Wednesday, March 31, 2010


Water is coming in the windows again. And some planks are buckling a bit, so we may also be getting water through the bricks below the patio. This is beyond depressing.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Kitty stress

We are moved in, although everything is still a chaotic mess. On Friday, Bostonian (the company who did a lot of the cleaning and restoration) brought the things they'd boxed up back to the apartment, about 60 boxes. It's very odd and random what they packed out and what they tossed because some of the items they brought back are clearly not usable any more. In most cases, those boxes were also wrapped in large plastic bags, probably because the contents were wet when packed. For example, Kent's power tools were in a canvas carry all under the bed which meant they were all under the water line. But the bag and the tools were returned. Of course the tools don't work and the bag is disgusting, but we have it here.

In addition to all that stuff which we haven't begun to put away, we also had three car loads of things to bring over from our temporary apartment, plus the cats in their carriers. We did as much as possible to mitigate the stress for the cats. We did all our packing at the temporary apartment yesterday morning, and didn't leave the kitties alone until we brought them home. While we packed, Eddie cried, Chloe talked and Wally hid under the hood of my coat. Of course you can't explain change to animals and they're pretty unsettled. All three have been running around crying and crying, and of course getting into every box they can reach.

And Wally, the plastic eating freak, ate enough plastic last night to make him throw up spectacularly. So after dinner, we removed plastic from every box and put it all outside, plus made sure he couldn't slither into boxes. He loves to do that and often knocks the box over while he's inside it.

Last night he found a spot on the new couch to be calm for all of about 30 seconds. That's when I got this picture.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

A list

This week as I commuted, I came up with a list of what I will and won’t miss when we move out of this apartment on Mass Ave.

What I’ll miss
  1. The view.
  2. The closets.
  3. The ability to wash and dry multiple loads of laundry all at once.
  4. The pizza cutter (it works really well).
  5. Direct sunlight coming in the windows.
  6. Having a concierge who can sign for packages. VERY convenient.
What I won’t miss
  1. The crazy shower that either takes about 10 minutes to warm up or starts out with scalding water.
  2. The slow drain in the shower.
  3. The street noise. Unbelievable.
  4. How hot the apartment gets if it’s sunny and above 40F.
  5. The toaster—seriously, people, if you aren’t using a toaster oven, you are crazy.
  6. The fridge with the freezer on top. Highly inefficient, and the back of the fridge is too cold so things freeze.
  7. The door slammer across the wall.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

I'd be excited

Except I'm pretty tired.

We have two working sinks, a working shower and a working dishwasher now. Apparently our dishwasher was horrible to install and much cursing was involved.The dresser is from Ikea and Kent spent time today putting together that and our dining room table.

He did other stuff too but my three remaining brain cells have gone on strike and I don't remember everything he did.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Cool boxes, not cool damage

First a little video that shows off our new litter box storage solution.

And second, a couple of pictures of the water damage from our nor'easter I mentioned.

Friday, March 19, 2010


So it's been two steps forward, and sometimes two steps back. For example, I mentioned the water damage we got last weekend during our nor'easter when we received 9 to 10 inches of rain mostly blown horizontally for about 36 hours. What I didn't say (because I didn't know) was that the dry wall above the windows was pretty severely damaged and repairing them isn't going to be a matter of a little spackle and paint. But as Kent pointed out, we no longer flinch when holes are cut in our dry wall.

Then we had another issue that came to a head today. Our new fridge is a french door fridge and the cabinets needed to be moved about an inch to the left, otherwise we couldn't open the right door. Kent said the contractors were not at all happy about that, and neither were the granite installers since they had to stand around and wait while the contractors moved the cabinets and re-leveled the dishwasher. But the kitchen looks fantastic now, don't you think?

We also had granite put on top of our new cabinet in the bathroom and here's what that looks like:

The plumber had to reschedule (no bathroom sink yet, also the dishwasher and kitchen sink need to be hooked up along with the ice maker in the fridge), and the electrical inspector somehow went to the wrong place and your guess is as good as ours as to when he will return.

The countdown continues. We have to be completely out of here by Thursday, March 31 which means in practical terms we clear out of here next weekend.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Look, look!

We did get water coming in through the drywall at the tops of our living room windows this weekend *shakes fist at the nor'easter* but just look at the progress Kent is making with the painting. I want to echo Pinocchio and say we are almost at the real apartment stage!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

A mother's hug

My friend Jeanne has a blog I read all the time, partly because she’s very smart and makes me think and partly because she exposes me to literature—especially poetry—I’d never encounter otherwise.

Her post on Friday got me to thinking about how and when we realize we can’t fix things for our children. I know when I learned this lesson and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it since reading her post on Friday.

My first husband was still in the Army, and we had one son, Jordan. We were stationed in Bad Kreuznach, Germany and lived in post housing. Our housing was actually very nice, far nicer than military housing in the States, and we had large windows in every room. These windows didn’t have screens and you could open them either from the top so that they formed a V shape at the bottom, or you could flip a handle and open them like a door. We had a cat so we always opened our windows from the top. Our babysitter didn’t have pets so she opened them from the side.

I was at work when I got the call that Jordan, 18 months old at the time, had fallen from the window and landed on the sidewalk below. He fell what would be about three stories here in the States, landed in a kneeling position and then on his front side with his head turned to the right. The week before, a child had fallen from a first floor balcony and died so I knew this was really bad news. Someone from work drove me to the hospital, and rather than wait for the elevator when I got there, I ran up all four flights of stairs. All I could think was that if I held him, he would be OK, that he wouldn’t die. That thought just rabbited through my head over and over and over.

But when I got to the x-ray room, his sitter was holding him. Looking at her I knew immediately that she was utterly guilt-stricken and she didn’t want to let go of him. So I didn’t snatch him out of her arms, even though I really wanted to. In fact I didn't get to hold him until after we'd taken a two hour ambulance drive to Landstuhl, which was the closest American hospital.

He fractured his skull on the right side of his head, just above his ear. And he had horrific bruises on his shins from landing on them with all his weight—in fact you could see the outlines of his shin bones in the bruises. But he didn’t die, even though I hadn't gotten to hold him.

Growing up, he had a fair number of health issues, completely unrelated to that fall. But I never again had that sense of power or believed I had the ability to fix anything by holding him as I did that day.

I didn’t feel it when he had each of his four sets of ear tubes inserted, or his tonsils and adenoids out, or either time he had pneumonia, or when he developed an allergic reaction to penicillin or even when he got type 1 diabetes. I hugged and comforted him anyway because even though I knew a mother's hug wouldn't fix him, sometimes I needed to give the hug anyway because it helped fix me.

Friday, March 12, 2010


I don't mean life transitions either. The tile installer came back yesterday and put in the marble transitions between our living room and where we keep our computers, and between our bedroom and the bathroom.

The one in the living room (picture on the left) is pretty long and borders marble tile. Kent said the guy brought in five foot sections and when he saw the tile, he cut his sections down so the seams match the tile seams. I love that kind of attention to detail. The picture on the right shows the transition from the bathroom to the bedroom.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


Here's the living room looking from the windows toward the kitchen. You can see the 24 inches we've walled in on the right side of the pass through. That gives us both extra storage, a safer place to put the microwave and the bonus is that we will put a small table in front of the wall there to the right so we have a little dining nook.

This picture shows the kitchen from just on the other side of the pass through. You can sort of see our new refrigerator there. It's a countertop depth fridge and while we gave up a small amount of storage in the fridge and freezer, it wasn't much. Getting more visual room in the kitchen was more important to us.

This picture sort of shows you what the granite, wall color and cabinets will look like together. The previous granite was black which didn't work well in a dim cave like ours. Plus no matter how much we holler, the boy kitties will get on the counter and black granite showed everything.

Here's the new stove (not pushed back all the way--the electrician comes tomorrow along with the tile guy who has a little more work to do, too).

You are looking at our new closet in our bedroom. It's got three sliding doors on it which will be painted (go, go Kent!). Having three doors should help us get into the closet pretty easily. The other door you see on the left is half of the door from our bedroom into the bathroom. Everything is pretty tight in the bathroom and our friend Peter (who is an incredible interior designer) suggested we use split doors so we never have the full width of a door getting in the way.

I love to read too

This morning as I approached Storrow Drive at the beginning of my commute, I came to a T intersection with a pedestrian cross walk that has a walk/don’t walk light. A woman was just standing there waiting to cross my lane of traffic only my lane had the red light.

Now you have to understand that in Boston the pedestrian reigns supreme. Boston is known as the walking city and if a pedestrian crosses in a marked pedestrian crossing and has the light, he or she rules that lane of traffic.

So I was puzzled why she wasn’t walking. Heck even if the pedestrian light said don’t walk, the cars still had the red light—she could have crossed that lane five times over. But she didn’t, she just stood there.

Then my light turned green and as I approached the intersection I saw her pull out a big honking book, open it and start reading. I'll read in a lot of different places including the shower, the kitchen, and the T. But it never occurred to me to stand at a busy intersection at 7:30 AM and read a book while traffic sped past.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

How much paint does it take to paint 1,000 square feet?

About this much.


We are using Martha Stewart paint in Glass of Milk for the trim, the bedroom walls and the bathroom walls, Fledging for the rest of the walls, and Buckwheat for a contrast wall unless we decide we hate it in which case we'll repaint it Fledging. Actually Kent is doing the painting since I'll be in Portsmouth, NH all week.  

Friday, March 5, 2010


We picked cypress for our floors. Kent said they are a little darker than he thought they would be but at the same time, they move light since they are finished and a bit shiny.

The first picture looks toward the kitchen; we've walled off about 24 inches of the original pass through. That way we get more storage in the kitchen plus we'll have a small area in the corner there (where the doors are stacked) for an eating nook.

The second picture is a close up of the floor. Originally we thought we'd go with a really light maple but once we saw it with the kitchen cabinets we realized the contrast was much too stark. We were able to reuse most of the upper cabinets which has helped a lot in keeping within the reconstruction budget.

Finally, the third picture shows how we've reconfigured the storage under the stairs. We'll have a small somewhat normal closet to the left of those boxes which you can't see. Those boxes slide out and are where we'll  put the litter boxes. We can stack things on top of the cube that houses the boxes (it's accessible from the closet side) and we've had doors made. Whenever we move on from this place, future owners can put the doors on those openings. We'll put fabric on a rod in front of them so the cats can get in easily, still have light to do their business and also help the rest of us not have to see it. Previously we'd had the litter boxes in the TV console, which worked well except our cats are litter flingers. We both got tired of cleaning up thrown litter in the living room all the time. Hopefully this will help a bit.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Bragging just a little

Our daughter-in-law is pregnant with their second child. I'd told her I wanted to make her a maternity dress and a few weeks ago I realized I'd better get moving. She, her sister and her mother all have histories of going into labor early and her doctor has already said if she goes past her 34th week, he won't stop her. Well at that point she was 30 weeks along!

So a couple of weeks ago I made her a dress and also made a very similar one for Alison. I remember having matching mother/daughter dresses when I was probably four years old and I thought I was the bomb for being dressed like my mother. I hoped that Alison would also like having the matching dress.

I love what Alison told Jen: "I'm a princess and you're a princess too!"

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

No pictures yet

But the bathroom tile was going in today. When I walked over to get the car for my commute, I saw the tilers outside so I asked what they were working. How cool would it be if we really were able to move into our home in a couple of weeks??