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R. and I had lunch at Julie's Place today. Afterwards, we went to Circle Furniture, because the red couch is showing enough wear to cause R. to even think we should replace it. I may have accelerated this process after he pointed out the wear on the arm rest he sits next to and complained about how the fabric didn't last as well as it should have. I noted that it would be a lot easier to find a new home for the couch at this point, versus waiting until it is well and truly dead and we have to pay a junk hauler to take it away like the previous couch. We discussed it some; I wanted to at least think about a sleeper, because we do wind up having over night guests and having that as an option might be pretty awesome (there are other options, including the bunk bed, shifting people around, using the inflatable mattress, etc.). We had some reservations about the one sleeper that Circle carries and I found a place in Boston that had an interesting choice that would even let us use any material we showed up with. In the event, however, he decided he was okay with the sleeper Circle carries, found one with an arm style he liked and we got the queen size (not the queen plus or the king) and ordered a really cute pie cut out table too.

Having made such a major decision, I didn't attempt to do anything else cognitively demanding with the day.

R. took A. to his work for at-work trick or treating. T. hung out with his sitter for a few hours. I finished catching up on this season of Agents of Shield. And I wound up the day by putting stuff to give to the thrift in the car, thus clearing out a lot of the upstairs hallway where it was staged. T. and I will head out to the thrift first thing in the morning. A. is looking forward to going through some of her clothes to see what she has outgrown. She is excited to declutter the clothes, like she did her toys! She is also having fun finding all the little bits and pieces she is finding in her room where I put away the contents of the bin by the basement door. Which I am still feeling very smug about emptying.

I also had two hour long phone convos -- both really pleasant, one with a friend, one with a family member. (That was before the couch shopping.)

By the end of the evening, I couldn't stop yawning, so I took a half hour nap at around 6. That helped a lot.
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Today was A.'s Last Day of Summer (T. still has another week to go). D.'s family came over for a last playdate (both her kids also start tomorrow) and after lunch we all went over to Nara, where I went into the lake with the fob for the minivan still in my pocket. Ooops! But, modern technology FTW! D. correctly predicted it would be just fine and it was! Van started no problems at all. I did tell R. when he got home, tho, so he would not be surprised if there were future repercussions with that fob.

While we were in the lake, a fish bit R. Very sad! All she wanted to do was swim, and a fish picked on her. A. wanted to play in the sand, and T. and J. were having fun splashing at each other. So after about an hour of fun, we picked up and headed out, with all our sand.

After retrieving belongings from the house and dropping J. off to ride his bike home, I drove D. and R. back to their place, then the rest of us went home to take showers to prevent "duck itch". There are Canada Geese at Nara now. Ugh. After showers, we hung out for a bit until sitters showed up. T. got his red streak refreshed. While A. was gone, I cleaned the island and table, put the chairs and stools up, and ran roomba. While Roomba was running, I saw ants. Ants! Ugh. So I tracked ants to their center of activity, which was in the playroom. This makes no sense at all, and ants usually mean water so I was concerned.

Over our Cape week, our cleaner came in and one of the projects she was supposed to do was to take up the foam tiles, vacuum the floor and then put the foam tiles back. She wanted to clean; I thought vac was enough. I didn't argue, but I should have! My theory, based on where the ants were and were not, is that she put the tiles back wet and since the A/C was off while we were gone, they took a while to dry and that was long enough to generate a swarm. I killed dozens -- and there were _no_ ants under the tiles that the cleaner didn't get to. Want to know how I could tell? I laid them down alphabetical, and she put them back all higgeldy piggeldy. The ones which were still alphabetical had clearly never been moved.

I found dust bunnies along the edges of the room. I think the cleaner picked up toys with bunnies on them, removed the tiles, put the tiles back, put the toys back, without ever dealing with the bunnies. I found incredibly stickiness and smudges on the surfaces of the play structure and some of the tiles which you can't actually take up because the structure sits on top of them. I also found job lots of bunnies last night under the slide. She had sent me a message with a photo of the floor saying she'd underestimated how big the job was. Bullshit. She's just slow. I'm about 45 minutes into this thing, I've done a better job than she did, and I didn't generate an ant problem along the way. I'm running out of ideas for things I can assign this cleaner that I will find useful in any way. I think the real problem with it was her approach. I spotted ants when I was supervising roomba, and when I realized the scale of the problem, I got the canister and sat on my ass on the floor going through the tiles, stacking them, getting the ants (dirt, etc.), got up long enough to get a damp cloth for the smudges, and basically worked my way across the floor while seated. I think she tried to do it standing, which is an Error.

About 30 minutes into the project, R. came home and we went to dinner at Raven, where I had two Fall Guys, and a spinach and kale salad with grilled salmon. It was Yum. All of it was Yum. We got a nice server, and one of the other servers who we sometimes get spotted us and came by for a chat. I love being a regular, and they are so nice at Raven. R. got the Huntsman, which was venison, yukons and corn on the cob today. Amazeballs! The venison was on the rare side of medium, and it wasn't even chewy. Venison is often tough, but not this one.

After the second Fall Guy, it was really fun to go back and complain about how bad a job the cleaner did while vacuuming. I asked R. to go after a couple of the more persistent problem areas on the play structure with Goof Off or its moral equivalent. The tiles are still all stacked up; I don't want to put them back until I get a good look at the ant situation tomorrow. I also have one more section of play structure to clear toys from and clean up. (No vacuuming while Playmobil bits are still out!)

I showed both sitters what I was up to and had a nice chat with them on the topic of Seriously, How Hard Is This Anyway. Always nice to bond with other women.

The pink velvet hangers arrived, and I changed out the hangers in A.'s room with her assistance. I also decluttered a few items I am fairly certain are now too small for her. The closet looks awesome! And the velvet really does keep slippery stuff from sliding off the hanger. Who knew?
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We _did_ have a small Beanie Ballz unicorn! And, in the middle of looking for the jump ropes (which I still have not found), I found it!

Here are all four Fluffy Unicorns:

Fluffy unicorns

I feel like there should be some Minions in that picture.

I found a whole other bin of toys I had completely forgotten about in the course of looking for the jump ropes. I also found some framed pictures we took down for painting that never made it back up. So I took a couple frames down and put their contents in albums, and put up a couple of things. Three more to go. I'm trying not to net increase the number of framed things on the wall, since there are over a hundred things up already, which makes me ... uneasy, now that I realize what I've done.
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I ordered the desk today, but don't expect to receive it for a month or more. As I'm looking at these pictures, I am thinking, hmmm. Maybe we should have this room painted.

Looking from closet through space into master then the upstairs hall then A.'s room:

Interstitial space post case, pre desk

Looking from the master through the space into the closet:

Interstitial space post case, pre desk

We don't use the treadmill for about half the year, but then the other half of the year we are Really Happy It Is There. Since R. runs on it, replacing it with a low-profile walking treadmill to go with my new desk is, at least for now, not a possibility (we'd have to figure out a space for the treadmill that you can run on).
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Here's the upstairs hall after the bookcase was moved into place and then the toys rearranged (and a bunch moved out of the kids' rooms and onto the shelving in the upstairs hall).

These didn't get adjusted -- their contents have been, slightly. Also, a way better angle so it only takes one photo, instead of three.

Bookcase After

The new case, previously empty/with kindles:

Bookcase After

Here's where the metal and wood shelving went to when it left the upstairs hall. I'm not enthusiastic about this placement. It sticks out from the wall too much and you have to reach past it to get to one of the switches.

Playroom shelving

And the other shelving in the room with it, that replaced a sideboard that went away a few months ago, along with a dining table, chairs, leaves, cover. These fold up, which is cool, but are a little rickety. Only the narrow one had been in use; the wider one was stored. The narrow one was freed up as part of the current library purge. We cannot put some of the other cases here because there's an air return that we cannot cover up on the floor.

Playroom shelving

The white binder is this year's kid-art album. It's filling up too fast, so I'm going to have to edit it at some point.

Here's a blurrier picture of the same shelving (minus the narrow unit), from when I blogged about the rice mosaic hanging above it.

walkitout: (Default)
Yesterday, I took a picture of myself with Freshly Done Hair (purple!) in front of an empty bookshelf. Suggestions were made, like, hey, there should be a kindle on that shelf, just to sprinkle a little salt in it, amirite?

Today, I moved the books from a case in the interstitial space upstairs to the empty bookcase (I knew that wouldn't last long), creating a different empty bookcase, which I then moved into the upstairs hall, replacing one of the metal and wood decorative shelving units (it has since moved to the playroom downstairs, which I am not overjoyed about. Further rearranging will occur).

For that brief moment in time while it was empty, I put my current, soon to be obsolete paperwhite in its pink case, the original kindle, and the original kindles packaging all on a shelf and took pictures. I'm not overjoyed about the way they turned out, so I'll include two here: one that I like me in, and one where the kindles displayed well but I look like a dork.

Bookshelfie with kindles

And dorky:

Bookshelfie with kindles

Tomorrow, I'm going to get pictures of the upstairs hall; the new case is already loaded up with toys. Yikes. Also on the schedule for tomorrow: return the cable box (which we haven't used in, oh, a year or more) to the Verizon store so we quit being charged for it, and bring a couple old DVD players and an 8 year old TV (small flat screen) to HGRM. The TV is leaving because it doesn't have an HDMI in and we didn't have a clear need for it anywhere. The lack of HDMI in meant we'd have to keep around an old DVD player, or the cable box or something similar in order to play anything on it -- I couldn't just get an Apple TV and hook that up, which would be ideal if it was going to be a kid-tv in the upstairs hall. We had been planning on putting it on the deck (R. even got a bracket for it), but that was supposed to happen last spring and now it is fall and I don't feel like putting any more effort into it. Better to pass it along to some family that could make good use of it.

It does forcibly remind me, however, that the real problem with aging technology lies in the connectivity, more than anything else. Those pesky connectors, we love it when they improve them, but that's definitely where backwards compatibility gets tricky.

ETA: Looks like we're going to try a cheap Roku for a bit before moving the TV along, see how it works.
walkitout: (Default)
Back in July, I went around the house and took a bunch of pictures of parts of the house that were storage/organization related. That included a bunch of pictures of "book"cases that are not primarily used to store books any more. These are not _all_ the bookcases in the house -- notably, the bookcases with most of the books.

I'm about to move the contents of one bookcase to the currently empty case, and then move the former to join a bunch of other ex-"book"cases. I thought I'd put together a "before" (back in July) photo, and then follow it up with some "after" photos (September). In the interim, some toys have moved along to other homes and some new toys have arrived. Because I know I'll be taking another set of pictures, I'll probably do some additional editing. But here they are in July.

One of the shelving units, not strictly speaking a "case":

July 2013 household organization examples

The other one, which almost but does not quite match:

July 2013 household organization examples

You can see some of the cases next to it.

The top of those cases:

July 2013 household organization examples

The bottom of those cases:

July 2013 household organization examples

If you explore things in my Flickr account with that title, you'll find more repurposed cases in other parts of the house. I'm not including those in this post, since I'm focusing on the upstairs hall, where another case will shortly (hopefully!) be moved.
walkitout: (A Purple Straw Hat)
Back in November, I posted a couple of times about sifting through curios, deciding I wanted a very minimalist curio cabinet to display them in, having trouble finding such a thing and resorting -- successfully -- to Etsy.


Last July, I wandered around the house taking pictures of various home organization strategies for a possible blogging project that I haven't followed through on (and probably won't ever follow through on, altho you never know). Here's the curio cabinet:

July 2013 household organization examples

A previous entry on the topic: http://walkitout.livejournal.com/929138.html
walkitout: (A Purple Straw Hat)
I've blogged about this before, but I don't think I've ever posted pictures, because posting pictures was really unusual for me until quite recently.

Here's the Raggedy Ann and Andy rice mosaic. It's approximately 1 square foot and dates from sometime in the late 1970s. I had Acton Framers shadow box it; they did a really nice job with cutouts of hearts in the double matte.

Rice mosaic in playroom

And in context:

Rice mosaic in playroom

You can see the bottom of the CedarWorks slide in front of it, and the doorway to the kitchen with the Kikkerland clock above it.
walkitout: (A Purple Straw Hat)
I had Acton Framers use a blue frame and a yellow matte; the string art itself is blue and green. Once again, I was trying for a contrasting blue and wound up with something that looks like it matches in most light. We could have put it almost anywhere (the blue and yellow I picked out work well with the colors in a lot of the rooms) and I was originally going to put it in the playroom. But then I thought, we have this Bright Green bathroom. How would that look?

Strictly speaking, the piece is Much Too Small for the space. But I can live with that. Also, R. is going to have to fix the way I put it up, because I didn't get the two hooks quite level.

Note the unbelievably perfect match between the bath towels (really, they are so huge they are more like blankets) hanging on the rack and the paint. R. spotted those towels at Costco after the room was painted _without having a swatch on him_. Kind of amazing, really.

String art in bathroom

A close-up:

String art in bathroom

Every time I look at this thing, I think, "Why can't I remember actually doing this thing? I remember having it. I remember it being mine. I remember dismantling it from the sheet of construction paper they mounted it on."

And then I think, well, the only memory I have of learning how to scale a fish is tactile. And I have a tactile memory of doing this thing. Sometime in my early 30s, I was watching my then boyfriend pick out the wrong knife to remove scales from a fish, and then pick the wrong direction AND the wrong angle. I decided I did not care about his Sensitive Male Ego, yelled at him to stop, picked a nice dull knife, and got those scales off right Quick with minimal damage to the flesh of the fish. He looked a little stunned, and then wanted to know where I'd learned to do that.

I still don't know.

I must have had a very odd childhood.
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Upstairs bathroom is:


Master bedroom is:


Master bathroom is:


Ali's room is:


Teddy's room is:


We're planning on continuing the butternut squash from the downstairs hall through the stairs to the upstairs hall; it will be helpful mostly by not clashing with any of the bedrooms, which we made zero effort to co-ordinate.

ETA: We went with Aura for everything, matte or eggshell depending on the room. We didn't go satin (we're not, even in the kitchen) because the walls have too many imperfections that would show up.

We had one painter for the downstairs lav, and then D. for everything else. Both painters were familiar with Aura (or at least had a compatible painting style). As you can see from our selections, we are Big Believers in Color. We like Aura because it has great colors, minimal ruboff (everyone seems to claim none and/or no marking when touched, which is NOT true with really dark colors like the Tuscany Green -- but the marking problem is far less than I had with the extremely dark red I had from Ralph Lauren years ago. YMMV.), cleans well, includes an anti-mildew, IIRC, and has low/no VOCs. With a lot of paints, I have to leave the room in order to deal with the smell; with Benjamin Moore Aura, you can paint the room next to the one I am in, in the middle of winter, and I won't even think to turn a fan on.

It is double the price of a "normal" can of paint, however.


Living Room is:




Playroom is:


Up and downstairs hall and stair is:


Kitchen is:


Downstairs bath is:


R. asked about the colors in the living room for some unrelated communication and started asking me, and we realized we had never created a full accounting of what we picked, which might be useful to have.

ETA: We are about to become The House with the Purple Door:


I was thinking more along the lines of Pinot Grigio Grape, but we've decided not to mess around.

ETA: R. notes that we forgot to add the color for the third floor.

walkitout: (Default)
This has become sort of a reflex. I am unconvinced it is a good one, because it feels incredibly manic (R. concurs with at least the manic part), altho I get uniformly positive feedback from other people when I mention this is the current project.

Anyway. I poked at the upstairs hallway closet today, and saw a previously invisible pink dish bin, pulled it out and sorted through it. I was going to get rid of the dish bin, unfortunately, dish bins are so Useful, they are almost impossible to part with. So I cleaned it off and it's going to go up in A.'s room (which is pink) and become a corral-toys-while-appearing-decorative item for the bookshelf.

I have also been taking occasional swings at A.'s closet. There were numerous plastic crates stored there, mostly of clothing and shoes and so forth in upcoming sizes, but also some blankets and items in previous sizes and similar. The past tense items are moved along to the next step on the way out the door (trash in some cases, friends in others, clothing donation bins in still others). I'm down to two crates in there and still thinking about it. I pulled a leather duffel off the shelf in her room, finally accepted its probable unrepairability in conjunction with age (it dates from 1994 or thereabouts) and sent it along the way. It was _such_ a nice size, with really great organizing pockets, for a previous time in my life.

The laundry is ticking along, blondies are in the oven, T. is making a lot of complaining sounds in conjunction with a really serious attempt to play Angry Birds (he usually plays Rio, but this is the original game and I think it's harder) all the way through, and I'm working on a decluttering addition to my website. As part of the writing, I've been looking at various sites (books, etc.) and really starting to understand why they are the way they are, and why that annoys me. Which is good -- it means my thinking is becoming much clearer as a result of engagement with other people's ideas.

Yesterday, A. and I dropped off a rice mosaic at the framers. It's a square foot, which is pretty ridiculous when you think about it as a project for a 3rd grader, which I believe is when I did it. Very few people in the class completed the project; I did two, and I did them meticulously, lining up the rice in horizontal rows (except for hair, which went the direction of the hair, for example) and arranging the skinny ends of rice to match together and the fat ends to butt up against each other. I remember vividly doing this, even though I only have one of the mosaics (I have the Raggedy Ann and Andy one; the Snoopy one is presumably still in my mother's possession), and I didn't have it for the years between when I did it, and some time in my late 20s.

I did some googling to find out if this was a craft project that anyone still does. That's when I learned that a 6 inch square was considered a substantial project. That's also when I really realized just how obsessive my work was and how odd my choice of tools was (I used a toothpick to transfer the rice from the pile to the mosaic -- tweezers, a more typical choice judging by what people write about this, would have exhausted my hands but involved less precise technique). I asked R. if his teachers had them build toothpick houses; he said they used popsicle sticks. There was something really off about my teachers.

In any event, as I've been sifting through the contents of my closet (which has acquired things that are no longer sitting on top of my dresser, for example) and trying to figure out what to do with them (a Wonder Woman Pez dispenser that was given me as a gift. I probably should throw it away, but I might not get around to doing so for another year), I've been thinking more and more about converting some of these things that I like into decorative objects. I do not often have a strong visual idea, but this time, I do. I wanted a shallow, wall-hangable, hinged curio cabinet (where the whole front swings open). I found one on Etsy that was quite perfect but quite expensive and did another round of looking and turned up one even better for a fifth the price. It'll hold the silver punch ladle (it's much smaller than you are envisioning -- the bowl of the spoon is about a shot glass of liquid or a little less) from my first cousin once removed who I named A. for. It will also hold a few other odds and ends. I'm thinking one of the elephants from R. and maybe the pot with the lizard from I. Presumably other things will accrete -- that's how these things generally work.

I'm also trying to figure out a way to display R.'s typewriters, since collecting vintage typewriters has become Trendy while I was busy being glad that at least he wasn't collecting wooden console stereos from the mid 20th century or something similarly huge. It would be nice to have my punchbowl out, too, but that may be asking a lot. Figuring out a safe place to put a large glass object that is attractively visible but safe from two small children, well, that may be over-constrained.

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