Sunday, March 18, 2012

It's Been Forever. And your point is?

I know. It's just that I've been busy. And happy. And Facebook, it seems, has taken the place of blogging. Kitten and I have been getting into trouble. The above picture was taken on a cruise in October, a trip I had gifted Kitten for her birthday. I'm not sure this picture was taken the same day of the story I'm going to relate, but you get the gist.

This particular boat had an adults only area on the stern. Not a buck nekkid adults only area, just a place where kids weren't allowed and there was nice lounging furniture. And a bar. And a small pool. And cheap drinks.

We grabbed a spot pretty early in the morning. The sun was warm and the place filled up very quickly. Kitten is a bit of a social butterfly, so while I was reading, she was back and forth to the pool making friends. The drink special of the day? Two dollar bloody Marys that not only had plenty of alcohol, but giant honking olives in them. A delicious breakfast.

I quickly lost count of how many drinks I had imbibed, but I was in a fantastic mood and in my mind, only swayed a little bit when I walked. I managed to keep reading for the first couple of libations, but soon had trouble focusing, so I just joined Kitten in the pool and occasionally mumbled something every now and then to give the impression that I was sociable and paying attention to the conversation. Eventually, I had to use the facilities and being a good cruiser, I got out of the pool and headed to the bathroom.

This is where things took a turn for the worse. As I came out of the bathroom (I think. At this point, my recollection is mostly what Kitten has told me happened more than what I actually remember.), Kitten grabbed my by the arm and said something like "We have to go back to the room." When I asked why, she told me that she didn't know, she had just been instructed by a crew member to take me back to our cabin. I didn't argue. We packed up our gear and stumbled back to our cabin where I promptly passed out on the bed. This all happened pretty early, around noon I think.

Have you ever been power drinking and been perfectly fine until you stopped ingesting alcohol? That's what happened to me. I woke up, the room was spinning and I was getting that familiar feeling of rebellion from my stomach. Kitten gave me a trash can and soon I wasted about fifty bucks worth of liquor. Actually, I think I had absorbed all of the vodka, but there was plenty of olives and tomato juice that made a break for it.

Generally, I pride myself on my vomiting etiquette. I hit the container without fail. I don't spout the "I'm never gonna drink again" cliche. I don't ask anyone else to clean up for me.

Not this time.

Most of it hit the bag lined trash can, but a significant about splashed on the dust ruffle of the bed and onto the floor. So now the smell of sour tomato juice permeated the small cabin, which was only about a hundred square feet. Ewwww. I felt better soon enough and now it was getting time for dinner. We got up and I tried to bag up the debris I had left behind and wipe down the dust ruffle and carpet as best as I could. Soon we noticed a piece of paper on the floor by the door. It was a message from boat security notifying us that I would no longer be allowed to drink alcohol while on board the boat! This was day two of a seven day cruise! Who in the hell drinks so much that a cruise line cuts them off? I mean, that's how they make the majority of their profit! We debated a while about what I could have possibly done to have deserved such a punishment, but our minds kept coming up blank. I had an excuse, because I was still pretty much drunk, but Kitten seemed sober to me and she could find no fault with my behavior.

We decided to stop off at the pursers before dinner and see if we could get an explanation. Once we got there, they called security to come explain it to us. Our basic questions revolved around trying to find out what I had done. Nobody could tell us. Eventually they caved in and reinstated my alcohol privileges, salvaging the rest of the cruise.

My apologies go out to our room steward. He spoke very little English, but always had a smile and a good morning/good evening for us, even after hauling away my bag of vomit. He had our carpet cleaned and and I think worked on the dust ruffle, but the scent of sour tomatoes hung in the air for the rest of the trip. He got a large tip. I think I apologized to Kitten as well, but she just shrugged and said that I didn't do anything wrong. She never complained about my emesis and never mentioned the smell. What a trooper! I owe her one.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

The Closet

My step-dad is a fearless man when it comes to projects around the house. His lack of knowledge has never stopped him from diving into a diy disaster. The best example happened when I was about twelve or so. We lived in a smallish house that had a den and on the other side of one wall, there was a living room. Both rooms were too small and of course the living room never got used for anything. It basically just stored furniture.

My Mom decided to leave one weekend to visit my Uncle George in Dallas. That night, I was sitting on the couch with my brother and sister watching TV when my Dad appears before us. "Get up and help me move the couch" he says. We move the couch away from the wall and then he tells my brother "Go get my hammer." None of us had any idea what he was thinking, but when he swung that hammer into the dry wall, my siblings and I didn't ask why. All we thought was "Hell yeah! Destruction! Mayhem! Anarchy!" We trashed the wall down to studs and wire in just a few minutes, hauled away the debris and then moved the furniture back to where it was.

Mom came home and the first thing she sees, or doesn't see, when she walks through the door is the half destroyed wall. I don't remember any arguments or anything, but Mom never left Dad alone in the house again. It turned out that the wall was load bearing and Dad couldn't figure out how to remove the frame without the house falling in on us. Eventually, a neighbor that was a home builder came over and helped him out. So now we had one big room where there used to be two small ones, but the parents couldn't afford new carpet for almost a year, leaving the room with green shag on one side and orange shag on the other (it was the early 80's).

Why do I bring this up? Kitten and I had two small closets off of the master bedroom. One was a linen closet and behind it was a walk in closet with a pocket door. It looked liked this.The wall at the front of the picture had some bead board crap on it that I pulled off to find the remnants of wall paper. To the right is the linen closet and through the door way(which had a pocket door in the wall) was the walk in closet that had cedar on the back and front of it with a light fixture over the door way. It sort of came up in discussion that we would be better off with one big open closet and we could put wardrobes in it. I was dubious, but the conversation kept coming back to how nice it would be, so in the end I committed to it.

First I climbed into the attic to make sure nothing important was being supported by the wall. I wasn't gonna make the same mistake my Dad made! I then ripped out the linen closet and tore down the wall.I cleared all of the cedar out. Eliminated a light switch, removed a light in the linen closet and then wired the switch on the wall in the bedroom to the new junction box I put in over head. The jack wagon that put up the cedar not only nailed it to the wall, but also GLUED it! It pulled off a lot of the paper on the dry wall, so I had to put a skim coat of joint compound on all of the walls. I then scraped the popcorn off of the ceiling and painted it, put in a new light fixture and painted the rest of the room. This is where we are now.
I still have to trim it out and I am going to put laminate down from the bedroom into the closet, but I think it turned out OK. For a closet.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Where Did The Time Go?

Kitten pointed out that I haven't posted in forever. The last thing I talked about was waiting to close on the house here in Florida. Mission accomplished on that front. I got moved out of the hotel and slept on an air mattress for a week until Kitten brought my dogs down. She flew back to Indiana pretty quickly, but then came down for an entire week. When she got here, the work began. We didn't like any of the colors in the house. They were mostly pale blues and funky yellows. The ceilings were nice and dingy too, so we immediately went and spent $700 on paint and a light fixture. The next day, we began painting. I've never painted one of those crappy 70s popcorn ceilings before and I immediately found a reason to hate them. The popcorn came right off on the roller. Now we were faced with either buying some kind of sprayer system to paint the ceiling or take down the popcorn. Kitten hates the way it looks anyway, so we stopped the entire painting process to take the popcorn down. You basically spray a little water on it and then scrape it and it quickly comes down. All over everything. We had planned to paint most of the house before the furniture got there the following Saturday, now we were in "Paint what's necessary" mode.

The long and the short of it is that I've been spending all of my free time working on the house since we bought it on May 12. First, the dining room was painted.Then I painted the living room and replaced the overhead light fixture.
The following Saturday, the moving truck arrived and those sons of bitches unloaded everything we own in less than four hours! During the move, it was discovered that somehow, we had busted all of the wooded cross rails on the bed. I would like to think it was my jackhammer ass that did it and Kitten is allowing me to believe it. So off to IKEA. Kitten refers to it as her Disney World. We bought a new bed frame, a cabinet/bar thing, a lamp and a sofa table. I have know idea how we got all of that into the FJ cruiser.

So we moved to the bedroom. We scraped the popcorn, painted the ceiling and walls and then I put together the new bed. Later, Kitten sent me the ceiling fan and I installed it.
Next I painted the foyer. That was the easiest thing I've done. Of course today, the deadbolt on the front door stopped working. You put the key in and it just turns. I've never had that happen before. At this point, I was getting tired of letting the dogs out of the back door and then having to walk to the back of the pool cage to let them out a second door. Since Daisy ran through one of the screens chasing a lizard or something, I decided to build a dog door on one side of that frame and then replace the screen on the other. I didn't really build the door, I bought that at Lowe's, but I had to build a frame from aluminum to match the cage frame so I'd have someplace to mount the door. That took a whole Saturday, but I'm pleased with the result.Next was the master bath. It was painted a horrible shit green. I just couldn't take it anymore.It still looks kinda green in the picture, but actually it's more of a grey now.
I've done some other things. Kittens step mom pointed out that really, the fridge door opened the wrong way. I wouldn't have ever noticed it, but after she pointed it out, it bugged me to no end. So I reversed the door. The kitchen needs a ton of work, but I think we are gonna save that for the very last and spend some real money on it.The den has painted over paneling. The plan is to pull that down and hang drywall. Of course the popcorn ceiling has to come down. The mantle over the fireplace is not only ugly, but it's also upside down. I did put together the sofa table (from IKEA) behind the couch.We also bought this cabinet thing from IKEA. We liked it for a bar.What's left after that is the two back bedrooms, hallway and bathroom. Lord.

Today I pulled out all of the old landscape timbers and trimmed the bushes back in preperation for the fence guys. The dogs get their new fence this week. All and all, I'm very happy here. I miss Kitten. I didn't realize how lonely I would get without her, but I know that she feels the same way and is doing everything she can to get down here.

Anybody got a free weekend they want to spend painting and renovating?

Friday, May 06, 2011

Living In The Sunshine State

I left Indiana on the 26th of April. It was cold and rainy. In fact, it was cold and rainy for the next eight or so hours, until I had reached south Georgia. Soon after passing through Atlanta, I could track my progress by watching the thermometer on my truck. The temperature slowly rose until it reached 85 degrees and I reached Tampa.

I've been here over a week now. I love the weather and the sunshine. I've started my new job and it shows promise. I'm stuck in a hotel for now. It's equal parts boring and lonely. I talk to Kitten on the phone regularly, but it isn't the same. I have gone out some. To a baseball game, to bars to watch hockey, and sometimes out to eat, but I'm trying to limit myself a bit because of money. We close on the house on Thursday (fingers crossed) and Kitten will be down the next day with the dogs. I need it. I need to see her. I think life will be radically different down here. In a good way. Maybe it's just the sunshine, but things seem a bit brighter, a bit more positive. Except for the fact that right now, I have to go down the hallway to do my laundry.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

I May Have A Home

I haven't blogged much lately. Mostly because what has been going on here has centered around house hunting. After the last fiasco, I felt like I might have jinxed us by talking to much about it, but we've reached a point where I think we are ok. Welcome to our new back yard. The weekend after my birthday, which was fantastic (see Kitten's blog for details), we traveled back to Florida for some serious house hunting. After looking at about 12 or 13 properties, we settled on our top five and offered on the one at the top of the list. We were told that other parties were gonna make an offer, so make sure that ours was the best that we could do. They accepted our offer, but we had been through this before so we insisted that the appraisal was to be done before we spent any money on financing or inspection. The appraisal finally came back yesterday 25 grand less than our offer price! Florida real estate is a mess. Anyway, Kitten and I agreed that we weren't going to pay more than the appraisal so the whole shebang was bounced back to the owner. We found out today that they have accepted the new price! So now I have a job and a potential place to live. Hopefully we can close quickly so that I won't have to live in a hotel very long. Kitten closes on her house at the end of May, so we also don't want to have to move twice. All that is left now is for Kitten to get her job situation worked out and then we will be Florida residents!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Happy Birthday!

When did I reach the age that I have to do the math to figure out how old I am? This Friday, I think I will be forty-three. Wow.

I didn't bring up my birthday to whine about how old I am. I wanted to tell the world how good Kitten is to me. A couple of weeks ago, I was having a bad day at work and she said "would it help if I told you what I'm getting you for your birthday?" I hemmed and hawed. I didn't want to spoil anything. She said she had been dying to tell me and I know what that feels like so I said "Ok."

Saturday, she is driving me to Smashville to see the Preds play the Redwings! I love me a Nashville/Detroit hockey game. I immediately got excited and started asking about tickets. She put the brakes on my enthusiasm. "Wait, there is more!" Sunday, she is flying me from Nashville to St. Louis to see the Cards play San Diego! I swear that girl knows me. I couldn't ask for a better birthday. I did make her promise that while in St. Louis we would go to Charlie Gitto's downtown for some Italian eats. I can't wait for this weekend.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Florida Bound

1989 Freedom Dr, <span class=
I accepted a job yesterday. Looks like I'm headed to Florida around the last week of April. The new position is offering a $3000 relocation bonus, so that gives me a little cash to help find a place to live. The picture above is a house we are interested in seeing, but it's price ridiculously low so I'm betting it's another case of Chinese drywall.