Thursday, December 18, 2008

Santa came early for us...

Santa brought the gifts we bought on black Friday this week. Ho ho ho!

Ferris only looks dead, he's mostly depressed still.

The new chair futon for the den:

Chair position


Single bed (AKA my brother Jon's bed when in town)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Marisa & Steve Economic Stimulus Plan

Who knows what Paulson is doing to turn this economy around with the $700B bailout, not much from what I can tell* (seriously..$700B?!?! no plans, no questions asked, no nothing, and so far, no results. And Detroit Inc., which employs something like 1 out of every 10 Americans, has to beg for $14B in LOANS?!? ...but I grew up in the Detroit subburbs so maybe I'm biased. And don't get me wrong, I know the US auto makers have made some really stupid decisions).

Enough about Washington, this isn't a political blog afterall. Let me tell you about the Marisa & Steve Economic Stimulus Plan....SHOP TILL YOU DROP!! All of my training and experience was attained from world-renowned shopper, Mo mom. As mentioned way back when, we didn't have much "grown-up" furniture before and we ditched the crappy stuff we'd been moving around rather than move it again. So we have a house to outfit! So far benefitting from the M&S Econ Stimulous Plan have been: Fells Point Futon, Lowes, Kohls, JC Penny, Sears, Macy's, and (which appears to be owned by Home Depot).

Steve worked from home this afternoon to wait for delivery of our bed:

And washer-dryer



Next week, the couch arrives!!
We've also purchased a desk, a multi-functional-futon-chair-thing (aka, a grown-up version of a flip-and-fuck), lots of paint and supplies, and 2 comforters! Pictures when we get to it!

*we may have actually benefitted from the 'bailout'...more on that later.

You've Got no Mail

During my hellacious commute home tonight (2 hours!! grrr), I found myself thinking back on the past 5 months. And I realized one thing we never mentioned on here....the mail.

Mail is always an issue with city living. Packages can't be left on the stoop for fear of theft and not much more than a large envelope can fit through the slot. The Sunday paper is a stretch. Thankfully, most will leave packages with neighbors if they find someone at home, otherwise you have to go pick them up, which is a pain in the ass. (our neighbor two doors down, who teaches kindergarten, accepts a lot of packages during the summers!! We have the best block!)

Anyway, we faced new mail issues during the renovation...there was a period of several weeks during which the new door was in but the mail slot hadn't been cut yet. Sometimes the mailperson would catch JD and leave it with him but for the most part, nada (luckily most of our bills are paid online!). Mail is definitely something we take for granted and mailpeople in the city have to be some of the hardest working people around!

And if you haven't noticed, we have yet to reveal the new front door on here. It's in and looks fab but we figured it all started with the front door, it should end with the front door as well.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Goofing off and other great finds...

In our move back in we found fun stuff like Ferris' reindeer headband

Ice skating with friends

Meat vendor at Farmers Market had a 30% off sale

Friday, December 5, 2008

Chiming in

It’s been a while since I’ve said anything on here lately so I thought I’d better chime in and give you my perspective on recent events.

First of all, when describing the “Wall of Death,” Steve failed to mention the fact that I’m afraid of heights! The staircase makes a 90 degree turn right by the wall of death so the stairs are triangular there making it difficult to fit both legs of a ladder. Plus, we didn’t know where the studs were and I didn’t want too much weight against the drywall, so I didn’t want too much pitch. As I climbed the ladder, I thought to myself “this is really stupid. This is how people break their legs or their back.” Steve must have had the same thought cause his question to me was “is your life insurance policy paid up?” The first several trips up the ladder with a brush or roller in my hand were nerve-wracking. My legs were totally shaking! But then I got more confidant and much more comfortable.

Secondly, some of you may have already guessed this, but the reason I’m the only one in any of the painting photos is because I was the only one painting much of the time!! But Steve is a hell of a taper. I hate taping. If he didn’t do it, I would just eyeball it and cut in.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Lights or Art?

Our weekend of painting did not prove to be as nearly as successful as we wanted. I had envisioned the entire house painted by Sunday evening. Instead we settled for "The Wall", the chifarobe wall, and the den. Not quite the whole house but still it was progress.

A finished view of the chifarobe wall:

The "squatters" quarters we are inhabiting with pets and laundry:

Marisa in action, notice there are no pictures of me? Someone is a camera hog:

Monday night, Steve Baker from Wholly Terra, the man responsible for our bottle lights in our kitchen, agreed to make three sconces, the master bathroom sconce, and a sculptural light piece for "The Wall". Steve does a lot with glass and metal out of his studio in the Hampden neighborhood of Baltimore. We knew when it came to adding our personal touch to this project, we would do it through Steve's studio, and we were excited to see what he had designed for the house. After some nerve-racking installation maneuvers on "The Wall", he had everything in place and working. Great job Steve!

Chifarobe sconces:

The third floor landing sconce:

Master bathroom sconce (it looks odd not having a mirror yet, but that is on the list of things to get asap:

And the coolest, the sculpture. This measures 4 feet + in height, and roughly 32 inches in width. Steve designed this to flow upwards from the light source and actually "pull" off the wall. Here are some pics both at night and in daylight.

Saturday, November 29, 2008


This Thanksgiving Marisa and I are especially thankful that the house is close to completion and we will get to enjoy the Holiday Season in the "new" house. This Thanksgiving was our first ever in Baltimore. It was our year to head back to Youngstown for Thanksgiving but having just seen my family in Hilton Head, we decided to stay in Baltimore and get some much needed painting done as well as take advantage of some Black Friday sales for needed items such as a couch, bed, etc...

Ferris and I started the morning with a frosty walk in the park.

We enjoyed dinner at Marisa's cousins', Philip & Lisa's, and enjoyed spending time with their son Gabriel (aka Primo).

Friday we braved our first ever Black Friday chaos. A man was trampled to death at a Wal-Mart in NY!!!...we chose civility in Howard County (it's a dumb bumper sticker the county gave to residents out there, apparently we are uncivilized in the city). We were on a mission: couch, bed frame, washer/dryer, television. We picked up everything but the W/D. Good deals and well worth waiting months to buy.

Come Saturday, we got down to work. We needed to paint a couple of areas so that the artist/electrician can install the decorative lighting on Monday. Marisa drew the short straw and was chosen to climb the wall of death (a 16' beast-of-a-wall in the stairwell between the 2nd and 3rd floors. This wall causes everyone on our block pain when its time to paint). I found my skill with prep work (taping, washing brushes, drinking beers). Big Steve, where are you?



A lot has happened around the other parts of the house. For those eager to take the tour (Chris C), enjoy:

The front window was one of the most awaited items to be installed. It does a number of things:
1) Replaces the shotty old split window we used to have (see below)

2) It swings open to allow us to get furniture into the house as well as tilting in from the top to get a breeze. The Marvin salesman had never sold this window before.

We also failed to mention that we moved back into the house exactly a week ago. The cats are especially happy to be given free range of the whole house. The move is bittersweet, yes we are back in, but we are sleeping on an air mattress with our clothes scattered around us in plastic bins. At one point last night I noticed we look more like squatters than homeowners. What's worse, the air mattress has a slight leak that requires inflation throughout the night. Oh well.

Until tomorrow....

Monday, November 17, 2008


Nothing! That’s what it seemed like they got done at the house while we were away for a week. In actuality, they did get a few small projects finished but it has been two steps forward, one step back lately. For instance, when they went to finish off the master bath by installing the racks, the wrong drill bit was used and a tile was chipped. But of course we didn’t have anymore of the tile so we had to wait for the tile to come in and wait to get on the tilers schedule. Till then it looks like this:

Another example…when they put the medicine cabinet in the 2nd floor bath, the cabinet was taller than originally planned and interfered with the light. So the light box had to be moved up and then the drywall needed to be patched and painted.

We moved all of our stuff out of the house in late June…this is going on 5 months! I’m beginning to think we’re going to have a permanent relationship with JD and his team…like Eldin on Murphy Brown!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Home, Home, Home

Sorry for my absence, but this post is a catch up about our weekend back in Youngstown, my hometown at the end of October. It provided us a chance to spend time in my childhood home which my parents still proudly maintain after 30 plus years. I find that amazing since so many homes in our neighborhood here in Baltimore are resold after a couple of years and sometimes only a few months.

It was beautiful at home, the leaves still on the trees and changing colors. My parents' have great views surrounding their home. Growing up, the field across the street was used for corn, but now is just grass.

Our neighbors still raise cattle in the rear yard. They typically only have a handful of cows, which really don't do much back there but eat and crap.

Marisa and I are not the only ones in the family undertaking serious home improvements. My sister and her husband are building a new home near Lake Milton after they outgrew their lakefront duplex when they added my niece and nephew.

Touring their home was bittersweet. Why? Because their 3,000+ SF home started AFTER we started our process and they have since painted and are installing the finishes. When we toured it, they were dry walling on a Saturday, primed on a Sunday and were painting on Monday. That is news we can do without.

Meanwhile, we had fun at my cousin's Halloween wedding reception. Kudos to Marisa for finding our "old standby" costumes in the storage unit. We last wore these 5 years ago so saying they fit is a stretch, pun intended.