Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Kitchen Makeover Update

Just an FYI to kick things off with: I will be posting info about our trip to Vegas, but it's going to take me a bit to pull it all together, and I haven't had a chance to upload photos yet. So it's probly going to be up tomorrow. Maybe.

In the meantime, I had wanted to pop this update up before we left last week, but then our computer at home went BSC, and kept shutting down mid-post. So the photos aren't even complete, but it's the best I can do, so we'll just have to muddle through somehow.

(What does "muddle through" mean anyway? Let's see..."to succeed or manage to keep going despite being disorganized". Hey, it means just what I thought it did! Imagine that...)

So, last you all saw, the cabinet doors were up, and waiting to be topped off with molding, and then get stained. So here they are with the molding...

And here they are all stained!...uhm...oh...

...ok. Yes, they do look a bit like they have skin problems after they were stained, but to be fair, that was just after the 1st coat of stain. And once they were sanded and then stained with 2 more coats, they look infinitely better. Our house is covered in a fine, mocha-colored dust, but the cabinets look better, and that's all that matters. I'll be sure to get pictures of the final product tonight.

And that all reminded me about why we didn't use birch for any of the cabinets in our house when we did the addition! Oak, my friends. Oak is the way to go. You might get a knot here or there, but you will totally avoid the leopard skin pattern. I'd rather have some knots than the random patterns, to be honest.

On to more fun stuff! PAINT!

These are the colors we originally picked...

Here they are next to the pantry, for comparison's sake.
I like the top one, but I get the feeling Leo has pretty much veto'd it all together. We both think the middle dark brown is just too damned dark.
But the lighter brown one...we like that. It's just coming out a bit too greenish in our kitchen's light for us to be totally happy with it.
It's hard to see it in the pictures, but in real life, it's got a definite olive tone to it. So Leo went and got two more samples that are more beige-brown, and less green-brown. We'll check those out tonight.

Here are the accent tiles we picked!
We'll actually be using strips of three rows of that tile in a little stripe along the backsplash, so (a) it totally is a cost effective way to use those tiles, and (b) we get a little bit of glass tile, but nothing too overboard. Which makes both Leo and I happy. (He's anti-glass tile, because he thinks it'll be out of style in 10 years. Whatever...I think it's pretty! I'm glad to have a little bit in the room.)
Here, he was holding it up to the darker brown color for us to see how well they go together. We got pictures with the other two colors, but those were the ones that kept getting lost when I tried to load them last week. Stupid effing computer...
Here are the accent tiles against the floor we chose to go with. LOVE!
And here are the floor, countertop, and accent tile examples all against the dark wood, so we could see how well they all go together. Snazzy, no?

We didn't get any samples of the actual backsplash tiles that we'll be accenting with those small rectangle tiles, though. Which bums me out a bit, but believe me, they look very pretty with all those elements!

Today, they're installing the countertop, and scraping the ceiling/installing the electrical. (I hope.) At the end of this week, they'll be tearing out our floors. In the mean time, very little cooking/prepping can be done in our kitchen, so we're pretty much living out of our microwave and on take-out. Which makes it very hard to focus/perform on Phase 1 of the South Beach diet. We'll get back on track after all is said and done in there, though.

Hope everyone had a great weekend!

I'm not falling for your shenanegans, people, just so you know.

People are being nice today. It's weird. And oddly comforting. It made me smile a lot while I was out running errands at lunch. That's just creepy, dammit.

First, when I was leaving my building, there was a chick in front of me (who happened to be talking to Emaw, actually) who didn't notice I was behind her, and so she didn't hold the door open. When she realized I was there, she turned and apologized for dropping the door on me. But the thing is, I was a few feet back from her, so I wouldn't have expected a door held in that case. So she was just being nice for no reason, in my book. Which is very cool.

Then, when I ran to grab some gas from the Quik Trip down the street, the gas pump kept pouring gas all over the damned place after the handle went up, and it was done pumping in my car. Big puddle o' gas in the parking lot? Bad news! So I went inside to tell them, and grabbed a Diet Coke while I was in there, and they seemed to know what would cause a problem like that so they were able to fix it. But when I went to pay for my soda, they told me it was on them "for the gas pump problem." Aw! Thank you!

Awesomely free stuff...yes!

Then I went to Chipotle to grab a salad. And for some reason, even though I said I wanted a little sour cream, and even gave the international symbol for "small amount" with my fingers (thumb and pointer finger placed closed together, in case you were wondering), the chick slathered my salad in sour cream. Not so great as a free Diet Coke, but ok. And then the scoop of guacamole she put on there? Ridiculous. Fucking idiotic amount. It was double the normal serving size, I'm sure. So I had to scoop half of it off my salad when I got back to my desk. Which helped pull some of the sour cream off too, so that was sort of a win/win. I dunno. I'm not joking, I took at least 2 tablespoons of guac back off my salad. I like the good fats from an avocado as much as a the next South Beacher, but we gotta be reasonable about it, ok? FFS...

Anyway, it was nice of her to want to give me my $1.80 worth of the guac. But maybe that Chipotle should reconsider her position in the distro line, or else they're gonna lose some cash, and fast.

Then I came back to the building, and my fabulous parking spot was still open for me. That's not really due to anyone being specifically nice to me, but it was lucky, and it still made me smile, so it kinda counts.

I think all of this is the universe's attempt to lull me into a false security in mankind, though. Because tomorrow? I travel. On Southwest, no less. To VEGAS. So you know there's gonna be some trouble all up in that shit! Today, I am touting the friendship of the masses, but tomorrow...tomorrow there will likely be blood. It's just what I've come to expect.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


Yesterday was a bad day. No denying it. I reached the bad day benchmark early on, when at a measely 10:07 a.m. I sent a note to my coworker that started with, "Oh COME ON! ::cries::" She told me later that I was very funny in my emails. Huh. Glad I could entertain her with my pain. Some people are just mean, yo.

Today is starting out better. I was on time for work, I had a yummy breakfast of leftover spaghetti squash and buffalo meatballs, and things are quiet in the office due to a half-day meeting my boss is in.

I'm going to spend most of that time creating a new "In Case of Emergency" file for Leo. I thought I would cheer myself up yesterday by catching up on the Anissa stroke progress thing after I read the latest about her family's need for help on The Bloggess's site, and instead, I wound up freaking myself the FUCK. OUT. (I initially tried to follow the issue back when The Bloggess first mentioned it in November, but the server where Hope4Peyton is hosted crashed under the traffic conditions. And then I never went back, because I'm forgetful like that. So I'm glad I caught up because it's apparent that Anissa will pull through and is getting better over time. But also? The crying. And the scary. And UGH HOW DID THEY DEAL WITH ALL OF THAT??? It was a bit much for a Monday, but still well worth the time, so go and read up. And help out, if you're able and willing! Go back to the November 2009 archives for the beginning of the story.) I know it's a random concern, but the fact remains that in my relationship with Leo, I'm the one that handles all the "fun" stuff. I pay the bills, deal with the savings accounts, and have all the credit cards. (That's not by my choice, btw. I mean the credit card part...he used to have one, but he cancelled it. Sucks.) If I were to drop dead, or even go into a coma today, I don't know what he'd do. Besides freak out and cry a lot. (He'd better cry a lot, dammit!)

So I need to pull together a little package of info just for him. Something that will help him to remember how many bills there are to pay, how to access the money for them, and all the log ons and directions for transfering money and all that good stuff.

It seems absolutely idiotic that I haven't thought about doing something like this before now. But I'd be willing to wager that I'm not alone in that stupidity. So if you don't have a backup plan for emergency conditions, get one in place.

Ok, that's it for the depressing crap this week, I swear. Tomorrow is my Friday, because I'll be heading to Vegas for a meeting on Thursday, and then Leo will join me on actual Friday for a weekend of random fun. The rest of this week should consist of remodel photos, and other random tidbits of good times. Because I need the good times. Don't you need the good times? That's right. Bring on the good times, then!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Cabinet doors are up!

By the way, the cabinet doors got installed last Friday.

The drawers are being rebuilt, which was news to me. I thought we were just getting new tracks for them! (The new tracks will allow them to open completely...the old tracks made them stop about 3 inches short of the back of the drawer, which made it hard to access some stuff like our infrequently used silverware, and that kind of thing.) So hopefully they'll be installed this week.

The countertop guy came and measured for the countertop today, so that should be done soon. And the floor people brought a couple more samples, as well as did their own measuring today, too. I'm pretty sure we're going with the fake concrete look, but we're trying to keep an open mind for the time being. No hurry there.

Tonight, we're going to find tile for the backsplash, now that we'll have a sample of the countertop to take with us. Oh, and we're picking a paint color for the walls, which should be an exercise in frustration. No other room in the house is as big of a PITA to paint, so we really don't wanna fuck it up. Wish us luck!

Why the hell have Mondays been so damned by the book lately?

Today sucks. I wanted to make it better by embedding the SNL "more cowbell" skit here, but I can't find one that I like that I can bring in.

Which is just like today, dammit. ::sigh::

Getting out of bed was near impossible this morning, made even more so by my stupid decision to change the sheets yesterday. (Clean sheets should go on the bed on Friday or Saturday. So that sleeping in and enjoying the supah-freshness of them can occur for a couple of days before the evilness of having to get up and go to work occurs, IMO.)

Food all tastes disappointing. Don't know what's up with that, but so far, breakfast and lunch have been a let down. Good thing my snack earlier was yummy. That helped...

A meeting I had been attempting to schedule for 2 weeks - TWO - finally came together, but in a disappointing manner that's causing me to have to shift another meeting in order to accommodate it, which seems stupid, but the one I've been working on involves 3 VPs. And do you know how hard it can be to align the schedules of 3 VPs all at once, even for just an hour long meeting? Yeah, I didn't know it was that hard either. It was stupid hard. STUPID.

::double-sigh:: This post has been brought to you by the word stupid, apparently.

Friday, February 19, 2010

I want a baaaageeelll!

Ok, I'm sure that this whole craving thing is exactly what Phase 1 of the South Beach Diet is all about, but DAMN it was hard not to just head out and grab a bagel with hummus and tomato from Einstein Bros. today instead of making myself late for work (again) by making eggs and turkey sausage. GRRR!!!

One more week, and then we can start to reincorporate the whole grain bagels/english muffins. And that will make things so, soooo much easier, dammit!

It's day 5 today, and things are still going well. No more stomach aches, after the fiasco on Tuesday. I'd attribute that for sure to the intake of dairy. I've backed it off since then, and it's been much smoother sailing.

An observation that both Leo and I made last night was that by the time dinner comes around each night, we aren't totally famished. One serving is plenty. I don't know if it's because our bodies are trying to process the increase in protein that we've given them, or what, but I find it odd. I mean, I'm still hungry at night, don't get me wrong. My evil side came out after the gym on Wednesday night, before we got home, so I KNOW the need to eat is still there! But it's just not as crazy as it used to be.

Today's menu, in case anyone is interested...

Breakfast: 1 egg, over easy; two slices of turkey sausage; 2 romanito tomatoes*, sliced; 1/4 of a med avocado; 1/3 cup of low fat cottage cheese; salt and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar

Midmorning snack: 1 piece of lowfat string cheese; appx 15 cashews

Lunch: Baked salmon with a balsamic glaze (which I made myself...which also made the kitchen SUPER-vinegary smelling! I had to open a window and turn on the fan, it was so strong!); small Greek side salad w/ feta, tomatoes, olives, and red wine vinaigrette

Midafternoon snack: 2 hardboiled eggs

Dinner: Chicken breast stuffed with spinach and goat cheese; "stuffed" tomatoes (really, they're baked with mozzarrella and parmesan on top of them. Nothing too fancy)

Late night snack: Sugar free jello

I'm telling you that I will be shocked if I finish my whole dinner tonight. I've learned that stopping halfway through and reassessing my hunger would be best in the long run. Will I be hungry again a couple of hours later? Probably. But a small snack of lowfat cheese, or the jello, usually satisfies it, and I can get to sleep just fine.

I'm loving this diet, srsly.

*I found the romanito tomatoes at the store yesterday when we popped through for a quick restock of stuff we ran out of. They're smaller than a roma tomato, but bigger than a grape tomato. They were yummy!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

A little glimpse...

I thought this sort of thing only happened to people on HGTV! But I was wrong. Our contractor directed us to a countertop company that has a "boneyard" full of "scrap" granite, and we were able to pick out a countertop for our kitchen from their selection. I'm so excited!

Here it is:
The salesguy we're working with had originally picked out a slab (which you can see at the far right of the photo above) that had too darned much gold in it. We didn't like that one, so he showed us a darker slab that would fit, but it was a really deep brown, and we were hoping to have something much lighter on the counters than that. When we said that, he took us to another slab that was better...but it still wasn't the one. Then he remembered this one, but it had had a hold on it from some chick. He was pretty sure it was old and she had decided not to get it, which he confirmed while Leo and I continued to discuss the options.

When he told us it was available, we told him we wanted it! So that's done. Whew! We'll be able to have a full countertop out of that slice up there that will have no seams, thanks to the pitiful amount of counterspace we have in our kitchen. Guess it finally paid off to have a stupid, small-ass kitchen!

Then we went and picked up floor samples from the flooring place down the street. We actually did wind up picking up a sample of the kind that looks like poured concrete. In person, Leo really wound up liking it. And they had a dark gray option that he feels could really work. ::Faith does a little dance:: We'll see, though. We picked up two other samples that look like stone (they're the ones from the 4th picture down in the post below this one) in different colors, and then the chick was going to order the one in the bottom picture down there for me, because we couldn't find it today. I think it'll come down to being between that, and the poured concrete-looking one. But we have time...the floors are the last things that we'll do. I want to take my time with that decision, for sure. Maybe even look at other options elsewhere, just in case. Seeing them in person is soooo different than looking at internet pictures.

Flooring answers...

After yesterday's post about the kitchen remodel progress, I received a couple of questions about the flooring that we're planning on using. So here's a quick rundown on the ideas we have thus far.

We have come to the conclusion that we'll be doing vinyl in our kitchen, due to the durability and the style options available. Our house isn't very large, and two of the entrances to it are in the kitchen. It gets a loooo-hooooot of traffic through there, so a durable floor that can handle the test of time (in style as well) is important to us.

Since I hate seams so much, sheet vinyl is the ideal option, IMO. (My hate for seams is also the reason why tile is right out. Ceramic is certainly very durable, and can be stylish across many decades, of course, depending on what's chosen. But I. Hate. Grout. HATE. That is all.) It's also a very affordable choice, particularly if you have an easy floor to lay right over the top of, since it runs something like $.50 - $5 per square foot, depending on the thickness of the vinyl. In our case, we need to have our floor torn up, so the subfloor can be checked out/replaced. So that doubles the cost of our flooring installation, regardless of the type of floor. We always get contractors who just wanna lay tile right over the existing floor, which is just not something I'll allow. It would fuck with the height of the threshold into the living room, for one, and also, there's something happening under the peel and stick tiles! The bubbling in parts of the room has gotten worse over time, and I just want to be sure that there isn't anything growing under there, like an alien, or an underpants gnome factory, or what have you.

So here are the pretty, pretty options that I'd like to look into. We're not into flowery patterns...I would prefer something that resembles a poured cement floor, if possible. But Leo thinks that might wind up being too modern for our house, or too industrial. This is a good example of what I'm interested in:
I see his point, for sure. Our house has some modern elements, but they're fairly well mixed with traditional ones, which might not look good with a floor like that. Also, while it's hard to damage vinyl, it can happen. And if it happens to a floor like that, I'm imagining it would look awful, and be very hard to fix.

The complete opposite end of the spectrum, for me, would be a design like this one:
There's something about that design that just makes me feel warm and cozy.

If we do a pattern, it will be in a design that mimicks stonework. But I'm really against the straight rows of tiles, side by side, like this:
There's something very 90's about that to me, and it rubs me wrong.

We'd prefer a bricklayed pattern, like the one we have in our bathroom. I like this one:
...but then I saw THIS one, and feel this hits it on the nose. We like the size of the tile depicted in the vinyl:
All of the pictures were gathered from the Armstrong Flooring website, in their sheet vinyl section. Our contractor said that there aren't a whole lot of flooring companies in town that install sheet vinyl, but I don't really understand that. He said it's a dying trend in flooring. shouldn't be. Just looking at the Armstrong site alone gives me the clue that enough people must want it if they're developing so many designs and colors to offer. The place we're going to today to pick out our floor is an Armstrong dealer, but it says they just do their hardwood and laminate on the Armstrong website. I'm hoping that since our contractor knows we want vinyl, and he told us to go there specifically, it means they can also do the sheet vinyl. We'll see. I can say for sure that we won't be settling for anything. If we don't find what we want there, it's fine. Hell, Nebraska Furniture Mart has it, so we can always go there if we need to.

So that's that! We're going to the countertop and flooring places today to pick out our materials. I'll take pictures of the process, if allowed. Let me know what you guys think of the styles above, eh?

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Day 3: South Beach Diet, Phase 1

Ok, I know I joked about my body wanting a cookie on Monday, but as of today, my body is actively screaming at me, "BITCH! GIVE ME A FUCKING COOKIE!!!" It's hard to describe, so I suggest you try doing this diet yourself so you can understand. I like an empathetic audience. It makes me feel so much closer to you all.

The thing is, it's not like I ate cookies all the fucking time before. I'd have them now and then. Back when I was working out a lot, and planning the wedding, I was on a daily diet of cookies after lunch, but I'd moved past that in recent months. So WTF, body? WTF?

Here's what I'm eating today...

Breakfast: chopped KC strip leftover from V-Day dinner (appx 3 oz), mushrooms, white beans (appx 1/8 of a cup), and cherry tomatoes tossed together in a quick pan saute in olive oil and worcestershire sauce, served with 1/2 cup lowfat cottage cheese drizzled in balsamic vinegar. (I like to eat weird shit for breakfast. I'm pretty sure I've mentioned it before, but in case you're new here, that's the deal. I don't like sweet, sugary pancakey/cerealy/waffley breakfasts...I like leftover sushi, some sort of meat, loose egg yolks, potatoes, rice...that sort of thing.)

Mid-morning Snack: Appx 3 oz of turkey cutlet

Lunch: Cobb Salad from Elephant Bar (chopped lettuce, bacon, egg, tomato, grilled chicken, blue cheese, avocado, and mushrooms - all in the perfect serving sizes, I might add): balsamic vinegar for dressing

Mid-afternoon Snack: Handful of pistachio nuts; tuna and black-eyed pea "salad" (with balsamic, lemon, and olive oil)

Dinner: Pecan-encrusted Halibut w/ red bean mash (literally, you take a can of kidney beans, drain and rinse it, and then mash it up. I can't remember what goes with it. Olive oil, definitely.) and collard greens

So far, I'm doing pretty well. I'm not hungry at all. I had to force myself to remember to eat my mid-morning snack today, which isn't totally unheard of for me, but it's a little odd. Usually, only stress/busyness makes me forget to eat, and I was neither of those things. I was just typing my earlier post.

I have had a light, persistent headache, though. Not due to a lack of caffeine...I'm still drinking iced tea and Diet Coke every day. I'm thinking it's my body's way of adjusting to the lack of sugar. From what I've read, that seems to be a possibility.

Last night, I got a HORRIBLE stomach ache after dinner. I wasn't too hungry for dinner after my afternoon snack, but I ate it anyway. (It was delicious! A bison burger - no bun - served with lettuce, pickle, tomato, mustard, and lowfat provolone cheese, with a side of roasted cauliflower...YUM!) It turned out to be a mistake. I think I've been having too much dairy, and mixed with the protein in the meat and beans, my body is NOT happy 100% of the time. (However, I am super-regular. I don't understand that, but I'll certainly take it! Sorry for the TMI, but it's a post about's bound to pop up somewhere. That should be the end of it.)
I drank some peppermint tea, and sat with a heating pad on my tummy for a good 30 minutes, but nothing helped until I took some Alka-Seltzer. Sometimes that stuff is a God send, and sometimes, it does absolutely nothing, so I usually forget about it until I've had the stomach ache for a while. I'm glad I remembered it. After about 30 mins, my tummy ache was gone, I was able to get to sleep, and I feel much better today. I'm eating less dairy, though.

We're going to the gym tonight, which I'm looking forward to. I feel lethargic and sluglike, for some reason, and really want to move around a bit. But due to the construction in the house, and the way it's been cutting into Leo's cooking time for dinner, we haven't been able to make it in yet this week. So I'm happy we can get in there today. I don't know that I'll do the exact exercise regimine that the book recommends, but I might incorporate their interval walking/elliptical training they suggest. I like intervals. Should be fun.

So that's it so far. I weighed myself on Monday, and was back up to 217. Just for the hell of it, I weighed myself again on Tuesday, and I was at 214.5. This has been my standard weight fluctuation over the past few months. So we'll see if I can break it. I'll weigh in again on Monday next week, and I'll let you know if it comes down.

Let me know if you have any questions at all. I'm having fun with this bit of newness thus far. Not sure if I'll still feel so gung-ho about it next week, but we'll see!

Here we go!

So we started the remodel in the kitchen on Monday. Let's just jump right into the good stuff, ok?

This is our old kitchen. There isn't much to say about it other than yes, we use all the counterspace we've been alloted. Yes, we have a lot of kitchen tools. Yes, our oven is ugly as sin. These particular photos were taken after we repainted a few years ago. The table is more centered now, so it acts as an island, rather than an extension of the counter like it is in the photo. Also? That microwave died a while back, and we replaced it with THE BIGGEST MICROWAVE ON THE PLANET!!! Which didn't seem so bad at the store, but once home, out of the box, and taking up the entire counter, it became more obvious. I don't know why we didn't return the damned thing back then.
We've added the pantry since then, which is what our new cupboard doors will be matched to stain-wise, and molding-wise.

Today, they are scraping the ceiling, and getting that damned popcorn texturing off of there. Seriously, WTF is the point of that shit, other than to catch dust in an impossible-to-remove way? I HATE it.
We're replacing the ceiling fan with this simple $40 number we picked up from Home Depot over the weekend...Happy, happy. Since we're installing can lights around the room, we don't need the light mechanism on the fan itself anymore. Awesome.

In order to install the new microwave we bought (we're finally getting one put in above the stove, to help with ventilation as well as to free up valuable, valuable counterspace), our contractor had to move the cupboard above it up a few inches. When he took that and the cabinet next to it down, we discovered a layer of lovely wallpaper that used to be up in the old kitchen.
I'm so glad the 80's are over!
On the first day, they had this HUGE wood slab in the kitchen for some reason. Construction confuses me...I honestly don't know how they got that thing in the house, because it was bigger than the doors, I swear.
Yesterday morning, Leo got in there quickly to take a couple of pictures as they started to reface the cabinets. As you can see in this shot, the new box above the stove was reinstalled higher, which will mirror the styling on the pantry and how the storage box above the fridge is higher than the pantry units on either side. ::taps head:: Clever, eh? (Yeah, I didn't come up with that, though. The contractor did. He's smrt.) Anyway, you can see the thicker framing around the box openings on the cabinets above the stove wall, compared to the old cabinet on the left there, next to the window.
Here's a close-up shot, which shows that the contractor also built out the over-stove cabinet so that it would be flush with the microwave. He's awesome.
Just another shot of that bank of cabinets, after they were completely framed out.
This, incidentally, is the microwave we picked out. It was on sale for $167 at Home Depot over the weekend. Woowoo! Its nothing fancy, but we don't need fancy when it comes to microwaves, dammit. We've tried the Able to Cook a Human size microwave, so why not move on to something a little more low-key for our first over-the-stove model, I figure?
As you can see in the next two shots, the way the refacing is happening is that our contractor has put up a birch panel (thicker than plywood, but I don't know the actual technical name for it) on the bottoms and sides of the top boxes, and then put up birch 2x4's as a new frame for each one on the front.
One of my favorite things that's happening is that the cupboards are all looking so much more finished in this new material. And they haven't even been stained yet! This bottom corner, for example? LOVE. I don't know why, or how to explain it, but it just makes me happy.
Here's a good shot of the floors we're replacing. It's a standard peel and stick that I'm pretty sure is still being used all over the darned place, because I see it on things like Designed to Sell on HGTV still, and everything. But we're done with it. Done, done, done.
It's nothing against the design, so much. It was a good choice for the kitchen, overall. It's just that the floor is bubbling in some spots, and the edges are just dirty and gross and uncleanable after all these years of grime. I'm looking forward to replacing it.

Today, they're filling nail holes with wood putty, and scraping that ceiling, as I understand it. Usually, by the time I get home at night, the contractors are gone, and Leo has the kitchen back up to as spic and span as it can be, mid-construction process, so the pain to me is minimized, really. Tomorrow, Leo and I are heading up to the flooring place to pick out our new flooring. I'd prefer to pick out the countertop first, if possible, but we'll see what winds up happening. I'll try to get photos of both experiences, if allowed.

Can't wait to see the finished product, that's for sure! The stove will be the ugliest thing in there once everything is done, which is the only disappointment. We're still trying to figure out what to do with it, though. We want a gas range, but the ones we like are all ridiculously expensive, and we don't know that we want to spend that kind of money on an appliance we'll likely leave in this house when we move out of it eventually. I'm fine with a new electric range, too, as long as it gets us a double oven, but that's almost as expensive as the gas ranges we want! Why can't they be as easy as the microwave, dammit.

Hopefully, this isn't too boring for any of you. I like looking at remodels of peoples' houses, so its hard for me to tell if this shit is stupid to post. Regardless, it's what's going on this week. Unless you want a blow by blow of Leo's filling that fell out of his front tooth, which needs replacing tomorrow. ::shrugs:: I got nothin' else.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

I admit it...I'm a bit prejudiced.

Anybody else worry a lil' bit when they see a Toyota sharing their roadspace with them lately? Is that just me? I try to fight it, but I can't help but feel a little bit of fear and discomfort toward them as of late...

Monday, February 15, 2010

Day 1 of many, maaaany more.

Leo and I started to follow the South Beach diet plan today. We're jumping in with the attempt to work through Phase 1. I started out the day thinking it could be easier than I think, but now I have a slight headache, and I'm generally listless. I think my body wants a cookie. Which is just like my body to behave like that! And it's also too damned bad because I gave all of mine away after lunch! (One guy actually came over to my desk to thank me, and to expound on the fact that he "just works out" every day so he can eat need for a diet. Um, fuck you very much! Glad that works for you bud! Buh-bye now. Buh-bye. ::waves::)

I'm thinking that by mid-week, I should be more accepting of the lack o' carbs thing. And then after another week and a half, I can reintroduce them, so yay!

We're also starting the kitchen remodel today. Bad timing? I don't really know yet. The stove will remain in place, as will the fridge. Both of those things are what are necessary to make meals in our house - as they likely are in most houses, I'd imagine, so I'm thinking we can make it through. We'll see. We might have to restart again once we get our beautiful new kitchen in place.

Oh, and not to worry...we're taking pictures as we go. Loooots, and loooooots of pictures. Hell-ooo! This is me we're talking about. I'm all about the sharin'. :D

Friday, February 12, 2010

Clown boobs.

I just got back from lunch with an old friend, and I smell like salsa. I can't shake it. Why can't I shake it? Because it's on my boob.

It's inevitable, it seems, at this point in my boob size, I get food on myself whenever I go out. I tried to keep the table in front of me clean! I did! But I was eating a mini chicken "street" taco (at On The Border...they were delicious, and the absolute perfect size!), and a couple of pieces of chicken kinda rolled out of one side of the taco, landed on the table in front of me, and before I could see the mess, I dipped my boob in it. (The reason why I couldn't see the mess? Because I have to crane my neck over my boobs to see below them. Yeah. They're fun.)

::sigh:: I'm having them removed soon. I'm having them removed soon. I'm having them removed soon. Sometimes, I just need to remind myself of the reduction plans. Seems that lately, I'm doing that all. the. time. I can't wait!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Queen, princess...whatever.

Leo being out of work has made it handy for him to be able to help me with some car maintenance issues that need taking care of over the last couple of weeks. He has been kind enough to take my ol' trusty Beamer in for me on my carpool days, when I don't have to drive. I needed an oil change, and I had windshield wiper issues (which, do NOT get me started on, because they only sell them in PAIRS? For $55? Really??? Oh, ok. No matter that I only need one replaced. That's fine. It's GOUGING, if you ask me, but thaaaat's juuust fiiiine. Douchebags...), and I've also had an ongoing issue with my windshield wiper fluid basin leaking over the last few months. I thought the problem was taken care of back in November when we replaced some leaky valves on the windshield wipers themselves, but apparently not, since I still have fluid leaking all over my garage floor when they fill it up. They can't detect the leak. But there MUST BE a leak, I tell them. I show them pictures of the puddled fluid on my garage floor. We see the drip residue on the pipes and tubes in the engine area. But since they can't find the leak, they say they don't need to replace the basin.

I finally insisted that they just order a new one, and install it. I don't care if they can't find it car is not going to slowly rust away in a spot under the fucking undetectable leak just because they can't get their eyes to work properly.

I've also been asking about the tires for the past 5 months anytime I go in for something random to be worked on. It's been a long. time. since I've had my tires replaced. Like, 3 years...I'm not joking. And while I don't drive super-long distances on a daily basis - my commute is only 14 miles total - still. THREE YEARS? Usually, what we do is rotate the back tires to the front, and then replace the back ones with brand new ones, so I only have to buy 2 at a time. That works pretty well, it seems like. But every time I've taken it in, they've said my tires look fine. "Really?" Yeah! You're good to go, they say.

But lately, I've been feeling a shuddering in my steering now and then. And a weird rotation on my front passenger tire. I call it the Princess and the Pea Syndrome. Because I'm the only one that tends to drive my car on a regular basis, I'm the only one that can feel that something is even just a wee bit off. And it's hard to describe, of course. And it doesn't happen all the time, which makes it even more fun. Anyway, Leo asked me to talk to them about it today and try to describe it, because he's having a hard time of it. So I did, even telling the mechanic about my Princess and the Pea analogy. And he just called me back after a half hour, and said my tires are about to go, and that's causing the shuddering and weird wobbly feeling.

Well, DUH! I've only been trying to tell them for the past several months that something is wrong! But this is one of those random mechanics that has a heart. They don't want to sell something to me just because it's been 3 years and 10,000 miles. (Really. That's all I drive in that period of time. It's weird.) They want to be on the level with me. But I figured that the tread HAD to be going by now, and sure enough, it is.

I know my car, yo.

Am I alone in this syndrome? Are there other princesses out there like me that can attest to this sort of prissyness? Which isn't really prissyness, because, c'mon. It's not like we're driving $150 bicycles all over the place, right? If you value your vehicle as much as I value mine - even half as much! - I'd think you'd understand what I'm talking about. Tell me I'm not alone...

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Jeffers steps up his game.

Monday night was supposed to be a night out for me and Leo…we were gonna hit up the Mongolian BBQ in Westport for my birthday, because I’ve been craving it and decided that was what I wanted for my official birthday dinner.

But then the temps went to ludicrous speed, and driving was perilous, and I decided it wasn’t worth the trouble. Leo got us a pizza instead, and we settled in for a night of United States of Tara, and then Chuck. Very exciting. (Actually, we love USoT. Highly recommend. It takes place in Overland Park, KS! I just hope they realize soon that we do not have so many eucalyptus trees and palms trees here as we do soy bean fields and rolled up bales of hay. Because their outside scenes have a wee bit too much of the former going on to make it believable that they’re s’posed to be in Kansas.)

But we couldn’t find the remote that changes the output on the TV to be able to switch over to the DVD player. We searched everywhere. I even looked in the fridge. It was nowhere to be found. I told Leo that there had to be buttons on the actual TV that would change things over for us, and he found them and we eventually figured it all out, but still…where was that damned remote?

I figured Jeffers had it. Leo finally agreed with me when it went missing for a 2nd day. “We have movies we wanna watch, Jeffers,” he said out loud to the living room last night. “Please give us back the remote!” I joined in, because Leo thinks that he listens to me more than anything else. ::shrugs:: I can’t help it if the old guy likes me.

The remote never showed up anywhere, though, which was fine. We needed to catch up on Anthony Bourdain and House from Monday night. After we finished with those, I made some lunches for the remainder of this week, and then went to read in bed.

Leo came to bed soon after I went in, and fell asleep while I was still reading. Finally feeling sleepy at about 11, I shut off my light, and turned over to grab the pillow I hug while I sleep from behind me. And then as I laid my head down on my sleeping pillow, I bonked into something. I made a noise of surprise, and grabbed the object, finding that it was our missing remote. That, of course, made me laugh for a bit. I also said thank you to him for returning it.

But then I got creeped out, which is unusual for me. The bedroom was staying really cold, for some reason, and I kept feeling like something was touching my hair and my back as I was laying there trying to sleep. Then I heard a weird dragging noise, and a pop! sound, and that was all it took for me to head out to the living room for a bit. I had to go watch TV for an hour before I again got sleepy enough to fall asleep. I hate it when that happens.

At least we got the remote back, though! I told Leo where it had shown up when I left for work this morning, and he was still in bed. Bet he got up pretty soon after that! Hahaha!

Anywho, seems Jeffers is stepping things up. As long as he keeps his ghosty hands off my hair dryer and my cell phone, I’ll be ok. I think…

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Another year, another goofy birthday...

It was my birthday yesterday. (And by default, that means it was the Twin's birthday, too. So comment accordingly, if you wanna. I sent her a truckload of meat from Omaha Steaks for her to celebrate with. And then she called me yesterday afternoon and said, "Where the hell am I supposed to put all of this?!!" I told her that it was incentive to clean out her freezer. And part of her fridge. And it was one of the smaller packages they sell, so she should suck it up, dammit.) I started celebrating over the weekend, really, since the birthday fell on a Monday this year, which is kinda sucky.

Friday night, we kicked things off with the pitcher of margaritas.

Saturday, Leo made me a cake, and the plan was to have king crab legs, and a side of potatoes for dinner. The potatoes were a big mistake though. They were yummy...don't get me wrong. But they took up valuable and precious tummy space that should have been taken up by crab, and crab alone. It was Leo's fault (as usual). He asked me what I wanted for my birthday, and I told him about the crab legs.

"What do you want with them?"
"No, I mean on the side..."
"Ok, but as a side dish...?"
"Why are you not getting this butter thing? Ok, fine. Mashed potatoes with horseradish."

It sounded good at the time! But after eating all that delicious crab (and - eh-em! - some butter) along with a scoop of potatoes, I was just so damned FULL. The cake stayed in the fridge, and we weren't able to crack into it after all. ::sad face::

It worked out, though...we just took it with us to the bar to share with our friends on Sunday at halftime. That was more fun, in the long run.

See? CAKE! Very festive, fun, football-ish cake for to be eaten at the halftime...

Our friends were all, "What's with the Swedish fish?" We had gone out the night before to get sour mix, some cheesy poofs (because I'm allowed to eat whatever the fuck I want to on my birthday weekend, dammit), and some candy. I wanted Red Vines, but the midwest has something against Red Vines, so it's very hard to find them anywhere other than Target. We were at a Price Chopper, which had a multitude of varieties of Twizzlers, which are not the same thing as Red Vines. So I got Swedish fish, and a small box of Junior Mints. We had a few on Friday night, but then put the bag away in the cupboard...and then Leo used them to decorate with the following day. (Side note: Swedish fish are surprisingly yummy with cream cheese frosting on them.)

Jake: Is that a cake?

Jake: Mmmm...want cake...


(How weird does he look in that picture, anyway? His eye looks like it's migrating to the back of his puppeh head! Hahahaha!)

Then we went to the Blue Moose to watch the Superbowl (which is always trying to steal my birthday thunder, dammit!), where I wore my wedding tiara, per request of my friend Dave.

The beer was my sceptor, dammit. I was Queen of the Baaaar! (Oh, and I got bangs cut back into my hairstyle again, in case you were wondering. Oh, you don't care, you say? But...I'm Queen of the Baaaaar!!!)

The cake...the cake...the cake is on fiyah...

How am I gonna blow all those mutherfuckers out?

(Good lord...the boob shelf. It must GOOOO...)

Leo humored me, and wore the tiara, too. He's such a good husband!

Then, yesterday, I got a present from the Twin in the form of a box of treats from Dean & Deluca! It was Hawaiian themed. Macadamia nuts, organic dried pineapple, some black salt that I have no idea how to use, but will figure it out! As well as some white honey, and some avocado oil that I cannot WAIT to try!
And there was a sugar flower, too. Lookit the pretty!
All in all, it was a really good birthday. I plan on doing a lot of shit this year, so it should be a good one. Kicking it off with the kitchen remodel, which should start in the next couple of weeks, and then I'm getting a boob reduction in April, or so. And I plan on losing a good 30 - 40 pounds, too. (Helpful tip: Do not go to get your annual blood test results on your birthday. Unless you are in perfect health, you'll just wind up being depressed. Trust. But I don't have diabetes, so all you hatahs can suck my big left toe. :P I just have cholesterol issues. Which can easily be solved with (even more...::sigh::) diet and exercise changes. Done and done. Woo! By the way, Leo and I are planning on starting the South Beach Diet, per suggestion of our doctor, next week. If anyone has any helpful tips about that route to weight loss/management, please feel free to share them with me either in the comments, or via email, which is faithsista at yahoo. Thanks!)

Here's to hoping for a good year! Cheers!

Monday, February 08, 2010

Blinded by sushi, I'd imagine.

How desperate do you think you'd have to be to think that climbing into the wheel well/landing gear of a plane is a good way to get from point A to point B?

Ok, first off, you must have some level of intelligence to be able to get down to the part of the airport that even allows you access to that area. Right? So why can't a person who might think, for a fleeting moment, "Hey, I know how I can get to Tokyo from NYC! The landing gear!!!" be able to put two and two together and realize that is NOT such a good idea after all?

I can see them thinking that a cross-country flight might be doable, even after plenty of cognizant thought on the matter. But a flight from New Tokyo? In FEBRUARY??? Hello, yes, you are gonna turn into a human popsicle, ok? A human popsicle with limited access to breathable AIR.

So, really, unless your goal is death, it just is not a generally good way to travel, from what I've read. And if your goal IS death, then there are easier ways to do it, man. You can buy razor blades anywhere these days. Or maybe you can find a tree on a remote road to drive headfirst into at a high rate of speed. Or jumping off a bridge...nothing to even purchase, there! The walking is free, as is the jumping. (As long as you do die, that is. If you survive a jump, there are all kinds of fines and shit I'd imagine you'd have to pay for, so the $2 razor blade option might be the best bet if you're going for a cheap route on death.)

I just don't know how this sort of thing keeps happening. Not that it happens a lot, but when it does, it's just a bit of a surprise to me, is all. People can be so weird. (Like this guy? That walked into the Blue Moose yesterday during halftime of the game? He was wearing jeans and some sort of dress, and a coat over it all, and he walked into the bar, made his way over to the jukebox, and started playing with the touch screen. Then the bartender paused the jukebox, since we were listening to the game and didn't want music to be played, and he walked away from that and over into the dining room, where he took a moment to stare at the blue moose they have mounted above the fireplace. And then he caught on to the fact that management was about to kick his ass out, and he left. And rode away on a bicycle. No matter that it was snowing out. People. Are. Weird.)

Friday, February 05, 2010

The Holy Pot Roast

I had a dream this morning that involved travel to an exotic-but-unidentifyable place, beautiful views, and ended with me being given a pitcher of margaritas by a bartender that said, "Here, we made this for you. It looked like you needed it."

And you better believe that I drank right from the goddammed pitcher. (It was delicious!)

And then I woke up and realized that I had slept an additional 20 minutes past my alarm, and I had to race around to get back on schedule again. And you know what? NOW I really DO need that goddammed pitcher of margaritas!

Then I got to work, and the lights are off over the section of desks I sit in. It's like working in a cave. I wonder if I should put up a sign to warn people that I have a killer rabbit under my desk that guards the cave, and that they shouldn't fuck with said rabbit unless they have a true desire to die by decapitation. Hmm... (Look 'et all the booones!)

Tonight, we're getting our taxes done. (Booo.) And then we'll go home and eat a wonderful crockpot pot roast that will have been cooking all day. (Yaaay!) I'm guessing I'm gonna have to ask Leo to mix up a pitcher of margaritas to go with that bitch. YEEHAW!

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Prepare yourselves.

We're getting ready to remodel our kitchen. So you had better get ready for some pictures of torn up floors, countertops, and ceilings, because they are on their way soon! We should get moving on the project next week, or so. I'm not sure what the contractor will start with. I'd love the new floors first, but that seems impractical considering the work being done to the cabinets and the ceiling and stuff. Here's what we plan to do:

- Replace the nasty old countertop with Corian. (Or granite, if we can find a good slab that fits our space at the stone yard...we'll see. Our house isn't really a granite-quality house, is the thing. But maybe it is, and I'm just not seeing it because I keep telling myself I'M SINKING TOO MUCH STINKING MONEY INTO THIS RANDOM FIRST TIME RANCH HOME, DAMMIT! ARRGGHHH!!! If we can get granite for virtually the same price as the Corian? Then we're sooo fucking doing it! We don't have a whole lot of countertop square footage to cover, so it might work out.)
- Replace the floor and underlayment, and then put in a sheet vinyl that either looks like concrete or looks like stone...we found some samples at the 'Po last weekend that were surprisingly pleasing. But we plan to shop specifically at a flooring store to find our vinyl.
- Reface the existing cabinets by having new birch doors made, and having a birch veneer wrapped around the boxes on the walls. Woodworking is our contractor's specialty, so I cannot wait to see the doors he builds us! Refacing the existing cabinets in this manner will cost us about 40% of what it would cost to replace all the cabinets to match the new pantry unit we had installed a little over a year ago. We had thought of trying to paint the existing cabinets, but our contractor said that the laminate they're made of won't take paint well, even after sanding and priming them. For all the work that they might take, I'd hate for us to find out in a year that they're just gonna look like shit, so fixing them up with real wood doors instead? I'm on board with that!
- Scrape that mutherfucking, stupid-ass popcorn ceiling so that its flat, and have it painted. So that I will never, ever have to try to clean the dust off the damned ceiling again.
- Install 4 new potlights strategically throughout the kitchen. (And also have 4 installed in the living room, since someone will already be up there crawling around and installing circuits and shit.) Right now, there is a fixture above the sink, and then the lights that are on the ceiling fan, and that's it. Oh, except for the little light I put above the stove when I moved in, so I can keep from hurting myself when I cook. It's a mini desk lamp that I successfully managed to balance on a shadowbox shelf that I installed up there, specifically so I'd have someplace to set a lamp. It's stupid. I hate it. I cannot WAIT to get rid of it! (I wonder if our contractor can help us remove the cabinet that's above the stove, so we can install a ventilating microwave instead. Hmm...)
- Oh wait...I think that's it. And that's plenty, believe me! It seems like a short list, but it's gonna be a big job, dammit.

So look forward to the updates. Because pretty much everything else that's going on in my life is non-bloggable. If only I would actually write down some of the little conversations that happen between Leo and I that make me say, "I am sooo blogging this, just to warn ya!" But I don't. I need to get on that...

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

I will give you ten dollars.

Someone really needs to come up with a better way for women to collect a urine sample when they head to the doctor's office for a physical, or whatever. The whole "pee in a cup" method was clearly developed BY men, FOR men. And I'm quite tired of it.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

So far, so good!

I feel better today. I slept for about 3 hours yesterday afternoon, and recovered slowly after that on the couch. Leo made a delicious dinner that I was able to eat most of, and then I went to bed early, and woke up doing the whole, "Do I feel better? Yes. But I felt good when I woke up yesterday, too. Will I feel like shit again halfway through the day if I get up and go to work? Hm. ::thinks it over for about 3 minutes:: Yeah, I guess I could go, and give it a try, and if I have to come home again, I have to come home again. No big whoop." And then I got up.

I'm gonna call the health center here at work in a little bit and set appointments for Leo and I to go in and get blood tests tomorrow morning. (The fasting kind.) He needs his as a follow-up to appointments he had last month, and these ones will serve as my annual check up for me. I'm hoping my cholesterol numbers are better since I've been more diligent about working out over the past year than I was the year before that, and also because I cut out beer as much as I did. ::crosses fingers::

We're also going to hire a personal trainer again, so we can get back into the swing of being tortured on a weekly basis. Leo HATES working out with weights, so he needs to be pretty much forced onto that side of the gym by a professional who can keep him in line, and help him with his form. I, on the other hand, LOVE working with weights. But I have specific things that I hate doing, like certain lunges or step moves that involve benches, so I need someone there to push me beyond the standard 20 pound chest presses, and random crunches, and shit. We'll see if we can find someone in the gym closer to our house that meshes as well with us as our old trainer down in Olathe used to. I'd go back to him, but I really like the idea of only having to go 5 minutes from the house for my workout. Also? I like to think his quality of life has gone up exponentially since I stopped seeing him. And he deserves that, dammit. He's a nice person.

I pity my new trainer, whoever they may be. ::sigh:: The smartassery, bitching and moaning, and general attitude that's about to head their way can be a challenge, I'd think...

Monday, February 01, 2010

Diagnose me. *Update*

- Headache (for 2 days now...but it's not a cluster, I don't think. It doesn't seem like it is, anyway)
- Burning sensation in nostrils
- Constantly runny nose
- Gums were swollen and painful after flossing last night, to the point of keeping me up in the middle of the night (Advil seemed to help, thank goodness)
- Appetite comes and goes in an abnormal fashion for a fat chick
- No. Energy. (Walking less than half a mile has zapped everything outta me)
- Excessive need to pee (more than is even usual for me. I drink a LOT of water, so I usually pee every hour or 90 minutes or so. Today is more like every 30 - 40 minutes. I'm not sure WTF is going on there.)
- Moodiness (between depression and happiness/jovialness)

Since none of these issues are symptoms of anything I can figure out, and I'm pretty sure I would get diddly squat out of entering any or all of them into WebMD, I'm reaching out for help. I wanna go to sleep. So I'll be back later to see what you all have come up with.

Update: Just an fyi, my boss is home sick with the flu, and his family has had it for the last week. So this all could be the flu.

I came home with a chill, and took my temperature. It was 96.5, which I would consider to be a little low, especially for me feeling what I would thought was pretty feverish. I went to sleep for a couple of hours, and feel a little better, but overall, I still feel a little...wiggly, is the best way for me to describe it. I feel like I could have a potassium issue, maybe, but I don't know.

I started taking a supplement called Lipofuze a few weeks ago, to help me with appetite control, and more efficient fat burning. The ingredient list looked innocuous, but I've been feeling more and more like hell as the weeks go on, so I'm gonna stop taking it. For those of you thinking, "Aw Faith! You big, fat, retard! There's no such thing as a magic pill!" I know. I know that. That wasn't the point of me taking it. I need help with my appetite. I also work out, and eat healthy. I just eat a wee bit too much for dinner, on average, and wanted help with that, if I could find it. Oh well!

By the way, I didn't believe the ridiculous claims of weight loss by the pill website, and neither should anyone else. I liked the ingredient list. THAT was why I bought it.

However, for someone that already shits enough for 2 people on average, unbelieveably the shitting has gone up since I've been taking the damned thing. Which is why I think a potassium deficiency could be the issue. But I don't know for sure.

This is the time of year when I usually do my annual blood tests with the doctor, so as soon as I'm feeling a little better, I'll get myself in for the tests. I would have gone to the health center at work today, but to be honest, the walk over there was just not possible. Probably Wednesday or Thursday this week will be better. But a blood panel is definitely in order.

I don't think it's diabetes, but that's something that will be checked with the tests. As will my thyroid. I also could just be dealing with a more severe level of depression due to the death of my father, which is hard for me to recognize for some reason. I like to think that I can handle death pretty well, due to all the loss I've had to deal with since my early 20's, but maybe I'm just really, really wrong about that. It doesn't take much to get me into tears when I think about dad these days. But it also doesn't take much for me to recover. I dunno.

But thanks for the suggestions in the comments. I'll let you all know what I find out.