Saturday, December 31, 2011

It Really Feels Like A New Beginning

I'm so grateful for this three-day weekend. My weeks are completely absorbed by work - it's all I focus on, to the detriment of my personal life.  (At work, when we tell someone that they need to "focus" we are referring to the urban definition of Fuck Off 'Cause You're Stupid.)

I've evolved from spending my weekends just vegetating, sleeping, just trying to recoup some bit of energy sapped from the constant stress and pressure of my job, with a basic enjoyment and happiness for spending time working on the house.   We still have a few pressing items to fix/fill in....we need to install lights in the hallways, bedrooms, and the living area.  We are relying on floor and table lamps and it is just not cutting it.  I'm constantly borrowing a lamp from the front bedroom in order to knit and read in the living area.  Mr. Grumpbump tried to install track lighting in the kitchen nook and while the tester said that there is power to the  strip, the light will not work.  In fact, we have a ton of switches and wall sockets that either (1) don't work or (2) don't appear to belong with any fixture.  Basically, we need an electrician to come in and map out the switches and wall sockets.  I have bugged and nagged Mr. Grumpbump to find us an electrician.

I'm currently knitting Slouchy Copy Cat Hat.  My first attempt was with a cotton yarn and, although the color is HOT, it was not the best choice because cotton has very little give, even with the ribbing on the band.  The hat stretches easily and does not bounce back. I'm going to wash it and see if I can shrink it a bit.  The pattern is really cute because it has the feel of a cable but it's just a stitch being passed over two knit stitches that gives it the cabled look.   I love the decreases at the top (you can't see them in the picture) and the way it gathers at the crown.  I actually have a red poncho that my mom gave me and I wore it and my slouchy hat to work several days this week.  Cheeky!

This color is fabulous but cotton is not the right yarn for this  project
I have another slouchy hat on my needles, this time using a better-suited yarn (wool/acrylic blend).  I've only just started but I have a feeling this fit will be better than the cotton.

I bought two closetmaid storage container to put in the bedroom closet so I can organize my yarn stash.  I wanted to buy faux wood storage cubicle units (6, 8 or 9 cubes) and Mr. Grumpbump and I were in Target, attempting to pick them out (white, natural or dark), when Mr. Grumpbump got all miserly on me and tried to steer me towards the plastic storage solutions.  I hated that idea because there is no way I would want some plastic tubs out in the open in the house.  However, comparing the prices, figuring that I would store these containers in the closet anyway, and realizing that I would have more money leftover to buy more yarn, I went with the plastic 3-drawer containers.   Tomorrow, I'm printing my Michaels coupon and heading over to the store to get more yarn.  It's nice not to have yarn all over the house in shoeboxes, wicker baskets, paper bags, and plastic shopping bags.

Are you ready for cat pictures? First up is Delilah. She's in love with the back patio area now that we have cushions on the chairs. She's claimed the lounger and at least three of the four chairs. She loves napping on them.
Delilah knows how to make herself comfortable

Delilah is checking out Alfred, the garden frog (gift from my mom at Christmas)
I think Macy has really blossomed since moving to the new house. Macy loves to sit in the patio area and watch the lizards run around.  She doesn't roam the house with Delilah around, but she is not shy about hanging out with us while we watch tv.  She's usually on the couch with one of us. When she's really relaxed, I can get her to let me rub her belly while she naps next to me. And she purrs so much now.  I feel like we have really done right by her when I hear her purr.
Macy's usual spot

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Worth Staying Up For

Mr. Grumpbump's blanket is finished!  This ripple stitch pattern is my absolute favorite; it seems that no matter what colors you pick, the blanket is so striking.  Definitely something I will do again.

I've started on a new project, which I chose based solely on the ease of getting in on my needles and the quickness of the knit.  It's called a Baktus Scarf.  I'm using sock yarn to knit this and I will probably buy some beads to add to the ends of the scarf (a lot of the scarves are made with tassels at the end).  If this turns out as cool as I hope, I might use up my other sock yarn to make this very easy knit.  Right now, it remains to be seen how it will turn out.

On Tuesday after work, I'm going to attend a knitting group meeting at my local bookstore.  Because I am under so much stress at work, I now fight even harder to get time for knitting.  I have to make time to knit on a semi-regular basis and I get very angry when something else takes time away from knitting.  I work it out in my head every day as to how I can  get more time for knitting.  Is there a job for me out there that will allow me to pursue my hobby?

Two Dolls

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Pink is the New Retro

I found a cute patio set on craigslist yesterday and went to pick it up this afternoon. I got four chairs, a table, and a lounge chair for $45.  Everything needs a good scrubbing but otherwise it's in very good condition.  I'll need chair pads for everything but I'm hoping I can find something reasonable at Garden Ridge or Old Time Pottery.   The mauve color is one of the good features for me, although Mr. Grumbbump thinks the furniture is trash.  He really doesn't like it, but that doesn't bother me nor did it stop me from getting this to our house today.   The color of this furniture is very, very close to the tile in our master bathroom.  I don't think that really means anything but I thought I would mention it.

It's retro!

Just a little elbow grease and some cute chair pads and we will  be in business!
I went to Michael's last night with every intent of getting some new yarn and I left empty-handed.  I was disappointed with the overall feeling of the store but it's really the only craft store near the house.  There is a Hobby Lobby near my office, which I've never been to.  It would mean going out at lunch, which practically never happens for me.  Leaving the office at lunch is so much work!   

I think this completes craigslist furniture needs for a while.  Next up, I'm looking for a bike.  But since that is Mr. Grumpbump's idea, I should probably just let it be his problem to solve.  I need to get back to the serious business of knitting.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

My Good Life

 I have neglected my blog for long enough; while Captain Grumpbump is out running morning errands, I'm taking the opportunity to unload everything that has been going on in the last two months.

We are almost three months into home ownership, and we are so in love with the house that's it is borderline embarrassing.  Capt. Grump has really blossomed into my very own handy man.  He finished painting the rest of the house (with the exception of the bathrooms) and now he's starting on painting all the doors.  Additionally, he fixed the master bathroom bath faucet (there were problems with the water pressure when we were taking a shower) and he installed blinds in the living room, guest bedroom, and the Capt's video room (formerly the second bedroom).

We added a few new (to us) fixtures to the house:  (1) barstools (we inherited them from a friend whose parents were moving); (2) side tables being used as nightstands in our bedroom (purchased off craigslist); (3) the previously mentioned china cabinet (great find on craigslist); (4) round wood end table (craiglist, again); (5) headboard for full bed (headboard was craiglist; the bed we bought new - both to furnish the guest room).

Finished Guest Room 

Barstools (a/k/a Delilah's favorite place to sleep)

China Cabinet with Capt's paintings
Our bedroom - this is one of the two "nightstands" I bought  off of craigslist

I am addicted to searching craiglist for furniture.  Right now, I'm on the hunt for outdoor patio furniture.  I'm having a harder time with this search than the others (I've had two failed attempts to buy) but that's part of the fun of it.

The opposite of fun, however, is what the Capt and I did last weekend.  The whole truth is that it started out with Delilahs.  For the record, I want it known that we never have these types of problems with Miss Macy, who is practically the perfect cat.

Portrait of a Perfect Cat

Troublemaker (yes, she's sitting with her tail IN THE WATER...WTF?)
The whole story starts with the issues we've had with Delilahs the last few weeks.  She constantly whimpers, whines, and chirps her demands to be let outdoors (basically, the front of the house).  We have also been subject to her vocalizations at ungodly times (3 and 4 o'clock in the morning - every morning).  The capper was when we let her to go out back and she hopped the fence and ended up in our neighbor's yard.  We had to come up with another plan.  Delilahs cannot be a free-roaming outdoor cat in our new space.   Many ideas were thrown about (and most of the solutions were fairly expensive - invisible fencing, netting for our existing backyard fencing) and the Capt and I decided on the cheapest "solution" - put Delilahs on a harness and use a tie-out in the front yard.

We put our plan into action last Saturday.  The only hitch was that the tie-out did not come with a corkscrew stake to put in the ground.  Capt. Grump improvised and used a curtain rod from the garage.  He staked it into the middle of one of the tree stumps in our front yard.  And then a few minutes later, we were frightened to see water pouring out of the side of the house and into the front yard.  The Capt ran to shut off the main water valve and we both realized that the curtain rod had most likely punctured the water line from the street to the house.

I started making phone calls to find a plumber to come out on a Saturday, while the Capt started digging out the tree stump (because we surmised that the plumber would need to get to the line that was broken underneath).  We quickly realized that we didn't have the tools necessary to dig out those stumps and so I was sent to search for a stump grinder.  My mind is reeling at this time because I'm figuring that this is going to cost us well above $500 for our stupid attempt to allow Delilahs access to the front yard.   I was lucky to end up with a great company agreeing to come out and remove both tree stumps for only $140!

Our stump-less front yard
The tree grinder guy only took 15 minutes to finish and then the plumber arrived shortly thereafter. He ended up re-routing the water line around where the stumps used to be.  Mr. plumber man said that the Capt's puncture was a one-in-a-million shot, which cost us $250 to fix.  That was hard to swallow but we had to do it.

Finally, we have not forgotten about the Delilahs.  She was still tethered to the tie-out while we trying to figure out who to call and she was startled by a garbage can lid being knocked over the wind.  She freaked out because she wanted to run but couldn't go that far because of the harness and lead and we watched in what seemed to be slow motion as she jumped and bucked and pulled against the tie-out until she frantically slipped out of the harness.  Luckily, she ran back to the house in her panic and I just brought her inside. At this point, my heart is pounding out of my chest, with the cat all freaked out and the thought of the major expense we were going to occur.

Delilah before the freak-out

I'll end this long story by saying that by the end of the day I was very happy with the look of our new front yard and satisfied that we didn't really spend that much money.  Of course, we are no closer to figuring out Delilah's issues with still wanting to be an outdoor cat.  I've decided that we should just kill Delilah's soul and force her to be indoors all the time, but the Capt has not seen the light on that issue and still talks to me about how we can help her.

I'm still knitting the Capt's afghan but I also finished a crocheted hat.  The hat is too big (typical) but I'm going to wet block it to see if it can be saved.  I'll post more about it later.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

My Heart's Not In It

Gorgeous Sunday afternoon in Florida.  We are truly blessed today; I am so appreciative of all the nice things I have in my life now.

I've moved back to working on the afghan for Mr. Grumpbump.  I'm trying to finish it before it gets cold in Florida, which means I have at least two months.  And since Mr. Grumpbump grew up in Minnesota, Florida "cold" to him is a joke anyway.  I'm not thrilled with the colors, but they were Mr. Grumpbump's choice.

I want to start another knitting project.  I think I'm going to take an online course on sock knitting.  I have a lot of sock yarn and really need to use it up, but I am not a very good sock knitter in that I don't do sizes very well.  My socks are usually too large.

Mr. Grumpbump and I are trying to add more foliage and actual grass to the garden areas within the pool enclosure to help the cats enjoy their outdoors instead of always wanting to actually venture outside of the house.  We went to the local home improvement store and bought some shrubs, soil and mulch.  I'll post pictures when it's finished.

In the meantime, our cats sleep their lives away (cutely):

Baby Kitten a/k/a Delilah

Macy sleeping in our luggage.

I'm in need of some ice cream and the laptop is burning my leg so I'm going to end this post.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

I'm Not Old, I'm Vintage

Now that we have a bigger place, Mr. Grumpbump and I have different ideas about how we should furnish the house.  Mr. Grumpbump wants a pool table and I've agreed to it, on the condition it has a table pad to convert it to a dining table (in my defense, he wants to put it in the dining room).  My wish was for a china cabinet.   I inherited a set of wedding china and I have really want to display it appropriately.

In pursuit of our individual goals, Mr. Grumpbump and I have been searching  the for-sale ads on craigslist.  We have a disadvantage because we don't have a truck and most people selling on craigslist don't deliver.  The other consideration for both of us is the cost; we don't really have a ton of extra cash.  

However, I found a little treasure for sale a few days ago and now it sits in my garage!  I paid $60 for it.  It's small (3' wide x 5' tall x 14" deep) but it has grooved shelving for plates.  It has a scroll work on the top (we had to remove it to get it to fit in my car) and the glass in the front door has no cracks or chips. 

My new cabinet!

My measurements were not exact and I was worried that it would not fit in my car.  Because we don't have access to a truck, it was very important that we be able to get this thing home safely.  Lucky for us, my car is awesome and with a bit of maneuvering, this cabinet fit in the back and the hatch actually closed securely.

Without scrollwork at top
The lady selling it called it "vintage", which means that it has cobwebs and the wood is beat up in some places.  There are a few places where the wood has bowed, but I'm counting on my handyman to help me get it in working shape.

I need some advice on what to do about the exterior.  Should I just clean it?  Or should I take a leap and try to stain it?

Storage space

See Mr. Grumpbump's hand in the corner holding the scrollwork?
Delilah rubbed herself all over this thing when we brought it home.  She has to make sure everyone knows that it is in her house and therefore, by manifest destiny, it falls under her domain.  The house I bought it from had a really cute cat, so I'm sure she was also erasing the scent of the other cat.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

America's Next Top Cat

My Delilah is a model.  Seriously, she's so beautiful - on the outside.  Her personality is, well, let's say, not so beautiful.  Delilah could definitely be a contender on the feline version of America's Next Top Model.  If there were such a thing, here's how I imagine it:

All Delilah needed was a trim to her honey-blond locks.  Typical wannabe-model drama when the finished product revealed the cut to be shorter than what Delilah wanted.
It's Makeover Time!

Time for the photo shoot!  The shoot was outdoors, early morning, and the theme was luxurious living by the pool.  

"Delilah, look directly into the camera"

"Delilah, show me vulnerability"

"Show me Madonna vogue-ing but then at the last minute scale it back a notch"

"Great profile shot while showcasing your fluffy belly!"

"Show me relaxed but with controlled lines"
Time for judging panel and we will see which cats will continue in the search for America's Next Top Cat.  Delilah, we edited your film heavily.  There were so many shots of the *exact* same pose.  You can be a bit too boring, and your small body mass and frame mean you have to work harder to get that extra strong photo.  These were the best pictures of your film:

"Your paws look awkward in this picture but as a beauty shot it's good"

"Your face caught the light beautifully"

"At this angle, your paws look huge, but the toe fluff is a nice touch"

"I feel the action coming off the picture - your face is bringing it!"

"You lost your face in this shot but  there is a market out there for paw shots"
And the award for best picture goes to....Delilah!  Congratulations, you are still in the running in the hopes of becoming America's Next Top Cat.

"You are beautiful but you have an anger that makes you push too hard
to the point where you lose focus and become to difficult to work with" 

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Making Room for Grumpbump

A few weeks into home ownership and it still feels great!  The cats have definitely settled in and both of them enjoy hanging out by the pool.  The backyard is big enough to let them each have their own corner and Macy stays far away from Delilah.

I managed to unpack all of the kitchen boxes and lined the kitchen selves.  It was hard to decide where everything should go.  I hope I made the right decisions on where to put our plates, dishes, silverware.  I did ask Mr. Grumpbump for his opinion on the placement of everything.  I think it makes logistical sense, which is important when you are searching for the right pot, pan or kitchen tool.

Mr. Grumpbump had to install the over-the-range microwave, but the outlet for the microwave is in a weird spot.  Turns out that we will need to move the outlet (which would require the hiring of an electrician) to the cabinet above the microwave.  We don't have the budget for that right now so the microwave is plugged into an outlet on the side of the range.  For now, I'm hiding the cord by shoving the knife block and toaster in front it.  I can live with it for a while.  

Visible microwave cord
I knitted a grocery bag holder so I could start collecting all my random plastic grocery bags for each dispensing.  The pattern was very easy and I used some of my stash yarn.  It's not the most attractive piece of knitting (looks like a sphincter) but it's very useful.  The pattern is only available on Ravelry.  It's got a ribbing on each end and the lacy middle allows you to stuff the middle with a bunch of grocery bags.

It poops grocery bags

These moving boxes keep multiplying!  My dad is coming over this weekend and he's bringing more!  I have a feeling that I will end up throwing out most of what he is bringing over.  However, I have several boxes of wedding china (it belonged to White, who was my babysitter when I was very young).  I am in desperate need of a china cabinet but I can't afford to purchase one.   

As usual, I leave you with pictures of my favorite cats, Delilah and Macy:

Delilah was not happy to leave the apartment but she's adjusting

Macy hanging out in her cat condo - always a window view for her

Sunday, August 28, 2011

A Place For Grumpbumps

No one I know likes moving.  I've moved at least 12 times in my life and I've cried during a lot of them.  A new place is always exciting, even when you are moving for sad reasons (like breaking up with a boyfriend - four times).  But this move into our new house has been so satisfying.  It sounds conceited or perhaps like I am being a braggart but Mr. Grumpbump and I deserved this house.  With everything going so much in our favor, I feel like I'm tempting fate by talking about how happy I am over the turn of events.  Also, it does us no service to chalk this up to fate or karma.  The facts are that Mr. Grumpbump and I made this happen.  I don't think I've ever believed that line coming out of other people - but now I feel like it completely a legitimate explanation for why some things in life happen the way they do.  (I don't believe this across the board because lots of bad things happen to very good people through no fault of their own.)  I just think it cheapens how Mr. Grumpbump and I hung in there in order to close on this house.

The big move happened yesterday.  Because we were moving from such a small place, we were 95% packed and ready to go.  Mr. Grumpbump and his friend and said friend's grandson packed the U-Haul, drove to the new house, and unpacked all within 2 hours.  I came over early to the house with the two cats in tow.  Both Macy and Delilah were pretty miserable upon entry into the house.  Delilah  would not stop hissing and growling, while Macy just made whimpering noises and ran behind the washer and dryer.  Delilah ended up in the master bathroom, hissing at anyone who opened the door.  It was not until we set up our bed and Delilah was able to climb up and sleep that she calmed down (a bit).  Macy did not relax all day, with a lot of whimpering and whining and crying.

Day two has been better.  I've moved Macy's cat condo to the main living area so she is near us, which appears to be of major concern with her. Macy's not a very needy cat, but she has really been stressed about this move and is constantly sitting next to us, always touching us.  In fact, she's sleeping next to me now, with her feet pushed up on my thigh.  Delilah, on the other hand, has been sleeping all day.  Mr. Grumpbump convinced her to go outside and she's now exploring the pool area.

Delilah lounging by the pool

Macy relaxing (sort of) on the couch with me

Macy's new perch by the window facing the pool

Today, I explored the neighborhood and found our Publix and a Super Target.  There are a ton of shops around our house and I'm looking forward to getting to know the local stores (for example, there is a cute little bakery up the street that I'm anxious to try).

I will post pictures of the house once we've organized ourselves a little better (too many boxes all over).

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Happiness Is Our Home

I can't believe I'm typing this but we actually bought our house!  Almost one year ago (Labor Day weekend of 2010) Mr. Grumpbump and I started looking for a home.  And now, we own a really cute 3-bedroom, 2-bathroom single-family home with a pool!

The house needs some TLC - fresh paint inside and a good cleaning.  But the remainder of the house is in really good condition.  The floors are entirely tile (even the baseboards), with an inside utility room.  The master bath is really nice.  I'll get pictures of all rooms and post pictures as I can.

And, of course, the pool:
Amazing Pool
Although this is definitely the "before" picture because the house has sat vacant for more than six months, so currently it looks like this:

Yuck! Florida is no friend to untended pools
We've got a pool guy coming over this week to get this pool back to the great shape seen in the "before" picture.

I plan to post a ton more pictures once we actually move in and get everything situated.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Ugly Business

We are supposed to close on our house in 9 days.  I am very pessimistic about this closing and I am sickened by how people in this business are treating me.  My realtor is basically a non-entity.  She didn't even find this house for us - Mr. Grumpbump is the one who found it on the internet.  The loan processor handling my loan is rude and bitchy and I don't know if the loan conditions are cleared.  And finally, the title company handling the transaction is, predictably, padding my side of the closing statement with junk fees.  I spent a lot of time on email and the phone yesterday arguing with the title company about these fees.  I can't believe that they are refusing to lower their fees in order to close the transaction.  Instead, they feel the need to argue with me about what they feel they deserve, even after I disclosed to them that I'm a very informed buyer and closing real estate transactions has been my job for the last seven years.

The end result is that I'm anxious, nervous, pissed off, and very insecure about this closing.  We are so close to owning this house that it feels very surreal.

No matter what happens we will be moving from our apartment by the end of the month.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Decisions I Don't Regret

Yesterday was Macy's one-year anniversary with us.  She's a much more comfortable with us and can usually be found sitting in our line-of-site, watching us intently.  Macy has also learned that paper plates mean catnip (I put catnip on paper plates for both Macy and Delilah) and that good things come from the kitchen.   She's a bit more vocal but only when it comes to food, which I believe she learned from Delilah.

Macy's favorite perch
No eyes!  A rarity not to see those owl eyes.

I started a new ripple stitch afghan for Mr. Grumpbump.  He picked out the colors he wanted and I started it immediately.  I have to finish my pedicure socks, but I find it hard to work on them when I have my (current) favorite pattern on the needles.  I really put a lot of time into the afghan this weekend.

Color Palette
A nice lady at work is going to teach me to crochet.  Crochet will never replace knitting as my favorite hobby, but I have found so many cute crochet patterns that I want to try.  I'm going to have to dig through my stash of yarn and find something suitable to practice with.

I was supposed to go into work this weekend.  I didn't make it because I feel like I'm coming down with a cold.   I needed to work into order to catch up on some things that have just sat on my desk for weeks, while I put out fires and work on other high priority items.  But you know what happens when you put something on the back burner too long, it will become the next high priority.  I just hate being behind, but I hate going into work on the weekends even more.  Just thinking about me makes me sick.

Mr. Grumpbump thinks that Delilah is sick.  But I've tried to look at the situation from a realistic view.  She's still eating regularly (wet and dry food), drinking water, and going to the bathroom.  She has been listless and hanging around the apartment more than usual.   I think it can be pinpointed to the change in Mr. Grumpbump's schedule.  He and Delilah had a definite routine for more than 18 months and now, with Mr. Grumpbump getting a new job and working during the day, Delilah has had to adjust.   It is not as ominous as Mr. Grumpbump would have me believe.

Orange Cat loves to nap
We are not-so-patiently waiting for the short sale bank to decide if we can finally buy our house.  The appraisal by my lender came in $1500 under the offered purchase price and we immediately got an amendment to the contract to reduce the sales price.  My interest rate lock expires 30 day from tomorrow so the pressure is on to close this before the beginning of September.  I'm so anxious about this - sometimes I can feel my heart beating out of my chest thinking about actually purchasing this place.

Finding My Treasure

Now that my shawl is complete (yarn purchased during the Orange Blossom Yarn Crawl in March), it is just hanging out in my foyer until I de...