Tuesday, March 30, 2010


When we moved into this house, we had "immediate problem areas" that needed paint pronto. These were the day glo yellow kitchen/nook/family room, the seafoam/institutional green in the master bedroom & bathroom, and the truly awful baby blue in the main bathroom. If these weren't painted immediately, I think we would turn into even crazier raving lunatics than we already are. The effort took 10 gallons of paint (including a bit of leftover paint). Let's call it Phase 1: Immediate Problem Areas.

The rest of the main living space was tolerable as far as color goes, but the thing is that it hasn't been painted AT ALL in the 15 years this house has been standing. Some rooms have held up better than others, but the particularly dingy spots are the hallways, laundry room (with this awful flower seed border) and stairwells. So if we're painting all of that, we might as well add in the living room and dining room, right? Most of it is a nondescript dark beige/light brown. We got a tad lighter shade, and our plan is to paint the rest of the living area. And we want to paint the front door burgundy instead of the current dingy navy blue. We might also paint the powder room burgundy. To paint all of this, I bought 16 gallons of paint. 2 gallons of Eldorado Tan semi gloss, 1 gallon of white semi gloss, 12 gallons of Eldorabo Tan satin & 1 Classic Burgundy semi gloss. I'm calling this Phase 2. Phase 2 is getting these 16 gallons of paint onto the walls.

Then there's Phase 3. Phase 3 is the basement. We'll get to that when we finish Phase 2 and recover from the PTSD from Phase 2.

Tonight I cracked open the first gallon of Phase 2. My goal/hope is to put a gallon on the walls each week. So in 16 weeks I will theoretically have finished Phase 2. That puts us at about the end of July.

The bad part of Phase 2 is that I will have less time for exercise. I'm not sure I can count painting as exercise. The good part of Phase 2 is that if I'm painting, I'm not eating. And honestly that's where I have my hardest time: I eat way too much. That's why I have only lost 2 pounds in 2010 so far. So potentially the upside to painting my little heart out is that I might lose weight even if I'm losing exercise time.


Monday, March 29, 2010

No Walk Today

Blogging at lunch today because it's pouring outside. There's intermittent spells of not pouring, and I might actually try to risk getting a walk in, but I know the minute I'm 5 minutes away, it will start pouring again. I'm not relishing sitting in wet clothes for the rest of the day & I'm not in the mood to go to the mall, so I will just do an epic blog post while I sit here and eat carrots.

I did once a month cooking this weekend. I tried to use lower fat/calorie ingredients, but still ... it's hard to reduce the calorie count of lasagna and chicken enchiladas that much. I'm going to have to find some lighter recipes if I want to make this once a month cooking a habit. Otherwise, I'll quickly gain a ton of weight. Those white sauce enchiladas were good. How I love white sauce with green onions & lots of cheese.

We might actually attempt to tile our laundry room ourselves. Hubby is handy-ish, I'm not so handy, we shall see how this turns out. We have vinyl in the laundry room now, and it's all stained. There's this huge yellow stain (maybe where a dog crate or a fridge was???) on it, and the vinyl has blue diamonds & frankly isn't my favorite. Then they had this flower seed border around the whole room with a spice rack valance thing, and it was too much. Last night I got fed up and scraped off the border, yanked off the valance, and soon I'm going to start painting the room. It makes sense to paint it before we re-do the flooring. "Ooops, I dripped paint over the blue diamond vinyl with yellow stains. What am I to do?"

My PTSD with the previous painting (master bedroom, master bathroom, main bath, kitchen, nook, family room) seems to be dissipating. Not sure if hubby's PTSD is. I think I can make a lot of painting progress on my own, so that can be my nighttime therapy. It also doubles as an appetite suppressant.

Speaking of that, my personal goal was to lose 1.7 lbs this week. I'm just not feeling it. The heavy chili I made + chicken enchiladas probably weren't the wisest choices. I may have to drink lots and lots of green tea and slave away painting every night from 5-11pm to stave off the munchies. And even then, I don't think I'll make the weight loss goal.

Ha, it's pouring again, so if I had started walking, by now I would be soaked. (Always nice to know that I predicted correctly, but I really really really need a walk.) I can't get into a brisk walk at the mall. Slow people stop me, something catches my eye, or I smell a Cinnabun and my mojo dissipates.

I don't have much else to write about, and I still have 45 minutes of lunch left.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Don't wake the baby

What is it with suburban neighborhoods? Granted, we've only lived in two houses during our adult lives thus far, so I'm not sure I have the right to extrapolate. WHY WHY WHY does someone own a dirt bike/ATV/really loud motorcycle within a four-house span? Do that many people own these noise machines?

At the last house, there was an empty field behind our house and from February to October (like 3/4 of the year), people rode around with their ATVs and other noisy motor vehicles. They would go around and around the field for what seemed like hours. When you're a cranky girl who wants sleep or you have an infant who just got to sleep, this will make you open your window and scream at them (not that they'll hear you).

In this house, there's a dirt biker who lives behind us. What he does is ride around the perimeter of his house OVER and OVER again. It's not even a big yard. He just rides the little loop. Occasionally he'll go into the cul-de-sac. I don't get it.

Call me naive, but if you had one of these things, wouldn't you want to use it on the open road? Going around in circles has got to get old, right? I guess with the last house, it was a field and had terrain changes, so you could do little jumps. I guess I can see that could be entertaining for a few minutes, but going around the perimeter of your yard? That's lame.

Oh, he's probably learning how to ride. That's probably it. But still....don't wake the baby!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

A much needed day off

I took today off. Of course, I had high ambitions for the day. Like I was going to make the laundry soap, make 3,450 freezer meals, catch up on chores, find a new kitchen table and find some patio furniture, do some other errands (like find some floodlights & a nightlight for Miss J's room, check granite colors), exercise for 2 hours, and solve all the problems of the world. Oh yeah, it was a long list that was nearly impossible to tackle in, oh, say 8 hours.

However, with the exception of making the laundry soap and solving all the problems of the world, I at least made a dent in each of the items. Not a massive dent by any means, but some progress.

Making freezer meals: I cooked 5 lbs of lean ground turkey & 6 lbs of chicken. I cut up the chicken.

Catching up on chores: I cleaned the kitchen window, which got dirty after putting in the backsplash, & did 2 loads of laundry.

Find a new kitchen table: achieved! It will be here in 2 weeks.

Find patio furniture: S and I decided on what we want. Now I have to go buy it.

Errands: Bought 2 nightlights. Got CFL floodlights. Lowe's had them for $7 each. I bought a few. Then I went to Home Depot and saw them for $4, so I bought more. Then I went to Fred Meyer and saw them for $2. Bought more. Then I returned the ones I bought at Lowe's and Home Depot. (Cuz I'm frugal like that) I also went to the granite place and looked at all the granite options and saw if the frontrunner would go with the cinnamon toast master bathroom and if it would also go with the burgundy we plan to paint the powder room. It seems to, so that's good!

Exercise for 2 hours: Not quite. Only 70 minutes. What is very cool about the place we live is that the entrance to a state park is only 8 houses away. It's a huge wooded area with lots of nature trails. I LOVE IT! I wandered around the trails for 70 minutes, and it was quite an adventure. Many parts of it are very steep. I climbed "Heart Attack Hill" (there's a sign that says it), and there's some really cool scenic spots. I can't wait to take pictures of the park. I think I can blow a few of them up & frame them! :)

All in all, in retrospect I suppose it was a pretty productive day.

Onward to Friday! Woohoo!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Check was Found!

Bank of America found the check! My mind is coming up with images of someone pulling it out of a wastebasket, all rumpled up with a wad of gum plastered to it. Hallelujah, the check was found!

Bank of America receives the shining honor of Bank I Hate the Most. I downloaded their iPhone app today and guess what...Mobile Banking isn't available in my state. With USAA you can make deposits by taking a picture of a check with your phone, but I can't even look at my Bank of America accounts with my phone.

As I have described over the past few months, my bank karma is hideous. I should just take my name off all my bank accounts and let my husband deal with everything.

Just like all my other bank stories (like wanting to see my home loan online), today's has an innocuous beginning. I want to deposit a $15 check into my Chase account. I don't even want cash back. Simple, right? Depositing $15 even meets my threshold of dealing with an ATM. Score!

The first problem was that the ATM didn't have envelopes, so I had to go into the bank itself. There was a big ol' line, 2 tellers, and 5 employees standing around in the part of the bank where there are desks. I finally inch up to be the first person in line when one of the employees standing around says she'll take me at one of those desks.

I hand her my $15 check and deposit slip. She tells me to sit down. Ugh, I just want my deposit credited. She says she'll have it taken to the back and while we wait, we should go over my accounts.

W-w-w-w-w-what? I just want my $15 credited. Let me go, Lady.

She wants to verify my address. I swear I changed my address with Chase, but she says they still have my old one. Give her my ID to get my address.

Then she says that she'll go over my accounts. My heart sinks because I have about 10 accounts with Chase. This could take a year. After she goes through all my information (which I didn't ask her to do because, after all, I just wanted my $15 credited), she says I have a wonderful opportunity.

Why does she sound like she's trying to sell me a Magic Bullet?

She noticed I have a Chase credit card and, guess what, I've been preapproved for a SECOND Chase credit card!!!! (insert cheesy smile like she's telling me I won the lotto)

So for the next 5 minutes I have to keep reiterating that I don't want another credit card. I just want my $15 check deposited.

By the time I get out of Chase, I realize that I could have stood in that big ol' line 3 more times, and I would have still gotten out more quickly.


As a sidebar to the whole Chase credit card thing, I applied for my Chase credit card back in 2004 (well before Chase bought WAMU from the FDIC). We had just paid off the last house, and the rewards on this card were appealing (since I don't carry a balance). I apply for the card and find out that my Chase credit limit is $500. I was appalled! My credit score was 800, I had a reasonable income level, 10 years of established credit without a blemish, paid off a mortgage, and they were giving me a $500 credit limit????? So I called and talked to a customer service rep who told me that I had an awesome credit score and an established credit history. I said I was puzzled as to why my credit limit was $500 because, as most people know, a $500 credit limit makes life a bit difficult as an adult. He asked what kind of credit limit I wanted. I said $2,000 seemed reasonable. He raised it to $2,000. To this day I still have that Chase credit card with a $2,000 credit limit. It's the main one that I use for personal stuff despite having higher credit limits elsewhere. Not sure why I use that one so much, but I do.

At the stroke of midnight

I'm starting this at midnight. It was one of those evenings where I putzed, read, didn't exercise, and had a fine time doing all of those activities. My mind is busy, working on several different things. I'm doing a fairly good job of putting aside the whole lost check thing. All in all, a nice evening.

Did I tell you that I live next to 1,648,327 frogs? (I counted!) They literally serenade us from dusk to dawn. I wonder how long it will take me to tune them out. Then I'm really wondering how we will sleep once it's summer when we sleep with the windows open. 1,648,327 frogs are awfully loud through the double pane windows. I can just imagine the cacophony once there is nothing blocking the path from them to my ears.

Disorder has reigned over me. With the house stuff, work stuff, I've just been a disorganized mess. I've taken back my old ways of making out a to-do list, assigning time values to each item, and then structuring my day so I tackle some of the small stuff and then make some progress on the bigger stuff. Time really seems to get away from me anymore. I'm not sure how since I don't watch TV. But then again, I blog and am on Facebook quite a bit. And I read. And I'm supposed to exercise. If I try to accomplish all of those in one evening, that's 4 hours per evening. I'm just going to have to buckle down and get some tasks done, even if that means I don't blog for a few days.

I'm mostly very frugal. I say "mostly" because there are indeed things I spend money on, but usually those are well thought-out...except for that house thing...maybe. Well, back to the point. I got all of the supplies to make my own laundry soap. I spent $8 on the supplies, and the supply is supposed to last a year. We'll see. It involves me making some witch's brew over the stove. That's definitely a weekend task, and then I'll have to try to do it when my darling husband isn't watching. Because he'll look at all the ingredients, the big stockpot, and shake his head, saying, "I'm staying out of this." But then he'll check in and make that doubtful expression and shake his head. You know the expression. "What in the heck is my loony wife up to?" THAT expression.

On a slightly less weird topic, I also want to start making meals in bulk & freezing them. We FINALLY have some freezer space since we got a new fridge and moved the old fridge to the garage. I want to fill that freezer with meals to last us for the next month. Real meals! It seems like all of these meal preparation franchises have gone under water & it's cheaper to do it yourself anyway, the thing is that it's a long process. You have to come up with 6-8 different meals to make, do the math on how many ingredients you'll need, shop for all of the ingredients (I have a hard time merely keeping milk and bread on hand), set aside a time to prep the ingredients (i.e., chop onions/celery), then set aside more time to make all the food. If you do it all in one day, it basically takes up the WHOLE day.

So those are 2 projects I'd like to do in short order, in addition to remodeling the bathrooms, painting, shopping for some things, etc.

Time! Where is that elusive time? I'd say I should do something now instead of blogging about what I want to do, but it's after midnight and I should probably get some shut eye. I have to be up at 6:10am.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Craigslist Woes

The check's still missing. I hope it turns up soon.

When we got the kitchen redone, we got new appliances. Since the old ones worked (aside from the cooktop), we thought we should Craigslist them for free. After all, if someone wasn't too picky, then they might serve someone well for the next couple of years.

I took pictures of all the appliances and put them in the "free" section of Craigslist, said they were all white Kenmore appliances from 1995-ish and said you had to haul. I never thought it would be so darn difficult to get rid of free appliances!

All of these people respond and they say to call them, call their husband to arrange pick-up, blah blah blah. If I'm giving away free stuff, I don't want to wade through 50 e-mails telling me they are interested and that I need to call someone else. If you want it, then you can ask what would be a good time to pick it up, or suggest a time ... and then FOLLOW THROUGH. My favorites are the ones who just ask for an address. Umm, we need to make a time, I'm not giving a random person my address who doesn't give any intention of coming to pick it up. And if your e-mail name is "Cool ♥ Ameranth," then I might not think you're serious.

I've gotten rid of 1 of the 3 appliances. I don't feel like I should "cheat" on anyone. If someone says they will pick it up after work on Tuesday, then I hold it for them. And then they don't show up or say they can't make it, then I go to the next person. And since that will be arranged for pick-up the next day at the earliest, then I have yet another day to wait & be discouraged when that falls through.

Now I'm contemplating hauling all of the appliances to the driveway and putting on a Craigslist ad that the first taker gets the appliances. I know it's heartless, but I'm tired of corresponding with 50 (mostly not serious) people & just want them out of my garage.

I should exercise tonight, but my heart isn't in it.

Monday, March 22, 2010

The Case of a Lost Half a Million

As much as I'd like to say that I'm a happy-go-lucky kind of girl, let's just admit it that I'm not. I'm uptight, easily annoyed and generally a "glass half empty" kind of person. I trust no one.

Remember how we signed for our refinance over a week ago? That would be March 12. It was supposed to be effective March 17.

Imagine my dismay/horror when I got into my B of A online account (remember, that one I didn't want) & see that the old loan is still there with the same balance as a week ago.


I call and go through this horrid automated system where you have to say your option. Unfortunately, there's no option: "I paid off this loan and you idiots still show that I owe half a million, you idiots, you idiots, you idiots." Get a lady who says that they didn't receive payment & I need to call escrow.

Then I call escrow, who says they MAILED a check on Wednesday via Overnight UPS. Who in the heck MAILS a freaking check for half a million dollars? Isn't that why we have escrow so these things can be freaking WIRED instantly??????? I may or may not have given such an incredulous response to being told that the funds were MAILED. Okay, you read this blog, you must know what I said. I take down the tracking number.

Then I call B of A (which should be called P in the A). Go through the horrid automated system again, get transferred around to 3 people. Finally get Tony in the payoff department. I come to my first success of the day ****They also have record of receiving the envelope.**** Great, can you credit my account and close out this thing?

Nope, we don't have the check. The check is missing. "We'll look for it."

So, folks, there you have it. How many times have I said I hate B of A? About a zillion. And the final nail in the coffin is that they have lost half a million. And they are just waiting for it to turn up. Like one would wait for paint to dry or a tulip to bloom.

Meanwhile, I'm ready to throttle both the escrow company and B of A (errr...P in the A).

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

From Backsplash to 20 years ago

We've been trying to come up with a backsplash for our kitchen. Something to match the granite, create some "visual interest" (HGTV phrase, people) & tie together the room. We perused Lowe's, didn't see a whole lot, and then we went to a big tile place.

There was this salesman who helped us. His name was Larry. And my heart sunk the moment I saw him. He reminded me of my dad. My dad sold tile and carpet too. It's not that I instantly think anyone who sells tile should remind me of my dad, but it was more that Larry seemed so utterly unfulfilled and floundering, just like my dad. There's just no way to slice and dice it any other way. He lived with his parents until he married my mom, lived with her for 3 years, then after they got divorced, he moved back in with his parents until he moved to the nursing home. He got fired from all his jobs, his cars all got repossessed, creditors would call all the time (he had no rent to pay, just a car payment and credit cards), and he spent far too much time and money at the bar. When I came to visit him over the summer, he'd either drag me to the bar, where I'd play pinball, PacMan or video poker...or he'd leave me with my grandparents and go to the bar til it closed. Even at a young age, I knew he was trying to feel better about his life by drinking alcohol. Why wouldn't he prefer to make himself the life he wants - one where he doesn't feel compelled to drown his sorrows in hard alcohol? I dunno, it never made sense to me. Did he not have the self-esteem to believe he deserved more?

As a carpet and tile salesperson, my dad would always wear brown polyester pants. ICK! Since I visited him during the summer, most of the time he would wear short sleeve shirts with the brown polyester pants and occasionally ties. I would hate, hate, hate when he wore a pale yellow short sleeve shirt with the brown pants. White was tolerable, but then he'd put some hideous striped tie on. He was an early balder, and he chose to try to hide the bald spot with a combover. Combover + brown polyester pants + pale yellow short sleeve shirt + striped tie = sadness.

Larry had the brown polyester pants and combover. I felt so bad for him. I wanted to ask, "Are you happy? Do you drown your sorrows in screwdrivers and video poker?"

It really looked like those pants were hand-me-downs from my dad.

Friday, March 12, 2010

A so so week

There are some weeks that are good, there are some weeks that are bad. This week was actually really productive, but it took so much out of us that I think it should be called a "so so week."

Most of the kitchen was remodeled this week. Yes, it's been inconvenient to be without a kitchen for several days, but still...things have gone quickly. I'm happy about that. The cranky part of it all is that when we come to see what the contractor did (or did not) do that day. We talked with him about how we wanted things, and then he goes and does it completely differently. Every dang day. This necessitates a call or e-mail when we get home, arduous justification or wheedling on his end, and frankly it's tiring. For the most part, he's been accommodating, but I don't relish "babysitting" my contractor so much. And every day the contractor says some parts are missing, so I call the cabinet place and they have had to make 2 special trips this weeks to deliver stuff. I feel like I'm annoying the cabinet place, I feel tired dealing with the contractor. Have I said how I don't like dealing with people??? :)

We signed our refi today, and it will officially go through next Wednesday. Yay! I kept calling the escrow company this morning to ask how much to bring to closing. No response. Left messages. On my third call, I finally get an answer, but that's only because I said I have to be there SOON and I need to know how much to bring. Duh. Get the figure. I'm running late so I run to the bank, fill out the withdrawal slip in a hurry because I want to get in line before the 4 people who are also filling out their slips. And wouldn't you know it? The teller thinks I'm initiating fraud. First she tells me my name is wrong. Well, she had gone directly to the signature card and saw my maiden name. I insisted I changed my name 8 YEARS ago and then she said "oh." I try to make light that people must draw this amount of money out all the time (since we're talking 6 figures). Once she finds record of the name change (8 YEARS ago), she stares at my ID, signature card, and withdrawal signature and says that's not my signature. I sigh and say I'm in a rush (which, I know, makes me look even more suspicious but it's TRUE!). She calls 2 managers over, and I have to sign my name not in a rush multiple times. They scour my ID, my face some more, lots of sighing on their end, and they finally give me the check. If I really was doing fraud, I would hope I would be making the cashier check out to myself instead of an escrow place.

Then there's some Bank of America drama at the signing. With our current loan, we have to pay our taxes and insurance monthly into an escrow account with Bank of America. Our property taxes are due April 30th, and the HUD statement said that we would have to pay our property taxes at closing (so 6 weeks early). Fine, but what they didn't say was that they aren't refunding the account balance we've already accumulated (about $4,500). We have $4,500 sitting in the account that B of A earns interest on, but they aren't going to use THAT to pay the taxes due in 6 weeks, but instead want us to pay the taxes out of other funds. Then to top it off, at the signing today they wanted us to sign a form saying that they are crediting us the balance in the escrow account to our refinance. But nowhere on there is a credit for that money! THE STINKERS! So if we would have signed it, we would have given Bank of America $4,500.

Then I go to QFC on the way home. I just want to get the food on my grocery list and go home and see what the contractor did wrong that day (not really, I had hoped he had done everything right and I'd be so happy when I got home).

I want to buy deli meat. They have turkey breast in the deli on sale, the kind that the deli person slices on a machine. I should have known that it wouldn't go well. It's just not my day.

Me: "I'd like 2 lbs of the turkey that's on sale please."
Deli Person: "Do you know that's processed?"
I look at the package. It says oven roasted turkey breast on the breast-like looking item. Then I turn to the Oscar Mayer deli meat (prepackaged) on the other wall.
Me: "That's stuff more processed."
Deli Person: "All of the parts are mixed together with this one. Don't you want 100% turkey breast?"

What I wanted to say: NO! I don't. I want what I want. It's obvious you have a clear opinion of such things and are way too concerned with my health. You might want to check out dietician school since you want to save the world from processed food.

But I said: "I will take 2 lbs of the turkey that's on sale please."

I marched right to that U-Scan where I wouldn't have to deal with any person (even though I suck at the U-scan...can never find bar codes, find the item codes, get coupons to scan properly, or bag my groceries properly...).

And I got home to see that the contractor went against explicit instructions and had a fuming husband.

See? So it's been a productive week, but way too much heartburn.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

185 minutes for the week

Hi there! It's been a few days. First off, we celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary today by going to our favorite restaurant. And I got some beautiful diamond earrings! I am a notorious earring loser, so we'll see how long they stay in my ears...

I'm keeping my exercise log elsewhere on the internet. For the past week, I've logged 185 minutes. My goal is 800 minutes for March, so I'm on track for meeting that. Not that my exercise has anything to do with any sort of weight loss, but - hey - I'm trying! Well, I didn't really "try" at the restaurant tonight when I had 8 pieces of bread, a bowl of chowder, 2 desserts, & mashed potatoes. :)

The kitchen remodel starts tomorrow! We spent the weekend moving everything in our cabinets to other locations in the house. The new cabinets are in the dining room, and the worst week of kitchen mayhem will ensure. Hopefully most of it will happen this week (i.e., the especially icky part). Appliances will be delivered this next Saturday, and hopefully the appliances install & backsplash & other finishing touches will happen next week & then we'll be back in business!

I want to get back to more of my fun blogs. I have great blog ideas when I can't sleep at 2am, but then I don't write them down & they never seem to come back into my head at the right time.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The last day of being a single digit

Tomorrow is our 10 year wedding anniversary. With all that's been going on, it kinda just slipped in there, almost unnoticed by both of us. Typically Dec - April is one non-stop party for us because it's Christmas with my birthday shortly therafter, V-Day, anniversary, S's birthday. And poor S, by the time he gets to his birthday in the line-up of events, I think we're both tired of celebrating. This year has been more chaotic than usual with the whole house buying/house selling/remodeling thing.

Usually we mutually dismiss Valentine's Day. Our anniversary used to be an excuse to go see a play and go to our favorite restaurant. It still is, but we need a babysitter now, which complicates things.

People have always said to me that marriage is so hard, it takes work, blah blah blah. I feel so odd in saying this, but it's been one of the easiest things I've done. So on one hand it really doesn't feel like something that needs to be celebrated like one would celebrate an achievement like climbing Mt. Everest or getting a perfect SAT score. It's not like it's been a struggle or anything. But on the other hand, it's TEN YEARS!

We're coming home tomorrow to a dude delivering us cabinets, so I suppose a new kitchen is a kind of 10 year anniversary gift to each other. That will be followed by a homemade meal, our normal Julia routine, and me huddled next to the space heater. Gosh, we're so exciting!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Boring Stuff

Tonight I did 60 minutes of exercise. 25 minutes of the Shred, and then I did a 35 minute walk, which included a 4-5 minute jog and a ton of walking uphill. It felt really good. And this month I better LOSE weight. Oh yeah, I neglected to mention that I gained a few pounds last month. 600 minutes of exercise doesn't have a whole lot of correlation with weight loss. I know, I know, I said that my goal was to put in the 600 minutes of exercise, and hopefully weight loss would follow. And it didn't. So this month I'm making my goal 800 minutes, and there had better be a weight loss or I might just kick my trainer in the shin. Which would be me (the trainer), and I'm sure you all would like to see me kick myself in the shin!

Tomorrow we're going to buy the appliances for the new kitchen (sans the fridge, which we bought last Saturday). We're going to schedule the delivery of all of the appliances for the 13th. Appliance shopping has been wearing. We decided on a titanium fridge so that we would minimize fingerprints & be able to use magnets. It's an LG fridge that DOESN'T have the water/ice in the door. We never use the water, our current ice from the outside doesn't work well so we rarely use that, and then the water/ice in the door takes up valuable door space. S's parents will complain, but oh well...it's our fridge, not theirs. The other appliances we knew didn't have to be the LG brand, but they have to all be the same brand. The very difficult appliance turned out to be the dishwasher. We want hidden controls (on top) so that Julia couldn't play with it. We didn't want to hear the dishwasher throughout the whole house; we have a big house, that's kind of impressive. We wanted good reviews. We're ending up spending a ton on this dishwasher. It's a GE Profile. So then we had to find a GE range and microwave to match. We debated the features we wanted in a range and finally, finally came to a decision. I confirmed the price through Sears tonight, and S will go in person tomorrow to purchase. Woohoo!

We also picked out cabinet hardware. That took a few trips to Home Depot/Lowe's. Since we finally decided, I'm going to go buy them tomorrow.

We got the chandelier in today. I ordered it initially over 2 weeks ago from Lowe's. It was an epic trial to get it ordered. 4 employees took 20 minutes huddled around a computer. They called me a couple of days later to say they did it wrong, issued me a refund, and then reordered it. It's been 2 weeks, and it was only supposed to take 7 days. Today I got a call saying it came in. I go to pick it up, and it takes 20 minutes for them to find it. Lesson learned: do not special order from Lowe's.

Bank of America earned a credit and a demerit today. The credit was for following through with the incentive they gave me for opening that checking account I didn't want. The demerit is for our refinance falling into some sort of black hole. I call or e-mail our loan officer every stinkin' day, and he blames someone else for the long lag. The thing is: we have to sign the papers before March 13th or we owe another $500 for an appraisal because 120 days has lapsed since the last appraisal. I hate nagging people to do their job. Our refinance should be easy peasy. We're not borrowing that much and have great credit scores.

Parenthood is starting soon. It's one of the only shows I want to watch. That and Big Bang.

Kitchen Remodel Chaos Starting Soon

It has seemed a very hectic few months. Since late November, we have bought a house, moved, cleaned the new house, gotten rid of Hwang trash, sold the old house (and got rid of our real estate agent), cleaned and did move 2 out of the old house, did some stuff around the new house (cleaned deck, painted several rooms, etc.), and now are embarking on our first major remodel project on the new house: the kitchen. We figure that we're used to our lives being crazy and hectic, so what's wrong with yet another thing going on?

Picking cabinets has been a several months long project. We really didn't like what we had (white painted oak), and the embellished white tile is horrible. In the end, we went with new cabinets that were in stock and that we liked. Do we lovvvvve the cabinets? No, but we like them and think we'll be very happy with them. They have a nice design and seem well made. If we had ordered cabinets most other places, it would take several weeks or months to get them, and we are on the fast track to a new kitchen.

In the old house, we worked with a contractor on the kitchen floor last year. He was efficient, easy to work with, and did a quality job. We also had the bathroom remodeled in the last house, but that contractor didn't do a quality job and was more like Barney Fife. So, anyway, once we had a good experience with him, we wanted to make sure that he was at the top of our list when we moved into this house and encountered all these things that need to be done.

We've had him come out twice to look at the project, and we had narrowed down much of what we wanted (minus the cabinets). His fee seemed okay, but we wanted to make sure he wasn't out of line with what other contractors were charging. We called another contractor that seemed to do good work as well and had him come out to look.

The other contractor was seriously tedious. During the estimate process, he was getting fixated on many things. "You should put a cooktop in the island. You should put in a new garbage disposal." Then there was the part that he couldn't give us an estimate until he actually got all the stuff ripped out. Then he e-mailed me the next day. I responded, he responded, then I didn't respond. The next day he e-mailed to ask if he offended me. AH, what a high maintenance dude! He had answered all of my questions, and I was trying to get in contact with the contractor we had experience with. Then the other dude e-mailed again to see if we made a decision.

Yes, we decided on the contractor we had experience with because he: 1) came in lower and 2) doesn't seem to have many personality disorders...unlike this dude.

Cabinets ordered on Friday, they will be in our house on Thursday. The contractor will start on Monday with demo. And we will be without a kitchen...for a while. I'm thinking we will be eating on paper plates and napkins for a while. I'm not looking forward to the disaster area, but hopefully it will only be a few weeks.