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April, 2006:

The Bundle of Joy, and a fiendishly clever plan.

We went to California for a little while to visit with the Queen of Paint, her husband (Stephanie’s younger brother), and most importantly (sorry guys!) The Bundle of Joy, Stephanie’s nephew.

It was a lot of fun, although our time was mostly spent shopping, eating, playing with TBoJ, eating, shopping, and playing with TBoJ. We also went to a young hip temple that is kind of similar in genesis to Congregation Tehillah, and Stephanie talked best practices with her counterpart there, while I ate a lot of vegetarian Indian food. I also got to help buy a new macbookpro computer (which is SWEET!) and of course I ate far too much of far too many bad things. We didn’t go to Disneyland, as Stephanie had an unexpected work travel on Monday, so I spent Monday morning at the airport, trying to get a different flight. Read a great book,

TBoJ is a delightful kid– always happy and smiling and giggling. Apparently, he has no concept of sadness, or fear, or renovating a house. He has a few words, a lot of teeth, loves dogs, loves to crawl, and he loves to eat. It was fun to be with him, and away from the pressures of the house. Another of the really good things about going away is how clean everything is that isn’t in our house. Almost gives us hope!

We do have some more construction photos of the house that I’ve put up on a separate photo gallery. They’re not astonishingly beautiful, and they are not even very complete. Rather than spreading them around the internet for strangers to see, I’ve devised a cleverly fiendish method of allowing only people we know to see them– So here it is:


Send me an email and if I know who you are, I’ll write you back with a photo web address. Fiendish, clever, but not yet diabolical (Hey, I’m working on it!)

Final kitchen design

You know, I realize that many of you who were playing at home may not have seen the final kitchen design.

So here is a rough illustration of it (not to scale, naturally!)

It seems spacious until you are in it– I think that ultimately it will be a cozy and hard-working kitchen, but I doubt that people will say wow– “Big kitchen!”

But then again, my experience so far is that everything seems to be very big on paper on paper, but once the space is built, I have constantly thought they seemed smaller than I imagined them. (There’s a lewd joke in there somewhere, but I don’t have the time to extract it out)

Seder– a little "order" in the chaos

On Wednesday, we got a little cheeky and decided that we would have 14 people over for a dinner/seder. This despite the fact that our kitchen isn’t yet in, and that Aaron was able to install the oven at 3 pm on Wednesday.

I was a little shaky about it, because — well, it’s a huge amount of work to do a seder, and we barely have enough time to keep ourselves together. Plus, the house is in disarray, and we had to move everything out of the kitchen and living room and pack it high in the dining room to make it all work.

Suffice to say, we were able to make it all happen. We got everything stowed away just in time, put together two of my long scorer tables that I salvaged from Providence College, a whole bunch of chairs (I picked up 6 more (all red) for my collection from Ikea)and I was able to pick everybody up at the train station right on time. We had a very warm and friendly night with catered food from Liebman’s which, considering it was catered was surprisingly good, and a delicious apricot dessert from MyMostFavorite.com, and a pretty good Seder– although the Haggadah that we borrowed from the Synagogue was the worst Haggadah ever– it just didn’t have a linear storyline, which was most curious since Seder is the Hebrew word for “order”. We won’t be using that one next year!

Anyhow it was a great time (although my brother got a little extra drunk, and had a few slightly embarassing moments (nothing extreme) Nevertheless, it was good to see our house function as a social gathering place– it does a very good job… And we’ve got one cabinet and our refrigerator installed in the kitchen! Hooray!

Not a very flattering picture of me, but you can see our oven and fridge in our still under construction kitchen.

The Queen of Paint… and a chilling tale with a moral.

So I made a little mistake yesterday. The painter asked me which color to paint the sun-room (which is a little bonus room that we have) And I told him–which was naturally the biggest mistake of all!

But first– a little backstory:
Stephanie has a very nice sister-in-law, who for reasons of privacy we shall dub The Queen of Paint (Q of P) Her S-in-law is a fabulous set decorator for television, including shows such as Whose Line Is it Anyway and Six Feet Under.

Anyway, on Friday, the painter asked us which color to paint the sunroom– and I told him we’d get back to him– Well, on Monday, I told him what we’d decided (cornmeal yellow, which is the same color as the hallway and the downstairs living room) This was decided on a phone consultation with the Queen of Paint, who said on the phone that “Tasteful is not a bad thing.” (Which amazingly I agree with, although I just don’t want it to be TOO tasteful, because too much of anything is a bad thing, which is why cutesy cutesy things like Barney and ultra coordinated things like Martha Stewart make most right-thinking people (and left-leaning liberals such as myself) want to hurl.)

So the problem came down to the trim– he wanted to know what color to paint the trim– And so I told him to paint the trim with the upstairs trim color– reasoning that the sunroom is upstairs, so that’s the color the trim should be (as we decided)

But Oh NO. Since the color of the trim goes through to the downstairs, the trim and ceiling should apparently be the same as the downstairs trim color, even though it’s upstairs.

See, if I had only followed my instincts and refused to be tricked into answering, then I wouldn’t be responsible. My friend Chris told me a similar story, in which he did not succumb to male answer syndrome, and shifted the responsibility to the proper parties.

I’m sure this incident will be haunting me for months to come as an example of my irresponsibility, incompetence, and my inability to decorate, and therefore let’s put up some more pastel color combinations… I’m going to have to put my foot down and
never answer any questions again.

Either that or just paint it all Mattel Hot Wheels Blue, (with the Spectaframe paint, which was my original choice…

So the chilling moral– “Don’t get tricked into answering any questions!”

The cornmeal looks pretty good though.

We are not alone…

Even as we think we’ve got problems with contractors, timing, and we may feel like we are the only people renovating a home in Yonkers– lo! what light through yonder window breaks? There is another blog that talks about their problems and delights with their 100 year old Yonkers home renovation!

There are lots of parallels– 100 year old Yonkers renovation, business school, etc.

Anyway, if you are a follower of our blog, and not following along because you are related to one of us, then you may be interested in their blog also.