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The House, she has been painted

You know, for a house blog, we’ve done a poor job of chronicling our house painting adventure.

For the last 4 years we’ve been working on the inside of the house, and ignoring the outside.  Primarily because, in our neighborhood, it seemed wise to not shine too brightly.  But also, we needed to do our living space first, and then deal with the outside aesthetics second.

At some point, we started to get very worried that the integrity of the house might be compromised.  Holes where birds were crawling in, shingles falling off, etc.  So we were resolved to do something.  And S said to me:  “I don’t care what it looks like, just get it painted.”  If I waited just a little bit longer, I could have maybe gotten a purple and yellow house!

At first we thought we were going to have to re-side the whole thing.  But pricing that out, it was clear it was very expensive.  Especially if we wanted to go with cedar shingle siding or hardy board.  And we weren’t sure if we wanted to go with vinyl siding, which was still quite expensive. 

After getting ready to bite the bullet, I realized that I’d never gotten a quote from a painter.  So I went to the Home Show, got a few numbers, and arranged a free estimate.  This was mid-November.

We knew time was running out (you generally can’t paint past November) so after the first quote with a clearly very knowledgable painter, which was THOUSANDS of dollars less than any siding quotes we got, we decided to go ahead.  At the very least, it would buy us some time to save up the money.

(Although we had a little bit of a problem– we’d been saving up our home equity to get the painting done, and just as we got ready to pull the trigger, they lowered our line of credit!– Fortunately, I talked to them, and we worked it out, and all is good in financing world right now.)

We went away for Thanksgiving, and while we went away, they painted.  We wanted the fumes to be as far away from our little bundle of Aaron as possible.

Coming back from the airport was very exciting– we barely recognized the house!

There’s still some stuff that they need to do/redo (and weirdly, some of the trim color looks like they didn’t use the same dark blue) but overall we are very pleased with our makeover.

Anyway, here’s some of the before- and after pictures.  Someday, we’ll take the exact same before photos in the after pose.  But for now, here’s what’s changed.  Pretty big change, yes?

The bathroom, she is tiled

I think that in all the goings on here with lawnmowing and dario fo plays and what not, I may have forgotten to mention the most important news of all– our master bath is tiled!

We started on the master bath in August, and it didn’t get finished until October, but my god– all the tile is in, and we are ready to stall on the last two elements of the bathroom– the glass shower door and the painting. (I’m excluding the fixing up of the closet that we have built. That’s like an entirely different room!

We solved the bedroom to bathroom in a surprisingly elegant fashion– glass sliding doors. We had originally planned to have one humongo door that slid across the whole way, but when the track was bought, Stephanie realized that we could do two sliding doors that slide to one another. The great thing is that it fit in perfectly, and really does look like it’s been there forever. I don’t know why we didn’t think of it before.

As for tile, it looks great, although it came at a price. Our tile guy told us it wouldn’t be much of a problem to replace the hexagonal white tiles with glass tiles, and he quoted us the price to do it. Well, he didn’t quite figure how much work it would be, and his guys were there an extra four days (and still never got it right)
So he started losing money, and started cutting corners, and … well, it stopped being pretty.

An example: the top bullnoses when they were installed were not full tile pieces– they were pieces cut in half and sewn back to back. S went surprisingly ballistic about it– saying that she wanted the full pieces. At first the guy insisted they didn’t make them, that this is how it was done, that when they were grouted you wouldn’t see it– all kinds of excuses– but after a quick call to the Queen of Paint (who turns out, is a Tile Queen as well!) S insisted, he relented, and the guy said he would try to find it. The good thing is we still owed him half the job, so he had a real incentive. Suffice to say, he found the right tile.

The tile work was at first installed relatively sloppily, but having Stephanie as our Tile Bulldog worked out well. I highly recommend having a tile bulldog to go over the stuff with a fine-tooth comb. It’s still not a PRISTINE job, but it’s a lot better than what they were going to leave it as– and to the untrained eye (that would be mine) it looks fantastic!

I liked our tile guy a lot, and I think Stephanie did too, except for the inevitable trying to cut corners aspect. Somewhere around here I have some photos of the quasi-finished project. I’ll post them if people are interested. Or better yet, stop on by!

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.

An alarming incident…and a thermostatic one also.

We had a disturbing alarm incident, where it turned out that the low battery signal from our third floor smoke detector may have been a faulty smoke detector, as replacing the batteries did not assuage the situation. We had ADT come out and replace the smoke detector. (Of course, everything worked properly when he was here) The technician, a burly guy with a thick Russian accent, kept on asking “Floor is original, yes? How old is house? What kind wood is that? You have big house.” Not sure if he was also studying for his real estate license, or just had an interest in old houses. Anyway, he was a marked improvement from the last security guys that we had here, who accidentally drilled through our thermostat line, requiring our heating installer to come back out and charge us money to replace it. Which leads us to the next little contractor incident:

It turns out that Eversafe Security, our alarm installer, which promised me that they would pay our heating installer his charge for fixing the thermostat, has not paid yet, even though it happened 9 months ago. We discovered that little fact the hard way, when our Thermostat didn’t seem to be doing what it was supposed to be doing. We called our oil company, who checked everything out and decided the thermostat must be defective. We called K & S (heating installer) to get a new one and they didn’t return our calls. The next day I got the unpaid invoice from them from March.

It looks like I need to pay that invoice and then try to collect blood from the stone that is Eversafe. The worst part is I no longer have a stick to beat them with– they sold our maintenance contract to ADT. I guess I am just going to have to call them everyday until they crack.

In the meantime, K & S eventually did come out (I wasn’t here, but S says that the guy raved about the house and what we’ve done, especially with the kitchen.) And to add insult to injury, apparently the guy from our heating company was wrong– the thermostat was not faulty.

Liking the lights

On nights like tonight, when I come home and Adam is not home (he’s in Providence more and more, preparing for Bright Night, of course), I realize how thankful I am for our lights. It’s something one might really take for granted – having the right lights, and the right light switches, throughout the house. But because our lights were really hard-fought, and because I now feel safe and secure while walking up to, and through, the house, I’m especially appreciative.

Just the other night Adam and I were lying in bed, looking at the walls in the master bedroom and contemplating what the room looked like when all the walls had deep trenches running through them where the wiring was going in. (Yes, sadly, we do talk about these things in bed.) We remembered fondly how the old wonky light switch was hidden behind the bedroom door (on the wrong side of the swing), and how the weird pull-chain fixture hung right where what’s now the archway to our unfinished master bath. We waxed nostalgic about making decisions about power outlets. And we regretfully admitted that it would have been smart to run a DirectTV cable through the wall at the same time, so we could move the television to the center of the room.

But really, a few misplaced (or nearly missing – in the case of the sunroom, which we didn’t schedule an outlet for and had to have a handyman install, haphazardly, near the very end of the first wave of renovation) outlets are really the only problem with our electric. It’s a miracle that we’ve got what we’ve got, since we figured it out purely by instinct while in the throes of the dust and mess. Amazing that we have three-way switches so we can turn on the light at the bottom of the stairs and turn it off when we get upstairs. Amazing that there is an outlet in the pantry to plug the Dustbuster in to. Amazing that there are lights in every one of the closets on the third floor. And, it’s all especially miraculous considering that our electrician didn’t speak much English, and we speak no Spanish.

Willie the electrician, wherever you are, gracias. You did us good.



I’ve been thinking about this post for a long time and trying to figure out how to write it. And then my sister was here last weekend and expressed, out loud, some of the thoughts I’ve been having that I felt I couldn’t possibly share with anyone. And my sister is pretty PC, and very smart and savvy, and damn it, if she can say it out loud, I can too.

It’s about living in a neighborhood of mainly LIP. Lower Income People. Is saying it that way perjorative? I’m sorry if it is, it just seems descriptive to me. But that’s not the controversial part. (By the way, my sister lives in a somewhat similiar neighborhood in Chicago – it’s at least a few years ahead of ours in development but definitely not the North Shore yet.)

What’s probably controversial is my attitude towards living in my neighborhood amongst people who think that for some reason they are entitled to do whatever the hell they please. Like walk across the crosswalk against the light in front of oncoming cars without looking either way. With a baby stroller or a toddler in hand. Or throw trash in our yard, right over our fence, so much so that we can’t keep up with picking it up. Or hang out on my corner, right below my bedroom window, playing a boom box and yelling at each other so loud that we can’t sleep in the summer. Or….or….or. Why do they do that? What is it that makes them feel that they can set their own rules? Or are those the rules of neighborhoods like ours and my sister’s, and we just don’t understand them?

There are huge advantages to living in our neighborhood, and living in any neighborhood that seems to be on its way up. There are many days that we feel like pioneers, people who are helping to grow a city and make it more economically viable, safer, and prettier. We think we got a really great deal for our house, for the space, for the aesthetics of an old house, for our corner lot with our huge parking yard and gigantic garage. But we’re not the same as the people who settled SoHo decades ago, or who are settling outer parts of Brooklyn now – our neighborhood is not industrial. It’s always been residential. And so often I have the feeling that we’re invading, rather than pioneering, and that there is this huge sense of resentment among our neighbors.

Often when I pull into my driveway there is a man sitting across the street outside the (we hope former) crack house. This man pretty much knows my comings and goings and also, therefore, knows what I bring into the house. On weekdays he knows that I only ever carry my backpack and purse. But on weekends, after I drive away, I nearly always come home with bags of stuff. Stuff from the grocery store. Stuff from Bed, Bath & Beyond. Stuff from Target. Stuff from Home Depot. And yes, on rare occasion (house is pretty consuming these days), stuff from Nordstrom or Bloomingdale’s. So this guy knows we have money to spend. Our neighbors mainly carry at max one or two grocery bags, on foot, from the bodega on Broadway. And here we are regularly unloading multiple bags from various stores that are only accessible to us by car. And you know what? Sometimes I feel sheepish carrying those bags into the house. Like it’s too much. Like it’s unfair that I can get this stuff when I know that a former neighbor/crack house tenant had to borrow $10 from Adam once to feed his kids and then sent one of the kids to buy a loaf of bread and american cheese.

(And yes, sometimes I feel like a target carrying those bags – and I look over my shoulder to make sure no one is following me into the house. And I really don’t like feeling that way in front of my own house….but a discussion of our neighborhood’s crime rate would have to be another post.)

But you know what? We earn this stuff. We’ve earned this house. Collectively Adam and I likely make more money than all the neighbors in the three-family house next door. Is it snobby to say that? But it’s the truth. And sometimes I think that we’re doing something good by setting an example – if one kid in our neighborhood can see our house looking nicer and us carrying packages of cool stuff and me going to work every day (indeed, in my shearling coat and with my ipod in my ears), maybe they’ll think about what they can do to get on the same track. Maybe we can befriend the kid who shovels the walk when it snows and help him figure out that he can go to college and earn a degree and get a good job and help his family and his neighborhood when he gets older.

But maybe there’s not aspiration there. Maybe that’s why there’s what I perceive to be this strange attitude of entitlement – maybe it’s actually rebellion or indifference or revolt. I wish I understood it more. I wish I didn’t feel so sheepish.

Lock story #2: Not locked out… Not at all.

Here’s kind of the opposite tale of woe with regards to a door story, and equally scary.

So I was in Providence for two days doing work on my upcoming New year’s Eve Festival, as I am wont to be at this time of year, and Stephanie was in the city, doing her job, as she is wont to do, which means nobody but Joe (feline to the left, and my arch-nemesis) was minding the house, keeping our house safe from our neighbors and other ne’er do wells and such that populate our proximate perimeter. (oooohhh alliteration!) And Joe was being aided ably by our handy dandy alarm system.

At 3:44 pm, I get a call from the alarm company saying that there was an alarm code from our front door, and what should they do? dispatch the police? As I am 3 hours by car away, and Stephanie is an hour and a half by transport away (and that’s another kick in the butt– I’m 160 miles away, and Stephanie is 15 miles away– Grist for a different mill) So I say Yes– please dispatch the police.

About 20 minutes later, I get a call from my mom that says that the Yonkers police just called her in Narragansett RI, and they are going to call me. Talk about scary for her! Moments later, I get a call from MY HOUSE, and it’s an officer. He suggests that somehow, the front door was left UNLOCKED, and that a DHL guy opened the door and put a package in, and that set the alarm in motion, and what should he do? I walked and talked him through the process of locking the door and getting out of the house making sure in the process that Joe had not absconded for parts unknown, and started driving to Yonkers (sorry mom, no dinner with you tonight!)

Made it home in 3 hours flat and nothing was stolen, thank god! (especially the TIVO, which has bunches of stuff I need! :o) ) Apparently either I or Stephanie left the front door open. Now I don’t think I did, and Stephanie doesn’t think that she did, so perhaps it was Joe? I guess I might have, after doing all that work on Sunday. It just doesn’t seem like me though to leave that unlocked. I’m usually very locky.

Oh well, it’s done, and we’re not the worse for wear. And I hope that it never happens again!

Now they say that stories happen in threes…. In the last two days I’ve been locked out, and had an unlocked door. Perhaps some kind of lox lies in the near future?
Or Goldilocks will come to our door, and then huff and puff, and blow my…. oh but this is a family blog!

I know it won’t be anything involving John Locke of TV’s Lost, as it is now off the air for three months. (Boo Hoo)

Maybe my next set of things will be about the Florida Keys….

Locked out…. (a very expensive lesson)

So we did something that was stupid stupid stupid… and cost us a pretty penny to boot (and we’re still not done.)
Saturday we spent most of a beautiful day outside painting shelves. I have a set of four book cases from the bookstore days. We painted three of them a long time ago with the idea of putting them in the living room, and thus getting some storage in the living room. Of course, we didn’t paint the shelves right away. So we spent the afternoon painting them. Well, to be truthful, Stephanie did most of the painting. I did all of the heavy lifting. But we only got one side of the shelves painted before the weather turned rainy and we had to bring everything back into the garage.

We had tickets to the theatre at night (The Umbilical Brothers, an Australian comedy duo that is performing at the New Victory for the next week or so) So, we took showers and got cleaned up and got ready to go. We were going to treat ourselves to an early dinner at Saigon Grill (one of Stephanie’s favorites at 90th and Amsterdam) and then go to the theatre.

And this, dear readers, is where the story starts to go horribly wrong. In the course of changing pants etc, I leave my keys upstairs. Stephanie gives me the key to her car (which I don’t have on my key anyway, since the administrator from our temple has temporarily borrowed my key so that she can take Stephanie’s car on a mission of mercy.) But for some unknown reason, Stephanie does NOT give me the rest of the keys. She takes her key OFF her ring. I assume that I have my keys with me, and I assume that she has given me her keys. At this point, we turn on the alarm and exit the house, locking the door behind us using the push button lock. When I go to lock the deadbolt, I realize that Stephanie has taken the key off her ring. I reach for my keys in my jacket, and then my pants pockets, and realize that somehow, my keys are inside. We are locked out of the house.

This sets off my buttons– I’m hungry, we were supposed to have a perfect date night, and now everything is all screwed up. After walking around the house trying to open various windows (hoping that the screens would give out without much problems (no dice) and calling our friend who has the only other key (not home) we do the only thing that we can do– we call a locksmith. It is supposed to take 20 minutes for the locksmith to get there (plus $55 to just show up, and then the labor) But what are we going to do? We need to get into our house.

We’re both starving, so I run out to the Pizza Barn to get some quick food (I did have my wallet with me) I get back, and there is still no locksmith. At this point, our friend calls with the key. But at this point, it seems too far away to go get it (she lives in Sleepy Hollow– 25 minutes up, 25 minutes back) We eat our food in the car (it’s getting a little cold) and then I see somebody walking around and it is our guy. He gets to work, and it takes him a while to break through the lock. After a bunch of false starts, it turned out that even that stupid little lock was hard to open without breaking the entire door frame. He finally had to drill through the center lock in order to open it.

He finished right at 6 pm, and our show started at 7. We rushed down to the West Side, parked a block from the subway, subwayed to 42nd street, and managed to get into the show before it started.

This whole excursion cost us a cool 100 balloons, plus our well-planned date night, and we still have to get our locks fixed. Our bottom lock doesn’t work (the top one works no problem, and we are going to bring in a different locksmith to key all of our locks (as we’ve been meaning to do for a while) Who knows how much THAT will cost.

As for the show, there were pieces of it that were pretty funny, but the show itself didn’t quite hang together. It was a “Best of” show, (called The Worst of) and because the pieces were from all different shows, they didn’t quite gel. There was lots of funny stuff, but the show I’d seen by them previously was more compelling and more virtuosic. Still the audience loved them, and kids REALLY dug the show.

And now we’ve got to come up with a better contingent plan– how are we going to stop ourselves from being locked out again (other than NEVER EVER TAKING YOUR KEYS OFF THE RING STEPHANIE!) We’re talking about hiding a real estate lock box outside somewhere. Does anybody else have any other suggestions?

The split queen box

That’s what we now have on our third floor. It’s not some arcane chess or poker move – it’s what one needs if one has a tiny, narrow stairway and yet wants a queen bed up said stairway. Like us.

When we first moved into the house we moved my queen bed, with my beautiful pewtery scrolly bedframe, from my apartment. As loyal readers recall, we lived the first six or eight weeks on the third floor and, since we knew that our habitation on the third floor was temporary, we left the bedframe and box spring on the second floor, wrapped in plastic, and slept on the mattress alone. Next we and the mattress went to the office, and then, finally, the master bedroom was painted and cleaned and we set up the scrolly bed and box spring.

Adam has already blogged about the fact that after a few months with the queen bed we traded up to a king. We knew when we bought the king that we wanted the queen to go into the front room upstairs, to become the official guest room. But lo and behold, when the mattress delivery guys tried to get the queen box spring up the stairs – no go. Box spring too big, stairs too narrow, turn too tight, ceiling too low. (The queen mattress goes up there with some brute force – but it’s much more malleable than the box, of course.)

Thus the split queen box. It’s pretty cool – 30″ x 80″ times two. Works just like a split king box, which, perhaps obviously given it’s enormous size, is standard. The bed is now ready to go, just add sheets. I look forward to our first guests for the guest room when my sister and mom visit at Thanksgiving (though my mom was our first official overnight guest, on the Aerobed in the office last spring!).

Will the merry go round ever stop?

The last few days have been pretty crazy– We’ve had a lot of people here in the house today. Although things are getting done– it’s slow and frustrating, and a little bizarre. Here’s a little preview–


We started off by moving everything we own into the other third floor bedroom so that the electricians could work on the one we’ve been staying in. That involved getting up at 7 AM to make sure we didn’t miss anything, and to get Stephanie off to work on time. But in the meantime, the door of the room we were going to keep the cat in needed to be planed, so we had to stick the cat (and his litter box) into our room. Much fun.

Aaron was here all day– building up stuff, redoing stuff, fixing doors that were stuck, and reminding me that today was Extra Loopy Friday.

Electric guys were here all day, doing the electric work– they seem to be going very slowly. Complaining about the job a little, but mysteriously not speaking English when we ask them what’s wrong! Things are moving along– our office has power! They’re mostly very good natured, and delight in my clowning around with Spanish and with funny looks, etc. They are Dominican, I think, and there’s a Dominican way of saying “I’m thinking.” They showed it to me (it involves wetting your finger, and then touching the lobe of your ear) When I do that they are VERY HAPPY. They also like it when I mangle Spanish for them, and say things like “Changes!” What can I say, they’re weird!

ADT alarm guys came to install (after not being able to install two days before, and inexplicably not showing up the next day) They have now spent close to 9 hours here, and they are not yet done (they are busy cursing in the next room) Not sure if they are incompetent or what, but they seem to have spent a LOT of time trying to get their drill out of the wall where it somehow got stuck as they were trying to drill a hole for a wired smoke detector.

DirectTV guy came and showed up (without gloves!) on a very cold and blustery day. He showed up later than expected. Got the dish up and installed, but it turns out that the dish isn’t getting a signal. So he has to come back tomorrow!

Oil guy came twice– for the same problem. Second guy told me that we had to wait until all of the work was done– and then we should get the motor rebuilt (due to sawdust)

Stephanie– is off at the synagogue, adn then has loads of work to do for the big shindig tomorrow that we both helped organize.

Other things– noticed a strange dampness next to the old water-heater and the even older toilet (no longer functioning in the basement) It’s possible that it’s just snowmelt that has backed up from the drain– or it could be a more foreboding problem. ONly time and a plumber (if we ever find one) will tell.

TOMORROW the whole craziness starts up again:

Electric guys
Blow-in insulation
DirectTv guy to finish the job he started.

And POSSIBLY THE ADT guys, if they don’t finish here by midnight.

Amazingly, Aaron will take a day off!

list of stressful items

This week’s highlights: cabinets, carpeting, floors, heating oil, snow. Plus a funeral.

The last few days have been especially stressful, as we rushed out of town on Saturday to attend my stepgrandfather’s funeral leaving a bunch of things undone. Prior to jumping on a plane (which we had to do Saturday early to avoid the Blizzard of ’06), we ran out to Home Depot to place our cabinet order (yes, we’re back to Home Depot cabinets, more on that in another post). Of course, not an hour after we left HD did I regret the decision we made to order partial overlay cabinets, as I really don’t like the look. Inevitably, as soon as we landed in Chicago on Saturday I called to cancel the cabinet order, and we spent the whole weekend measuring every kitchen we visited (four in total!) to make sure of our dimensions. We’ll have to reorder this weekend if we’re ever going to get them.

Then, just before the funeral on Monday, Adam got a call from Aaron, who was working diligently in the house despite the 24″ of snow. Apparently the heating oil company we supposedly contracted with had forgotten about us and we were out of heating oil! And – the heating contractor had just arrived to rework our ducts. So en route to the funeral home, Adam simultaneously shopped for a new oil company (who managed to get us oil in two hours!) and got a haircut. Meanwhile, Aaron was digging out the driveway so that he and the heating guy could pull in, as Yonkers doesn’t allow cars on the street after a blizzard. Fortunately the neighbor kids we’d hired to shovel the sidewalk had gotten that part of the job done – I don’t think they knew what they were in for when we hired them on Friday.

So on Valentine’s Day Adam and I arrived back in town, visited with Aaron to make some more decisions, and then went to buy carpeting for the 3rd floor. A very romantic Valentine’s Day and gift, indeed: beige nylon berber carpeting, about $2k of it. Installing Friday. And, starting Tuesday, the floor guy will be sanding and sealing the floors on the 1st floor and the 2nd – LR and DR on the first floor, and master bedroom and hallway on the 2nd.

All the flooring progress is fortunate, since I’m moving a week from next Monday. Which brings me to the next stress: movers. In all the commotion surrounding leaving town I completely forgot that I’d meant to hire a mover last week, and started calling yesterday to find that a number of movers were already booked for the 27th. I did manage to get a bunch of quotes, however, and chose one that was both reasonable and really, really responsive. I’m still not sure when I’m going to pack….

No wonder I’ve had a migraine for two days.