Thursday, June 22, 2006

Preview of what I would write if I weren't too busy and cranky and hot.

Annoying day. Reasons: (1) People who use their answering machines to screen callers, then pick up the phone at the tail end of the message, forcing me to repeat myself and change all my notation for the call. (1a) People who throw my printout away because I wasn't there the very instant it printed but instead arrived two minutes later. (2) Fiance is doing all the painting and I think the color I picked for the sewing room is too yellow and not enough orange. (3) Tornado sirens forcing me to hang up in the middle of a call to huddle in the downstairs hallway for an hour.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Jennifer Homeowner has flashbacks

Ah, paint. Eric and I painted the living room and entryway today. We meant to do it completely, but that was before we realized that (a) we didn't have enough tape and (b) we didn't have enough paint. They're both mostly windows and archways so I had thought the one gallon would be enough, but no. And since we're painting over a dull dark green, we need at least one more coat. The rooms look much lighter, though, and I had no mishaps such as the ones I had the last time I painted.

We also taped off another room upstairs (aside from the living room, we've got two bedrooms and the bath to paint--we painted the basement a few days ago, because the previous owners had inexplicably painted most of it black, and with the white down there it's marvelously brighter) and discovered that the previous homeowners may have been fix-it types, they weren't very good fix-it types. There was a small desk built into a narrow corner in the room destined to be my sewing room, and the supports for it were actually glued to the walls. Eric got some satisfaction out of smashing them with a hammer until they broke off and then spackling up the holes (plaster would probably have been better, but we didn't have any and we did have the spackle handy).

Also, last night while Eric was playing World of Warcraft I did my part of our bargain that gets Eric to mow the lawn, and started taking care of the garden. Behind the garage is a square of earth, about as big as the garage, with a raised bed in the middle and a pear and an Asian pear around. My eventual plan is to clear this area of grass entirely and have herbs, vegetables, and fruit bushes, but this year I'm starting small. So I planted a raspberry bush near the Asian pear, and two pepper and two tomato plants, and some peas, and mint and basil and dill around the chives plant that Edith gave me and that Eric mowed down because I hadn't put enough dirt around it to make it clear it wasn't a particularly big clump of grass. I also cleared most of the raised bed. The previous owners had placed black plastic over one half of this, and in the other they'd planted strawberries...and then, over the plastic, they apparently planted lettuce, because there were four clumps of it, growing out of shallow roots in the little bit of dirt on top of the plastic. And in the non-plastic area, the strawberry plants were dwarfed by spiky yellow-flowered weeds. I got Michelle to whack some of them for me by pointing out that when they were cleared, she could see the strawberries hidden in the greenery, and she could eat any she found. In the meantime, I spread the 240 lb of topsoil and 40 lb of garden soil I'd bought (at about 2.5 cents a pound, for the topsoil at least) and planted. I'm not sure what to do to kill off the rest of the grass for next year--I've only covered about a quarter of what I eventually want to have as planting ground. I figure I'll have a gravel U-shaped path around the raised bed, but for the rest, do I cover it with dirt this year and wait for the grass beneath it to die, or do it early spring next year, or cover it with plastic now, or what?

Anyway, I have plants planted, as well as cantaloupe seeds started inside the house. We've got the first coat of paint on the front room and entry. The U-Haul is reserved for next Saturday. We bought an ice cream maker. We're well on our way to moving in.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Still life with fish and cherries

We have achieved house! It currently has no utilities, since the owner cancelled them for Friday (when we were originally closing) and we hadn't signed up for them yet, but I'll be fixing that in a few minutes. Then I'll be going over to clean what I can without water or electricity. The owner left a ridiculous amount of stuff, including an exercise bike in the basement (I wish he'd asked, as that would be heavy as heck to carry upstairs, but fortunately it works and I could actually use something like that), a couple of nice glass pitchers, an array of clean mugs in the top shelf of the dishwasher, a carefully packed box of funny glass, a stuffed toy, and an opened cup of blueberry yogurt. We're glad we went to look (and unload book boxes from my trunk, after 8 months of driving them around) last night. Pictures will be forthcoming, but probably not until the real/virtual housewarming. Rest assured it is a wonderful house, even if it is making both of us slightly uneasy for different reasons.

I dreamed about cleaning a fish tank last night. I dream this often, and it's usually in different places, but I've always forgotten that it was there and there are always more live fish than you'd expect from me forgetting it and therefore not feeding them. I don't know what this means. I did own an aquarium from age eight to twenty inclusive, but I haven't had one now for years. Though, actually, another of the things the owner left was a hundred-gallon aquarium, also in the basement, so maybe that triggered it.

In other news: I appear to be allergic to cherries. Two nights ago I ate some cherries and started sneezing and sore-throating. My tongue also itched a little, but I was figuring I was starting a cold so didn't pay attention. The next day, I felt better. Then I ate a few cherries I'd brought as a snack and my nose started running and my throat started hurting and my tongue started itching. It turns out cherries are closely related to hazelnuts, which I already know I'm allergic to (but more closely to almonds, which I'm not). Cherries. A chocolate allergy would almost be better. At least then I'd be avoiding something not particularly good for me. But cherries are luscious and wonderful and seasonal. Plus they're also related to peaches. If I become allergic to peaches, I will be one unhappy vegetarian.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Jewelry stores: the horror.

There are further difficulties with closing. Specifically, the title company has not given me a final number. Without this I haven't been able to get to the bank to get a cashier's check, and we're closing at 4 on Monday--I can't make that time either, but Eric can and I'll just be late; they'll have to put up with it since I'll theoretically be the one with the money--and I work that morning so I have no time to get to the bank that day either. I think it'll work out that I can call the bank and pick it up on my way to closing, but I'm not pleased with Louisville Title right now.

However, we resolved the other stuff, including the electrical work we'd requested--it turns out that our inspector may not have known what he was talking about, which is a little disturbing. We didn't get the quote for a whole-house rewire as we'd requested, but the essential stuff is safe now so we're not going to worry about it yet.

Now, jewelry stores. I've been meaning to write this down for a week and kept forgetting whenever I had time to sit down and do it. I haven't been in a jewelry store since--no, that's not true. I went to a jewelry store in 2002 to pick out a watch for my graduation present, but Mom was with me and was ruthless about getting salespeople out of our way. Before that was several years earlier, also with Mom, but Mom was looking for a nice present for Dad and the salesman kept pressuring her to buy a particular piece she was looking at. I didn't like that. I was also pressuring Mom, because I liked the piece and I thought she should get it, but that was different: I was the daughter, and I had a right. They should have been leaving her alone. (She did end up getting it, though I think it took longer because she was trying to make up her own mind while ignoring both me and the salesman.)

Anyway, last week Eric and I stopped at Kay Jewelers to look at wedding rings because we'd been discussing wedding planning and figured hey, why not. So we stepped into the store, finding the right case almost immediately, and a saleswoman swooped.

"Finding anything you like?" she said. "Looking for anything in particular? Let me know if you want to examine something." Then, before we could do more than thank her, "Let me show you some of these new tungsten rings. See the hammered finish on these? I think that's lovely. You might consider our Superior Fit (or whatever) rings. See how they're concave on the inside? That's so the edges don't become sharp." The insides were convex. She said to Eric, "Are you a diamond man, or do you want something a little more simple? We have yellow or white gold here, and some two-tone rings here. We have thinner versions for the ladies," she said to me. "What's your ring look like?"

I lifted my hand and showed her my sapphire, and her face contorted itself from normal salesperson cheerful into a rigid polite. "That's very nice," she said, and quickly talked about other things. It was clear that she was horrified that my ring was not a diamond, and probable that she felt none of the rings she was showing me would be a suitable match, as I had probably gotten my ring from a Cracker Jack box. Or perhaps she figured Eric had been too cheap to get me a diamond and therefore we wouldn't be such a good sale. She sailed on with her pitch nonetheless, talking nonstop until we said, "Thanks for showing us the rings," and walked out.

It took me a while to recover. I never had such a jewelry experience before--or any other sales experience, except maybe shopping for my car. I had no idea walking into a jewelry store was such an ordeal. I wonder if all jewelry stores are like this, and if they've tried noninvasive salespeople or just assumed raptors are the best way to get people to part with large sums of money for tiny rocks and metal. Eric and I had already decided that we would never be able to buy gemstone jewelry anywhere other than at the gem show (where we got my ring last year--have I mentioned how much I love this ring? I still hold it up in different lights to see how it sparkles and changes hue) and now I'm not sure I'll be able to buy jewelry anywhere else, except maybe on eBay.