Tuesday, November 29, 2011

One-Hit Wonders: November 2011

...search terms inexplicably pulling up my blog...
  • a guy falling out of a tree
  • buildings look like corn
  • dress as shaun of the dead
  • groped at audition
  • pentacle orgy
  • yard dog chainsaw in action
  • rottweiler with black markings on paws
  • cracked redwood deck salvage
  • stalin no brosef of mine

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Stuff and Things

the past few weeks have been stressful and a half for a multitude of reasons that i won’t get into right now. of course the house is the biggest stressor and no, it’s not done yet. quit asking me. i also thought it would be done by now given that construction has lasted well over 100 days, but no cigar or finished house. currently the deck is holding things up with its design, which has become tricky for other reasons that i won’t get into right now.

so yes, i’m grumpy and i don’t want to talk about. go me! in other news, life has been keeping me busy with many other things, some of them equally grumpy-making and others delightfully stress-relieving. the good stuff includes:

i bought a bike: more importantly, i’ve actually been using it. this was inspired by my many friends who attended LA’s CicLAvia this year. so i went to Walmart (don’t judge me, i’m broke) and bought the cutest cruiser in the world. then came the interesting part: riding it. it’s no exaggeration to say i hadn’t been on a bike in 25 years, but apparently riding a bike is just like they say it is. after a few shaky starts, i was off. several weeks later, i own a bike rack and ride (semi) regularly at the rose bowl and along the LA river.

7-speed schwinn beach point cruiser

i went on a trip: half business and half pleasure, starting in washington, DC, for a work conference and ending in baltimore, maryland, with my dad’s side of the family for a weekend of overeating and drinking vodka. the best part of the trip was the snow, which came early this year and landed on top of some stunning fall foliage. that doubled my pleasure and fun, though i admit to getting restless at the end of the trip to get home and see what i missed with the house.

confetti with frosting

i went to a concert: my obsession with Childish Gambino (aka Donald Glover) cannot seem to be satiated. i saw him live for the second time this year and have been playing his new album on endless loop since it came out. i think i may need rehab.

my Childish Gambino hoodie

i got a new roommate: this new roommate looks a lot like an old roommate i once had. in fact, they are the same person: my buddy Dan whom i lived with briefly in San Francisco. so far it’s proved to be a perfect pairing, as Dan moved in at the start of november, gave me a check, spent two nights in his new room, and then left for a 6-week work project in San Francisco. no complaints here, and there won’t be when he returns either because he’s a super cool guy and we get along famously.

beyond that, i really hope the rest of the year brings me stress-free days and plentiful sleep. and maybe a big bottle of vodka.

Monday, November 07, 2011

The Home-Improvement Chronicles: Odds and Ends


trash pit: Operation: Home Remodel produced an epic amount of trash, much of which sat in my front yard. this is where i need to thank my endlessly patient neighbors, who never once complained about the trash, the noise or the eyesore that was my house for months. instead, i was offered praise, encouragement and even a few thumbs-up when they drove down the hill. so thank you, neighbors, for making me feel like the luckiest girl on the block.



the other dump: we filled up two of these, not only with trash from the remodel, but with most of the contents of my garage, which i finally sifted through after 3.5 years of procrastination. out went the notebooks from grad school, the broken furniture, scraps of wood and boxes of used CDs that were repeatedly rejected by Amoeba’s buyback department. and when it was done, i emerged from my garage feeling victorious (while also wheezing and covered in dust). then i took a painkiller and went to bed.


10 minutes after i washed them: the inside of my house was also covered in dust and i mean wall-to-wall coverage on every surface. the constant banging also dislodged several existing nails, which took the paint with them, requiring a ton of patchwork and the repainting of a few walls. and let’s not forget the dirty footprints on the dark floors and the always-raised toilet seat.


interior work: replacing all the windows meant replacing the interior trim, so there was plenty of commotion inside the house as well as out. no room was safe, including my bedroom, and no place remained untouched, including my bed. with no haven to retire to, i considered sleeping in my car.


a room without a view: living without my view had a profound effect on my mental health. i’ve always thought that my view added minutes to my life, but now i know that it does, because living without it sent my crankiness and irritability off the charts.


dark like my soul: the worst of it was when i heard someone walking around the property at 4am and couldn’t see out the windows. with my heart racing and body contorted, i managed to peek through one of the tears in the plastic to spot a van with headlights on and engine running parked out front. seems the crew broke the glass on the electric meter and a serviceman had been called to fix it. of course i only found this out the next morning after my almost heart attack.


even the dogs missed it: when the plastic finally did come off and i could see out each window and door, a familiar feeling washed over me, one i didn’t even realize had been missing until it made its return: i felt at home again.


the surprises: no home remodel is complete without them. perhaps my least favorite was the missing plank and partially dug out concrete that made up the foundation underneath my bedroom. that was almost as good as finding a bunch of tile in the crawlspace.


even more awesome: the fact that a power source had been buried in concrete right next to a gas line.


original framing: did i mention my house was built in 1924?


the four-legged inspectors: as i’ve noted, i received a lot of inquiries on how my dogs have handled the remodel (with very people asking how i’ve handled it). to answer that question, they have been pretty fairly indifferent about everything, especially as time has passed. (meanwhile, i still jump like i’m hearing a gunshot each time the nail gun goes off.)


my gremlin: the only trouble came when the planter had to be tarred. seems the same someone who got sprayed in the face by a skunk had to step in the tar and matt the hair on her paw shut. i’m ashamed to admit it took me two days to notice the constant licking and chewing she had been subjecting her paw to, but with a little olive oil and soapy water, her paw and curiosity were as good as new.


by the way: this is my new front door. it’s made of solid mahogany that was stained with an ebony and dark walnut blend.


the side door: i decided to turn a window in the second bedroom into a door to connect the house with the “yard,” which is essentially a slab of concrete on the north end of the house (one day, it will be grass!). i found the side door at Pasadena Architectural Salvage for super cheap, and my contractor spent a week lovingly restoring it in my garage.


the contractor: this is the super magic man with a plan, hammer and nail gun, the one and only Platon Markarian. i would give you his number, but you might call him and he’s still working on my house, so i’ll hang on to it for now. good luck getting him, though, when i do give it to you — my neighbors have already booked him for the next year after seeing the quality work he’s done for me. this guy doesn’t believe in shortcuts. he’s simply awesome.


then came the paint: after photos to come in the next post.