Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Ohio: The first two years

Here's a blast from the past: Ohio: The first week.
"Well, it's been one whole week. The hovel that is home is 80% clean, and a vast improvement from when I arrived. I have barely unpacked even one item, but there was a lot to do before I could even think about unpacking. The basement was supposed to be ready for me when I got here, but alas, I've done most of the work myself."
I don't live in a hovel anymore, but it still looks like the Brendan Fraser movie A Blast from the Past. The first sentence was an intended pun. It's the shag carpet that really kills me, but don't get me wrong: the avocado green linoleum is a real treat too. Remember when I was so excited about Ernie fitting in ("Ernie's story")? Well, did you take a gander at the picture from that post? Look at the carpet everyone is sitting on:

Shag, shag, shag. Here's a funny anecdote: I sat down on the couch with a completely full glass of cran-grape juice, and somehow I knocked the whole thing over. Just whack! Straight to the floor. But, conveniently, in our living room we have ORANGE shag, and after blotting it up, you couldn't even tell. What a relief!

"I also steam-cleaned the carpet down here. It no longer smells like cat sh*t, hooray! I don't know if it was a combination of basement-mustiness plus the fact that there are two litter boxes down here (I keep them very clean though!) or what, but it always stank when I came down. I guess it must have been the carpet (mostly) because now that I've steamed it, it smells a lot better. In fact, it smells pretty pleasant because I have a few air fresheners."
Air fresheners continue to be the key, but I've steamed the dining room a couple of times. We are resigned to the ever-present pee smell until we're able to get rid of the carpet completely. We've now added two litter boxes to the basement . . . it has really improved matters.

Har har.

Actually, since we're no longer living in the basement, it really has improved matters (sans sarcastic "har har"). The basement is generally a stinky place: eau d' cat poopie, must, and dinge. Therefore, guests are not allowed. With that simple rule in place, we can basically ignore that part of the house (except for the fact that I have to go down there daily to clean out the litterboxes, but who's counting?).

The rest of the house has definitely moved up from hovel. I worked hard and on the ground level we've cleared out everyone's belongings except for our own, which is really cool. It looks a little sparse because we don't have tons of furniture, but I'm happy to just have our things out on display.

Speaking of display: the artwork is pretty sparse too. Two canvas paintings that I did in two separate Art Therapy sessions at work set the mood and Ambiance of our living room. Other than that, it's slim pickin's with the artwork in our home.

We changed the functionality of some of the rooms, which really changed the flow of the house. The old "family room" is now our formal dining room. The old "formal dining room" is now the nook. We're still not using the front door yet, but when you first come into the house (through the kitchen) instead of seeing couch/clutter/tv, you see a nice open space, lots of plants, and a big formal dining table. The room is still a bit bare, I want Danny to build a "unit" for me, but it's a great place for the dogs. The nook is great too, although we don't tend to eat there. For a while we weren't eating in front of the tv, but we've slipped back into being couch potatoes while we eat meals.

That is the main change from us taking over the house: we are using the living room a lot. We still call it the living room, but we treat it like a family room. It's where the tv and the Wii are located, and the comfy couch and big chair. It's really nice.

Basically we don't have a "living room" anymore (a formal living room) because we use it as a family room. Right now, I don't miss that. I never really understood the idea of having a room with furniture you can't sit on or "live" in, so I don't really notice the omission. I keep it nice and it has the best furniture, so tough beans is what I say.

I've also been working on the yard a lot. We ripped out bushes, planted new flowers, and I made a new flowerbed under the fir tree outside the formal dining room. I planted orange impatiens** under it and they look awesome, including the sneaky pink one that hitch-hiked onto the flat. Elaine thought it was a mistake and doesn't want to let me live it down, but I like it.

**I'd like to thank my sister for pointing out the correct spelling of impatiens (not impatients, as I thought). I spelled it the way I say it . . . am I pronouncing it wrong too?

And more big news! We're cutting down one of the monster trees in the front yard. I don't like that the front of the house (living room/nook side) doesn't get any natural light, and the main reason is because of 4 ginormous trees in our front yard. So we're going to cut one of them down and see if it improves matters. I agree it will look awfully bare without any trees, but Danny doesn't really get that I need to plant my own trees and watch them grow big. It is a shame to cut them all down though, so I'm happy to start with just the one.

The first week in Ohio I noticed that #1) the stores around here suck, and #2) driving at night is frightening due to lightning bugs and deer. Well, nothing in my experience since then has altered my original opinions to even a minute degree. I am a subscriber to American Greetings, and I make my own cards and print them from our desktop printer. And I still dread driving at night.

In addition to the above listed items, I have also learned:

3. Raccoons are nothing like Rascal. Smelly, stinky, destructive, pooping vermin.

4. Wal-Mart is the greatest store ever, even though it only won by default because there are no other stores in the running.

5. Orange impatiens with one pink one is a very pretty, and a very original landscaping plan. I think I'll do it again next year just for fun. Perhaps it will become my tradition.

6. Danny and I have an aptitude for picking animals that do not function as advertised: 3 cats, and not a hunter among the lot. And 2 dogs in scaredycat clothing that cower under every rock, bush, and blade of grass.*

*There's an appropriate line from Six Days Seven Nights: (potentially botched, but close enough, I say) Harrison Ford: "I thought women liked sensitive men? You know, not afraid to show their feelings and all that?" Anne Heche: "Not when they're being chased by pirates! They like 'em mean and armed!" It's like an S.A.T. question: sensitive man is to pirate as __ is to country. Answer: Pansy-assed dogs!

And finally:

7. There is a vast assortment of enormous bugs who suffer from no social inhibitions regarding coming over uninvited and staying past their welcome. Bastards.


Mindy said...

I thought there were a couple of things should you know:

1. I talked to a carpet installer who told me that most installers charge more for removal of carpet if you own a cat. Apparently the carpet removal is pretty horrendous because cat urine is so awful.

2. The flowers you are talking about are impatiens, not impatients. I do not like to point these things out because it is rude to correct people, but you are my sister and I know you are a stickler.

Glad the house is turning into what you want! It has taken us 6 years and we still aren't there, but it is fun to do things a little at a time!

Kate said...

That's interesting to me about the spelling of impatiens! I spelled it the way I say it, so I wonder: am I pronouncing the word wrong too?

I wonder what a carpet installer would charge for THREE cats? Thank goodness we're doing hard wood, and thank goodness we're doing it ourselves. It's still going to be gross though--I shudder to think.

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