Thursday, July 31, 2008

A slurry of activity

There's some official city business going on in my neighborhood tomorrow as the city places a slurry seal of my street (this is NOT a resurfacing project, my official notice says). Such serious business warrants these very official "No Parking" signs, with quite the incorrect date.

To me, this sign looks more like something a disgruntled homeowner would spike into the ground, not city crews. Shouldn't their signs be orange and reflective...and not written on with a Sharpie? Ah, who am I kidding, I actually find these signs to be quite endearing.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

In hot water

Everyone needs to splurge on a couple big ticket items for their home, right? Well, I've been saving my pennies for quite some time now so I can buy myself a brand new... water heater. Glamorous, no?

Really, I'd rather get a coffee table or headboard, but instead, I'm buying a Whirlpool 50-gallon natural gas water heater from Lowes. My current one has just got to go. It's at least as old as I am and is sporting a scorched, ready-to-rust-out, ready-to-burn-someone look.

Since I'm not keen on paying the $255 for delivery and installation, plus the unspecified amount the plumber is likely to charge for "updates," my dad has agreed to help me install it. I did an initial consultation with him over the phone, and now he's running the show - figuring out what pipes I need, what kind of flex tubing will work best, etc. Thanks, Dad!

Now, I just need to actually go purchase the darn thing.

The 50-gallon stallion from Lowes.

Dragon boat

Wee! Dragon boating has started once again. I'm not much of an athlete (read: I'm terrible at sports), but I think I do OK paddling the dragon boat. That said, we had our first practice tonight and I'm wiped out after just one hour on the water. I have a sneaking suspicion that I will feel all rigor mortis-y tomorrow morning.

It is a lot of fun though, and it does support something worthwhile. And - bonus - it makes me feel just a little bit like the Olympian I know I am inside (hehehe).

Last year. Pushing off. I'm the second one from the front on the port(?) side of the boat.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Ode to electricity

Oh, electricity, I don't really know how much you mean to me until a "tree makes contact with an electrical facility" and leaves me without power for 16.5 hours. I'm so glad you're back.

Brian and I spent Monday morning and evening in the dark. We played Connect Four to pass the time.
Fun (and nerve-wracking if you're me) with or without electricity. Get yours from Amazon.

Baby got showered

Last Saturday, Lola and I threw a baby shower brunch for Becky and baby at my parents' house. The preparation took a lot more work than I anticipated. Granted, I created a lot of the work myself, but still.

Lola came up with the "dots" theme for the shower, and I went berserk creating centerpieces (from How About Orange) and a 23-yard garland. Poor Brian got roped into assembling large sections of the garland because I was too busy scouring Microsoft Office Online for the best clip art.

The clip art was for our onesie-burp-towel-sock decorating station (inspired by Say Yes to Hoboken). We had buttons, paints and iron-on transfers at the ready for guests to personalize items for the baby. Since I couldn't find any iron-on transfers in stores that met my discerning taste, I set about creating my own. I spent hours (HOURS!) first finding the "cool" clip art and then arranging them in Publisher to fit the most items on one piece of paper (I'd only bought seven sheets of ink jet printer iron-on transfer paper). Once they were printed, I roped poor Ben into helping me carefully cut out every single image. Hand cramps abounded.

In the end, all the prep work paid off. We had a festive atmosphere, great food, and fun activities. What more could you ask for in a shower?

The garland

The clip art iron-ons

The decorating station and centerpiece

The Zuester. The Zoo. The Zooey-Zawee-Zoe. The diva.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

How I spent my weekend.

My fourth of July weekend was filled with a lot of food, family, fireworks and fun (How's that for alliteration?). And that's just how I like it.

In contrast, the weekend preceding Independence day was filled with gross gutter garbage (Again, how's that for alliteration?). That's not how I like it. Since my gutters were sprouting maple trees, I figured that was a good indication they needed cleaning. Too bad my 6' step ladder isn't quite tall enough for me to safely reach the gutters. Most of the time, I ended up perched on the do-not-go-past-this-step-or-risk-injury-or-death rung of the ladder. Talk about a dirty and dangerous duty (wee! Alliteration is out of control tonight!).

Here's a shot where I'm actually practicing safety first.

All hands on deck

Last weekend, after lovingly repairing the rotting car siding on my garage, my father took particular issue with the wacky chop job that was my deck railing. That meant one thing: it had to be repaired. NOW. Since my dad had to hit the road to milk cows, that left Brian and me to fix it. It took two trips to Mendards, five new boards of pressure-treated pine, one bottle of carpenter ant and termite killer, and Brian's muscle and skill to get the job done. I did a little bit of holding the boards in place and a lot of staying out the way.

My before and after shots are kind of lousy, but here they are regardless.

Instead of laying one solid board on top of the deck posts, the previous owner cut the top railing to angle around the posts so that the tops were flush. The wood was rotting all over the place.

Brian prying some nails loose.

Brian drilling the last screw in place while supporting the Bush-Cheney '04 election. Talk about multi-tasking.