Monthly Archives: January 2007

Midweek Already?

I guess I haven’t been real talkative this week, but there hasn’t been a whole lot to talk about, either.

Last weekend was busy: After doing some work around the house and some shopping, takaza and I headed down to Naperville for emrldgirrl‘s birthday party. Much fun was had by all! I made a couple of roasted chickens with potatoes (arr num num num!), which were quickly demolished, along with the ton of other food that was there (see what happens when you suggest a potluck to this lot?). Sunday was the Midwest FurFest kickoff meeting, with a little bit of recap from the past year thrown in (I just cheated and summarized my Registration report). Afterwards, we had some nice pizza-and-socializing, and ideas for guests of honor and themes were kicked around.

Since the weekend we’ve been working a bit on the house. Of the four blinds that I ordered from JC Penney’s, I mismeasured/misordered two of them. One was easy to take back to the Penney’s at Gurnee Mills, the other we’re not quite sure about. It annoys the heck out of me that the window openings are 70.5 inches wide but the only off-the-shelf blinds you can get are 72″ wide. If I can locate our Dremel set, I intend to try to cut down the one for the guest bedroom. We hung the blind in the stairwell and it looks really nice – I’m happy with the faux-wood horizontal blinds. I have re-ordered the shoji panels for the kitchen (at the proper length this time), and the blind in Dan’s office is going to have to wait until the window is repaired. We still need to figure out what to do with the living room window, though.

Tonight I need to hit the grocery store, and I’ll probably stop by Homo Depot and see what blinds they have in stock that can be cut down. Projects for tonight include clearing away the boxes in the master bedroom, and possibly getting the bookcases up in the guest bedroom. We’re having a few folks over this weekend, and I’m really hoping we can get the place 100% into shape by then. We’ll see what happens, I guess.

TGIF, Baby!

Friday’s here, and it’s just when I needed it! It hasn’t been too bad of a week, but I’m looking forward to the weekend and getting more stuff done.

On Wednesday, I picked up takaza from work. The blinds we ordered (for the stairwell, kitchen, guest bedroom, and Dan’s office) had come in and were too heavy and bulky to carry on the train. We loaded everything up and headed over to Mitsuwa Marketplace. See, we found our old rice cooker in all of the boxes and Dan made some rice with it. Which burned, the way it always had when we used it before. This is just completely unacceptable, particularly since we make rice two or three times a week. Having envied linnaeus his nifty rice cooker, we went to Mitsuwa and picked up a Zojirushi Neuro Fuzzy rice cooker We even double-checked the price on Amazon, which I didn’t realize offers a handy mobile interface. Surprisingly, Mitsuwa beat Amazon’s price by a good $50.00, so we bought it on the spot, along with a good supply of sushi rice. Afterwards we wandered up to Wauconda and found a lovely coffee shop there, Honey Hill Coffee Company. The guy who owns the place is very nice, makes a good cappuccino, and they sell Intelligentsia coffee beans at a reasonable price. Oh, and they’re open until 7 PM most nights. See ya Cafe’ Barista, I’ve got a new local favorite!

Last night, posicat stopped by after work and he, Dan and I caravanned up to our storage unit in Lake Villa (though we were delayed due to a train accident). We stumbled a bit on the icy pavement, but we managed to empty almost all of our stuff out of the storage unit; there’s just an office chair, a bicycle, and car ramps to be removed (both Elements and Posi’s van were stuffed, so they just wouldn’t fit). I’ll be going by tonight right after work and grabbing those last few items. Once we offloaded everything into the garage, Posi and I went out and, um, donated a few items we didn’t need anymore to the dumpster (Mom, remember that TV Dad got from a co-worker in Greenville? It’s finally gone!). We got to Charcoal Delight five minutes after it closed at 9 PM, so instead we detoured around to Long John Silver’s and got Dan the chicken planks that he loves. While we were gone, he was nice enough to move most of the stuff in from the garage and pull my car in off the street and into the garage. I love my husband! We ate at around 10 PM (ugh), and finally got to sleep sometime around 11. I’m dragging just a wee bit today because of that.

As for the weekend: I hope to put up some blinds tomorrow morning, then do a bit of shopping and prep for a party we’re attending. It’s a potluck, and Iā€™m thinking making a couple of roast chickens. Sunday brings the Midwest FurFest post-mortem/staff meeting/what-have-you. I’ll probably try to finish putting up blinds on Sunday morning before that. We’re slowly getting the place together; Dan’s desk is now in place in his office (though it’s still frigid down there, and will be until the week of February 5, when they come to fix the window). Which reminds me, we need to find a way to seal up that window temporarily. I’m thinking a few more screws and some silicone sealant will do it. We still need drapes or blinds for the living room window, and to decide if we’re going to drop the large chunk of change necessary to get a true blackout shade for the master bedroom. Wow, I’d forgotten how expensive fun home ownership can be (even if you’re only renting).

Unearthing the Kitchen, Suburban Explorations, and Entertaining

As expected, the majority of the weekend was spent unpacking, cleaning, and sorting.

Saturday I worked on the kitchen for a bit, then takaza and I went out to run some errands. First we stopped by Cafe’ Barista in Lake Villa, one of the sources of Intelligentsia coffee beans in the area. I give them two stars out of five; Dan’s hot chocolate was watery, and my cappuccino was tepid and had too much milk. That, combined with the fact that they’re charging $13.99/pound for my favorite kind of beans, leads me to think that I’ll be seeking out other places to buy coffee beans. The next place I’ll try will be Honey Hill Coffee Company in Wauconda – we’ll see how that goes.

We then headed south to Garden Fresh Market – not the one in Round Lake Beach, which doesn’t open until Wednesday, but the one in Mundelein (which is scheduled to move to the bigger Cub Foods space next door next month). Before we went there, though, we were distracted by the shop next door, which had a large sign that read “Sausage and Deli”. Well, that sounded promising, so in we went.

It’s a very strange thing to walk out of the middle of suburbia into unfamiliar surroundings. I realized as I looked over the items on the shelves that I couldn’t read a dang one of the labels – they were all in Cyrillic! After walking around a bit, we realized that we may have been the only people in the shop speaking English. As we waited at the deli case to order (they have Irish bacon! woo!), the woman behind the counter repeated something we didn’t understand a few times, as people glanced at us, and eventually motioned us over to speak with her. She had been saying “Next!” in Russian. Once we established that we were ignorant monolingual Americans, though, we got things sorted out. After that adventure, we went nuts in Garden Fresh Market, picking up a lot of staples and some nice produce. I can see why they’re moving – their current store is tiny and since it was a busy Saturday afternoon, the place was packed!

Just as we got home, we passed Dan’s mom, who was calling us for directions. She helped us put away a few more things, then we relaxed while Dan made his wonderful homemade macaroni and cheese. It was an enjoyable evening all around.

Sunday was even crazier. I was bound and determined to finish off the kitchen, and got it about 95% complete when I had to run to Target for a few things…which turned into a trip to Home Depot as well, then a return to Target for a few things I forgot. While I was gone, Dan did a great job of hooking up the stereo (which is now tied into the TV, the TiVo, a DVD player, the PS2, and the Airport Express. The Slingbox is the last thing to be added, but that will take some configuring). Thank heavens I got him a Harmony all-in-one remote to control all this stuff.

We made a mad dash to get everything presentable by 4 PM (we were close – it took until 4:30), when roho and genet arrived, fortuitously arriving at 4:30 šŸ™‚ I got to use and abuse our new kitchen, and I was very happy. We had a lovely dinner consisting of two bottles of wine (a North Carolina sweet red as an apertif, and an Australian merlot), homemade buttermilk bread, herb-crusted roast pork, steamed broccoli, and garlic mashed potatoes a la Buca di Beppo’s. For dessert, we had a chocolate-orange torte that Dan’s mom brought over from Le Vichyssoise. In between cooking and chatting, we watched both playoff games and had a good time cheering for the Bears. We had a great time, and I can’t wait to have friends over again so I can show off cook for them šŸ™‚

And here we are back to the work week. Tonight, I think we’re going to take it easy and enjoy the fruits of our weekend labors – perhaps enjoy some leftovers for dinner, and have a nice lazy evening.

Our Bedroom Smells Like Pine

Well, it does!

I’m getting frustrated because I don’t feel like I’m getting as much done as I’d like in unpacking everything. I’ve done this often enough – 31 times, to be exact. To update that list, add: 2003 – N. Troy, Chicago, IL and 2007 – Holiday Ln., Hainesville, IL. Unpacking and getting everything sorted is always frustrating, and this time it’s a bit worse since some of this stuff hasn’t seen the light of day in three and a half years. There’s a lot of “that should be here somewhere…but where?” going on.

Last night I alternated between doing laundry, cleaning the kitchen, bringing up a few more kitchen boxes, fixing the Airport Express (took far longer than it should, and it’s still not quite right), and helping Dan put together our new Hemnes dresser, which explains the pine scent in our bedroom. It took longer than we expected, and we finished up at about 11:30 PM. We still need to fully tack the fiberboard onto the back, but that seemed a bit much hammering to do at that time of night. I mean, I’d like to meet our neighbors at some point, but preferably not while they’re shouting at me to keep the damn noise down.

I’d like to think that once we get a bit more of the kitchen straightened out the rest of the house will fall into place; with the TV unit in place, the living room is close to becoming better organized. That just leaves the upstairs bedrooms, which can be addressed next week, and Dan’s office, which is going to have to wait until the landlord fixes the window (something that was set into motion yesterday – yay!). With luck, maybe by the end of this weekend we can get the main level put away, cleaned, and presentable.

Bowing at the Swedish Altar

Slowly but surely, we’re assembling our house into a home. takaza worked half-days on Monday and Tuesday and put a little more work into unpacking; the guest bedroom is close to being usable, except for the lack of any window coverings, of course. That helps because it gives us a place to put stuff – the stuff we’re not sure why we’re carrying around, but it’s gotta go somewhere.

Yesterday Ameritech SBC AT&T hooked us up, so now we have not only local phone service, but zippy-fast DSL as well! Unfortunately, after checking around it appears that the phone plates in the walls around the house are just that – plates, no wiring behind them. Wha?! This means we have one and only one active phone outlet, and that is in the kitchen. It looks like we’ll be investing in a cordless phone jack so our TiVo can call out – the only reason we have a phone line, really, since we don’t plan to give out the number. That what our cell phones are for šŸ™‚ And speaking of the TiVo, it now works as well since the DirecTV installer came out and hooked that all up (never mind the stupidity involved in getting that done, something that required some new wiring, multiple trips, and lots of whinging on the installer’s part). It all works now, which is all I care about.

Last night after work, Dan suggested we go ahead and hit Ikea, since there’s a bunch of stuff that we needed. And so off we went to the Great Swedish Consumerism Temple, and we spent a heck of a lot more than I expected. On the bright side, we now have a light for the guest room nightstand, a replacement accent light to go over the kitchen sink (the replace “the pimple” contractor-grade light that’s there), a low cabinet for our TV and A/V equipment, a new dresser (we left our old one that was falling apart in the alley and it somehow went away), a few other knickknacks. We looked at some of the blinds and curtains there, but couldn’t find anything like what we were looking for, or that we couldn’t get cheaper elsewhere. Oh, and the Ikea Cafeteria? Maybe it’s good for breakfast, but for dinner? Bleah. Not recommended.

For tonight, we have our work cut out for us, as Dan is going to assemble the entertainment cabinet, I’m going to work on de-boxing more of the kitchen, and then we’re going to both work on assembling the dresser. We’ll continue our marathon of laundry, attempting to wash every blanket we own, and somewhere in there I’ll need to cook dinner. On the bright side, I’ll have more time to do all of this, since my commute has gone from 90+ minutes each day down to 10 minutes. The free extra time is a bit of a shock, and I’m still adjusting to it (“I’ve been home for an hour, we should be cooking dinner! Oh, wait, it’s only 5:30…”)

And one more bit of good news: I wrote to the kind folks at Intelligentsia Coffee, and they supplied me with a list of places in Lake County that I can buy my coffee beans. Life is good.