Friday, June 29, 2007

So long, farewell

I raise a toast to my own vacation.

I leave tomorrow for one-week, stimulus-free vacation in the Canadian wilderness. Unless Steve suddenly remembers we have a blog for which he is a "co-author," you won't see any posts up here until I return.

In the meantime, check out these great things going on in and around our neighborhood:

Urban Roots. Cooperative garden center near our house. We bought potting soil and a rake here and they are by far the best potting soil and rake I've ever worked with.

Buffalo ReUse. Yours truly is on the board of this fine organization--it was the first project I worked on upon moving back to Buffalo. Check out our salvaged materials inventory and the pictures of the most recent deconstructions.

Black Rock Advocate. Newly discovered blog about the neighborhood to our north.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Homeowner club

It seems like a lot of people I know are buying houses. My boss and her husband just bought their first, as did my and Steve's friends Eric and Rebecca. A couple other folks are in the midst of the NACA process too, soon to be homeowners themselves.

One thing that's struck me these first couple months is all the money we're spending on stuff like lawnmowers, sump pumps, and hoses. Sometimes these purchases can be delayed but more often they are of the immediate variety. For instance, the basement has flooded. For instance, the grass is 3-foot high. For instance, the basement flooded again.

With all this in mind, Steve and I recently sent out an email to our homeowner friends, suggesting that we create an informal list of household and yard tools that we wouldn't mind sharing. We volunteered use of our painting supplies, Steve's toolkit, yard & garden tools, and lawnmower. I suggested too that we think about purchase bigger items as a group, like a ladder.

I grew up on a tight-knit block and borrowing stuff from the neighbors was a regular event. Anyone out there have experience with this sort of communal sharing of tools?

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Making peace with my mom's clean-freakiness

My mother has often described her twenties as a time when she would vacuum her apartment multiple times a week and wax the kitchen floor every Saturday. She's always seemed to enjoy diving into that particular pool of nostalgia, staring off into the distance to imagine her dust-free windowsills and sparkling silver sink drains. I never understood how someone could be so turned on by a cleaning routine.

And then, yesterday, I came home from work and cleaned for five hours. It was great. After plowing through four loads of laundry and discovering where the funky smell in the kitchen came from (answer: moldy hamburger buns left over from the housewarming party), I felt peaceful.

I'm understanding, I think, where my mama was coming from. The life for which she reminisces is not necessarily a life of scrubbing floors on your hands and knees but of having enough time to take care of your shit, including the maintenance of your living space. I bet the same period of time in which she prioritized a well-vacuumed apartment was one where exercise, sleeping, and eating right were also honored. A time when she had the capacity to honor those priorities--and this is something to look back at fondly, to fight to maintain even as you learn to compromise.

So, if you're reading mom, I vow to never again snicker at your memories of clean living (especially because my birth probably threw all that balance out the window). My house will never be as clean as your standards dictate but I now understand your need for a routine as sane. And what's more, I see my recent crazy-busy week of letting the laundry pile up and the hamburger buns go moldy and working more hours than I care to admit as just what it is: crazy.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

It turns out...

...that hedge clipping is the most fun I've had in a long time. It's the adult version of cutting off your Barbie's hair. I kept looking around like Really? I'm allowed to do this? I can just cut this branch off, alter the landscape, and no one can tell me not to? Awesome.

It also turns out that the next day, my forearms hurt so bad my arms shook when using the phone or lifting a coffee mug to my lips.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Scenes from my home office

So a couple weekends ago I put together a bookshelf for my office. It's from IKEA so you can either exclaim, "Ooo, I love IKEA--awesome!" or call me a yuppie behind my back. Or if you're Steve and Micaela, to my face.

Anyway, if you've ever put together furniture from IKEA you know that they include wordless instructions and a crapload of wooden pegs, non-screw screws, and a set of allen keys. The instruction packet also features a happy little man who mimes something like, "Call IKEA if you need help!"

What follows is my photographic evidence of the process--from start to stop, frustration to frustration, bruise to ultimate triumph:

Those damn pegs pissed me off, I thought I would die one or two times when they kept popping out. Instead I hit things and swore.

Sadly, my office doesn't look much cleaner than this now...

Can you feel the chaos evaporating from my life? The cube-shapes are crying, "Order! Cleanliness! Success!"

Of course I picked the hottest day of the week to tackle the project. I was sweating a lot and took breaks to rub ice cubes all over my face.

Battle wound: it grew bigger and is now a nice, faded yellow.

Ooo, getting closer.

I own you, bitch: when I finished I sat on top of the bookshelf so that it would know who's the boss.

Yuppie-ville, here I come! Look at those baskets, those file folders, those boxes--so lovely. Seriously, I'm really happy with how this came out and can't wait to get the rest of the office squared away. Onward!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Is this what happens when you buy a house?

I asked for hedge clippers for my birthday. Seriously.