Thursday, September 30, 2010

it gets better

This post/the embedded video made me cry. Good.ness.

a long time ago in a shopping mall far, far away

Source


Registering is still a terrifying pain in the *ss, but...I love that the very first thing that shows up on ours is a set of Star Wars cookie cutters.








So what if later on in the list is a $300 double boiler? The show opened with Yoda. Win. Done. Let's not have this fight again.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

gimme gimme (more)

Registering for gifts is...completely terrifying. And awesome. And terrifying. I really just want a Bamix immersion blender, Wusthof knives, and money. Blades blades CASH. But I know I pretty much have to register* and so that's what I'm doing. And now that I'm setting them up...turns out I want a lot of other stuff, too. Stuff like this**.

Stupid stores. With your marketing and your cuteness and your insanely high prices and your awdorable ice pop makers (and related accessories!). Harumph.

*I can buck other societal wedding standards by the dozen, but this one I just can't shake. I do not want an afghan with a puppy and a King James verse on it. I want sharp, sharp blades.
**Not on the registry. Yet.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

we are always so late for services

Sigh* Oh, this house. It's so fun. Last night, I made shabbat* dinner with Robyn and Brendan's help, and the roaches were EVERYWHERE. We kept trying to spray and kill them without getting poison in the food or knocking dishes off the counter. Ugh. So gross.

The night before, Leaf and I went for a run at the high school a few blocks from the house. It was great to get out and run after such a long hiatus, but it was drizzling which is my FAVE, so that was awesome. But then. We came back, and the 2 of us and Brendan made a quick dinner and my chest started itching. Would not stop. Eventually I excused myself to go to the bathroom (there's really only so much boob scratching you can do in front of a teenager) to check things out, and...cockroach. In my bra. In.my.bra. Good mother of salted caramel truffles, bug in bra. Surprisingly, I didn't scream. I did grab and crush and throw it instinctively, though. I'm still pretty grossed out about it.

And then yesterday morning, as I was in the shower with conditioner in my hair and scrub on my face...I heard Grandpa Tom yelling. I turned off the water to see what it was, and he shouted that water was dripping into the dining room. Great. I got out of the shower and rinsed my hair and face in the sink before leaving the bathroom so he could take a look. The access panel to the plumbing in the bathroom is also in our closet, so I got dressed and moved a bunch of stuff out of the way for him to get to the pipes. And then sat and listened while he mused about the problem. The problem which has somehow soaked the floor beneath the tiles, and next to the tub.

All I could think was, "Sweeeeeet, the ceiling above the kitchen/dining room is wet. It's like a written invitation for the bugs to migrate." And whaddoyaknow, later that day I picked up one of the floor tiles that has been loosened by the mysterious deluge, and a tiny cockroach scampered away.

I got about 3 hours of sleep last night because I kept waking up thinking there were bugs all over me. Happy Yom Kippur. This fasting-during-all-day-services thing isn't gonna work for me 'cause I need coffee. Post haste.


*Shabbat that kicks off Yom Kippur is apparently called "Kol Nidre." So that's really what I made. What.e.ver.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

COULD I BE ANY MORE JEALOUS?



Um. I think not.

Leaf! Leaf! We gotta go see Band of Horses, and then re-propose (dibs not it!) at the concert, and then try to reroute their tour plans for next fall to be near Northern Delaware! And then they'll totally come play at our wedding. Foolproof. Better yet: the Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs. I was just thinking Karen O's musical orgasms would totally enhance our ceremony. Maybe she could sing "Black Tongue" between biblical passages.

Sigh*

lay your weary head to rest (don't you cry no more)

I'm totally on A Practical Wedding!!! And by that I mean I'm in the back of a single picture, in a post composed almost entirely of pictures. I should probably just post the picture I've linked, but GEEZ I've linked it twice now. That just seems redundant. Click on the stupid things. I'll post a different picture. Hey, here's a good one:

Love.these.

In other wedding-related news, I'm gonna go to this next month with my mom and grandmother. I've never been to such a debacle, but that Sunday I'm [supposedly] running the Army Ten-Miler. It might be the most exhausting weekend of my life. I'll let you know.

But enough about the wedding.

Today we got a bureau!


Some people in a GAH-HA-HORGEOUS house in DC sold it to us for $50 after listing it on CraigsList.  The wife's parents had bought the bedroom set in 1953, and aside from the lower left handle (which is in the drawer and just needs new screws...they called us "handy" because we didn't balk at the idea of buying screws...unbelievable) this bureau is in amazing condition. Also the dimensions are perfect for our room. So is the color. And it was $50 (in case you didn't read that before). As in, the amount we almost paid for a clunky, beat-up dresser with drug-smoking-implements in the bottom drawer, which we found at the thrift store. The owners just had a tablecloth over it, and were using it as a table in their living room! How did they underestimate this absolute gem?! Color me baffled.

It really is the little victories. And whatever they're doing must be right, because somehow they can afford to own one of the most stunningly gorgeous houses I've ever entered legally.

Also I totes rearranged the furniture all by my lonesome, which made me feel all sorts of powerful. In middle and high school, I was pretty much an insomniac, and I'd rearrange my room several nights per week. Instead of sleeping. You'd be surprised how many ways you can configure a twin bed, a bureau, and a desk in a 10'x10' space. My parents' bedroom was below mine. They would not be surprised. In fact, they probably know exactly how many ways my room was arranged. Sorry, Mom and Dad.

Back to running: I should do that. And soon. I have 40 days to train my legs to run 10 miles. All at one time. My legs are scared.

Back to the APW meet-up: it was awesome. You know how when you're an adult it's really hard to meet people you actually want to talk to for an extended period of time? Go to an APW meet-up. Problem solved. You think I'm kidding. I am so not kidding.

Back to LIFE: Jaykay, I have nothing to say about life. It goes on.

Read this. Immediately. And that's all I have to say about that.

I just showed this poem (which I came across on APW) to Leaf, as something to maybe put in our wedding programs somewhere


From STILL LIFE WITH WOODPECKER
-–Tom Robbins
Who knows how to make love stay?
1. Tell love you are going to Junior’s Deli on Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn to pick up a cheesecake, and if love stays, it can have half. It will stay.
2. Tell love you want a memento of it and obtain a lock of its hair. Burn the hair in a dime-store incense burner with yin/yang symbols on three sides. Face southwest. Talk fast over the burning hair in a convincingly exotic language. Remove the ashes of the burnt hair and use them to paint a mustache on your face. Find love. Tell it you are someone new. It will stay.
3. Wake love up in the middle of the night. Tell it the world is on fire. Dash to the bedroom window and pee out of it. Casually return to bed and assure love that everything is going to be all right. Fall asleep. Love will be there in the morning.
He said if I did the second one, love would probably not stay. Call off the d*mn wedding.

Friday, September 10, 2010

shanna tourvuh

It is the wee hours of Day 2 of my first Rosh Hashanah. And lemme tell ya...Day 1 was pretty intense. We got to the synagogue a little before 10, and services didn't end until almost 2. Then we went to the late-grandmother's-bff's house again (this lady totes rules...she needs a more convenient nickname, though) and didn't leave THERE until 4ish.

Problem: I totally forget that high holidays were this week, and did not pack appropriate garb. The best I could muster up was a pretty casual black pants and white tank top combo, with a J Crew cardigan (gifted...I can't afford that ish). And the only shoes I had were Rainbow flip flops and [intentionally] frayed navy blue Keds. Ughhhhh.

Rosh Hashanah Day 1

Rosh Hashanah Day 1 by iheartpeachyring featuring a sandal shoe

Totally unacceptable. Totally. Hello? Me? I didn't even wear jeans to school until, like, 2nd grade. I wore frilly floral dresses to the playground. Dressing up and I are a thing. Today was...humiliating.

So I went shopping.

And I got this outfit (minus the cardigan which I already had...another gifted J Crew item...I have a good friend) for $40!!

Rosh Hashanah Day 2

Rosh Hashanah Day 2 by iheartpeachyring featuring silver flat shoes

The relative size of the shoes implied their importance. To my life. Which they complete. Also I got the dress for $12. Ahhhh, I love successful shopping.

Why am I even talking about this? On to the rambling other stuff updates!

So you know how the floor under the carpet isn't nice? Jaykay! Over dinner last night, I mentioned something about the floor, and apparently it's oak underneath. Oak. In perfect condition. Under the carpet. The problem? GPT got pretty prematurely defensive about us touching the carpet. At all. Sigh* Luckily, the floor is always the last part of any project, so maybe the results of other aspects of the room will help him to trust us.

And you know how we needed a bed? Also fixed! My Ship called her mom, who was going to sell her other daughter's full bed and frame, and they decided to give it to us for free instead! Score! I cannot tell you how luxurious a full bed is after sharing a twin. A twin that smelled like urine. And had phone numbers written on the frame. Classy. Here's our new bed:
I heart Swedes...and My Ship and her family

Tonight, while looking for a replacement bureau, we actually went up to Ikea, where I fell in Ikealove* with this guy:
Not Abba, but close
Except in the slate color. But it's $300!! Ridic. We'd found a bureau at the thrift store earlier for $40 that we both liked, but is a little beat up. We're going to go back and get it, sand it a little, prime it (we have Killz at home in Delaware), paint it dark grey, and then add some white enameled hardware.

In other high holiday news, Robyn is with the cousins in Philadelphia, and I'm not a fan of that at all. Today Brendan read the 2nd Aaliyah** completely unprepared and didn't mess up once. I know, I was shocked too. Tomorrow (orrrrr later today...Day 2...whatever) he's reading a torah portion. He's practiced it for Leaf a couple of times now, and Leaf says he's doing it right but it sounds preposterous to me. They use dots for the singing instead of bar music. And most of their prayer books don't have transliteration, which means I can't follow along. It's like the whole religion is designed to frustrate me. Personally. Me me me.

In more different news it's almost 2am and I have to get up in a few hours to wow the crowds at B'Nai Israel with my new rockin' threads. Because that's what religious holidays are for. Like I need to tell you that. ANYway I missed blogging and wanted to update all 3 of you. Because I guess I like you or something. Gross.

*Less intense than other furniture love. A sort of love that mixes and matches easily but can get lost in the shuffle.
**Not just a tragically deceased musician, but also the story of the foundation of the Hebrews. Jews take credit for everything.

Monday, September 6, 2010

t minus 363 days

Two days ago was 9/4/10. As in...one year before our wedding. So we went to visit our venue. And we LOVED it. Even more than the last time we were there.

But.

It smelled like mushroom farm. Which is a risk in that area. Anybody in Northeastern Delaware or Southeastern Pennsylvania knows what I'm talking about. So do we want to chance the wind blowing that smell directly at us? Or do we find somewhere else entirely? And if we ARE looking somewhere else, should we just move everything to the DC area? The only thing we've booked is our photographer, and it's probably actually easier for her to go to DC than DE.

So we'll see. Which is my least favorite conclusion ever. Hello? Planning? I've been dreaming every single night for the past two weeks that it's our wedding day, and I'm trying really hard to just relax and be happy, but all I can do is panic because I haven't DONE anything yet. Then I wake up, calm myself down, and then grumble a whole bunch because I just want to BE married. All this other garbage is ruining the usual fun of event planning.

I really dislike being engaged.

Friday, September 3, 2010

pack it in pack it in let me begin

I am head over heels in blog love. Again.

Meet My Ugly Baby

Ohhhh it is so genius. It's really well-written, and it makes me feel like we're not alone. Only we're fixing up someone else's house (inch by inch...and kind of without the owner always knowing), and those people have the incredible benefit of starting with an empty space. An ugly empty space, absolutely. But just imagine the garbage their predecessors must have owned. And then try to imagine hauling every piece of that out. While the owner's standing right next to you. That's pretty much our life right now.

But this is not a game of who-has-it-worse. I'm excited to see how their progress goes. And they've got me considering laminate for our floor. The hallway and stairs are hardwood, but the (disgusting) carpet in our room is directly on top of the subfloor. I really don't know how to work around dingy blue carpet, so that might just have to go completely.

OK, all this talk about the room makes me realize I should post pictures of the room so people know what I'm talking about.

It's pretty dark, but this is the view as you walk into the room (taken with my iPhone). This window is broken and needs to be either fixed or replaced.
The rest of the room as you enter. Please note the tiny bed on which we've been sleeping, and Laddie the dog relieved himself this week while I was driving Leaf to work.
From the back wall/bed area, looking at the remaining STUFF after a LOT of trashing and donating. Nice big closet!
Abysmal bureau next to the bed with pots of dirt on top and a weird plant in the corner
From the back wall/bed area, the first side of the room. That laundry basket's full of clean clothes, as I've been doing all the laundry I come across in the house, I'll have you know.
I like the camel. I have no idea why. But it's staying.
Remaining STUFF in the closet

Like I said, this is after a significant amount of cleaning and trashing and donating. We don't have many more items to remove, so we're getting to the point where we need to buy supplies and bring in furniture. Here's the current room furniture inventory:

-Twin bed frame
-Soiled twin mattress (it had lots of stains before Laddie ever got to it)
-4' tall shelves
-4' long bureau
-3' tall chest
-3.5' tall shelves
-Antique table
-Antique barber's chair (this is in the middle of the STUFF shots above)
-Office chair
-Large rectangular mirror
-Wall shelves held up with L-brackets (not sure whether these really count as furniture...)

Here's what's actually staying:

-3' tall chest
-Antique table (it's a family heirloom of GPT's)
-Antique barber's chair (GPT says we have to...it's too heavy to move ourselves anyway)
-Large rectangular mirror

Here's what we're going to bring in:

-A new bed (we don't know what sorts of issues our Wilmington bed might bring with it)...full or queen. Anyone throwing away a grown-up sized bed?
-Bed frame
-Long bureau from my old apartment
-Leaf's beloved television (and its related accessories)

My mock-up of the finished room, via mydeco. Keep in mind that it's hard to add pieces of art/personality to these things...our room won't be so sparse. But the bed will be made. Stupid program messing up the sheets...
Our plan is to stick with a very basic black (or other dark solids) and white palette, so our room will be as calm as possible. Where the shelves are will probably be the barber's chair, and the large mirror will be on the wall to the left of the window. Our favorite part of the idea is the chalkboard behind the bed, which should be pretty cool. We're undecided on the chandelier as yet. Here is the current light fixture:

Sigh.
I found the other 2 blades while cleaning, but only 1 of the holder onner thingies. We've talked about maybe spray painting the whole thing a charcoal grey. OR we could just replace it entirely. Really cheaply. Which is to say, not with a light fixture. Which means we'd need to put light fixtures somewhere else. Sconces? Table lamps? Whatever. Ugly light fixtures depress me. Stand by for awesome!

our house. in the middle of the street.

Source
Today is Shabbat. The first Shabbat for which I've been the primary chef. Last Friday we went to Leaf's grandmother's best friend's house. That's how Jews roll. If you're friends, you're family, and even after people pass away, everybody still hangs out together all the time. Which sounds nice, and mostly is, except when you feel obligated to include 5 gajillion people in every.single.thing.you.do.

Anyway, last week this family friend invited the 5 of us to her house for Shabbat dinner, and it was ha-mazing. She made some roast chicken dish that blew my socks off. When I asked, here's how she said to make it:
-Get chicken
-Pour any liquid over it (salad dressing, water, gin...literally any liquid according to this broad)
-Roast it

Thanks. So helpful. As far as the family friends go, I'll keep her. She got me out of making Shabbat dinner in any case.

I just realized I didn't get challah today. Ughhhhhh I am such a bad fake Jew...I'll have to get some at the grocery store later...

So this Shabbat dinner business is really stressing me out. Leaf and Grandpa Tom agreed that they wanted fried chicken for dinner (I've made vegetarian meals all week, and one night we went to Chili's...just FYI), and luckily they wanted the fried chicken from Max's Koshermart, which is about 8 minutes from the house. So Leaf put in an order for 15 pieces, which I had to pick up at 1. Because they close at 2. Even though sunset isn't until, like, 8.

I had thought I could make biscuits to accompany the chicken, but for 1) I would have to go buy flour and other baking ingredients, and 2) I hate cooking in the kitchen with all the roaches. Especially something like baking which requires rolling out dough on the contaminated surfaces. They're everywhere! There's even one IN the microwave, stuck (but still alive) in front of the digital clock, behind the plastic cover piece.

We talked with GPT about the exterminator quotes we got, and he thinks it's a waste, but says we're welcome to do it if he doesn't have to leave the house and if we're willing to pay for the treatment. So now we're debating that. They seem to be in the kitchen and dining room, which are both extremely cluttered, and that's a huge draw for pests. Duh. But we don't want to pay all that money for a treatment if the bugs can just hide in stacks of paper in the corner. BUT throwing away anything in the dining room is a huge uphill battle, since most of the boxes contain legal and financial documents. Whether or not the documents are still relevant has no bearing on whether or not we'll be allowed to shred them. Because once they mattered. And documents don't just stop mattering, do they? I think they probably never mattered because all of it is available online, but they're not my papers to destroy.

Anyway. Here are our current roach-related options:
-Pay $600+ for Orkin's services now, which may or may not be effective given the status of the house, but has a 100% money back guarantee
-Clean the kitchen and dining room (and, really, the rest of the house...no idea what the timeline would be for this) of clutter and THEN pay for Orkin
-Hold out until the end of the month, when we all go to Philadelphia for Sukkot, and GPT sets off a fogger, which helps to keep them at bay

Any thoughts? Leaf keeps ignoring my suggestions to raze the building, dump borax on the charred remains, and then build a new, non infested house.

Other input for quick, one-or-two pot kosher/vegetarian meals is appreciated, too. How do vegans feel about exterminating disease-ridden pests, I wonder? Oh, the things one has time to think while unemployed...

Thursday, September 2, 2010

my only thought is for the baked goods we're all missing out on right now

I am an idiot. I've been contorting myself and wearing out my wrists, thinking the only computer I had available was my iPhone. But, duh, The Foliage's laptop has been 2 feet from me this whole time. Yesterday and today. All day. I am so dumb sometimes.

Anyway!

Progress has been made on our new [excruciatingly humble] abode! I made a thrift store drop off this morning, and the car is almost loaded up again with items to be donated. Not to mention the bags of garbage to be taken outside (although garbage pick-up isn't until Tuesday...I don't know how they'll fare out of the house in the meantime...).

The other - arguably more pressing - issue is that of rodents. Specifically cockroaches. My lovely fiance told me that the house had a cockroach problem before we moved in, but didn't think it was too bad. However. It is. It is that bad. It is so so bad. It is open-a-single-cupboard-and-a-large-roach-is-falling-while-another-scurries-away bad*.

Grandpa Tom (GPT), who owns the house, apparently didn't notice them. He was shocked out of his mind** when we brought him into the kitchen and were able to point out several without even really looking. This could be because he doesn't spend a lot of time in the kitchen, though. I've been told that he had periodically been setting off foggers when he and the kids*** had gone to Philadelphia (where my future aunt in law lives with her practicing Jewish family).

So I've gotten 2 quotes for extermination so far. One from Terminix and one from Orkin.

And I have to say I've had quite a little moral dispute with myself over this. Going with nationally-known franchises over local guys? It hurts my soul. However. They offer better guarantees than the local guys. And with something as notoriously hard to beat as a cockroach infestation, I want a really good guarantee. And the biggest poison guns money can buy. Which the little guys can't afford. And now I have to stop thinking about how I'm not supporting an independent business before I start to sob uncontrollably.

Terminix:
-$491
-4 visits, 1 internal and external and 3 external
-Called me back at the time they said they would yesterday, and only once, and left a voicemail.

Orkin:
-$623
-7 visits, 1 internal and external and 6 external
-100% money back guarantee
-Will seal up all cracks and crevices****
-Uses human and animal-safe, EPA-approved poisons (I told him we'd leave for a few days if he wanted to use something stronger, but apparently they really trust this stuff that can't make a dog sick. WE'LL SEE.)
-Called me about 7 times today and never left a voicemail. I hate that. Really.

So I think we're going with Orkin. The guarantee and nearly double the number of visits kinda make it a shoe-in. However, now we have to convince GPT that this is necessary. He who has been a maintenance man for longer than I've been alive, and who thinks that running some water down the drain will deter the bugs, and a once-every-few-months fogger will do the trick...has to be convinced that $623 worth of extermination is worthwhile.

'Cause I can't make cookies in a kitchen where there are roaches everywhere. I just can't. And if I can't make cookies...what exactly is the point of living? Right?!

*Yes, we've gone from one infestation to another. Knowingly. We are aware of how ridiculous that is.
**You know. Not LITERALLY. Duh.
***They're not kids, but it's easier to say "kids" than "the teenagers" or "Robyn and Brendan" or "the members of the household who aren't me or Leaf or GPT...or the dog"
****One of the two windows in our room is broken. Like, completely broken. And there's a big hole in the wall on the back of the house. Seriously.