Thursday, May 31, 2007

And scenes from the morning after...

I forgot to ask Steve how much money we got in bottle returns but I'm sure it could have bought him a sandwich at Wegmans.

So much beer left over: 72 bottles or cans, we counted. So much wine too. We gonna get liquored up for weeks.

Scenes from our housewarming party

I did a bad job at taking photos at our housewarming party this weekend. There were so many people coming and going that I kind of forgot to document it.

Steve's dad and my Uncle Ed handled the grill. We had chicken, hamburgers, veggie burgers, portobella mushrooms, and peppers smoking on the grill, and lots of salads and drinks inside.

Christen, Rebecca, & Courtney chill out under the party tent Steve's dad brought up. It's still up in the yard, I heart it.

Cool kids sit on the porch: Sara, George, & Serena. The party was both inside and outside the house, eventually we moved in because of the noise-factor. It's nice to be in the back house in a way because people could congregate on the porch without being on the street.

Another sign that we're too young and immature to buy a house: the only dessert items we purchased were two cases of Fla-Vor-Ice. Geneseo-friend Fiona demonstrates the general reaction to our decision.

Mustaches of Power: Jack, my Dad, Steve's Dad. Nuff said.

More cool kids on the stoop.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Across the street from us

Click the photo to see abandoned houses in their larger, more detailed glory:

Also, ignore the bad job I did melding these photos together. You can tell I messed around with their tints as the house in the middle doesn't match itself anymore!

Anyway, the brown house on the left is abandoned and that roof is seriously scary. The middle house is maybe empty and the white house on the left with the door wide open is definitely vacant. The white house way on the right is the start of a block of 4-5 houses belonging to Burmese refugees. Their kids sell lemonade.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Here Comes the Neighborhood

I moved back to Buffalo in March 2006 after a year of living on a farm and travelling all over the damn planet. At this point I knew Steve and I were going to actually make good on our "house idea" and so I did what any rational person would do: I tried like hell to make friends.
One day at the coffee shop, I picked up a copy of Artvoice, Buffalo's free weekly, and on the cover was a group of men and the headline, "Here Comes the Neighborhood." I quickly understood that it was about housing in the city--something I knew I should learn about because hey, I was looking to buy a house in the city--and began reading the cover story. The project sounded interesting and necessary, the issue riled me up, and after reading that PUSH Buffalo needed volunteers to help clean out its first cooperative house, I dialed their number.

Aaron picked up that day and gave me the run down on volunteering. I showed up, got really dirty while tearing out some old flooring, and met my dear friend Michael Gainer for the first time. Michael not only told me about this thing called deconstruction and this organization he hoped to start--tentatively called Buffalo ReUse--but he also told me about NACA. I went home that day and called Steve.

The rest is history.

I have a point though in retelling this history: I owe PUSH Buffalo my every happiness! Steve and I quickly identified PUSH and its members, organizers, and supporters as the community of which we wanted to be a part. Through volunteering five or six Saturday mornings at the PUSH house--Steve would drive an hour and a half just to paint some walls--we then found other communities, other friends, other paths. I'm sure we would've eventually found our ways to where we're respectively at today but the process probably would've been longer and less fun.

Hell, I met my boss at a PUSH barbecue!

With all this mind, I implore anyone in the New York City area to come on out to the PUSH fundraiser party in Manhattan on June 9th:

I will be there, working off my debt this amazing organization. If you're interested in hopping a bus from Buffalo to Manhattan for the party, give me a shout:

Wednesday, May 16, 2007


REHAB WORK. We did our first NACA-funded repairs on our house last week: two new furnaces and one new boiler. The boiler is sparkly and fancy and I think Steve wants to marry it. The company we used, TruTemp, was professional, responsive and especially great given the difficulties of working with NACA’s rehab department, known as HAND. This rehab work is included in our loan package so it’s not something we’re paying out of pocket but rather over the course of a fixed-rate, 30-year mortgage—yay! In the next couple weeks, we’ll begin our next major rehab project: a new porch roof on the front house, some new siding on the back of the rear house, and some chimney repair.

DECORATING. The living room continues to shape up as my lovely boss was kind enough to give us her hardly-used poposan chair. So, in one room, we’ve got a formal sofa and a poposan chair. What’s that Van Morrison line, the one that could describe our process of furnishing the house? Oh right--Bit by bit by bit by bit by bit by bit.

TRANSITION TIMES. I can’t speak for Steve, but I feel that The House is still an appropriate number-one conversation piece—sort of. I’m straddling a line between the newness of owning and moving into our house and the development of some semblance of a routine. My office is still a mess, there remain a couple boxes in the hallway, and I’ve got a list a mile long of all the shit we still need to do, buy, or fix but our kitchen has come together and we cook in it every day. I’ve begun writing again instead of just thinking about writing, and I know Steve is working on some music projects. So clearly, we’re getting used to our respective new lives in our new house.

PRESENTS. Growing up, we had lilacs and I always made “perfume” from them in the spring with my friend Kelly. Our perfume consisted of mashed lilacs, some water, and a couple drops of lilac-scented perfume that Kelly already owned. We sold it in Dixie cups door-to-door using a red wagon—seriously, we were that cute. Anyway, the lilac bush was destroyed in the October storm so you can imagine my delight when last week, I discovered that the massive bush between our yard and our neighbors was actually full of lilacs, on the cusp of blooming. Sometimes I feel like our house came with presents—like lilac bushes and door stoppers and pretty cupboards.

Friday, May 11, 2007

My office

So I really haven't been able to use my office yet since I still have boxes upon boxes of shit piled up all over the place. How descriptive of me--boxes of shit.

To be more specific, I've got entire IKEA magazine files full of Tori Amos lyrics I printed out in eighth grade (not to mention magazine covers) as well as the syllabi from almost every course I took in college. I've got cool scraps of paper that I can't wait to use for something and old office supplies from my high school yearbook office that were going to get thrown out--why not reuse, I thought? I am, in short, a ridiculous pack rat that needs a kick in the ass. I'm about 90% positive that this kick in the ass will come from my mother and probably in the form of her coming over to purge for me.

In the mean time, this is sort of what the office looks like:

At least the light is pretty and the color is nice. Whatever--I need help. Seriously.

The Grandma couch

So the other week I bought a couch at Amvets. According to Steve, lots of thrift stores have the names and numbers of people who will deliver purchases from the store to your home. The man whose name and number I was given is named Myron and he is Hungarian. Myron had a whole row of gold teeth and talked a lot. He was fun.

The couch is pretty and poufy and since it makes you sit up straight, Steve calls it a Grandma couch. Quite nicely, he did not mention that this also means the couch is uncomfortable. No, he waited until I admitted that myself. The exchange, occuring at the moment Steve began eating his dinner, went something like this:

Whitney: Wait, I wanted to talk to you.
Steve, walking towards living room: Hang on...
Whitney, following him: No! Don't eat on the couch--it's uncomfortable!
Steve, turning quickly: See! Ha! It is uncomfortable!

So I guess I bought an uncomfortable couch which now means we must find a super comfortable chair to accompany it. At least it's pretty!

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Discuss amongst yourselves

Friday, May 4, 2007

Faithful readers

I got an email from a faithful reader--okay, it was my Dad--about updating the blog more and yes, I acknowledged my laziness of late. A combination of emotional upheaval, the start of campaign season, a visit from a lovely friend, and nice weather really killed my energy for updates.

However, I'm uploading a big batch of new photos today and plan on spending much of the weekend at home. I vow to blog.