home improvement

Put a bird on it

Two blog posts in one month?? Someone alert the authorities!

Earlier this month Greta and I participated in RIT's 2012 Big Shot. Although it was definitely past Greta's bedtime on a school night, I couldn't resist bringing her to the help make history at her favorite place: Seabreeze. There was a bit lost in translation and she was bent out of shape that she was "not even in the picture" and that she couldn't ride the rides, but she'll appreciate it someday...maybe...I hope. Here is more info about this year's Big Shot, and here is the end result. We help light the flume ride!

I'm slightly obsessed with a heron cam at Sapsucker Woods and Cornell's Lab of Ornithology. We went out to see the heron nest about a month ago, before the eggs hatched, and it was fairly anticlimactic yet exciting, if that makes any sense. We really didn't see much except the dad heron bring a few sticks to the mom heron. At this point there are five heron chicks that are basically teenagers, so on Saturday we headed back to check on them. I wasn't expecting a whole lot, but we were able to clearly see the chicks from a telescope from the lab, and we were also able to see the dad hunting at a far edge of the pond. Pat and Greta were inside the lab, and I decided to head out by myself. I was absolutely shocked when I walked out to this little area next to the pond and the mom heron was 15 feet in front of me. We had a lovely, uninterrupted couple minutes of quality time, and I was so honored by her presence.

Here she is. I'm said to say I didn't bring my SLR this trip, so this is what I could do with my camera phone.

Here she flew off to the nest to regurgitate some fish for the chicks.

Greta was pretty lukewarm about the whole heron thing last time, but this time I dare say she embraced it.

Greta is the hippest six-year-old I know, but occasionally she lets her nerd flag fly. Binoculars: check. Camera: check. Woot T-shirt: check.

After the trip to the woods we went on a hike at Buttermilk Falls. We had a fantastic time hiking, wading in the water, and all three of us even found fossils!

Don't mind the fact that Greta's bathing suit is basically flesh colored. It was neon yellow when we bought it before our New Orleans trip, but after the RIT pools every week and subsequent washings it has become a lovely shade of jaundice.

After Buttermilk Falls, we went to Moosewood for dinner and walked around the Commons a bit.

We had such a wonderful Saturday we had to punish ourselves by doing several hours of yard work on Sunday.

That's a lotta mulch...and dirt.

In case you're wondering where the blog post title came from, it's a reference to one of my recent favorite shows on TV, Portlandia. Put. A. Bird. On. It.

Fran

Evil Cheeks

Yes!!! Comments in the double digits for the last post. Thanks, dudes! Keep 'em coming!

We got a tankless water heater today. (Yay for the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009!) It was an all-day process, and the guys didn't tell me before they turned the water off for more than three hours. It really caught me off guard when I used the bathroom and then went to wash my hands and no water came out of the facet. I was really distressed. I ended up soaping up my hands and then used my glass of drinking water to rinse my hands. Why am I telling you this? Well, I'd rather be dehydrated than have dirty hands. Now you know. Although the chances of me actually getting dehydrated were pretty low, while the chances of me getting my dirty hands on my laptop were extremely high.

After the recent dreams about the old house and the new owners, I've continued having distressing dreams. I had two dreams that my old company asked me to come in and do some consulting for them. In both dreams, I went in, ready to help them solve some type of problem, and both times I got completely shut down by the people who are still working there, and I left in tears. Hmm, I really don't feel bitter toward them. In fact, in real life, I recently went there and had lunch with my former boss and a couple coworkers. They bought me lunch and gave me a copy of the last book I copy edited for them, which was really super-duper nice. But apparently my subconscious is still a little ticked off. Oh, so there were those two dreams, and then I had a dream I got laid off from my new job. I really don't feel all that stressed out in my waking hours, but these dreams must be a manifestation of something, right?  Me thinks it's time to go back to the acupuncturist.

Saturday night, Pat announced that he was taking Greta to see Shrek in 3D. He asked if I wanted to come and I said no and that I didn't think he should take her to a 3D movie. My reasons? Because it's expensive and because Howard Stern said he thinks that 3D movies mess with kids' vision and brains. Howard Stern and I have no evidence to back this up, but it might be true. (And Howard Stern and I aren't alone!) After I said my reasons I felt silly but had to stand my ground because I'm stubborn and because I had a vision of me with two hours of free time. Both of those reasons seemed like good ones to let those guys go off and have some daddy-daughter time. I'm glad I did because I used the time wisely and put a fresh coat of paint on my childhood vanity. Plus, I got to witness Greta running in the house after the movie with her 3D glasses on, smiling ear to ear, and then listen to her talk a mile a minute about what happened in the movie. It was a pretty awesome evening for all.

Ooh, more about my vanity. It was a Christmas gift from my parents when I was maybe twelve. My dad spent a lot of time painting it and assembling it in the basement before Christmas. I remember being completely disappointed when I saw it, and I'm sure I was not at all good at hiding my disappointment. But as I got older, I spent more and more time sitting in front of it. It was white with bronze hardware and a bench that had a fuzzy, cream seat cushion. It was so very girly. When we moved to this house, I asked my parents if I could have it back. It has seen a lot of wear and tear over the years, and at some point in college I put a bunch of stickers all around the mirror part. It's still a work in progress, but I cleaned it up, painted it black, reupholstered the bench cushion with a black and cream damask pattern (leftover fabric from my dining room chair project), and, in honor of its original girliness, I got pink glass knobs and a pink and white handle to replace the brass hardware. Hopefully I can finish it soon so I can show some before and after pictures here. It goes with nothing else in my house, but I love it.

Sunday we met up with some friends we hadn't seen in years. They have a daughter who is just a couple months older than Greta. We met up with them at Wild Wings (the facility in Mendon Ponds that cares for injured birds of prey, not the gross restaurant). We saw the birds, which was very cool, and then we took a hike. The girls were very good, aside from being a bit competitive and turning the hike into a race. Here they are walking with Pat, or who our little friend Hanley nicknamed, "the kid master."

In conclusion, speaking of cute things kids say, tonight I was reading Greta a book called I Love You, Every Little Bit. On one page, it says, "I love your cheeks, round and sweet..." and Greta cut me off to say, "My cheeks aren't sweet, they're evil!" It was funny at the time. Hopefully it's not foreshadowing.

Fran

Jubilation

File under: home improvement | work

She loves me again. Err, I mean, I got a job!  This update is long overdue. I was actually offered the job last Friday. I've been trying to tell everyone who had reached out to me during my "funemployment" before posting it here, which is the main reason for the delay. I am sure I forgot some people, but, it's been a week and I'm having guilt issues about not posting here.  So, there you go. It's a contract position, and I'll be editing e-learning content. I will be self-employed and working from home.  The thought of a contract position would have freaked me out a month ago, but now it actually appeals to me. According to my contract, they need to give me 30 days notice before ending my contract; that is 30 days more notice than I got at my last job...so by my math, that is actually pretty good. I'll be working with some people I worked with two jobs ago, and they're a great bunch of people. I'm really excited to be on a team of such smart, friendly, and motivated people.

And , there was at least some nepotism involved (Well, minus the family part. What is nepotism minus the family part? Favoritism?), because I used to work with the hiring manager, but I am still patting myself on the back for scoring a sweet, sweet job in 3 weeks and a day. [Pats self on back.]

I have technically already started the new gig, so I've been scrambling to get some projects done around the house before things really ramp up. I really thought I'd be coming out of unemployment with really clean closets, but, unfortunately, that's not the case.  Don't get me wrong - being employed is definitely better than clean closets. The biggest and AWESOMEST project is that I painted the kitchen.

Oh, did I mention I'll be working at home? I am so very excited. I have been told that working at home has its "positive points and negative points." At this point, I would have to struggle to think of the negative points. Okay, I'm thinking about it. [Fifteen minutes later.] I got one! If I come across a spider at work, I will have to get rid of it myself instead of asking the CFO to kill the spider. And, um, that's all I got. Roooock!

Not that you need to see 500 pictures of my kitchen, but I'm very excited about it. Here are some before and after pictures. As you can see, it was a sissy beige color before.

And now, bold green!

The walls of the kitchen were actually pretty rough. I smoothed out this wall quite a bit. Also notable about the below picture is that Greta had taken a paint chip from Home Depot and taped it to the wall below where I taped the green paint chip. It is a deep, deep purple, which is a color I would never want to look at on the walls, but I wanted to humor her. And then this week I was cleaning out our junk drawer, and I was tossing out some other paint chips we'd collected, and I saw that Greta had already grabbed the exact same color during a previous trip to HD. Girl knows what she likes.

Nice and smooth! The color is called "Shamrock," which made me want to get a Shamrock Shake the last two weeks.

Fran

Frustration

Sorry for the recent radio silence. The last week has been more than a little annoying. Greta came down with a rather unpleasant cold, and she was out of day care more than she was in it. I then got said rather unpleasant cold. Job-searching productivity down the tubes. Then we got slammed with snow. Blah, blah. Then our Internet was out most of the last two and a half days.

I spent a couple hours yesterday morning at an internet cafe Panera, and then I decided that was for the birds. After you've gotten used to a cushy corner office, you can't sit at some table with dried who-knows-what on it from who-knows-when while you try to fight the overwhelming urge to pee because if you went to pee you'd either have to leave your laptop with your entire life on it out in a public place or take it into the bathroom (ew) and risk losing your food-crusted table while you're hopped up on coffee you didn't want to buy in the first place. And since the one and only positive thing that popped into my mind as I was sitting at a table with tears in my eyes, getting told I was being laid off, was that I would now I have time to paint my kitchen, I decided to paint my kitchen! I painted the ceiling yesterday and then put a coat of paint on the walls. So far it seems to be a tricky color and may need a few coats, but I will be sure to post pictures when the new kitchen is ready for its unveiling.

What else? As I mentioned, I haven't been very productive about the job search this past week. I will say that there are a couple solid tentative plans in the works, so I am not feeling super stressed right now. I have a lot of good people looking out for me, so I know this is temporary and that I need to enjoy this first break I have had from work since I started working at 15. I know it will be over in the blink of an eye (in the grand scheme of things). I will say the feelings associated with being unemployed are still...unpleasant. I went from saying, "I was laid off last week." to "I was laid off earlier this month." to now needing to say, "I was laid off last month." (Stupid short February.) I know why, but that has been a hard transition in my brain.

One more thing. It's almost that time of year again! Greta will be turning four later this month, and we're having two small parties this year so we made two invites. We took many pictures of Greta and luckily got two good ones. I thought people might enjoy some of the outtakes.

This is my personal favorite. Supastar!

Cutsie Tootsie

It was so unusually sunny we were stumped. Most of the pictures were waaay overexposed. Oh, she is doing "karate moves" here.

Princess Crooked Crown

Fran

Did you ever know that Pat's my hero? He's everything I would like to beeeee...

File under: home improvement

 

I came home today to see this.

Here is what our stairs looked like before.

Some of you may remember this project originally started in March when I decided one day during Greta's nap, about a week before we had a bunch of people over for Greta's birthday party, in a willy nilly fashion. Last night we finally found a runner we both liked, and today, voila!

Yay for Pat Reed.

Fran

I am woman, hear me roar

 

And by roar, I mean curse. During Greta's nap today, I did many things. I did some dishes, cleaned the cat litter, made meatloaf and mashed potatoes, made a couple lists in preparation for Greta's birthday festivities, put together the gift bags for the favors for Greta's party and for her school mates, cleaned the freezer, took our the recycling and garbage, and, lastly, dug myself a very, very deep hole. Yeah, I don't know what makes me do the things I do, but those of you who know me well know it's not at all surprising that I decided to start a fairly massive home improvement project on a Sunday evening less than a week before 20 or so of our closest friends and family are coming over....awesome.

 Some genius (not us) decided to paint our main stairs with some kind of crappy white paint and get some grey carpet samples that kind of matched each other but really didn't match any of the rest of the decor. Being in a high-traffic area and all, the paint is all chipped and scuffed up, and it has always driven me nuts. I have been waiting to find the perfect carpet runner solution, and today I realized that the perfect carpet runner solution may never materialize. I decided to sort of wing it and at least get the old carpet off, fill and sand as best as possible, and apply a paint that is at least meant for floors.

 I took off all of the carpet and got all of the nails out so far, and then I realized we're pretty much doomed. They wood is in terrible shape, and because doing it properly would cost way too much money, we are going to half-ass it as best as possible. We're gonna need a lot of wood filler. *Sigh.*

 Whaaaa. Why do I do these things?

 Here is how they looked before. It definitely looked worse in person (especially the grey with our light brown walls).

our ugly stairs (before)

Here is a close-up sans carpet. I am annoyed that I am going to have to prime too. Q: Who paints stairs like that?? A: Someone who is either a) lazy b) cheap c) short-sighted d) all of the above. I'm gonna go with D.

Our ugly stairs (during)

Aaaand, we're doomed.

The reason why we're doomed.

What else? Friday Greta's day care was closed because the teachers had some sort of training, and my mom was nice enough to come to town to watch Greta for the day. They went to the playground near our house and stayed there for two hours. TWO HOURS. Since hanging out with my mom for the day, Greta has said to me a couple times, "You're kinda like Grandma Norma." And I have replied, "Yes, I know this. She is my mom, after all." I am pretty used to Pat telling me this, but it is new (and pretty darned funny) coming from Greta.

 Saturday we hung out at Mike, Christy, and Colin's in the evening. Christy made the most unbelievable shepherd's pie and other fixin's, and then we retired to their finished basement to play Rock Band. It was my first time playing it (I know, I know, I live under a rock [band]), and holy heck it was fun. I think I forgot to blink the entire time. Heaven forbid I miss a note due to completely unnecessary blinking.

Oh, we also did some more house hunting this weekend. That probably deserves its own post, and the stairs are calling, so stayed tuned for more.

 PS - I hate daylight savings.

 Fran 

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