Da Weekend

Apr. 24th, 2017 08:24 am
hudebnik: (Default)
Saturday: [personal profile] shalmestere went to her vielle and viol lessons, while I did some yard work. Met her for lunch, came home for a nap, then drove to Poughkeepsie for a really good concert of 13th-14th-century music on the theme of Dante. Had a really good barbecue dinner in Poughkeepsie, then drove home and crashed in bed.

Sunday: woke late, made pancakes (for the first time on our new stove!), took Moongrrl for a walk in the park. [personal profile] shalmestere spent a few hours finding and/or arranging processional-sounding pieces to play on shawms for an upcoming SCA gig, while I did more yard work.

In a previous post, I lamented the finish of the new cabinets in our mid-renovation kitchen. Got an e-mail reply from the manufacturer, saying "the veneer is a multi-step process, and we don't recommend trying to change the finish." Which is exactly what one would expect them to say: they have nothing to gain, and considerable to lose, by "authorizing" us to refinish their cabinets. So the reply doesn't carry much informational content. However, I have some scraps of leftover cabinet material, and we experimented Sunday with sanding and staining it. Preliminary results: some of the pieces are made of real wood, and they stain reasonably well. Other pieces are plywood with a plasticky veneer, and neither sanding nor staining has much effect on them. Fortunately, most of the plywood parts are internal; the parts of the cabinets that face into the room are mostly real-wood.
hudebnik: (Default)
The first phase of kitchen renovation has finished. The guy from the countertop company came on Thursday to measure the cabinets and make a template; now we wait two weeks for the "quartz" countertop to be made to order, after which they'll install the countertop, sink, dishwasher, and backsplash, apply finish paint to the window frames, door frame, and base molding, install a doorknob in the basement door, and various other minor things.

The bamboo floor is lovely. The ceiling (drywall rather than hung acoustical tile) is lovely. The wall paint (over the aforementioned five layers or so of various wallpapers) is lovely. The new oven, range, and microwave are nice (although I don't think we've actually used the new microwave yet). The light fixtures are lovely.

The new fridge has the same footprint as the old one and is six inches taller, so theoretically it should have more capacity. But I think it also has more insulation, hence less capacity. And it has different internal organization: no cheese drawer, one big fruit-and-vegetable drawer rather than two smaller ones, and the only place tall things can possibly fit is on the doors. (Since the fruit-and-vegetable drawer is full width, you can't open it without opening both doors.) We picked up some fridge-organizing bins at the Container Store yesterday, and are starting to move things into them in hopes of being able to find stuff. It has two pull-out freezer drawers rather than one big freezer door, which means ice trays have to be put on top of other (flat) things rather than having their own slide-in-from-the-front compartment. And, in a bit of bad design, things can easily fall off the back of a pulled-out freezer drawer: retrieving the fallen object requires reaching under the lip of the compartment above, over the back of the drawer, and down to wherever the object fell, and you won't be able to close the drawer until you retrieve the fallen object. We may need to buy a small trunk freezer and put it in the basement.

The cabinets appear to be sturdy, well-built, and well-installed, but the finishes look and feel more "faux-wood-grain" and plasticky than the sample we saw at the store. ([personal profile] shalmestere says it feels like living in a cheap motel room from the 1990's.) [personal profile] shalmestere did some asking on Facebook and some searching on the Web of How-To Videos, and concluded that we may be able to solve the problem by taking off the shine with 220-grit sandpaper or fine steel wool, then applying a coat of satin-finish (as opposed to glossy) Polyshades or something like that. Which I'm confident will work for the real-wood parts of the cabinets, but I'm not sure what effect it'll have on the veneer-over-plywood parts. I've written to the installers, and to the cabinet manufacturers, to ask.

We (mostly [personal profile] shalmestere) came up with a couple of boxes of clothes and seldom-used kitchen stuff to donate to the St Vincent de Paul thrift store yesterday. I dropped them off at their loading dock without sticking around to find out whether they were acceptable. We looked around the thrift store, but escaped without buying anything.

Went to the Greenmarket yesterday to acquire lamb for the Paschal feast, which in recent years has been a lamb-and-prune tagine inspired by Katniss Everdeen's favorite dish in the Capitol. Our preferred purveyor of lamb was out of boneless shoulder, and out of stew meat, so I ended up with leg steaks; still not sure whether we'll cut them up for stewing or cook them as steaks.

While I was there, I also picked up a couple of baby Thai-basil plants, which yesterday afternoon I put variously into raised boxes in the back yard, and the ground around the quince trees in the front yard. Also pulled up a bunch of weedy, stringy stuff from dead patches in the lawn, sprinkled grass seed over them, and watered them.

Today: Easter service, install a new motion-sensing lantern outside the front door, cook Easter dinner, consume mass quantities of chocolate, continue dusting and vacuuming after the kitchen reno, maybe mow the lawn, maybe do some more weeding, maybe visit the hardware store for more grass seed and refinishing supplies, maybe arrange rehearsal dates for a non-SCA loud band gig that is now less than five weeks away.
hudebnik: (devil duck)

A year or so ago we bought a set of six Stickley chairs at an antiques auction. They all needed to be re-caned, so we looked up some YouTube videos on how to do that, and put the chairs in the basement awaiting re-caning.

Naturally, that hasn't happened yet. But a few days ago [livejournal.com profile] shalmestere mail-ordered the materials, in hope that their arrival will spur us to actually do the job.

The YouTube videos seem to assume that you're winding your "fiber rush" (i.e. fake cane made of recycled paper) directly around the edges of the chair. If you look closely at the above photo, you'll see that the "caned" part of the chair is a separate piece that drops into the receptacle formed by the four sides, so the precise technique shown in the videos won't work: you need to be able to weave over and under the sides, dozens of times (multiplied by six chairs), frequently using both hands, which is difficult if you're also holding the seat-bottom. So I built a jig from scrap lumber left in the garage by the previous owner:

It looks cockeyed because it is, because the chair bottoms are not rectangles but isosceles parallelograms; the sides have a slope of about 1/10. I thought that was enough to warrant chiseling a slope at both ends of the stretchers to accommodate the square legs.

And here it is doing its job:

BTW, the jig is sitting on my "carpenter's bench", which used to be a butcher's block in a neighborhood restaurant that was going out of business. The "crafts area" in our basement is cramped, cluttered, poorly lit, and a work-safety nightmare, but better than none.

hudebnik: (devil duck)
We had been considering going to an SCA event this weekend, but it didn't work out for various reasons. So the night before last, [livejournal.com profile] shalmestere said "Wasn't there a concert that looked good but we couldn't get to because we'd be on our way to the event?" She looked on various web sites and discovered a TENET concert of Ars Antiqua and Ars Nova music, in two shows September 30. So yesterday morning she made some phone calls and nabbed two tickets to the early show.

It turns out that TENET is doing a series of three concerts this year focused on Machaut. This one started with Machaut's predecessors Adam de la Halle and Philippe de Vitry, continuing through Machaut's "early period" (i.e. pieces included in mss. dated around 1350); the second, in January, will be "middle period" Machaut and contemporaries; and the third, in May, will be late Machaut and "the next generation" (presumably Ars Subtilior, perhaps as far as Dufay). All three concerts will be in the same small performance space (seats about 40-50) on 13th Street.

I think this is the earliest repertoire we've heard TENET do: I tend to associate them with 17th-century music. And indeed, they're doing Monteverdi, J.S. Bach, Vivaldi, and Gesualdo this year, in addition to the Machaut cycle. But (with a somewhat different choice of personnel and instruments) they did a terrific job of it. Music director Scott Metcalf gave an informal but informative overview of Machaut's life and work, as well as controversies and trends in performance practice of this music, and he played a pretty mean vielle (and occasionally harp). Debora Nagy wrote neat instrumental arrangements of some of the songs, and played either doucaine, on untexted tenor lines against two voices, or Boudreau stick recorders (just like the ones we just bought) on noodly upper lines in all-instrumental pieces. Charlie Weaver, whom we met in the "Machaut Project" at our first Amherst workshop and who is often seen around town with a theorbo longer than he is, played a more reasonable-scale plectrum lute. Singers Jolle Greenleaf, Luthien Brackett, Owen McIntosh, and Jason McStoots, in various combinations, took the texted lines and sometimes vocalized on untexted lines, blending well while remaining distinct enough to make out what their disparate lines were doing. We were particularly impressed with Luthien Brackett's clear, unfussy alto voice.

After the concert, we stopped for ice cream and were still home by 10 PM, which is pretty nice.

Now the weekend starts. I think it'll be largely a cleaning-and-home-improvement weekend: our dishwasher just died, and at thirty years old it's apparently irreparable, so it needs to be replaced. But we were planning a complete kitchen renovation some time in the coming year, and it seems silly to install a new dishwasher just before the renovation, so the renovation may have moved way up on the urgency scale. We'll probably see a movie or two in between house-related errands.
hudebnik: (devil duck)

We had an inch of snow last week, but this is the first snowfall of the winter that anyone would bother shoveling.  The blizzard warning says "accumulations of 15-20 inches" before the storm tapers off around midnight, but I think that may be an underestimate: as of 10:00 AM, I measured 10" on the front steps and 15" in the middle of the lawn.  It's still falling at a good clip.  I shoveled the steps and halfway to the sidewalk, just so there's a bit less shoveling to do later on and so the dogs can get out and relieve themselves.  It's lovely, fluffy snow, neither slush nor powder.

Being snowed in would be a lot more fun if the oven worked.  As nearly as I can tell, the bottom igniter gave up the ghost two or three days ago: the stove and broiler still work, but not the thermostat-controlled "oven" part.  The recommended procedure to confirm that the igniter needs replacing involves an electric multimeter, which I had for many years but which has disappeared in the past few months (I have a vague memory of throwing it away because I couldn't find all the parts).  An igniter costs about $65 and can apparently be installed by an ordinary person, but I don't know if anybody within (say) five miles would have igniters for this particular model of oven in stock, and I'm certainly not driving anywhere to get one today.  I guess we can mail-order an igniter and just not bake anything for the next few days.  We still have, as mentioned above, various other cooking devices: stove, broiler, microwave, crockpot, waffle iron, sandwich press, etc.  And if we REALLY need to bake something, we can use the broiler in combination with an oven thermometer.

If the storm takes out our electric power, of course, all we've got is the stove.

Edit, 7 PM: I did another round of shoveling after brunch, and another just now.  There are 27" in the middle of the front lawn.

Edit, 9 AM Sunday: The snow plows have come through, both in front and in back of the house.  Which means there's a sizable wall of snow between the curb and the roadway, in addition to the stuff between the garage and the curb.

hudebnik: (Default)

The attentive reader will no doubt recall the sidewalk-repair saga. (The attentive reader needs to get a life.) One side effect of the sidewalk repair was a pile of leftover slate paving-stones in the back yard.

[livejournal.com profile] shalmestere has been suggesting for a while that we grow something in the narrow strip of dirt-and-gravel between the (concrete) back yard and the garage... but the slate was piled up there.

A few weeks ago I got an odd letter from the City Department of Environmental Protection. Seems they have a chronic problem with storm runoff overwhelming the sewer systems, and it occurred to somebody that if they could spread the rainwater over a longer period of time, they'd be fine. So they got a bunch of plastic barrels from an olive importer that didn't want to ship empty barrels back to Spain, drilled some holes in them, and dubbed them "household rain barrels", to be used to collect rainwater that can subsequently go onto lawns and gardens (presumably when it's dry and the sewers have lots of unused capacity). So they're giving away these rain barrels and kits to attach them to your gutter downspout, for free. Of course, if you want to run a garden hose from the barrel, it really ought to be elevated...

So I decided to move the slate paving stones from one side of the yard to the other, so I could put the rain barrel on top of them, near the downspout, and also liberate some gardening space.

One little problem: there were four full-sized paving stones, weighing (if I'm doing the arithmetic right) an average of 300 pounds. In addition, I wanted the biggest one on the bottom, and they were actually in the order 1, 4, 2, 3, so it was going to take some shuffling.

cut for pictures )

Take that, Cheops!

hudebnik: (devil duck)
As of some time today, the newly-installed photovoltaic panels on our roof have been turned on, and the electric meter is actually running backwards (I checked a few minutes ago).

The traditional stumbling block to home solar panels has been up-front costs. In recent years, a number of companies have started leasing rather than selling solar panels: they pay the up-front costs, take care of the maintenance, claim the tax breaks (as owner), and take a monthly lease payment in exchange. We're working with one such company, Sungevity, which offers a wide range of financial options: if you've got the cash, you can pre-pay 20 years' worth of lease payments (but they're still responsible for maintenance), or you can pre-pay nothing at all and do it all monthly, or you can pre-pay various amounts in between. The more you pay up front, the less you pay in total.

ETA: If anybody reading this is interested in going with Sungevity, contact me so we can count it as a "referral", and you and I both get a couple hundred bucks bonus.
hudebnik: (Default)
Last week, after ten years of "putting it off" and a month of scheduling delays, we had some workmen in to replace the bedroom ceiling. The acoustical tiles (which had been hung poorly, so they'd been sagging since we bought the place) are gone, and replaced with drywall. The overhead light fixture, which was a couple of wires, has been replaced with a proper junction box, braced to hold 250 pounds or so (I saw one of the workmen doing pullups on it).

So over the weekend we went to Home Depot, bought a ceiling-fan-light fixture, and installed it. When we flipped the circuit breaker, there were no sparks, no smoke, no explosions, and the fan started turning. When we turned on the light, it lit up. The bedroom is both more attractive and more comfortable.

Since we had moved some of the furniture out of the bedroom in preparation for the ceiling repair, we're taking the opportunity to finally put down some quarter-round where the baseboards meet the parquet floor we installed three years ago.

This morning I took the car to the body shop to have the hood repaired after a misunderstanding with a truck on the LIE. It was a gorgeous day, so I loaded my bicycle into the back and came home that way. The car should be ready in two or three days.

And I've confirmed a reservation at a B&B for the first night of our trip to Ireland. There are a bunch more reservations to be made, but this is a step in the right direction.
hudebnik: (Default)

Last Wednesday, the switch controlling one of the two overhead bathroom lights decided it would no longer turn off. So that night we just closed the bathroom door and the bedroom door and ignored the light. I made some attempt at looking up electricians before leaving town for a conference, but had more urgent things on my mind.. And by the time I got home last night, it was working again. I presume there's still a problem and it still needs to be fixed, but it's on the back burner now.

So today we came home from running errands, put down our bags in the kitchen and dining room, and I went to hang up our coats on the enclosed porch... and couldn't get out to the enclosed porch. The door was unlocked, and the doorknob turned normally, but it had no effect on the bolt. I went out the back door, around the house, and in the front, and couldn't get the door to open from the outside either.

So I got some screwdrivers and removed the doorknob. No dice. I couldn't remove the plate, because the door was still closed. I got a hammer and knocked the pins out of the hinges. No dice. I started trying to pry the bolt open with a screwdriver, and all I got was the sound of splintering wood. So I figured the door was already seriously compromised, continued prying and splintering, and eventually pulled the bolt assembly completely out of the wood.

So now we can get in and out of the enclosed porch, but we really need a door there. Home Depot, here we come....

Posted via LiveJournal app for iPhone.

hudebnik: (Default)
I just got a phone call from a company called "Brooklyn Union Maintenance" offering to inspect my furnace for fire safety and carbon monoxide. "According to our records, the last time this was done was over two years ago. Would you be available for an inspection tomorrow afternoon? As always, there is no charge to you."

This puzzled me, so I asked "Wait: there's no charge? Then who pays for it?"

"The State and the Fire Department."

This seemed at least remotely plausible, although I'm not sure either of those entities has spare cash lying around to spend on private furnace inspections, but I went on: "Have I done business with your company before?"

"According to our records, the last time this was done was over two years ago." (Yes, you said that, but you haven't actually answered the question.)
Anyway, I tentatively made an appointment, hung up, and went to check them out.

Angie's List and Google showed a lot of entries entitled "Scam artists pray [sic] on senior citizens," "Fruadulent [sic] company," etc. So I called the gas company (which used to be called Brooklyn Union), and once I got a human, asked about Brooklyn Union Maintenance; the operator said "Yes, we've heard of them; they have no connection to us, and we're not sure they're a legitimate company at all. We recommend that customers not let them into the house, and don't give them any information."

Fortunately, *69 tells me the number of the last incoming call, so I called the alleged company back and said "My schedule for tomorrow won't allow me to have the furnace inspection after all. But I've got your number in case I want to reschedule. Thank you."


Oct. 2nd, 2010 04:12 pm
hudebnik: (rant)
So some time in July we got a certified letter from the City saying our sidewalk was a tripping hazard and needed repair. We could do it ourselves, or hire a contractor to do it, or leave the City to do the job.

According to the original citation letter, you have 45 days from the day you received the letter to decide which of the three options to take, and inform the City; if not, they'll assume you want their contractor to do the job, and will rip out all the century-old bluestone flagstones and pour concrete in their place. We didn't want to see that done, so we hired a contractor. (The timing was a bit dicey -- their contractor was working a few blocks away, and we were worried that they might show up and jackhammer the bluestone just before our contractor showed up to fix it -- but it all worked out OK.)

In fact, the sidewalk behind our house was in much worse shape than the sidewalk in front, but we didn't have a citation for the back sidewalk, and it's been an expensive year, so we decided not to get the back sidewalk fixed at the same time. Our contractor leveled the stones on the front sidewalk, put some mortar in between them, mortared together a few cracked pieces... I don't know that it was a spectacularly good job, but decent. I called the relevant City office to ask them to re-inspect the property and remove the violation from their database.

So today I got another letter from the City. They did not remove the violation from the database. They said the repair was insufficient, because it involved patchwork and they insist that the whole flagstone be replaced (which they didn't tell me in advance, and which the contractor didn't know). Furthermore, they said the back sidewalk is a trip hazard and needs to be fixed -- presumably without any patchwork, replacing entire flagstones. And I don't think we have enough flagstones to complete the job, so we would need to buy some. Bluestone flags don't come cheap; in fact, they're hard to find at all.

The neighbors on both sides also got citation letters, a month later and not by certified mail (so they have the option of claiming they never received the letter). One of them has a corner lot, with much more sidewalk, and his contractor is quoting a figure about five times what I paid for my front sidewalk, so I think he's going to have it all replaced with concrete -- which means he'll make his bluestone available to me and the other neighbor. And they say there's another person on the block who still has a bunch of bluestone piled up in her back yard from when her sidewalk was replaced with concrete. So maybe between all of these sources, we can at least keep a few properties' worth of century-old sidewalk.

We're going to talk to the local Historical Society and see what they recommend.


Nov. 4th, 2009 12:55 pm
hudebnik: (Default)
About a month ago we ordered a couple of quince bushes to put in the front lawn. They arrived yesterday (the nursery doesn't ship until they go dormant in the winter, or something like that), so I decided to plant them first thing this morning.

Planting quince bushes is not particularly complex or difficult, but removing the previous occupants of that space -- a pair of 20-30-year-old boxwood (?) bushes was decidedly more involved. I got the second baby tree into the ground around 11:15, then started cleaning up. I have now had lunch -- a sort of desperate get-food-into-my-body-before-I-crash affair -- and it's nap-time. There are pictures, but I'm too tired to deal with uploading them right now.
hudebnik: (Default)
We've lived in this house for almost eight years, and I think I've gotten one phone call offering to clean my chimney. I just got two such phone calls, from two different companies (at least they claim to be two different companies, and they quote different prices) within an hour.

Of course, the weather has started getting cool, so we ought to have it done before turning on the furnace for the winter.
hudebnik: (Default)
I guess this got a bit long; let's put it behind a cut. )

Time to walk the Things and go to bed....


Nov. 11th, 2007 07:46 pm
hudebnik: (Default)
Saturday morning [livejournal.com profile] shalmestere and I headed into the city to the Chocolate Show, which has become an annual ritual for us. About a hundred different chocolatiers, mostly either so high-end or so local that only serious foodies have heard of them... giving free samples of their wares to entice you to buy them... discussing the relative merits of Madagascar Criollo vs. Venezuelan Trinitario or Colombian Forastero, and which would be most appropriate for what sort of confection... expert chefs giving lecture-demonstrations to packed houses of foodies (or just people who wanted to sit down). This year there was a surprise vendor: Mars, with its free samples of M&M's, looked really incongruous between the ultrasophisticate makers pushing lavender-and-sea-salt bonbons, cinnamon-and-chili-spiced chocolate-covered cocoa nibs, etc.

This year, also, they changed the rules and didn't stamp people's hands so they could leave for lunch and come back in. This was an unpleasant surprise to us, who had planned on doing just that. But we had arrived before the 10 AM opening, and by 2 PM we had visited most of the vendors and our eyes were crossing from sugar and theobromine. So we went out to walk off the buzz on the way to Hill Country Barbecue, which we hadn't tried before. We followed the chocolate orgy with a meat orgy, and the combined effect left us with no interest in dinner (in fact, I wasn't really hungry even the next morning).

Sunday was devoted to Home Maintenance. Thing Two had torn up the front lawn doing leash-radius donuts around [livejournal.com profile] shalmestere, so we tore up, raked, and seeded the rest of it so it would look uniform, rather than like a poorly-executed alien crop circle. [livejournal.com profile] shalmestere did about ninety-leven loads of laundry and scrubbed some woodwork, I did two grocery-shopping trips, cooked three meals, and washed a bunch of dishes, and we both sorted through the papers and junk that are currently piled on top of the spare bed (in which my mother will be sleeping in about 72 hours). It was a pleasant, if chilly, day, so we took the Things for a walk in the park before dinner.

As we cleared the table and put away leftovers after dinner, we heard a doleful cry from the living room. Thing Two was standing, holding his right hind leg up, and crying in pain. We couldn't see anything wrong; I massaged it and worked the joints, and in about thirty seconds he had stopped crying and was putting weight on it again. Muscle cramp, maybe... but the same thing happened (to the left hind leg, IIRC) a few days ago, and we're having horrified flashbacks to Thing Negative One, who yelped inexplicably whenever he turned over for months before abruptly becoming paraplegic due to an undiagnosed tumor on his spinal column.

Da Weekend

Oct. 28th, 2007 09:20 pm
hudebnik: (Default)
After the aforementioned shopping trip to the nearby farmer's market, [livejournal.com profile] shalmestere and I packed the car and went to the von Halstern "Winter Wolf Tournament". We're not in Haus von Halstern, and we have very little interest in the average SCA tournament, but [livejournal.com profile] murieldechamay's husband was doing the dayboard and feast, so.... It rained for much of the day, which scared off a lot of tourneyers, but for those of us who had planned to spend the day indoors, it was a pleasant, laid-back day. We chatted (with [livejournal.com profile] murieldechamay, [livejournal.com profile] tashadandelion, and a bunch of other people some of whom surely have LJ accounts but I don't remember them) about music, Renaissance clothing, and the usual SCA gossip. Every few minutes we would get up and grab some more food from the fabulous dayboard, or [livejournal.com profile] shalmestere and I would play some music... we even watched a few bouts of fighting, which had been moved from the soggy soccer-field onto the less-soggy asphalt but were still fought in the rain.

[livejournal.com profile] murieldechamay had warned us "This is a von Halstern feast: it'll be meat, meat, and more meat." There were a reasonable number of non-meat dishes, but the description was basically accurate. The special theme for the day seemed to be "Bambi": I had about three slices of ground-venison pie with lunch, a bit of venison jerky in the afternoon, a bowl of venison-and-barley stew with dinner, and we brought home some leftovers of both the pie and the stew. There was also roast pork (which went nicely with the very spicy apple-garlic (?) sauce), and fall-off-the-spoon-tender beef, and spinach, and other good stuff, of all of which I was unable to eat as much as my tastebuds wanted because I was so full from dayboard.

No after-dinner dancing was scheduled, so we packed up and got home at the unheard-of hour of 8:30 PM.

Today (Sunday) was gorgeous, clear, and chilly. I was going to make pancakes or waffles for breakfast, but found we were short of ingredients, so I had to run to the grocery before finishing breakfast prep. We walked the Things for about an hour in the park (did I mention it was a gorgeous day?), then spent a less-pleasant hour at Home Depot and a hectic time at Trader Joe's (which I gather opened two days ago, so it was jammed). Once home, I tried to install a new ceiling light fixture in the bedroom, giving up because there didn't seem to be any way to attach the thing without an outlet box already installed behind the ceiling (I don't think there are any ceiling outlet boxes in this house, just wires and the occasional threaded rod coming out of the ceiling). As a fallback, I installed it in the enclosed porch, where the ceiling is (I think) solid enough to put screws into. Anybody know how difficult it is to install outlet boxes?
hudebnik: (Default)
We did not go out of town. We did not go to an SCA demo. We did not get together with my cousin. Couple time.

Friday night we went to L'Ecole, our traditional celebratory-dinner spot (four-star cuisine for, let's say, three-star prices because the cooks are all students getting graded on their work). It was fabulous as always, despite the menu being slightly different from what [livejournal.com profile] shalmestere had read on the Web.

Saturday morning we went to the farmers' market (the one in Union Square, since the one a mile from our home hasn't opened yet for the season :-( ), chatted with farmers about their craft (sorta like chatting with SCA artisans about what they do with their hands) and bought some lovely fruits, vegetables, and meat. Dinner was grilled lamb steak, purple carrots, and sugar snap peas, followed by vanilla ice cream topped with really fresh raspberries (pureed with a bit of Grand Marnier). Yum! Somewhere in between, [livejournal.com profile] shalmestere finished sewing together the body of a fully-lined linen Gothic Fitted Dress; our nemesis, the sleeves, still lie ahead but the body looks really good.

After the traditional Sunday-morning low-carb pancakes, we went to the beach for the first time this year. The water was lovely, we started re-reading Order of the Phoenix and Half-Blood Prince respectively, and we'll probably both have sunburns tomorrow despite sunscreen and a beach umbrella. On the way home, we stopped at Circuit City and, as an anniversary present, bought a new clock radio that will talk to the iPod. (We'd been thinking of the Bose, but the iHome seems to do all the same things, with almost the same sound quality, for a fifth the price. Check back and see if that assessment changes over time....)

Tomorrow, back to work.


Dec. 22nd, 2001 07:29 am
hudebnik: (devil duck)
Major life stress #4: we bought a house yesterday.  We spent two hours signing and initialing papers without reading them, which is scary, but if we had stopped to read them all and have our lawyer explain them, we'd still be there.  There was only one hitch: the mortgage company wanted proof of our liquid assets, e.g. a bank statement, which we hadn't provided earlier because our bank, headquartered two blocks from the World Trade Center, hadn't sent out its September statements until November.  I offered to drive home and retrieve the latest bank statement, but that would have added an hour, and the various lawyeres had other closings scheduled later in the day.  So I called the bank, was told "all customer service representatives are currently busy," and left a message asking them urgently to fax a copy of our statements to the mortgage company's lawyers.  Their voicemail system refused to take my message because it was too long, so I tried again, speaking faster.  On the third try I succeeded in leaving a message, only to be told "Thank you.  Your message will be responded to on the next business day."

I went on signing for a while, called back twenty minutes later, and was put on hold for an estimated ten minutes (progress over simply leaving a message).  While I waited, our lawyer called the mortgage company and was put on hold himself.  Twenty minutes later I got through to a human and was told I could only do this transaction in person at a branch, not over the phone.  Meanwhile, our lawyer got through to a human and successfully convinced the loan manager to drop the requirement for verification.  So then things went through fairly smoothly.

We didn't actually go to the house until after dinner.  The first priority was finding out how difficult it would be to strip wallpaper, as we wanted to do that and paint the walls before pulling up the wall-to-wall carpeting, before moving furniture in.  We were pleasantly surprised: the wallpaper came off easily, in large pieces, and we had removed all but a few tiny patches from living room, dining room, stairwell, hallway, and master bedroom in about an hour.

So we're going to Home Depot this morning to buy paint and painting supplies, then to the house to smooth, prime, and paint the walls.

Except that I still have two sets of final exams and 2-1/2 sets of homeworks to grade, so I can turn in letter grades, which are theoretically due today.

Odo has been standing with his head in my lap, whistling and whimpering, for half an hour, so I'd better get dressed and walk the dogs.


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