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Friday, August 17, 2012

Bathroom transformation

Our bathroom is finished!!!!  It's been all torn up for three weeks and it is finally done!  Basically, we tore out all of the original tile and changed out the sink for something more functional for the tiny space.  I know, I know.  Why would I go and tear out a bunch of original 1940s tile?  It was pink.  Like, Pepto pink.  I couldn't handle it. Not to mention the fact that we left all of the original tile in the downstairs bathroom and the kitchen.  Which is awesome.

But again, the main thing was the fact that the bathroom had zero functionality for two adults getting ready in the morning.  It had a really annoying pedestal sink that you couldn't set anything on or store anything under.  Also, there are now shelves in the shower to stash shampoo bottles on!  I realize this isn't a big deal to anyone but me.  That's fine.  I'm just going to use the internet to shout about it because I'm so damn excited!

Here are some before and after shots:

That's the best shot I can get since the room is so small!

We went from icky pink to a sand color with a mixed glass and stone mosaic trim in gray, brown and green.  And we've got so many more places to keep things now that we've added cabinets and such.  You can't see it in the photos, but there is a brand new shower head too.  *sigh*  It is wonderful.

And here's a photo of us in front of the house:

Tonight's Menu: Some recipe from Food and Wine that I accidentally cut the name off of.  It's like a fancy grilled cheese sandwich with sausage in it.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Tiny library, big heart

While driving back from the best bakery in my neighborhood (The Rocket Baby Bakery) I noticed something really cool.  This thing was SO cool that I found it necessary to go home, get the dog and walk back the way I'd just come in order to check it out.

I discovered that there are a number of Little Free Libraries in my neighborhood!  This one was about 7 blocks away with at least 3 others in a 2 block radius.  Sorry the top is cut off.  I was trying to take a photo and wrangle the dog at the same time.

I was even lucky enough to talk with the owner of the library, Jeannie (she was out mowing her yard).  She wanted to create a Chinese pagoda style library and here it is!  When I got home, I went to to learn more about the project.  

It started out as part of the Wisconsin Partners for SustainAbility and their goal was to create over 2,510 libraries (so, more than Andrew Carnegie).  This library is number 2,700 and some!  You can even find her little library and more pictures on the site's google map page.  

Jeanie was telling me that she's only had her Little Free Library up and registered for 2 or 3 months.  She says that she gets LOTS of little kids who come to pick out books on the weekends.  Boy was I glad that I'd taken a Little Bear book to donate!  

I knew that things like this existed, but I didn't know there were so many of them in my new neighborhood.  For the record, there is one in Bloomington, IL that is registered.  Go to the website to look them up.  Or better yet  (librarian friends who have their own houses) go and make your own!

Hooray for books!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Month One of Underemployment Complete

Well.  It's been a month.  I haven't exactly been sitting on the couch for the last month.  What with buying a new house and moving to a new state.  But I have gotten to the point where I miss working.  A lot.  There's still plenty to clean and organize here, but I find myself asking"What's the point?"  If I don't get a job for the next 1,3 or 12 months those things will still be there.  If I do All Of The Things this week, what in god's name do I have waiting for me next week?  And on it goes.

So today is a day for comfort food.  Here are easy recipes for two of my favorites.  The main dish I "invented" back when DJ and I bought our first house.  The dessert I have been making since I was a kid.

Confetti Casserole

1/2 C uncooked Minute rice
1/2-3/4 lb ground beef
1 can of Cream of Whatever You'd Like soup (or use this great recipe from Once A Month Mom found here)
1/2 C chopped onion
1/2 C chopped broccoli
1/2 C chopped red pepper
1/4 C shredded cheese of your choice + extra to sprinkle on top
salt, pepper and other seasonings to taste

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
Cook the Minute rice according to the instructions on the package.  Set aside.
Brown the beef. Drain and set aside.
Spray your casserole dish with cooking spray and mix in the all of the ingredients.  Sprinkle the extra cheese and place in oven.
Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees ad enjoy!

Notes: I am lazy and use frozen chopped broccoli.  And I never use all of an onion in any recipe so I have lots chopped onion in my freezer.  And red pepper.  If I use frozen ingredients, I nuke them in the microwave for a minute and a half.  I use a 2 quart casserole dish to bake everything in and it is very tasty and warm on a cool or rainy day.  It should feed 4.  Add more meat and veggies if you'd like to feed more folks.  And do yourself a favor, leave this uncovered while you cook it (unlike I did this time around).  The cheese should be more browned and less melty.

Easy-Peasy Peanut Butter Bars

1/2 Stick of margarine
1 C graham cracker crumbs
1/2 C powder sugar
1/4 C peanut Butter
Chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a saucepan, melt margarine. Add the peanut butter and stir until dissolved.  Add powdered sugar and graham crackers.  Mix well.  Add this mixture to a foil-lined 9X9 pan.  Sprinkle well with chocolate chips.  Bake at 350 for five minutes until the chocolate chips are melted.  Spread the chocolate chips with a knife and place pan in the freezer to harden.  Cut into bars when the mixture has frozen.

Notes:  This is easy to make into "peanut butter cups" instead. Super easy and sooooo tasty!

And here is a photo of the original recipe card that I wrote out (in purple pen) in the third grade.  Note that spelling has been an issue my entire life:

Friday, August 3, 2012

Plumbers and that thing librarians HATE that I did. Three times.

This is part episode of "Adventures in Home Ownership" part "Librarian Pet Peeves."

Let us begin with the librarians.  I did it.  That thing that all (OK.  Maybe not all, but MOST) librarians hate.  And I didn't do it just once.  I did it three times.  And it felt dirty.

It's that thing that people do day in and day out and they never even look up from their laps.  Even if the entire library was papered with naked bodies they wouldn't notice (OK.  That might be the singular thing that would actually catch their attention).

You're thinking "Oh god!  You didn't sit by the window and look at porn did you?!?!"  No.  But it's almost as bad.

I, ladies and gentlemen of public librarianship, went to the library for one thing and one thing only: free wifi.  See, I haven't gone to the DMV yet and we didn't have the interwebs installed at the house and I REALLY needed to look up some phone numbers of contractors/fencing guys/veterinarians etc. and check my email so I went to the library.  I didn't even look at any books. I knew I couldn't check any of them out.  So even though I am itching to finally read the new Anita Blake vampire hunter book and Insurgent I didn't even look.  Partly because I've already seen the um, organizational structure of my local library and it gives me a panic attack; but mostly because I knew I couldn't take the books home with me.  The sad part?  I still haven't gone to get my Driver's License.  I don't want it to drive, I want it to read (and yes, I know I can probably technically get my card without the Wisconsin DL)!  I'm still ashamed of myself.

On to the plumbers.

This isn't a story of butt cracks, my friends.  Oh no. That would be trivial.

I shall begin with our first plumber.  I found some water in our basement.  I was terrified because I noticed it while our tile guy was in the second floor bathroom ripping out everything in site.  I thought he'd hit something and the walls were filling up with water only to slowly trickle down into the basement.  The first plumber, let's call him... Michael, told me what the problem was and how to fix it (the grout on the inset soap holder in the first floor bath was bad and leaking.  We needed new caulking.).  Then he installed the new shower head that we'd bought because I wasn't smart enough to figure out that not only was the first piece on the old-ass shower head threaded and would unscrew easily, but so was the ball type piece.  Idiot!  I paid him $98 and he left.  He gave me some other commentary on some pipes but all I registered was a bit of Used Car Salesman and "blah-blah-blah I know, we have an old-ass house with old-ass pipes."

Enter our second plumber perhaps 3 days later. 

Let me preface this by saying that there wasn't anything wrong with what our first plumber did.  At least, not that I've noticed.  My tile guy told me that he was going to call his plumber guy because he needed to cap some pipes near the sink and also to basically transform our shower from three knobs to one knob due to the new shower hardware we decided on.  He said that the guy would be here Saturday morning around 9:30.

 I said "What's this guy's name?"
To which my tile guy says "Well, he goes by Buckshot."

BUCKSHOT????  Oh God, this is going to be interesting.

When DJ got home that night, I told him my guess was that the guy was a 'nam vet.  He'd gotten some shrapnel in his leg and "Buckshot" sounded like a bad-ass nickname. I never found out if I was right or wrong, but it didn't matter in the slightest.

9:30 arrives and the doorbell rings.  I let Buckshot in (and no, I didn't pull the joke that DJ came up with which was "What's your last name?  Buckshot Johnson?  No?  Sorry.  You must be some other Buckshot").  I showed him where the second floor shower was and he got to work.  The rest of this story has been relayed to me by DJ several times since I believe I was in the basement doing laundry at the time of the occurrence.  The following is a loose portrayal of what took place:

Buckshot: Well, I'm finished.  If you can pay me, I'll be out of here.

DJ (with a bit of confusion as our tile guy had not mentioned us needing to pay this dude as he was being subcontracted): Um, I didn't realize we had to pay you.  I thought this was being covered under our contractor.

Buckshot: I was told you were going to pay me in cash.

DJ (the incredulity is mounting.  In addition, it is still morning...): Um, ok.  I don't have $200+ in cash on me.   I'll be right back. *DJ goes to get his checkbook* Ok.  Who do I make this out to?

Buckshot (with a bit of hesitation):  Well, um. I guess it would be, well.  You, um.  See the problem is, I don't have a bank, see.  And um, the bar where I normally cash my checks burned down so.... um, I guess make it out to Tom Riddle.

See what I did there?  I've been itching to use that name all day!

And that was our second experience with a plumber in the Milwaukee area.