One yellow desk.

This picture has absolutely nothing to do with this post, but this little cat of mine is growing up to be the most beautiful little lady and I can’t help but splash photographs of her all over the damn internets. Her cute is just too cute not to share with you. It’d be cruel to withhold it.



Summer is traditionally our time of Getting Shit Done. Part of it’s the house-guests that arrive on our front porch, part of it’s that pushy nudge to get shit accomplished when the weather starts to warm up each year somewhere around the first few weeks of May and part of it’s that I am a lazy good-for-nothing during the winter months who spends the bulk of her time whining about how fucking cold it is and hiding under blankets, begging the dogs to come and lay on my legs because I’m desperate for any sort of warmth I can get.

Typically the Swedes are our first house guests of the summer season, usually arriving in the early part of the summer and since they live far away and only get to see our house once a year, we always feel like we need to gets lots of things accomplished in between their visits. I’m not sure why they motivate us to get shit done, but they do and I like it.

This year was no different and their mid-June visit loomed closer, I developed great big hopes and dreams for our guest bedroom, one of my most favorite rooms in the house. Each year we inch closer and closer toward getting the guest room to some vague and unknowable “finished” status, and I’ve got to say, I’m pretty fucking happy with this year’s progress.

It all started with a desk. Or, rather, a desire for a desk. I wanted some sort of vanity/desk for the guest room so guests could sit and pen love letters to lovers lost and stare longingly at themselves in a mirror, or, you know, just have a place to pile their stuff. For me this desk was key. I knew I wanted a new dresser in there as well, but I was absolutely hellbent on finding a desk prior to their visit.

So then we went to our favorite local thrift store and spotted a desk. It was an antique desk with great bones and the exact(ish) look I was hoping for and I pondered it and stared at it and wandered around and came back to it and then didn’t get it because it was $100 and I wasn’t totally sure about it and I figured if it was meant to be it would still be there when we came back. It was almost right, but I wanted to take some time and poke around at a few other places and see if there was anything out there that could top it. And so I stopped thinking about it for a while until, about a month later, we went back to the thrift store and there was the desk, still there and this time only $50.

And so we bought it.

In the beginning, the desk looked like this:

I know that’s the worst iPhone photo ever and I swear to you that when I plan projects I make a mental note to take a before picture before actually starting on the project, but then I get excited and totally forget about before photos and then stop, mid-project, to hurriedly snap a few photos and they generally look like shit because sometimes I don’t feel like going downstairs to get the good camera and instead just use the iPhone because that thing is damn convenient and almost always right next to me. When I took the above photo, I’d already painted the drawers and sanding was well underway. Oh fucking well.

So long story that involves lots of sanding, lots of priming and lots of painting short, now the desk looks like this:


I debated the color for a while. I almost re-stained the wood. I almost painted it white. I thought about painting it black. But then I flipped through Pinterest to find inspiration and realized that all of my pins of fabulous interior spaces had bright, bold pops of color and I finally came to the conclusion that, fuck it, I should just paint the damn thing bright yellow. And so I did. And I love it.

In truth, this desk isn’t totally done. It still needs one more coat of yellow paint and a protective coat of polyurethane before I officially call it done, but we couldn’t help but move into the guest room in advance of our summer guests. It’s an amazing addition to the space as far as I’m concerned.

If I’d been on top of my game, I’d have photographed the whole room, but it’s not quite ready for it’s full and total internet debut and the bed wasn’t made and I’m still sort of lazy, even if it’s Get Shit Done season, so instead of a wide shot of the room that would put that spiffy yellow desk into any sort of context, here’s a photo of the top of the headboard and the start of what eventually be a bigger little cluster of prints.

(butterfly cart print from FauxKiss on etsy; larger frame contains beer coasters, arranged in front of a few sheets of lined yellow notebook paper)

The more years I live in this house, and it’s only been two and a half years, the more I realize that creating spaces that feel like home is a never-ending process. I’m not sure I’ll ever be done. First, because this house is almost 2,000 square feet of awesome, old 1924 bones, but also because I think the spaces in this house of mine will evolve right along with us. When we first bought this place, we figured we’d stay here for five or so years, but now that we’re here, and now that we’ve made some big and little changes and as we continue to make this house feel more and more like us with each passing month, I’m starting to think I could stay for a while. There’s just so much to do, and as someone who didn’t grow up in one place or even one state, it’s nice to have roots.

And then we got another one.

Just days after writing this post about how KyraCat is an asshole, we got another cat. It wasn’t a planned thing. It was a thought I’d had. I’d always wanted to catch Kyra’s brothers and sisters and give at least one them a home so she could have a friend to play with and someone to unite with against the dogs, but with her brothers and sisters and mother cat being MIA, I let go of that hope.

Then, a week after Kyra got spayed, we took her back to the vet because she had some swelling around her incision that we wanted to get checked out, just in case. When it comes to that baby cat, we’d rather be safe than sorry, especially given all the love we’ve poured into her upbringing.

Kyra was cool and collected at the vet’s until the vet came into the room and wanted to touch her. Then Kyra turned nasty, hissing and fussing and bitching and moaning and scratching and biting. It was a little hilarious, because angry cat noises are ridiculous, but it was also frustrating because we were getting really tired of the whole “I’m an asshole, you fuckers better watch out” routine Kyra had become so addicted to in recent weeks.

So the vet tells us that she might really benefit from having another cat in the house, that bottle-fed kitties raised on their own are often little assholes, but that adding another cat to the home might help mitigate some of her attitude problem. We told her we’d thought about getting another cat, but weren’t really sure and then she told us that they had kittens there and that we were welcome to take a look. I said I wasn’t sure, looked at Andrew who seemed, surprisingly, on board with the whole thing and finally relented to just look at the kittens.

I’m not sure what I was expecting when they said they would show us some kittens, but it most definitely wasn’t the room of kittens they showed us. I mean, an entire ROOM OF KITTENS! I’d always dreamed about a room full of kittens and there, right in front of me, it was. It was like stumbling upon lost treasure, that kitten room.

Once we were in the kitten room, we knew we’d be taking home a kitten. There was no way we could leave the room without one. We snuggled and cooed over about 15 of the kittens, marveling at how cute the little gray one was, and how similar a little orange kitty looked to Kyra and one of the vet techs was kind enough to give us  the run down on all the little kitties and their personalities and their back stories and we all came to the conclusion that we should probably get a boy kitty since girl cats usually get along better with boy cats and since Kyra hadn’t even seen a cat, ever, really, since her eyes were only barely open when we found her and even then they didn’t have the ability to focus on anything, and we wanted the experience of a new cat to be as un-traumatizing as possible for Kyra.

And then the vet said the little black kitties are the hardest to adopt out and we knew that the little black boy kitty bouncing around the room was the one, because clearly, we had to adopt him and SAVE HIM from spending his whole kitty lie in the kitten room being all sad and not getting adopted because people are stupid and think black kitties are bad luck or plain or what the fuck ever.

So now, we have Nicodemus, who we call Nic or Nicky.

When we first brought him home, Kyra was pissed. She didn’t know what he was and wanted nothing to do with him. She’d hiss if he so much as looked at her. I was worried. Scared they’d hate each other forever, but a week later, they’re in love.

They snuggle on the couch together, chase each other around the house and generally don’t like to be away from each other.

And now we’re a two cat, two dog, two people sort of family. It’s madness, sure, but I can’t imagine my life without all of these little critters.

Welcome to the family, Nic!

Learning Cat.

This pretty much sums up my current living situation:

I have described myself as a dog person. Dogs are dependable, trustworthy and loyal. I know what to expect from dogs. I understand their language and their behavior, and I’ve come to expect the love I provide my dogs will be returned to me three-fold, at least. I get dogs. I understand them. They make sense. I know what to do when they’re bad. I know how to discipline them, how to take care of them, how to let them know what, exactly, I expect from them.

But the cat. The cat is a cat. She’s different. Her behavior is not any sort that I could ever try to understand, nor predict. You pick her up, she purrs and then, without warning she is biting and clawing and ripping at your flesh with her devil-cat teeth. In the night, she attacks our feet and sometimes our faces. She thinks fingers are personal play things. She bites ankles and toes and has an amazing talent for walking across keyboards and selectively hitting keys that corrupt and destroy computers. She lurks beneath chairs and couches, waiting for you to pass so she can launch herself, full speed, at your feet and then scamper off to some undisclosed kitty lair.

She went from this cute, fuzzy, little baby kitty:

To this box-eating, broom-chasing, razor-blade factory of hatred and orange fur:

I DO NOT UNDERSTAND THIS CAT. She sticks her feet in our water glasses, begs worse than any dog I’ve ever had, chases the dogs around the house, attempts to commit suicide on a daily  basis by sticking her cat body into Sadie’s food bowl while Sadie is trying to eat and by chewing on any sort of cord she can get her little orange and white paws around. She stalks us. She climbs pant legs, attacks our arms, hair and feet when we attempt any sort of floor-bound exercise. She wakes us up with incessant meowing after she’s been banished to “her” room (my office) in the middle of the night after several failed murder attempts against Andrew and I. She knocks things over for sport – especially water glasses and small, important things that shouldn’t be knocked over – and has a deep love of hairbands, whether they’re on the table or around my wrist, this cat DOES NOT CARE, she will bite at them irregardless of their proximity to my body.

I like to tell her, when she gets all homicidal-like, about that one time when I saved her life, about how I bottle fed her and did not sleep for weeks because I was so obsessed with keeping her little bitch-ass alive that I would wake up in the middle of the night, convinced she was dead, and use my cell phone as a flash light to check on her tiny sleeping body in the cat carrier next to the bed. She does not care. She is not thankful. She acts like we’ve never, ever, ever done anything nice for her and that any small charity on our part was deserved because clearly, in her kitty opinion, she is the best thing since sliced fucking bread.

And she’s smart. She knows she’s got to at least provide a little bit of love to us if she wants to remain a spoiled brat-cat. So she purrs at us, and licks our faces sometimes, and snuggles up at night and takes glorious kitty naps spread across our laps, and she makes us laugh all the damn time. She makes the house fun. We love her, really, even though she always reverts back to devil-cat mode.

I knew she would be a cat. I held no grand illusions that she would stay little and adorable forever. I knew she would grow up. What I did not know is that she would turn into a homicidal maniac hellbent on spending all her waking hours attempting to destroy us, terrorizing all the non-kitty contents of this whole entire house.

Send help. And advice on how to survive kitten attacks. Also, band-aids.

Your Weekend Update, now with Wallpaper Decisions.

Were it not for a three day weekend, I’m not sure I could have slipped into this week with my sanity intact.

.Spent the day in Blackstone, Virginia, watching Soldiers practice room clearing techniques, got mauled by a goat, and ate my weight in sunflower seeds..Came home and cleaned the house, top to bottom.
.Met friends for drinks while waiting for out-of-town guests to arrive and declared Nashville the destination for a possible June road trip.
.Picked up out-of-town guests at the bus stop after their bus driver took them on an unnarrated and unnecessary tour of Richmond.
.Split a bottle of wine with out-of-town guests and stayed up way later than I should have.

.Woke up with a bit of a headache to the nicest weather we’ve had all year.
.Got in the car and drove to Virginia Beach, for work, with the windows down and music turned up.
.Didn’t get to enjoy the Beach because, like I said, we were there for work.
.Shot video of Airmen doing Airmen things, got back in the car, drove the two hours home with the windows down and the music turned up.
.Came home to out of town guests and went grocery shopping.
.Made pizza and salad and grilled veggies for dinner, played Apples to Apples for an insane amount of hours, drank tea to wake me up around midnight and rallied until 2 am.

.Woke up with a wine headache. Again.
.Had a disappointing brunch, a first for me. It was very dramatic and I’m still a little bit bitter about the whole thing.
.Went for mimosas in a valiant attempt to rectify the wrongs of brunch.

.Wandered around the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts so Andrew could check out some nifty Civil War sketches for class.
.Checked Borders for good deals since one of our locations is closing. Discovered it’s much too early for good deals just yet.
.Grocery shopped, visited kitties at the SPCA, came home, made dinner, watched TV and dozed for a bit.

.Headed downtown with out-of-town friends to visit Stacey and a group of her friends in celebration of her birthday on Friday.

.Realized loud bars are great for people watching and not much else, but that it’s still fun to stop in from time to time.
.Went back home with friends, opened up a few bottles of wine and battled it out Apples to Apples style (again) and ended the night around 3:30 am with a round of Bezzerwizzer.

.Woke with a serious headache from the wine. And the whiskey sours. Boo, hiss!

.Went to a fabulous brunch at 821 Cafe.
.Saw Anderson Cooper speak about a whole pile of marvelous things at the Landmark Theater as part of the Richmond Forum.
.Came home, watched My Strange Addiction and decided the show is mostly about exploiting people’s oddities, rather than making sure they get the help they actually need, and yet still, I could barely turn away.
.Dropped out-of-town friends at the bus stop, picked up sushi, came home to snuggle the dogs and Andrew and went to sleep blissfully early.


.Woke up without a headache.
.Homework, homework, homework.
.Class from 4:00-6:40, then 7:00-9:40.
.Dinner and glorious sleep.

Somewhere in there we also made a decision about wall paper. After the internet overwhelming suggested number one:

as the right and most perfect wall paper for our dining room, we agreed. Andrew relented, said yes, number two would undoubtedly look a bit too busy and that number three was a bit spider webby, something that hadn’t actually crossed my mind until the internet brought it up. Some of you were concerned that it would be a bit too cold with all the gray and black and whatnot, but I feel pretty confident we can bring in bright colors through accessories that will help to liven the place up a bit. The rug in there is already a deep red and I’m thinking about bringing in some yellow and turquoise as well. Our living room, which is right next to the dining room is already a pretty bright yellow (it looks like the sun threw up a little bit, but I love how glowy it feels at night). I love the idea of wainscoting the bottom, but I still want to see what it looks like with dark paint on the bottom. I think we’ll try that first, sit with it for a bit, and then, when we have more time, we’ll add some wainscoting on the bottom. I’ve got no idea when I’m going to tackle all this, but I’m pretty sure step one is to order the wall paper.

Also, thank you all so, so, so much for your input! You all raised a lot of really good points I hadn’t thought of yet and for that I am so, so thankful! Three cheers for the internets!!

Falling in love with thrifted finds & the great wallpaper dilemma of 2011.

This past weekend was a work weekend. A long and exhausting work weekend devoid of fun and blog reading and napping and other things I usually fill my weekends with. On Sunday we all went to brunch and, just after, Andrew and I peeked into a thrift shop and happened upon this:

It was love at first sight. I knew that with some paint and sanding and elbow grease (ew), she could be beautiful. I wanted her for our foyer, thought she’d be perfect and oh! what luck in finding something that would look so nice there just after having a conversation about how we really needed a bigger, more badass piece to welcome people into our home. But then I realized that she is not at all what she appears to be.

I didn’t care. Sure, it wouldn’t work for the foyer because we need drawers in which to stow our random bits of household stuff, but surely we can find a place for it somewhere?!? Andrew was sceptical. I begged and pleaded and told him it would work in the foyer anyway before decided that no. It will go in my office. Because what better thing to put in my office that a sneaky ceder chest?

I have named her Eleanor. She is in desperate need of paint and new drawer pulls but I am at a loss as to what color would befit such a lovely lady.

And then, there’s the dining room. I mentioned previously that it was brown, very brown, and that the brown just hasn’t wowed me and that the stack of wallpaper samples wasn’t making things any easier. A lovely Irish blogger suggested I share the samples and solicit the help of the internets in making a final decision.

The dining room looks like this:

Like I said, it’s brown. A lovely brown, but still brown. It is too dark. Even with light furnishings and white billowy curtains, it is still too brown, too dark, too heavy.

What we’d like to do is wallpaper above the chair rail, and paint dark grey or almost black below, leaving the trim bright white. 

The wallpaper options:

Initially, I thought #1 was going to take the cake but now when I look at them I can’t decide. I go to bed with thoughts of these three prints in my mind and I can’t pick. Or I pick and then immediately change my mind. Andrew loves #2, or at least he did an hour ago when I asked him. I want the room to gain some light on the walls and I want it to be bold and dramatic and lovely.

Please, dear Internets, tell me which is your favorite. Or, if you hate them all, tell me why. Wallpaper is serious business and I need your help.