Friday, January 30, 2009

Holy Holes

I need to start patching up the wall in the Master Bedroom. It's been sitting unfinished way too long. I found this great tutorial on how to patch holes small and large and thought I'd pass it on.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Storms: we cannot handles them

So, it's good times here in DC this morning. Since I grew up in New Hampshire I am pretty accustomed to winter weather, but DC is not. Most people shoveled the inch of snow of the sidewalks last night - leaving the freezing rain to form an interesting walk to work. Walking in the street proved a little less hazardous. I shoveled this morning and found a nice clean layer of brick underneath. That's how you do it people!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Monday = Big day

Most Monday's are, well, meh. Yesterday was a whirlwind. I had to scramble to get the rest of our refinance docs in, faxing and typing and all that jazz. Dan was on MSNBC last night (seriously!!!). Then, we raced to close on our refinance (yeah! money saved!). And... the apartment across the street caught on fire and firemen lined our street and brought out all sorts of gear (ladders, hazmat crew).

There was never a dull moment at DC Rowhouse yesterday.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Renovation Confession

So, you know how we re-did our fireplace in...June?. Remember how I used the wrong paint to paint the metal portion of the fireplace? Then, I ordered some tile in October?

Well, it still all looks the same. No tile, still painted in primer. It's pathetic and embarrassing.

Finally, last weekend I re-painted the fireplace with the right paint (extreme heat safe). Since I was missing my lovely fires so much, I started one in the fireplace even though it isn't completely finished (or completely safe? hey, we have extinguishers). I laid down the tile on top of the ripped up space in front and after 5 or 6 attempts I actually got one started.

Why has it taken so darn long to finish the fireplace? Well, putting in the new tile requires the wood floors to be filled in first, meaning the floors need to be refinished, meaning we need to fill it in the kitchen, to do so we need to rip out the cabinets and re-do the kitchen. So, yeah, it's taken awhile and probably some more time before its finally done.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

It's that time . . .

I can't tell you how many magazines I have received giving the message to slim down in as many ways as possible: physically, environmentally, economically. Over at DC Rowhouse, we are doing our best to make an effort in these areas. We rented a storage unit and have slowly been hauling things over - granted this is more of a declutter than a slimming down, but we certainly took tons of bags of goods to the Salvation Army. The main effort we are making is to slim our finances, more on the outgoing side than the incoming.

We saved money by bundling our phone with our cable and internet - $50 a month to be exact! That was a pretty nice savings! We now have a "digital phone" which means when the power goes out - so does the phone. This worried me a little, but we both have cell phones and can use those if we need to. But, an annual savings of $600 makes us really happy.

In an effort to slim down physically and economically we have been bringing our lunches almost everyday. Which, makes the grocery bill go up a tad though saves in the long run. At around $8 a day for lunch, $40 a week, $160 a month . . . times two. . . we save $320 bucks a month! Wow. That's some serious dough. If you think about annual savings, it makes it $3840 - that's a nice little vacation if you ask me. I'm sure we will occasionally still buy lunch, but it all helps.

We have also been cooking our meals more often for health reasons and I think that should save us another $100 a month., or $1200 a year.

Oh, and here is the biggest savings of all: we are refinancing!! Refinancing the mortgage will save us $400 a month, $4800 a year. Yeah, pretty nice!

All in all, here is the savings breakdown:

$600 (phone)
$3840 (lunches)
$1200 (less meals out)
$4800 (refi!)
It is pretty amazing to see it written down on paper! But, I am sure we will feel the savings soon enough.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Inauguration 2009

I went to the concert on Sunday, saw Obama on Monday, went to the Mall and watched the swearing in on Tuesday - it's been a busy few days. I have so many pictures and stories to tell, but it's going to take a few days to compile, and hopefully it will be worth it.

Stay tuned . . .

Monday, January 19, 2009


This morning (well, 11:30ish), I left the house to drop Dan and our friend Pat off at the train station to head downtown. On the way out we noticed there was a van blocking our street and a news truck nearby. We assumed it was about the traffic and continued on our way. I was suppose to continue on to run errands but came back to the house as I forgot something. As I stepped out of the car I heard chanting of some kind, or yelling. I went into the house, grabbed a camera and went out the front to see what the excitement was. As I opened the door I saw the street was filled with vans, cop cars, and an ambulance. I first thought it was something terrible happening and felt terrible I was taking my camera.

I approached the crowd and asked the closest person what was happening. She told me, "Obama's in there" and pointed to the large United Way house on the corner. I almost peed my pants. I had stood hours in the cold to hear him talk yesterday and here he was, 50 feet away. No way. I saw the amount of secret service and thought it could be true, but deep down expected Biden to walk out. After 25 minutes of waiting. . . Barack Obama, our new President (as of tomorrow), came out of the building smiling and waving. I could not believe it. I was almost too much to focus on taking pictures.

Here are the mediocre pictures I was able to get (they are in reverse order):

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Design Debate

For the past, I don't know, YEAR, I have been flip-flopping on the counter color for the kitchen. I know I want white shaker cabinets, but I am a little unsure on the counter/back splash. So, I'll have you weigh in. Here are the options:

Kitchen #1

Kitchen #2

(from the amazing talents of Wanderluster)

So? Tell me which one you like best.

Which kitchen design do you like best?

Kitchen #1 (black counter)

Kitchen #2 (neutral counter)

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

What the %$#%?

IKEA is reallly into the inauguration. Or, shall we say Barack Obamas slogan "change we can believe in". They made thier own "Embrace Change". IKEA banners are plastered on Metro buses, Metro stations, and now, a mock oval office (dressed in IKEA finery) is on display in Union Station. Dios Mio.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Storage Success!

The new year plans began with cleaning out closets and packing things into storage! Well, we have packed about 6 plastic tubs with books and clothes and loaded them into our new storage unit this weekend. We certainly have more to put in there.

A little about the unit. They mention we needed our own lock. By that they meant we needed to buy a special lock from them. Eighteen dollars later, we had our lock. Oh, did they mention the $22 administration fee? No, oh, yes, it's there. Then, they added we needed to either buy insurance from them or prove we have homeowners insurance. So, the $63 rental fee was just to get in the door then they hit you will some add-ons. It was annoying.

But, the space is great and I will certainly have more space to breathe when we haul the rest of our junk over.

Monday, January 12, 2009

If they can handle July 4th. . .

maybe it won't be so bad:

Metro during Inauguration

I know, I promise I will get back to the house stuff soon enough, but this is a fun tidbit of information. An estimated 4 million people are coming into DC for the big day next Tuesday, and there have been reports on how the Metro cannot handle it. So, here's some fun math:

Let's assume the following:

The train is not full at time of arrival and one thousand people can fit on each Metro train car.

One train comes every 3 minutes, this 20 trains in one hour (this is generous, but the train should be running on rush hour scheduling).

Therefore based on this, 20,000 people can be moved from each metro station an hour in each direction moving a total of 40,000 people from each metro stop.

There will be 9 Metro stations close to the Mall for people to access: Smithsonian, L'Enfant Plaza, Federal Center, Capitol South, Federal Triangle, Metro Center, Chinatown, Judiciary Square, Union Station. Archives-Navy-Penn-Quarter station will be closed. Use the map below to zoom out and over to the right to see all the stops around the capitol/mall area.

Now, many of the stops are preceded by other stops, therefore, a full train will be arriving. So, we can really only assume one thousand people can get on the first train, with 100 people getting on at the next station (since the assumption lies that people will not be exiting at another downtown location).

So, let's say one thousand people per train for 3 stations, with 100 per train for the other 6 stations. 3 stations moving 20,000 people per hour with the remaining 6 moving 2,000 people per hour. This leads to a grand total of 72,000 people per hour moving out of the area.

4 million divided by 72,000 equals 55.55. Which means it would take 55+ hours to move 4 million people through the Metro.

Now, I know people will walk farther to get on a train (if they can!), but this just shows you how much the system is going to be swamped!

View Larger Map

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Inauguration = Blizzard

While listening to the radio yesterday, a segment came on addressing the upcoming inauguration and how it was going to wreak havoc on all DCers.

Things discussed were:

Do not think you are going to b able to ride the Metro. Even though trains will be running like it is rush hour all day, you will not be able to join in the fun. You will stand on a packed platform watching packed train after packed train ride by without being able to get on. Also, you cannot bring a bike or a large sign on there. So, don't even think about bringing a 3x3 foot widdled banner to display to the Obamas during the parade.

People will descend on DC like a plague of locusts and destroy all in their path.

Don't think you are going to be able to drive in and out of the city at your leisure. Most getaway routes are open, yet there is no return.

Roadblocks will prevent any type of driving into the city.

Parking is like a thing of the past. You are better to just throw your car in the river when you get into DC.

Prepare to stock up on groceries like a giant snow storm is coming. Seriously, this was the actual recommendation.

The good news? Looks like I'll be home to get some projects done. Yeah. . .

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Clean Sweep

In the realization of having too much stuff, we spent last weekend cleaning out our closets and compiling items to move into a storage unit. I know, a storage unit. If we had a basement, this would not be a problem. But, we don't. So, two days into the project and we are about 75% done. Yup, not done. Two DAYS of work and still not done. It's almost silly how long it takes. Sorting, filing, and cleaning sure do take a lot of time.

So far we have 10 garbage bags of clothes, shoes and linens to bring to goodwill. I have no idea why we have so much stuff. Oh, and they are currently piled in our living room. It's so relaxing in there being surrounded by piles of garbage bags. Hopefully this next weekend will complete the task and we will have some organized spaces to show off!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Metal + Microwave

After year of use our microwave suddenly sparked and then emitted a familiar smell. Fire. After stopping it, and unplugging it, it was clear the enamel had worn off the sides and thus was equivalent to placing metal in the microwave. A no-no. It reminded me of all the EZ Bake Oven recalls when people feared they were going to set fires etc. After the "incident" I was a little scared of my microwave.

The good news is that I was able to fix it (more on that in a later post). The bad news is that we were without a microwave for a few days. This was not something I was prepared to deal with. I had no idea how often I used the microwave. Try the following without a microwave: heating up leftovers, warming your coffee after adding too much cold milk, defrosting something quickly. You get the idea. Needless to say, after a few days of heating leftovers in the oven and mornings with cold coffee the microwave has been restored.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Closets Con't

Looks like no one really likes the curtain idea too much. I have to agree. In the quest to repair our closets I tossed this idea around for our guest room. But, I have to say, it just looks unfinished most of the time. And, while I was originally thinking about adding the swing out doors I think that is going to take up too much space.

Injuries Obtained

  • Sprained Toe/Foot: 1
  • Blood Blisters: 2
  • Splinters under fingernail: 1
  • Bird Shit on me: 1
  • Eye Injuries: 3
  • Burns: 0
  • Falls off ladder: 0 (this is because we don't have a ladder yet)
  • Headaches: too many to itemize
  • Broken Bones: 0
  • Bandages Needed: 5
  • Electric Shocks: 2
  • Stiches: 0
  • Bruises: way too many