javascript:void(0) busy that day...: October 2009

it's not me, it's you.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

HGTV can suck it: the finale

painting ordeal mostly behind us (the kitchen still remains primed, yet unfinished to this day), it was time to move on to "smaller" projects like lights, cleaning and new furniture.  i'm using the term smaller loosely here because our past home improvement history should have warned us this would be no cakewalk either.  and if it were a cakewalk, i'd somehow burn the cake or drop it on the floor.  thats just how i roll.

we hired a professional company to come clean the carpets.  they were supposed to arrive at 2pm on a saturday.  true to customer-friendly fashion, they arrived prompltly at 535pm.  J needed to be somewhere at 7pm, meaning i would be left to spend time with the semi-sketchy carpet pros all by my lonesome.  all in all, they did a pretty good job, but no one warned us we wouldn't be able to put our furniture back down on the floor for 24 hours AND that we needed to keep the condo doors and windows open to help speed the drying process.  i spent a chilly night alone sitting on a plastic sheet, bundled up in a comforter, watching TV.  who said remodeling wasn't glamorous?  oh wait, i did.

next, we bought a new sofa and loveseat, to be delivered the day after i moved in.  again, in true customer-friendly fashion, the furniture arrived around 5pm, and we had to bolt to J's football game as soon as the furniture was (literally) wedged in the door.  ah yes... in order to fit the pieces in the doorway, we had to remove the door from its hinges, thus rousing our nosy, elderly neighbors from all sides of the building.  it was like baby jessica was stuck in a well; everyone has an opinon or criticism to offer, when really we just wanted them to STFU and go away.  after that drama, the furniture was in.  as soon as the plastic was removed, i, OF COURSE, found two blemishes in the microfiber.  they tried to tell me it wasn't a big deal, but i refused to be minimized.  this resulted in the eventual return of a furniture magic fairy who was able to fix the two marks.  five months later, of course, we HATE the furniture.  i guess its just another excuse to do more shopping next time we move.

all in all, i'm glad to report that we made it.  throughout our 4 month project, i joked several times that if we could make it through remodeling together without murdering each other, we were all set.  in actuality, it's been a great test.  lots of physical and emotional stress really brings out the best and worst in people, and as a couple, we got to see that in each other. 

as we close the HGTV fairytale, i'd like to say that i will NEVER EVER be a do-it-yourselfer again, unless i absolutely have to.  looking back, i'd much have rather dropped the cash to pay someone else to do it all while i watch DVR'd episodes of cheaters and cops.  time is money as they say, and in this realm, my time is better spent with joey greco and my money is better spent with a contractor.

but at least we can say we did it.  in our first place together.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

HGTV can suck it: part II

when J spilled the aforementioned assload of paint, my fight or flight response kicked in.  well, mainly flight, because i was quite sure he was going to do some damage to some inaminate object in a testosterone fit, and i didn't want to witness it.  i ran in, saw what happened and went right back out of the room, grabbed my shoes and keys and bolted for the door.  kind of like peter used to do on the cosby show.

anyway.  before i made it out, i realized i was probably being highly inappropriate, not to mention really rude.  remember, this whole constant coupledom thing is a whole new bird to me.  anyway, i figured i could at least help the guy clean everything up and THEN run away like an asshole, right?  so, i spent about an hour soaking up paint-y carpet and calming J down.  it wasn't as bad as it looked, but it was still a huge mess.  carpet just isn't made for latex paint, no matter what anyone tells you.  after a few days of soaking the carpet with water and various cleaners, sopping it up with towels and repeating, i managed to make the pizza-sized spot go away.  consider me the david blaine of paint stain removal. 

after this mishap, we came to an agreement: no more freakouts.  unless, of course, someone was hurt or sick or on the verge of causing bodily harm to themselves or the other person.  thankfully, we never had an explosion like that again.  or, at least, if there was, i wasn't around to witness it. 

next up: part III.  the saga continues.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

HGTV can suck it: part I

the majority of our free time in the months leading up to move-in day was spent doing a mini-rehab job on J's condo.  the previous tenant was an octogenarian with an apparent penchant for smoking, horribly staining the carpet with unknown fluids, smoking, not cleaning the bathroom, smoking, sex toys (more on that later) and of course, MORE SMOKING.

seriously, folks.  the walls in this place... felt kind of like being INSIDE a cigarette filter.  a nasty yellow tobacco sheen covered everything from the carpet to ceiling, closet doors to tile grout.  we probably have lung cancer from breathing the remnant carcinogens soaked into the walls.

bedroom closet doors.  let's call the left "before" and the right "after".  there are approximately 12 of these type doors in our condo; i used THREE containers of clorox cleaning wipes and a steam cleaner to remove the nico-funk.  they still aren't as white as i'd like (insert your own racist joke there).

living room ceiling.  we used the ever-nauseating TSP cleaner to remove the sticky tobacco mess.  we cleaned all the hard surfaces, from walls to ceilings before priming.  this amazingly engaging task took two of us about 5 weekend days to finish.  also, check out the disgusting vent cover AND super-modern curtain track that took the strength of many men (or a hammer and furious boyfriend) to take down.

after our adventure with weeks of TSP cleaner (trisodium phosphate for you chemistry buffs), buckets, mops and body contortion to clean all those impossible places, it was time to prime and paint (oooh, ahh).  HGTV, or "renovation porn" as i have realized it is, makes painting look like a bowl of sunshine and sparkles.  friends... it is not.  it sucks.  the colors never look like you want, you drip shit everywhere, you ruin countless items of clothing, and if you are e & j... everything that could go wrong, does go wrong.  we fools primed twice and painted twice.  had to get color re-mixed.  bought way more paint that we ever needed.  ran out of tape on three occasions.  bought cheap rollers and after the first coat, realized why they were so cheap.  why?  because our walls looked like they were made of cotton.  i don't know of any painting style that encourages you to have fuzzy walls, but if there was, we for sure were experts!

we were able to enlist the help/pity of my dear friend, ee, for one saturday.  she was super helpful and amazing and... never returned, rightfully so.  SUCKER!  but, she did bring some comic relief and twinkie cake.  cake makes everything better (until you drop it on the floor).

i'll end this chapter with the day that J spilled paint ALL OVER the bed, carpet and dresser.  folks, it was everywhere.  probably a good gallon of behr premium, lazily dripping down the mattress and furniture, soaking into the carpet.  this led to J having a blowup like i have never seen.  still gives me nightmares.  i thought he was going to have a stroke.  in fact, it has been widely reported that his reaction to spilled paint in march caused the recent earthquakes in asia.  butterfly effect and all that, you know.

the end of the rehab saga will be next.  did the paint stick to the walls?  is the bathroom grout ever going to be white again?  is it possible to hang curtain rods from a metal ceiling?  oh yes folks... it's that exciting.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

and so it begins...

exactly 33 weeks after our first date, i moved into J's apartment.  it was all his idea, although he sometimes publically denies this fact.  in late february, around the 4 month mark, he brought up the issue.  i was thrilled, nauseous and intensely excited all at once.  although i would have preferred to continue living in the city, J's current work situation and our need to save some money pointed us in the direction of choosing his place in the suburbs.  this decision alone will be the subject of many future entries, given my disdain for chicago's inexplicable traffic and the general dysfunction of the midwest suburbs.

on june 19, we suffered through what has been declared by the guiness book of world records as "officially the worst moving day in the history of time".  ok, so maybe i made that title up... but moving day is really deserving of its own entry, soon to come. 

since then, it's been 4 months and we're still alive and mostly intact, although with the occasional mental/physical malaise.  as with most couples, every day usually includes some kind of conflict.  however, they also (almost always) include many moments that remind me why we the heck we decided to become "roommates" in the first place.

our one year dating-versary is in two weeks; a timeline considered by most of our friends and family to be "too fast".  hell, even complete strangers like to weigh in on our situation.  when i've just met someone and i'm answering the obligatory personal questions, the conversation usually goes something like this...

    clueless person: "so where do you live?"

    e: "in xxxx, with my boyfriend."

    cp: "oh, awesome!  how long have you guys been together?"

    e: "a year at the end of october.  we moved in together in june."

    {insert cp's look of shock/horror/confusion, quickly followed by a lame smile}

     the responses are then one of the following:
      "wow, that's fast!"
      "oh... so... how's that working out?"
      "are you engaged?"
      "why?  are you pregnant?"

     my answers?
      "eight months, but it was the right thing!"
      "it's awesome!"
      "not yet, but it's in the plan."
      "OMG I HOPE NOT."

bottom line: we're more happy than miserable.  yes, it was a quick romance.  no, i'm not fooling myself about the marriage thing.  yes, we fight.  no, it wasn't a mistake.

anyway, look for more updates soon, featuring:
  • the worst moving day ever, explained
  • how a flat screen TV and wii will rob you of occasional romantic attention
  • what happens when you don't do laundry or dishes for 3 weeks
  • why it takes 70 minutes to commute 18 miles
  • and many more...