Category Archives: Home Ownership

Trip Pics and the Worst Text Ever

I got back last night from Sacramento, and the conference turned out to be really fun. It helped that it was held in the downtown/Old Sacramento area, within easy walking distance of a ton of fun restaurants, shopping, parks, etc. Normally we wind up in a Radisson across from a business park where the main attractions are Panda Express and Office Depot. Lunch the first day was on our own, and since I didn’t really know anybody I wound up eating by myself at a cafe on the river. The view wasn’t too terrible:

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Neither was the food:

IMG_5114I was in town attending a health/wellness conference, so I went with the somewhat healthy-ish option of a smoked salmon BLT on wheat bread. I’m sure the thick cut bacon, basil aioli, and crispy sweet potato fries outweighed any health benefits the salmon offered, but whatever. It was good.

I was about halfway through my meal when I noticed this little hipster dude staring at me over his Moscow mule. One minute I was looking down at my phone, and then when I looked up he was squatting awkwardly next to my chair.

Him: “I’m so sorry to bother you, but I was wondering if I could get your autograph?”

Me: “Huh?” (FULL DISCLOSURE: Some bacon sprayed across the table when I said this.)

Him: “Aren’t you the girl from Interstellar?”

Me: “Yes, it’s me, Jessica Chastain. I could be relaxing on my yacht in Italy, but instead I’m here in Old Sacramento inhaling a plate of bacon and fries while wearing a $15 dress from Old Navy.”

For the record, I think I look nothing like Jessica (aside from the hair), but it was a nice change from Wynonna Judd and Fergie (the royal Fergie, not the peed-herself-on-stage Fergie).

The next day I received this text from Dave, which makes me feel simultaneously relieved and horrified:

IMG_5120TWELVE BLACK WIDOWS. The worst part was that he said the majority of them were living on the outside of the bedroom wall that our headboard is on. I WAS SLEEPING WITH TWELVE BLACK WIDOWS NEXT TO MY HEAD. I mean, they were separated by a layer of drywall and some siding, but still. Home Defense is supposed to work for 12 months, but I’m trying to convince Dave he should spray every month just to be safe. That’s not crazy, right?

Dishes are done, man.

Exciting news: this week we made the final payment on our stove! Now that it’s a year old, I’m sure it’ll kick the bucket any day now. In fact, I hope it DOES break because I bought the super mega extra extended warranty. This is probably the most fundamental change that home ownership has made in my life: Pre home-purchase, I used to think warranties were for suckers. These days, I’d buy a warranty on a pair of used gym socks if somebody offered it to me. Because guess what? EVERYTHING BREAKS. Everything breaks, and one day you’ll wind up dying alone in the gutter because Social Security ran out and you spent your retirement savings on replacing the same kitchen appliance every three years.

Anxiety is fun, guys.

Anyway, we’re  being good Americans and celebrating our financial win by purchasing more stuff. That’s right, we’re getting a dishwasher! Whee! If you’ll recall, when we moved in there was a big gaping hole where the dishwasher used to be. We patched up the wall when we moved in, and we have been living without a dishwasher for the last year and a half. We’re basically living like pioneers.

Oregon Trail

I should also note that Dave is adamantly against this purchase. He seems to be operating under the impression that dishwashers don’t get dishes clean enough, and I’m under the impression that he is insane because SRSLY, WHAT? All I know is, if we don’t get a dishwasher soon I may resort to alternative methods.

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Like this.

However, it did occur to me last night that a dishwasher isn’t really a plug-in-and-go appliance, so I’ll probably have to pay somebody to install it. And if that process goes like any of the other home improvement projects we’ve tackled, it’ll cost 10 times what we’ve budgeted and will conclude with me plotting the best way to burn the house down and make it look like an accident. You may think I’m overreacting, but I’m not and here’s why: I looked up some diagrams online, and apparently a hose has to connect to the garbage disposal. And while we technically have a garbage disposal, it doesn’t so much dispose garbage as it does take up unnecessary space under the sink, thanks to the previous homeowners’ less-than-stellar DIY skills. So already I’m looking at adding “garbage disposal replacement” to the list of project expenses, and I haven’t even set foot in a store. Guys, a lonely gutter death is looking likely. I’m at least sure of one thing: I’ll be getting the extended warranty on that sucker.

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Life Lately

What’s up guys? I just figured I’d take a break from being the worst blogger ever and post a little life update since it’s been almost a month since my last post.

House Stuff
If you follow me on Instagram, then you know we’ve been looking at backsplash options, since our kitchen walls have looked like this for 11 months now:

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OK not exactly like this. We did move the crowbar to the garage.

(Click here if you’re wondering why we removed perfectly good tile backsplash.)

After looking at all of the wall tile in all of the land, we finally narrowed it down to four options:

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I decided the top left option is my number one pick – the little silver pieces are stainless steel, which I think will look awesome with our stainless appliances. I was really excited because it’s on sale, only I found out later that it’s on sale because it’s been discontinued. CRISIS. Luckily, the contractor we hired said he just did a job last week with similar tile, and said he’ll go over to their house and ask where they got it. And just like that, he became my new favorite person. He also may have convinced us to replace our kitchen counters as well. We want to go with dark countertops and paint our cabinets white, sort of like this:

I kind of want to replace our sink with an undermount model, but I also kind of want to continue being able to afford groceries, so we’ll see if that happens.

Work
I mentioned a while ago that I started writing part-time for a beauty/fashion/lifestyle blog – I’ve been doing that on top of working full-time at my marketing job, and I’ve also been doing some consulting work for a really cool wearable tech company (you’ll hear more about that soon!). On one hand, I’ve become really busy and have neglected this space a bit. On the other hand, the extra income is allowing us to make some fun home improvements and start a travel fund. Ireland/Scotland 2015!

Fitness
Confession: I’m kind of burnt out on running, and I haven’t run more than 2 miles since my 10-miler in April.

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Oh Ann, you beautiful spinster.

For the last month or so, I’ve been lifting weights and getting my cardio in the form of treadmill sprints/elliptical machine. I really enjoy the variety of working a bunch of different muscle groups, as opposed to just … running for hours at a time. I’ve also noticed that while distance running helps me manage my weight (and offset my beer consumption), it doesn’t do much for overall toning/firming. Which, let’s just say, has become more of a necessity the closer I get to 30. (T-33 days, BUT WHO’S COUNTING.)

My favorite strength routines right now are on FitnessBlender. Give these a try if you’re looking to get into weights but don’t know where to start! And don’t be afraid to use heavy weights – if you’re not juicing up, you’re probably not going to wind up looking like She-Hulk:

Butt & Thigh Workout

Total Body Strength + Cardio Intervals

Upper Body + Core

So that’s pretty much it. I will try to post a bit more often here, but if you’re really missing daily pictures of beer/my cat/cheese products, feel free to follow me on Instagram.

EVERYTHING IS BROKEN

In keeping with my current life theme of “EVERYTHING IS BROKEN,” I’m pretty sure I broke one of my toes last week. I didn’t mention it here because I was already doing so much whining about our stove breaking. Also I figured if I wrote about it people might ask how it happened, and then I would have to admit that I drank too many Skinny Girl margaritas and then ran full-speed into the coffee table while sprinting to the kitchen to make a hot dog during an Olympics commercial break.

So yeah, my toe swelled up and turned all sorts of fun shades and it hurt pretty bad just to walk all week, which meant that running was out of the question. Then on top of not running all week, I ate a ton of microwave food and take out on account of OUR STOVE. IT WAS BROKEN, HAVE YOU HEARD? And then even though my toe felt better by Saturday, I spent all weekend like this because Desperate Housewives wasn’t going to binge watch itself:

Whiskers

I had yesterday off work and figured it was finally time to get my ass back in gear. I laced up my running shoes and was fully prepared to feel like crap the entire time, but instead I felt great and beat my current 5K record by over a minute. Running is so weird.

Also, here is the latest installment in our broken stove saga: Our new range was delivered on Saturday, so I decided to finally bake the red velvet brownies I had planned to make for Valentine’s Day. When I went to open the oven door to check on them, the door handle was scalding hot. Like, I had to use an oven mitt to open the door. That didn’t seem normal, so I called the Sears manager yesterday who confirmed that no, our oven door handle should not be giving us second degree burns. Now we’re waiting on a call from the service department.
I foresee more hot dogs in our future.

Stovegate Update

Surprise! Our broken stove wasn’t under warranty, a fact I already knew in my heart but had to stand in an appliance shop blasting the Flaccid Rock Sirius channel for 20 minutes to confirm. Turns out, bad news is so much worse when it is delivered to the soundtrack of Meat Loaf’s greatest hit.

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Will do anything for love, except cut his hair and stop making that face.

We did a little stove shopping after work and then I softened the blow with some Skinny Girl margaritas while watching the Olympics. LIFE TIP: Don’t buy these. I’ve had other Skinny Girl flavors and enjoyed them- the white peach is delish – but the original margarita flavor was so sour and jarring that I almost pulled a Michael Scott and added some sweetener.

Also, a four-pack of mini bottles was 18 DOLLARS. Apparently I wasn’t paying attention when I picked them up, and I didn’t realize they were so expensive until the price flashed on the cashier’s screen. I thought about going back and getting something else, but the only thing more depressing than buying booze marketed toward women with poor body image is returning that booze because it cuts into your Taco Bell budget.

For those of you who saw the title of this post and skimmed to the end to avoid my whining, here is a summary: 1) Always buy the extended warranty on major appliances, 2) Skinny Girl Margaritas taste like evil, and 3) Mmm, Taco Bell.

What Kind of a Name is ‘Stove’ Anyway?

It’s been a good two weeks since our last major home expense, so naturally our stove kicked the bucket last night. I’ll spare you the details, mostly because I’m too lazy to type them, but it started last night with me making shrimp scampi for dinner and ended with us eating deli sandwiches from the grocery store. It’s still unclear whether the stove is under warranty – we are hoping it is, since we haven’t even had the damn thing three years yet. However, I feel pretty confident that the universe would not miss this opportunity to mess with us, so I spent a while last night pricing out ranges just in case. Turns out that after repairing our bathroom plumbing, purchasing a door for our wood stove, and fixing a broken water main all in the last month, this is what we can afford:

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Stainless steel, bitches!

We should find out today if the stove is still under warranty, but even if it is we’ll likely be stoveless for a few days at least. I’m considering getting a cast iron skillet for the wood stove and pretending to be pioneers (minus the cholera and dysentery and stuff).

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Confession: 100% of my pioneer knowledge comes from playing Oregon Trail.

Just kidding, we’ll probably wind up eating Taco Bell for every meal. And then we’ll develop heart disease and rack up huge medical bills and the bank will repossess our house and we’ll live on the street for a while and then die. ALL BECAUSE OF THE STOVE. (Tangent sponsored by Anxiety™)

Thankfully, the Olympics are giving me something to live for. Especially the Costas eye drama. My friend Abigail sent me this link this morning about how NBC called in Matt Lauer for backup and it cheered me right up. It contains gems like, “… Costas’ eyes appear to be going downhill faster than Sage Kotsenburg,” so it’s definitely in your best interest to read it.

Anybody got good stove recommendations?

I’m In a Fight With TurboTax

Dave was planning to write his recipe post for me last night, but instead I wound up hogging the computer all evening trying to do my taxes.

It did not go well.

I’ve used TurboTax online for the last three years, and it’s never taken more than 20 minutes to file my taxes. Last night it was going smoothly, like usual, until I got to the homeowner deduction section, and my mortgage interest and property taxes did not make my refund shoot up. That seemed weird, so I clicked on the chat help button to see if someone could help me. An hour later, somebody finally popped up and spent an hour after that wasting my time by typing things like “cool beans” when I told her my problems. After several failed attempts at screen sharing, I closed the chat window and waited 15 minutes to talk to someone on the phone, who basically told me she had no idea what was happening, but because I was being so nice she wanted to give me a free download of the desktop premier version. You know, just in case I feel like not being able to do my taxes on my desktop instead of the Internet.

Anyway, the best solution is probably for me to do them by hand, but thanks to TurboTax and the fact that I spent high school economics daydreaming about meeting Joshua Jackson (oh, Dawson’s Creek), my tax knowledge consists of “click in boxes, WHEE! MAGIC MONEY!”

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Me, basically.

I finally gave up and decided to quickly make my mortgage payment online before going to bed, and proceeded to enter the wrong password enough times that my account locked me out. I think the computers are conspiring against me.