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Archive for July, 2009

Bathroom Photos

I finally managed to get the photos off of my camera. I still don’t know what the problem was but it doesn’t matter now because now, I can show you photos! For anyone who has never removed wallpaper before, it’s a pain in the ass. Luckily, we only had about two half walls of wallpaper to remove, so really that’s just like having one wall of wallpaper. Not so bad. So here we go, step by step:

Step 1: buy spray-on wallpaper remover, a scraper, and a scouring tool. I thought our scraper was a 2 in 1 scouring tool/scraper but it wasn’t, so I took my chances without it and did just fine, though I probably used a ton more spray than typically necessary. Not a big deal, unless you read warning labels where it clearly states that this product contains a chemical that has been known to cause cancer in the state of California. Alarming? Yes. But apparently only if you live in California. I live in Missouri so apparently I’ll be okay. I didn’t know cancer causing agents abided by state lines, but boy what a relief.

So without my scouring tool, I went ahead and just tried to rip up what I could with just my hands and some cancer-causing wallpaper remover. After awhile, my bathroom looked like this:

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You can see remnants of the old wallpaper at the top. But why are the walls a dingy tan color? Oh that’s because there was some sort of paper-thin pre-wallpaper paper. So that had to be removed too.

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Ah, there’s the wall! But WTF is that giant square cut-out? Removing wallpaper can be risky business. You never know what you’re going to find under there. Fortunately our medicine cabinet/mirror covers the eye-sore entirely so we didn’t panic too much when we discovered this genius craftsmanship.

The other part that sucks about removing wallpaper? Washing the walls. In order for the paint to adhere to the wall properly, you’re supposed to remove all excess glue from the walls and wipe them clean. This meant using a lot more cancer-causing spray, scraping and then sponging the walls with warm water. Once that dried, I taped off the white tile and put on the first coat of paint.

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(see that red stuff? That’s the cancer-causing spray. It works like a charm though! The pink stuff is wall spackle to fix any holes. It’s pink but dries white. Pretty cool huh?)

And the finished product?

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I’m pretty much in love with it, which is a good thing because had it not turned out so well, I’d be blaming all of you since you’re the ones that told me to paint it. Good call, guys.

And because I had caught the painting bug, I decided to do some touch-up work around the house. I started with some white paint, running around and touching up scuff marks on our white walls. Then I broke out the red paint and touched up the accent walls in our living room/dining room. As much as I love our red walls, it doesn’t take much for them to get scuffed up. But look how pretty they are with a fresh coat of paint! Dining room area:

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Living room area:

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Just these few simple things have me feeling 10 times better about my house. One of these days I’ll do a virtual tour of my home, but not until I have time to clean it!

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Taking Back Summer

With August looming, it’s quickly becoming clear to me that Summer will be over before I know it. And as much as I love fall and all that the season has to offer, I dread the end of summer. For one, this summer has been unseasonably cool, so the humidity and unbearable heat haven’t been much of an issue (unless August has some surprises in store). But with work and the general busy-ness of life, I don’t feel like the hubz and I have really had the chance to enjoy summer. We’ve spent a couple of days by the pool, enjoyed a few afternoon and evening walks at the lake, attended a couple of outdoor concerts with friends and regularly give the mosquitoes in our neighborhood a feast when we have our ritual Saturday night bonfires with the neighbors. (Seriously, could I have cooler neighbors? I think not.) But despite all the great times we’ve had, I dwell on the things we haven’t done – like more baseball games, more weekend trips, more nights going out for ice cream, more fresh veggies on the grill and eating dinner on the deck, more time at the pool…MORE! These are all things I won’t be able to enjoy once the cold rolls in and I know these are the things I’ll look forward to most when Spring arrives next year.

So, taking a cue from Nora and other lovely ladies in the blogosphere, I’m taking back Summer. Work will still be work because that’s something I can’t change, but with a little better planning, I can do all of those things above after work or on the weekends.

For example: Tonight we’re headed to a baseball game and I fully intend to gorge myself on nachos while watching the Cardinals give the Dodgers a serious beating. Then very soon we’ll be spending the weekend in Chicago where I’ve booked us a luxury hotel with plans to eat and drink well, check out the Harry Potter exhibit (because we’re nerds like that) and take in a White Sox game before heading home (since the Cubs are out of town). Our first trip together was to Chicago and we haven’t been back since ’05, so I’m pretty excited about spending a weekend reliving old memories, even if I was just up there last week for work.

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I went to the gym for the first time in MONTHS on Monday and boy, could I tell. After just two measly miles and 25 minutes on the treadmill, I tried to get on the elliptical to change up my cardio and I couldn’t even do five minutes because my poor legs just felt so weak. I moved to the weights section to work on my arms and was so disappointed in my performance I just wanted to give up. I just felt like mush. No muscle, all  mush. I know a couple of months is a long time to go without working out, but I feel like I’m back at square one in the workout department and it’s just frustrating. I may as well have never worked out!

And as if it’s not enough that my body is one big pile of mushy mush, my brain is apparently headed in the same direction. I went through the entire process of heating up my Healthy Choice meal only to realize that it had been sitting in the fridge (fridge, not freezer) since Friday and contained meat. I was all the way back to my desk, asking myself if the meat always looked so weird, until I finally realized just how old it was and that it was probably not a great idea to devour it, so I trashed the sucker and stepped outside to pick up a wrap and chips from the deli-type place next door. Except some one decided to stick tiny onion chunks into my wrap. Hate onions. HATE.

So my body is mush, my mind is becoming mush, my lunch contained onions, and my underwear keeps riding up my ass (seriously, WTF Victoria’s Secret?) Know what could make this whole day worse? Hemorrhoids. Oh wait, check. (TMI? Oops.)

Let’s see how long it takes me before I find something else to complain about.

5….4….3….2….1…

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I wasn’t kidding when I left it up to you guys to decide what we do about the bathroom. Every single person said to paint, so that’s what we did. Unfortunately, I can’t seem to get my pictures off of my camera – the cord won’t recognize a new device, and the SD card doesn’t seem to work in either of my computers (work or personal). So that’s annoying. How am I supposed to talk about our kick-ass bathroom and painting job without pictures for the proof? Lame. Grrr.

Anyway, that’s how we spent most of our weekend. I’ll talk more about it once I can actually GET MY CAMERA TO COOPERATE AND SHOW YOU SOME DAMN PICTURES ALREADY! Not that I’m frustrated or anything. Now it’s back to work where I’m insanely busy and stressed and it’s kind of awful but also nice to be employed and not sit around twiddling my thumbs, I guess. When it rains it pours, and all that jazz. I just wish there was a happy medium where I’m not rushed to finish projects so I can actually take some time and think about the best approach and do quality work rather than just making my deadline.

Basically, I just need a good, stiff drink.

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Every summer, hubby and I like to take on new house projects. Last year was the deck, and the year before that (or maybe it was two years before) we remodeled our bathroom by tearing out the old cast iron tub and breaking up the dingy old tile floors to put in new, large tile floors and a handicap-accessible shower. We also widened the bathroom door so it would be handicap-accessible too. Now, I’ll be the first to say that we aren’t professionals, as evidenced by the now-cracked tile from our piss-poor tiling job in the bathroom. But while we wait to have that redone, I’ve been debating whether or not we should remove the wallpaper in the bathroom as well. My main reason for this is because it’s the only room in the house WITH wallpaper. The rest of our walls are either painted or just white. But when we bought the house, the bathroom had wallpaper and it wasn’t atrocious to look at so we just left it.

Here’s what our bathroom used to look like:

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Can you see the wallpaper? It’s textured with light blues and yellows and white that look like blades of grass.

Here’s what the bathroom looks like now, still with the same wallpaper:

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It still sort of matches with my blue, white and yellow theme. I’m mostly happy with the changes but the other problem is this: when we widened the door, we had to remove a small strip of wallpaper that went between the door and the shower. No one saved it (I’m blaming my husband or father-in-law) and though we’ve hunted through various wallpaper stores, we can’t seem to find a match. So there’s a section of wall that’s just white right now and I can either strip all of the wallpaper and paint it blue, to match the checkered tiles at the bottom of the shower (I did that all by myself, thankyouverymuch) or leave the wallpaper up and just paint the small strip either blue or white. It’s mostly covered by a towel hook anyway, or at least it is when I actually go to the effort of putting a towel on the hook.

So what do you think? Keep the so-so wallpaper or ditch it all and slap on a new coat of paint?

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Our first yard sale

Friday night we found out that two of our neighbors were having yard sales on Saturday morning so we took advantage of the guaranteed traffic thanks to all of their Craigslist promotions and signage, and threw together our own yard sale. The weather was simply perfect for it too.

It’s amazing what stuff people will buy. Things that I thought would sell – like a full length mirror or kitchen chandelier – didn’t sell at all. But things like an extra large purple sweatshirt or a 2x long-sleeve jean shirt – things I thought I’d have to just donate to GoodWill – sold like hotcakes. Odd. Still, we ended up making about $90 and at the same time, got rid of some junk that was just cluttering our closets. Win-Win!

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I keep having to remind myself that it’s already Friday. There are so many things on my to-do list that I made on Monday that are still sitting there, glaring at me, impatiently waiting for me to do something about them. I’m trying, I swear, but I feel like I’m just treading water, both at work and at home. And to make matters worse, I had to take Wednesday off unexpectedly to drive 2.5 hours to a hospital in Southern Illinois to visit my ailing grandmother. I’m not sure what’s wrong but I do know that the hospital staff – though nice – are somewhat incompetent. Or maybe it’s just the night staff. Why is the only doctor available, only available at 7am prior to visiting hours when no family members are there to ask him questions? Why do I have to ask the med nurse to re-check her charts and make sure that the right meds are listed? Shouldn’t she get it right the first time? Isn’t that kind of her job? And the only other family member around to ensure my grandma is properly cared for is my partially-deaf and completely stressed-out grandpa who has absolutely zero knowledge of the medical field and doesn’t know which questions to ask.

Still, despite the fuzzy blur that this week has been, I still managed to have a little fun. Like seeing Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince last night. I would’ve enjoyed it a little more had the guy behind me learned to whisper rather than talk at normal volume and if he had been in a straight jacket because the guy could not sit still and repeatedly kicked my chair and tapped his foot, which happened to be right next to my ear. But then I’d get all distracted by poor Hermione and learned to ignore him.

But the best part of the movie? Watching it with my husband who was just as excited to see it as I was. In fact he even suggested going to the midnight showing Tuesday night. I thought he was joking but he was completely serious. Of course, you can’t tell him that I told the Internets about his geeky love for Harry Potter. He doesn’t want anyone to know about it. But Wednesday night, when I fell asleep midway through HP and The Order of the Phoenix, he stayed up to watch the rest of it while I went to bed. And perhaps the cutest thing of all is when he tries to do the British accent and says “snoggle” instead of “snog”. As in, “And then they snog!” He says, “And then they SNOGGLE!” Ha!

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