Thursday, July 24, 2008

Wallpaper hell, day two. Or is it three?

We've turned the corner. All the prepping and taping is done and we're actually painting! Well, it's primer, but it's still paint.

I'm still working on the wallpaper adhesive, but that's where I've literally turned the corner - I'm on the last side of this nightmare!

You wouldn't believe how physically hard it is to get this stuff off. I couldn't help but take a moment to be thankful that I'm an American citizen with a desk job, and not some poor undocumented worker with no job options but manual labor. There must be people that do this sort of stuff eight hours a day. Seriously, if I didn't have beer, I couldn't have kept this up for four hours. I bet day laborers don't get gratis Miller Lite breaks.

The painting has to be done this week - we've got to start moving this weekend. . . which reminds me of a YouTube video that my friend (the guy who started the whole ANWR e-mail conversation) sent me - it's a Dunkin Donuts commercial about helping a friend.

Monday, July 21, 2008

The Nightmare Known as Border Paste

Remember how I was just amazed at how easy it was to remove the wall paper? Well, the glue stayed behind and I've used everything under the sun to get it off, including muscle power (that only resulted in gouged drywall) and tears (not effective).

Most suggestions end with Dif. And if it's not working, the suggestion is to leave it on longer. There have been suggestions about vinegar, laundry detergent and fabric softeners. Then I stumbled across a "technical data bulletin" from the makers of Diff, and it had this dispiriting news:

"Removal of wallpaper borders
Wallpaper borders are frequently installed with a special glue called "border adhesive" or "vinyl-to-vinyl adhesive". This glue is very similar to common white glue (Elmers® Glue) and cannot be removed with wallpaper removers including DIF Gel.

There is no easy way to remove borders installed with these glues. Try to peel off the decorative layer as mentioned earlier, and then start a long soaking process using one of the DIF Wallpaper Strippers. The white glue may soften with long soaking. Scrape off as much of the border and adhesive as possible using a Paper Scraper.

After scraping, sand off the remaining portion with 100 grit sandpaper. Expect some wall damage. Spot prime damaged areas with B-I-N® Spray Primer or GARDZ® Damaged Wallboard Sealer and patch with Ready Patch ® Spackle and sand smooth."


Full bulletin

Friday, July 18, 2008

Adventures in home remodeling

I've had my first remodeling injury.

Last night, as I was waiting for an electrician to come by to give me an estimate on installing the wiring for light over our breakfast bar, I decided to use the time wisely and paint some more moulding. I was crouched on the living room floor, stirring the paint. The phone rang.

Now, this is one of those times when everything happens very slowly. You don't want to miss the phone call - it's probably the electrician. But you don't want to leave a can of paint open, either. So I "carefully hurried" to close the can of paint and jumped up to run into the kitchen, where my phone was.

I had to go through the dining room. There's a light fixture in there. It's too low, even with a table underneath, as you can see the light bulb just walking by:

I ran directly into the glass "bowl" - with the bridge of my nose.

Blood everywhere, I called Kyle bawling. After rushing to my rescue with ice, he decided a couple stitches would probably be best. "Since you're a girl," he said. Apparently men like having permanent scarring.

Just driving by the emergency room made it clear we'd be there for several hours, and we found the closest urgent care clinic (or as Kyle calls them, "doc-in-box"). The very nice doctor took one look at me and decided it was the sort of injury that was "made for liquid stitches," due to the nice clean lines of the cut (glass will do that). We were in and out in under two hours - no wait.

They covered my eyes to protect them from the Dermabond. I insisted Kyle take a photo. "I'm going to blog about this," I announced to his and the physician's assistant's amusement. It was kinda funny by then. Good icing will do that.

Kyle set me up on the couch with a six pack of Miller Lite, an ice bag in a towel, some mashed potatoes and tomato soup (this same day the TMJ decided to go haywire - big fun!) , and headed back to work on the new house. See why I'm marrying him?

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

House progress on Flickr

For the truly curious, I've got all the photos taken so far on Flickr.

Remodeling Photos

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Flower Photo: Morning Glory

There's a mass of azaleas that grow under a big oak tree that's near my building. In the mornings, you can often see one or two morning glories peeking out among the green azaleas (they bloom in early spring).

Floor samples AWOL, missing out and time's running out

I got a call from FedEx this morning - they needed to verify my address for a delivery. So that's where my flooring samples from Lumber Liquidators are . . . I had to leave a message with someone and I put new numbers on our mail box for good measure. It was missing three of the four numbers in our street address, so maybe that's why they couldn't find us?

Everybody has fun stuff going on in the month of July. Fun stuff they want to share with us. Fun stuff we've had to say "no" to because we're running out of time to work on the house before we have to move in completely.

1. Dear friends who live in New York are down for the weekend. "Come spend the weekend with us at our Orlando condo," they say. "Sorry, we can't . . ."

2. A close girlfriend has her family's beach house for the week. "Stop by next weekend - the weather should be great!" Again, "sorry . . ."

3. Coworkers finally have a get-together that involves cocktails and a (bad) movie. Me? I'm painting trimwork!

4. The band of a friend of our had their last concert last night - they're all moving to Austin. You already know what I was doing. Kyle? Mowing, edging, weeding in the front yard. For at least two hours.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Weekend One - House

This was our first weekend working on the house. Our friend John came down to help us. He's worked in construction, so he was able to give us some pointers, and he did some manly stuff with Kyle that I can't do.

Like tear down cabinets:

Note the big white wall of cabinetry hanging over the breakfast bar, blocking the kitchen view to the den.

Ta-da! John and Kyle had that thing down in the time it took me to run to Home Depot to not pick up new drawer pulls.

(Turns out our kitchen drawers have oddly-sized screw holes and I'd rather order pulls that fit than putty in the existing screw holes and drill new ones.)

They also hung cabinets in the garage (no photos), and much more, but this was pretty impressive - to me, at least.

What did I do? I tore down that hideous striped wall paper. All of it, including the huge panel behind the refrigerator. This would have been easy as the paper peeled right off. But (of course there's a "but") whoever put the wallpaper up then put moulding up - over the wallpaper. I'm not tearing perfectly good moulding down, so I had to slice the wallpaper off right under the moulding.

We also prepped the living and dining rooms for paint. This takes longer than you think it will, what with the dusting, cleaning the walls, taking down blinds, testing the colors, fixing the wavy chair rail (thanks John!), repairing the moulding (whoever put it up didn't caulk the seams where one piece of moulding gave way to the next!), painting the moulding. . . and so on. We worked all weekend, and there's only a test-sized patch of color on the wall.

Tomorrow: what we're missing out on

Friday, July 11, 2008

Weaver Swears Up and Down: The Jags Are Not for Sale

Every media source is starting their story with soothing reassurance.

"Jaguars owner Wayne Weaver says his team isn't leaving Jacksonville. Weaver reiterated those remarks in a statement, and then in an interview on Thursday, a day after reports surfaced that he was in negotiations with billionaire C. Dean Metropoulos to sell the club."

Don't worry! Everything's going to be okay!

Except . . .

Here's his next quote:

"I'm not selling the Jaguars," Weaver said. "The team is not moving to LA. I don't know how I can say it any more clearly than that. At some point, maybe I will sell the team. But not now." (emphasis mine)

Isn't that tantamount to covering your ass, just in case you change your mind? Why else would you feel the need to include that comment in your official statement that's supposed to make us feel better?

I love the Jaguars. I was living in Jacksonville when we got the Jags, and it was exciting. Even if we did rename the Gator Bowl to a suck-ass corporate name. I worked off and on for "The Billiard Factory and Dinette Gallery", and several players came in for pool tables and game room furniture. (You can buy your very own touch-screen game console! For $2,000.) They were almost always terribly nice.

Yes, they enjoyed flashing their wealth a bit, but I think it's a well-known fact that more than a few professional football players came from, ahem, modest upbringings. If I was raised by my grandma who was working three jobs to support me and my two brothers, I'd be buying up houses all over the place for her as well.

Without the Jags, Jacksonville wouldn't have gotten the Super Bowl (which was a blast, even for those of us who didn't get anywhere near the game), and without the Super Bowl, downtown Jacksonville wouldn't have gotten the fabulous facelift it has.

Many of our players have given money and time to some of Jacksonville's neediest people. Former beloved quarterback Mark Brunell is practically a saint.
Yes, it also earned us the public scorn of Tony Kornheiser in his infamous "What Stinks? Jacksonville" article.

Excerpt: "Have you ever been to Tampa? It's heaven, if you like Waffle Houses. Jacksonville makes Tampa look like Paris!"

(Re-reading that article, it took much effort to not murmur "F*ck you, Tony" out loud in my cubicle. Seriously, three years later and it still pisses me off. But he did eventually apologize. "I want to offer an unconditional apology to all the people of Jacksonville.")

What was I talking about? Oh yeah.

I am a little worried about losing the Jags. They've been great for Jacksonville, and I think it would hurt the city to lose them. Weaver's comment didn't console me at all.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Color Theory

The house officially ours, we're starting the process of making some changes. Things that are easier done before you move in than afterwards, like painting and putting some new flooring down.

We want to tear up the berber carpet in the den and hallway; it's in pretty bad shape and Kyle prefers hard surfaces. We're going with either wood or a really nice laminate. We've got to do some more shopping, though - Home Depot's laminate selection sucked ass. They barely had anything, what they had felt cheap, and 75% of the samples had a sticker announcing they'd been discontinued.

I've order some samples from Lumber Liquidators. Even though they're not in Gainesville, the prices look like it could be worth the drive. I'll share when they come in. I ordered two laminates and two woods. Kyle's not sold on the laminates, but I'd love to go with something tougher and cheaper than wood - if I can get something that looks nice.

As for paint, these are the colors we've chosen:

The reddish colors are really just a stand-in for the Mexican tile we've got - I wanted to make sure these colors looked okay next to it, because it's not going anywhere. Kyle was immediately drawn to the Ralph Lauren paints, and while their selection is smaller than the big brand also available, these colors looked richer. Reviews I've found online concur.

As you can see, we like neutrals. But not only that - we have very little furniture, so the paint has to go well with things that aren't in existance yet. (I'm sure we're aware that you're supposed to match paint to upholstry and other fabrics, not the other way around.)

Hopefully the weather clears up for the weekend. I plan to take photos of my plants and beg my coworkers to identify them, namely our resident Master Gardener.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Rah-rah e-mails sent to the wrong people

So I get this e-mail from a friend of mine. He obviously got it from someone else, and that person did too. It's about ANWR - the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and the controversy over drilling for oil there. The e-mail is obviously for drilling and is trying to convince you that the other side, the people who are against drilling there, are wrong.

But it looks something like this (just an excerpt):






Yes, in all caps. In that size font. This was my response to my friend.

I have two, somewhat off-topic, problems with this e-mail. I'm responding to you, dear friend, because I don't know (the person who sent it to him) and I think it would be rude to address a stranger. And that person is probably not the original author anyway.

If the authors of this e-mail have such a sound argument (and maybe they do, I'm not well-versed in the topic of drilling in ANWR), why must THEY SHOUT AT US? DOES THIS MAKE MY ARGUMENT LOOK MORE AUTHORITATIVE?

No, it doesn't.

And why, why, why must we resort to the name-calling? I don't go around calling people who disagree with me right-wing nutjobs or anything. By making the argument so obviously biased against a particular party and other certain groups of people, the authors shut it down.

Do they really think I'm going to listen to their argument as they call me a liar? Really? Because I'm pretty sure all those e-mails SHOUTING about the president being an idiotic baby-killer are totally making them give serious consideration about their stance on the war in Iraq, right?

Didn't think so.

But then, this wasn't put together to "educate" the general public, was it? This is to send to people who already agree with them. If not directly on ANWR then on their opinion about those "liars."

Sigh. Because it's so mean-spirited, I don't even feel compelled to look into their argument for validity. Someone like me reads this and thinks, "Ugh. What a jerk." And I'll bet you a dollar to a doughnut that the people they want to read it are thinking, "Heh heh. Stupid liberals." And not much more.

Aren't you glad you sent me this e-mail? :) Thanks for reading my little rant.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Parenting . . . eh.

I am ambivalent about having children.

I've never made a secret of this. In fact, I've been stating this since I was in high school, if not earlier. As in, "I don't want to have kids."

Of course, in high school, no one believed me.

"Oh, you'll change your mind when you get married," adults and fellow teens alike would say, with that holier-than-thou-you-child-hating-mutant look on their face.

Who said anything about getting married? I didn't think much of that in high school, either.

But I've changed my mind on marriage. I'm engaged to a wonderful, smart, funny, hot-as-hell man and I'm happier now than I've ever been in my life. Yeah, I said it. In my life.

So that's why the statement "I don't want children" has changed to "I'm ambivalent about having children." After all, I didn't think I would ever get married (well, more like I never gave it much thought at all), so who's to say? Maybe I will change my mind.

But I don't think so.

After all, I'm thirty-five-freaking-years old. Wouldn't it make sense that my biological clock would have started by now? And this isn't like the stories you read in the magazines about those women who really do want kids but are putting it off for the sake of their careers, only to find out that they're barren by the time they're ready to do the deed.

I've never felt that desire. And it's not like I haven't been exposed. Many of my friends have children. I have some good looking photos on my fridge. I have bought some damn cute outfits. I like my friends' kids. Of course, save one, none of them have reached the "tweener" stage yet, so they could still turn out horrible. (Kidding! Love you all! Really!)

So it's not like I haven't been around children. Hell, I helped raise my baby brother. My parents have spent their whole lives working their asses off, so duh, of course I was pitching in at home. I learned how to clean, cook, yell at a kid to make the Kool-Aid (a classic fight in our home). That kind of stuff.

Some people have suggested that this may be why I have no inclination towards raising my own, but I have my doubts. Helping out with your kid brother is nothing like dealing with, say, a colicky baby screaming at the top of her lungs for hours at a time. Or how to deal with the first time you find your child, ahem, exploring themselves. These are real scenarios - people have to deal with that! And after that? Then there's: first love, going to college, learning how to become an individual without turning into an evil dope-dealing teenager, finding a job and even more, a purpose in life. You're supposed to deal with that, too. Me making fish sticks and canned peas for my brother isn't anything like that.

Back to the ambivalence. Let's just say I do change my mind. What if it really is too late by then? Another question: should people who are blasé about parenting even have kids? Then there's the fact that there are parts of me that won't mesh well with raising another human being without killing them somewhere along the way.

Articles that made me think about this:

Does Having Children Make You Happy? On

Why We Fear Parenting, on LiveScience