ThomOli: November 2006

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Wednesday, November 29, 2006

first tofurkey, now tofu-duck

I innocently asked Thom if he could pick up some "veggie duck" at the vegan place around the corner - not realizing that it would be shaped like an actual duck! After we spent 15 minutes being totally revolted by the ridiculousness of the whole situation and I read the ingredients 2 more times to confirm it really was soy protein, we sliced it up so it would no longer look duck-like.

(very yummy)

we're fancy and custom

Our "custom" (read: just another reason to charge you a ridiculous amount of money) bench for our dining table was finally delivered this Monday. According to From The Source (where we got the table) our special bench had to be made on the other side of the world since no one else is idiotic enough to order a three person bench. It was then shipped on the slowest boat ever and lost somewhere in their warehouse. Meanwhile, for three months we've had the table and four chairs and only fantasized about what it would be like to sit across from each other.

Just in time for our New Year's festivities we can now comfortably sit 8 people at our dining table. I just realized - I don't think we actually have that many dishes. Uh oh.

Monday, November 27, 2006

we drank, we ate and Susan made blintzes...

I apologize for all the non-house related content but you're all probably sick of hearing about that anyhow. While we're spending our time trying to look all adult-like and stern at the various contractors (this is necessary for anyone to take us seriously) I'll have to entertain myself in other ways.

We'll also be starting a collection once we receive the mind-boggling estimates from the contractors. I'm already practicing my graceful swoon while Thom screws up his eyebrows and says for the 800th time "I told you we cannot have tile from floor to ceiling!"

A girl can dream. Preferably about Italian marble.

we're not all freakish

Since I included the warped pics I thought I should put one normal one up there. Here's the whole group (dogs and all).

because i couldn't resist

We spent an inordinate amount of time this weekend playing with the "photo booth" tool on G & J's new computer. Personally I've always wanted to be in a Wallace & Gromit movie.

Plus now when I wake up, look in the mirror and decide I'm having a bad hair day - I know it could be SO MUCH WORSE.

we are so going to be rich someday

Ok, so not really. But we did find this note in our gate when we got home yesterday. I'm sure it's a total scam.

In other news we've begun the task of interviewing contractors for the work on the parlor floor. Soon we should have an idea of how much all the work will cost and when it might be done. After we pass out we'll pick ourselves up again and adjust our dreams.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

a relaxing weekend away

Thom and I have eaten a lot.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

and away we go

We're off tomorrow morning to Atlanta for stuff our faces with some ToFurky and other yummy food! I'm looking forward to the veggies, Thom can't wait for the beer and Jasper is eagerly awaiting the plane ride.

Upon our return we'll be working on the finishing touches in the backyard. And it might even be time to begin the real planning for the parlor floor. (queue the eerie background music)

Monday, November 20, 2006

officially holding my breath

The backyard is nearly done - just clean up duty left. For those of you pitiable souls who had to listen to our initial plan for the backyard, you'll notice this isn't it.

Instead of two large planters running on either side (which would have served as seating too) they've squared off 4 beds for planting. Clearly this was done to save time. And no one consulted us. But such is life.

It's exciting to have it nearly done and once they get the garbage out of there we can consider exactly what we want to plant next year. And what we'll be sitting on...

Thursday, November 16, 2006

sweep, you say?

This is the view from our front door down the block. Fall has officially arrived. Sure it may not feel like it since it's still a balmy 70 degrees. But the trees know the truth.

And our front sidewalk - covered in leaves. If we don't sweep this up soon not only will we risk getting a ticket from the city but our neighbors will admonish us for bringing the block down.

The people that live on this block are serious about appearing a unified front. I've already been interrogated about our holiday traditions - "Do you believe in Christmas?" When I clarified that we're not really all that religious and that I'm, in fact, a Jew (if a non-practicing one) our neighbor shook her head to explain that's not really what she cared about. Would we be stringing gaudy lights come Christmas time?

Apparently, the
block has some sort of competition. And so lights there must be...

it brings a tear to my eye

Yesterday, after a not-so-great day at work, I arrived home driven only by the thought "Did they work in the backyard today?" These days it's a toss up if they come at all. But nothing really could prepare me for the feeling of seeing those concrete squares stretching out from the kitchen.

They've used the sand that you see to make the backyard level. And there's even fresh dirt in what will someday be my herb garden. Oh, the mojitos I will make! Jasper was enjoying the new patio too - sniffing the tiles furiously. I think he was considering whether or not they'd make good pee territory.

You know, some may say that we're absolutely insane to spend money redoing our backyard just as we're heading into the snowy season. Our perhaps we're crazy for spending money on the backyard when there are so many rooms begging for attention inside the house. But seeing those concrete squares laid out makes me so unbelievably happy that I can't imagine having done it any other way.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

on our way to AA

"On loan" from Val & Tony is this globe bar. I figure we can stash some extra liquor in here so that visitors don't drink us dry.

Just kidding - but it will allow us to have alcohol on each floor of the house.

Hmmm, maybe we should rethink this plan.

Plus you can tell from these photos that our floors are in sad, sad shape. I can't wait until they are refinished.

a windfall of new furniture

Thanks to Val & Tony moving to the smaller apartment in their brownstone we've inherited some furniture.

A new dresser/mirror which is currently residing in the small room between the bedroom and guest room. Eventually the plan is to make this a walk in closet. But since the walk in closet is faaaaar in the future the storage comes in handy.

And a small bar and a couple chairs which are on the parlor floor. I'm going to attempt to refinish and reupolster these chairs too. Just not sure what color yet. I'd like to do something bold but since we haven't really decided the scheme of the room I think it'll be more middle of the road.

Monday, November 13, 2006

back in the day

This is what our house looked like long before we were born. We got this tax photo from the city to get an idea of our block and the condition of our house. Not much has changed (except for our pathetic crumbling stoop) and we no longer have a plumber/laundromat next door.

Our own little piece of history.

the table lives up to its potential

How fantastic is our table? There it is holding mail and pictures!

I'm in love...

Saturday, November 11, 2006

the (nearly) perfect find

We've been looking for a well-priced table to go in the entrace area for the parlor level. As this space is between the den and front sitting room it will help to separate the areas. After searching all the normal places (pottery barn, crate and barrel, craigslist) for a pedestal table that would have the right feel at the right price, Thom suggested we check the Park Slope flea market.

And there she was. A little scratched and worn but otherwise perfect (and cheap!). They even delivered it for free! We'll be refinishing it to match the dark wood in the house. In the meantime it's a great place to throw the mail.

Friday, November 10, 2006

70 degree days wasted

Miraculously the weather in NY has been quite nice lately. We've had a few pretty warm days. I had imagined that just this sort of heat wave would come in handy so that we could enjoy our gorgeous, FINISHED backyard.

Hrmpf. It's. Not. Finished. Not even close.

Of course (I imagine) no one is more dissappointed by that then Chuck (the gardener). They're obviously losing money on this project. What he told us would take 10 days is clocking in at more like 2 months. And we're not paying a penny more.

It also means that we'll be bundling up until we can't even sit down (including Jasper) in order to enjoy a bit of time in our backyard once it's finally done. In the meantime, I'll look longingly out our kitchen window (trying NOT to look at the actual kitchen with it's vomit-inducing tile floor).

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

pergola nuts

Both pergolas are completed now and they do a nice job of separating the different spaces. Or, at least, we hope they will.

giant herbs

Yesterday they built the herb box that will sit right near the garden entrance. There will also be similar boxes lining the middle of the yard which have wide fronts which will serve as extra seating.

I told Chuck (the gardener) that I wanted to have fresh herbs and apparently he thought I said I wanted to grow a forest of herbs? It's really hard to tell scale from these photos but the box is ridiculously huge.

Great. So when I kill every plant it'll just look that much more baren.

jasper gets a bed of his own

Jasper decided he was tired of sleeping in bed with us so he's taken over the guest room. After much delay, Pottery Barn finally delivered our pretty iron bed. We still need to get a rug and bench for the room but it's nearly complete...

Saturday, November 04, 2006

a little perspective

Considering Chuck (the gardener who we are paying an exorbitant sum) told us this would take 10 days (ha!) we were starting to think that the backyard would never be done.

But now that we have a deck, pergola and stairs we're so excited! It's huge and I can't wait to use the deck.

a bird's eye view

The guys made good progress this week which is making me think the backyard actually might be done someday... You can see in this picture (which Thom took from our roof) that we'll have two pergolas which create some nice parallel lines.

Friday, November 03, 2006

anyone for a vote?

In addition to the pictures below, here are a few sketches I'm considering for the front door. Anyone care to vote for their favorite?

time to get a little class

Ok, so we bought a house with a broken front window. I know what you're thinking - this should have been a sign. But we refuse to pay attention to things like that (actually, I do - Thom pays ample attention to crap like that).

Regardless, the cracked window is making the house look even sadder than it should so it's time to replace it. Since we got an astronomical estimate for replacing it with some plain beveled glass I figured - hey, why not go all out?

If you take a look at one of the pics of the house facade you'll notice that all our front windows have an arch. The front door is no exception. Considering the arch, these are a few examples that I'm thinking of...

Thursday, November 02, 2006

for illustrative purposes - this is a pergola!

by popular of our kitchen

Way down at the bottom of our renovation list is replacing
the stove, kitchen floor (with slate - if I get my way) and tiling the walls. Sigh - someday. In the meantime, it's actually a decent kitchen to cook in.

a tree grows in brooklyn

Nope, we're not cutting it down. Apparently a lot of our neighbors have cut down similar trees but we're keeping ours - and building the deck around it. I wonder if it's older than the house?

Just thought I'd show a close-up so you can see how insanely huge the tree really is. It's a welcome feature in our backyard.

desperate for a haircut

No one is looking forward to Thanksgiving more than Jasper - who will finally get a haircut in Atlanta.

beyond the backyard

Thanks to alcohol-affected judgement last weekend, I bought a chair from West Elm for our bedroom. Though you can't tell yet, it'll fit in perfectly with the overall design of the bedroom. Of course, we need to paint, buy a bed frame, etc. But still - I'm in love with the chair.

We've also added some new bedside lamps. This is historic - no more fighting over who gets to sleep next to the lamp so they can read.

You can't really tell from the crappy pictures (sorry) but it actually is starting to look kinda nice.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

closeup of the deck

There will soon be a pergola integrated in the deck. Hopefully this will provide us with a little shade and some needed privacy.

Look at the beautiful ivy on the deserted building behind us. It's been changing colors dramatically all fall - not too shabby of a backdrop as long as you don't look to close.