The Not-Turquoise Kitchen.

Last week I told you Andrew and I painted the kitchen. Just like that. Little to no deliberation. We just did it.

But then I didn’t  show you the kitchen. It was pretty rude, I know. But, when I wrote the post the kitchen was in state of pre-Thanksgiving disarray and I just didn’t want you to see that way. As much as I complain about wafting dog fur dust-bunnies, I prefer to show my house in a state of near-divine cleanliness to create the illusion that I am the perfect housekeeper and there are never, ever socks on the living room floor that a certain white HuskyMutt keeps digging out of the laundry basket to carry around as her fake children and there are never, ever, ever dirty dishes in the sink or crumbs on the counter.

So now that Thanksgiving has passed and the kitchen is not piled with pie tins and produce, I’m showing it off.

For reference, the kitchen used to be this color:

1/365 // 8.1.2010

On a paint chip, I loved it. It was bright and bold and loud. It was exactly what I wanted to splash on the walls after living in a beige apartment for a year.

On the walls, it was never quite right. It reflected on our stainless steel appliances making everything in the kitchen bright turquoise. It was a bit much.

We figured we’d paint it eventually, in that near-to-distant time frame we call “someday.”  But then I got drunk on must-get-the-house-pretty-for-Thanksgivingness and painted it on Sunday. And Monday. And Wednesday.

Now it looks like this, as viewed from our back door:

And the view from the dining room:

It is calmer, prettier, nicer and better. It is light blue-gray and far and away from any color I would have chosen two years ago when we moved into this house. It’s a grown-up color. My kitchen has left it’s 20s and grown the fuck up.

That big red cabinet thing you see is really what started this mess. It just didn’t go with the bright turquoise walls and I, in an OCD panic, could not handle people visiting my house while my furniture mismatched my walls. I knew full well when we bought the thing it wouldn’t look right against the walls but I, mistakenly, assumed it wouldn’t bother me that much.

Now all that’s left is replacing the counters, the back splash, the floor, and the cabinet doors and approximately 8 million other little tiny tasks that I’m sure we’ll get to. Someday.

I’m expecting a few horsemen to arrive at any moment now.

Go figure I get all mushy talking about how I’m finally starting to feel like I’m home and how nice it is here and then this crazy-ass city of mine reminds me that it is, without a doubt, where the apocalypse will begin. 

A Little History

Less than a month after I moved to Richmond a hurricane hit. Hard. It was Isabel and she tore the shit out of everything. My dorm room was on the 12th floor and, when the storm first started I grabbed an overnight bag and headed to a friend’s house because there was no way in hell I was going to walk my ass up and down 12 flights of stairs should the power go out.

That turned out to be a mighty good decision as the power did go out. And then it stayed out. For a week. 

The 7-11 across the street lost power too and marked down all their beer prices. We partied hard for the first two nights by candle and flashlight, but come night three the novelty of no showers and no light had pretty much worn away and we were really, really ready for it to be over.

A year later this little shit called Gaston swept through Richmond, creating sink holes and mudslides and damaging all the low-lying parts of our city. Restaurants and businesses closed for months and months due to the massive amount of damage suffered. I hunkered down at a friend’s house and ordered a pizza, watched scary movies and snuggled under a blanket.

Then there was an earthquake. Just a little one, but still, a fucking earthquake.

Then, as I was bussed past Richmond on my way to Army training in Maryland, the city looked as though it was burning. And sure enough, it was. A school building had caught fire. All I could see from the highway was billowing smoke.

And Then… 

Yesterday. All day we’d been hearing tornado warnings, but we scoff at tornado warnings, because really? Tornadoes? In Virginia? In Richmond? Come on. That shit doesn’t happen here. I mean really, this ain’t Kansas, y’all. 

So we’re on the way home and I’m like, oh we missed the storm! Yip-ee!! Until we turn down the street that takes us to our street where there was a tree blocking the road and where the park near our house was FULL of down trees and branches.

We realized that yes, we had missed the storm, but that this was the real deal, a real storm.   A totally legit storm of epic, tree-murderizing proportions.

I freaked out a little. I asked Andrew for the house keys and said I was going to walk the four blocks home to check on the house and the dogs because what if he couldn’t get through in the car and PANIC! WHAT IF THE HOUSE BLEW AWAY AND THE DOGS ARE IN THE HOUSE AND WHAT IF THE NEIGHBOR’S GIANT FUCKING TREE SMASHED THROUGH THE UPSTAIRS AND OH NOES!! WHAT IF, WHAT IF, WHAT IF?!?!??!?!

So, I get out and start walking toward my house and I’m climbing over trees and I’m passing people and I’m all what the hell happened here?!?! And they’re all there was a tornado, idiot and there’s a really big tree down and you’re not going to be able to get past it and, sure enough, there was a REALLY BIG TREE down blocking the entire road, but I WAS able to get past it because – duh – I am a Soldier and all that is (wo)man and climbed over the big son of a bitch tree because that’s just how I roll.

Andrew was already on the porch by the time I made it home. He asked what took me so long.

Our house is fine. No damage. Our block didn’t suffer any major damage either, minus the deaths of a few little trees. We walked around the neighborhood checking out the damage and were impressed with the destruction.

Now I’ve seen it all. We’ve had floods, fires, earthquakes and a tornado that hit entirely too close to home. If tomorrow brings locusts, I won’t be surprised.

The perfect combination, dressing up & some purple food

Saturday was busy, Sunday was easy. The weekend blended and balanced itself perfectly. After repeated weekends out of town or working, having two full days to fill with things I wanted to do was exactly was I needed to feel refreshed and recharged.

SATURDAY.

. I went to bed Friday night planning to wake up early, slip on a pair of jeans and head out the door for a compost bin and rain barrel sale. We’re trying to make little green changes around our house and in our lives and the addition of a rain barrel is something we’ve talked about doing for over a year now. But, when the alarm went off well before 8 I couldn’t bear the thought of leaving my warm, cozy-comfy bed and opted to sleep in instead. As it turns out, sleep on a Saturday morning after a long few weeks trumps anything of the non-mandatory variety.

. Saturday afternoon I hit a local coffee and wine place for a Richmond lady blogger meet-up hosted by this lovely lady. I’d been dying to meet her for months and months and was happily surprised to find she’s even more awesome than I originally suspected. Everyone was super nice and super friendly and I’m excited to attend more girly meet-ups in the future. I don’t get a lot of strictly girl time and didn’t realized how much I’d been needing it until I was on my way back home.

. Saturday night I doused my hair with hairspray & put on the most uncomfortable and rarely worn uniform I own. Andrew did too and we went off to Fort Lee for a retirement dinner. Feeling ridiculous in our lovely green polyester pickle suits, Andrew and I practiced our stiff upper lips before heading out the door.  

. After the dinner, which went WAY LATER than I expected, Andrew & I hit a farewell celebration for a friend. We were late and several guests had already left, but since our core friend group was still up and out, we knew we’d regret it if we didn’t stop by for a few late night beers. Plus, it was at a friend’s house a few blocks away so we really had no excuse not to go.

SUNDAY

. I spent the entire morning and early afternoon on the couch catching up on blogs, schoolwork and various internet things. Andrew slept in late and the dogs piled themselves around me on the couch, keeping me company.

. A week ago, we received muscadine grapes in our bi-weekly local produce box. I’d never heard of them, never tasted them and had no idea what to do with them. They are bitter, the skins are tough and they’re full of seeds. Google told me make pie. So I did.

Instead of a strictly muscadine pie, I made a Grapple Pie with some Golden Delicious apples that came in our most recent box of produce. The pie turned out perfectly, was a brilliant shade of purple, tasted like fall and made the house smell like Thanksgiving.

. Keeping with the purple theme, I roasted beets for the first time ever and used them in a super fancy salad with arugula, feta cheese, walnuts, cranberries, avacado and a homemade vinaigrette. Andrew said it was the most delicious thing he’s ever tasted but that might just be because he was sick all last week and survived on a diet of saltine crackers and white rice for three days.

The weekend feels like a success. I’m almost 100% caught up on my school reading, there’s a pie in the fridge, dinner was delicious, the house is cleanish and I feel more ready for this week than I’ve felt for any week in recent memory.

This is where we potty. It used to look ugly, now it doesn't. Hooray!

About two weeks after we went on our Super Vacation of Pure Awesome, I realized it was summer and that we’d be having guests coming to visit in just a few short months and that I STILL hadn’t painted the bathroom like I’ve been talking about doing since November. So, once I got off work, I marched into the bathroom and started uninstalling the sink. Because, clearly, we didn’t have a moment to waste and that shit needed to get done pronto.

Before I made a huge mess and dabbled in plumbing for the first time in my entire life, the bathroom looking like this:

It was very beige.

I had declared my love of stripes in bathrooms months ago and, somehow, I manged to convince Andrew it wasn’t a no-good bad idea so, I uninstalled the sink and vanity. Which was neat. And surprisingly easy. Plumbing? Not as difficult as one might think. Then, after I’d sanded the walls bit and painted both the walls and the ceiling a slightly purple white color, I started with the taping. And so it went. For days.

Taping involves measuring. Measuring involves math. I hate math.

But then, once I had taped and cursed the walls and bungled the math a few times and cursed the walls to hell and back, it was time to paint.

Painting went quickly. We did two coats to ensure an even coat because I was terrified of removing the tape only to find I would have to put it back up again to fix a few little errors.

That face? That is the face of pure stressed-out beyond all beliefness because there came a time, somewhere in the midst of all this bathroom bullshit, that I became convinced we were never, ever, ever going to get it all done before Christmas.

But, we did. We removed the tape, rejoiced at how WONDERFUL it all looked and then fell, exhausted onto the couch and ignored the bathroom for a few days. There was still so much to do! Sure, the stripes were done but I had to paint the trim and I had to put the vanity and sink back in and I had to install the medicine cabinet and I was tired. Real tired.

Somehow, I gathered up some motivation and painted the trim. Which made a HUGE difference in the overall fabuousness of the room. While Andrew was at class I picked up the vanity (ALL BY MYSELF) and reinstalled it. AND THEN, I picked up the sink (ALL BY MYSELF) and reinstalled it. Then, because I was slightly drunk off the fumes of accomplishment and lingering paint, I installed the medicine cabinet. ALL BY MYSELF.

By the time Andrew came home from school it was done, and now it looks like this:

I consider it a massive improvement over the beige.

See the vanity and the sink? Yeah. I put those back in there.

The collage is Richmond-inspired. I made it. I broke the glass for the frame right after we brought it home so there’s no glass in the frame but there will be the next time I can get myself back to Ikea.

And the orchid. It was $12 from our local Kroger grocery store and is the second one we’d purchased. The first one is (amazingly) still very alive and thriving in our living room.

So, what do you think?

Newness.

 

Life with two dogs is different. A lot different. We were expecting more fur and more expense when we adopted our second HuskyMutt, Luke, but we didn’t expect it to totally change the dynamics of our previously one-dog household. But it has. Having two dogs is still very, very new and living with two big dogs is something I haven’t experience since high school.

Each day, we all get to know each other a little better. Luke and Sadie continue to develop a relationship with each play session and with each passing day and we all get to know Luke a little bit better. His personality is finally starting to become a bit more apparent and I’m falling more and more in love with the dog he’s becoming.

Last year, which our first year in this little house of ours, we planted a garden. One of the first things to go in was a peach tree that is not covered in peaches. It’s little branches can handly stand the weight of the fruit and I’m anxiously looking forward to the day when I can enjoy a fresh picked peach from my own back yard.

We took it easy last year in terms of plant diversity. We did the tomato thing and the pepper thing and planted a few herbs but we kicked it up a knotch this year. Along with tomatoes and peppers, we’ve got a zucchini vine that has already yielded a GIANT zucchini, a watermelon vine, a few strawberry plants, a blackberry bush and a raspberry bush plus a few more herbs for cooking like oregano and chives and parsley.

There are few things better than harvesting a few crops from my own back yard and enjoying them the same day.

We’ve talked about extending the deck since we bought our house. We went over a million options in our mind and, with guests coming and a 4th of July party to host, we finally made a decision and had a new deck built. Our old deck was just 10 ft. by 10 ft. and wasn’t even big enough to put a table. The new deck is 20 ft. by 14 ft. and is more than big enough for a table, a grill, and whatever else we find to put on it.

I signed us up to get fresh, local produce delivered to my front porch every two weeks from a local company and, two weeks ago, we got our first box. It contained asperagus (the best I’ve ever had), arugala, lavendar, fava beans, squash, feta goat cheese, fresh eggs, mustard greens and probably some other things I’ve forgotten. Getting the box, which contains things I can’t control, has made me think outside the box (ha!) when coming up with dinner each night. It’s fun to try new things and experiment more instead of always following a recipe. Mustard greens, as it turns out, taste like mustard and a bit like horseradish sauce.

Right after a super busy weekend earlier this month, I decided to uninstall the sink and vanity in our downstairs bathroom and paint stripes on the walls. I’d been talking about it for months. I’d bought paint back in November. And yet, we hadn’t done anything. I correctly assumed removing the sink and making an absolute diaster out of our downstairs bedroom and bathroom would force me to buckle down and get the job done. Sure enough, last night I reinstalled the vanity and the sink, scrubbed the floors, installed a medicine cabinet and finished the collage I’ve been working on for the past two weeks. Next week I’ll share some photos of the finished product because, while it’s so, so me and I’m so, so proud of myself for all the work that went into that little bathroom.

Happy Friday!!