Working it out

Benefits of moving to another county

KK will be able to second-parent-adopt the babies, so they’ll have the two legally-recognized parents that they deserve. That we deserve.

Closer to friends and family

Closer to all my healthcare providers and the hospital we’ll deliver at

Closer to friends and family

Opportunity to find a house/apartment without stairs, so I wouldn’t have to worry so much about my future mobility or lack thereof

Closer to the farmer’s markets

Closer to the airport

Closer to friends and family

Potential for using public transport at least occasionally

Closer to a few bakeries that offer gluten-free goodies

Closer to more alternative families (there are some everywhere, I know, but there’s a greater concentration intown)

Closer to free/lowcost cultural events and field trips

Closer to friends and family

 

Benefits of staying where we are

…uh…

Not having to come up with a $20,000 cash ransom before we’ll be allowed to leave?

We get to continue working on our cooperation skills by sharing a single bathroom sink? Even though KK sticks her elbows out like Peter Pan when she’s brushing her teeth?

 

This makes my head hurt.

My living room smells like a carpet showroom

It’s better than it sounds.

Before:

The living room as setup by the family here before us.
The living room as setup by the family here before us, bless their hearts. It took two coats of primer to cover that red accent wall.

What you can’t see about the carpet are the fact it’s over 20 years old, the ghosting, the spots, the fact that the back 4 feet of the room was laminate, and a bizarre spreading it-came-from-below shadow-stain near that armchair in the back right that always felt cool to the touch but never damp.

Our before, with the laminate already removed from where they GLUED IT TO THE SLAB SUBFLOOR:

https://i2.wp.com/www.smugmug.com/photos/i-CZZ7dSL/0/S/i-CZZ7dSL-S.jpg

See that weird triangleish piece at the bottom right? It looks like that because when the previous family moved out and took the fridge, they covered the ice maker line with a bag and hit the road. They did not TURN OFF the ice maker line, so it eventually leaked from the adjacent kitchen right before we moved in.

We pulled up the pad in an attempt to speed the drying and salvage the carpet…which worked (yay!) until the replacement pad roll we bought got flooded when the water heater gave out while we were 500 miles away one week (boo!).

If you’re doing the math, that was 3 years ago. We were too beaten down to try replacing it again.

Minus the carpet:

https://i1.wp.com/www.smugmug.com/photos/i-52hqkJs/0/S/i-52hqkJs-S.jpg

And a few hours later, with the new carpet:

https://i2.wp.com/www.smugmug.com/photos/i-hg2Fs5d/0/S/i-hg2Fs5d-S.jpg

Lula had to spend the duration of the install up in the bedroom, instead of her usual sequestration area (KK’s office, but KK was working there today). I took advantage of her ignorance to capture her first reaction to the new floor.

There’s no music, but if you turn it up, you can hear her shnuffling and scratching. I think she likes it.

I also made a quick recording of KK doing snow angels on the new carpet, but it’s not uploading for some reason. Here’s a still instead, post-rolling-around-on-the-new-floor.

https://i0.wp.com/www.smugmug.com/photos/i-2C36W2s/0/S/i-2C36W2s-S.jpg

Angel, the carpet installer, was amazing and a total pro. I assumed it would take two people to do the job, but he showed up alone this morning — a man, a van, a plan — and bent it to his/our will. He also had really excellent highlights. So basically, my hero.

The couch arrives Tuesday, and we’ll see if the curtains I picked out will work in there. I will be so happy to have it look like a room where people actually live that I may even start inviting in Deborah and Barbara, the Jehovah’s Witness ladies who stop by every month or so.

But maybe not. I had a few too many literary theory courses (1) to be able to discuss The Watchtower, or the Bible, in polite company.

An MS meme and a kitchen update (NHBPM 26)

This took way too long to make.

Technically this meme post is a day late, but I spent yesterday — all of yesterday — laying new flooring in the kitchen. Previously, it was half old laminate (which they glued to the slab beneath) and half nasty old carpet.

You can see some of the laminate here:

Not usually that cluttered (ugh!), but everything was pulled of the cabinets for painting.

And some of the carpet at the eat-in part shows here:

I believe the original carpet color was “Musty Grayish Camel.”

Over the weekend, my wife pulled out all the old floor. Did I mention they had glued it down to the slab? With some sort of alien-technology adhesive?

She REALLY loves the new Sawzall.

Here’s a comparison shot of a new scraper blade vs the one that did about half the floor before it finally just snapped off.

And after all that, I spent yesterday laying it all down:

Can I walk today?

Well, “walk” is a relative term.

Am I glad that it’s done?

“Glad” doesn’t begin to describe it. I’m so excited I want to smash a bottle of champagne on the damn thing.

 

 

If my life were a reality show, it would be called Kitchen Boners (NHBPM 14)

 

And oh, how we would laugh.

We got home from the gym just before 9pm, so I threw a chicken in the pressure cooker and dumped a bag of kale into a stock pot. Then I gathered the few supplies needed to make the lovely “Orange Kissed Almond Cookies” at Beard and Bonnet, which I’d bookmarked last week. Everything would be ready in about 20 minutes, and I’d be a rockstar.

Instead, the leeks I threw in with the chicken burned and had to be dynamited out of the pressure cooker. And the dark meat didn’t get 100% done, because the pressure cooker cookbook I’d borrowed from the library that said how long to cook everything? I returned it a few days ago.

The cup of leftover Mexican restaurant salsa I threw in with the kale made it too salty.

And the cookies?

Oh, the cookies.

Or more accurately, the “cookies.”

First, I didn’t have orange extract, so I microplaned some fresh zest and let the dough sit for a couple of extra minutes. It smelled heavenly. All systems go.

Then I opened the can of almond paste, which the fine print said was actually “almond cake and pastry filling.” Semantics! I thought. If they meant marzipan, surely they’d have said “marzipan.” And the regular grocery store didn’t sell anything exactly labeled almond paste, so this was probably the stuff.

I worried just a bit when the almond paste and sugar didn’t become so much “uniformly crumbly” as uniformly gooey and unappetizing looking. And my dough was darker than the original recipe’s pictures, but then, my kitchen’s not the best lit room in the house.

Besides, I was in a hurry. Twenty minutes in the oven would fix it all.

So what if it smelled like orangey-almondy-cancer after about 10 minutes?

The inspiration:

From Beard and Bonnet. Don’t they look absolutely scrumptious?

After 25 minutes in the oven, my reality:

This is pretty much why I don’t bother watermarking my photos.

If you’re detail-oriented, you’ll notice that I held the parchment paper up at about a 90-degree angle to the cookie sheet, and the cookie sludge did not budge. But when it cooled, it did harden into a substance that could be used to attach a guy in a hard hat to a girder. In case you’re in the market for a more natural hat-girder adhesive.

Today’s lesson: Almond cake and pastry filling IS NOT almond paste IS NOT marzipan. Use what the one a recipe actually calls for, and you’re more likely to end up with what a recipe is actually supposed to make.

 

Bonus lesson: This is exactly why you should keep ice cream in the freezer. Well, one of about a thousand reasons, but still a very good one.

Have you butchered anything in the kitchen lately, even though you really do know better?

Some things I bookmarked this week #3

  • 27 Gluten-Free Recipe Substitutions | Greatist – This list included several subs I haven’t considered before. Onward!
  • New Taste Journal – Lots of whole foods dish ideas.
  • Walnut-Raisin Baked Apples – Love the idea of mixing a bit of orange marmalade into the filling.
  • Cabbage and Raisin Slaw – I am always looking for good slaw recipes. We’re big cabbage eaters.
  • Creamy Potato Salad – Very much like my friend’s a-may-zing potato salad recipe, which she printed out for me and I lost and am too embarrassed to re-request. I do remember that you’d want to double this recipe for a potluck-sized bowl. omit the dairy products. and add 1/2t of celery seed and a handful of chopped parsley.
  • Spicy Parmesan Green Beans and Kale – I’m thinking this bad boy’s going to make an appearance at our Thanksgiving table: one pan as written for the dairy eaters, and maybe one pan, with sourdough breadcrumbs instead of parmesan, for the non-dairy folks?
  • Orange Kissed Almond Cookies (Gluten and Dairy Free) – I always want to buy the almond paste when it goes on sale after the holidays, but I don’t have a good reason to…until now!
  • Brussels Sprouts with Pecans – This recipe introduced me the possibility of slicing and sautéing brussels sprouts, instead of just steaming them. The extra slicing gives them the loveliest frilly texture. It takes longer to prepare but is totally worth it when you have good fresh sprouts.
  • Eggnog Mousse
  • Baby Cardigan Onesie Tutorial – I want to make some for our friends’ with the baby, but I’m having the damnedest time finding onesies that are cheap, long-sleeved, not pink, not zippered, and don’t have a giant applique across 3/4 of the front.
  • Magic Cupboard | Helen Musselwhite – I want to make one of these and change it every season BECAUSE I DON’T HAVE ENOUGH PROJECTS.

To whit: a picture of my dining room craftermath taken the weekend before Halloween, annotated with (most of) the visible projects and the “Percent Complete” indicated in parentheses.

 

Not labeled: salt shaker, because we used to eat here.

The rest of my favorite links are here.

How does our garden grow?

We made a dent in the front yard re-landscaping project.

After we learned recently that one of our newest neighbors is a landscape architect, we invited him by for a consult in exchange for a six-pack of beer. Sorry, ladies and gentlemen, he’s taken.

While he was here, he sketched out some improvements and even measured and marked the main points so we could do the planting ourselves.

Ancient history pic, from the ones used to sell the house:

Except by the time we bought it, those crepe myrtles were pretty much covering the second-story windows and the siding was turning green from lack of sun. Over the last few years, we’ve ripped out the wrong-sized myrtles and the scraggly, dying evergreens in the front bed.

Most of this year, the bed was just dirt. And rocks. And weeds. And a few shards of landscape cloth from when KK ran out of it after starting to put it down in an effort to tamp down the weeds and cover up the dirt, in preparation for planting. Eventually.

A few months ago, KK finished the landscape cloth, and we found a company to deliver mulch. It already looked much better than the eclectic “surface-of-the-moon meets vacant lot” look we’d cultivated. Not to brag, but we had had some interest from city planners in Detroit and Afghanistan who were hungry to learn about our innovative “hands off,” no-resource landscaping techniques.

Saturday morning, it was time for a trip to the wholesale-but-open-to-the-public nursery the next town over.

It’s not a Subaru, but it’s close.

Several hours of digging and squatting and pushing dirt later, we had this:

[All those wires are cable co-axes from the TV addicts who used to live here. It’s a 3 bedroom house, and they had 8 TVs in and around the house when we walked through, and every last one of them was turned on. We’re going to have most of them removed and/or replaced with white.]

They’re wee plants yet, but we are dedicated to watering them and watching them start to fill out in the spring.

And I am more convinced than ever that the shutters should be black. Wouldn’t that look more polished than Faded Dreams Burgundy?

30 Day Photo Phail (#21-30)

Let’s finish with a bang, shall we?

21. After Dark

We arrived at the park before sunset and sat and read. Well, KK read, and I ate Yogli Mogli and played on my ipad. But then it got pretty, and we went home. Good story! I’ll tell it again. We arrived at the park…

22. Hands

KK’s hands, my favorites — and The Poodle’s, too.

23. Sun

A friendly morning sunbeam on the floor we installed ourselves.

24. Peace

Poodle says, “Peace is having your own heating pad. But if you try to take it away, there will be WAR!”

25. Something orange

After seeing my “progress” with the 30-day photo challenge, this will come as no surprise. We just yesterday changed out our silly suburban summer flip-flops flag for something more seasonal.

26. Close-up

This MIGHT be a 5,000X magnification of the period at the end of a sentence! Or, I MIGHT have gotten frustrated with the iphone’s limited up-close abilities and faked it.

27. From a distance

Yeah, it’s cheating, but who among you didn’t think the same thing when you read the prompt?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

28. Flowers

My wedding flowers — everlasting, like our love!

29. Black and white

The bowl of dead things on my desk. I thought black and white might make it look less weird, but now it just looks more Addams Family.

30. Self-portrait

On the way to the dog park. There’s a poodle in there, too, but she blends in with the shadows.