New House

The Aquaway

I want you to know that I just wasted several hours of my life searching my phone and computer (and Facebook profiles and blog posts) for Before Pictures and I only found TWO. I am BEYOND IRRITATED by this. I really really wish we had somehow 1) found a way and 2) thought it IMPORTANT enough to keep the pictures of the listing from when we BOUGHT the house. Those would be worth it for the minty green living room alone. ALAS, I HAVE NO IDEA WHERE THOSE ARE. 

Here's the entry way before I painted it the first time, last November or December (I can't remember.) 

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You can't really tell (OBVS) but the walls were kind of a yellow green color. There's a Crayola name for it, but it's not lighting up in my brain right now. MUCH of the house was this yellow green color, pastel and kind of sickly. Not my favorite. Or even close. WAIT. Now I'm wondering if these are pictures I took while the new paint was DRYING?! GAH GAH GAH

WHATEVER. And then here is the entry way AFTER I painted it Boring Cream (which was really the only color I could think of, at the time) but before I painted the doors white.

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Not HORRIBLE but definitely not awesome. And I knew that as soon as I was done painting. But, you know, I had a TWO-MONTH-OLD, I wasn't going to paint the stupid entry way AGAIN. 

(The bench, which is awesome, is from World Market. The sconces are the cheapest ones at Lowe's. The coat rack is from my parents' house in Italy. The basket on top was originally full of cheese and chocolate and bread and given to me at the hospital after I had Emma. The pictures on the wall are of my old street in Italy, a street map of Venice, and random Chinese scenes we collected on our trip. Also artwork from that famed and noted artist Jackson Cheung.)

Fast forward to the summer: I painted every single stupid door in my house (except bedroom closets) white. I would find my picture of the Door Painting Assembly Line on my deck from the summer, but I already wasted too much time on the entry way. Anyway, that was an improvement. I didn't do a spectacular job or anything, but the doors are seriously nothing special and looked a lot better. I did not, however, paint the edges. I was tired and had stopped caring. SUE ME. 

Fast forward to THIS past Christmas: I knew I wanted a COLOR. Hence the AQUA ANGST. (I love it. So there.) I thought it would look awesome with the white. So I painted all the trim in the entry way, plus the first stair railing, THEN I painted it a COLOR.

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Old bench from World Market, white Hemnes shoe cabinet from Ikea, coat tree from Ikea, rug from TJ Maxx, pillows from World Market (I bought them to go on my couch last year and didn't like them, they've lived on a shelf since then), white mirror from Target. 

This is not really how it was supposed to be arranged - I wanted the shoe cabinet in the hallway, a chair on either side of the coat tree, but the shoe cabinet was a little too wide for the hallway and it didn't fit (if we also wanted seating) on the wall underneath the sconce in the corner. So. It's where it is. It's also screwed into the wall, per Ikea's instructions. It's nice to have a little shelf there (that's the door to the garage) and I'm looking for pictures to put above it. I wanted the white mirror there, but they are two different whites (THE HORROR) and the mirror was actually too high to be useful (for me, anyway.) 

As for the BENCH... Phillip was all, "just put it in front of the window!" Which works, but it BUGS ME. I would prefer two chairs that are sort of angled towards each other. What do you think? The bench just barely fits on the wall where the door opens. By which I mean the door opens wide enough to use, but hits the bench. So I don't know. I like the bench and I like as much seating as possible (we are a no-shoes-in-the-house house), but obvs it has to LOOK RIGHT. This doesn't look quite right to me. 

And the RUG. BAH. I really really like the colors and pattern of this rug and it was cheap so it's staying. But putting anything on the floor is a huge pain in the butt. I've told you about our Pine Needle Issue before. We sweep constantly (okay, we sweep before people come over) and any rug or floor covering is going to get in the way, never stay in place, be filthy, etc. BUT it looks COLD and BARE without a rug. Anyway, this one is terrible, it's slippery, it doesn't stay in place, it's too small for the space, BUT I like the patter and the colors, it looks okay if I shove it in front of the furniture and not pretend it's a rug for the whole floor, and it's easy to shake out. So. It stays for now. 

The last things I need to do are buy faceplates for the light switches (the old ones were cream - unacceptable) and put up the white trim and hooks on the wall in the last picture. We've purchased these things, we just haven't put them up yet. Of course. That's where the kids will hang their coats and backpacks and other assorted annoying junk. 

I wasn't sure I would like the coat tree. I REALLY LIKE THE COAT TREE. We are also actually using the coat closet. I KNOW. 

I knew I would like the shoe cabinet. Phillip has been anti-this shoe cabinet for YEARS. Who knows why! But we've sort of exhausted all of HIS preferred options, and in the last several days I've heard him marvel once or twice, "All the shoes are put away!" It's kind of a weird piece of furniture, but it looks clean and it's easy for the kids to use. Infinitely better than the shoes in the bench or the metal rack we keep hidden in a hallway. 

So there it is, internet, The Aquaway TM Emily Cassee. I need thoughts re: chairs vs. bench, if chairs then WHAT chairs, what to put above the shoe cabinet, rugs. GO. 

P.S. if you look VERY CLOSELY you can tell that I finally painted the edges of the doors (the ones you see in the entry way, anyway) and I painted them AQUA. HA.

On my favorite color of wall being Aqua

The Spirit moved me, so this afternoon I started painting. Again. 

For my birthday, in JULY, friends gave me a Groupon for paint (lots of it) and I JUST acquired the paint a few days ago, right before the Groupon expired. Long ago I decided on what I THOUGHT was a muted aqua for my entry way. I know way back I was all "NAVY!" but then I came to my senses. Okay, right now some of you are thinking "aqua is not coming to your senses" but LEST YOU FORGOT, aqua blue, that bright baby cheerful blue, is my favorite color and never ever fails to make me feel that "...aaaahhhh...peaceful" feeling. You can have your red and your taupe and your dark gray and your sage, the aqua is mine. 

It occurred to me, as I stood inspecting my entry way and ignoring my children, that I really needed to finish painting the trim. At the end of the summer I painted every door in my house a bright white and when I painted the front door I also painted the thick white trim around it and the window. I just, ah, didn't paint the rest. I WAS TIRED. So today I thought, "That didn't take long! I'll just paint the trim real quick!"

So I did that. 

While I waited for the first coat to dry I dragged one of my Groupon paint cans into the house, wedged the top open, took a paint brush and painted a giant aqua stripe on one of my boring cream walls. And it was very AQUA. And I was DELIGHTED. 

But now, Internet. NOW I have finished painting the trim (on the side of the entry way I plan to do first - I learned the FIRST time I painted my entry way that I should maybe do this project in stages so I don't drive the other residents of the house insane) and taped the ceiling and cut in just about everywhere I need to cut in, the aqua is... AQUA. Like, same as my off-the-kitchen family-ish room. Also known as MY FAVORITE but also DUDE. Kinda... AQUA for the entry way. I'm not entirely sure what the first impression of my house is going to be. "Does a child live here?" "Is this a preschool?" "Am I inside a toothpaste tube?" 

I really did think this was a MUTED even GRAYISH aqua. You know, a GROWN UP color. I've learned, now, that I do not like neutrals. I don't like creams and browns and taupes, I like BLUE and YELLOW and RED. Those are the colors that make me happy to be in my space. But I've ALSO learned that OTHER PEOPLE think those colors should be reserved for BABY ROOMS. I was honestly shooting for ADULT, here.

So I am feeling a smidge nervous about this paint, you guys. I mean, I think if I didn't already HAVE an aqua room I'd be all, "DEAL WITH IT, SUCKAS" but because I DO already have my "colorful" room, this one is maybe "overkill"? "A poor design choice"? "Too much"?

The PLAN is to interrupt a lot of that aqua with white framed mirrors, strips of MDF or plywood painted white with coat hooks running along the walls, a colorful cover for my entry way bench pad, and possibly painting the bench white. (Do not want to do this. Blargh.) The floor is gray tile. The doors are white. White/aqua is MY FAVORITE. STOP CARING ABOUT PEOPLE WHO PREFER TAUPE. 

No seriously, why have I written an entire blog post worrying about what PEOPLE WHO DO NOT LIVE HERE are going to think of my BLUE PAINT? LET US MULL. 

I think... ok, so this is my SPACE. I don't have an office - this dining room where my computer lives at least 85% of the time is my office. And I like to decorate and I like to surround myself with things that are cheery (to ME) and YES, this house and the paint colors and furniture choices within reflect my personality. I think. Maybe? I am not terribly sophisticated (AQUA), I am not a perfectionist (SCUFFS EVERYWHERE, CARPET HOLE), and I don't dig dark, heavy, solid, matching, muted, neutral stuff. I mean, I have, at points, but I generally tend towards Light, Colorful, Airy, Windows, Maybe I Should Live On A Beach. I think. I gravitate towards the aqua, people, and if you think aqua walls are lame then obvs you think *I* am lame. SOB!

Except. For God's sake. I am thirty-freaking-three years old and if there is ANYTHING lovely and fabulous about being In Your Thirties it's that you are delightedly aware of caring a smidge less of what people think of you than when you were In Your Twenties. In my twenties I would have written an angsty blog post about PAINT and asked you what you THOUGHT and I would have taken EVERY BIT OF ADVICE, even if it was conflicting, which meant I would do NOTHING, because OH THE HORROR OF NOT EVERYONE THINKING MY ENTRY WAY IS THE CUTEST. 

But because I am writing this In My Thirties, I am going ahead and painting my walls a nice aqua (Martha Stewart's Artesian Well, btw) and all you aqua look-down-your-nose-ers can hang. OH YEAH. 

Break on through to the other side

So you know how I was all, "I'm gonna paint my entry way!" and you were all, "All right dude, but make sure you paint those doors first," and then I was all, "I'm not going to paint my entry way when it's SUNNY outside!" and then you (or maybe my friend Pancakes) was all, "Hmm, what about this OTHER blue, and yes, you DEFINITELY need to paint your doors, and happy birthday, here is a Groupon for paint!"


I don't know why I got it in my head that I needed to paint doors this weekend, but when I get something in my head IT IS FIRMLY LODGED IN THERE. Also! It turned out that I was NOT going to spend all day Saturday at a volleyball tournament like I thought (perhaps I should check my calendar once in a while!) and ALSO it turned out that Jack and Molly were going to spend Saturday through Monday (that would be TOMORROW) with Phillip's parents. Free and clear weekend + firmly lodged idea + 80 degree forecast = opportune weekend for door painting. 

I didn't think it was going to be EASY, Internet. I have painted enough things to know that even though I have painted enough things, there is always something that is a drag. I also didn't think it was going to be quick. I DID think it would be relatively painless (which is sort of different from easy) and CHEAP. I was going through the neatly labeled cans of paint in our garage (I swear, we bought this house from clones of Phillip's neatly labeling parents) and one of them was an almost-full gallon of trim paint. Which is sort of what I was thinking I would need for painting doors. A-HA!

So! Here I had an almost-gallon of paint. In addition I already had, in my not-so-neatly-labeled box o' painting supplies: brushes, rollers, tape, paint trays, and half a gallon of primer. I thought I would need another gallon of both paint and primer, but then, THEN I WAS SET! Right? 

Okay so all the above was the In Theory part of the post. I will now give you the In Practice part. 

I took off the three interior doors in the entry way and laid them out flat (propped on paint sample jars) in the garage. In doing so I realized that 1) these doors are TRULY HIDEOUSLY CRAPPY and 2) NONE of them are the same width. I went around measuring every door in my house and I swear to you, NONE OF THE DOORS ARE THE SAME WIDTH. 

They're just hollow core wood doors, I'm sure they've been hanging here since the house was built in 1988, they are bruised and marked up and if they were ever finished, like with a stain or varnish or SOMETHING, they are not ANYMORE. Out of all the doors I painted, the only one I really needed to sand/degloss was Emma's door. Why that one was shiny I have no clue. 

Oh, so that part was easy. I had some deglosser left over from my cabinet painting project and I just rubbed that stuff on and no problemo. Then I rolled on the first coat of primer and DUUUUUDE. It was like the door just sucked up all the primer with a straw. It was like maybe I'd SPILLED a bit of primer and then carelessly rubbed it in. So. TWO coats of primer. 


In the meantime I was deglossing and priming the back of the garage door and the entry way closet, which I'd chosen to leave on the hinges. I only had to do one side, so it wasn't a big deal, and I just taped up the hardware and the wall edges. But that was enough to make me happy I'd Done Things The Right Way and taken the other doors off the hinges. SO MUCH EASIER to paint when the surface is horizontal and nothing's in the way. 

Anyway, this was taking forever because it was taking forever to DRY. I was going crazy. Seriously. Those firmly lodged ideas are not known for their patience. So of course I didn't wait long enough in between coats and the doors I hung today are a bit tacky still BUT OH WELL THEY ARE PAINTED THE END. 

Today! TODAY the firmly lodged idea reminded me that I had one day left to paint the rest of the doors and if THIS is how I was going to do it I was never going to get it done. So around 7:30 in the morning I was on my deck preparing a Door Painting Assembly Line. 


Also I needed to buy more paint. OBVS. In the morning I sent Phillip for another can of Kilz. In the afternoon I drove to the suburbs, the location of my Paint Groupon, for another can of trim paint. AND IT WAS CLOOOOOOOOOOSED!!!

Maybe I was a TEEEEENY BIT IRRITATED, Internet. This paint store is about 20 minutes away. Do you know how many paint stores are within 2 minutes of my house? I was feeling very foot stompy about this, and also confused because I still only had ONE DAY to finish those doors and now I had to buy a totally different kind of paint. 

Okay, so here is where Elizabeth is going to cluck her tongue and shake her head. I just went to Home Depot and bought Behr semi-gloss interior paint. In white. I didn't even tint it. OH YES I DID. I did not even BOTHER going to the fancy pants paint store and asking the fancy pants paint store employees what sort of fancy pants paint should go on my doors. I was ALREADY a smidge (a mile) overbudget!

So do I regret it? 

I have one more coat to do on my last 7 doors. It hasn't fully dried so I'm not ENTIRELY sure, but it appears the finish is less smooth and glossy than the three doors from yesterday (Parker Paint). I also ROLLED it on, which I know is not super kosher, but I knew that going into it. (If I brush painted 10 doors plus 2 outer doors plus one closet I WOULD HAVE GONE INSANE. Also, I'd probably only be on my third door.) So. It could be better, is what I'm saying. They are not perfectly smooth, glossy, and blemish free. 

THAT SAID. Did I mention that these were the crappiest doors in the universe? Like, BEYOND CRAPPY. I couldn't believe I hadn't noticed it before. So it's kind of like I still have crappy doors, but now they are WHITE crappy doors and this is a trillion percent improvement. They look really good and the only person who even REMOTELY cares about the finish on those doors is me. And you know what principle I fully embraced on this project? DONE IS BETTER THAN PERFECT! DONE IS BETTER THAN PERFECT!


I'm going to slowly change out the brass knobs and handles for silver ones. (Expensive!) And one day I would REALLY like to put trim around the doors. We have awesome thick white trim around all the windows but NOTHING around the doors and it really looks undone to me. But that's a DIY project I have no idea how to do, so that's for another day. 

So it wasn't painless, it was more expensive than I planned, and waiting for the doors to dry PLUS flipping them over to do the other side is a royal pain in the butt. But it wasn't HARD, either. I'm not sure I would say it was easy, but the actual painting of the doors was the easiest part. (Not that you WANT to do nine hundred coats because your doors are sponges, but at least it was EASY TO DO.)

Jack and Molly come home tomorrow afternoon and everything needs to be painted. I might not have enough paint to do finish the front door tonight, but all the interior doors will be in their places, waiting for Phillip to help me hang them tomorrow night before he leaves on a business trip Tuesday morning aaaauuuuugggghhhh


P.S. do you know how many BUGS died in my paint? That I thought were specks of dirt? And brushed off? Except it SMEARED? OMGGGG


Entry Way Mood Board

I present for you, my Entry Way. 

From the stairs going up to the main level of the house. (That's the front door.)

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That other door is the door to the garage.

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We are a no shoes house. Which is a problem.

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This is the hallway to the back of the house - the first door is to a bedroom/office and the second is a bathroom. Featured: Jack Artwork.

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So. Yeah. I should probably note that I already DID this entry way. I painted and switched out the sconces last December. The paint was originally a yellowish green (kind of what the stairwell paint looks like in the picture, but is actually Pleasantly Pale Yellow aka The Color Of The Upstairs in real life.) The sconces were these white plastic half moon things. The new ones were the least offensive (and also cheapest) ones I found at Lowe's. Anyway. Slight improvement, but I AM UNHAPPY. 

The paint... I don't know. I couldn't do a gray, because the tile floor is straight up Blah Gray. The whole lower level of the house is pretty dark (on account of a dumb layout and the house facing north and lack of downstairs windows and also being totally surrounded by TREES) and I didn't think I could do a dark color. I didn't want to do anything that would look bad with the yellow stairwell. Except the cream I eventually chose TOTALLY looks yuck with the yellow stairwell. It's boring. I AM BORED. 

So I am thinking...


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This is fabric left over from my fabric covered canvas "art" upstairs. I love it so. Bright, busy, multi-colored, YES. So it's kind of hard to tell in this picture I think, but the swirly parts are a dark blue. Not dark enough to be navy, but definitely dark and blue and I kind of want that to be my new entry way wall color. OH YES. 

It's dark. But... I HATE the light color! It doesn't look right. For a while it looked nice with the rug I had in the entry way, but I had to get rid of the rug because it 1) never stayed and 2) was just a giant pine needle trap. (Remember: TREES.) So I'm going to TRY a dark color. It's only paint. I am no longer afraid of paint. 

Besides, I'm going to lighten it up with a lot of white. Please to see:



I love love love that white strip of molding (trim?) (am DIY novice!) along the wall, with the hooks. I think that would look awesome in my entry way. I can't do the board and batten thing, on account of having a house that is not a board and batten type of house. The bench/overhead coat hanger thingy is not working for me. But I LOVE this idea and I love how I could line that whole back wall that goes towards the playroom with hooks. Storage! That looks cute! I envision lining each major wall with a thick piece of white trim with nicely spaced hooks. 

(I love that dark gray, don't you? I think it would look putrid with my gray tile. SIGH.)

I would also add a lot of other white stuff.

This mirror is from Crate & Barrel, but I'm thinking of the much cheaper Target version (that I can't find online.)


Bench. I bought this bench from World Market when I redid the entry way in December. I like it okay. I would rather have a white bench, though, with a cushion covered in some sort of happy print. I might paint this (BLARGH), I might sell it on Craigslist and find something else. I thought it would be great for shoe storage, but it's not. Phillip's shoes are too big, the kids' shoes are too small, plus we have TOO MANY SHOES. I've been throwing some in a basket (you can arrange the shelves any way you like) but other people have a very difficult time putting their shoes back in the basket. Right now we have a hideous shoe shelf hidden in the bedroom hallway. I feel that this is a problem that cannot be solved. 


I've pinned a tutorial on how to make a corner bench out of stock cabinets, but HA HA HA.

Anyway. I am worried the paint is too dark. I am worried my attempts at putting up trim/hooks will look amateur and stupid. But I feel like this is a relatively cheap way to totally redo this space and I want to see how it goes. Eventually, if it looked right, I'd paint all the doors white (I want to do this through the whole house) and maybe find another rug, (although the pine needle issue is as insurmountable as the shoe issue.)

All right, time to ogle swimmers.



And now it's Me vs. the Squirrels

Sucked it up and planted my stupid garden today. Two weeks ago (ie: the last time it was sunny) I dug a rectangle out of the overgrown lawn in what I have determined is the sunniest part of the yard. Today I dug out a bigger rectangle, then I scavenged some of those ugly scalloped edger bricks from random parts of the yard and blocked it off. This was so it would look less like a random hole in the lawn. It helped, a little. 

Then I dumped two bags of potting soil on top of the existing dirt and mixed it all up with a rake. If that was pointless and/or stupid, don't tell me, I felt like I was Priming My Soil. 

THEN I walked around my front and backyards looking for some kind of trellis for my pole beans. The chunk of dug out yard happens to be right up against the house, so I just needed something to prop against the wall. And the outside of the house, much like the inside of the house, is full of Random Items Left By The Previous Owners. Like an entire shed full of garden tools. Anyway, there are a ton of overgrown never-pruned vines all over this yard and I picked the ugliest one and stole its trellis. I propped that sucker against the house and planted my pole beans beneath it. 

At that point I had to make a decision: plant ALL the tomato plants or just the ones that DIDN'T appear to have a leaf-eating disease. What happened? They've all been sitting on the deck for a week and I've watered them and placed them in the sun, but three out of the five look like I should just toss them in the yard waste bin. I decided to only plant the good ones (which happen to be the cherry tomato plants.) (Which happen to be the only ones that ever turn out for me anyway.) 

I also planted zucchini and cucumbers. If I had one of my previous gardens I would also have lettuce and snap peas and various vegetables that would die before anything really grew: squashes, melons, peppers, eggplant, that one time I tried to grow a pumpkin and it never turned orange. (The kids were super impressed with that one, let me tell you.) 

Anyway, I'll tiptoe out there tomorrow morning and see if anything's left. I regularly see cats and raccoons visit my backyard and I'm pretty sure the fir tree houses an entire colony of squirrels. I'm just going to call this a practice year. I'm going to be living here for years and years. I will have plenty of other summers to attempt the Best Garden Ever. 

In the meantime I have some sort of itchy nasty rash all over my forearm and, I swear, about three dozen miniscule slivers in my right ring fingertip. Something went awry with my gardening gloves, but still - what is in the dirt that makes my arm so itchy? And just THAT arm? And how in the WORLD did I get so many slivers in my finger? I thought at first it was just dirty and I needed to scrub a little harder, but then I looked closer and NO, those are ITTY BITTY SLIVERS OWWWWIEEEE. 

I suppose I should be doing one of my various stationery-related tasks for my sister's wedding (in less than a month) (HOLY CATS) OR I should be figuring out my Blathering plane tickets (HAVE YOU?) OR I should be folding laundry OR doing something quasi-productive but no, I see that there are new episodes of Drop Dead Diva on Netflix. 

Just wanted to update you on the Garden Decision. I know you were anxious. ALSO: here's an update on yesterday's "do I wake a sleeping baby?" post. EJ woke up, entirely her own, at exactly 10pm. Perhaps she read the blog? She sucked down a bottle, played while I window shopped on the internet, and easily went back to bed at 11pm. And then woke up at 4:30am. I am never going to sleep all night again, am I. 


Did you know that the homicide rate in Seattle has something, like, frintupled this year? As in last year there were three homicides and this year you read about a new shooting every morning? 

I don't think much about this. I don't think I live in a particularly dangerous part of town. But I do live in a big house in a secluded-ish (for the city, anyway) area, dead end street and all, and when Phillip goes on his business trips I admit to a small amount of paranoia. 

Until today I thought the worst that had happened in my neighborhood, in the time I've lived here, are a couple of car burglaries. However! When I went to pick up Jack at school today a certain preschool dad was already there and ready to update me on the police blotter. Apparently a shooting had just happened in [Part Of Town Not Particularly Close To Us] and I responded with the appropriate, "ARE YOU KIDDING?" because SERIOUSLY, SEATTLE, WHAT IS UP? 

But then! Then he tells me about a home invasion that 1) happened 500 feet away from his house where 2) the owner was fatally shot by the intruder 3) TWO DAYS AGO and how did I not know about this? Apparently there was a marijuana operation happening at this house? So it was not a random thing? BUT STILL OMG. Then he tells me that he and his neighbor have started keeping an eye out (on their PRIVATE ROAD) and calling police and the next sunny day they plan to open their garage doors and clean their rifles in plain view. 

Perhaps he just told me that last part for dramatic effect. SHUDDER.

ANYWAY. He had time to tell me all this because the kids were not in the classroom. The Pre-K classroom is in a separate building from the main school, but it has giant windows and a glass door and you can see the whole room. The lights were off and the backpacks were still on hooks so we assumed that the preschoolers were doing stuff with the big kids in the main building. It's happened before. We just waited. 

And I left Molly and Emma in the van, because I always leave them in the van when I run over to get Jack out of his class, and it's no biggie, and it's in a church parking lot with a fence and only one way in and out and while I USED to feel bad about leaving them in the car I don't anymore. Anyone who has to get a kid in and out of a car seat understands my dilemma, right? But really, it's NEVER been a problem and I've never taken more than a minute to get Jack. 

But we were waiting quite a while and I needed to go get the girls. I marched off to the car, unloaded them, and right as I was walking back to the classroom to wait some more, one of the other parents yelled at me, "The school is in lockdown, we have to go to the front of the building."

I had no idea what he was talking about. 

We all trooped to the front of the building where a very serious-looking principal carefully opened the front door and let us all in. And then we stood there while she made sure we weren't waiting for any other parents. I hissed at another school employee standing nearby - "what's going on?"

It was because of the shooting about 80 blocks away. All the local schools were in lockdown. AND NOBODY TOLD THE PRE-K PARENTS WAITING OUTSIDE TO PICK UP THEIR CHILDREN AT NOON. It wasn't until one of the waiting parents got annoyed and called the school office that we found out what was going on and what we were supposed to do. 

Then the principal told us that she would call the pre-K teacher to let her know all the parents were here, and then she would lead us to the kids. I was thinking the kids were in the main building somewhere. BUT NO. The principal led us through the school and out the back way to... the Pre-K building! Where we'd already been standing for 10-15 minutes! Where my little girls had been hanging out in the car! Where my son had been hiding in a windowless bathroom singing the Hokey Pokey because a shooter on the loose might show up! GAAAHHH!!!

So you already know that I am not the type to go all indignant on people and even in the moment I was only momentarily frustrated by the lack of communication. The shooting felt pretty far away, this seemed to be an overly cautious reaction, and now we we ready to go home and eat lunch, no harm done. 

But now that I am thinking about it a little more, the indignance is rising. I'm not sure what the plan is for the regular students, but clearly no one had thought about what to do when the pre-K parents picked up their kids. It surely wasn't a SURPRISE that we all showed up at noon. They do have all our contact information. I don't get it. I still don't feel like Molly and Emma and I were in any real danger, but would the process have been any different if there WAS real danger? I left my kids exposed, the parents were standing around like idiots, and then to herd us into the main school building and then back outside where we'd already been standing just makes no sense. 

That said, Jack appears to be completely unaffected. Even uncurious, to a degree that sort of bugs me. Doesn't he have any questions about WHY all the kids were hanging out in the bathroom? But the teacher sang songs with them and they read books and apparently it was no biggie, Mom, chill out. 

We had to do terrorist drills when I lived in Sicily. I vaguely remember hiding with my classmates in a central area of the school. And I remember one time when the sirens went off and I was late for band practice and running to school with my instrument... but that was during the first Gulf War and there were lots of weapons stored behind barbed wire (and a MOAT!) not too far away from my house and HELLO, AMERICAN MILITARY BASE. I am decidedly not a fan of lockdowns in small unremarkable Catholic schools. 

Anyway. Writing this all out has made me twitchy AND I've wasted my lunch hour. Thirty seconds until EJ wakes up and starts barking for her lady's maid. 

If wishes were dollar bills

Tomorrow morning the dude who ripped out my fireplace is coming out to give me an estimate on a staircase between the deck and the backyard. Yes, that's right, we have a deck with no access to the yard. Well, unless you want to pitch yourself over the side and land in the lavender bushes. (DIE, LAVENDER BUSHES!)

There are a LOT of weirdo things about this house. That middle-of-the-living-room fireplace was only the beginning. The deck with no stairs... well, maybe the person who designed the house didn't have kids and didn't see how useful this would be (especially in a house where all the living space is UPstairs.) But the bathrooms are bizarre. There is a bathroom on each floor, but you can access each bathroom from a hallway AND a bedroom. This isn't a big deal downstairs, but upstairs guests use a bathroom with a door going into the master bedroom. I don't really have any issues with not having my Super Special Private Bathroom, but I do think that's a weird arrangement. Also the actual BATHROOM is laid out weird, where there's a pocket door to close off the toilet from the rest of the bathroom, but instead of a sink across from the toilet (and then we could keep the pocket door closed when guests are over and essentially have a "guest bath") the SHOWER is across from the toilet. And then there's the downstairs bedroom (where the kids sleep) that is so far off in the corner it's practically a separate wing... I just think the whole place has a strange layout and I'm STILL sort of unhappy with how we have kids sleeping downstairs and us sleeping upstairs. 

THAT SAID. There are things I absolutely love about this house - huge windows, tons of space, tons of FLEXIBLE space, tons of storage, and the "architectually interesting" weirdnesses at least make it DIFFERENT. Which I like. The people who lived here before made very few personal marks on the house, at least as far as I can tell, which means it's been really easy to make it MINE. I mean, they did paint the entire living room a pistachio green, but we took care of that in a hurry. 

Of course I still think about all the things I want to change. So! If money were no option...

Kitchen Remodel. OH YES. We have a sort of galley kitchen, where there are two long counters facing each other, but there are no walls so it's all open, and one end houses the fridge and wall ovens. The lack of wall cabinets is slightly annoying, but otherwise I'm not sure I would change the LAYOUT of the kitchen. I think it works pretty well and there's tons of counter space. But I would rip out these white cupboards with oak trim and take a sledgehammer to the awful AWFUL! gray tile counters. I have nothing against tile but I have MAJOR issues with stuff getting stuck in tile GROUT. HATE. So we'd replace the white cabinets with different white cabinets, I'm not sure what style. I really like those cottagey white kitchens with cupboards that have glass doors, but I don't think that would fit the style of the rest of the house. So I don't know. But we'd redo the floors, buy a much bigger fridge, install TWO wall ovens (am a fan of the wall oven!), get a different sink, and MAYBE put another counter along the blank all at the end, forming a U shape. Right now there are tile counters with a bar above on each side - those are butcher blocks. I'm not sure about those. Do I like butcher block? I don't like the color of these, but I think I like the idea. I don't know. Estimated cost: Nine Frillion Dollars. 

Bathroom OVERHAUL. I'd like to somehow create a tiny powder room and a master bathroom, but I don't think there's enough room in the current bathroom. So we either have to add space, build out somehow, or turn the closet into a bathroom or SOMETHING. I'd like to have a separate tub and shower and that requires ROOM.  I have no idea. I need an architect. Also a money tree. 

Floors. We still have a hole in the rug. We are probably going to have the hole for a loooong time. Eventually the plan is to replace the carpet in the living room and hallway and extend it into Emma's room (currently Pergo floors) and MAYBE replace the carpet in the master bedroom so everything matches. The dining room would get hardwoods. No one cares about downstairs, but the flooring situation down there (tile entry, carpeted bedrooms, linoleum bathroom and laundry room, industrial carpet in the playroom) is uniformly hideous.

Backyard. This is all me. I have to figure out where my garden is going this year. I also want someone to come build me a swingset. 

Built in bookcases. We decided we couldn't do these ourselves (cobbled together from Ikea Billy bookcases) because the wall is huge and there wasn't enough variety in the Billy options. But one day it might be real super nice to have custom cabinetry along that wall. 

A total redesign downstairs. I don't understand the layout down there AT ALL. I'm FINE with it, but if I could I WOULD change up the entire thing. I feel like there's a ton of wasted space. Chances of this happening: only when I win the lottery. And even then it would still be easier to move.

Actually, the chances of ANY of this happening in the short term is laughable. Ha ha! But I still think about it. I still pin pictures of kitchens on Pinterest. I think I would do the upstairs bathroom first. It's the thing I'm most conscious of when people visit. Some people act like they're invading my private bathroom, others I just want to make sure don't wander into my bedroom. Not a huge deal, but it's the thing that bugs me most right now. Then again, when I was talking about this with friends, one of them said she'd do the kitchen first. But see, even if the kitchen is out of date and not cute and my biggest cookie sheet won't fit in the oven, it still WORKS. It's FINE. It's mainly cosmetic. 

What would you do first if it were your house? What is the thing you're dying to change?!


The Snowbound Edition

You guys, I don't remember when we had enough snow to make snowmen. Or the right KIND of snow. And I have made TWO people-sized snowmen so far. I've dragged my kids around on a plastic disc borrowed from our friendly neighbors. I've oohed and ahhed over the winter wonderland that is my tree-filled neighborhood. I've put hats and mittens in the dryer. I've made many cups of hot cocoa for the kids. I've exchanged the "isn't this NEAT!" happy face with the not-friendly neighbors, because snow on a holiday weekend IS pretty neat. 

But now I am over it. To be honest, I am over it as soon as it begins falling, because Seattle is not known for its snow-handling abilities, both practical (the city continually falls down on the snow job) and emotional (I've seen ninety-thousand cars slide down Capitol Hill streets into downtown on the news thus far.) Also it means I am stuck. 

See, Seattle's kind of weird, in that it will snow in certain pockets of town, or the snow will miss entire ribbons of neighborhoods, or it will DUMP in one particular area and only dust another. It started falling on Saturday and by Sunday morning it was pretty clear that we were not going to church OR the baptism reception for which I bought a VERY CUTE PRESENT. Disappointing! 

Usually you're fine once you get out of the side streets, but according to the news, our chunk of I-5 was a skating rink. Also, our side streets are BAD. My side street is a VERY STEEP HILL and even though it's one seven millionth of a mile long, it's still a launching point for flying into a house and/or sliding backwards into the creek. For this reason Phillip parked HIS car (did I tell you we have two cars now? gah) on the street above the steep hill, like everyone else on the two cul-de-sacs below. 

So we're not STUCK stuck. Phillip could drive out and get us whatever we needed (although he'd still have to make it off the side streets and they are gleaming sheets of white). But for all intents and purposes I AM STUCK and I am stuck here with THREE RESTLESS CHILDREN and there is only so long we can all do this. 

It was fine when Phillip was home this weekend. He's actually still home. He's WORKING from home, which you may all agree is worse than being at work. I used to think it was awesome that he could work from home, but now I know it just means he's HERE but UNAVAILABLE. I do a lot of stomping and shouting when he works from home, just so he KNOWS. 

But anyway. Hopefully this will all be over by the time Phillip leaves for his trip on Sunday morning. Right, God? 

I haven't been doing much of anything except, oh, standing in every room in my house deciding how I will decorate/redecorate/remodel/redesign. It's a sickness. Especially because I have every intention of DOING these things. It's not just, "Oh, wouldn't it be fun if we knocked down this wall?!" Like, I want to email the dudes who took out the fireplace and ask HOW MUCH WOULD IT COST TO KNOCK DOWN THIS WALL. 

I spent a couple hours yesterday planning and measuring for a wall of DIY built in bookcases, before I realized that Ikea only sold one style of bookcase in the depth we want (as far as I can tell anyway, feel free to refute!) and my plan would not work after all. I did a lot of computery work. I folded a lot of laundry. I made brownies which was BAD because 1) I'm still hoping to lose four pounds by my trip (HA HA HA!) and 2) I am beginning to suspect that eating copious amounts of chocolate makes my baby uncomfortable... 

BECAUSE SHE WAS UP ALL NIGHT AGAIN. This is not helping with the snow. She is actually sleeping better during the DAY, which is great. That's helping a lot. She's even napping in her bed again, after we tried it out one day and she slept three amazing hours. So. Better during the day, but still crap at night. Even though we 1) moved her into her own room and own bed/car seat and 2) I am no longer nursing her in bed and 3) we tank her up as much as possible before we put her down for the night. Last night she still ate ALL NIGHT LONG and I finally ended up putting her in bed with me because WE COULD NOT HANDLE IT. And I suspect she didn't REALLY need to eat, but when you're dead tired and it's 4 am, you are not particularly principled. 

So I don't know. Whatever. What am I going to do with us today? More snowmen? BLARGH.

A blogged Pinterest board

Master Bedroom

Curtain Headboard

  • black curtain rod, at least 70" long (cheap at Target)
  • coral/white fabric (chevron? paisley-ish?)


End of Bed Bench

  • the door the sellers left wedged between the fridge and the pantry cupboard
  • foam
  • table legs
  • coordinating fabric (same as curtain headboard? same as window curtains?)

Some sort of small console table for my jewelry box

Living Room

Wall O' Bookshelves (And Television)

  • Built in Billys? Have not decided where this falls on the scale of One to Bat$%&# Crazy.
  • Ask our friend the contractor PM if he thinks we could pull this off.
  • Include fireplace? Does that move it farther up the scale?

Seating That Is Not A Couch

Finish painting doors for the white Craigslist cabinet

Decide on floor lamp or table lamps

  • If table lamps, I need another small console table to wedge behind the couch
  • Perhaps someone will buy this for me

Phillip wants curtains. These would have to be GIGANDO. A print in blues/grays/yellows.

Something to put on the blank wall. WHO KNOWS WHAT THIS WILL BE.

Emma's Room


  • currently a sagey green that looks half decent with pink and white
  • could repaint turquoise and haul in a ton of yellow?

Dresser/Changing Table

  • get a new one? (because the drawers are starting to stick)
  • spray paint white until we get a new one?


  • Probably plain white (or plain yellow?)


  • Stupid pergo floor is 1) cold and 2) hard on my feet. What is not super expensive?

Something to put on the blank walls. AGAIN. WHO KNOWS WHAT THIS WILL BE. 



Resolutions Day Five!

Soooo for THIS resolution I planned to have a certain PROJECT all FINISHED so I could post PICTURES but, er, YEAH, that is not going to happen. See previous posts re: baby who does not sleep during the day. 

Resolution: I want to do more DIY stuff! Inspired by Pinterest, Elizabeth Nebraska, and spray paint, I am now more interested in what I can fix up from craigslist than I am in the newest West Elm catalog. I KNOW! TIS CRAZINESS!

I bought that giant buffet thing and I spent most of last weekend deglossing, priming, and painting. Unfortunately I still have a long way to go. I have the frame and drawers 95% finished, but I think the doors are going to take me another weekend or two. This is okay. I did not underestimate how long it would take me to do this. In fact, I may have even OVERestimated. I was thinking I might finish this thing in, you know, JULY. But now I am thinking March. February even! WHO KNOWS!

Something about having a new house that is mine all mine and knowing that I am never going to move again in my entire life so help me God makes things totally different. It's really fun and kind of exciting to think of all the ways to fix up the house and decorate. What was I reading the other day - I think the Caitlin Flanagan article about Oprah in the Atlantic? Something about men never understanding what a house MEANS to their wives. If it were a Reads and Recommends Friday I would find this for you, but today I am lazy. You lose. 

I picked a pretty big and not-so-easy project for my first real Redoing A Piece Of Furniture project. I'm ashamed to say I have drips, and not on the trim or fancy doors, I have it on the SIDE OF THE CABINET, a nice flat surface where there should not be any drips. But that side is at a weird angle in the garage and it's harder to reach than the other side and blah blah blah IT'S GOOD ENOUGH. (This will be the reason I will never, for example, go into a Furniture Refinishing Business. Drips! I do not care so much!)

Pictures, obvs, at some further date. 

Phillip and I are watching Portlandia, by the way. I'm not sure if I get it or not. Actually, the very beginning, where Fred Armisen is telling Carrie Brownstein about this alternate universe called Portland and it's all chock full of Northwest stereotype one-liners - THAT was funny. The rest of it is funny or I don't get it and think it's weird. POSSIBLY LIKE PORTLAND ITSELF!

Portland seems to be more "authentic" than Seattle, although I'm not really sure what "authentic" means in that sentence (or in many sentences, to be honest.) I think we have too many rich people up here. Maybe they cancel out the feminist bookstore owners. 

Speaking of rich people (NICE SEGUE) (HELLO STREAM OF CONSCIOUSNESS!) I went to a Catholic school open house this morning and DEAR GOD the stuff the parents asked the principal... I guess "pompous" doesn't necessarily equate with "rich" but dudes, one guy busted out the the word "pedagogy" in his question. AND I AM PRETTY SURE HE DID NOT KNOW WHAT THAT WORD MEANS. It was ridiculous, is what I'm saying. EYE ROLLY at the very least. 

Right here I could segue into a blog post about how I know entirely too much about the back end of teaching to go to school open houses and not FREAK OUT about how I may be missing some piece of back end information that will clue me into the way things REALLY go down. BLARGH! But I won't go there! Not right now, anyway. I have another Portlandia and a Weight Watchers Giant Fudge Bar staring at me. 

Happy Resolutions Week! THE END!