Tuesday, November 28, 2006


In my eternal quest to be just like Cate, I've taken to living in one room.

I repaired the living room ceiling, but despite my best seriously-pissed-off-consumer routine, had zero success at convincing Buck that it might just be his fault(gasp). Meanwhile, after my complaint that the upstairs floors felt like sandpaper, he decided to repair them, starting Sunday. After no Buck sighting on Sunday, Wifey called. Buck was watching football "very busy with 6 other jobs" and pledged to complete the floors on Tuesday.

90% of our possessions were moved into TWO rooms of the new house this weekend, with huge thanks to Wifey's tireless family. The piles completely fill the two rooms, floor to ceiling.

Our apartment now contains a mattress, the computer, some clothes, some food, and a couple totally random piles that are destined for a cardboard containment system.

On Thursday evening, we'll move those final items into the living room of the new house, where we'll be sleeping (in ONE room) until the 2nd floor polyurethane is dry, and I can hoist the bedroom furniture up the stairs. Note: Wifey is 7 months surro-pregnant, and Little Man is 3-1/2, so neither will be much help in moving furniture up the stairs.

Wait ... wait ... it gets better.

The refriderator arrives on Thursday, but the outlet needs updating and I haven't secured an electrician, despite a couple days of calling. The stove arrives on Sunday, but I can't find a plumber with an opening until the end of next week. We have to keep the heat off because the radiators downstairs are spewing steam trying to ruin my ceilings, and we have to wait for the plumber to fix those. So the refride will end up in some totally random polarized location in our house, we'll cook exclusively in the crockpot, microwave and electric kettle, and we'll cuddle for warmth.

Seriously -- I'm quiting my job and becoming an electrician. Become a plumber? No thanks, it's too yucky. But electricians make serious bank, and are clearly in short supply.

In the midst of all this, I try to remember that I'm so frustrated because I'm oridinarily so privileged. Many people in our world would feel blessed in my situation. In the spirit of thankgiving, my love goes out to my incredible family, friends and community, and my appreciation goes out to a roof over my head, clean water to drink, health, a job, and leftover turkey sandwiches.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Ode to the F-Bomb

Wifey called.
"Are you sitting down?"
"Yes, why?"
"I talked to Buck."
"What the *&^% happened???"
"Well, apparently the heat clicked on last night, steam came rushing out of the radiator pipes, and since the radiators are all sitting in the kitchen, the moisture damaged the floors."
"W H A T ?"
"Wait ... there's more. Your ceilings..."
"Don't even tell me they *&^%ed up my ceilings. I'll kill them. Seriously. My ceilings?"
"Yeah, the living room ceiling fell down, and smaller sections in other rooms fell down too."
"What the *&^% does 'fell down' mean? What the *&^% is wrong with these people? How can you *&^% up the ceilings while refinishing the *&^%ing floors? I'm Gonna Kill Buck."
. etc .

Monday, November 20, 2006

Favorite Things Monday: Ms. 1890's centerfold

Just after the closing, Ms. 1890 begged for new ceilings and floors. She strongly stated that ceilings and floors are much harder to fix while living in the house, so I should focus on ceilings and floors for her 1 month of loneliness vacancy. For the most part, I listened to her sound advice. I've done a LOT of scraping, mudding, sanding and painting. In fact, a couple weeks ago I had a dream that I woke up one morning, looked in the mirror and noticed that my arms were jacked. It was hot. Anyway ...

Two weekends ago (in the time of MafiaBro), it took no less than 7 (yes 7) people to convince me to pay someone else to refinish the floors. We got a fantastic price (which was due, in no small part, to my Halloween crowbar frenzy) from an experienced guy, and I'm thrilled with the preliminary findings.

You want photos? I'll give you photos ...

Living & Dining Rooms (before)

Living & Dining Rooms (after)

Entry/Stairs (before)

Entry/Stairs (after)

What every ceiling looked like

Front bedroom (with repaired ceiling)

Front Bedroom (before)
-why yes, that is a stack of linoleum, subfloor, and linoleum you see there, and yes, I did nearly break my back ripping it out.

Front bedroom (with nearly finished floors)

Middle bedroom (before)

Middle bedroom (with nearly finished floors)

As we near the move-in date, there are precious few evenings during which to work on the house. I need to finish the ceilings, so I'll be swinging from the ladder again as soon as that poly dries.

* Despite a rapid influx of champagne, I didn't embarass myself at the fancy restaurant on Friday. The food: un-freakin-believable. The company: stellar.

** Go wish Cate a Happy Birthday. She's 37 today.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Hittin' the Town

Warning: I'm bragging. I can't wait to see DW tonight, eat amazing food, drink incredible wine, and roll around laughing in her fancy hotel room. Stop it! It's not like that. I swear.

The shiny green shirt stayed at home. I decided on the ice blue silk, black suit pants, and my newest shoe-love.

The required boob shot:

The buttery silk that makes me want to pet myself (reminder--not socially acceptable):

This one's for Cate. Admit it -- they're just as hot as wingtips, especially when I'm steppin' on the prez. Admit it.

Oh yes, there was knitting. Arwen has a back hem and 3" of knit fabric.

All bragging aside, I'm terrified to enter such fancy establishments. I'm usually a bumbling idiot at such events, so I need some good vibes. okk? fanks.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

32 is even

Happy Birthday to me
Happy Birthday to me
Happy Biiiiirthday to the Maaaaafiiiiia
Happy Birthday to me

Today I'm 32.

And I like even numbers. Have I ever told you about my wicked weird obsession with eating small things in twos? Small things = rieses pieces, M&Ms, pasta, french fries, etc. By the end of the bag/box/bowl, I can tell you if there was an even or odd number of items in that bag/box/bowl. I've been doing it since I was a small child. In fact, I can't remember not doing it. Strangely enough, more often than not, it's an even number. Not a very scientific study, I grant you, but my data clearly supports chaos theory.

And I'm wearing my new Sophie's Toes Blueberry socks. My toes are happy.

And I'm the proud new owner of an incredible skein of Sophie's Toes in Froggy, thanks to Suzanne (apparently she was the "a-hole" who bought "my" skein - oops!).

And I'm the proud new owner of an awesome kit with the pattern for Elfine socks and a beautiful skein of J-Knits in multiple shades of green with some brown, taupe and yellow, thanks to Nina.

You guys rock!

And in the spirit of suspense, I might break out my fancy green shirt and shoes* again tomorrow night, for a fancy dinner with a generous friend who's flying up from NYC to take me out for my birthday, see the new house and donate to the Fund for the Historic Preservation of Ms. 1890. I'm a lucky, lucky girl.

Stay tuned ... there might be photos.

*the matching shoes are open and backless (read: cold). Do women really wear that style in the winter? Do they intend to simply jump from cab to curb? Please tell me that this resurgence of 80s fashion means that I can wear handknit socks with the shoes. Or please give me permission to wear my newest cordovan Danskos. tee-hee! I'm so clueless ... help!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Knitting? I do that?

Thank Dogod for the MBTA, because I present to you [drum roll] my finished Sophie's Toes Blueberry Socks! Who-Ray!

Last night, Wifey had a Borders date with Nina, so I stayed home, gave Little Man the longest bath in history so we could have an entire conversation without interruption, snuggled in his bed while he fell asleep, popped LOTR-2Towers in the DVD, and curled up on the couch with a cone of yarn, formerly destined for an Eris. An hour later, I had a swatch for Arwen! I promptly washed it, measured it and moaned about the gauge. Then I woke up, boarded my train, and measured again. Magic! It's perfect. I present to you [drum roll] the yarn for my Arwen*. Who-Ray!

*If you're interested in joining the KAL, drop a note to ACardiganForArwen AT gmail DOT com.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Favorite Things Monday: Dust & Peeps

I am tired, sore, emotionally unpredictable, and so happy. How can this be? No time to knit. or sleep. or eat. or think. or really blog. I'm covered in dust, swinging from a ladder, weilding a putty knife in one hand and a sanding block in the other. I am a student of joint compound, and a master of ceiling white.

Through this whole crazy experience, I've been surrounded by incredibly generous people. HUGE thanks to MafiaBro for an awesome weekend of work and play; Suzanne for an incredible birthday suprise visit and present;

Danielle for her mad sanding and wallpaper stripping skills;

Adge & Neek for performing Rent while scraping wallpaper;

Kat for warm brownies with caramel, cutting them with a corner putty knife, the bar, live music and beer;

Nina for spontaneous eating, precious wees, and an amazingly thoughtful birthday present. Wifey for serving many meals this weekend to many MafiaHelpers; and to Little Man, for moments like this:

LM: Mom, I'm a boy.
Mafia: yes ...
LM: And you a girl.
Mafia: yes ...
LM: And Halle Berry a boy!

[where he got that, I have absolutely no clue! perhaps there's a girl at daycare named Halle Berry?]

Back soon with real pics, yarn porn, and birthday fun. Did I mention that I'll be 32 on Thursday?

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Election 2006 + Marriage Upheld

My version of the Super Bowl dance goes something like this: Yippee. Weehe. Yippee. Weee. Happy Dance and slide to the left.

Yes!! It just keeps getting better! It's a good day to be an American (and I don't say that very often).

Introducing Ms. 1890

To appease, here's a photo of my new house, henceforth dubed Ms. 1890:

She's a cutie, huh? However, as I mentioned before, there are many challenges inside this cute house. Within these walls are 1,000 reasons why the house was within our non-existent price range. And I'm knocking them down one by one.* As soon as I have a few hours of daylight at home (probably Friday), I'll post before-and-after shots.

*If anyone has a can of Pine-Tree-B-Gone, please send it to me at P.O. Box Will-Climb-&-Chain-Saw Avenue, Massachusetts.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

I'm one tough girl

Seriously. After 6 days of working on My Old House aka Ms. 1890, I'm feeling supremely tough. My ass is SO bad. Thus, I will subject you chronicle. If you're bored with home renovation, feel free to click away. If you think Rich's shiny head is sorta cute, or Kevin's strawberry curls are drool-worthy, stick around.

Total Days: 6
Mafia Hours: 21
Mafia-Helpers: 5
Mafia-Helper's Hours: 29
Total Person Hours: 50


Dining Room: wallpaper stripped; carpet ripped; boards, tacks & staples pulled

Playroom: wallpaper stripped; carpet ripped; boards, tacks & staples pulled

Living Room: wallpaper stripped; floor OK

Downstairs hallway: carpet ripped; linoleum ripped; boards, tacks & staples pulled

Stairs: carpet ripped; boards, tacks & staple pulled

Upstairs landing: carpet ripped; linoleum + subfloor demolished; antique spikes pulled

Front bedroom: linoleum + subfloor demolished; linoleum#2 ripped; antique spikes pulled; ceiling scraped

Middle bedroom: linoleum ripped; ceiling scraped; 90% of wallpaper stripped

Back bedroom: linoleum ripped

Upstairs bathroom: wallpaper stripped; gouges in wall skim-coated with joint compound (coat 1 of 3)

Prior to the arrival of the Helpers, I destroyed floors. Lots of linoleum and effing carpet:

See how tough I am? As proof, here's my first haul away. FYI-that's 4 bags of -heavy- linoleum in FIL BigTime's car.

And now, for your entertainment, I will sleep.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Lotorp pattern, anyone?

So my cell phone rings on Saturday and Danielle's number pops up. Huh?

She's at the Fabric Place, they're having a big sale, do I need anything that's not ordinarily on sale?

Sticking her nose into my phone call, Wifey insists that I most.certainly.do.not.need.any.yarn.

Hush! I do to. For your stepmom's Christmas present. [Mafia-1, Wifey-0]

Monday, these beauties get dropped on my desk.

Danielle rocks.

Anyone own Cornelia Tuttle Hamilton's Noro Revisited 3 and want to share the Lotorp bag pattern with me?

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Brag & Laugh

A bit more bragging: I got the new Interweave TODAY!! Jealous?

This is the funniest thing I've read in a long time. Published today in the Globe, and certain to attract swarms of letters to the editor. Enjoy!

Blame it all on the gay agenda

By Steve Kluger

IT'S FINALLY happened. We've been exposed. With the recent ruling by the New Jersey Supreme Court requiring equal marital rights for same-gender couples, the Homosexual Agenda has been outed by our spiritual leaders -- who urge Americans to vote Republican on Election Day in order to preserve our few remaining national values.

What's there left to do but come clean? Although we've attempted to keep our covert ops cloaked in diverting sequins, there's no plugging the leaks that have revealed our subversive intentions. It's the Pentagon Papers all over again.

The truth began to emerge last week when a male couple was wed in Massachusetts. Twenty minutes later, three heterosexual marriages fell apart in Kansas City. Under ordinary circumstances, one of our operatives would have been present to hide the evidence under a stack of Liza Minnelli CDs, but he was watching an episode of "I Love Lucy" with his 9-year-old niece so that she could go forth and recruit her young friends in fourth grade.

And marriage isn't the only institution we've infiltrated. In fact, we're present in every headline that frightens you -- you just don't know it yet.

The E.coli outbreak in spinach originated in California's Salinas Valley, known for decades as "The Salad Bowl." It doesn't exactly take a degree in sociology to figure out which minority would name a massive slab of the state's geological plate after a fresh vegetable medley. And this was before the nearby Santa Lucia Mountains were rechristened the Tong-and-Chic Range.

Osama bin Laden remains at large. We're not exactly proud to claim him as one of ours, but in the interest of national security we're morally required to reveal that he moonlights as an internationally beloved drag queen -- and we can't keep track of him either. He was last spotted in Detroit as Carol Channing (his fave), but sources in the gay Taliban tell us that he's been working on a fabulous Barbara Bush. You go, girl.

Our president is not to be reviled for entangling us in a war with Iraq. When US reconnaissance aircraft flew over that country in 2002, they inadvertently filmed the Baghdad Pride Parade. No doubt it was the Joan Crawford float that was mistaken in Washington for a weapon of mass destruction. It could happen to anyone.

Don't believe that global warming is the result of fossil fuel emissions or SUVs parked in spaces marked "Compact Only." Check the graphs at the Environmental Protection Agency and note that the temperature spiked with the boxed-set DVD release of "The Complete Barbra Streisand." Then imagine the catastrophic energy consumption when 19 million disc players are programmed to repeat the ironically titled "Don't Rain on My Parade" as a continuous loop.

Yes, the North Koreans are playing with nukes. But the threat from Pyongyang might have been avoided if those hiding in the Pentagon closets had been monitoring Kim Jong-il instead of super-cute Kayne Gillaspie on "Project Runway." This was merely our diversionary tactic so that nobody would be paying attention when we slipped onto military bases around the world and convinced all the troops to turn gay. The generals were right after all. It's that easy.

Children need to be protected from the most hazardous predator currently stalking them: "A Chorus Line." It recently opened on Broadway to near-unanimous acclaim -- and if legislative action is not taken immediately, there won't be any boys left for the NFL to draft in 2016 who aren't wearing tap shoes and tights.

And since it's going to come out sooner or later anyway, you might as well know that Ethel Merman was a man.

So before you vote on Nov. 7, remember that the escalating decay we suffer as a nation is not due to a dishonest and immoral war, nor to an ethic that drives school children to acquire assault weapons for show-and-tell, nor to a callous disregard of the natural resources that we've plundered into near-extinction. Instead, blame it all on two anonymous guys in New Jersey who just want to pledge their lives to one another.

Then listen to your heart.

- Steve Kluger is a novelist and playwright.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Mafia-Mom Irish Booty Bragging

This is my favorite scarf. ever. I bought it on my honeymoon in Ireland, 5 years ago.

A month ago, on the eve of my Mom's 50th birthday trip to Ireland, I started brainstorming my gift list. Among the top priorities was yarn (surprise, surprise). Luckily Mom pays attention to priorities, and bought me yarn. Any suggestions for an appropriate project?

Notice the similarity between fav-scarf and new yarn?

My new love: the Kerry Woolen Mills (warning - serious yarn porn. don't look directly at the bolts or you'll be on the Aer Lingus site in 2 seconds flat).

When I was in Ireland, I bought Mafia-Mom a shawl (which I now understand is called a "Ruana") in every shade of purple that was woven by the same folks who made my scarf. Each time I visit her house, I cuddle up in this gigantic version of my favorite scarf. So look what my Mom brought back for me --

ruana photos by Little Man

It's my very own gigantic Ruana in shades of green, which Mom chose because "it brings out the green" in my eyes. She's the best, huh?

One more photo - simply because it's beautiful.

*yes, we got the house! photos/story forthcoming.