Thursday, August 19, 2010

Welcome to Boston.

“Years ago we looked at a house in a Boston suburb that had a suit of armor in the front hall and smelled faintly of urine. There was one room that we could not go into because it was ‘Grandma’ s room.’ I thought I was visiting the Adams family. By the way, we made an offer on the house but were outbid.”
— Pham

Quote found in this funny article in the NY Times.

This is seriously what Boston real estate is like people, the house smells...and still there are multiple offers.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

An Entry Mock-up.

Hello there! After a very long weekend spent trying to take advantage of the state tax holiday and going on long day trips I decided that I wanted to fake some house progress. Behold...entry doors! We got home Sunday night, took the cooped up pups on a walk and as usual spent the whole walk commenting on various entries around the 'hood. So, after the walk I decided I wanted to prop the doors in our newly hacked up vestibule. Here it is! The original plan was to replace the glass in the doors with a taller, tempered glass pieces (extending up to the top recess) and to build a transom above the door. After looking at it we are thinking it looks pretty nice the way it is. I think keeping the smaller glass cutouts on the doors will be more true to the scale of our little dog house. The doors will still be refinished, stained, get new hardware and new tempered glass. The vestibule will get sanded, patched and painted. So it will all get shined up quite a bit. Tons more work to do, but it is fun seeing the mock-up! What do y'all think? Anyone?

Monday, August 16, 2010

This dolphin's splashing, getting everybody all wet. But this ain't Seaworld, this is real as it gets!

Ahhhh, I don't think I am capable of thinking of a boat ride without thinking of that song. So what were we actually doing on a boat this past weekend? Whale watching! I can not even tell you how much fun it was. I bought the passes through one of those discount coupon sites (Groupon, Buywithme, etc.) back in the spring and, of course, waiting until right before it expired to use it. So off we went bright and shiny Sunday morning up to Gloucester, MA to hop on a boat. I was sort of nervous, because I wasn't sure what the ride would be like...ok, I was scared I was going to get seasick. The waves really were pretty big, but I was a long as I was sitting down. :) I got even more nervous because the onboard Biologist (how cool is that?) said that they had recently been having to travel extra far to find the whales, anywhere up to two hours out! Ummmmmm, ok. So, guess how far we went? That's right, a two hour boat ride all the way down to Provincetown! Ok, so I am going to tell myself that I did the North Shore and the Cape all in one day...hardcore. So anyway, we got there among all of the other whale watching tours and immediately latched onto following around one group. It was a group of Humpback whales with two calves and their moms and then a few others, as many as eight at some points! They were feeding the whole time and would come up and float/swim around and then go into a deep dive for a couple of minutes. It really was amazing. We were out there for so long and saw so many things. Some of my favorite things were:
1. Learning about how the areas of intense teal green around the whales was actually the plankton in the water...maybe phytoplankton...something like that. (see pics below)
2. At one point when our group of whales was on a deep dive we spotted what looked like a huge whale in the distance "being surface active" (that's what the Biologist said it was doing). Surface active translates to awesome. It was breaching (like you see on shark week) completely coming out of the water and slapping it's fins on the water. The best was when it turned upside down and slapped both fins on the water at the same time, it looked like a giant white bird sitting on the water flapping its wings. A-mazing.

Here is a video of the action...hope it works!

After the super long boat rides I was DYING to get some food. During my mom's last visit she was on the hunt for some good fried clams and sadly never found any. :( So when I saw a piece on the local news on where to get the best fried clams I quickly informed her that the next visit would not be a disappointment. Since we were in the (general) area I thought it would be a good idea to test the place out, you know, to make sure it tasted ok. :) We drove on up to Ipswich and finally made it to the Clam Box (after passing ALL of the other famous clam places, but I wanted THE BEST). Through my research I knew the line would be long...but we really wanted those clams. Now, to be perfectly clear, I have never actually had fried clams. P used to eat them at "Ryan's". This may seem like the bar was set really low, but I generally am pretty picky about seafood...and after all the hype these clams had a lot to live up to. So, we waited, and waited, and got sunburned standing in the line, and waited, and after an hour we reached the building! I hopped off to snag us a picnic table while P completed the ordering process. They were worth it. So so yummy, enough said. We split a plate and couldn't even finish it, and we were famished by that point in the day (4:00!).

While researching clams I also learned about an antique shop in the area called "The White Elephant" and it's nearby "outlet" shop. Well, of course, I had to go to the outlet promised to be full of "junk at low prices", my favorite! The icing on top of the junky cake were the beautiful white horses across the street. I scampered across the highway through a break in speeding cars squealing something about petting them, only to find a double electric fence. Maybe next time? I am telling you, these New Englanders are very exclusive with their animals of the barnyard variety, but I do think I finally found the equestrian holy grail of these parts. Essex, MA seemed to have another barn around every corner, complete with fancy horses grazing out front. My heaven. I of course then went rooting through piles of junk at the White Elephant and found, a really cool old card table, a really cool old wooden spice cabinet, wooden apple baskets and a great old wooden for sale sign. It is all still at the White Elephant if anyone is to P about why it didn't get in the car with me. So what if I want to be a hoarder? Seriously considering going back for the spice cabinet...if that's even what it was...picture a really tall card catalog like in a library...but used for spices and such? Anyway, it was outside just rotting away, but the perfect little drawers with their little labels were doing just fine...maybe they could just allow me to remove it from the property as a favor to them? For free? No?

Well Hello There.

Looky looky what we got to hang in our window! Yes, that is the official "building permit" for our little dog house. Isn't she sweet? What will we do now? Oh, well, not too much unfortunately. The move out date is still set for mid-September. So until then small projects it is. We do have some plans...refinish entry doors...hang entry as much demo as we can stand while still living in the house (my threshold and P's differs greatly)...replace window trim...etc. So yeah, we will still be busy, but this little puppy is getting hung in it's official spot in our front window ASAP.

ps. I really really need to work on formating...this blog is all over the place. Sometimes the text gets all wonky and I don't know why. Hate. I think my fav little southern renovator might be right Wordpress>Blogger? Ugh, I will work on it later.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Things I Wish I had Said

Dear Lady with the obnoxious Whippet,

Public parks are not the place to let your dog run free, especially when you can't control it, that is what dog parks are for. We were enjoying a relaxing lunch in the grass (100 feet from an actual dog park) before you came along. Yes, I do know Whippets are fast, that doesn't mean I want to watch yours run circles around me and my dogs. No, I do not care that she is "just trying to play with them". No, I do not want to wait until you can "get hold of her". Go. Away. Thank you for making such a strong effort to reel in your mangy beast before my relaxing lunch was completely ruined, how thoughtful of you. Next time I can only hope that I will still have part of my lunch to fend for rather than the sandwich wrapper I had to snatch away as your dog began to tear it to pieces. I will be forever grateful for the passive aggressive advice you gave as you sauntered away...maybe one day I will "let my dogs have a good run so that maybe they can lose some weight". For now, lets just agree that perhaps you should go on a run WITH your dog so that maybe YOU can lose some weight and your dog will not need to resort to harassing Innocent bystanders and I will continue to SIT in the park and have lunch. Ok?



Seriously, where do these people come from? Entitlement much?

Monday, August 9, 2010

P the Destroyer

Given that P has asked me twice today when I am going to post the pics from this weekend, I would say he is excited about what he did. Late Sunday afternoon, after skunkfest 2010 was coming to a close, I nonchalantly remarked that we could probably go ahead and take out the front "screen" door...since we were planning on doing it anyway. I kid you not, P stood up and said "ok, let me just get my crowbar". I think he really likes tearing stuff down? So there you have it, at 5 pm Sunday evening we set about opening up our entry "vestibule". I helped a little, but mostly stayed inside scraping away at the remaining stretch of some awful, nasty, yucky paper backing that was under the linoleum in the hallway. I'm not even close to being finished, so pics on that will come later.
One last glamour shot of that sweet storm door.
Porky hangs his head in shame. "I'm sowwy for gettin' skunked dad".

Storm door off, window taken down, trim removed.
RG&CS 4-eva.
Bam! Done! Well, done taking it apart. Now we need to replace the subfloor, sand, patch, replace trim, paint, install new entry doors...just for starters. There is clearly, much, much more work to be done.
The pups like it.

Apparently the front door was not enough...another offhanded comment and more rotting wood was pulled off the house. Works for me...bye bye yucky wood.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

We are getting stuff done...I promise!

So, barring any unforeseen disasters we have locked in a crash pad that we will be moving into in 5 weeks-ish! I am pretty darn excited about it.

I'm sorry, we would like to interrupt this regularly scheduled programming to bring you an important announcement:

Ok, ok, so it's not really an important announcement. I started this post the other night and took a break from writing to veg in front of the tv. As I am chillaxin' watching the Julia Roberts movie marathon (because I am awesome) P walks downstairs to take the dogs outside. Not 5 minutes later he screams my name...followed by something something Porkchop. His panic mixed with hearing Porky's name pretty much sent me flying off the couch and down the that time I had also deciphered the word "skunk". Shit. So I ran the flashlight to P and he headed out in the backyard. By now you can probably seen where this is going. I don't think I have ever shared the fact that skunks live somewhere near our house. We have never seen them, but sometimes we will smell the delighful odor drifting in our window when we are going to sleep, or before we wake up in the morning. I had tried to figure out where the skunk den might be, but between the varying types of crap in a couple of our neighbors "back yards" and the fact that the little boogers are noctural...I couldn't figure it out. Anyway, back to Saturday night, so P finally got Porky back in our yard (he had completely busted through the fence). Not knowing if the skunk would come back for more, we had to bring the pup into our house. Instantly, stink filled the downstairs. Awful. Horrible. Yuck. Porky knew he had done something wrong, so he plopped himself on the floor and hung his head in shame. We scurried about to remedy the situation, and quickly learned that we did not in fact stock tomato juice in our household..why would we? So P ran out to the store, while I tried not to die from the smell. Yuck. P quickly returned and I immediately looked down at the bag and exclaimed "what is that!?". "Tomato sauce". "I said to get tomato juice! Whatever, we will just water it down". Step 1: tomato sauce/juice bath. As the tomato juice is "soaking in" I do a little googling and find that tomato juice actually only masks the odor. Great. Step 2: Peroxide/Baking Soda/Dish soap mixture bath (we replaced vinegar with peroxide). This was apparently invented by a chemist and will strip the skunk oil (gross) from the fur. Step 3: Regular doggie bath, because who wants to smell like vinegar.

Ok, doggie isn't radiating smell anymore (although it is hard to tell, because all outside the house smells terrible! Sorry neighbors!). Went to sleep trying not to die from smell wafting in from outside...why oh why is the smell so strong? It's never been that strong before.

Let me tell you why. We wake up in the morning to go out and check the situation in the light. As I expected from the intense overnight smell the little Pepe Le Pew had perished. My sweet little gray pup is a killer. Feelings of guilt overwhelmed me. On our way to the pet store to pick up remedy #4 (because when you bend down close to him he still stinks). Gross. I made a call to animal control to come and remove the evidence of the awful night..."we can't come onto private property" they say. Oh goodie. So, as you can probably guess P and I had the pleasure of removing the little guy off of private property for the pick-up. Yuck. FYI my guilt went away mostly upon a closer view of the little thing...his face was anything but cute.

It did't look like this:

It looked more like this:

Kind of frightening. So, Porkchop made it to work today and no one has walked by my desk, sniffed the air and said "ewwww it smells like skunk" we are doing well. Oh, and our house no longer smells. Yay!

Well, if anyone is still reading after that long winded story here are some pics from the last couple of weeks. More pictures from this weekend (actually just Sunday around 5 pm once we finally recovered from the skunk extravaganza) to come.

New gloves! We both got a pair and really, they make us look sooo cool.


was covering this in the door mini vestibule.

Work continued on the baby door that leads into the basement.

Sanded to a smooth finish...still didn't reach all wood, but since we are painting I thought that was ok. Now we just need to do some patching and a little more sanding!

This is sort of old news...I just haven't shared! We scored this great 12x24 stone tile from the rep at Stone Source. The plan is to put it in the addition when we rebuild...which will probably be in the very very distant future. Sad. It is going to stink just staring at this stuff until then because I love it! Did I mention it cost us zero dollars? Love! Thanks again Stone Source!

Whew! That's all for now. I promise next time will be more house work...less complaining about the latest doggie shenanigans.

ps. More later on the new apartment...Pepe kind of threw me off and I totally lost any thoughts about what I was going to actually write in this post!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Behind the Scenes...and Bedbugs

There has been a lot more going on around here behind the scenes than actual work getting done. This has included harassing the building permit office and scouring Craigslist for a temporary rental that is 1. cheap 2. close 3. allows dogs over the size of a small rodent. A small step was taken when we finally got the building inspector in our house to "confirm occupancy"...sometimes I don't even want to know why they have to do the things they do. I wasn't present for this visit, but P tells me it consisted of building inspector entering our house, walking down to the basement, looking at the power meter and then saying "yup, looks good". Ummmm, ok, so our permit has been in limbo waiting for that?!? Thanks again Boston. As far as the rental search goes...not so much luck. The closest we have come to finding a place was after a visit to a....ummmm...well....vintage apartment. That....well...smelled like an Indian restaurant. The best part?, we were totally ready to take it. Yeah, we are that desperate. I googled "how to remove curry smell from apartment" and had geared myself up to go to town on the place. That is until we realized there was a slight communication with the listing and that unless our two dogs were actually only cats then we would not be welcome. Awesome. Two separate buttons for cats and dogs on Craigslist my friends...only push the appropriate one please. The search continues.

In the middle of the struggle to get this party started around here we decided to take a super last minute trip down to NYC for a friend's birthday. Yay! We were barely there for 24 hours, but had so much fun. I guess sitting around this place all the time has really turned us into lazy old fogies, cause we were exhausted! I mean wiped out. Can't keep up with those New Yorkers.
Hello NYC!
That's right...we dragged our friends to Times Square (or rather made them drag us)
Went to check out this restaurant designed by Sebastian Mariscal
Street art outside brunch
No takers? Anyone?
A trip to Green Village in Brooklyn, found via Manhattan Nest. Can you spot the monkey? Sadly we were not as lucky as Daniel. Seriously people, stacked TO THE CEILING with stuff.
Want some crazy art?
Ok, that was intense. I itch, why do I itch? Am I going to get bedbugs?
From what I could tell there might be some cool stores/cafe's behind this corten screen.

Bye bye NYC!

I hope next time we get to stay for even longer and see even more long lost friends!

ps. I bet ya thought we had bedbugs from that title? Didn't ya? Nope, we managed to escape good old NYC without any...although a friend tells me they will be taking over the world soon, so we better all watch out! Ugh, itching just thinking about them. Yuck.