Tuesday, August 8

Vikings In Our Kitchen

You may have noticed that the "Painting First Floor" progress bar over on the right hand side of the page has been stuck at 80% since last October. That's because we have painted four of the five rooms downstairs, but we have not started work on the kitchen. This is part of a bigger issue, where we aren't really sure what we want to do to the kitchen, at least not until the day comes when we can afford a complete overhaul (and even then we aren't sure what we will do with the cabinets, although the pink stove is sure to go). Every once in awhile we start talking about when to paint it or redo the floors, and there is the perennial question of whether we can find a place to put a dishwasher in, but pretty quickly we get overwhelmed and move on to another project.

For the last year we have merely been looking for additional storage space for the kitchen, as even the new organizational systems haven't solved all of our problems, but we never found anything that was perfect. But last weekend we were going to be entertaining some of our dearest friends in the world who were visiting from out of town (with all apologies to the rest of you who are also our dearest friends, but you should come visit too!), and so we decided that we should no longer wait for perfection and we should just buy something that will work and that won't be too expensive. And so you all know what that means? A trip to IKEA.

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And before you know it, we were the proud owners of a nice set of GORM shelves. (Because how could anyone resist a name like GORM? Say it with me: GORM. He was the king of the vikings, ya know) And our kitchen has some more space and a little more organization behind it. Someday the plan is to stain them a bluish color and to paint the walls yellow in a whole Mexican vibe, but now that the cookbooks and wine bottles (and potatoes) are all set up -- and we have these giant boxes with nothing to put in them -- I'm not sure we are in much of a hurry.

Monday, August 7

Gratuitous Malkmus Reference

A couple of weeks ago I was working at home one day, as we academics are prone to do over the summer, and all of a sudden I heard a loud crashing noise coming from the alley next to our house. And then I heard a bunch of raking and started to smell a strange smell. So I went over to the window and looked outside to see that the friendly folks at the borough had decided to re-pave the alleyway:


It certainly needed doing, as there was a big hole in part of the alley and lots of plants growing out of the concrete that I was getting tired of weeding. But as they moved up the alleyway they started to do a worse and worse job, and t he weeds continued to grow through.



And then, about two thirds of the way up the alley they just stopped. In the words of the immortal philosopher Steve Sanders (while discussing his girlfriend Laura's request for him to hurt Brenda), our driveway doesn't go all the way to the street. Only I'm not speaking euphemistically.

For the next week or so I kept expecting the workmen to come back to finish the job, but they never have. And since its not technically our alleyway (even if we are the only people who use it) -- not to mention that they haven't really fixed up many of the other alleys in town -- I don't really have a leg to stand on if I complain to them. One of our friends has speculated that they must have had some leftover gravel from another project that they just dumped in our alley to get rid of it. And, you know, I'm starting to think they are right.


Don't forget the tomatillos - the common green and very striking purple.

Garden Report: 8/7/06

This is what I like to see:

Dead Japanese Beetles. The chemicals I used kept them away for about two weeks, then I did another application. I hoping that will get us through the season - and that next year won't be such a bumper crop.

The sunflower is fascinating to watch. Its first day:
As the flower bloomed:
Turning to seed:

I planted two more sunflowers in the side garden:

One blossomed today:
We are also happy with the morning glories:
Though I sometimes worry that they are bent on taking over the garden.

The harvest is starting, with the first tomato:

A few French Breakfast radishes:

A nice tender zucchini:

Did I ever show you my "Mediterranean Herb Garden"? Here's what it looked like when I planted it two months ago:

And here it is now:

So that's all for now. We're off to hotter and humider climes for rest and exploration.

Sunday, August 6

World Tour

As long timed Revivalized readers may recall, when we first moved into the house last summer we set the bed up in what is now the living room, as the upstairs was still far from done, and the living room already had a window AC in it (it was July, after all). Several weeks later it was time to paint the living room but the upstairs floors still weren't ready so we set up the bed in what was to become the dining room for a week or so.

Then in mid-august we moved the bed upstairs, and while the precise location of the bed bounced around the room like a pinball -- and, for that matter, we upgraded from a dinky queen sized bed to a luscious king sized bed -- we spent the next eleven months sleeping in that single room. Well, except for one day between when the aforementioned heavenly pillow-top mattress showed up but before I finished building the bedframe when I napped in K's office.

And then came last week's heatwave. One of the downsides of the fact that we insisted on an old house is that we of course don't have central air, and for a variety of reasons we can't really put even a window unit in our bedroom. But we do have one in the guest bedroom, and when last week's heatwave settled in we promptly moved back to the guest room, a room that we have blogged very little about in part because I go months at a time without setting foot in it. But last week I made an exception, and we spent the night in relative comfort.

But trading in a large cloud-like bed for a medium sized decent bed was just the first step in a slippery slope, as the next night the heatwave got even worse, and when we went up to turn on the air conditioner an hour before bedtime the room measured 95 degrees. We then realized that we had a stronger AC in the den which had already cooled the room quite a bit while we were catching up on DVR'ed Rescue Me episodes. More importantly, we had an air mattress that would fit in the den just perfectly, and very quickly it was inflated and we added the den to the list of rooms we had spent the night in.

So after thirteen months in our house we have now slept in every room except the bathrooms, the kitchen, the laundry room, the basement, the attic, and my office. My guess is we won't be adding to that list any time soon, but you never know.

Wednesday, August 2

Bam! Kapow!

Last night we escaped the ridiculous heat by going over to a friend's house for dinner and board games. When we got home, I headed straight to the refrigerator to pour myself some nice cold water, and K. came into the den to check her email. But then she let out a blood-curdling scream of "oh my god! oh my god!" which to me could only mean one thing: that she had stumbled across a corpse in the den.

It turns out that I have been reading too many Lawrence Block novels, as there was no corpse. And while there was a visitor in our home, it wasn't even human. It was a bat.

Yes, there was a bat flying in circles around our living room. And then into our dining room. And then through all the other rooms in the house. We have no idea how it got in the house, but it was very freaky to watch it fly around in circles everywhere, wondering if it was going to break anything or just scare us everytime it came right at our heads.

This is when a good blogger would have rushed to get the camera and take pictures to show you, but, much like criminals, we are a cowardly and superstitious lot and we wanted to get the bat out of the house as quickly as possible. (Besides, K. worried that the flash would blind the bat.) So we slowly lured it from room to room until it opted to fly into the basement. Once it got down there I closed all the doors except the one to the outside, and I left it alone down there. A little while later I went back down to the basement with a broom in hand ready to shoo it out forcefully, and the bat appeared to be gone. Now, maybe it was just hiding somewhere and for all I know it is still down there, lying in wait until it again pounces. But I looked around quite a bit, and until it hurts the homebrew I'll take my chances.

This never would have happened in Metropolis.