Work on the nursery is finally coming to a close. Hopefully this weekend the tremendous task of removing inch-thick velvet wallpaper, washing off 30-year old glue, sanding down the “textured” ceiling, skim-coating everything with joint compound, priming all surfaces, painting the walls and ceiling, and installing wainscotting will come to an end. And hopefully a good one.

Of course the fact that we’ve got a baby girl heading our way soon is bringing out The Woman’s inner princess. Not that she hasn’t always loved the color pink, but the nursery has given her an excuse to really use it as a primary color. Her last attempt was in our stairway. She didn’t even get halfway through by the time I got home and could only tell me, “It’s really pink.” I concurred and eventually covered it up with a somewhat burnt orange color that I originally wanted (win for me!).

Since she is currently limited to painting in 2 minute increments, the task of “pinking” the nursery fell to me the other night. It’s a rather emasculating task – even for a closet metrosexual such as myself. I have a love/hate relationship with the color. On one hand it can look absolutely fabulous when used right, but on the other hand it isn’t used right 95% of the time. And let’s face it, I’m not necessarily manly enough to pull off pink (and a skirt) like some guys. Thus I remain torn on it’s use.

Thankfully Boris’s Pink was recently added to eMusic, and was readily available to ironically get me through the process with gusto. And if you don’t understand that, you are neither as metal nor as wannabe-hipster cool as I am

Instant karma’s gonna get you

I believe it was right in the middle of a sentence explaining just how lucky we were to have not lost power that… you guessed it… our power went out. Somehow our block managed to make it through the heatwave that blacked out 75,000 houses in the area and then the monster storm hit over 200,000 houses only to be taken out in the aftermath. A quick call to PSE&G let me know that they would have power restored by 6 PM. Friday. Joy.

Apparently they must use some sort of default message to make sure nobody gets their hopes up. Instead you’re forced to start contemplating how quickly you can eat everything in the freezer. Fortunately it never came to that. We never even lost Internet connectivity. That’s because my own twisted priorities have made sure that all networking equipment are on battery backup while the equipment that provides us sustenance are on $10 surge protectors at best. But otherwise what else could we do in the dark but surf Cute Overload?

You could say that the power failure was a blessing in disguise. It kicked me into high gear and forced me to finish some of the demo work that was waiting in the kitchen. By the time the lights came back on, I was amazed at how much we had been able to accomplish around the house. With the TV out we became excellent workers – prepping our house for the work that awaits it in the coming weeks.

But then the electricity returned, and it was time to run around the house turning on every appliance we could. Ah, modern living…

The incredible leaking house

Just remember, when you stop one leak, God will provide you with another… I think that’s the proverb. At least that seems to be the appropriate one for this house.

For those of you not currently enjoying the wonderful heatwave up here in the Northeast, you’ve also just missed out on one frightening bit o’ thunderstorm that hit these parts. We’re talking non-stop thunder, lightening strikes that seemed only blocks away, winds that sent rain horizontal, and hail. That’s right, freakin’ hail. I don’t know about you guys, but I honestly can’t remember the last time I saw hail around here. While it may be common elsewhere, that’s freaky weather for me.

Thanks to our recent gutter cleaning, all of the basement leaks appeared to be holding well. No big deal considering how quickly these vicious storms can pass. But I kept hearing some strange noise along with the howling winds. Eventually I tracked it down to a window at the top of our stairs – one which we, of course, just recently talked about replacing. I’ve seen it leak a little before, but after five minutes of the torrential downpour outside the sill was overflowing and a stream of water was heading down some steps. Oh joy, because I just love every square inch of my house constantly being under threat of a random soaking.

Fortunately a bunch of extra towels and an old comforter stopped it up. But it got me thinking of the water issues in this house and how they keep staying one step ahead of me:

  1. Initial water found in basement.
  2. All boxes are moved to dry locations.
  3. Dry locations quickly become wet, too.
  4. Front gutters are cleaned stopping the leaks.
  5. Major storm dumps enough water to cover the entire basement floor – outright mocking my previous work.
  6. Basement is cleaned to the point that only major storms will affect it – good enough for me.
  7. Damp sheet rock is discovered in soon-to-be-built nursery.
  8. All gutters are cleaned, no more dampness in soon-to-be-built nursery.
  9. Water heater EXPLODES filling basement with 2-3 inches of water.
  10. Water heater is replaced. Everything in the house is now dry.
  11. Upstairs window starts flooding stairwell…

WTF! Could I just go back to some of the non-water related homeowner problems? Wait, we’re just about to renovate the kitchen. So please, a reprieve on homeowner woes. I beg of you!

The dandelion crop looks good this year

Those of you who have visited my humble abode have probably noticed there’s a certain section that I’m not exactly… er… proud of. Even though we’re excited about the kitchen renovation, there’s still a certain charm to the existing one, so it’s not that. The awkward shape of our “master suite” has served us well no matter how much I’d like to expand it (well, at least raise the roof a couple feet). And despite it’s semi-frequent floods, the basement is still the site of future cool endeavors that I can pseudo-brag about…

No, the overgrown and disheveled mess that is my yard offers the most embarrassment to me. And considering that most of my neighbors spend hours every weekend outside or pay for a service to do it for them the difference is… well… you get the idea. I mean, I use a push reel mower. No, I’m not talking about a push versus riding mower, I’m talking about one of those old-fashioned manual ones with no engine. So you can see just how seriously I take the outside maintenance.

This year was going to be different, though. I think I actually mowed my lawn before anyone else. The next weekend I spent a few hours removing what appeared to be barbed wire that had grown wild in the back. But just in time for me to do more work in the front – BAM! – the water heater went. And we got lots of rain. And suddenly spring kicked into full gear. And suddenly I walk outside to find the grass not only several inches taller, but filled with hundreds of dandelions. Because, you know, I was running out of challenges around here.

Walking by the disaster zone was a tad depressing, but between work and the more pressing needs inside the house there was no time left for cleaning up. And so I can’t say it was exactly a surprise when I cam home Thursday night with enough daylight left that I decided it was time to make things right that I found this in the mail:

Mow your lawn or else!

Awesome! I was honestly threatened to have my lawn ticketed. Is that the lamest way to break the law or what? Could you imagine if they actually dragged me to court because I was working too late and didn’t want to make my pregnant wife take care of the yard? Brilliant! The funniest part is that we always wondered what it would take to get one of these notices, and knowing is half the battle… Personally I think it was the dandelions that did me in. When all was said and done, they pretty much filled a large garbage bag – I almost feel bad not making a case of wine out of them. But after they were removed, the tall field of grass that remained wasn’t that bad. Of course now that’s it’s cut, there’s a little less personality to our property…

Just kidding, the place looks a lot less white trash, and I’m sure my neighbors appreciate that. Still, there’s part of me that wants to call up about the notice and go on some rant about how my taxes pay their salary and with the ridiculous costs of living in West Orange they should be mowing my lawn for me. Where would I be without righteous indignation?

Anyway, now that the front is looking normal, I guess it’s time to toss some gasoline and a match out back to clean up the rest…

Bed: Free to a good home

So, we have to clear some room for this baby thing. There’s a full size bed in what’s to become the nursery and have been advised that it’s too big for our incoming roommate. I didn’t realize just how much we’d have to adjust – next thing you know people will be telling me I can’t stay out drinking all night or blasting my music whenever I want… what a drag!

If any of you out there can use a full size, we’d be pretty happy to have you come and take this off our hands. It’s a thick mattress with a box spring and a basic frame. Don’t worry if you can’t take it right away, but definitely let me know if you can use it (otherwise we’ll put it on Craigslist or sneak it into a neighbor’s house or something).

I’ll be sure to keep you guys apprised of any other cool stuff that we’ll be ditching to make our home baby-ready. You know, like my authentic 15th century sword display or hazardous material of the world collection.

I may be a wanted man…

If you want to leave a car parked in front of our house overnight, you have to call the cops. We have a two car driveway, so it’s typically not a problem. But sometimes one of us will leave a car in the street until the other gets home based upon exit strategies for the following morning. And occasionally, we are just a tad too forgetful and a car sits out in no man’s land all night.

A recent bout of forgetfulness landed me a ticket. Nevermind the fact that there is something truly disgusting about a township charging you $35 for leaving your car in front of your house when they will also turn around and charge you even more in taxes if you expand your driveway to fit said car. Nevermind that, I was willing to pay the ticket. Except I didn’t know about it for awhile because it blew off of my car. So I get notice that I need to pay $45 now for my lack of clairvoyance, and do so by the 25th – they’ll even provide me with a nice website where I can pay. And if only it worked, I might have actually paid my ticket on time.

Now, according to the notice I have, they may have issued a warrant for my arrest. There’s part of me that wants to not pay the ticket to see if they’ll come for me. Wouldn’t that be marvelous? I could change the tagline for this site to “That guy who got arrested for parking in front of his house”…