Happy New Year

It's an odd finish to 2010 at Chez Malaise. As I type the substitute electrician is trying to get the ceiling lights to work in the bathroom, Prada is penned in another bathroom because she wouldn't stop barking, and Alex is napping with Brett, who is in bed sick.

The temperature hit the low 60s here yesterday, yet there is ice on the trees this morning from an overnight rain. Also this week a bird flew into the dining room bay window, hard enough to take a cone-shaped chunk out of the glass.

The contractor we met with about reconfiguring the entry/living/family rooms finally got back to us this week. His bid was exactly twice what I told him our budget was. I was hoping for a breakdown of costs per item but that didn't happen, which makes me think he's not terribly interested in the job.

You might think I'd be bummed out, but for some reason I'm not. The lights will eventually come on and Prada will go home to her daddy. Brett will go to the doctor for drugs and get well, and if we have to get more quotes or GC another project ourselves, well, we'll do that.

We've lived here just over a year and while there's so much left to do to make this place a home, truly quite a bit got done.

And through the occasional scary parts and numerous little wins, you were here reading my rants and cheering us on.

Wishing you all the best in 2011.

This is gorgeous

Roger Ebert thinks it should win an academy award for short subject. I'm totally charmed.

Christmas wrap up

Turns out there was no need for my Christmas crankiness. Brett had a good holiday with his family and made it back in time to head to my family's gathering for drinks and dessert. We intended to stay about an hour and head home to exchange our gifts but were having such a good time catching up with my cousins Eric and Mauria and their mates that we were there all evening.

Eric did indeed wrap up his Emmy for his parents for Christmas so it was the popular photo op as you see here. Brett was surprised by the weight. I never pick up important things like that because I always fear dropping them. Plus I had a glass in my hand most of the time.

Mauria and I lived together at KU and she's moved to Chicago in the years since. We don't see each other nearly often enough so I was super happy we got to spend time together. She and her man are also heading to Cabo this week, so I'm also super envious.

Cranky Christmas

We're a bit out of sorts here. The traditional goings-on have all changed and Brett and I neither one are too happy about it. But we'll deal, and after meeting all the obligations Christmas night will find us here together, which is where we'd both prefer to be. With dinner and a good bottle of prosecco and Alex and Prada running around. Some gifts and probably some Wii gaming as well. Who knows, maybe even a movie if we're feeling crazy.

May your Christmas be exactly what you're hoping for!


December has been a pain in the ass. Work has been incredibly busy, which is a good news story except that I'm accustomed to a certain pace to my days. Family stuff has also taken a bit of time and energy, and so my annual December 15th post to say happy anniversary to my sweetie, well it didn't happen.

But it was our anniversary this past week, lucky number thirteen. As I tweeted that evening, 13 years ago I had a date with a guy. And Wednesday night that guy and I were sitting on our couch, in our house, drinking wine with our dog in our lap. I'm amazed and surprised, but mostly I'm grateful for loving, and being loved, more than I ever imagined I would.

Brett and I have traveled a bit, and you know by now of my love for France. My gift from Brett was two french things I'd mentioned. A Le Creuset braising pan in the Ocean color, and Dorie Greenspan's new cookbook, Around My French Table.

You might be thinking "They don't even have a working stove, why would he want either of those things right now?" And to that I can only say, with a long shared history comes a certain amount of faith in the future. It may not be right here, right now, but at some point I'll cook from that book, in that pan. And when I sit down to eat it'll be with the guy who gave them to me.

Happy anniversary sweetheart.

Would someone show John McCain the door

First it was "Wait until the Don't Ask Don't Tell" study is complete. The study said the majority of the armed services didn't care if the gays served openly.

Then it was "The study is flawed, they should do another one."

Now it's "Three out of four military leaders agree, now isn't the right time to repeal. Lets look at a path to repeal sometime in the future."

Mr. McCain, please stop. Any shred of credibility you had before foisting Sarah Palin on the world is now completely gone. You're pandering and everyone knows it. Your wife and daughter (both of whom I like a great deal!) don't even agree with you. You've become a dinosaur, and one who'll say anything in an effort to remain relevant. Thank you for your past service. It's time for you to go.

Balls out

I took this shot from Jenny, who got it here. And knowing my history with balls, you know I think its fab. Other happenings:

My office adopted families again this Christmas, and once again Brett and I were to buy for a seven year old boy. I forgot to take pictures of his haul before I wrapped, but there were boot cut jeans, cargos, shirts and half-zip sweaters, and most exciting, a soccer ball and goal, and the radio controlled helicopter that were on his wish list. The helicopter has a missile launcher. I hope that if he tries to shoot his older sisters that he doesn't injure them.

Prada the Christmas Schnauzer will be joining us again for the holiday, staying from December 20th through January 3rd. She is practically svelte since moving out of the high rise, I'll try to showcase her new figure with a photo comparison.

And finally its cold. Freakishly cold. Low tire pressure and going out to buy Alex a little jacket cold. We had an energy audit and the guy is coming back with the results tomorrow evening. I'm WAY looking forward to finding out what we need to do to make the bedroom feel less like its outside.

Moving the ball down the field

Raina, fellow passenger on the bathroom renovation train, posted an update today. We've made some progress ourselves so I thought I should put up a shot as well. The drywall is all up and it actually feels like a room again.

The big surprise is that the doors are in. Who did them? We did!

The internet is amazing. I simply googled "how to install a split-jamb door" and was watching a video in mere seconds. You need a hammer and finish nails (long ones), a level and some shims, and then some shorter finish nails for securing the casing to your walls. The first took a bit longer but the second door practically hung itself. And happy accident, the door looks to be exactly the right size to clear the floor tile with no trimming necessary.

Its been forever since I've painted anything around here, so thats on my list for this week.

Like Raina, I'm shooting for a January reveal. Cross your fingers.

The MidMal Gift Guide

Its December, its cold, and I don't think I've ever done a gift guide. We cap Christmas pretty low at Chez Malaise, so think of it as a guide not only for the holiday, but for gifting (yourself or others) all year long. Spreading it out is much better than concentrated Christmas excess.

I somehow forgot to upload this when I first posted, it's C. Jere's Raindrops wall sculpture, available through Jonathan Adler. Love.

I saw these at Hall's and guessed that they were made by Global Views, and I was right.

They're the Geometry Covered Vases, and 19 and 25.5 inches tall respectively. Global Views' website has a handy dealer locater if Hall's isn't convenient. Note, the ones I saw were much brighter than these appear, which is good. The green was way more acid than grass.

It wouldn't be my gift guide if there wasn't a lamp, so how about two.
From Barbara Cosgrove's BCL line, the Glitz lamp. Eighteen inches tall, silver on porcelain, $356 for a pair, which is the only way they're sold. (Pairs are good, we like pairs.)

Imagine a tree full of silver balls and these.

Unglazed porcelain origami crane ornaments, $48 per pair at Gump's. At that price a full tree is going to require some severe markdowns, but still they're very cool.

I love mirrors, especially big, round ones.

From Global Views again, the Galt mirror. 36" of beveled mirror and pale wood goodness. I can think of a number of places this would be really great.

Good gifting always requires a little work, but please do not steal this Winifred Turner sculpture, Crouching Youth, from the Victoria & Albert in London.

Austin Productions made an authorized cast of the original. I've been watching one on eBay forever, but it seems to have disappeared. If you ever run across one I need to know.

Getting to those covered vases at Hall's took me right past the shelves of Votivo, where I remembered how much I like their Clean Crisp White scent.
I know, I don't really want to look at a reed diffuser either. The problem is, while Votivo's candles smell great, they also smoke a lot. Like enough to set the alarm off when you leave one burning in your condo bathroom on Christmas eve. Tuck this in a discreet spot and you're good to go.

This isn't just a list of things for the house though. Everyone wants a little something for themselves.

Like a black guccissima bifold wallet, $280 from Gucci. Just remember, men are often particular about wallets, don't give one unless you know what he likes.

Jewelry is much the same. He's likely either a jewelry guy or he isn't.

I wish David Yurman wouldn't plaster his initials all over things, but even with, I like the multiple pieces of the Special Petrvs Amulet Necklace, $1350 from Neiman Marcus. The 22" chain seems a little long, but that's an easy fix. I think it would be a lot more interesting up a bit closer to the throat.

Another good idea I must mention is a gift thats fun and does some good at the same time. What could be more fun than a puppy! The doing good part comes from getting one from your regional rescue.

This sweet little guy (and his brother - another pair!) is available from a shelter in St. Louis, but there are plenty of extra dogs everywhere. And if you're not up to housebreaking or dealing with all the mess (schnauzers are a handful until they're about two) there are plenty of adult and senior dogs who need a home as much, if not more than the babies. This is one gift you should ask about before hand. We're serious about dogs here, and 'forever home' means forever.

And finally, the big gun. Yes, every winter we're bombarded with the commercials. Often the family in the driveway presenting Mom with her new Lexus.

I say if you really want it make it a December to Remember, go vintage. This 76 Eldorado convertible is fab and way more reliable than something old and British or Italian. 19 feet long and not much more than that to the gallon. White is nice, and black is always good. (Red is a bit much in my mind.) Perfect, to me at least, is Innsbruck Blue, with the blue leather interior. Get the parade boot too. You probably won't end up behind a marching band, but you never know.

Not that there's anything going on in the dining room

But how much do I love this chandelier. Thomas O'Brien for Visual Comfort. Kind of mod, kind of retro, a tiny bit wacky. Thirty-three and a half inches wide, in polished nickel.

Oh look

Here is a handsome Ralph Lauren for Henredon buffet. Last year the lady selling it on Craigslist was asking 600. Last month she listed it again at 400, and if I had any extra cash I would have bought it. We've got lots of empty space and storage is always good.

If you're interested, it's now available on eBay at the bargain price of $2499.99. The seller is in Garden City, not too far from KC. They also have the Baker sideboard they beat me out on at an estate sale two years ago. They started somewhere around two grand on it and its down to $724.99 now.

Anyway, handsome buffet is on my watch list now in case I have a spot for it in 2013, when I'll shoot them an email offering 425. And just in case the sellers might find this post (stranger things have happened) I'll say this: You buy pretty good stuff, but even with Ralph's nameplate inside, in the end its just used furniture.


photo credit tvfanatic.com

I had a whole post ready in case the teabaggers hijacked Dancing With the Stars, alas with Bristol out in 3rd place there's no need. But why waste the Shirtless Mark Ballas photo I found?!


Its amazing what happens when you get after a project. We spent the weekend hanging drywall and we're over halfway done. And most importantly, there were no injuries in spite of the use of a rather scary jab jaw.

You'll note the copious use of screws, perhaps more than you'd see if you had this done by a pro. Yes, there were lots of misses and screw-throughs, but its up and its solid. Our carpenter Bill would be horrified, but we're pretty proud.

Pat, the really nice neighbor behind us came over to check on us and was kind of unsure how to reply when we mentioned tiling next, thinking that we didn't know sheetrock wasn't the proper underlayment, but we explained that it was all getting covered with the Schluter fabric and would be waterproof.

Just about 1 1/2 walls left and we'll be ready for the next step.

After a bite to eat and a shower we treated ourselves to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I. If you've enjoyed the others you'll like this one just as much.

Why I don't DVR daytime TV

Weekend Recap: The good and the ugly

Thursday I was running errands over lunch when a series of Estate Sale signs guided me into a strip mall near my office. It was the strangest mix of things, from what looked like an old french pine armoire priced at $1800 to tupperware pitchers. My friend Jenny just bought a pair of lovely old twin beds with inlaid wood head/foot boards, and I've been searching for a small chest we could paint to go between them. I didn't find a chest, but I did find the Henredon buffet you see above. Of course at our house we like to say Henry Don because we're weird like that.

I thought the lines were good, but they had $235 on it which seemed like a bit much. I mentioned it to Brett, and also emailed another friend who likes to refurbish the occasional piece of furniture. Saturday we ran to the coffee shop near that strip mall for breakfast when Brett asked if I wanted to show him. I balked at first, I was feeling tired and lazy, and if by chance it was there I wasn't really in the mood to heave anything heavy into the car. Well, not only was it (surprisingly) still there, but it was half price. And its on wheels, so it rolled right outside to our vehicle.

Hello Gorgeous recently unveiled some magic she worked on a set of Henry Link Bali Hai bedroom furniture. In that reveal post she also noted some information she received on using Fine Paints of Europe's Brilliant sign enamel for an approximation of a lacquer finish. I'm going to have to order it online as there are no dealers in KC, and from what I can tell its about $100 a gallon for both paint and primer, but I'm going to give it a shot. The ten buck fee for a custom match is cheaper than ordering a $50 paint deck, so the search for a color is on. My first thought was a soft, pale gray, although Brett and I are both intrigued with the idea of burnt orange if we can find the right one. It also desperately needs new hardware, so if you know of a a really good ring pull give me a shout.

So that was the good. Also good was the fact that we completed the cement board on the bathroom floor, and late in the afternoon I got our leaf-filled front yard mowed.

But midday today came the ugly. Brett was scoring the last little piece of board when his utility knife slipped off the straightedge. The urgent care folks were great and about an hour later I was driving Frankenfinger and his six stitches home. It was horribly painful for him I know (and unbelievably bloody!) but he's alright, and has spent the evening medicating with a bottle of chilean sauvignon blanc.

Chili time

Every year on the Friday before Halloween my office has a chili cook-off. I don't usually participate because I have a policy about getting out of the office for lunch, but this year I was kind of in the mood for chili and thought what the hell.

I don't have a go-to chili recipe. I've always kind of thrown it together from what I have around, or I've seen a recipe somewhere and given it a shot. Nothing has wow'd me so far. So I went to my favorite recipe site, allrecipes.com, and picked the recipe with the highest score (5 stars) and most reviews (1794). It's called the Boilermaker Tailgate Chili.

We're still handicapped without a stove so browning meat in the electric skillet and moving to the crockpot was a little bit of a hassle, but the beans and tomatoes are easy from a can. Other than that it was just chopping vegetables and measuring spices (there are lots of ingredients), so it wasn't a horrible deal. I made it the evening before and tasted it before we went to bed. It was just okay. So just okay in fact, I left it at home on Friday and went out for lunch as usual.

That next evening, well, it was there so we warmed it up for dinner. And as is often the case, it was WAY better the next day. So if you don't have a favorite you might give it a shot, and here are a few tips:

-You want the bulk sausage, nothing in casing. Also, I like the rougher grind of the beef.

-I used one fewer can of beans for a total of three, and it was fine. Four would be too much.

-A half can of tomato paste worked just fine.

-I chop all the celery and peppers on the big side because I like them to stay firmer, and they did.

-A small can of chiles is fine if there are no fresh ones.

-Forget bacon bits, 3 pieces cooked crisp and crumbled is delicious.

-You do need the beer. Drink the other half while you cook!

-And finally, be generous with the spices. Rounded teaspoons beat level, although I eased off on the cayenne and thought it was spicy without being overwhelmingly hot.

If you give it a try let me know what you think.

Preview: wall & floor tile

One of my colleagues at work (Hey D!) is renovating his bathroom so we've been discussing our projects. I was describing my tile when he asked if I'd posted a shot on the blog. It's a good idea, so here it is laid out on the living room floor.

The 8.5"X19.5" wall tile will be laid in a running bond as shown. The 12"X12" China Black for the floor will be laid on the diagonal. Both will have teeny grout lines. Hopefully we'll be ready to start laying this stuff in a weekend or two.

Dinner, cards, blogging...

All good things to do at a great round dining table, like this one from dosgallos.com. (Yes, I'm still obsessed with round dining tables) This is the 60", shown in a medium mahogany, lightly distressed finish. It comes in a number of other finishes, including a black which I really like, and a 72" size that would be perfect in my dining room. Does anyone know anything about Dos Gallos?


Sick of hearing about plumbing yet? (we're sick of talking about it!)

When we moved in I couldn't get the cold water washing machine hose off the spigot down in the basement. So I put our much newer, steel-wrapped hose on the hot and hooked up the old cold hose to the machine.

Over time the slight bulge got bigger until finally we decided that when not using the machine we'd turn the supply off. And one of the last things I did before we headed off to Cali was make sure that was done. Good thing too, when we got back and prepared to do some wash it finally gave way.

Still, there was no getting that old hose off, so Saturday we called Roto Rooter back. While I waited I took a hacksaw to it and actually got the connector cut, but it still wasn't coming off. Matt the plumber showed up and after a false start caused by our turning off the water main before he arrived, he installed new taps, I got a new hose, and we're back in business.

And while he was here Brett asked if he wanted to quote the bathroom re-plumb. He beat all three of our estimates. He'll be back on the 27th to do the job.

And the Tile Shop called, the wall tile is in! I'll head out to pick it up this week.

You make the call

There is currently one double-hung window in the bathroom that must be replaced. It remains where it is and retains it's current size, the only possible change would be to a casement. It will be surrounded by about a 3-inch casing painted white, and then the whole thing is surrounded by white marble. The sink will be to the right and there will likely be a freestanding cabinet of some sort to the left, but nothing that impedes.

So the question is what to do for a window covering. I'm open to curtains because we bought a Panasonic exhaust fan that I'm sure will move the moisture out. I'm also open to a variety of blinds or shades. I'm even thinking it might be nice to forgo any covering at all and apply some sort of view-obscuring film to the glass. The only thing I'm not so into would be a shutter.

So what do you think? Or even better, what have you seen or done yourself that you felt worked really well?

When last we discussed the bathroom - or - The value of a good carpenter

You'll recall there was nothing going on while we worked on patching the subfloor and gathered plumbing quotes. I'm pleased to report we may have broken the log jam.

I had Bill, our faithful carpenter, stop by before we left town to look at a couple spots on the ceiling that needed patching. There was some odd framing left from the shower walls that I didnt quite know how to handle and a corner where an old roof leak had left the plaster all brittle and crumbly. I thought he'd give me a good price on the fix. Instead, he gave me a killer price on a full ceiling and subfloor replacement.

I had to kind of laugh when he proposed it. I said "Bill, why do my projects get more complicated everytime you come here?" His response was "Because I want to be sure all your projects get done right." I can't really argue with that.

He showed me how the old subfloor was a bit bouncy and explained that replacing it would allow him to glue and screw new wood to the floor joists. A solid footing under the Wonderboard would ensure that my floor tile stays in place and won't crack or break.

So he started yesterday and this afternoon when he called to see when I'd be home tonight I knew he was done. But there was more, and this is why Bill has his own code on our keypad deadbolt.

One of the shower walls was two different thicknesses. The studs were 2X4's on one half, and 2X6's on the other to accomodate the toilet stack. Not a big deal, but it would mean that I'd be tiling a floor-to-ceiling strip about 2 inches wide where I turned the corner. So what did Bill do? Without even asking he sistered up those 2X4's with new 2X6's to make that wall all the same, making the upcoming drywall and tile just that much easier, and the look just that much cleaner.

And that new ceiling? He got the greenboard for half price because he bought sheets with broken corners that he knew he could work around, and took the savings and bought new insulation which he put down up in the attic. Not because I asked, because we'd never discussed it. Just because what little insulation was there went with the demo, and attics need insulation, and that's just how he works.

California Dreaming

Ok, here are some vacation pics! They're all out of order because I'm lazy and Blogger tends to throw things up in reverse order. (Is it just me or does it do that to everyone?) Here we go.

Vineyards in the Valley, we hit about 8 over the three days so I don't exactly remember which this one was.
Same here, unidentified grapevines.

Union Square in San Francisco, at the end of the block from our hotel. True story: we'd gone back to the room for a nap Tuesday after the de Young museum. We could year noise and a loudspeaker from all the way up on the 8th floor. Thinking it could be something fun we ran down to check it out. It was a worker's rights protest group picketing our hotel. They had vuvuzelas.

Robert Sinskey Vineyards, the best tasting room, without a doubt. The reservation only "Farm to Table" tour starts with some company history, continues through the kitchen garden, hits the actual winemaking area (with a taste of just-pressed-moments-ago juice), through the caves, and finally to a pergola-covered table on the terrace. Six wines paired with delicious things cooked in the vineyard kitchen all enjoyed with a view of the vines. Seriously, call ahead and make the reservation, this one was fun.

It wouldn't be a trip to San Francisco without a visit to the gay high holy ground that is the Castro. You get off the Muni train and exit Harvey Milk station at Castro and Market, and come up right smack in front of the Diesel store. Somebody knows their target market.

And we rode a cable car. I never realized the cable was underground, I always thought it was the electrical wires overhead. Do not tease, I'm a Kansas boy, we have horrible public transportation here. Different mode, now I know.

Alcatraz island. I thought it would be kind of touristy but the 45 minute audio walking tour was quite interesting. The whole thing is smaller than you'd think. The main cell house is the sort of big, blocky industrial architecture you'd expect. This shot shows the ruin of the warden's house, which surprisingly was spanish colonial revival. I never expected it, but then again it's California so it's not at all out of character.

View of San Francisco from the water.

And the California Academy of Science (which looked really interesting), taken from in front of the de Young Museum. Devoting more time to the de Young next trip as the collection is amazing. We'll also be sure to hit the Legion of Honor as well.

So there you go, a few highlights. Brett will be sorting and making galleries this coming weekend I'm sure, so if I see that I've forgotten any stand-outs I'll be sure to post.

It was a really fun trip, but its good to be home and sleep in my bed (with Alex Schnauzer!)

Home from California

And we're back. The weather in California, both San Francisco and the Napa Valley, was beautiful. More wine and food than I thought was possible, all of which I thoroughly enjoyed. I have tons of pictures on the camera and will try to post a few soon.

Trolling Craigslist: Lighting Strikes

I think I've mentioned before how awful the Kansas City Craigslist is. We're awash in a sea of honey oak, "hand-carved" and "purchased just last year from Nebraska Furniture Mart!" Ugh.

But still I look, because you never know, and once in a while something interesting pops up.

Milo Baughman for Thayer Coggin per the posting, and I'm inclined to believe it (although I'd sure as hell be looking for a mark).

They're upfront and specifically say that it needs refinishing, and it does. I'm okay with that because I bet its solid. I might like it even more just a bit darker.

They also call it zebrawood, which its not, but okay. They're asking $200 which doesn't seem obscene, but I'd still offer less.

I'm not even going to inquire as we've got plenty going on without another expense or project, but if we were between things here I'd totally give them a call.

I was going to live blog Dancing with the Stars

But between the underwhelming performances (I feel so bad for Michael Bolton) and Evil Sarah Palin in the audience I'm not certain I can finish watching.

Oh, and I'm pretty sure whoever made Bristol's dress is a democrat.

Did Carrie Ann just say balls? I believe she did!

Well alright Jennifer Gray, nicely done! I think you should have got 9s personally.

And hopefully that was the last we'll see of Sarah Palin.

Firsts: Plumbing edition

Minor disaster struck in the basement this past week when the washing machine emptying suddenly caused water to begin streaming up through the floor drain. A couple applications of drain opener didn't help, and actually the second product (a gel) made it worse. Finally this afternoon we called Roto-Rooter.

We have six different stacks in the basement all leading to main waste lines. He had Brett run up and begin flushing toilets (except the one we're still missing) in an effort to diagnose. The master bath flush sent more water up through the drain. As the water rose I mumbled "Oh shit" to which the plumber replied "Probably."

Things didn't seem to be getting any better when he couldn't get the clean out open and announced that he'd have to chisel it out. The replacement was only 20 bucks.

As he got to work Brett and I sat at the table steeling ourselves for the worst, and praying that the old pipe hadn't simply collapsed. Finally we headed down to check, and the wet spot around the drain where the standing water had been signified that the drain was open.

Roto-Rooter guarantees their work and as such he went ahead and snaked the line to his machine's 100 foot max. He thought the clean-out had never been opened and guessed that 58 years of build-up was the culprit. As the drain snake worked its way back out he pulled out a big black blob that appeared to be a towel. Because he was wearing two pairs of gloves he poked around and finally laughed. It was pantyhose.

I guess I could get some fries instead

(photo via Joe.My.God)
Have a great weekend everyone!


With no work happening on the bathroom project and apropos of nothing, I've been thinking about wallpaper. None of the current paper will survive, but we'll definitely put some back up. I'm digging Fretwork by G P & J Baker. This is the silver colorway, which might be nice on the wall which will separate the living and family rooms. That wall will float in between the two rooms not connecting to any other walls, I could match the paint on the surrounding walls to the background.

It also comes in a pale aqua colorway which looked really sharp. The dining room has very little wall, picture windows on two walls and archways on the other two (eventually). I'd been thinking about black walls as there was so little of them, but some pattern could be nice too. I could also match the ground for painting the coved ceiling. Black wood floor, pale aqua ceiling, subtle pattern on the walls-I could live with that. And plenty of time before we have to make any decisions.


The plumber was scheduled to return on Sunday for the following:

1. Replace sink supply lines
2. Replumb shower
3. Remove toilet drain (so we can finish the subfloor replacement)
4. Re-install sink and shower drain vent piping

End result? No call, no show.

His reply to Brett's email today was that while he'd like to finish the job he's unsure when he'll be available so we should find someone else. I'll be interested to see if we get a bill for the tearout.

While we were out Saturday we stopped by the tile shop to see about our wall tile, which was back ordered until September 3rd. Estimated arrival: October 18th.

We had Alex in the car with us so I stayed out with him. Brett was barely out the door when he yelled "I should just cancel the order." In the face of his displeasure the store staff had nothing to offer other than a lukewarm apology. Later on they did call Brett's niece (who ordered the tile for us utilizing her designer discount) and offered up the same stone in the 12X24 size at the price we paid for the 8X19.5.

I'm inclined to wait it out as what we ordered is what I think is absolutely right. I feel like the scale of the 12X24 tile is too chunky for the size of the room, but I've promised Brett I'll make some cardboard templates and tack them up to the wall so we can look at them.

Reveal photos will now likely include a jack-o-lantern.

Town & Country

We've had a little trip planned for a while now. Its next month, but the excitement just kicked in over the last few days. We start with a couple of days in the gay holy ground that is San Francisco, just Brett and I. We're staying at the Hotel Frank which looks very cool. If you've stayed there let me know what you thought.

And then Chris and Rachel and Cece join us for a few more in Napa.

This photo is from the Calistoga Ranch website. We're not staying here this time because we're saving it for our honeymoon when Prop 8 is finally overturned. Instead, and because its the middle of harvest and hotel rooms are nonexistant, we've rented a house at one of the vineyards. Theres a pool and views of the vines, so it should be a lot of fun and very relaxing. And very boozy. The end of the month can't get here soon enough.

The finest woodworking you'll never see

This has been the most monsterously manly weekend I've experienced in...maybe forever. Showering has been spotty (as in not yet today and it's 530pm) and I haven't shaved since Friday morning, but we've got some things done.

Here is about 40 inches of bathroom wall where the new sink will go. Fitting in nicely between the corner and a door, the only problem was going to be centering things. The Resto cabinet is sized to slip right in between studs (as am I!) but that was going to shift everything just slightly to the right. Further right than I could deal with. So with Brett, a measuring tape, a square, and the two power saws my mother bought me last week as an early birthday present, today we got down to it.

We did a dry fit before we nailed in the final board and it fit like a glove. It took careful planning and a crazy amount of measuring and marking, but this is the crowning achievement of the weekend.

The floor on this half of the bathroom is in good shape so we went ahead and tacked down new vapor barrier. Not a huge accomplishment I know, but part of the process.

What really does matter in the grand scheme is a solid subfloor. The old shower was cement inside a lead liner. For the most part it held up just fine, but the tile around it has been shot for some time, and with it the walls and part of the floor. Trimming back to the center of the floor joists and avoiding extraneous framing for drains and vents took longer than we thought. Piecing in too seemed a bit unwieldy, but neither of us were prepared to just up and replace the entire floor. The end result, while not a textbook repair I'm sure, is solid and flat.

Obviously theres a bit more of that to come. As mentioned, the plumber has to come back and do some things so we can fix around the toilet, and then we'll really be ready to move. Floor tile underlayment, pony wall, insulation and drywall are up next, in that order.

Brett is cleaning up and heading out to pick up some BBQ. After the weekend we've had grilled meat seems only fitting.

And so we labor

Hope your labor day weekend is going well! Ours has been...laborious.

We've cut out some bad spots in the bathroom subfloor (old rot and/or termite damage) and patched in with new wood. Its been a little bit frustrating because we have to leave the area around the toilet. The plumber left the cast iron pipe in. Once he's back to remove that I can replace that wood and we're moving.

In other areas we're going to go ahead and put down the vapor barrier and mortar/screw down the tile underlayment. We just cut a hole for the new floor register which is moving about 4 feet from where it was. I tweeted that I got mad jigsaw skills because it seems a lot like a sewing machine.

And here's something nice that happened: We walked into Lowe's yesterday with our materials list. We found the sawhorses and were about to start looking for everything else when Alli approached us and said "You guys have the look, can I help you find something?" She then proceeded to walk us around to get every single thing we needed. What's more, she helped a few other people on the way without ever breaking stride.

Management of the Lowe's in Roeland Park, Alli rocks, please note your file.

Enjoy the rest of your holiday everyone. I hope to have progress pictures soon!

What Emmy winners do the next morning

Relax in the back yard with the dog of course...