Sunday, June 27, 2010

A bag of goodies

What productive Sunday DOESN'T begin with a trip to the home improvement store?
Jason fixed the light in our closet! This may not seem like a reason to celebrate, but believe me it is.  You can't imagine my frustration in the morning when I'm rummaging through tubs of tops like a blind man, trying to remember what a certain top FEELS like.  I have a hard enough time deciding what to wear; I really don't need the added crisis of locating said perfect outfit once it is decided upon. 
Here is the proof!  All Jason had to do is replace the fixture.  Let there be light [in my closet]!
We also bought and installed wood blinds for our kitchen!  Now our kitchen windows are no longer naked.  Their nakedness didn't really bother us except for one very specific time of day when it was brutally brought to our attention:
  Dinner time!  That corner faces directly west, which is wonderful for viewing sunsets, but not so wonderful for having a comfortable evening meal.  Now we will no longer have to suffer through blinding light and burning heat while enjoying Jason's concoctions. 
I have to say though, this box is a blatant liar!  Unless if by minutes it means 90 minutes. 
Here is Jason serenely and patiently fiddling with the cords. 
This new blind should offer the evening's dish washer some visual respite from our neighbor's Tai Chi practice.  Or whatever he calls it. 

Monday, June 21, 2010

A Spring Love Song to Nebraska

We moved to Nebraska somewhat reluctantly.  We were excited for an adventure and Jason's new job opportunity, don't get me wrong, but we were both less than thrilled with the idea of Nebraska.  Jason didn't really mind until we got a map out and he realized that it is in the VERY MIDDLE.  Don't say his Canadian education failed him:  Can YOU identify the exact locations and names of all the Provinces?  After we arrived here we realized that yes, there are some remarkable friends to be had here, and that conversely all the midwestern stereotypes exist for a reason, but that isn't all that Nebraska is about.  
Nebraska has AWESOMELY crazy weather! Spring has always been my favorite season, but never have I experienced the lion side of spring/summer until I moved here!  There are thunderstorms, tornadoes, torrential rains, and mighty winds.  I wouldn't be surprised if frogs started falling from the sky tomorrow!  I had to drive home the day this photo was taken and I could barely see out my windshield.  There were people pulled over underneath overpasses waiting it out on the freeway.  Yes, it can be scary, but the thrill of this season outweighs that for me.  Of course, I haven't had my house flood like the people of Waterloo Nebraska this season, and I also haven't had a tree fall through the middle of our house like the people next door to us at our rental house (knock on wood).

 Our poor neighbor surveying the initial damage of the 06-27-08 storm.  Sadly, I was driving during this one as well.  Well actually, I was stopped in the street with hazard lights on, screaming a little. 

This weekend had thunderstorms off and on, and I was completely content reading a book on the couch with the windows open, listening to the goings on outside.  Safely inside, the spring/early summer weather here is enchanting and awe inspiring.  No matter where I am, I'll always yearn for Nebraska spring!   

Saturday, June 12, 2010

We're Done! But not really

Jason painted some interior doors!
These doors were yellowed and filthy, but now they are shiny and white to match the trim.  See the headboard and dishwasher in the corner?  We're still trying to get rid of these things on craigslist.  Any takers?  It is pretty annoying trying to park the car around them.  But hey, we can actually use our garage for its intended purpose!  I don't know if you remember some previous pictures of the garage, but it was basically a big trash can for us during the remodel.
This is the pantry door, all painted and cleaned up!  I looked back through the older pictures, and I figured out that we haven't had this door installed since we demoed the floor in the kitchen back in September.  September, my friends!  This is big!  

So you might be thinking, "hey, looks like they are all done with the remodel, what is there left to do?  Has my favorite blog reached a natural end?"  Now that we are moved in upstairs, settled in, and back to entertaining our friends like before, it does feel that we have reached a sort of completion.  However, looming in plain view there are several projects that refuse to let us relax in sweet wedded weekend bliss.  

One of the first projects we intend to take on next is installing the under cabinet lighting and the backsplash.  We want to do a simple tile backsplash that won't compete with the countertop.  As you can see, it is already wired for the under cabinet lighting, with a separate switch and everything!  I hope this isn't super dangerous having those wires hanging out above our appliances like that.  
Plus, we should really do something about this big gaping hole in the island.  We want to put the same backsplash tile in here.  Luckily, we haven't lost anything besides crumbs down here, knock on granite! 
Speaking of tiling, we ripped out the existing tile in front of the fireplace.  There was nothing wrong with the plain brown tile per se, but we weren't really in love with it either.  I guess we were kind of demo happy!  Now, we can't decide what we want to put here instead.  We've toyed with the idea of a granite slab, but some pretty tile could really look nice also.  Anything is better than this concrete mess!  
And speaking of the fireplace, we have another gaping hole in the mantle.  There used to be a florescent light in here with a piece of glass over it, but the piece of glass was broken on day one of demo.  That is okay, because we didn't really want a light in the mantle anyway.  Jason wants to build a more substantial wood mantle that flanks the sides as well.  He feels really confident about this, and I'm very intrigued to see what he comes up with.  I think he's been forced to watch too much HGTV!  Yay! 
And of course there is this monstrosity!  It is the bathroom, which we have not touched at all.  Those stick on tiles really have to go, not to mention the wallpaper covered with peach colored paint and the window with the shower curtain over it.  Jason particularly hates the pink tub, and I particularly hate the chrome sink mirror.  
I don't think I've ever shown you all this, probably because I'm totally ashamed and repulsed by its outdated ugliness.  It's a part of the wall, so guess what that means?  It means that we are probably going to demo this entire bathroom!  My, won't that feel good?  Demo has been my favorite part of this entire renovation, most likely because I can easily participate and because it gives me a thrill!  But for right now, it stays intact in its shamefulness. 
Another big project we want to do is restore the porch to a cement slab and add some landscaping.  Someone put in this wood decking over the existing porch, and I know it wasn't that long ago because the DCAssessor website has a picture of our house without it.  We hate it.  Our realtor nicknamed it "the dock," and the steps are really rickety feeling.  We had Brian take a look, and the steps need to be repoured, but it shouldn't be too expensive of a project.  I will do ANYTHING to get rid of that white wicker fence stuff!  When I saw this house online, I was completely turned off by it.  It wasn't until the price dropped below $120k that my interest was piqued!  Jason fell in love with it the moment he saw it.  I didn't fall in love until I saw the potential of the inside. We would also like to do some landscaping in the front of the house.  Brian drew up a plan for us and we really like it.  It will also help water drain away from the house.  We don't have a huge problem with this, but we don't want it to ever be a problem. 
Check out the little potted plants I put together!  This makes me feel completely whipped in domesticity!  I hope the flowers grow over the sides of the pot a little.  But I digress.
The last really big project we want to tackle is we would like to build a deck.  I've drawn one in so you can see my vision.  Aren't we glad I'm not an architect?  We would like to take out the dining room window and install french doors as well.  

There are also many smaller projects to do.  We need to patch the drywall in the guest bedroom, we want to move a built in bookshelf from beside the tv to the other side of the room, restain some of the wood paneling in the basement that has been damaged, fix the little door on the mailbox, finish the crown molding on the cabinetry, paint the trim in the back entry, and I'm sure there are many other little things I've forgotten about.  So have no fear, there will still be plenty more blog postings with more ambitious undertakings! 

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Aksarben Farmers Market

Our dreams came true:  A farmers market 5 blocks from our house on Sundays!  I almost always work on Saturdays, so I always lamented missing the one downtown.  Now Jason and I can walk there together and pick our tasty things for the week ahead.  It is another reason why we are really digging our new neighborhood!  

This Sunday was the opening day of the new market. 
Witness the rare bike riding and tie dye wearing Omahans.  Apparently they do exist and are attracted to farmers markets like a moth to a flame. 
Gini and Eric met us there and they also picked up some nice things for their future dinners.  Here they are debating whether to get some honey.  Actually, I'm not sure what they are talking about, but it sounds probable.  We ran into people we knew in the farmers market, and we also met some of our new neighbors.  It seemed a little small, but there were a lot of people there, and I'm sure it will grow with each week.  I read online that they plan to include live music in the future.  We had a great time and plan to go as often as we can!
 Finally, rhubarb is in season, and I can make rhubarb cake!  Be sure to stop by and eat some if you are in the area. 
This is such a nice time of the year here in Nebraska.  Our yard is full of peonies and roses.  
I blogged earlier about a mystery plant in our yard.  I still don't know what it is, but it is definitely not asparagus!
It turned into this bush with purple flowers.  Nice!  
We've been battling these climbing weeds in our yard.  They are EVERYWHERE, and they climb all over every other plant.  Jason talked to Brian about it (at the farmers market!) and he said that since the yard was not kept up last year, they are bad for us this year, but if we keep them down this year, it should not be as bad next year.  We'll see! 
Life is good!