September 29, 2009

I just trip over things...

All the new light fixtures and ceiling fans have finally been installed, and the hole in the kitchen ceiling has been repaired. I've spent a lot of time looking up lately. That's not always a bad thing.
photos: 1& 2) me, 3), 4 & 5),
6 & 12), 7) 8),
9), 10), 11)

“When I look down, I miss all the good stuff. When I look up, I just trip over things.” - Ani Defranco

September 27, 2009

you get monkeys

According to Wikipedia, "A false economy refers to an action which saves money at the beginning but which, over a longer period of time, results in more money being wasted than being saved." That pretty well sums up our current situation.

In order to save money, we have hired a less-than-competent handyman. In my defense, I didn't know he was incompetent when I hired him. But I did know he was cheap, and I should have known this would be one of those times where you get what you pay for. Now we're going to have to purchase more materials, and pay someone else to re-do the work that The Unhandyman has spent the last week botching. Besides the extra cost of materials and labor, the time he's wasted counts as a huge expense, and can't be reclaimed. Ah, well - lessons learned, I suppose.

It's not that I don't appreciate a good "make-do makeover" - I'm all for taking something ugly or useless or otherwise unacceptable and making it better with a lick of paint or a staple gun. I just should have known better than to apply that to our home repairs; some things are worth the extra money. Check out these amazing before and afters, all from design*'s DIY done right:

all photos:

"If you pay peanuts, you get monkeys." ~James Goldsmith

September 25, 2009

such agreeable friends

I'm in Chicago for 3 days of workshops on cats - cat health, happiness, and well-being; cat behavior, and disease; and public perceptions of and attitudes towards cats. We've come from shelters, rescue groups, TNR (trap-neuter-return) programs, and low-cost spay/neuter clinics. We collectively represent 47 states, 3 Canadian provinces, and have traveled from as far away as Alaska and Hawaii to be here. Why? Because we're all committed to improving the lives of cats in our communities.

Naturally, I'm missing my own 4 cats and 6 dogs, who are at home with my sweet wife in our bomb site of a house. I'm also feeling more than a little guilty that while she's there dealing with unhandy handymen and living in a demolition zone, I'm in a luxurious hotel room with fresh white sheets, a fluffy down comforter, and nary a pet hair in sight.

I'm pretty sure this hotel isn't pet-friendly. At this point neither is our house - it's not even people-friendly, for that matter! In a few days it will be on the market, and the hunt for our next pet-friendly home will begin in earnest.

For most people pet-friendly decor means wipeable surfaces, stain-resistant, washable fabrics, and patterns that camouflage pet hair. Slipcovers protect upholstery from muddy paws, and can be tossed in the wash; a washable throw across the end of the sofa where kitty always sleeps serves the same purpose. A stain on the carpet that won't come up can be dealt with easily if you use carpet squares instead of wall-to-wall.

For some people, pet-friendly goes way beyond that...scroll down, you'll see:

photos: 1), 2), 3),
4, 8), 5, 6), 7), 9)

"Animals are such agreeable friends. They ask no questions, they pass no criticisms." ~ George Elliot

September 23, 2009

the middle of difficulty

We are living in utter chaos.

We've torn up the old carpet in anticipation of the new - what's left is sub-flooring, complete with staples and bits of foam padding. The old kitchen counter top has been removed, but the new one isn't on yet. The sink is laying in the middle of the kitchen floor; we're washing dishes in the bathroom sink.The front hall is full of boxes once again, and the front porch is piled high with old carpet (see above!) There are paint supplies in several rooms, and flat boxes and packing tape in every room. In a week this will all be done; we'll call the realtors, and put this house on the market. But for now, I'm looking at pictures like these and longing for just one drawer where things are organized, and where they belong...

photos: 1, 4, 6), 2), 3),
5), 7), 8)

"Out of clutter, find Simplicity. From discord, find Harmony. In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity." - Albert Einstein

September 20, 2009

snug little kingdom

I've lived most of my life in multi-storied houses. I prefer sleeping at the top of the house (I even love the way that sounds: at the top of the house.) Multiple levels can help to delineate between public and private areas, and the view from upstairs is generally better than the view from ground level.

By the end of a long day of moving boxes and furniture, I'm ready to make my next home a ranch style, all one level, no stairs at all... Then I think about how enchanting it is to watch a rain storm from up in the trees, and how much quieter it is above street level, and I know my aching muscles and complaining joints won't keep me down(stairs). Besides, with the exception of a mantel, is there anything lovelier than a banister to decorate for Christmas?

photos: 1, 4, 6:, 2:,
3:, 5:, 7:

“Away from the world and its toils and its cares, I've a snug little kingdom up four pair of stairs.” ~William Makepeace Thackeray


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