Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Stupid Furniture

I got the new Restoration Hardware catalog today. I had read that they revamped their furniture line and was interested to see their new style. While they have a couple of lamps that I wouldn't mind owning, most of the stuff is ridiculously bad. It is not just over-sized and impractical, but also looks like you would need a tetanus shot after coming in contact with it. Much of it is iron or has iron hardware, which I'm pretty sure shows rust in a number of the photos.

Take a close look at the photo above and you'll notice that the desk is a large trunk. While it might make me feel a little like Alice after she drinks the potion, if I owned it, that is not a feature I generally look for in a piece of furniture.
Also, all of the not-so-little drawers and such are canvas, a sturdy fabric for sure, but still a fabric. Maybe not everyone is as grubby as I am, but I can't imagine an area filled with pens, ink cartridges, a printer, etc, not warranting a surface you can wipe down occasionally.
The desk is part of a collection of 18 trunks that serve as various pieces of furniture. You could have your whole house look like the movie set of a dock in front of a 20th century steamership. The whole catalog looks like a movie set. Everything is huge. It makes the furniture on Pottery Barn look like it belongs in a studio apartment. There's lots of linen - always a practical fabric for a couch or a dining room chair.
It looks like they mixed Donald Trump's sense of scale and penchant for Roman columns and then upholstered everything using Diane Keaton's wardrobe. Throw in a dash of lukewarm steampunk and you have their new catalog.

So I don't like their new stuff, big surprise, and big deal. What I can't figure out is who they are marketing this stuff to. To me, the stuff like the trunk would only appeal to people with apartments too small to hold it, and the linen wrapped couches to people who buy furniture for model McMansions in Florida? Who knows.

All I can say is, it's not doing anything for me.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Museum Fun

We walked over, with J and Cutie, to the Museum of Science and Industry this afternoon to take advantage of one of their ever decreasing "free days". Everything was bright lights, whirlygigs, and colorful buttons, so the kiddos were overstimulated by the time we made it to the actual exhibits. I think Wiggle could have watched the see-thru elevator for 20 minutes if I'd let him.

We spent the most time in an exhibit about the importance of petroleum in toymaking. Wiggle was captivated by a large drum, filled with various toys, that you could turn Wheel of Fortune-style.

He also had fun making faces at me from behind a window.

There was also a pretty cool exhibit about weather that was fun for adults and kids.

The little mad scientists are controlling the tornado of fog in the background.

I don't know what weather effect this was supposed to be, except that it had to do with water. There were three circles like this, and for some reason Wiggle would only walk into the center of one of them. He would only walk around the edges of the other two. I don't know why; I don't know if he knew why.

All in all, a fun afternoon that tuckered all four of us out. Next week, Wiggle and I are going to brave the new Matisse exhibit at the Art Institute. I've been looking forward to it for about a year, so hopefully I'll manage to get to it a couple of times before it closes.

In other news, I completed my first 5K this past weekend. Woohoo me! I didn't run it all, but I still felt pretty awesome about it. Also, I went to the dentist yesterday, and she could totally tell I've been flossing regularly. For some strange reason, I think she was a little disappointed at first, but she eventually recovered and said she was very impressed. Anyway, resolutions are paying off so far. I may need to redouble my efforts regarding bed-making and cleaning in general.

I've made some progress on the kitchen re-org, but I'm going to wait until the whole thing is finished before the "reveal."

This week has been one long to-do list that just seems to get longer, instead of shorter. Hopefully, I will make some progress on the list this weekend, so next week will feel less hectic.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Onward and Upward

In the lottery that is life, we just won the jackpot. Last week, C accepted a tenure-track job at a research one university in the DC area. We are over the moon.

Getting a tenure-track job is always an accomplishment; getting one the  first year out is awesome; getting one in this market is lucky. Don't get me wrong, C totally deserves this position. It's just that there are more deserving people out there than there are jobs, so it's important not to confuse deserving a job with feeling entitled to one.

We had always known that we would move wherever C got a job, and that wherever could be a place that isn't very desirable, so I spent a lot of time daydreaming about our future life in various locations - small towns, big cities, the West Coast, the South, middle-of-nowhere plain state, etc. For some reason though, I had never considered DC. It just wasn't on my radar. Now that we know it's where we are going, I've started looking into it, and it's totally awesome. Aside from the higher cost of living, the massive traffic problems, and terrible public schools, it's paradise. We have not one, but two, major airports. We are within weekend driving distance of at least 3 other major cities. We can drive to beaches or mountains. Baltimore crab and North Carolina barbecue have been our dream food trips for a long time, and now they are both within spitting distance. The museums are world class and FREE. We will be in a city with an opera which we really didn't think we would be. Food. Good farmers' markets, grocery stores,  and restaurants. We were really worried about that. We will probably be lacking in Mexican food some, especially compared to Chicago, but DC will make up for it with African food, especially Ethiopian.

I have no idea where we'll live, but it looks like if we limit C's commute, consider local schools, and cost, there are only a few viable neighborhoods/towns to consider.

I guess I'll have to start paying more attention to politics. I've been reading The Washington Post online to start acclimating myself.

This euphoria will wear off a little soon, and both the reality of moving and of leaving Chicago, which we both consider home, will start to hit us. For now though, I've got my head in the clouds.

Wiggle's excited too!

Happy, happy, happy.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Empty Box Fun

I should warn you, these photos are cute. I know I'm his mom and everything, but he's really pushing the limits of cute here.

I should also say that these pictures are totally spontaneous. He had dropped his apple slice into the box, and when he went in after it, he fell completely in and then curled up long enough for me to grab the camera. He did "pose" by grinning widely every time I held the camera up though.

Happy and holding the apple slice he retrieved.

Making faces for the camera.

This face is all Daddy.

Also, he has said his first word. It is "apple," which refers to all food, most things he wants, but cannot reach, and especially to apples. Yesterday afternoon, we were out of apples, and I felt horrible because he was going around pointing to the air and saying "ap-ple, ap-ple, ap-ple" for hours. Today, I stocked up.

He also may have said "belly button" tonight. It came out like "b-b-b-oooon," but I'm pretty sure that's what it was. 

Those are the cute things. On the downside, he found the litter boxes today and thought they were sandboxes. Ick.

Monday, March 1, 2010

The Ugly Truth

Lately, I've been feeling pretty good about the apartment because even when it seems like a complete disaster, which happens about every other day, I can generally get it cleaned up in less than an hour. If I get to mopping, it takes maybe an hour and a half. This is not to say there aren't areas that could still use work (there's a dust bunny on the ceiling of my bathroom that mocks me every time I take a shower), but it's clean enough that I don't feel it weighing on me.
There are a couple of notable exceptions that take little nibbles at the sense of calm my "clean" house gives me.
Our bedroom has the door closed more often than not these days, but I can still see my way to the end of that one. I think I need to hang some shelves to get a little more room for the odds and ends of the room. I always have a growing pile next to the bed of half-read magazines, books, a notepad for things that I remember in the middle of the night, etc. One might suggest that a nightstand would be a good place for these things, but I would counter that one does not have a thirteen-month-old wreaking havoc on all of the low surfaces in the house.

The linen closet needs some purging as well. I have the medicine cabinet of a Florida grandmother. Lots and lots of drugs, all in Costco quantities, extra shampoos, enough toilet paper to supply the troops, and way too many linens, and yet not enough of ones that I use.
One problem in the linen closet is that I really need to learn how to fold laundry in general,and sheets specifically. They never stack into neat little piles for me, but instead are always precariously perched, ready to spill out at the slightest touch or perturbation. But this area too, I can envision clean and tidy. I just need a spare afternoon to devote to it.

The place I struggle with the most, that I can't seem to make progress in even when I spend hours and hours on it, is the kitchen.

Brace yourself - there are pictures.
The mess that ate the wall

Pantry or bomb shelter? Or did a bomb go off in the pantry?

Apparently, I really like wine and picnics (which is true, actually).

So much food, so little to eat. 
My refrigerator has been taken over by condiments and add-ins (capers, sun-dried tomatoes, olives, etc)

The sink area collects the most junk. The random lid without a jar, a fondue fork, dirty bibs.

If you have finally stopped screaming in horror and continued to read this, you might ask "why on earth did you show this to me?" The answer is a two part paradox. First, I showed it to the world, and therefore to you gentle reader, for accountability. Now that I've shown the "before" pics, I really, really want to get some "after" pics up here. Second, I don't really care what you think, because the blog is more for me than it is for you. Hence, the paradox. I need an audience for accountability to work, but then, I go and say that I don't care about that same audience. Sorry, I'm just complicated like that.

The timing of this kitchen overhaul was prompted by a website. I am taking part in the Kitchen Cure hosted by Apartment Therapy's cooking website the kitchn. People all over the world pledge to clean their kitchens together over 4 weeks. The website serves as an online personal coach by giving you weekly assignments, and people post pictures and discuss problems/accomplishments in true support group fashion.

I haven't done anything like this before (the online project thing, I have cleaned before), but I'm hoping to have greater success than my normal efforts by publicly airing my dirty laundry. Let's just hope I don't stoop to showing my actual dirty laundry.