26 October 2006

count down to ecstasy

Pittsburgh has changed a lot in the nine years I have lived here. Tomorrow we make another giant leap forward. Trader Joe's is opening in East Liberty.

I wish I could say it wasn't a factor in our choice of house but the fact that Trader Joe's is about 2 minutes away certainly didn't hurt. Whole Foods is another five minutes further but I don't anticipate going there nearly so often as Trader Joe's.

Oliver will be pleased to see turkey meatballs back on the menu. We've tried other brands but he throws them on the floor. Alas, Pennsylvania's ridiculous alcohol regulations mean there will be no 2 buck chuck, but I can live with that (especially for the next five months or so). The dogs think TJ's dried apples are as good as biscuits. Tika won't have to mail me the apples and orange cranberries anymore.

The real problem is when to go. I hear there were no tents pitched tonight in anticipation of the 9am opening, but I expect it to be insane there tomorrow morning. I originally thought I could hold off until Sunday morning, letting the furor die down a bit and hoping they still had some food on the shelves, but I know I won't be able to wait. I feel like a kid the night before Christmas. I'll be lucky if I make it to noon tomorrow.

UPDATE: It's 2:45pm and I have not yet been to Trader Joe's. I did get to experience the opening vicariously through my buddy's blog. He braved the opening and even called me from inside the store. I think I may have to blow this pop stand in about an hour....

ANOTHER UPDATE: Waiting until 7:30pm to go was a big mistake. They were sold out of a number of important items (chocolate lava cake and joe's diner mac & cheese to name just two). I did test the distance from the new house to TJ's....it was under 3 minutes in the rain. And speaking of rain, their ceiling was leaking.

23 October 2006

let the demolition begin

Things are moving very, very fast with the new house. Closing has been moved up three weeks to NEXT TUESDAY. We met with the architect today to go over designs for the new kitchen. Remarkably, no marital disputes required mediation. We were able to settle on a layout we both like a lot. The cost makes us both wince but it just means a few other other things, like new windows and enlarging the door to the patio, will probably have to wait a few years. We should have a "not-to-exceed" estimate by the end of the week but it's already clear the bathroom plans will be scaled back. That's okay. I spend more time in the kitchen than the bathroom.

In a stroke of brilliance on the part of the architect, by sacrificing a few feet of the huge living room, I can get back the hall closet that was sacrificed for the kitchen, not to mention custom built-ins for the dog crates. CD isn't so sure about this but I like it. He is also giving me a peninsula and an island. I never expected to get both. The final touch is the window. We will lose one window but expand the other to about 5 feet in width. It will give a view of the backyard from the front door, something I also never expected.

We chose some cabinets and narrowed the choices for flooring. I had some ideas about appliances but we'll look at the store the architect likes and see if there are other options we should consider. There will also be counter tops, lighting, storage configurations, sinks, faucets, etc. to choose. All the choices are a bit overwhelming. I have spent too much time on the HGTV website, mostly looking at things I don't like, but occasionally finding the perfect thing. For example, I was adamant about flush cabinets. No panels, no beadboard, no trim. Perfectly flat. Nothing to collect dust! Both CD and the architect tested my resolve but both came around by the time we finished today.

The only downside in all this is it will probably take three months to complete. We probably won't be moving until February. At that point, I'll be too huge to be very helpful. Pity the poor movers.

I have scheduled the radon mitigation installation and the pest treatment for next Friday. I still need to schedule the awning removal and the roof repairs. Still waiting for the fence estimate. And despite the snow flakes that fell for over two hours today (but did not stick on the ground), I am going to attempt to relocate my daylilies as soon as we close. I won't have the front shrubs removed yet, so that could be a problem.

Are we having fun yet?

18 October 2006

whaddya mean pigs say "oink" ?

Confession time...and I really hope I'm not the only one with such a deep dark secret. After a few too many readings of Moo Baa La La La, Oliver is firmly of the mind that pigs say "La La La". I have not disabused him of this notion.

He's obsessed with animals and what they do and say. He has them all down pat. Thus he's very convincing when he announces that cows say "moo", ducks say "quack", lions say "roar", and pigs say "La La La".

Please tell me I'm not the only parent to allow a child to believe something entirely false (Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy do not count).

16 October 2006

back on the farm

We visited the farm on Saturday, for pumpkins. And we saw Dell, of course. CD has better pics of Oliver and his pumpkin, taken with his spiffy new camera, but as yet I have not prevailed on him to share.

13 October 2006

what's in a name?

For over a year this blog has been "three dogs and a baby", even though we have two dogs now, and the baby is very much a toddler. Now we have another baby on the way, and maybe another dog. What to do?

I look to thee, o wise internets. Eternal glory, and perhaps a calendar, to whomever submits a worthy replacement. Otherwise, the new title might have something to do with snoring and drool. And we can't have that.

12 October 2006

baby v2.0

Just when I was figuring out this whole "boy" thing, along comes the phone call from the genetics department at the hospital to tell me that baby v2.0 is not going to come equipped with a penis.

Time to order a pair of these, I guess.

10 October 2006

where the hell I've been

To answer the question, I've been right here all along. I have had nothing to say and too much to say, all at once. The quick and dirty updates:

I've felt like crap for a long time, it seems. This pregnancy hit me almost from day one with nearly 24x7 nausea. No puking (except when I gag on a vitamin), thankfully, but it still is icky. And I didn't know what I would feel like eating from one minute to the next. Now that I'm at week 14, I feel a lot better. The sciatica still hits me from time to time but it's not every day and it's not always so bad I can't walk. Woo hoo.

Had my CVS last week. Expected results yesterday or today. Nope. They are making me wait a bit longer. I'm not a very patient person, and we'll leave it at that. Fortunately, I've had something else to distract me.

New House
Yep, you read that right. After not quite three years in the current abode, we're relocating a whopping 3 miles away (and .7 miles closer to work). Could be worse....could be California. It's really a great spot. We'll be about 2 minutes from Trader Joe's when that opens in a month or so. It's around the corner from our vet, doctor, and pretty good restaurant and an interesting coffee house. There are kids in the neighborhood and we're at the end of a cul de sac. Perfect, right? No...not even close.

When we started looking there were three big things on my wish list. In order, they were (1) a first floor master suite; (2) no projects; and (3) a big flat yard for the dogs. I got (3). The house has five bedrooms, all on the second floor and it's a full flight of stairs, unlike our current split-level. And projects? Yep, we got 'em. The kitchen needs to be gutted and have two walls removed to make it a real kitchen and eating area. All three full bathrooms need to be gutted. The backyard needs to be fenced. And we knew all that before yesterday's inspection, which revealed the slate roof needs a little work, the chimneys need a little work, and the bloody air conditioner is 31 years old. I thought making a baby was my winter project.

So I'm spending most of my time on the phone with realtors, roofers, hvac dudes, and mortgage lenders when I should be getting things done at work.

Wishing I'd stayed under my rock yet? Hang on. There is a (potential) bright spot:

Dear friends in Wisconsin have a litter of Clumber puppies and they are kind enough to supply a webcam on the whelping box, since the wee ones were just a few hours old. The dam is Angelina, one of my all-time favorite Clumber girls. I have had the privilege of showing her at the last three national specialties. There are five boys in the litter and we planned on our next Clumber being a male. Paws and fingers crossed, the family will be back to three Clumbers when it's time for these guys to start heading to new homes, or perhaps a little later if I can prevail upon the kindness of my friends to hang on to "our" pup a little longer while we get settled in the new house and have a baby. We still feel the loss of Piper every day. Speaking of Piper...

Buy a Calendar
Way back when, I mentioned we were working on a legacy for Piper, trying to find a way to turn our loss into something positive for the breed. I am pleased to announce we are well on our way. The Piper Fund has been established by the Clumber Spaniel Club of America. Goals of the fund are to educate owners on the importance of necropsy and to provide small rebates to those who contribute Clumber necropsy results to a research database. Our first major fundraising effort is a 2007 calendar, in glorious color, with Piper herself on the cover. Makes a wonderful Christmas gift for the dog lover in your life. I'll provide a link when the sales flyer is downloadable, or email me and I'll send you the (somewhat large) pdf. Cost will be $25 plus $4.05 for priority mail shipping within the US. For more info, contact me here. 100% of the proceeds go to the fund. Did I mention it makes a great gift?

I think that's everything. I'll try to stay away from that rock.