Back in the Swing and Taking a Different Stance

I feel like I have completely neglected this blog of mine.  Probably because I have.  Between work being busy, holidays, and other life events, I have just not had the time I’d like to blog.

But as the title suggests, I want to take a different stance or position on what the purpose of my blog is.  I don’t really know what my purpose in writing it was previously.  Probably to journal, to document house updates, and, in a dream world, to one day make some money off the blog like so many, yet so few, do.  I know.  I said I was dreaming….

Reality: I’m no great writer.  I don’t have a style and my life is no more interesting than the person’s next door.  But I do want to remember and document what’s happening in my life.  I want to document projects and events, but not in some Pinterest-worthy way that will get me recognition or have people asking how’d I do that.  I just want to remember and be able to look back on what transpired during what are sure to be some of the busiest times of my life.

So with that in mind, feel free to stop reading. While I hope that someone will be informed, challenged, uplifted, interested, or maybe even fascinated (still dreaming?) by something I write, this is for me.  And it feels good to have a place to do that.  So come along for the journey. Or don’t.  I’m going on it anyway!

 

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Kitchen Update – 8 Months in the Making

I know I’ve said it before, but my dad is amazing.  Back in April, he demonstrated his skills in helping Chase and me update the kitchen.  The update is finally finished with the exception of accessories like curtains, rugs, and barstools.  Here’s our kitchen as it existed once we moved in and painted.

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We wanted to put a backsplash in because we (but Chase mostly) are messy in the kitchen.  Water gets splashed out of the sink onto the walls, as do food particles and coffee grounds (only Chase drinks coffee so it can’t be me, I swear!).  Behind the stove, the vent never seems to really suck up the moisture and there are water stains.  See below examples (I apologize for the bad photos but it’s hard to take pictures of these wall stains.)

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Several months ago, we had purchased a glass mosaic tile for our backsplash.  We looked and looked but had a hard time finding something we liked that looked okay with our cabinets and countertops.  Finally, we settled on this guy from Home Depot:

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With plans to install the backsplash on a Saturday, I prepped the kitchen Friday by taking everything off the counters, removing outlet covers and light covers and taped some drop cloths on the counter to protect them.

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Early Saturday, Dad arrived and we got started.  So evidently, the key to tiling this room is to start in the middle and work out.  For us, that meant starting in the corner behind the sink and under the windows.  UGH.  Even Dad was frustrated with this.  We didn’t really have a saw that could cut glass really well and some of the tile pieces are made of stainless steel.  Let’s just say, cuts weren’t always pretty and we had to patch in some random tiles.

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Once we got the tiles cut under the windows and around the window trim, Dad mixed up some ThinSet for glass mosaics.  Basically, you just add the powder to water and mix well.  From what I could gather, you want it to be sort of thin but not so much so that it drips or runs down the wall.  Once the ThinSet was on, we placed the tiles at the bottom and then rolled up and pressed the tile hard against the wall to get it in place.  Once there, we had to move a few tiles here and there that got out of place or slightly crooked, but for the most part, we moved onto the next tile.

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We also pulled the stove out and tiled behind it where people would see it.  We screwed a board to the wall to support the weight of the tile as the ThinSet dried.

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Ultimately, all that tile was up.  Insert angels singing and giving high-fives.  We were so thrilled to have managed our way through this project.  We could not have done it without my dad’s help and ability to cut tile with the saw.  We used a glass nippers which Chase pretty much mastered but the sawing was a must.

After everything had dried completely, we moved on to grouting.  This was fairly painless but the thin space between the tiles made it difficult to get the grout in the tight spaces.  Once the grout was dry, we sealed it and then grouted along the edges.

After the tile, we decided to get rid of the boob light.  We had ordered the Eglo Troy light from Home Depot to go over our island and our sink. This process took forever!  We had to adjust the cords for the pendants and then cut all the wires because there was too much to fit in the ceiling.  Chase doubted my electrical skills but I totally managed to rewire everything with the help of my dad on the phone and when he turned the breaker back on, we had light!  He doubted me (said so himself) but I came through!  Biggest downside: depsite our measuring, the pendants hang at different lengths.

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Despite the new lighting, the kitchen is still fairly dark at night.  To install recessed lighting would be expensive and messy since the kitchen is on the bottom level and any electricity would have to be run upwards.  So for Christams, Chase got me under-cabinet lighting!  And it looks so awesome and makes the kitchen so much brighter!  As soon as I get around to cleaning the kitchen, I will take a final picutre with the new lights.

We love it so far and feel like our kitchen took about a million steps towards modern.  We still need to get some rugs, barstools, and curtains but those things can wait.  I think we spent enough money so far, but…that was last year. 🙂

Holy Nascar!

One of the perks of my job is that partners have tickets to events that I would not pay money to go to and then they pass them along to associates when they can’t go.  Sometimes it is a seat at a Colts game I could never afford.  This weekend it was tickets to one of America’s favorite sporting events….Nascar’s Brickyard 400! haha!

I have been to the Indianapolis Speedway before, but Chase had never been, and neither of us had ever been to a Nascar event.  I have to admit, I kind of loved it.  We had fabulous seats, the weather was beautiful, and it is pretty crazy to see and feel cars going by at insane speeds.  That said, I would not pay to go again, I wouldn’t watch the stuff on TV, and I’m not buying any ‘gear.’

But perhaps better than watching the cars was taking in the sights. 

First we had the entrance to the speedway: Them some cars flying by (I cheered for Kyle Busch and Jeff Gordon, the latter because that was the only name I knew off the top of my head and the former because he had an M&Ms car [evidently Indianapolis hates Kyle Busch because they booed at him everytime his names was called or he went by]):

 

And then there were some rear end cracks (sorry for the clarity – I had to zoom way in with my iPhone and it still wasn’t doing it justice):

 

And some fabulous hair on the gentlemen (I use the term loosely):

 

I really wanted to get a picture of one of the many women I saw wearing no bra that definitely should have been but that seemed too rude.  We had a great time and appreciated the tickets, but probably won’t be back…that is until I get a strong desire to see some awesome mullets again!

27th Year Challenge

Today I turned 27.  I have no idea how that happened.  I’m wrinkling, turning gray in the hair, and getting plump around the edges.  I blame being a lawyer for all those things.  And I can’t do anything to change them, as sad as that may be (well except I guess I could work out more….), so I have decided to challenge myself to do some things around our hous — things I can control.  I figure I will try to do one thing each month, no matter how big or small, that I have been meaning to do for a long time.  The hope is when I turn 28, twelve projects from now, I won’t be fatter, grayer, or more wrinkly, and that I will have a prettier house!  So here’s my list (no comments on how pathetic I am to have to blog about this to hold myself accountable or how easy some of these tasks are that should have been accomplished months ago):

  • Print some family pictures from Mexico and modge podge them onto canvas or wood or something!
  • Buy barstools for our kitchen.
  • Level the light in the kitchen (which you haven’t seen yet) and paint the ceiling where the old light was.
  • Submit plans for a new patio.
  • Pour new patio.
  • Buy and hang curtains over our back doors (please send me suggestions…I can’t make up my mind!).
  • Pick out fabric and upholster chairs from my grandmother (also need suggestions).
  • Build a console table for our entryway.
  • Make or hang some art in our office.
  • Find a new light fixture for the eat-in-kitchen.
  • Upholster a headboard for the master bedroom.
  • Make/Buy and hang curtains in the master bedroom.

So there they are.  If you don’t hear from me once a month with a progress report, please harrass me.  I know I may fail at these, but seriously, life as a lawyer has a way of getting away from you.  I will let you know how this goes.

How about you?  Any challenges or to-do lists you are working on?  Can I hire people to do these for me (or maybe just volunteer my mom or dad)?

Microwaving Your Cat Violates Your Lease

This little nugget of wisdom was recently passed on to some of our preventative legal education workshop attendees at the Neighborhood Christian Legal Clinic.

It was my first legal workshop presentation that I put on by myself.  They all sat along tables and I sat in the middle in a chair.  I talked about what was required of a landlord and moved on to what was required of a tenant.  To give a practical example of a lease default I said: “you know, if you have to use your appliances reasonably and can’t have pets…you probably shouldn’t start microwaving your cat.”  A few of the women looked at me with puzzled looks and a few nervously chuckled.

“OR”…said one of the workers, “you have a cat and you aren’t supposed to?”

“That is probably a better example.”

Vote for Camp Kesem

This is an organization that is very dear the the heart of one of my very good friends.  The camp operates for children who have fought or are fighting cancer.  Please follow the link and vote for them to receive a donation.

VOTE 4 Camp Kesem to win $1MM – http://www.clickforkesem.org

College students create Camp Kesem – a free camp for kids coping w/a parent’s cancer.

Chase Community Giving