Sunday, February 19, 2012

And the little one said "roll over"

Let's just say you could fit a LOT of little monkeys in our bed... which finally arrived yesterday! We ordered this bed from Naked Furniture in Ann Arbor, and it took FOREVER to get here. As in, we ordered it December 10. We were told at the time that it should be ready in 5-6 weeks. So after 7 weeks with no news, I called... and was told it would be another 7-10 days. So after two more weeks, I called again... and was told it would be another week. Seriously?! The delay was extra annoying because we've had boxes of clothes shoved in our closets all this time, since the storage bed doubles as our dressers. It turned out some component of the bed was back-ordered - but it would have been nice to get a call informing us of this fact, instead of calling and calling and having no idea if the thing would ever actually show up. That said, it took so long that we just about have the credit card charge paid off, ha!

Oh plus, it's amazing.

I can't tell if I just got used to the "mattress on the floor" set-up, or if it really is ridiculously enormous... Now I walk into our room and it's WHOA BED in my face.

We spent a bunch of time yesterday getting the boxes of clothes unpacked into the drawers, but I figured no one really wanted to see photos of my sock drawer. We also mounted the bedside lamp/tables that I posted about a while back.

I think they look great on either side of the "window." Which, by the way, allows me to pop my head up in the morning and do some bird-watching from bed. This morning I spied some common mergansers by our dock.

Here's the other side of the room, where we've stashed a rocking chair that actually belongs to my sister. We still need to get a proper cushion for the little window seat between the closets.

Anyone who has known me for at least 25+ years will recognize the pair sitting in the window... Tigger and Erica! You can tell by the level of bedraggled-ness how much I loved these two as a kid.

And speaking of cute pairs, here's a gratuitous shot of the boys. Elmo apparently thinks the carpet is just as comfy as his bed...

...However, they both agree that we clearly need to order some Doggy Steps so they can enjoy that ridiculously large bed.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Road trips and dining room tables

What, those two things don't automatically go together in your mind? Just us? Haha.

I gave a talk yesterday morning at a conference way up north. (Being in Michigan, I have a state-mandated requirement to illustrate this by showing you my hand and pointing to my middle finger middle knuckle.) Brandon came along, and since we were kinda close to Traverse City (pinky fingernail... "close" was relative), we thought we'd head over there to check out dining room tables at Woodland Creek Furniture. I mentioned them in a previous post about our ongoing quest to be real grown-ups with dining room furniture. Specifically, I'd seen this barn wood farmhouse table that I was dying to check out in person.

Well we did check it out, and unfortunately I have to say... I wasn't in love. In person it is MUCH more rustic than it looks here - which maybe I should have guessed from the rest of the Woodland Creek website (seriously, check it out). They have very neat stuff, but it's much more log-cabin than our style, which definitely blends rustic with some more contemporary elements. I just wasn't sure that it would work with some of the other things we have going on in the space. </pretendingtobeaninteriordesigner>

Anyway, happily,Woodland Creek has an associated company/showroom for us non-log-cabin-dwellers. Hooray! It is called Ur Houzz and it was full of many things I wanted to buy. There were two potential tables, and I should have taken photos because I can't find a good representative photo on their site. The first one was another farmhouse style, made from reclaimed wood, and painted with a distressed finish (in whatever color you want!). This is the top, but I'd just get simple square legs instead of the trellis style:

(Photo from Ur Houzz)

Actually now that I look at that again, it may not really be the same at all - because I think the ones we saw had much wider planks on top. Blog fail! Anyway, this of course set my head to spinning about colors... I hadn't even considered a painted table as a possibility, but these were really beautiful. I'm pretty sure I woke up out of a dead sleep on the way home, snapped my head around to look all bug-eyed at Brandon (who was driving), and said "OMIGOD THE TABLE COULD BE PLUM." To Brandon's credit, he kept driving and didn't look at me like I was a psychopath.

The other possibility - which has been floating around in our heads since the beginning - would be a slab table. I just think these are ridiculously gorgeous. My main concern is that we already have so many different types of wood going on, with the floor, beams, counter... would it be too much? Oh also they are like a million dollars.

(Photo from Ur Houzz)

But seriously.

And just to add to the confusion, here is one additional possibility that my BFF Craig found for me on his list. This is an unfinished farmhouse table made by Amish Chic Furniture (I know, awesome).

(From the Amish Chic Furniture Photobucket site)

This particular one is sold, but they can build another one in a couple weeks and finish it however we'd want - and it is significantly less $$$ than any of the other options. In a sad little twist, their warehouse is about two and a half hours away from here in a town we drove through yesterday. But of course we didn't know that at the time. Sigh.

Here are a couple more photos of their tables that other people have bought - a natural finish, and a darker stain.

(Both photos from the Amish Chic Furniture Photobucket site.)

Super pretty, right? Not reclaimed wood (at least I don't think so), but local, so that's a plus.

I am still thinking that in any case I'd like to get a bench for one side, and then Parsons chairs for the other side and the ends. I'm still in love with these, but trying to decide on a table before I commit to ordering them...

(Photo from

So what do you guys think? Painted farmhouse table? Or a dark stain to match the beams, counter, and chair legs? Or scrap the farmhouse table altogether and go with a slab? Decisions! As a reminder, here's what we're working with now... so any of these would be an exponential improvement.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Oh deer!

In the backyard this a.m... Don't tell Brandon, he's already worried enough about his as-yet-hypothetical garden!

I know they're wildly overpopulated and ecologically disastrous, but they're still darn purdy.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

The stank

This may have been the longest break between blog posts since I started this darn thing back in July - but there hasn't been much to report! I've been buried in work (actual job work, not house work) and a little sick, so progress on projects has been minimal. And to be honest, it's been pretty fantastic to just be living in the house rather than working on it nonstop. Brandon did make some great progress today on organizing the spare bedroom (a.k.a. random junk room) upstairs, so I will have to get some photos of what is turning into a neat little music room. This may even motivate me to get the trim painted in there... maybe.

Anyway, none of this has to do with what was a monumental event this morning: I showered in non-stinky water. Why on earth was I showering in stinky water, you ask? Because that's what was coming out of the shower head. And the sink faucets. And into the washing machine and dishwasher. UGHHH. It didn't smell at all when we first moved in, but within a couple weeks it went pretty rapidly from "a little sulfury" to "gag-worthy rotten egg geyser farts." Let me tell you, a shower in Old Faithful does not leave you feeling so fresh and so clean clean.

So what's a girl to do? Obviously turn to the best research tool on the planet, Google (just kidding EMU undergraduates who may one day enroll in my classes! Haha! Funny joke!). Anyway, "the Google" told me that the stank could be emanating from one of two sources: either the well itself, or the hot water heater. Being the scientist that I am, I designed an experiment.

H1: The stank is emanating from the well.
Prediction: The stank will be present in both hot and cold water.

H2: The stank is emanating from the hot water heater.
Prediction: The stank will only be present in hot water.

Experimental Design 1: Sniff water of various temperatures.
Results: Cold water: NO STANK. Hot water: WICKED STANK.
Conclusion: H1 rejected!

Peer reviewer: But what if the stank is indeed emanating from the well, but in such a form that it must be heat-activated??

Experimental Design 2 (follow up study): Obtain non-stanky cold water; place in tea kettle and heat on stove.
Results: Stove-heated water: NO STANK.
Conclusion: H1 re-rejected! Take that, peer-reviewer!

So after I sent the results of my study to Science, I looked into how to fix stanky hot water heaters. Turns out that hot water heaters contain an element called a sacrificial anode, which is typically made of magnesium or aluminum and keeps the hot water heater from rusting (and is also a terrific name for a rock band). However, it also somehow provides excellent breeding conditions for a harmless but stank-producing species of bacteria that releases hydrogen sulfide gas as a waste product. Everything I read about this problem said something along these lines: DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES REMOVE THE SACRIFICIAL ANODE IT WILL VOID YOUR WARRANTY AND RUST RUST RUST OMGRUST YOUR HOT WATER HEATER WILL PROBABLY EXPLODE AND FIRE AND BRIMSTONE WILL RAIN DOWN AND YOUR HOUSE WILL COLLAPSE INTO A GIANT SINKHOLE OF DOOM AND SADNESS.

So then I called the guys who installed the hot water heater, and they say all nonchalantly "oh yeah, we see this all the time with well water - we'll just come out and remove the sacrificial anodes. No prob." ?!?!?!!!?  I expressed my concern to them about the rust and the brimstone and sinkholes and all, but they said that they would cover the warranty (instead of the manufacturer doing so) and that this was really the only guaranteed fix (they told me zinc-containing anodes, which some websites had recommended, only fix this problem about a third of the time). And I just could not handle the stank anymore, so over they came, and out went the sacrificial anodes. So here we are on Day 2 of flaunting the #1 rule of Fight Club hot water heater maintenance. But you guys, that shower? It was amaaaaaazing.