, so when he suggested we leave, I was already grabbing my purse to follow. I don't think I'd ever walked out of a restaurant like that before. Perhaps I would have felt bad if I hadn't felt duped and lied to by being given incorrect menu's while making reservations for the 14th or even if the waitress had been a little nicer.

That story does have a happy ending, however, with a candlelight dinner at the Corleone with a bottle of wine, some hard aged cheddar, lox, and cheese bagels from Safeway. Oh, and a beautiful string of pearls too. :)

I won't bore you with all our other date night catastrophes, except this last weekend was our first anniversary.  We'd planned to try out the new restaurant in town, Gnosh. But the day dawned and of course Paden was laid out sick - the smell of food sending him back to the refuge of bed. But we weren't deterred. No, if you don't first succeed, you try, try again. So this weekend we went down to Gnosh to celebrate our 370 day anniversary. This new restaurant Gnosh has excellent friendly waiters, a great classy ambience, and a very interesting menu. We had oxtail, wild mushrooms, and peppers stuffed with goat cheese helped down with a few exotic drinks. Definitely a winner anniversary date.

And all's well that ends well.  :)

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Perfect Day

I woke up to a text from the office manager this morning saying, if it was ok with me, I didn't have to come in today. It's supposed to be 71 degrees, the warmest day yet this year, so it was definitely ok with me. I made waffles and we ate breakfast in bed while watching a new episode of Chuck. Paden didn't have to go to work until 11, so we enjoyed a long lazy morning together - something we've not had the opportunity to do in a very long time. Then I went for a long jog/walk with my ipod and soaked up some warm sun rays. Now I'm wearing a tank top and ready to hit the outdoors again.
Tonight Paden gets off early so we can go enjoy a concert.
Tell me, could the day get any better than this?

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Brush and Floss

I've been a dental assistant for about a month now. My first week there left me feeling beat up yet optomistic that this was going to be the best job ever. My second week left me with the realization that either my post-graduation brain was mush or else they were throwing more information than was strictly speaking humane. After my third week I wondered if they regretted hiring me. But when week four was done I realized I actually knew I what was doing... how else could I be doing all the assisting by myself? And now I'm actually looking forward to going to work because I know I can go an entire day without feeling like an idiot. These last five weeks have just proved that immersion is the fastest (if not most stressful) way to learn a new language. And believe me, they do speak another language there.

When I first got this job, I believe the response of my family can be summed up in one word. "Ew." Obviously it isn't exactly an asthetically pleasing job, but the sight of blood itself never bothered me and I don't have a phobia of other people's mouths. True, after some bloody extractions when I'm sucking a gallon of bleach water up the suction tubes and wiping the room five times over I pray that I have at least 24 hours befor I have to see anymore blood, but all in all, the job is fascianating. One device in particular is my favorite. Generally when you get a crown, you come in, get your tooth drilled, get an impression of your teeth, then get a temporary on while the impression is sent to the lab. Two weeks later you come back for your crown. But now we have this cool machine called the Cerac. Now you come in to get your tooth drilled, get a picture taken of your tooth, watch as the Dr uses a computer program to design your new crown, and wait about 20 minutes while the mill in the back uses diamonds to cut a perfectly shaped tooth you can hardly tell isn't your original. Pretty awesome if you ask me.

Oh, and I'm an avid brusher and flosser now. And I don't mind telling everyone I know that they should be too. Believe me, you don't want to be that poor guy in the chair wondering if he can afford the 2 thousand dollar tooth treatment to get a root canal and crown to save that vital chewing tooth. Because that happens reguarlarly and often all it takes is brushing and flossing to avoid the whole situation all together.

So brush and floss ever day.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Time for a New Uniform

For me, yesterday was one of those days when your adrenaline runs so high for so long that you still feel a little shaky the next day. The messages that I needed to move on from this current employment started first thing in the morning as I finally remember to send a follow up email on a potential well-paying position. Not an hour after that the second message came in the form of an apartment showing. Turned out she was the lady with whom I had interviewed for the teller position a month or so ago. Upon recognizing me she immediately wanted to know if I had applied and reassured me that she was going to make sure my application was pushed through because they really wanted me to work for them. (It is kind of an odd feeling to be conniving about a new job while working at your current job)

Then the final message came another hour later when I received a text from MK. She had just started working the front desk at a dental office and was letting me know that they were hiring a dental assistant, no previous experience required. So I printed off my resume and visited their office when I finished my shift. Right away I was whisked into another room where I was interview by Misti. Then I spent 20 minutes waiting for the dentist to finish with his patient and continue the interview himself. It was the funnest interview ever. How many people get to crack up several times during their interview? We hit it off well and he offered me the job on the spot. I start Monday.

In two weeks I will be making what it takes me a month to earn here. At last, my days in boring employment have ended. I have a found an interesting, well paying, fun job with - as far as I can tell - wonderful, fun-loving coworkers. So after work today I'm off to buy some scrubs. Which is another great perk about this job. My work uniform is practically a pair of PJs. Beat that.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Workin' Thoughts...

I have a job. Kind of. What I mean is there's this place I go to at certain times of the day and at the end of the month I receive a modest paycheque. It's my humble opinion that the market can't really be all that bad if all the jobs I have obtained since graduation have been useless positions where I am practically being paid to do nothing.

My last job in Manhattan had me bored to tears - almost literally. I dreaded going to work where I knew there wasn't really anything to do and I would spend the day dreaming of finding something new. I had dreams of a job where I didn't have to sort through all the filing cabinets in the office just to find something to do; a job where I wouldn't have to perform each task as slowly as possible just to fill up my eight hours. Oh sweet bliss!

After moving to Moscow I found a job at an apartment rental company. Compared to my last job this is paradise. I get to talk to lots of people on the phone or in person when they come into the office. Real live people interaction. Alas, this is pretty much all I do besides the occasional apartment showing. But I'm not bored to tears. You see this time I have an amazing boss. (Who you work for makes or breaks the job!) This tiny office is a little more than one person can reasonably chew, so as long as I always get the phones and am available to do the apartment showings, my boss is free to do her work without having to stay overtime all the time and thus a wonderful work relationship. The work is not constant and steady but rather insane for an hour, then dead for another hour and half before something else exciting happens. However, being the understanding and easy going person my boss is, she openly tells me to go on facebook, email, and even netflix as time permits. I can definitely handle having nothing to do if I'm permitted to amuse myself.

One  of things I do daily at work to fill my time is check out Criagslist. I'm a huge fan and I like to see what people are selling and giving away for free. I also like to see what jobs are available. I've just discovered that the Daily News is hiring for an entry level position. I've never considered myself a very good writer - but hey, I went to NSA and by senior year I even managed to squeak in some good grades on my papers. And I KNOW I could write the socks off any Argonaut writer. It would be a part time job with flexible hours, so I could fit it in with my current job's schedule. I think I have decided to apply just for the fun of it. I doubtt I will get the position because they want someone who has "some experience in news writing," and I doubt my NSA papers will count for that. But heck, it's a quiet afternoon at the office so what's the harm? I have to admit, I would get a kick out of having my name in a newspaper.

But what am I going to use as my writing samples to send along with my resume? Somehow I get the idea my thoughts on Rousseau and Dostoevsky won't be the key to this opportunity.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

How to Get a Hummer - No Extra Charge

This is a true story. Not exaggerated. At all. For Real.

My Dad thought it would be fun to go to Arizona in February to enjoy some sun. (Not that we are getting much sun yet.) A few of us kids, along with a couple friends, Julia & Tony and Kenton & Cheryl Spratt thought it would be fun to join in for the week.

Kenton and Cheryl landed around 9:30pm after a delayed flight. Dad and myself had arried around 8:30pm to meet Kara and Winston. Winston and Dad took the half hour shuttle ride to see about getting the mini-van that Dad had reserved.

A long time later they arrive back at the airport and Dad has some information for us. Apparently on the levels of evils in this world, the devil is at the bottom. Only barely above that, and sometimes undistinguishable, are car rental companies. They had just spent half an hour in line. Someone in front of them asked another which customer service agent they hoped to get to help them. The answer was something along the lines of "I don't know because they all seem to suck really bad."

The end of their half hour line up ended with the person telling them they could not take the mini van because Kenton was going to be the primary driver and nothing could be done until he was there personally. Even after Dad explained that it was his credit card information they had, and his airmiles that had paid for this car, they would not allow him to switch himself to be the primary driver. Not even after speaking to a couple different managers.

So they came back to the airport to meet us and decided the best course of action would be for Dad to take us girls home in the previously rented car while Winston and Kenton went to the car rental place to get the car.

Off on the shuttle Winston and Kenton went. They waited yet another half hour in line only to find that they did not even have the mini van. I kid you not. They had an SUV though? So they step aside to call Dad to make sure that this is doable. It is we decide, let's just get the car already. So they go back to get the SUV. Guess what? They had just given it away. So a five seater it is. It could work if it had to so whatever. It's getting late and this is ridiculous. Finally they give us a five seater car.

But this is not the end. Not even close.

They get to the parking lot only to find out that Kenton's license has expired. Yup - I promise I'm not making this up. Back they go yet again. Winston turns 25 in two weeks. After a bit of pleading, they agree to rent the car to Winston.

Don't get excited, the end is still not here.

Winston puts the key in the ignition and the key breaks in his hand. Yup. Break right in his hand. Somehow or other (don't ask me how) the key is fixed awhile later, but the car still won't start. What now?

This is when somebody (we're guessing a top dog in the car rental company since they were so accomadating) shows up. That's when he tells Winston and Kenton tojust go ahead and take the Hummer. Just sign this piece of paper, you don't even have to go back to the office for the millionith time, just drive away with this Hummer.

They arrived at the rented vacation house at 1:30 in the morning.

And now we are driving a Hummer around.

True Story.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Moving is a lot of work and we didn't have the best start. While Paden took finals and worked at Kramer, I was supposed to pack up the entire apartment. But I got sick and resorted to stuffing things into any old box at hand. Then, 4pm the day before we are supposed to pack up the trailer, U-Haul informs us that the trailer is an hour and a half away. When the trailer did finally arrive, it was not a relief. The thing was quite a bit smaller than we had figurered and suddenly I'm telling myself over and over: "It's just stuff. Everything is replaceable." Thanks to the Moscow Goodwill (possibly the best second hand store on this planet) everything is replaceable for a good price and what we left piled by that dumpster or sent back to the ranch has already been replaced.

Btw, in case any of you decide to pass through Nevada, take warning that there are long stretches without gas stations and just because the GPS says there is a gas station six miles off the highway is no garuntee that gas station has been used in the past ten years.

And now we are in Moscow. Being around old and very good friends again is a huge blessing and we intend to soak it up for all it is worth while we are here. The bagels are as tasty as they ever were; every bagel I eat makes me that much happier that steamed bagels are now such an important part of our lives. Winco feels like a dear friend and I challenge anyone who says there is a better grocery store on this planet. And right now the snow is gone so we don't even have the unplowed roads to complain about.

It's great to be back for a while. :)