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Showing posts from October, 2011

All is Well ... and Warm

Happy to report our new furnace is shiny and functional. When we woke up this morning, we were greeted to the sounds of warm air being pumped through the house.

However, the major storm that blew through took down a live power line from the house next door -- dropping it on our driveway and across the street. So, we've got attractive "CAUTION" tape blocking the area in front of our house and the road.

This is very attractive to potential buyers, I'm sure.

And given the amount of people still without power, it's going to be awhile before they come out and get it cleaned up.

Also feeling pretty good about removing the fence last month, as it would have been kindling thanks to the number of limbs that fell into the yard -- and from all sides. Though, I'm sad to report, the grill was smashed. Will be giving our insurance guy a call tomorrow -- does our policy cover freak October snow storms?

Snow!?! Really!?!

The guys have been in the basement banging away installing the new furnace all day. We're anxious to feel the warm air and pull off some layers.

We're upstairs trying to keep warm and watching the first snow storm of the year ... in October. Really?!

And tree limbs are coming down all over the house! You hear a crack and a whoosh -- snow and limbs come crashing down.

Crazy weather day.

When will the heat come on?!


This morning is definitely the coldest morning in the house since the furnace was disconnected. (For our safety.)

There's frost on the pumpkins and we could see our breath when we dropped Leah off at Kindergarten.  Low 50s are forecasted for the day.

The thermostat in the dining room is reading 61 degrees -- and we've got a space heater turned on in here!

The water coming out of the faucets is ice-cold. It almost hurts my hands. And I've got three layers on to keep warm.

And here's what the 3-year-old decides to wear around the house ...

... and I had to beg her to put on the sweatpants. Minutes earlier she was naked. 

Guster?! In My Backyard?

This is just bad luck.

For years, we went to see Guster in NYC on Thanksgiving weekend. Usually with Maggie. Remember? It was a tradition, along with going to see the Macy's Thanksgiving parade with Josh.

Guess where Guster is playing this Thanksgiving. Montclair!! Ten minutes down the friggin road.

We plan to move away just in time for them to come to us?! Curses!

The Secret Sauce

When it comes to spray cleaners for my house, I prefer the organic brands. They're not made from harsh chemicals, so I don't have to worry about who is around when I'm using them or what I'm cleaning. And the sharp ammonia smell always bothered me.

The previous owners of the house didn't feel the same way and, in the spirit of generosity, left a few bottles of Windex, TopJob and 409 cleaners. I just shoved them aside, feeling too guilty about pouring them down the drain or trashing them.

Since putting the house on the market I've been going through spray cleaner quicker than tissue in a preschool, so I pulled out the Windex one afternoon when my Method spray was gone.

My question is this: What the HELL is inside Windex?

It makes my counters sparkle, the stove top shine, takes up grubby oil in two wipes and generally makes the kitchen look brand-new. There's a noticeable difference.

I still worry when I drop a strawberry on the counter -- can I eat it? Clean …

Found at the Bookstore

Found this little board book at the bookstore. Cute, no?

Omen of things to come?

Maybe. Maybe not. *sigh*


Work was slow today and I got my errand done early so I got to indulge in one of my favorite activities: puttering.

Puttering = me wandering from room to room taking care of a variety of small tasks. But never staying in one room for too long. For a scatterbrain like me, it's true glory.

I started in my bedroom, walked into Leah's room to put some photos I unearthed away ... found Alice's baby book so I looked through that. I headed toward Alice's room to put away the Barbies which sent me back to Leah's for more Barbie stuff. Back in Alice's I put away clean clothes I folded last night, which turned into reorganizing her drawers, removing summer items. Back to my room to check work email. And so on.

Room to room, task to task. Puttering is a fine art.

Puttering also has the added advantage of keeping me warm -- as the furnace is still busted and the current house temperature is 65 degrees.

Limbo City

We're still here.

I ran into a parent I knew from day care this weekend and he was kinda shocked to see me. "Aren't you moving?"


It keeps happening. At Smashburger after yoga (I regret that stop), getting frozen yogurt and the playground.

I just explain things are taking a lot longer than we thought ... which is the truth. I was planning to be settling in by Halloween and here we are, looking at Thanksgiving as the new target.

Limbo City.

Now, had I known we'd be around for two solid months I'd have found a part-time PreK program for Alice, who is bored out of her gourd at home all day -- without Leah and with her lame ("let's clean the kitchen again!") Mom. I might have found some after-school activities for Leah, like soccer or swimming that some of the other kiddos take. But of course, without the help of a magic crystal ball, I wouldn't have known that.

Meanwhile, I'm so juiced up on design shows I'm starting to rearrange fu…

The Heat Is Off

To sum up: We're putting a new furnace in this old house.

That's right. We're trying to move out of this house, but we are putting in a new furnace. Hooray!

To expand slightly: We've had a parade of inspectors come through the house making recommendations of improvements, so the house is in good shape if we take the buyout. The HVAC inspector found the furnace was unsafe. He unhooked it and, well, we need heat (it's October!). So, I've been getting estimates for a new furnace.

I have conflicting feelings about this. On one hand, I hate that I have to replace a furnace that was functioning fine (as much as I knew) for the last 5 years. And it's not even for the benefit of me or my family. And it's going to completely decimate my decorating budget for the new house.

However, if we get a buyer, their inspector might have found this furnace issue and we'd be replacing it anyway. And probably at a much higher cost.

Of course, I immediately called the real…

Funky Art For New Walls

Still shopping for my new house tonight, so I wandered over to, which is just the best place pick up great things -- especially original art. I've found a lot of neat things on that site over the past few years.

Here's an example of a print I'm looking at. Colorful, funky and cool. YAY! And only about $20 unframed!

I also got the idea to use the photos we took in Europe last year. Snapfish will blow up any photo into poster size or even a large canvas. I could have them printed in black and white and they could be gorgeous decorating a wall.

Fun to toss around ideas.

Media Center - New Idea

I just got the new Pottery Barn catalog today and zeroed in on a possible solution for the media unit in the family room. (Otherwise, most of the other stuff wasn't in my new style.)

Of course, the furniture is out of my budget but I do love the idea of a long row of cabinets with the TV and art casually placed along the top.

My budget-saving idea would be to use my current TV cabinet, buy two more and place them in line like the Pottery Barn example that I love. So I jumped on the Crate and Barrel website and ... isn't it just my luck ... it's no longer available. Blah.

Back to the drawing board.

The Neighbor's Shed - What Goes On?

My backyard neighbor has a shed.

Just picture a normal-looking shed with a coiled hose hanging from the door. It's a few feet from their house's backdoor and about as big as a lawnmower, wheelbarrow and a few bags of fertilizer. I can see it from my kitchen sink. It's very average-looking. But it's the center of a giant mystery.

The family that live there are just as average; Parents and a middle-school son and daughter. Sometimes I see a grandmother sitting outside. They have an above-ground pool and a young German shepherd. The Dad spends a lot of time taking care of his lawn and yard. Mom has a small circular garden.

Here's the mystery: The mother and father neighbor enter this little shed several times a day (in all seasons) for a short amount of time, closing the door tight behind them. The children and dog are not allowed in this shed. I've even seen the kids pacing, waiting for the parents to emerge.

What the HELL do they do in there?

My best guess is they…

So That's Good News, Right?

I finally had an appointment for a showing today. Woohoo! This is the second showing in the last week -- so that's a good trend. Right?

I called the agent once I got home -- because she forgot to leave a card, and I wanted to make sure she got in and had enough time to walk through -- and she did come by. And her clients "really liked the house."

So that's good news, right? I'll just live off that for a few days.

My Free Therapy

I've recently discovered that one of my favorite past-times during this transition is wall improvements. The act of pulling things off the walls, patching up the holes and touching up the paint is like free therapy.

Once you really look at your walls - especially five years after painting them - you'd be amazing how messed up they are. And my walls are plaster, so every hole had to be pre-drilled.

Case Study: Here's a photo of Leah's dresser where I hung two simple shelves. The mess I made on the walls to hang them haunted me -- though they were easily covered by books and other shelf nicknacks. So this weekend, I removed shelves, spackled the holes (some rather large) and retouched the paint.

The End Result: Completely terrific! And I feel great.


In my rush to declutter I filled a bin with DVD movies that we weren't likely to watch again and brought them up to camp in Western Mass.

A few weeks later, I dropped off another pile of movies to resell in Hoboken. Days later I got a call from the place and was told most of the cases were empty. Crud! Further inspection lead me to a folder full of discs we brought to Europe last year. Empty cases everywhere!

I was able to populate the empty cases for resale but I still have a stack of camp-friendly discs that need to be reunited with their cases. In the meantime, the brown paper bag I have them stored in reminds me of the bag the kid in Parenthood (the movie, not the tv show) stored his porn. And it makes me laugh just looking at it.

Long story, short: It looks like I have a bag of porn.

(I swear movies like The Goonies and Spaceballs are within.)

Related posts:

More about my quest to cook

Fall Curb Appeal

I've definitely noticed cars stopping in front of the house for several minutes, and I assume they see for For Sale sign and are evaluating if they want to come in or not. (And yes, it's kinda creepy.) Also, Leah has noticed we're lacking fall and Halloween decorations, compared to some of our more festive neighbors. (Thanks to our daily walk down the block.) So yesterday I stopped by the landscape store and bought up a bunch of mums to pretty-up the front door.

The landscape store was brimming with lots of different colored mums, fun scarecrows and other decor for the season. Plus, I just love a garden center at any time of the year. So, I enjoyed myself and took my time. (Alice was sleeping in the car.)

I'm happy to report Leah was very pleased with the final look, though she has requested some scary, hanging ghosts and pumpkins of various sizes. Impossible to please, that one. For now, I hope it will entice more people to check out what's inside.

Rolling to School

As long as the weather is good, I'm going to walk to elementary school each day. I like the fresh air and exercise. Alice is always in the stroller and sometimes Leah will walk and sometimes she rides. It's a nice way to watch the seasons change on our block.

It also reminds me of our fall in Berlin. We took the World's Heaviest Stroller everyday to explore the city. Most mornings we'd pass a kindergarten and watch parents drop off their kids. Only a few parents used cars, a bunch had strollers, but the majority had a seat for their tot on their bike. Leah was endlessly jealous and begged me to get such a bike.

Unfortunately, our new house isn't close enough to school to walk or bike -- which I guess the exchange for moving to a less urban community. You can't win them all.

Cozy Modern

Here's the best picture I can find so far as to the design direction I'm leaning toward for the new house.
It's from CB2. It shows the gray, modern sofa that I want to fill with throw pillows in funky patterns. The great industrial green coffee table (totally kid friendly) and the shelves of storage/books in the background. Even the fun rug is where I'm going, but I'm thinking no pattern. I don't like the steel/glass side table -- as I'm not a fan of glass on tables (hello! kids!).

Lots of color, lots of fun and a little funky with modern thrown in. And maybe some vintage, if I can find something I like. The pretend shopping continues.

Take My House ... Please!

No one has come to see my house again this weekend. That's two weeks now that we've gotten no visitors. This is very bad news. And it's beginning to feel personal.

This is a great house. It's well-built, dry basement, good-size yard and a quick 20-minute drive into NYC (on most weekends) and Meadowlands stadium. I'm walking-distance to a top-rated elementary school and have great neighbors. And it's way cute inside, with new appliances! WHAT is the problem?

I realize the economy sucks and getting a mortgage is tough. And, yeah, if you're in a house, it's going to be hard to sell it, but ... sigh ... it's not that bad, right?

Come on. Come on! BUY MY HOUSE!

Home Owner Again!

It's official ... well, almost. We bought the house! YAY!!!

It came down to either waiting to bid for another 3 weeks -- and put off the closing until DEC!! Or bidding and purchasing now, so we can close quickly and move. And it just came down to needing to end this awful transition time. It's been painful for all of us.

So, maybe we kiss New Jersey goodbye just after Halloween? Scary!