Thursday, January 27, 2011

7 Essential Skills You Need for a DIY Remodel

1. A champagne budget, and beer tastes.
If you have loads of money and you're good at making inexpensive materials look like a million bucks, then you will go far in your home remodel. If, like me, you can make a $4000 granite countertop look like it was installed by blind one-armed monkeys, you probably should just rent.
2. An eye for thrift store stuff that can be repainted/covered/re-engineered to look like something far more expensive.
I bought an old folding screen and intended to cover it with Marimekko fabric and place it in the living room. After moldering on the carport for three years, that folding screen went out with the trash.
3. The ability to negotiate for a better deal.
I have the reverse of this, where you pay far more than something is worth just because you're too embarrassed to haggle and look like a cheapskate.
4. Basic carpentry, painting and power tool skills.
I once cut myself with a hammer. If something needs to be plugged in, I will either trip over the cord or stick a finger in the socket. But I can paint like a mother.
5. Patience.
As if. 
6. A willingness to go with the flow and take setbacks in stride.
I painted our new steel doors a couple of weeks ago. Problem is, I painted them high gloss to match the trim. Never do this. In fact, I knew not to do this but it's like my brain had taken a nap for the three hours while this was going on. So there I was, just mechanically painting and thinking about old Seinfeld episodes and musing over which character I liked best when really they're all equally unlikable, then suddenly I realized what I was doing and my brain screamed, "What the hell with the high gloss paint, you idiot?" Then I started crying and pretty much just did that for the next hour. Then I spent two days scraping the paint off the doors and repainting them with oil primer and flat paint in the wall color. The doors look fab, but I have developed a twitch whenever I look at them.
7. The ability to know when enough is enough, and just call the damn contractor already.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

What a difference 8 years of marriage makes

It's 2002. Royal and I are at a luncheon with my co-workers celebrating our engagement:
Royal: (Pokes at salad on plate tentatively.) "Hey, these are dogwood leaves!
Me: (Gazing at him adoringly.) "Oh my God,  you're so adorable. My baby has never had arugula! It's so charming!"
Co-workers: Squeal with adoration in unison.

Eight years later, at the dinner table:
Royal: (Pokes at salad on plate tentatively.) "What is--"
Me: (Snarling) "Just eat the damn salad."

37 Songs

Today starts my birthday week (not that I'm celebrating for an entire week -- in fact, can I just say that I'm not celebrating at all? I still haven't really wrapped my head around being 37 yet) and because I was inspired by Laurel's road trip post, and because I'm a lazy blogger, here are 37 songs I have loved over the years that I will still love at 87, provided I live that long:

1. Bizarre Love Triangle, New Order
2. We Got the Beat, The Go-Gos
3. Come Dancing, The Kinks
4. Rock Lobster, B-52s
5. A Letter to Elise, The Cure
6. Ziggy Stardust, David Bowie
7. Space Oddity, David Bowie
8. Ashes to Ashes, David Bowie (I couldn't pick just one Bowie song)
9. Hold Me, Fleetwood Mac (I always loved this cheesy video, but why were they in the desert?)
10. The Weight, Aretha Franklin
11. Heartless, Heart
12. Electric Church Red House, Jimi Hendrix
13. Once I Had a Woman, Jimi Hendrix
14. Voodoo Chile, Jimi Hendrix (I couldn't pick just one Hendrix song)
15. Texas Flood, Stevie Ray Vaughan
16. In the Evening, Led Zeppelin
17. Misty Mountain Hop, Led Zeppelin
18. Immigrant Song, Led Zeppelin
19. Ramble On, Led Zeppelin (with the old Hobbit cartoon!)
20. Thank You, Led Zeppelin (Oh God, Led Zep was the soundtrack to my teenage years)
21. Why, Annie Lennox
22. Do I Move You, Nina Simone
23. Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out, Bessie Smith
24. Non Je Ne Regrette Nien, Edith Piaf
25. Wish You Were Here, Pink Floyd
26. Mother, Pink Floyd (and the entirety of "The Wall," the best album of all time)
27. The W.A.N.D., The Flaming Lips
28. Maps, Yeah Yeah Yeahs
29. Violet, Hole
30. Seether, Veruca Salt
31. Train in Vain, The Clash
32. Where is My Mind, Pixies
33. Une Very Stylish Fille, Dimitri from Paris
34. Shake Your Rump, The Beastie Boys (I used to have a huge crush on Ad Rock - he's still pretty cute)
35. Killer Queen, Queen
36. Let's Groove, Earth Wind and Fire (My all-time fave song to roller skate to)
37. Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin), Sly & the Family Stone

Happy early birthday to me!