15 08 2010

Clue 1)
“Wait, are you saying that you tried to open a can of paint with the wallpaper removal tool?”

Clue 2)
“Don’t worry, I’ll use the scissors…”

Clue 3)
“I’ve got some tape downstairs.”
“Is that hockey tape?”
“Same thing.”

Clue 4)
“I don’t know what hurts worse, my pride or my finger.”
“Probably your pride.”

Clue 5)
“Damn it, if only it were two hours later, I could have just stuck a testing strip in there.”

Home Ownership Is FUN Theater: What it means when your contractor says, “I don’t even understand what these windows are!”

18 06 2010

(I was jostling between two posts, this one and one about how I can’t get over bad blood, but I’m tricking myself into feeling whimsical.)

Well before the idea of TBD came around, we knew that some most all except 3 windows in our house were going to have to be replaced.
The windows in TBD’s room and the office (front-facing) are all quite leaky, which we remedy with the ever chic plastic and keeping the doors closed. Our front bay window has the same drafty issues, however an adorable chocolate  lab thinks that she can’t defend the house if the windows are sealed, thus she rips holes in it*.

Now that the Being Responsible Parents Instinct is kicking in, we knew we had to move on getting the windows done.
The Plan: Measure windows, go to Big Box Home Store, pick up windows. Depending on price, install or have installed. VOLIA!

The Reality:  Pick up pamphlet from store. Read pamphlet. At least we have a jumping off point… under $200 a window. $100 installation unless we can figure it out. Estimating about $1k for the 3 bedroom windows. Determine that there’s something rotten in Denmark as we can’t seem to find the reference points to measure from. Determine we don’t really know HOW to measure these windows as per multiple reference books.

The New Plan: Call referred contractor. At least we can get the dimensions and some idea of what we’re getting ourselves into.

The Reality: Contractor comes over, can not understand where these windows came from as they’re not circa 1985.

Choice Commentary: “Are these? WHAT are these?”,  “Did they install from the outside?”, “Can you get your hands on some additional siding?”, “I don’t quite know what I’m going to find when we get this window out…”, “This window (kitchen) is not for a house, this is for a trailer/RV.”, “Where did they get these from?”, “Why isn’t there any trim work on these?”, “These aren’t even replacement windows…**”

The Harsh Reality: Our upstairs window  job has now over doubled our estimates “to do it right”. Our front window is also an insane amount due to 1 large piece of glass and two smaller “sliders”. $1,300 to replace our 2’x’3′ kitchen window to something reasonable/acceptable/correct.

Of course, my DIY Dad was all “You can replace windows!”
“They aren’t ‘normal’ windows to begin with… we can’t just pop them out and replace them.”
“Sure you can!”
“Um, no, we can’t. They’re installed wrong and we lack the know-how.”
“You can do it!”
“We are not replacing the windows ourselves. Sorry. We’re just not going to do it…”
“I replaced the windows on our old house!”
“Yes, I know, but these windows are different and aren’t that easy.”
“Neither were those!”
“The final word is that we’re going to pay someone to replace our windows and that’s that.”
“Just sayin’ that…”

*How do I know it’s Beans? We sealed the windows before heading to Europe for two weeks, sans incident upon return. Bailey comes home for one day and there’s tears… just puttin’ two and two together.
** Apparently there’s something about even “new build” windows being replacement, whatever that means.

Partial End Result…

17 06 2010

Last week I had talked about peeling wallpaper,scrubbing walls and painting and, well, here’s the fruits of my labor.
Well, okay, Steve helped…

From the hallway, "before"

From the hallway, with NEW CARPET and paint

Windowed wall, "Before"

Windowed wall, wacky green #1

Windowed wall, wacky green #2

Funny thing is, the entire room is painted the same color, for some reason, it just shows up different.

Before moving the furniture back into the front room, I washed the walls and well, clearly the carpet isn’t the only thing I should have been embarrassed about.
“Is my nesting kicking in or is our house trashed?”
“Oh, it’s trashed.”
“Whew! Glad it’s not just me!”
He was installing the trim upstairs while I was cleaning the items to put back into the front room. Ew. So, our house is still 75% trashed, but there’s no place available to vacuum, so we’re in a catch-22.

2 more days of chaos…

14 06 2010

Can I tell you how ecstatic I will be when we finally get the carpet installed?
No, I can’t tell you because I’m pretty sure I’m going to turn into a giant ball of sunshine.

We spent yesterday moving furniture out of our front room and into the kitchen.
1) He says, “I’ll call Teppo to come help move this stuff.”
“But I wanna help!”, I whine.
“*look of ‘woman, you’re crazy’*”
“Here here. Just because I’m creating human life doesn’t render me incapable! I need to feel useful. I will try helping you and if I don’t feel as though I can help, I will let you know. PPPLLLEAASSSEEEE.”

2) Furniture included: reclining sofa, 2-piece hutch (emptied), antique sewing machine (I had no part in moving), various tables/lamps, papasan chair.
3) There will be no “before” photos of the cleaned room/carpet as we’re both torribly embarrassed by the status of the rug. It’s full of sunbleaching and vomitorium stains.  Oh, and piles of animal hair that were trapped behind furniture. I found about 400 cat toys under the hutch. We promptly apologized to Bailey, who had been blamed for eating said toys.
4) I would love to promote my adoration for Furniture Sliders.

I made granola while we were moving, which mandated breaks every 10 minutes.
I know what you’re thinking, “Granola is so earth-crunchy as it is… who makes their own.”
This girl.
And it’s damn good.

TBD’s room is painted and emptied.
The stuff from TBD’s room is scattered around our second floor; between our room and the office. So those late night bathroom runs were 100% more challenging (over the end of the bed, over the dog, around the bed frame, pass the displaced items, into the bathroom, reverse).
I do have before photos of this room as there wasn’t too much damage. We decided to replace the carpet because it was pretty much The World’s Cheapest Berber. I’ll show them to you after the paint is dry and before/after the carpet install.

Hopefully, in two days, I will be able to move about my house again, without fear of breaking toes, bashing shins or tripping over something.

Next time on Home Ownership Is FUN Theater: What it means when your contractor says, “I don’t even understand what these windows are!” . Hint: $$$.

Curls, we totally paid someone to take out the busted carpet, haul it away and install the new carpet.

From the “Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time” File…

7 06 2010

Friday night saw me at the gym… I’m not gonna lie, it’s been 100% easier to be lazy on the sofa than to go for a 30 minute treadmill walk*. Plus, I had a meeting established with The Trainer, so I was obligated to go.
Dealing with some residual back pain**, The Trainer and I agreed to work on arms. And work we did. I even cranked up the weight on some exercises. By the time we were on our last exercise (weight assisted tricep dips) I insisted on finishing a set at a heavier weight. “Everything I do with endurance and ‘working though it’ is practice, I can do it and I will do it.” I may have scared my trainer.
100 oz of water into the night and I was ready for bed.

Saturday morning saw me up at 730 because TBD decided to stick his/her arm/foot into my ribs. FOR HOURS.
So I watched 3 hours of “Flip this House”.
After lunch, I steam cleaned the carpet in the front room*** and set to prepping TBDs room for paint.
People, I can not tout the wonders of a 2-to-1 vinegar water mix for removing wallpaper and backing.
Slight arm pain and regret start to set in.

Sunday morning we were scheduled to go “picking” with a cousin-in-law, however, the weather was not cooperating, so we ended up wandering the indoor stalls.
I ended up with nothing.
Back home, we finished patching and decided that the “right way” to paint the room would be to remove the moulding. And said  mouldng would probably be removed when the carpet was installed anyway, so we weren’t upset. Well, until we got the part where we couldn’t remove a piece because it was bumped against another piece which required removal starting at the opposite end of the room and necessitated the removal of the moulding around the doorframe.
The good news is that next week we only have to take out the bed and a dresser because EVERYTHING else is already cluttering up my office.
Patching , sanding, vacuuming and rewashing of the walls is done, painting to commence Tuesday.

Today, I can’t put my arms down.

How was your weekend?

* I posted a status update on Evil Facebook stating that I need to stop talking myself out of going to the gym (or whatever makes sense to say that I need to go back, ‘ever) and of course, I got the obligatory, “OMG, you don’t have to worry about your figure right now!” post… thing is, I never said I was worried about my figure. In fact, I’m the opposite of worried- I know that being fit will make the squishy-watermelon-out-of-a-stretchy-lemon less traumatic. And it’s about not being a lazy schmuck, eating Cool Whip from the tub on the sofa.
**It’s fine now. Yes I called the doctor.
*** Hopefully for the last time (for that rug), our carpet gets installed on the 15th!

Stephanie Art Theatre Presents: Invasion of the Giant F-ing Flying Ants

24 05 2010

by "fly" I mean "ant" but don't care enough to redo the drawing

For some reason, our house has been plagued by these larger than normal, winged ants.

Steve’s gone around selective squirting bug-a-cide to little avail.

I came home from work and vacuumed up  dozen creepy carcasses… there were two live ones and while I PLLLFFFT!d one, the second one tried to hide, which required my outsmarting an ant.
Stephanie 1, Giant Flying Ant 0.

I came home from yoga and had to use the bathroom.
The pets are all to the “WE MUST PROTECT YOU!” phase, so of course they all lumber upstairs with me.
Buffy came into the bathroom, Kai kept watch outside the bathroom door and Bailey stared off into space on the top step.

So, there I sit with my pants around my ankles when I hear a roaring buzz.
I look and one of the GIANT ants has landed on my work pants, which are hanging on the towel rack.
Naturally, I screamed. Which scared Buffy.
I get the fly off my pants and it’s crawling around on my bathroom  floor.
“Commear Kali! Come here! Look! Look!”, I say, pointing to the rug, hoping that her killing instinct would kick in. She walks past the ant and starts nuzzingly my hand.
“Buffy! Come here! Look!” By now I’m batting the mutant  flying ant away from me with “What to Expect When You’re Expecting”; you know, as opposed to crushing said ant with said book, which would be gross.
Buffy replies by hopping in the bathtub, “MOW”ing.
“You two are f-ing useless!”, I cry, grabbing a wad of toilet paper.
I knew if I didn’t get the ant rightnow, he’d get into my shower curtain to make more flying ants and generally scare the piss out of me.
Meanwhile, Kali’s in the hallway.

And Bailey’s downstairs barking at something in the street that could possibly be interested in coming into the house and stealing her toys or hurting me.

So,with my pants around my ankles, I start hunting the ant.

I caught him and threw him in the toilet and the jerk starts SWIMMING!
After I got done screaming at it, I threw another piece of toilet paper on him and flushed.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how I defeated a giant mutant ant. On my own.


11 04 2010

Here is the fridge we used to have…. circa 1995-ish


It wasn’t a bad fridge, totally did it’s job…

Please to notice the space between the top and the sides of said fridge.


Being 15 years old, well, it wasn’t as energy efficient as it once was and well, frankly, it sounded like there was a chicken inside, despite my vacuuming.


Won't someone think of the starving children?!?

So, we made the executive decision that it was time to upgrade.



Oh sweet 25 cubic feet of space, how I adore thee…


Stainless "look" so it won't take fingerprints or dog noses

Notice, if you will, the lack of space between the wall, counter, cabinets and fridge.
”I was more concerned about the height and didn’t really think about the width…”, explained Steve. I’m pretty sure I asked him about width, but at that time, I couldn’t go three hours without a nap, so I’m pretty sure I just trusted him.


Would sir prefer his ice cubed or crushed?

Needles to say, when he got home yesterday, there was a fair amount of sawing, sanding, etc.
“You know, for a new fridge, there’s an awful lot of sawing and hammering going on in here…”

And, to freak out Curly, here’s where 90% of the stuff that WAS on the fridge ended up. The fryer (EWWWWW) is in the cabinets above the fridge, which meant I had to dispose of 10 bottles of where’d-we-get-this-from?  liquor

Clumsy girls gotta have access to her pot holders. And menu. And calendar.

Oy Vey.

10 04 2010

Originally I was going to post a nifty little before and after piece as it is 1130am and I already have a spanking new pedicure and a new fridge.
However, when someone (STEVE) was taking measurements, he forgot to count the countertop overhang and now there is a 25 c.f. Fridge in the middle of my kitchen.
Whoda thunk 1/8 of an inch would make so much difference.
I already removed moulding and tried to connect the waterline (successful, but too drippy for my comfort) so he’s going to have to figure out what to do with the counter when he gets back from going to Cleveland to see The Dan Band.

In the Kitchen with Stephanie

28 01 2010

Last night, upon hearing that we’re going to get socked with about a foot of snow in 24 hours, I decided it was the best time to bake something. Plus, all this talk about kitchen gadgets has got me to hard-crack phase.

And of course, as all chefs know, you need to be dressed appropriately for the job.


(cowelneckedwaffledknitted sweater, yoga pants and the apron I got for Christmas)

I decided that the victim would be CRUMB CAKE


4 cups all purpose flour, divided into 1.5cups and 2.5 cups
1 cup white sugar
2.5 tsp baking powder
.5 tsp salt
1 large egg
.5 cup milk
.5 cup brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup butter- melted
2 tbls veggie oil (though, in the directions, it said canola, while the ingredient list said vegetable)
Oven to 375

Mix 1.5 cups flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in one bowl.
In another bowl, wisk the egg, milk, oil and vanilla.

At this point, I felt it was necessary to show my functional butter-melting microwave.
Also at this point, I was trying to line up the focus grid and realized that the butter had not only melted, it was boiling- as shown here:


Anyway, mix the flour etc. with the egg etc. and spread into the bottom of a greased pan.
Unless you bake in silicone, in which case, it’s probably already greased.

After that’s made a mess, mix the remaining 2.5 cups of flour with the brown sugar and cinnamon. Pour the butter over the mix and stir with a spatula (or flatula, depending what you prefer) until large crumbs are formed; a couple minutes.

Bake for however long it takes your oven to ruin things (mine took about 30 minutes because the sides were cooked at 23 minutes, but the center was still all jiggley… must be the silicone)

Stick a cake tester (a.k.a. “toothpick”) into the cake and remove. Your cake is done when nothing sticks to the extracted pick.


The Missing Taco Spoon and The Unnecessary Excess

22 01 2010

Raising the chaos level of Casa Mak to unprecedented heights, we have been without our beloved “taco spoon” since fall.
Steve thinks he took it camping (“There are certain things you’re not supposed to take camping for fear of losing them. The Taco Spoon was one of those thing!”, I tell him) and/or it fell behind/into something. Regardless, it’s lost.
“What’s the big deal?”, you ask… Well, a certain engineer seems to think that all other spoons are inferior for taco beef production (and heaven forbid we make chicken) because The Taco Spoon allowed for proper size beef nuggets and seasoning distribution.
So, giving up the ghost that The Taco Spoon will magically reappear in our service utensil drawer (though he’ll check every Taco Tuesday) I have decided to see about procuring a new taco spoon. The thing is, I don’t know where The Original Taco Spoon came from, less to say it came with me when I moved.
Was it something from when mom worked at Lechter’s? Was it part of a set? Was it something that someone left at my old house and we claimed?
The Taco Spoon is hard to define… slots like a slotted spoon, mix between spatula and spoon (not flat, not totally curved) angled at one end…

In my efforts to find at least what The Taco Spoon is properly named, I searched (in addition to my local outlets)…
Besides not finding a replacement taco spoon thingie, I found the following items which I do not understand:

Breading Trays

(I use bowls/plates.)

Salad Dressing Mixer


A Chestnut Knife

(How much do you have to love chestnuts and/or eat chestnuts to warrant a$16 knife? While I understand you don’t want to bend your good knives…)

Personalized Branding Tool

(Is it still mooing/bawking? No? Down the pallet it go- Oh, wait, this is YOUR steak.)

Salad Sissors

(*looks at hands*)

Trash Bowl

(a trash bowl. Come here so I can hit you with it. Do you not have other bowls? What makes  trash bowl different then say, a bowl?)

I guess my main question is: At what point do you decide that you love something enough to have a dedicated tool? I mean, maybe it’s because I got kicked out of culinary school*, but a knife’s a knife. Well, except the serrated ones. And the butcher… and I guess if you’re worried about cross contamination…

What tool(s) do you use the most?
The least?

I use my fancy-ass-knife set ALL THE TIME, while my zester is gathering dust.