Monday, May 30, 2011

A Doggy Photoshoot

Dogs can't say much when you start pointing a camera in their face. Unlike people, they can't throw their hands up in front of their face or do a silly pose that completely ruins your pretty candid shot. Dogs are silent photoshoot victims.

Also, dogs can be lured outside simply by waving their leash in their face so they think they're getting a second long walk.


Dogs can turn their heads away. They can move too fast for your shutter speed. They can come in close for a snuggle. They can stand by the door begging to be let back inside when really, you want them out by the shed because there's grass there and not concrete or piles of junk. 


Dogs can grin at you, even if they are annoyed by the noises your camera makes, dogs with their wet noses and their big teeth and their happy brown eyes. Dogs can be super crazy photogenic even when they don't want to be. 


Some dogs defend themselves against the camera by moving so fast, with so much energy, you can't get them to sit still long enough for more than one decent shot. That defense mechanism works really really well.


Especially since those dogs have also perfected the morose expression to go along with being told to sit still. 

(Also, those dogs still need a hair cut.)

(Apologies for the nothing-to-do-with-renos post. Once I get a few more pictures, there might be a kitchen update coming along. Soonish.)

Saturday, May 28, 2011

A Lesson for Every Home Renovator

This is a lesson every renovator should learn as quickly and as painlessly as possible:

Home improvement stores stop renting their vans, trucks and other means to get your large purchase home at approximately 8:00.

I repeat: after 8:00, you can't get your large purchase home unless you're one of those crazies who owns a large truck in the city or one of those enviable people who own a small truck in the city.

(We wish we owned a small truck. Oh, we wish...)

Now that we've gotten that out of the way, how would you like to help us out a bit?

See, tonight, we did a little home improvement store hopping. It's kind of like bar hopping but with less alcohol. We wanted to check out our vanity options at Rona and Lowes since we had been so disappointed with our options at Home Depot. And besides, I think we've resigned ourselves to the price tag this is going to require. When budgets stretch, options open up!

We have found two that we like. And, for a while, we were pretty certain we had decided. We even bought one. And then tried to squeeze it into the little red Ford Focus that could...n't. No worries! The guy who got it off the shelf for us told us that if it didn't fit into our car, we could always rent a van for 20 bucks and some mileage.

Again. Home improvement stores stop renting their vans, trucks and other means to get your large purchase home at approximately 8:00. And not all of their employees know this.

Frustrated, we brought the vanity to customer service and returned it. To raise our spirits a little, we poked around the store for another 15 minutes and somehow ended up back in the vanity aisle. We started second guessing, wondering. We each had our top choice, but liked the other's choice enough to readily agree. Standstill. So, I turn to you, the blogosphere and all the family and friends that read this blog.

Which would you prefer?

Option #1

Option #2
With this vessel sink:

And why?

Friday, May 27, 2011

This is what a kitchen looks like

This morning, I woke up with a headache. I could not bring myself to get out of bed knowing I would have to spend another day staring at a computer screen with a sinus headache and zip energy. So, I emailed in sick and slept for two more hours. Do you know how amazing an extra two hours of sleep is when you're battling a ferocious cold?

It's amazing.

Especially when your fur baby comes and snuggles with you and makes no end of silly little sleep noises.

I woke up still groggy and kind of crummy feeling (you know that eye burning feeling? The one you get when it's a really late night and you've been concentrating on something for too long? That. All the time. I probably burn lots of calories trying to keep my eyes open. They're that heavy.) but I'm more or less determined to not waste the whole day throwing myself a pity party.

So, really, this is just a quick post to show you exactly what an awesome kitchen looks like.

Thanks to a very good friend with a truck, we picked all of these up last night! One of my projects for tomorrow while I'm all alone is to figure out how to put one or two together. Hopefully, sometime this week, we'll have them all in place and we'll be able to call in some granite people.

Any recommendations for a well-priced, reliable granite company? Or should we just call up Ikea?

And now, I'm off to fold laundry. And pick up the pieces of a Poang chair Mocha chewed to bits. And try to sweep up some of the long black hairs our house guest tends to leave everywhere. And do some dishes. And mostly try to get our life back in control in general.

-- Nette

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Let's Shut Those Curtains...

This might freak you out a bit. Might make you wonder what kind of people we actually are. You'll probably think we're really weird.

See.

We don't have any curtains on our windows.

Not even a sheet.

Or a blind.

On any of them.

Are you weirded out yet?

While we were doing the majority of our demoing and such, I hung a sheet kind of haphazardly over the big picture window in the front of the house. I didn't really want any of our neighbours to get too curious. They were already plenty curious enough, considering the house stood vacant for a year. But then it fell down and I just didn't bother hanging it back up. We were mostly finished with all the big stuff, and besides, we weren't living upstairs yet. Not that we'd hung curtains in the basement... we shoved a couple old pillows into the window well of our bedroom and called it a day. With so much to do, curtains came really really low on the priority scale.

But guess what? I have a weekend coming up with nothing to do. The Husband is golfing (in a tournament he totally cleaned up at last year. I'm hoping for another gift card to Milestones this year!) and I'm not so confident in my ability to put together a kitchen all by myself, even if that kitchen happens to come from Ikea and is supposed to be the easiest things to put together ever.

But, I can make curtains! (Actually, I've never made curtains before, but I'm pretty confident that they're easier than, say, that cute purple skirt I made from a pattern from the 80s.) So, last night, while the Husband was playing hockey (is there a trend going on here? Since when did the Husband get so involved in extracurriculars?), I rode 4 extra subway stations and walked 10 minutes to find the most easily accessible fabric store I could.

I was looking for a fabric that would give me curtains something like these:


I wanted a pattern with some colour, a little bit of boldness. Also, um. Cheap.

Half an hour later, I left empty handed and disappointed. Every time I go into a fabric store, I am reminded again how expensive fabric is. At 9.99 a yard, a single panel of a curtain set would come to at least $30! I knew I could buy curtains for cheaper than that.

So, today, I did some research, confirmed my suspicions that making my own curtains was not going to be worth it, and then changed my mind again when I discovered the Ikea fabric section on their webpage. Um, yes!

Or these.


I don't really want to be an Ikea supporter... they're a big, evil box store. And I know they make you look like you have no creativity or imagination. But what am I supposed to do when I don't like anything found at my local mom'n'pop store, regardless of price?

If there's time, I'll pick up a couple lengths of one of these tonight when we pick up our kitchen cabinets and hopefully, by Saturday night, we'll finally have a little privacy!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Ssshhhh....

We're having some quiet time here at the dusty house. It's my fault. I went away for a sleepless weekend with 900 kids, some good speakers, and some amazing praise and worship. I came back with a squeeze-your-throat-and-rip-your-nose-off kind of cold, had a terrible Tuesday morning and reluctantly missed a consistory meeting Tuesday night so I could stay on the couch and feel my head balloon and detach itself from my body.

Ok, not really, but I feel pretty terrible.

Which means I haven't written here since last Thursday. Which feels like a long time for this blog.

When I came back Monday afternoon the house was quiet. The Husband was out playing golf with a friend, so I had a chance to walk through our bare living room/kitchen, into the bathroom, and check out the changes without knowing much about how the weekend went.

The changes were little, but important. The toilet was installed (more on that later). The shower fixtures were added to our beautifully tiled shower. A shower curtain hung from a rather attractive curtain rod, almost completing the bathroom. The baseboard ran along the bottom of our walls, everywhere except where the kitchen cabinets and vanity will be installed.

Will be installed? Yeah. We don't have a finished bathroom yet. See, while I was hanging out and having fun on Saturday, the Husband was at Ikea trying to find this bedside table:


The plan was to add a vessel sink, drill some holes for plumbing, and, voila. Unique vanity. That is, if they could find it. And if it wasn't grey. Does anyone else think the image looks black? That's what I thought too. Apparently, it's actually grey. Grey, grey, grey. Also, they couldn't find it. They could find it's big sisters and it's little brothers. Just not that one.

The Husband and his helpful friend left, frustrated, with two hot dogs and a drink.

Now, we're not sure what to do. Home Depot doesn't have any vanities that I actually like until you get into the $600-1000 range, especially with our depth limitation. We don't really want to spend that much. And I have no idea where else to look. Rona, Lowes? Won't they just have the same stuff?

Perhaps we'll just throw a big laundry tub in there and call it a day.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Coffee Keeps Me Going

Especially half-and-half with a dollop of golden curls.

Oh, you thought I was actually talking about coffee? The beverage?


The weekend we got Mocha, we took her to a family camp out and introduced her to one half of the Husband's large family. On the 2 hour drive up, we searched for a name, suggesting one imperfect name after another. Duchess, Cinnamon, Tulip. The Husband's request for short, one syllable names directly conflicted with my desire for a longer name that would just slide off your tongue. Each time we came up with something, we turned to the puppy sleeping on the mound of bedding on the back seat, considered for a moment, and kept looking.

By the second day of the weekend, it had become a bit of joke -- the unnamed, adorable puppy. A few people suggested a naming contest, and many threw our their own suggestions. I'm not sure who suggested 'Mocha' but, by the last day of the weekend, I knew it had stuck. 


She's not the most well-behaved dog -- I wasn't joking in my comment at the end of my last post! She has eaten my wedding shoes. -- but she's our dog and we love her as much as we can love an animal. How can you resist that wiggly bum that just goes crazy the minute you step in the door? Or the way she snuggles against our feet at night and chews quietly on a bone? Or rolls right over for a good belly scratching whenever she thinks you might be in the snuggly sort of mood?

Yup. She's awesome.

(If you can't tell, she desperately needs a hair cut.) 

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Tea Is Like A Snuggle

You've seen a wiggly bum and some super clean whiskers on this blog already, but I haven't done a particularly good job introducing you to all our precious pets. Since we love them just a little less than we're likely to love our future children, I definitely believe it's time to rectify the lack of snuggles.

Meet Pekoe:


Pekoe has been with me forever, much longer than the Husband. He was the boy who made it complicated every time I needed to find a new place to live as a university student. But I never cared because he was also the boy who was always there, pulling me through rough semesters, comforting me through rough break-ups, loyally licking my nose through rough roommate situations. 

He's moved from house, to apartment, to apartment, to apartment, to house, to apartment, and finally, back again. He's a trooper. Never seems to have any issues adapting. One semester, he even essentially lived in one room with me, an uncomfortable semester in which I lived with an older woman who had a toothless cat that ruled the rest of the apartment.  

Never again will I do that to my Pekoe.



Now, he loves our new house. He's a wanderer by heart. It took him a few days of twitching his nose at the sunlight in our backyard, but now he's taken to spending hours, even nights, out there, coming back to eat and snuggle and sleep. He's happy when he can get the best of all worlds. 

Pekoe is six this year. Six! And oh, so sophisticated and stand-offish until you lift the duvet just enough for him to crawl under and curl into a ball to purr against your stomach. The Husband thinks he looks mad all the time, but I know the truth: he's just waiting for you to scoop him up to snuggle so he can lick you with his rough, sandpaper tongue.

Coming soon: the one you've already met; the only thing that could eat my wedding shoes and still have my love and affection!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Progress Update

We didn't get nearly as far as I would have liked this weekend. I've learned something about myself in the process of this project: I am very good at setting unrealistic goals for myself and other people.

It had been my hope that, by the end of this weekend, we would have a functioning main bathroom. That meant painting the ceiling, the trim, and the wall, twice each. It also meant buying our vanity and sink, painting the vanity, fixing up the plumping and installing it and the toilet. Oh, how I wanted that 'Voila' moment, when I could step back to survey our handiwork and pretend the whole project had been so easy.

In the main room, it had been the Husband's hope that he would have the ceiling and trim finished and at least the first coat of our colours on the walls. At 3 in the afternoon, he stood back and surveyed the ceiling paint. It didn't take long to realize that the damp weather was going to slow us down.

None of our plans found fruition. By the end of Saturday, the ceiling of the bathroom had been painted, but needed a third coat, at least around the edges of the tub ceiling where the durock shimmered through the white just slightly. The bathroom walls needed a second coat. There was no vanity -- not even in our possession -- and our toilet remained in its box. In the living room/kitchen, the humidity hung heavy and our walls remained white.

Did I mention that we don't work much on the house on Sundays? Especially Sundays that we spend with the youth group of our church?


Our drop clothes remain on the floor, carefully protecting out beautiful bamboo floors, so I was surprised when the Husband, after finishing another coat on all the ceilings and trim last night, announced, "You know, we could be done upstairs in two weeks."

Really? Two weeks? The place still feels so under construction. It's hard to imagine it being finished, let alone so soon. Is this yet another of our unrealistic deadlines?

Perhaps, but consider this: if we finished painting this weekend, I can take off for the weekend with the youth group to the annual convention and leave the Husband behind to install the toilet and get the vanity in place. I will come home to a finished bathroom and a painted living room/kitchen. Then, the following week, we can pick up and get going at assembling our cabinets. By the end of the next week, we can hang them, move our living room furniture up and bring in the people to measure for our countertops.


I know... there's no way it could realistically be completely finished in two weeks. After all, don't granite counter tops take at least that long from ordering to installation? But the fact that we're reaching a point in which our role, our labour, is diminished and our credit card's role increases? It's kind of exciting! 

(Maybe not the credit card thing so much...)

Monday, May 16, 2011

The Radiator, Complete!

You might remember, though you can't go back to confirm since Blogger conveniently never brought back my post in its entirety after it's fit last week, I posted a mysterious picture of a radiator shrouded in old sheets and cardboard. A photo something like this one:


The photo wasn't particularly mysterious, I know. I'm sure you all knew what I was doing. Because seriously? That radiator needed some help. And not just a little bit. Not just a good scrub. Not even a good sanding was enough. Consider, especially, the fact that the rad had been flipped in order to be installed in this particular location. And trust me: no one has hands small enough to paint the back of a radiator when it's installed against a wall. 

While the Husband played hockey, I put my paintin' pants on and shook up a can of Ivory Rustoleum. Two minutes later I was running through the house opening every single window on the first floor, coughing the paint fumes out of my lungs. I had quickly learned the reason the can specifically insists on using the stuff in a well ventilated area. The bathroom fan did not equal ventilation.

I know, I know. I should have had a mask. Some of you, my more cautious readers, would insist I should have a respirator. Give me a break -- I'm completely new to spray painting! Instead of giving up and rushing out to buy some kind of lung protection, I fell into a pattern of gulping air, ducking into the bathroom, spraying, breathing shallowly, leaning out of the bathroom, gulping air, repeat. The task that was supposed to take me 20 minutes turned into an hour. And then I ran out of spray paint.

I finished up Saturday morning and finally took down the drop clothes. The difference is astounding.


Crisp, clean, white.

(No, the speckles along the wall are not spray paint on our brand new tile. Just drywall dust left behind by the Husband's sanding.)

A vast improvement, though I'm the first to admit that anything would have been an improvement. Finally, time to get some paint on the walls!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Making Home Home

Because we've been so far into the depths of renovations, we haven't had a lot of time to decorate. Our photos are still packed into boxes, wall hangings are still leaning against out-of-the-way walls, and all our candle holders and figurines are wrapped up safe in layers of paper. I remember a sermon I heard once in which the pastor spoke of how a new house became a home when his pictures were finally hung on the wall. Because we haven't yet been able to do this, in a lot of ways, we feel displaced. Our house doesn't yet feel like home.

But this place is the only home we have. Whether it feels like our home or not is irrelevant: it is our home. We have nothing but small things and the work we have done to create the bond between ourselves and our space, small things like beautiful pink and purple hanging baskets that greet us cheerfully when we come home.


They hang on our wide front porch, the only pop of colour against our small white house. Hanging baskets have never really been a part of our house story. I grew up with flower beds and and bushes, but I don't remember many hanging baskets. But this, like the flowers that fill our back flower bed, like the marble tile in our bathroom, like the paint colour we've chosen for our walls, like the trim around our doors, represents the choices we get to make, choices for our home


They're beautiful aren't they? Delicate and intricate, colourful, perfect. I couldn't resist pointing my camera at them. It is my hope that are home will be much like these flowers. It's as if it's in the bud stage right now, getting ready to blossom into the comfortable, beautiful home I so want to have.

In many ways, I know it's already that home.


Am I being too sentimental? Home is already home, already beautiful. And now, we're working on making it so on the outside.

Happy Sunday! I hope you've all had a relaxing, productive, uplifting weekend.

Friday, May 13, 2011

While Blogger was down...

... I turned to Twitter instead! What does this mean?

It means the dusty house is tweeting! In between coats of paint, swiping our credit card, and examining our still long to-do list, that is. We would love it if all of our renovating and blogging friends and acquaintances popped on over there to follow us. And, we would love it if all our friends and acquaintances who don't blog or renovate popped over there to follow us. 

So, go on... follow us!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

A House Guest

Our little house has a house guest of the not-so-little variety. But, she'd doing OK.


Liia is my little sister. Yes, she's a Bernese mountain dog, but she's still kind of my little sister. Mostly because I don't actually have a little sister.

See, my parents have left for three weeks on a pretty big trip. They've gone to Spain to walk the Camino de Santiago de Compostela with a group of like-minded masters students. For my dad, it's a part of a course and an adventure. For my mom, it's the fulfilling of a dream and an adventure.

For the three weeks that they'll be gone, Liia needed a place to stay. We've tried the boarding thing. It doesn't work, not with her. See, she's a big dog. She's a big dog who is very attached to her people, not particularly well socialized with other dogs and a bit of a wuss. Put her in an unfamiliar, sometimes clinical place surrounded by other animals and strangers who don't know her quirks and you have a very big, very scared dog. Last time we put her in a kennel, the employees didn't know what to do so they left her by herself and only handled her from the end of a long pole. Since then, we've only boarded her with knowledgeable family friends. 

Since the last time my parents went on a trip, the Husband and I bought a little house on a 150 foot lot. You may have heard something about that. You know what this means? Now that we have a backyard, we are a viable -- in fact, logical and free -- option for dog sitters. So, on Monday night, we welcomed Liia into our little house. She's never happy when my parents are gone -- it will take her a few days to start eating properly again -- but it's nice to see her happy-excited welcome when I come home.

I might have to take her for a walk tonight to give her a bit of a break from her annoying 'niece' though...

Can you guess?

Tonight, while the Husband plays hockey, I'll be busy.





Can you guess what I'm doing?


(See that striped duvet cover? That was mine when I was a kid! My parents don't seem to ever throw out sheets...)

Monday, May 9, 2011

Dirty Face, Dirty Hands, Dirty Feet, Dirty Fingernails

Nothing got done in our house this weekend. We let the bamboo gather some dust, left the new bathroom tile to settle into its grout. We didn't pick up a drill or a piece of sandpaper or a paint brush all weekend.

And it was awesome.

Instead, we sent ourselves outside and got to work digging up our back lawn. It was a big mud pit. What plants were there were weeds. We have no choice but to start with a blank slate. So, this is our plan: turn the beautiful, dark, rich, Toronto soil*, rake it until it's perfectly, beautifully level, and scatter quickly growing grass seed all over it.

By the end of Saturday, we were this far:


It's slow going, especially when you discover a concrete-over-brick walkway that had been laid down the middle of the backyard and buried. Yeah... we need another dumpster.

While the Husband and a friend worked away at that, I started at the flower bed beside the garage. I hoed and dug, uprooted, replanted until it was a much more workable space. I edged it out with old bricks we found lying around the backyard, planted some ornamental grasses (that, once they grow, will hopefully provide us with a little more privacy from one of our neighbours) and a few flowers.


Lilies, to remind myself of my parents' flowerbeds, full of tigerlilies. I'm excited to see these open up and bloom.



Gerbera daisies, so colourful. These were a part of my wedding bouquet, a detail I had forgotten until the Husband pointed it out yesterday.

And, to further commemorate one of the most important days of my life, tulips:


What kind of 2nd generation Dutch household is complete without tulips?

Of course, Mocha had a wonderful time with both her people outside.


Muddy seems to be her natural state these days. Soon, we'll find the time to get her into a groomers. Soon. Ish.

* Toronto has some of the best farmland in the province. Instead of farms on this amazing expanse of farmland, there are houses. And office buildings. And roads. And they won't even let us keep chickens. This is sad.

Friday, May 6, 2011

In Which I Gush About How Awesome My Father-In-Law Is

We have a very special weekend coming up. Because of this, we didn't really want to have another house full of help. As much as we appreciate them, and as much as I'd love to be able to finish with the bathroom, and maybe get the paint on the walls, and even possible buy some kitchen cabinets, for the first time in weeks, there's something more important than the house.

Besides, I know some of our help really wanted a break.

But, my father-in-law is the type of person that, once he starts a project, he just wants to get it done. He couldn't just leave the projects we started last weekend -- the floor and the tile -- unfinished. So, Tuesday morning at 8:00, after the Husband and I had both headed off to work, he arrived, mixed up the grout and opened the first box of floor tile.

I got home at 5:30 and it. was. perfect. 


Beyond perfect, really. Luxurious. I could have sat in there all night.

He even installed the pocket door.


Can I comment for a moment on the amazingness that is the invention of a pocket door? In case you hadn't already noticed, this bathroom is small tiny. Throw a swinging door into the mix and suddenly you're doing the twist every time you have to pee.

He spent the night. The next day, when I got home, I was sent over the moon and back again, this time in the living room/kitchen.


The bamboo is in! (No, the baseboards are not...) And it's beautiful, dark, rich, and oh, so very dusty. 

Last weekend, my Father-In-Law told me he'd had a lot of fun with our little project. I'm glad he enjoyed helping us out, but I think we benefited far more from his presence than he did from being here. Where would we be without his help? Probably still somewhere back here:


I know it's Mothers' Day this weekend, but just for a moment, I'd like to appreciate the other half. Thanks G!  I think you deserve a bit of a break now.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

The Things That Keep Me Going, Part III: Oh, Marble, How I Adore You

It might not be finished yet, but I don't care: every time I passed the bathroom during our my crappy weekend, I had to stop just for a moment and stare. I can do nothing but marvel at the beauty of this.


Remember how I was a little nervous in our tile choice? How I wasn't quite comfortable in making the whole decision since tile is kind of permanent? And how I wasn't quite sure what actually looks good in a tile because, for the most part, it's not the first thing I have noticed about a bathroom in the past?

Yeah, all my doubt has been completely and utterly wiped out by this shower tile surround. Isn't it beautiful?

In case you aren't convinced, a close-up of our beautiful mosaic tile might help give you the full effect.


I'm still patting myself on the back, just a little, at our tile choice. It doesn't just work, it pops. It's perfect. And now, I can't wait to take a bath.

The Things That Keep Me Going Part II: A Door

A door is more than just a door.

A door is the first welcome you receive when you arrive, the first greeting, the first smile.

This door is a portal. Open it and you are transported into a messy place, a dusty place, a place where progress is made in what seems like leaps and bounds. Open it and you are transported into a welcoming place, a loving place, a place full of hope and excitement, pregnant with expectation and dreams of grandeur.


Knock on this door and it will probably open. Try to kick open this door and you will likely end up with a sore foot and a criminal record. 

Why don't you try knocking?

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Things That Keep Me Going, Part 1

When I get frustrated, the signs of progress keep me going. Like this one!


Yes, friends, that is hardwood on top of that subfloor! 

Actually, it's not hardwood. Originally, we had planned on hardwood. And sometimes, I still wish we had gone for hardwood. Last Monday, we stood in Alexanian's show room and sorted through all our options. It wasn't hard to fall in love with a beautiful wire-brushed red oak hardwood, the perfect balance between rustic wood and contemporary gloss. On top of that, we quickly realized that all our other options were not going to stand up well to Mocha's running around, especially when she decides to go on tear. 

But then, we ran the numbers and I saw my hopes for a beautiful hardwood floor slump just a little. We hemmed, hawwed, and scampered off to Home Depot to see what our comparables were. Of course, the mega box store had some slightly better prices on some almost comparable options -- no wire brushing, unfortunately, but rustic, dark woods none-the-less -- but there was a problem: we needed the wood by Friday. Home Depot has an 8-10 business day order time for things like hardwood and tile. Alexanians promised they could get theirs in on time.

Feeling good about our comparison shopping and our decision, we returned to Alexanians with half an hour until closing time to place our order. It was expensive, but it would be worth it, right? Right? While we waited for the salesman to be finished helping some other customers, we poked around the store a bit. We wandered into the laminate section, just to get a bit of an idea of our options there, sure we wouldn't find a thing. We chortled a bit at the prices of laminate in comparison to what we had our hearts set on. And then, as we turned, our eyes fell on something else.


Looks exactly like hardwood, right? Smooth, with a beautiful wood grain. Feels like hardwood. Must be hardwood? The price was telling us otherwise. 

Bamboo! 

Of course!

Why had I forgotten this option? It's almost exactly like hardwood except half the price. Also, green, since it grows so fast. And there, amid the meager options the store had on display, there was a gorgeous dark bamboo. Upon closer inspection, I realized it was actually black, broken up by thin grains of brown. Dark, luxurious.

Unfortunately not scratch resistant. Surprisingly, this issue seemed to fade quickly as we added up the numbers and realized it was exactly half the price of the hardwood we had picked out earlier. It was still an expensive swipe of the Visa, and I was still left reeling a little at the price of flooring. 

But, it's going down! Beautiful progress. 


One Month In

April should have ended on a high note. Thinking back on this weekend, I have to work really hard to remember what that high note is. I woke up on Saturday angry and by the time I went to bed Saturday night, I just wanted to forget the day had happened at all. It was one frustration after another.

To start off the day, the men-folk trucked away a washer that revealed itself to be a big pile of dents once they had managed it down the stairs and into the basement. They assured me that no, they had not caused the dents. But, don't worry, they'd take it back, exchange it -- Home Depot had it in stock, after all -- and I would be able to do a much needed load of laundry by 10 am.

Except that that particular washer was the last washer Home Depot had in stock besides the floor model which appeared to be in worse shape than the one we returned. They came back to me empty handed. I glared at my load of laundry and contemplated going back to bed.

But, I didn't. Instead, I pulled out the vanity we bought from Ikea to go into the basement bathroom. Believe it or not, I actually like putting together Ikea furniture. It's like a puzzle, except that instead of being left with an ugly picture at the end that is only good for throwing back in its box, never to be put together again, you actually get something more or less useful out of it. I had two screw drivers, the Allen key, and the end of a screw driver for a hammer. I was on a roll.

Then, I stopped, looked it over, frowned at the place it would be sitting. There was no way those pipes for the drain and taps could go through that slot designated for them. It was off by about 4 inches. In fact, to cut the vanity so that it would fit would mean going through one of the supports. Was this actually going to work? I threw down my screw drivers, thought about throwing the Allen key and little packet of screws and wooden pegs across the room and threw myself on the couch to pout.

Fortunately, or perhaps unfortunately, the husband stepped in. Looked over the vanity. Shrugged. "We can make it work." Fine. But then, he lifted the sink to go with it out of it's box and tried to set it on top, just to see. What's this? The whole one side had been ground down. The sink refused to sit flat, refused to sit at all. It was settled: I was not getting a new vanity, not this weekend.

In everything I did this weekend, I felt like I was banging my head against a concrete wall. Am I getting burnt out? Tired of the construction and the mess that is our basement apartment, the space in which we're living? I hope not. We're getting closer and closer... we can't stop now!

Stay tuned for the things that kept me going, the beautiful, beautiful things that kept me going!