Thursday, April 28, 2011


I saw this car decal on a co-worker's rig on my way out of the office tonight.

Now I'm thinking about naming the little creek behind the new house.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Strawbetarians or Strawberritarians?

Oh man. So that grocery trip I mentioned the other night? Safeway had the first real crop of strawberries in and it smelled so G-O-O-O-D! But, and this is a big but, the price was buy 1 pound, get 2 pounds free.

Come on.

Scoob and I can usually take care of 1 pound of berries before they go bad. But 3? And it's not like strawberries have a long shelf life.

So, long story short we're eating a bunch of berries. And they're soooo good. And I'm rarely leaving the bathroom. Yeah, TMI.

I can't decide if we're strawbetarians or strawberritarians? Strawberritarian sounds like a new political party, like Libertarians. And I really have no political leaning one way or the other when it comes to strawberries. So I guess that makes us Strawbetarians.

They also had fresh, sweet white corn. It smelled like summer.

Speaking of summer, if I need to go back to North Carolina again, it looks like it'll be around mid-June. I thought it was humid in April? Can't wait to feel June. Scoob won't be coming with me if I go. It's just too dang expensive to fly him out there when he spends most of his time working anyway instead of making house-related matters (the whole reason for traveling in the first place) a priority.

I'm not sure if our friends will put me up for another trip. We've realized they've hosted us for a month total between our several trips so far, and no matter how welcome they say we are, it's beginning to feel like we're part-time roomies and I hate to impose.

And it doesn't help that I lost their house key on our last trip. I know. Bad, bad Wayward. It must have fallen out of my pocket during the day. Our friends didn't bat an eye over it, but I still felt lousy.

I forgot to tell you what else I did this weekend. I got my hairs cut! It totally sucks that I've finally found a stylist I like and we're moving. I had her trim up the last cut she gave me, but I don't like how she styles it. She makes the hair lie so flat against my head and I can't keep it out of my face. But I think it's a good cut.

And I've finally figured out how to use a round brush and hair dryer. I haven't mastered the finer points, but I can make my hair do what I want it to. Mostly.

I've been round brush-shy ever since an incident in high school. I managed to get a round brush so wrapped up in my hair while getting ready for winter formal that when mom took me to the local beauty school they had to cut it out. I don't remember much about that winter formal, I was probably in the coat closet trying to hide my hair, but I do remember that.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Back in the Saddle

So most things are back to normal now after our return from North Carolina. The cats are behaving normally again, I did the grocery shopping last night so the fridge is stocked, I've reset my tummy to Pacific time for meals, and I'm back to staying up all night.

Scoob and I went out to do some tile and car shopping over the weekend. And I did massive amounts of laundry—4 whole loads! (Hey, 4 is a lot for 2 people!)—because the yummy salsa we bought at the farmers market leaked in the siutcase during the flight home. Luckily I was able to save my favorite green corduroy jacket. (whew!)

We started off Saturday by going to a local Subaru dealership and test driving a new Forester and a new Outback. And why am I test driving new cars, you might ask. It's been an ongoing conversation here that has spanned a couple of weeks so far, but it goes something like this:

WAYWARD: Honey, It's going to cost $7,000–8,000 to repair the Subbie. I can probably find a decent used car for around $10,000.

SCOOB: Okay. You'll probably find a better option, newer and with less miles, if you go up to $14,000.


SCOOB: You really like your Subaru. You should look for a used one.

WAYWARD: You're right. I love my Subbie. Look, I found a used 2009 with 52,000 miles for $25,000.

SCOOB: You should call and get more information.

WAYWARD: Okay. Hey honey, I can get a new 2011 for less that it costs to buy a used one and we'll have the full warranty.

And that's pretty much how I ended up test driving new cars. They didn't have a stinking manual transmission Forester anywhere in the Bay Area, so I decided to see what all the fuss was about with the sport automatic, which operates in 3 modes—automatic, sport automatic (a little more oomph, but less fuel efficiency), and the shiftable automatic. I wasn't impressed.

Actually I know I won't be buying another Forester, which kinda sucks because I love the one I have. But Subaru made the new Foresters taller and longer and changed all kinds of things about the interior. The new one just doesn't handle the way my old does and the driver seat/dash/console arrangement is uncomfortable.

So then I test drove the Outback. I may be in love. Again, no manuals on the lot so I took a CVT transmission for a spin. It's pretty sweet. The new Outback handles much more like my current Forester and the CVT transmission is very responsive. You don't experience that moment of hesitation like with most automatics. And even thought Outbacks are more expensive than Foresters, the salesperson said he could get it down to the Forester price with the options I want.

I got pretty excited, but made myself walk away. I haven't done enough research yet. And I'm still not sure I'm comfortable taking on a new car payment right now. Although, given the current housing market here, Scoob and I have been discussing renting out the condo instead of trying to sell it, so that would at least mean we would have some rent coming in to offset the mortgage payments on it and it would probably only take 2–3 weeks to get tenants in it. We're still discussing it, but if we did that I would feel much more comfortable taking on a car payment.

From the dealer we headed to Lowes to browse their tile options and on Sunday we hit Home Depot. The tile quote came in from The Tile Shop and it was really high, so we're trying to see where we can save some money.

I haven't seen the crackly accent glass anywhere else, so we'll still get that from them, and I'm doubtful we'll find a comparable alternative to the rough stone, which will be a problem. We've made sure the granite and the floor tiles match the rough stone, so any change to the stone puts us back to square 1. Not where I want to be, but I am keeping my eyes open and looking online for possible alternatives. Everything else that The Tile Shop bid on is up for grabs, so we were trying to see if we could find some more cost effective options.

The first problem with this plan is that all the stone/granite/tile samples are back in Pittsboro. It is going to be awfully hard to match something I don't have in my hands. So I headed to The Tile Shop's website and was able to make a color print out of the sample. Better than nothing. And I did find a tile of the Green Tea granite at Lowes. If I really need to have it in hand I think I can spring for 1 tile.

Anyhow, Scoob was totally stoked about some 18"x18" travertine tile we found for $1.99/sq.ft. He couldn't understand why anyone would go for a ceramic or porcelain tile made to look like stone when you could actually get stone at the same price. Now, granted, $1.99/sq.ft. is an amazing price for stone, but I have to admit, I kind of agreed with him, until I did some research.

Stone is softer than either ceramic or porcelain and is prone to scratching. It is also porous and will easily stain if not properly sealed and resealed regularly. Since it is heavier than ceramic or porcelain, you also need a sturdier substrate ($$) if you plan to install stone, and the grouting materials and techniques are different for stone as well ($$).

On the other hand, even though ceramic and porcelain are easier and less expensive to install and are more durable than stone, they are prone to chipping, and since they're glazed, the color doesn't penetrate the entire tile, so you'll notice a chip on ceramic much more than you would notice a scratch on stone.

So, given the added incidental costs for installation (though I am checking with the builder on that) and higher maintenance for stone and the better durability of ceramic, I'm gently trying to lead Scoob away from the stone option without forcing the issue. I honestly think the first time he has to reseal the floors he would curse the day he decided on stone.

So I headed back to Home Depot on my way home from work tonight and snapped a few pictures of the tiles we had been looking at. I thought it might help our decision making if we looked at a few options within our allowance without knowing which was ceramic, porcelain, or stone and without being able to see the actual prices.

Here's the floor tile we selected last week with the granite and rock wall samples:

And here's what we saw this weekend:

Olympic brand in Nordic

Marazzi brand Montanaga Lugano.

Marazzi brand Montanaga Cortina.

Castle Travertine.

A quick word about the printed rock samples, the receipt said Flagstaff, which is the bottom picture on the paper, but I'm almost certain the middle photo (Belgrade) is the one I actually purchased. If that's the case, good for us. The Belgrade is $1.00/sq.ft. than the Flagstaff. The top photo is another option that is less expensive still. We're still toying with switching to that one. But the overall color scheme is about the same between the 3 options.

So, I showed Scoob the pictures above when I got home and made him think about it a bit. I'm not sure if I've weaned him away from the idea of a natural stone floor, but I think I've shown him that there are plenty of good options out there and that we should stay open to the possibilities. Our allowance for floor tile is $2.50/sq.ft. and the travertine is $1.99/sq.ft. and 2 others are $1.98/sq.ft. ($1.69/sq.ft. if we order more than 40 cases), and the 4th option is $2.28/sq.ft. with no discount for quantity.

I know which one is my favorite, and it's not the travertine. Which one is your favorite?

Friday, April 22, 2011

We're Back

We don't want to be, but we're back in California. It was so hard to leave North Carolina, but I am very happy to cuddle with my four-legged kids again. Their mess wasn't too bad when we got home and it didn't take me long to clean up, but Dozer apparently thought she could do better and promptly barfed as soon as everything was in its place again.

Everyone was all purrs and happy feet within an hour of our getting home, but Tank was more than a little pissed that I left him to go to work this morning and let me know it when I got home tonight. Instead of running down the stairs to meet me at the door, he hopped down 2 steps, meowed, stuck his rump in the air, turned his back to me and then sat down. But he was all cuddles and drool once I got up the stairs.

Okay, so that storm last Saturday. Turns out that was a doozey. I've never been near a tornado before, though I must admit I've always sorta wanted to chase one—Storm Chasers is a favorite when I happen to catch it on. I didn't realize just how bad the storm was until the next day, when my dad was trying to reach me and make sure we were okay.

I happened to be in a furniture warehouse purchasing my totally awesome new chairs when the tornadoes hit the Raleigh area. I'd actually been looking forward to the storm because we so rarely get lightning storms in the Bay Area, but when it started raining I was very happy to stay inside.

I didn't quite grasp the severity of the storm damage until Scoob and I, on our way to a quarry to look for granite, drove through the tornado's path along Tryon Road. I've seen pictures of tornado damage before, but it doesn't quite prepare you. Driving next to what must have been an ancient oak that had been uprooted was incredibly humbling. Its root system was massive, about 3 times (or more) as wide as our car was long, and it was just yanked out of the ground. The sheer force required to do that made me very thankful we hadn't been in the path of that tornado.

Scoob and I were supposed to meet with Stock Building Supply on Yonkers Road on Tuesday to go over interior and garage doors, stair railings and pickets, door hardware, tile, accent tile, carpet, and flooring. The builder called the night before to say that Stock had suffered some damages during the storm and didn't have power. And Ferguson's (plumbing and lighting fixtures, and appliances), along the same stretch of road, had lost the entire back half of their building.

Luckily for us, I'd been working with the Ferguson's showroom in Carrboro and was able to meet with the Stock door guy at their Apex location, but we did have to cancel the tile appointment because the Raleigh location was their only showroom for flooring materials in the area.

Our builder did try to schedule us an appointment with an alternate tile supplier in Durham, but we were having such a difficult time navigating the storm damaged areas we weren't able to make it. The builder suggested just using all the tiles we chose when we visited The Tile Shop, but honestly, even though we found items we like there, I know their prices are high. If we can't find comparable materials elsewhere, I'll probably get the stone tile for the kitchen wall and fireplaces, and the accent tiles for the master bath there, but everything else, I'm sure, can be sources for less.

Which reminds me, I was having problems uploading pictures of the tiles last time.

Rough rock tile, flooring, and grantie for the kitchen.

I had a terrible time getting the colors to photograph the way they actually appear, but the rough rock tile is what's holding this all together. It has lots of whites and creams, and the creams work with the floor tile and the lighter background pieces in the granite, and it has some rusty orange, which also works with the flooring, and some gray-green-blue hues that tie really well with the granite. This is the granite I said I wanted to place near my bed at night.

Wall tile (which has matching floor tile) and 1" x 1" glass accent tile for the master bath.

Again, problems with capturing the colors. I was more concerned with capturing an image to jog my memory later than I was with getting a great picture. This is the awesome crackley glass accent tile I was talking about. I like that the overall palette is neutral and calming. It will give me lots of flexibility over the years if I want to change things up with pops of color. The glass tiles are clears, creams, light and medium grays, and light and medium browns, and the floor/wall tiles are mostly white to gray. The crackles throw off little sparks of light and even though the floor/wall tiles are ceramic, they could easily be mistaken for limestone, giving it a much more expensive "stone" look without the stone price.

So, I think I mentioned that the granite pictured with the kitchen grouping above was only available in 12" x 12" tile. The shop I bought the sample tile from called in Green Mountain. When I took the sample into Schneider Stone, the granite fabricator we've been working with, she said it's not something they carry. But she did some calling around and Cosmo, another shop in Raleigh, had Mountain Green available. So they tagged it for us and that was the granite quarry we were trying to get to while driving through the storm damaged areas.

I am so glad we went to look at it. I would have been so unhappy with this granite if I had just taken their word for it that Mountain Green was the same as Green Mountain. Other than the uniformity of the colored piece sizes in the granite, Mountain Green was not Green Mountain. It had white background pieces instead of cream and when you stepped back from it, it actually looked gray with a blue tint. Not at all what I was hoping for. I had pretty much given up on finding a match for my granite sample and it was our last day in North Carolina, so we strolled their warehouse floor trying to find something that would work and found this:

This looks like a Plan B to me.

They called this Romano Dream and it's nothing like my granite sample, but it does coordinate with the rough rock tiles. It has lots of creams, some random spots of rusty orange, and some of the gray-green-blue colors scattered in the background. I liked it and thought it might be a good alternative, though I wasn't sold yet. There is a lot of black in the Romano Dream that isn't going to be present elsewhere, and honestly, the rusty orange spots make me think of nicotine stains from cigarette burns. Not an image I'm really looking forward to seeing every day.

The entire Romano Dream slab with my 12" x 12" sample at the bottom.

It's very pretty, and I could probably get past the rusty orange stuff. There really weren't many of them. But they only have 1 slab in stock, and we'll need 2. And now that I've seen the variations possible, I will not accept a granite slab that I haven't seen for myself.

And that was when one of the other salespeople stopped to see how we were doing. He recognized the sample I'd been carrying around as something they used to carry. He called it Tunis Green/Green Tunis/Tunis Verde/Verde Tunis and said as much as he hated to send me to his competition, if anyone around Raleigh still carried it, Daltile Stone would be my best bet. And they were just down the street.

I handed the Cosmo rep a sheet with names of their granites I was interested in so they could send pricing information back to Schneider Stone, then Scoob and I headed over to Daltile. I wasn't about to get my hopes up just to have them dashed against the rocks again. (I'm getting punny. I'm still on east coast time and it's way past my bedtime.) But look!

YES! I just about hugged the slab when I saw it!

Here's a better picture of it from their website.

They called it Green Tea. And it's almost a perfect match! Scoob says my tile sample is like a high definition TV, the darks are darker and the lights are lighter and there's more definition between the colored pieces, and that the slab is like regular TV, it's just a little more dull. I'm wondering if the colors will deepen when the sealant is applied.

The salesperson at Daltile said he would continue to look for something that matched the sample more, but in the meantime, I tagged 2 slabs of Green Tea.

When we got back to the house, we laid out all the tiles on our friends' living room floor and got some second opinions. See, Scoob had grown very fond of the Romano Dream granite while I still favored the Green Tea.

Scoob is much more design oriented that I am, and I'll usually defer to his judgment on things like this. Normally I don't give it a second thought. But I have learned that when I find something I like, I can be awfully tenacious about it.

Our friend thought both granites looked great with the rough rock. She gave Scoob and I each a pen and piece of paper and had us do a little exercise. She asked us to think about how we want the kitchen to feel and what we want out house to say about us and choose 3 words/phrases to describe that. I remember that Scoob wrote down unique, but I've forgotten his other 2. (Is it bad that I can't remember exactly what Scoob wrote down?) I wrote down solid, livable/not fussy, and comfortable/inviting.

I had to elaborate on the solid word choice and here's my explanation—this is where I'm choosing to put down roots, this house will be our center in NC and our anchor, it will be the place we know best, and it will be a foundation for our family and our lives, I do not want it to feel fragile, I want solid and sturdy.

Based on our word choices, our friend said we should go with the green (yes!). The Romano Dream would be beautiful, but would give the kitchen a very high-end, monochromatic look and people would be afraid to set anything down on the counters and probably wouldn't relax in the space, while the Green Tea would add some depth and warmth while still being unique; green is not a common counter top color and just look at how difficult it was for me to find it!

Our friend has been absolutely indispensable during this process and I'm sure if we already lived in North Carolina I'd be constantly bugging her with things like this. I've lost count of how many poor decisions and almost disasters she's already saved us from.

I did compromise, though. Since we'll probably be using the same rough rock for the fireplaces, I suggested to Scoob that we use the Romano Dream as the fireplace surround in the living room. The keeping room fireplace surround will be Green Tea since its in the same space as the kitchen.

So, in the end, we both get what we want. I think that makes any day a good day.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Hugh. Mid. Di. Tea.

Oh lord. The humidity is going to kill me here. It was about 75 here today and oh so humid. Since I grew up in the Willamette Valley, I really didn't think I would notice the humidity. I was wrong. We did have a big thunderstorm today, and even a tornado outside Raleigh, like I mentioned yesterday. Oh, and apparently yesterday's post got cut off when I sent it from my iPhone. I've filled in the missing parts about the granite tests.

We did start the day at a small farmers market in Raleigh and we got some yummy salsa and a ball of sun-dried tomato feta cheese. The samples for both were delicious! Also sampled some super yummy Italian ice. We would have bought some except we had no way to store it while we were out and about.

After the farmers market, the day became a blur. The Carolinas are the heart of furniture making country and our friends took us to some furniture stores so we could start thinking about what to put in our house. I can't believe it, but I've almost completely furnished the kitchen and the house isn't even built yet.

This chrome and black table light caught my eye first.

Then this nifty desk that masquerades as a set of drawers.

One of the salesmen saw me struggling to open the top drawer on this short chest of drawers and came over to help. Turns out, the top slides to the right to reveal a desk! You can't really see it in the picture, but it has an alligator-like textured finish. It's chipped on one side, so it was discounted heavily.

I really liked the lines of this chair.

When I saw this chair it made me think of Alice in Wonderland, and I really liked to gentle lines and the slight flare to the back. I sat in it and it was comfortable, but I wasn't sure about the bold graphic pattern so I walked away. But I kept coming back to it. When I spotted another sitting way, way in the back, I realized there was a pair of them and I knew exactly what I wanted to do with them.

I also found the triangle-shaped nesting tables pictured here. These will sit in front of the keepingroom fireplace. The chairs were discontinued items, and were also heavily discounted. Our friends have an enormous basement and agreed to store everything for us in return for some of the pottery we found last weekend. Turns out, pottery is super expensive out here, so we'll be moving some out with us.

After furniture shopping, we went to a tile store that was actually open on the weekend and found a lot of great options. They have builders discounts, so I called the builder and asked her to talk to the store. They'll also add another discount for the Parade. I'm going back in the morning with the house plans so they can start working up a bid.

While we were there I found a granite I absolutely adore. So I bought a 12" x 12" sample to take to the granite showroom for them to price and source. The tile shop only had granite tiles and no slabs. We have to stay within catagory 1 granite pricing to stay within our allowance. Watch, this will be category 2 or 3. I love it, so it must be. The granite has a small pattern that doesn't have much movement, so it is possible it'll be a category 1. However, I haven't seen this anywhere else so it may be hard to find, which would then make it a category 2 or 3.

I will remain hopeful though until I know for sure. I've found other granite that would be okay, but not something like this that I can't stop looking at it because I like it so much. I've even toyed with the idea of placing it at the side of the bed tonight so it will be the first thing I see when I wake up. I know. I've got it bad.

We also found the rock we think we want to use on the kitchen wall; it's much lighter than the inspiration picture. And we started looking at floor tile, which also went lighter.

I now can't seem to upload photos, so I'll have to post them later. But the kitchen is really coming together and I'm very happy with how it's shaping up.

We also looked at tile for bathrooms. It's a very simple tile (gotta save money somewhere) and we'll dress it up with some accent tiles. I found these awesome 1" x 1" glass tile sheets in earth tones that had a crackle effect that makes light sparkle and I fell in love. I bought the very last sheet the had to take as a sample. I may place that by the bed too.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Rock Steady

Today I was up by 6:00 (that's A.M. for anyone who is wondering) and out the door by 7:30. I spent my morning at the granite quarry and I found remnants I liked for the upstairs and downstairs bathrooms and the laundry area. The kitchen and master bathroom will have to come from slabs.

Then I headed to the granite showroom to finalize my choices, and caught up with Scoob (he's working today) and our friends for lunch followed by plumbing and lighting fixtures and appliances. We now have our final plumbing and appliance selections, but lighting is no where near done. It is closer than it was before, though. So that's a plus.

I'll be sourcing a wine cooler on my own since I'd seen acouple of good options at about $600 and the lowest priced one they had to offer me was around $1300.

Big news in plumbing--I'm getting my steam shower! I know it sounds like a luxury, and I'm not gonna lie, it probably is. But it is a luxury I will use and appreciate often. I managed to trim about $400 off the total plumbing fixtures cost before adding the steam shower, so that will help soften the blow some. Truth told, it was much less expensive than I'd been led to believe--only about 20-25% of what I expected. And that coupled with the Parade discount sealed the deal for me.

In lighting I've picked the ceiling fans for the bedrooms and patio, but am still considering options for the living room. Bathroom vanity and ceiling lights, and the laundry room lights are done. I've narrowed it down to a couple options for outdoor lighting. It's really just the big lights that I need to find some clarity on--foyer, diningroom, and some other key areas that were identified as being "perfect for a chandelier." When I counted them up we were looking at 7. I dunno bout you, but I think 7 is probably overkill. Either way, I have some serious homework to do when it comes to lights.

When I left the quarry this morning they gave me samples from all the pattern types I had picked out and had been considering and when I made it back to their house around 7:00 they had an awesome idea that turned out to be really helpful--we took each sample (except for the really white one that is going in laundry and a bathroom) and subjected them to a test. We put fingerprints all over them, and dabbed each with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and red wine and let it sit for about 3 hours. Then we wiped off the mess with a damp cloth, noted how they looked, then gave them a thurough cleaning and looked at the results again.

(Looks like the iPhone cut off the end of this post, so I'll have to rewrite it.)

This isn't the best picture, but there are 2 types of light colored granite here and 3 types of dark.

As a result of our tests, I'll be making a call to the granite showroom to un-finalize my selections. You see, I thought I could get around the difficulties of a black counter by getting it in a honed finished instead of polished. If anything, the matte quality of the honed finish made it worse! Fingerprints may not have been noticeable, by every drop of any kind of liquid commanded attention.

One of the black samples did very well in our unofficial test--you could hardly tell anything was on it during the 3 hours wait and it cleaned up beautifully. We also tested the creamier of the light granites, and while you couldn't see the oil or water during the 3 hour wait, you could see the wine and balsamic. The wine and balsamic also left behind a stain after clean up as well, though the stains blended into the overall pattern well. So while I might not worry about drops of wine, I would have a concern with possibly a ring left from the bottom of a wine bottle or glass on the cream granite.

So, even though we're not done with the granite like I thought, we're also not back to square one. It's been a long day and week and even though I know I should be doing more over the weekend, I'm thankful that most of the showrooms are closed Sat. & Sun. and we'll get to hang out with our friends a little and have some fun. Sounds like we're starting the day at the farmers market, though it is supposed to start storming tomorrow--looking forward to seeing some lightning.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Hopes and Dreams

After our walk-throughs yesterday, Scoob and I spent some time alone in the house enjoying the peace and quiet. Other than a rowdy woodpecker all we could hear was a soft breeze through the trees and our own breathing. It's an amazing feeling.

My mom suggested something before we left California that my Aunt P had done after her wedding. She and her husband were building a home together when they decided to get married, and the ceremony was held inside the frame of their house. After becoming husband and wife, they handed Sharpies to the guests, and they wrote messages for the newlyweds on the studs of the house frame.

So, I gave it some thought before we left and packed a few Sharpies to write my hopes and dreams for our lives in this house--etch them onto the bones of the house.

On the right-side front door frame.

Near the center of the house, between the living room and kitchen.

In the master bedroom.

On the left-hand side of the front door frame.

On the kitchen wall to the right of the above-sink window.

In the window frame of the sunniest window.

In the bonus room.

At the center of the house.

That last one was a little difficult. Since I couldn't reach the beam from the floor, I had to hang over the edge from the second floor.

Oh, What a Day

Oh. My. Goodness. That. Took. For. EVER.

Silly me. I thought we'd be done with the plumbing, electricity, and low-voltage walk-throughs by noon. 1:00 an the latest. Clearly, I'm delusional.

The plumbing was easy enough, and the plumbing subcontractor reminded me a little of my first step-dad. Then it was time for the electrical.

So yesterday when I visited the house, I was thinking of last Sunday and our relaxing day on the patio and I tried to imagine doing the same in our new home.


And this morning, when we started the elecrital walk-through, the non-porch looked the same as it did yesterday. By the time we finished the electrical all the support framing for the patio was finished.

Someday is going to get here awfully fast.

Scoob enjoying the view off the back patio.

Thankfully, the low-voltage guy gave us a chance to slip away for lunch around 2:30 before subjecting us to his special brand of torture. But honestly, electrical was the worst.

I never dreamed that placing lights and switches and outlets was so difficult.

Or that so dang many of them could possibly be in one house.

Then we got to figure out where every phone jack would be.

And then TV hook-ups.

It was a long day.

Thursday, April 14, 2011


We're waiting for the plumber for the first of our 3 walk-throughs of the house today. We also have electrical and low-voltage today. And we've already had our first argument in our new home while we've been waiting. Good times.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

We Made It

Traveling always makes for a long day; but we made it. I'm blogging on my iPhone, so please excuse the typos and the brevity. I know it should only feel like 6:30, but I am ready to go to bed.

We got caught in a torrential downpour on the drive from the airport and even with the wipers on high speed I couldn't see where I was going; there were no reflective ba-da-bumps to mark the traffic lanes and everyone slowed to a crawl. And I'm not complaining. I was about to pull over until the cloud burst passed. It's supposed to be like that all week, with thunderstorms on Friday and Saturday.

The rental car I got this trip is much nicer than last time. We had a Ford Focus and I hated it. I hated the way it handled and its lack of oomph. And something about the steering wheel just made it feel like a pretend car. A toy. This time they gave me a Ford Fusion and it handles so much better. Though I still crack my head on the door frame every time I get in and out of it. And the drivers seat is miserable uncomfortable.

After getting lost on some some of the very rural roads here on our last trip I had planned on getting GPS with the rental this time. But at $15/day for 8 days, I just couldn't bring myself to do it. We went without before and survived, so I figured we could manage again. I've already pulled multiple U-turns because we missed our turn. I should really check whether U-ies are even legal here.

And I don't know why I even bothered to set the car alarm. There's no way I'd ever hear it over the cricket cacophony. They're almost deafening.

Planning to see the house in the morning!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Relaxing Day

Today has been an incredibly relaxing day. I think I'll actually come out of this weekend feeling recharged instead of wondering where the weekend went. And that's a good thing considering how hectic the next week will be.

I was able to sleep in this morning. Anyone who knows me knows how I love to sleep late! When I got up, Scoob was out on the patio sunning himself and after I made my coffee, I grabbed the house magazines and decided to join him. It has been ages since we both sat out on the patio and enjoyed a leisurely Sunday.

Relaxing and enjoying the sunshine.

Checking out some lichen growing on a board and up the side of a pot.

Playing with aperture and shutter speed.

Same lichen, but it was growing under a trowel.

Usually the neighborhood is too noisy so you can't really relax. Although it was noisy today, we were able to tune some of it out and enjoy the sunshine and the hawks flying overhead and the little birdies that came to splash in the bird bath.

And it's a good thing I went through those magazines again. I hadn't looked at them since I found my inspiration kitchen and now that I have a specific goal in mind, I can see how some of the pictured things can help us achieve that. I'm still at a loss on the bathrooms, though. And we need to decide on materials during this trip. 

I Love Being Flexible

Saturday was an excellent day, people. And all because I've learned to be flexible. I had originally planned to run a ton of errands on Saturday and at one point that would have been exactly what I would have done, no matter what. But then friends called and invited us to lunch. The old me would have sacrificed time with Scoob and friends in order to stick to the plan. But the new me decided errands could wait. Other than getting my oil changed, there was nothing urgent that needed to get taken care of. And even the oil change wasn't urgent and could wait until Sunday since I'm a little early for this one.

So, we went out and enjoyed a ramen lunch with our friends followed by a stroll through the local swap meet stalls. Our friends picked up some plants for their yard and I bought some new socks.

Not your average Top Ramen ramen.

After the swap meet, we went to a pottery wholesaler that I wish I'd known about years ago. A small glazed ceramic pot that would cost $20–30 at Home Depot or Lowes was only $6.50 there!

Lots of pretty colors.

And shapes.

Some were tall.

And some were short.

And lots of pretty, drippy glazes.

I've never been able to bring my self to shell out for some of the big, pretty pots I love, but the prices here were so much more reasonable. Unfortuantely, they only sell to the Bay Area. So Scoob and I were left debating the merits of buying pots and moving them with us. I saw some large pots I would love to have flanking the front steps to our new house. So, while we're in North Carolina this week we'll look around and see if we can't find any pottery wholesalers out there, otherwise we may find ourselves packing pots.

After the pottery adventure we split ways and our friends went home with their treasures to begin potting the plants they bought and Scoob and I set out on our errands. We got the oil changed. And the car started making a new noise afterwards. We had the shop put the car back up on the lift and take a look. Seems like the noise is coming from the catalytic converter. So that pretty much settled any doubts I had left about whether I should repair or replace the car.

Then we went to Target (I ran out of SPF moisturizer and need to pack for the trip), Bed, Bath, and Beyond (Yankee candles 25% off and I've taken to showering by candlelight), and World Market (Scoob found the elusive Mo's bacon dark chocolate). We also did a little comparison shopping for toaster ovens at Target and BB&B since ours has gone to small appliance heaven.

Then we met up with our friends again for dinner at Scoob's favorite Mexican place. Actually, we tried to go for Afghan food first, but they were closed for a private party. So Mexican was Plan B.

Scoob's favorite. Menudo.

We're so spoiled when it comes to food choices here. I probably won't miss Indian and Philippino food once we move, but the Chinese, Thai, Japanese, Afghan, Pakistan, Mexican, Persian, Greek, and I'm sure I'm missing a few will be hard to come by out there.