19 01 2012

Well, I’m back.

And the good news is that it looks like the sponsors of SOPA and PIPA are backing down from their bill.  We’ll see what happens in the vote on the 24th. Keep signing those petitions!

The other GREAT news is that today, my heat is back on!

I was really hoping that the furnace guy would come yesterday, particularly since I wasn’t feeling well, but that was a no go. So the boys and I snuggled in my bed and watched tv while trying to stay warm.

When I got up this morning, it was 46 degrees on the first floor. Brr!

It warmed up to 50 by midday, and finally, just before three, the furnace guy called. It only took him a half hour to put the new part in and get the furnace up and working – it’s so quiet, I can’t even really hear it.

BIG difference from the rattling it was making before – so that’s another tip for you; if your heater is so loud that you have to turn the tv up to hear over it, there’s something wrong with the fan. Get it checked out!

Anyway, it took a couple of hours for the temperature to come back up to 70, and I’ve spent three days being cold, so 70 felt like the tropics!

A working furnace meant I could cook tonight instead of having to order pizza – it’s not that my oven wasn’t working, it’s just that it was too cold to be downstairs for more than a few minutes! So tonight, I made my first whole chicken (I feel like a cheated a little, because I got one of those Purdue roaster bags), stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy.

It all tasted delicious, but when I cook a big meal like that, I find that by the time I get to eating it, I don’t feel like eating! But leftovers will be had (and maybe turned into other things as well)!

The pups were very excited about the chicken. I didn’t share, but my little guy did try to figure out how to counter surf so he could snag the chicken. Good thing I was paying attention and put a quick stop to that.

Once dinner was done, I was VERY excited to finish the hutch – the extra piece came yesterday…or so I thought.

An extra piece did come yesterday, yes.

It was even labeled part B.

But it certainly wasn’t the piece I need. In fact, now that I’m thinking about it, I think it’s a piece to the buffet part of the hutch. And of course, I have to wait until tomorrow to call them and complain. I should have known better, because a lot of the reviews on Target said that other people were having this problem, but I was hoping for the best. Ugh. So more waiting, when here I was, excited for the hutch to be done!

At any rate, I’ve got some home projects brewing in my mind, which hopefully I’ll get started on soon – this is the best time of year for them because the days are cold and there isn’t much to do, so it’s nice to putter around.  But that being said, I have a girls’ day planned on Saturday for lunch and the movies, so any home projects will have to wait!

Still Cold and Going Dark Tomorrow

17 01 2012

So, no furnace.

I waited for what felt like forever for the furnace guy to call me at 3pm today and tell me that the part won’t be in until tomorrow or Thursday at the latest.  Good thing it was mild here today, because being in the house was manageable. I set up the space heater last night in my room, and kept it running in there while I worked from my laptop on the bed. It was almost toasty.

To my delight (this is sarcasm), I woke up with symptoms of a head cold this morning – I feel that there is NO connection to the heating situation, only the wacky weather we’ve been experiencing. It was 5 degrees the other night, and tonight? It’s 54 at 10:30.  That’s ridiculous.

So I picked up some delicious chicken noodle soup at Shoprite – they make it fresh for their soup bar, did you know that? It is SO darn good. I got extra so I can have some tomorrow too – snuggled myself in my fleece pants after dinner, and have been whiling away the hours on my computer, finishing up some work and blogging.  When you work from your bed with your laptop, it’s kinda hard to shut down!

Which brings me to tomorrow.  You may or may not know about SOPA, the Stop Online Piracy Act.  Well tomorrow, a number of pretty big companies will be going web-dark to protest this bill, and I’ll be joining them.  I blogged about it over here on opinionehted.com, where I’m an honorary Canadian. So no post from me tomorrow…and get yer googling done tonight, because they will be dark too.  WordPress is also in on the fun, so I won’t be able to blog from here anyway.

But, I am hoping that tomorrow brings the piece to my hutch that I’m STILL lacking.  Not that it’s warm enough in the kitchen to work in there on it (there’s a 6 degree difference between the house and outside. No, really.) but I can’t WAIT to be done and start using the hutch! It would also be nice if the furnace could be fixed tomorrow. 48 hours of cold is doable, but I’m not sure if I’m up for 72.

In other homeownerly news, after the furnace debacle last night, the closet door in my bedroom also came clean off the hinges as I tried to open it. Really, never a dull moment around here.  I guess it’s telling me to get my butt in gear and paint in there.  As soon as I feel a bit better…

Tip for Monday

16 01 2012

This post could also easily be titled, Dear Crawl Space: I hate you.

In case you didn’t know.

This afternoon, I headed out to the happiest place on earth, in my book…Michaels.  My parents had given me a gift card there for my birthday (wahoo!), and I had plans to spend it! So after getting some crafty things and stopping at Staples for a new little shredder (the perfect companion for my NeatDesk!), I headed home.

And smelled a weird smell.

At first, I thought it was one of the dogs.  We’ve had a lot of gross things going on with the dogs lately (which I won’t go into for you sanity), so I thought the smell involved them.  But then when I went to turn the heat up because I was a little chilly, I realized that although the thermostat said the furnace was on, the temperature was only 67 degrees. And I keep it at 70.


The furnace has, admittedly, been a wee bit noisy lately, and I was kicking myself for not getting it serviced as I’d originally planned to do in August (tip #1 for you – service your furnace. Apparently, it’s a good idea to do this yearly. I have done this never – learn from me).  I took a little look-see in the hated crawl space, you know, the most logical place for a furnace when you live on land that floods even if the clouds are *thinking* about rain.

It didn’t smell and the furnace looked the same to me – I’m no expert – so I headed back inside and shut the system off to give it a minute.  I tried turning it back on and nothing. Nada. Fabulous.

My mom suggested I get in touch with the heating people tonight so that I could at least get on their list for tomorrow. I knew that my neighbors had really liked the guy who relocated their furnace to the shed (possible in my house only if they jackhammer the concrete floor…and I have a spare $5000).  So I called over there to get his name and number (I know I have it somewhere, but can’t remember where – tip #2 – I’m now putting his number in my phone under “Furnace”). They told me to head on over where we talked about a couple of possibilities and I got the information, and my neighbor (the neighbor who spirited me to the ER about a month ago) came over to see if perhaps it was an issue with the thermostat.

It wasn’t.

I called the furnace guy and his wife said he’d be over within the hour – SWEET. So I quick opened up the crawl space, turned the light on, and threw the dogs upstairs with a bone and the ID channel.

The furnace guy is so nice, and I knew he’d be fair.  That didn’t mean I didn’t pray and stand outside the crawl space with my fingers crossed as he was working under there. It turns out that the fan assembly that pushes the flue gases out was “red-hot” as the furnace guy said, and kaput.  It was all rusted (thank you water in the crawl space), and rather than turning, it was shaking back and forth.  When that isn’t working, the rest of the furnace won’t even come on – a safety feature, I’m assuming, to keep the gases from backing up into the house (which I appreciate, and also explains the smell). So he shut the whole thing down (to keep the fan from possibly catching fire – that was the other reason I looked under the house pretty much right away) and he’ll be able to come tomorrow to replace the part.


It’s not exactly inexpensive (the part is the most expensive one to replace on the entire furnace, of course), but it’s FAR less expensive than replacing the whole thing. So that’s the good news.

And I remembered when I was out there that I have a space heater that my dad got me the last time my furnace went awry. Wahoo.

Since it’s not too terribly cold inside yet (note I said “yet” – it’s going to be bitter outside tonight), I stuck the heater in my bedroom with the door closed to get it all snuggly warm for me and the boys tonight. We’ll get all bundled up and hope for the best, and tomorrow, keep our fingers crossed that the furnace guy can get here first thing!

Never a dull moment, right?

Also, on an unrelated note, I took a blogging hiatus yesterday as a moment of silence, so to speak, because a dear friend lost her mom early yesterday morning. It’s a very tough time for her, particularly since she spent SO much time with her mom in the hospital over the last year, so please send good thoughts to her.

Lazy Saturdays

14 01 2012

Today ended up being a VERY lazy day because I’ve been battling a migraine.  Tonight, I’m feeling much better than earlier (it turned out I really needed to eat even though I wasn’t feeling up to it), but just really wiped out.  So I didn’t get any of the things I had planned for today done, though I did manage to get one load of laundry out of the dryer and another one out of the wash and INTO the dryer, I unclogged a toilet, and I took my puppy for a short walk.  That seems pretty accomplished to me!

Tomorrow, I hope to be FAR more motivated and feeling better. I’d like to straighten up the house and do a bit of cleaning, break out the sewing machine and get my craft on (I have SO many projects that I want to try!) and just sort though some of the piles of things I have floating around.

I also need to get serious about my decluttering. I feel like it got waylaid when my hutch project halted in its tracks over the piece I had to re-order, but that doesn’t mean the rest of the house has to suffer! And I need to make some plans for when I’m going to finish painting the hallway, finish painting the closets and so on and so on.

But we all need lazy Saturdays too, right? And I must say that my pups have been awfully good, considering I’ve been napping or lying on the couch pretty much all day.  The little guy even napped in my bed with me for an hour this afternoon, and normally he’s far too excited that he can climb all over me to fall asleep, so I was very proud of him!

This Week on Pinterest

14 01 2012

Whew, just sneaking in my post under the wire for today! I’ve been busy tonight putting away my Christmas decorations and cleaning up after my tree (I know, I know, but it’s down now!), and then scanning and organizing my paperwork!

But here we are, at the end of another week, so I’m sharing some of my pins from this week!

Source: dogs.icanhascheezburger.com via Lindsay on Pinterest

I just love the look on this little guy’s face!

This is my all-time favorite quote.

I love the blue here

I just got this very tattoo on the inside of my wrist on New Years Eve.

My crock pot should be arriving next week (I used an Amazon gift card). Can’t wait!

I’m so going to try to make this oversize clutch this weekend!

Doesn’t this look delicious? Gotta try it.

My goal for 2012.

Daniel with Rooney Mara. Don’t you just want to be her?

My parents got me a panini maker for my birthday, so I’m pinning ideas of paninis to try!

So what are you all pinning this week, if you’re using Pinterest?

Goin’ Paperless

12 01 2012

You may remember that I mentioned I’d be getting a machine that would revolutionize my life – well, it’s here.

It’s the Neat Desk, and it’s here to help me go paperless. This beauty can scan (back and front) 50 pages at a time (yes really), or, if it has the insert in, like above, you can scan 15 business cards, 15 receipts, and 15 documents at a time.

I think I’m in love.

I set it up last night, and while I can see that I really need to start working on organizing things that I’ve scanned in, I can also see how quickly this is going to revolutionize my life and help me go paperless.  I have SO MUCH PAPER filed away – magazine clippings, receipts, binders full of conference documents for work, and more. It’s starting to take over my office, and it’s definitely taken over my attic (uh, along with all my Christmas and Halloween decorations, which unfortunately can’t be scanned). So I can’t wait to set up my folders and start getting virtually organized, as I scan in all my paper!

I also realized last night that I can scan in cards – I often like to keep cards, which also start to take over, and while I will still keep some hard copies, this way, I can scan in many of my cards, and then send the originals to St. Jude’s for their card recycling program.  Going paperless AND helping a good cause makes me happy.

**As a note, Neat Desk has no idea who I am. This is just a scanner I saw on tv and fell in love with before it even arrived.

My Downstairs Bathroom

11 01 2012

I may have a painting obsession.

Although, it really only happens when I’m unhappy with the color of something. I love that my bedroom is eggplant, and so I haven’t wanted to repaint it in the three+ years I’ve lived here.

But I’m still unhappy with the hallway…though it would help if I *finished* painting it.

And despite having this unfinished project, I’m feeling itchy to paint the downstairs bathroom again. I like that it’s a dark color, despite being a small bathroom. I just don’t like the color that it is.

Though it's not the focus, you can see the color of the bathroom here.

It’s just not me.

But I couldn’t figure out what color I wanted to paint it. And thinking about moving the washer/dryer to paint in there again gives me a bit of agita. However, I did see a color on Pinterest this week that I LOVE for the bathroom…or really, any room:

Isn't it bee-yoo-ti-ful?

A dark teal green. Just what I want, and I think it will go perfectly! And even better, the brown in there now will serve as a lovely dark primer for the green.  I can’t wait to get started on this project! Though I should probably finish up some of the other million things I have going on in the house before then…

Foiled by the Pre-Fab Furniture

10 01 2012

I was so excited to finish up my kitchen buffet and hutch tonight and start organizing the kitchen.  I got all the pieces of the hutch out, and started to get to work…when I notice that the first piece I need (part B) is missing the inserts that I screw the cam-lock screws into.  Since this is pretty much a major stabilizing part of the piece, I can go no further.

At first, I thought perhaps I’d grabbed the wrong piece…but no, it was part B as indicated.  Then, I thought maybe I was looking at the wrong side…but no.  I checked it against part C, which is the identical piece that faces it, and the evidence was there, clear as day.

So I called the company on the instructions, and yes, they have to send me a whole new part B.  Which is maybe a doubly good thing, since part of the piece came cracked as well (just cosmetic).  But now I have to wait 5-7 days (and I’m guessing that’s business days) to get the new part so that I can finish the hutch.


Does this mean I’m freed up to take down my Christmas tree? What other projects can I work on instead…

Furniture for the Kitchen

9 01 2012

As promised, I said I was going to talk about a piece of furniture that would really help my life.  It arrived in pieces on Thursday afternoon, and I put the first part together tonight.  I knew that it was going to take a while because I’d read the Target reviews, but I wasn’t prepared for how frustrated I’d get.

What am I talking about? It’s a kitchen buffet/sideboard, which I’m putting in place of my baker’s rack.  The baker’s rack has been great, but I needed something with more storage – I have a lot of storage in my kitchen (although it could really use a pantry), but I’m tired of having to stack everything to get it to fit – it’s just not that convenient.

So I’m hoping that the buffet will allow me to expand and organize the kitchen well. And boy, do I need to do that – downstairs in my house is starting to look like a tornado has gone through it! And my OCD self is getting a bit, okay a LOT, anxious when I see what I need to do.  But I’m working on it one area at a time!

So here’s part one of the buffet:

Uh, pretty nice for a piece of Target furniture, don’t ya think? I chose the black because I thought it would match the black in the paint of the cabinets well (and I’m using a black and white liner in the cabinets and drawers), and the warmer wood on top (as opposed to stainless steel or a lighter wood, or all black – which they offer), to unify the space with the warmer wood in the dining room.

I’m also pretty happy that my huge container of dog food still fits nicely to the right of the buffet.

Tomorrow, it’s on to part two.  I hear I may need help with lifting the top of the buffet, but we’ll see how things go!

Organization Tips

8 01 2012

My love of Pinterest has given me some great ideas…as I mentioned, I’m working on seriously decluttering my house this year. I’ve decided to do it little by little, because I have a lovely habit of starting a BIG project, and emptying out a lot of drawers, and then losing steam.  So I’m going piece by piece instead.

One of the areas I worked on was the cabinet above my microwave.  It drives me CRAZY, because I have a bunch of things up there that I don’t frequently use, but when I need something, it’s a big balancing act to try to get that item out, without pulling everything else down on top of me.  So I did a little search, and found an idea from Martha Stewart’s kitchen, where she used suspension rods to create better cabinet organization.

I gave it a whirl:

Pretty nice!

Is it perfect? No, but it’s FAR more functional than it was before, and I can pull my pans and trays out and put them back without wanting to tear my hair out. I have enough suspension rods to try the idea in other places needed, so I’ll let you know where else they work!


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