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February, 2007:

Wintertime… And the shoveling’s easy…

Last night it snowed like the dickens, and snow means that my home owner duties are calling. What it means that I have to get up at the crack of Oh Dark Thirty to shovel. Sadly, that snow doesn’t shovel itself.

The good news is that unlike the Valentine’s Day Snow-(which was a hateful, awful day– there wasn’t any ice, it snowed at night, and it didnt continue to snow) Today’s snow was in fact perfect for shoveling– thick, and light, and a little wet. Easy to shovel. I almost didn’t mind the fact that we’ve got so much frontage cover (we live on a corner, so that means that I’ve got to do both sides of the house, plus the long driveway area. And don’t forget the front door walkway and the back door walkway. Basically a lot of shovelling.

I have a method… I cut the areas into smaller areas– I do the backdoor out to the sidewalk, and then do the sidewalk towards the driveway, but stop at the driveway. Then I go back and do the rest of the sidewalk to the end of the street. Then I do the side of the house (actually the front) Then I do the front stairs. Then I salt everything, because now I’m tired. And then I do the driveway last of all, because I need more salt in the garage which is next to the driveway. So the last thing I do is salt, and then I go inside and take a shower. Because after that I am VERY smelly!

Okay, it’s a little anal, and it’s a little programmed. but hey, whatever gets you through the shovelling.

After the shovelling today outside, I decided to do some shovelling inside, and went through the mounds of papers that have been sitting around my desk in boxes. I really did some good hard paper throwing out today. Threw out two huge bags of shredded paper, and reduced 5 big unorganized boxes to 4 smaller boxes a little more organized. Tomorrow, I do more organizing and filing. I’m trying to get this stupid paper under control. If only there were some kind of salt that I could put on all of the paper that I have and it would just dissolve.

Throwing out the towels

Because I have the best boyfriend ever, we now have a new armoire in the unfinished master bath in which we can keep all of our towels. So my project this morning was to move all of our towels from our old armoire (in the bedroom) to the new one. (Have you guessed by now that this house doesn’t have a linen closet?) Trauma city.

Moving in together was the first of the towel trauma. We both had a lot of towels, me more than Adam, and we were both reluctant to throw any away. I think most of Adam’s did get tossed when we did the big towel combine, because few of his matched and mine were in better shape overall, but we still have a huge jumble of mismatched towels. And now – much to my dismay – they’re all on display through the glass front of the new armoire. (In fact, I’m planning to go to the fabric store to buy fabric to line the inside of the glass doors, just can’t stand it!)

I don’t know why I’m obsessed with keeping towels – I have towels way older than any of the clothes in my closet. I have a Sesame Street towel that I think my dad brought me back from Japan when I was a kid. I have a towel from my dorm room freshman year – black, like my mood that year. I have towels from my Oak Park apartment in 1993 – pastel stripes, because I was trying to be cheerful and pretend that I liked living there. I have a whole set of towels from my marriage to Bryon- white Frette towels we bought in Italy on our honeymoon. They’re really beautiful but completely impractical, because they’re the waffle-weave cloth and don’t absorb much of anything, but I refuse to part with them because they screamed domestic elegance to me at the time and I think deep down I still aspire to that kind of elegance, even though we’re living in a semi-rundown, cluttered clown house…. And then I have towels from my first NYC apartment, blue and lavender, but the lavender faded to pink somehow. But because they match the striped towels from 1993, they’re still around, a very nice matched set now. Well, threadbare and some are sorta holey, but matched. And they work, unlike the Frette towels, so they stay in the armoire. And then there are our current towels, bright laughing orange; we found them at the Ocean State Job Lot (Adam’s most favorite store) and they matched our office which is close to the bathroom, so now we have an orange-themed bathroom.

Nevermind the big stack of washcloths that I’ve accumulated, despite the fact that I don’t use washcloths and neither does Adam. Until recently I just assumed that when one bought a new set of towels one had to buy matching washcloths, even if one doesn’t really know what one might possibly use them for when a bar of soap works just fine. So there’s a bunch of those, matching every era of towels, which have been hanging out at the back of every linen closet and armoire forever.

Though it pains me greatly, I have managed to segment out about three bath-size towels, two or three hand towels and a couple of washcloths that I am now instructing Millie (our fantastic cleaning lady) can be used for rags. It will hurt to see the royal blue hand towel (from my Chicago loft, I think) used as a floor scrubber but I think I can manage it.

UPDATE: When I went to try and throw out two of the bath-size towels, Adam pulled them back, insisting that they’re “gym towels,” whatever that means, and that we keep them. Apparently this is even more traumatic for him than it is for me.

Furniture Building FRENZY!!!!

So Stephanie was gone this past week (in California at a conference and visiting her brother, sister-in-law, and their baby boy B). So I had the house all to myself. Well, almost.

You see there is this cat… Joey… that is Stephanie’s best beloved. And not mine so much. We vie for Stephanie’s affection. In some ways (and of course this is ridiculous, but it’s ridiculous because it’s so true– in some ways he is my rival. The enemy. And now, he and I were alone.

Joey and I had a bit of a stand off. He would miaow like crazy and I would shush him. He miaowed more so I fed him. He miaowed some more, and so I petted him. He miaowed some more, so I locked him in the basement. At least I couldn’t hear him miaow.

Actually, Joey was pretty good for the most part– except he is constantly underfoot, which presented a little bit of a problem, when I decided that the boxes of furniture that have been sitting in the dining room slowly accumulating stuff on top of them had to go. That’s when I went on a FURNITURE BUILDING FRENZY!

On one of my trips back from Providence before New Year’s, I ended up purchasing these two pieces of furniture on sale at Target. It was the Shabby Chic Armoire and three door chest. Stephanie called me, and said that it was a DIRE imperative that I get these now. So I did, lugging them into the house (these incredibly unwieldy and very heavy boxes that really are supposed to have two people carrying them. They are for our (eventual) master bath, which had lately become a repository of boxes and all sorts of other crap.

On Saturday, I watched an episode of Clean Sweep, and realized that I had to build these pieces of furniture immediately– that the boxes in the bathroom could exist NO MORE. So I took these two heavy boxes of Target furniture that we bought, opened them up, transported them piece by piece up the stairs (the boxes were far too heavy and bulky to lift up the stairs by myself) and started building.

For the most part they were easy to do– the directions were all wordless, with very welldrawn pictures. I had a couple of moments where I did the wrong thing, or couldn’t quite figure it out, but careful thinking, and a minimal amount of banging my head against a hard surface fixed that.

Each of the pieces took me about 4 hours to build. And considering that the armoire had 11 steps, and over 100 screws, that’s not that bad. And the fact that I attached the bottom part of the armoire to the top part backwards, and had to redo it.

I threw out a bunch of boxes, opened up some other ones, and brought the rest of the crap that had been hiding in that room upstairs to the third floor. Eventually, we’ll run out of third floor– maybe that will be the time to build a fourth floor?

The three shelf unit, already with a bunch of Stephanie’s stuff obscuring it.

The armoire, carefully hiding our washer/dryer

Yonkers Arts Council– and a new blog

I met yesterday with a group of artists who are starting the Yonkers Arts Council. It’s a very exciting project, and something that I am going to get involved with.

We met at the Philipse Manor Hall, which is a great old house museum. They have a papier-mâché rococo ceiling, which is the only one of its kind that you can stand underneath in the country.

I’ll be helping them to promote arts and artists of Yonkers. To that end, I thought I’d start a new blog specifically about that subject. The blog is http://www.yonkersarts.blogspot.com.

If you are a Yonkers artist or arts organization, and you would like to be featured on the Yonkers Arts Blog, let me know!

A quiet prayer to the tivo gods

I don’t watch the show How I Met Your Mother, but somebody on a forum mentioned this, and it was so perfect and fantastic that I had to post it.

As you may or may not know, Stephanie and I are a two tivo household– mine and hers. And I have completely come to the conclusion that the TIVO is the one appliance in the house that if it broke tomorrow (god forbid) I would go out and buy another one the very next day. I can live for several weeks without a stove, a refrigerator, or a dishwasher. Tivo– Never!

Anyway, apparently, on the show, the characters have to go to a funeral on Superbowl Sunday, so they Tivo the Superbowl. Before they leave, they have a little prayer to the tivo gods– a prayer that goes like this:

Quiet Prayer to the TiVo Gods

Almighty TiVo
We thank you for all the gifts you have given us:
The power to freeze live TV to go take a leak is nothing short of god-like
And let’s not forget fast-forwarding through commercials.

It seems greedy to ask anything more from you, O magic box
But if you malfunction and miss the Super Bowl
We will destroy you in the alley with baseball bats


And here’s the Youtube video for your viewing pleasure!

The Amy Sedaris Craft Challenge

A few days ago, Amy Sedaris was on the Leonard Lopate show, and she issued a craft challenge to put googly eyes on food.

I’m sad to say that I missed the challenge, otherwise I may have spent a few hours trying to think up something funny…

But the results are ASTOUNDING and some are quite funny.

Here’s a slideshow of some of the amazing entries…

See all the photos on Flickr

If you want to find out who won, you can listen to the Leonard Lopate show online.

Or you can just go to the winner web page and see for yourself.

And if you’d like to get some googly eyes of your own for your own crazy hospitality experiments, here’s a
Book Full of Googly Eyes, courtesy of Buy.com

Peapod… groceries delivered direct to Yonkers!

Stephanie and I have often lamented about the lack of Fresh Direct here in Yonkers (Fresh Direct is a NY based service started by one of the founders of our favorite market Fairway that delivers fresh food to you for not much of a charge. It’s a very convenient way to get food delivered, and the food is very tasty. We had Fresh Direct in Riverdale, and our understanding is that it’s slowly moving to Westchester.

I’m not sure when it happened, but Peapod, which is Stop and Shop’s delivery service, is now serving Yonkers! Which means that we’ve got the opportunity to get stuff delivered to us. And best of all, they have some kind of special deal going on where you get $10 off if you are a new customer. So it’s definitely worth checking out.

I like Stop and Shop (it’s probably the best quality chain market), and they often have very excellent prices and great quality on their meats) So this is great news to me!

I found out about the Peapod recently because I was checking out the affiliate link stuff that Stephanie does. And voila, there was Peapod. I checked it out, and yes– now serving Yonkers!

This is an affiliate link to Peapod– if you end up using their service, Stephanie and I get a little something back. But that’s not the reason to use it– use it because you’ll get $10 off your groceries, and it makes it a lot easier to shop.
Shop Peapod using this link and get $10 in FREE groceries

So rejoice Yonkerites. Fresh Direct isn’t here yet– but in the meantime, Peapod is a really great substitute.

Arts Council Might Be Forming In Yonkers

Great article in LoHud regarding a new artist initiative in Yonkers.

Naturally, this is something that I’d like to get involved with.

If you want to get involved, too, the Yonkers Arts Council Committee will meet 5:30 p.m., Feb. 12 at Philipse Manor Hall, 29 Warburton Ave., Yonkers, to continue its discussions. For more information or to RSVP for the meeting e-mail YonkersArts@gmail.com

I hope to see you there!