Saturday, November 29, 2008

Daily Note: November 28, 2008

Me: "How much do you love me - a little or a lot?"

Jeff: "Um.. is there a third option?"

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Daily Note: THANKSGIVING 2008

Today I give thanks to:

1. My husband. Who spent at least 2 hours standing in the shower yesterday "recalibrating" the plumbing so that I had the most lovely shower in our beautiful new(ish) bathroom this morning. Apparently, the shower head may not in fact be broken, just super fussy.

2. Whole foods. When I went to bake my apple pie this morning, the horrible memory of me breaking my beautiful deep dish pie pan two weeks ago came crashing back to me. In a panic, I realized Target and all other kitchen goods stores would be closed today. Thankfully, Whole Foods was open and had one yellow Le Crueset pie pan left with my name on it. Luckily, I made my pumpkin pie last night so I only needed one pie pan.

3. My Dad. Today is his 60th birthday - HAPPY BIRTHDAY DAD!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Daily Note: November 26, 2008

What happened to The Hills?? I haven't watched in 2 or 3 weeks, but I tuned in for a minute last night and it sent my head spinning! Justin Bobby hooked up with Lauren? Or maybe not? Since when does Audrina have a sister? Audrina and Lauren aren't friends anymore? Speidi got married? Heidi got fired?? Her sister moved in with Lauren? How is it possible for such a simplistic show to get so complicated in such a short period of time? I feel like I need The Hills: CliffsNotes.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

November 25th, Update

2.5 glasses of wine and 3 pieces of Domino's pizza later, life is looking up.

Daily Note: November 25, 2008

If you're not really much for angry rants filled with all caps, I would advise not reading further.

Today was maybe one of the most cranky-making days ever. Horrible PMS coupled with a personal disappointment this week put me in no position to deal with the incompetent pile of retards that I had to talk to today. Rather than pull a Dooce and go into details, I will just reassure any random coworkers that might stumble upon this blog - I'm not talking about you.

Also, this just in: Our new shower is broken. After months of it only spewing scalding water, my lovely husband finally called the plumber. For the low, low price of a bazillion dollars, the plumber informed us that it is not in fact his shoddy work that caused the problem as we had suspected, but a faulty shower head. Luckily he DID rig it so that now the shower only spews freezing cold water, which is AWESOME. And of course we ordered the shower head off of some obscure piece of shit website that will probably never read the strongly worded letter Jeff sent them today insisting that they send us a new shower head. And PS my jaw hurts really bad so it's pretty great that I'm totally out of my TMJ pain meds.

I should go, I think I hear someone calling my name from the kitchen and I'm pretty sure it's coming from a giant glass of wine.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Daily Note: November 24th, 2008

True or False: Eating a giant piece of sourdough toast slathered in butter is a healthy late night snack.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Daily Note: November 20, 2008

I've returned from the land of the Grand Hyatt Seattle and am happy to report that the conference went really well. My only war wounds from the week of craziness are bloody feet from making the mistake of wearing new shoes one day. In my defense they were flats, so I thought it would be okay. Right now I am wearing so many band aids on my feet, I started to wonder if there might be a market for socks made entirely out of band aids. I could have used some this week. Anyways, I have nothing of any real value to offer in this post except to let you know that I'm thrilled to be done with my conference and am looking forward to what will hopefully be some laid back holiday time. Oh! And Jeff found out today that he's been offered a "transition package" at Wamu to help with JP Morgan Chase's buy out, so he isn't getting laid off until April! This is good news on many fronts, so we are all kinds of pleased today.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Daily Note: November 15, 2008

Before and afters seem to be popular with my two loyal readers so here are some more. Oh, and to answer Lindsey's question in the comments, we live in Maple Leaf, which is north of UW, but south of Northgate. If you drew a line North from the Roosevelt Whole Foods and a line East from Dukes Chowder House on Greenlake they would intersect at our house. I have a feeling that only made sense to me, but whatever.

So this before/during/after series is of our stairwell and upstairs landing.

First is the before photo. Note the filthy carpet that had been in the house for years and years before we bought it.

Here is the before of the landing upstairs. Note the sad, bare bulb hanging from the ceiling, which was our only source of light.
This next one was taken after we ripped up all the old carpet. We were hoping for slightly beat up original floors, but instead we found fir floors that had been painted gray with bare spots stained black on the treads. Pretty.
And here are the floors after we had them professionally refinished and stained, but before we'd painted (you can see the different paint color where the carpet had been on the sides).
Here I am sanding all the cracks in the plaster.
This is what our upstairs landing looked like for a week or two during the sanding process.
And then I painted the fronts of the steps white:
Here we are priming all the walls and trim work. This photo makes me laugh every time. Jeff thought he was so smart by devising a "tool" which would allow him to cut-in on the ceiling (Jeff is always in charge of cutting-in and I always roll). His "tool" is a long pipe that Jeff found in the basement and he basically just stuck a paint brush in the end of the tube. Then he would gingerly wave the tool left to right over his head while the paint sort of swiped the edges where the ceiling meets the walls. It worked, so I couldn't laugh too hard. Every time I would laugh he would say, "When I patent this brilliant invention and sell it to painters world-wide, guess who will be laughing then?!"
Here's the first flight of stairs after we finished painting and in the midst of Jeff building/installing a hand rail.
And here's the landing taken from our bedroom after it was all done. Note the new light fixture that replaced the bare bulb. It makes me feel like I'm in a submarine. In a good way.
And here is the stairwell 99% finished (we don't have a good shot of it 100% finished, but you get the idea). We have since filled all the frames with pictures of family and friends (I think in this photo they just have post-it notes on them so we could decide which photo would go in which picture).

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Daily Note: November 13, 2008

Today I'm too lazy to write something so instead I will give you some pictures of the recently finished living room. Everyone loves a good before and after, right? This was taken a year or two ago with our pretend walls made (literally) out of paper hanging on either side of the archway between the dining room and living room. Jeff is the King of Prototypes (one time I even made up a song about it Weird Al style to the tune of King of Wishful Thinking from the Pretty Woman soundtrack but that is another story for another day) so before we built real walls, we lived with simulated paper walls for at least 3 months.
And here is after we ripped out some rotten plaster under the center window (and before we replaced it with Sheetrock). This is after we installed the picture rail but before painting.

This next one was taken while we made the paper walls into real walls. In the area between the new beam and original the wall, we put in heat vents that go from our basement to our bedrooms upstairs. Now the bedroom is always toasty warm.
Here is me working on the trim work we added to frame out the new, narrower archway.
And here is the Ta Daaa shot:

It's really sunny in this picture so it washes the paint out, but still, it gives you the idea.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Daily Note: November 12, 2008

What do we think of the new Nicole Kidman movie Australia? Do we want to see it or not?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Daily Note: November 11, 2008

Almost exactly a year ago, we woke up to find our garage looking like this:

Not sure if you can tell from this photo, but that's water. A lot of water. Where it doesn't belong. It had rained for days and days, and the rural areas around Seattle were all flooded. Since we live on a hill and had a sump pump in our garage, we figured we were fine. Only it turns out our sump pump sucked. It stopped working in the night and when we woke up we found we had 6 inches of water throughout our entire garage. Here's a close up of the "flood line" after we'd bailed out the entire room:

Despite Jeff's many attempts to get the sump pump working (while I freaked out about him getting electrocuted) and other more experimental efforts to empty the room that involved physics and long hoses (which I only learned about much later), we realized that aside from purchasing a very expensive machine (of which everyone had sold out because of the extensive flooding), our only concrete option was to start bailing. We spent hours and hours bailing buckets of water out of this room and into a laundry sink in our slightly higher basement room next door. After a while the only way I was able to keep going was by pretending I was on some sort of boot camp reality show and I had to be the one girl who didn't complain. That worked for a little while, but eventually I started to whimper a little. After two days of bailing, mopping, and strategic fan operating, here is what our garage looked like after:

After that week, every time it would rain, we would have to set our alarm clocks for every 2 hours in the night and take turns waking up to check on the sump pump and make sure it had self-activated like it was supposed to. If it hadn't (which was frequently), we had a wooden broom handle we used to stick in the pool of water and activate the switch. It was like having a totally un-cute baby. But then in January we set to work and installed the biggest sump pump in the entire world. I could fit inside this sump pump it's so big. The process involved cement saws, jack hammers and a very expensive trip to the dump, but we did it. And we've been sleeping soundly ever since. This week has been VERY wet here in Seattle and we've kept nice and dry.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Daily Note: November 10, 2008

Conversation with Jeff this evening:

Jill: I love you the most
long pause
Jill: Say it back!!
Jeff: You're in my top 5
Jill: (silently gives Jeff the stink eye then punches him in the gut)
Jeff: I kid! I kid!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Daily Note: November 6, 2008

Here is a list of my top 10 pet peeves in no particular order:

Picky eaters
Uncomfortable shoes
When people want to show me a card trick
Clogged shower drains in the bathtub
People coming into my office without knocking when my door is shut
Blow drying my hair
Really fast channel surfing
Pumping gas
When the comforter gets all bunched up inside the duvet
When people bring young children to fancy restaurants

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Daily Note: November 5, 2008

Jeff and I started dating just 2 weeks shy of my 15th birthday. He was 18 and I think it’s fair to say that we were in love within a month or two, although neither of us remembers when we actually started saying it out loud to each other. I know that when he left for college just 6 months after we met, I was devastated in the way only a 15 year old can be. My devastation was made worse by the fact that no one really understood how serious we were. Of course in hindsight, I totally get why everyone thought we were stupid. I mean, I was 15! We’d only been dating 6 months. And Jeff was going off to a good school that was thousands of miles away where he would meet other girls and move on. Except he didn’t. We may never know what combination of factors allowed us to stay together despite only seeing each other twice that year and in the end it may boil down to the fact that we were “meant to be together”. Except by typing that I just barfed in my mouth.

Anyways, Jeff and I wrote each other letters (real letters because this was 1994) almost every day. We also talked into tape cassettes and sent tapes back and forth until they were full. Some prematurely nostalgic part of me decided very early on in our relationship to save everything – every letter, every nerdy collage made out of magazine cut outs and filled with inside jokes that I barely remember now, every humiliating cassette tape containing our angsty voices that we recently promised to never, ever listen to again. When I was 15 or 16, my Mom took me to Pier 1 and bought me a weird, kind of ugly trunk (that I loved) so I could fill it with all my “Jeff memorabilia”. I don’t remember, but I assume my bedroom was being swallowed by manila envelopes and driving my Mom and Dad bananas. My parents have moved a few times since I left home 11 years ago but they’ve always trudged this trunk along with their things.

Jeff and I have now lived together for 8 and a half years. (This may seem like a subject change, but I will loop it back around eventually, I promise.) We lived in a tiny apartment for the first 5 years. Then 4 years ago we got married and soon after bought our house and immediately started tearing the shit out of it to make it “ours”. I tell you this to explain why we have never had a Christmas tree. Our space has either been too small or too chaotic. Two years ago during the holidays I think we were staying with our friends while our floors were refinished and last year in December most of our furniture was piled into one room while we built a fancy box beam ceiling in our dining room. A Christmas tree was out of the question. But THIS YEAR. This year, our house is 95% construction free, our living and dining rooms are DONE and Jeff and Jill Culver are buying a Christmas tree. And it will be awesome. This is our 9th Christmas cohabiting and our first Christmas tree. After almost 15 years together, it’s exciting to find that there are still “firsts” left for us to experience.

I haven’t thought of that trunk sitting in my parent’s basement in years. (See how I'm looping back around?) But a few weeks ago when I was standing by myself in Home Depot waiting for them to mix some paint, I turned around and noticed the elaborate holiday display. I had some time to kill so I walked up and down the aisles while thinking about our Christmas tree. I realized we don’t really have any ornaments for this much anticipated tree. Then the paint lady called my name and I went to retrieve my paint. While driving home with my two gallons of “chocolate froth” paint in eggshell finish, I remembered that ugly trunk from Pier 1. I thought of it because I suddenly remembered that there was something in it I needed.

Last weekend, Jeff humored me and drove us the hour and a half to my parent’s house in the pouring down rain so we could pick up the trunk and bring it home. It reeked of mildew but we crammed it into the back seat and drove it home. That night I rooted through the trunk and found what I was looking for.

In December of 1994, when I was still 15 and Jeff was about to turn 19, he came home from college for Christmas. We hadn’t seen each other in 4 months, almost as long as we’d been together before he left. I have absolutely no recollection of what I gave Jeff for Christmas that year, but on the drive home from Home Depot, I remembered what he’d given me and at the very bottom of the smelly trunk I found it.

For our first Christmas, Jeff bought me an ornament in the shape of a small, gold hand with fingers extended and a heart held between the index finger and thumb. When he gave it to me, it was with a note that said he was sure that one day, we’d have our very own Christmas tree to put it on.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Daily Note: November 4, 2008


Monday, November 3, 2008

Daily Note: November 3, 2008

It's officially cold out. I unearthed the electric blanket and was snug as a bug in a rug last night.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Daily Note: November 2, 2008

This is our cat Maurice. About a year ago, we installed a cat door for him. He's an outdoor cat and getting in and out of bed to let him in and out of the house every night was getting really annoying.

When we first adopted Maurice, he actually belonged to our neighbors. He'd clearly lost interest in them, or maybe they'd lost interest in him, but for whatever combination of reasons, he took to spending far more time at our house than theirs. Eventually, we asked them if we could just have him and shockingly, the answer was yes.

His previous owners had one of those fancy cat doors operated by a magnetic system. The cat wears a magnet on his collar and when he gets within a foot or two of the cat door, it unlocks as a result of the magnet and allows him to use the door. This keeps killers, possums and other creepy animals from sneaking in the cat door.

The problem with the magnetic system is that the magnets are not unique. Before we installed our cat door, it came to our attention that Maurice was not the only cat with a magnetic door in the neighborhood. Apparently, he had been seen entering and exiting other cat's homes through their magnetic cat doors. Jeff and I were torn between humiliation upon learning that our cat was a big bully and awe at the fact that he had the balls to just walk into another cat's house. Upon learning about Maurice's house hopping habits, we decided to up the anty. We went to the fanciest pet store in the land and bought him the Jaguar of cat doors - the INFRARED CAT DOOR. The thing cost us like $100 PLUS the hours spent installing the thing. This door does not mess around. It comes with a unique infrared signal that Maurice wears around his neck like a charm bracelet and only his signal will unlock our door. This also prevents him from entering other houses with the magnetic system because he no longer needs to wear the magnet charm around his neck.

We thought we were sooo smart. The problem? The cat door is clear. Maurice spends hours and hours standing in the kitchen looking out his "kitty window", admiring the backyard, watching the fall foliage, checking to see if there are any birds or cats hanging out there. As a result of his almost constant proximity, his stupid cat door locks and unlocks incessantly. While cooking dinner all I hear is "cha-chank..... chank... cha-chank...... chank". The batteries on this fancy door were supposed to last a year or more, but instead we practically had to buy stock in The Tiniest Battery In The World Company because I swear to you that we replaced those batteries like once a week.

I think it was a few months ago that the battery died again and we just finally decided to give up. We manually unlocked it and now he comes and goes as he pleases. I think we even lost his fancy infrared charm. I hope no killers or possums are reading this website and getting sneaky ideas.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Daily Note: November 1, 2008

Sources inform me that Mr. Jay from America's Next Top Model is currently in Seattle. He was last seen being accosted by a mob of excited gay men at the Apple Store in University Village.