Things I love: Boss outerwear

Brett had networking things after work, so after taking care of the boys I cleaned up and went out for a little shopping. I'd been tired and draggy and cold all day and thought a new sweater would perk (and warm) me up. My first stop was Hall's, as they're taking an extra 25% off markdowns through the 31st.

A sweater somewhere in the brown family was what I was looking for, so of course I came home with a black coat. This military-inspired wool jacket was just too good to pass up, especially for less than half price. Boss shirts don't always fit me well, but their pants and coats are great. I love my tan Boss topcoat (also bought on final sale at Hall's) and need to remember to pull it out more this spring. The fabrics are always interesting. I wish you could see the twill weave in this jacket, but it's too faint in black to photograph well.

I'm ready for spring to get here, but this should make the remainder of winter less awful.

Who's my hero

No, not Lance Bass. But I do love this new glam rocker shot on his facebook page (taken by photographer Mike Ruiz, found via towleroad). Surprised? Well now you know, I can't resist a stubbly man in a bellboy hat, leather collar and excessive guyliner. It feels like he's the drum major of a scantily clad, musclebound marching band. Only with less marching and more bump-and-grind.

Anyway, the picture made me smile, and I've needed something to do that this week. The SCOTUS ruling striking down the prohibition on corporate spending in elections scares me. Not only because of what it could mean for the election process in our country, but because it makes me fear the final ruling when the California Prop 8 trial reaches our court of last resort. I truly believe that the conservative justices on the bench are evil. Just so you know where I stand.

The other thing that has made me smile this week is that Brett bought Guitar Hero 5 last weekend and his band is named Hellfire Wilma. That was always what my grandpa would exclaim when my grandma would get on him about something ("Hellfire Wilma!"), and I always swore if I ever started a band that would be the name.

I don't play guitar hero. My fingers don't move that fast and just watching those notes coming at me makes my neck and jaw tighten up. But Brett's been playing Garbage (with an animated Shirley Manson on screen!) and Beastie Boys and old David Bowie, which I'm digging a great deal.

Good to be the King

The owner of my company has a birthday that falls on December 21. We don't buy him a Christmas gift, but we do chip in company wide for a birthday present. As a successful business owner with great taste, he's extremely hard to buy for.

His desk is an antique Baker dining table. It's beautiful with the rest of his contemporary office furniture, but after about 18 years in service and multiple moves and modifications, it's falling apart. My boss Mike heads up the gift selection each year and decided it was time for a new one.

I assisted with sketching ideas and finding photos of furniture features we liked. Mike came up with the final design and selected the wood species. It was fabricated by a local furniture studio. Simple, contemporary lines in walnut, zebrawood, and what I believe is madagascar rosewood.

There were a couple production delays so we just presented him with it today. We threw a couple tablecloths over it and set out the puppy carrier, bowls, and dog toys I picked up over lunch. I think he really thought he was getting a baby until Mike started to grab the carrier and things and asked him to pull off the linens.

It came out great, and he was very pleased. The guys from the studio are coming back late this week to move it up to his office and if possible I'll try to get a shot of it in place.

Hot in here!

They arrived around 815 this morning and left a bit after 3pm, but the new furnace is in. And its GOOD.

Favorite moment of the day: I could hear them talking below me in the basement and in between the banging and drilling and hammering one of the guys said "Oh my God, look at this heat exchanger." (Thats the part that killed the old furnace)

Brett and I make similar remarks about something here nearly every day.

Visit my neighbor

If you haven't stopped by Mrs. Blandings' recently, go today. I love her Musings from the Dream House, and today's especially. Yes, she loves designers and rooms and all the things that go in them, but she loves her boys the most.


I'll reference again this post, where I placed the blame for the passing of California's Proposition 8 squarely on the Mormon church. And as they issued their call for "civility and mutual respect" I stated clearly that I was feeling neither. Well I was right, and now there's proof.

What came to light today in a California courtroom but a document concerning Proposition 8 from the LDS church that states:

"With respect to Prop. 8 campaign, key talking points will come from campaign, but cautious,
strategic, not to take the lead so as to provide plausible deniability or respectable distance so
as not to show that church is directly involved."

Mormons, if you're working on anything where you might need the cover of plausible deniability, you might think twice about saying that very thing in a memo. Asshats.

Friday Forecast: Warmer!

Look at our latest house purchase! We're planning to use it in the basement.

While terribly not exciting, the new furnace is certainly a welcome addition. I'm looking forward to it being warmer than 60 for my morning shower. Along with it we got a new A/C unit since we found out the two current ones are 30 years old. Installation is Friday morning, so I've taken the day off to sit and read blogs and drink coffee while the guys do their thing.

The upside of a down (or just recovering) economy is that there are incentives galore. A rebate of $1500 from AB May when you buy a whole system, and a $1200 tax credit from Uncle Sam for improved efficiency. And since they couldn't repair our 20 year old furnace (parts unavailable), the home warranty kicked in $2000 toward a replacement. Finally for KC residents, if your air conditioner is old and inefficient enough, KCP&L may have $800 for you to use toward a replacement. As with everything, conditions must be met and restrictions apply.

The Lennox Signature series is pretty nice. SilentComfort technology and a fully insulated cabinet make for quiet operation. The two stage variable speed operation runs on low 80% of the time, increasing only when necessary. The low-speed fan provides a consistent, continuous flow of warm air. The 80% efficiency should be plenty when we get new windows and insulation in all the walls.

I'll have a performance review for you this weekend!

Turning Japanese

Living here for a while before making any changes has been good as it's given us knowledge about what does and doesn't work for us and the way we live. We've got more of the not fun stuff to do, like heating and cooling and insulation and electrical, but that doesn't stop me from burning hours looking at fixtures online.

I'm not sure I have any place for this (it's huge, 31" tall by 9" wide). Its the Bagoda sconce by Uttermost, and I sort of love it. The finish is described as brown, which I'm not feeling, but the lattice bracket and the swoop of the roof I totally dig. The little bird just seals the deal.

Ok, back to what I was looking for, a pair of sconces around 15", in silver.

Winners in my book

Best Television Series - Comedy or Musical may have gone to Glee, but Modern Family is the winner in my book. Not just because of Eric, but the entire cast and their great writers. They've already been picked up for a second season, so I expect more fun, and hopefully some awards, to come.


I love jewelry. I know, people have such strong opinions on men and jewelry: not too much, not at work, not too big...whatever.

Chez Malaise is likely getting a new furnace (thank goodness we have two), and almost all of my tax refund is going towards that. But I've had my eye on Konstantino's Pegasus Ring for a bit now, so I'm thinking about skimming a little off the top (with no stones its surprisingly reasonable) and treating myself.

Speaking of taxes...Mine are very simple so I did them Friday night. AB May was scheduled about the furnace on Saturday morning so I thought it would be good to know what I've got coming. Turbo Tax made it a breeze as it always does. Then at the end it gave me the strangest option, to announce on Facebook that I'd finished my taxes. (I did, and Brett promptly liked it)

About Facebook. I resisted until just recently, in spite of invitations from everyone from Brett to my 73 year-old mother to people I used to work with. "It doesn't do anything" I said. Eventually I made myself a page, although I didn't tell anyone. Just as I suspected, friend requests started arriving from high school classmates. Not that I think thats bad, but it confirmed what I already believed, that Facebook functions mainly as a way to find people you went to school with.

It's been entertaining to see what people are up to, but I'm not sold. The status updates on people's games are annoying, and I've already had to unfriend someone who apparently spent Saturday night typing every single solitary thought into the status update box filling my screen with, uh, not much. Brett says you can hide things or people you don't necessarily want live updates on, but it's not readily apparent to me where those controls are and I'm not prepared to work very hard to find them.

I've yet to say no to a friend request, so if you can find me and want to be my friend, come on.

Industrial Chic

Obviously I didn't make it to the DC Winter Antiques Show, but Homer's Odd Isn't He did. (photo credit, same blog)

Among his picks was this, which I'm especially taken by: early 20th century French industrial metal cart. $5,500, from the Finnegan Gallery.

Firsts: Things the new house has taught us

Courtesy of the University of Minnesota extension service, here is a diagram of an ice dam. This is what happens when you mix up the lethal cocktail of lots of snow on your house, extended periods of below freezing temperatures, and uneven heat loss through your (in our case uninsulated) roof.

Water started running down the inside of the picture window in the living room tonight. It's stopped for the moment as I'm sure everything has frozen up for the night. Now we know what the big discolored area on the floor under that window is. I'm sure it's been doing it for years. Arrgh.

The forecast tomorrow is in the 40s, which I don't think is going to be warm enough to melt the dam (but will certainly melt all the snow above it), but what do I know. It's the biggest piece of ice I've ever seen, cross your fingers.

This week in California

In case you haven't seen the news, and I haven't noticed a mention anywhere outside of a couple of the gay news blogs I read, the Proposition 8 challenge began today in San Francisco District Court.

You might remember that I have definite opinions on the issue of same-sex marriage, but I think the photo above best illustrates my point. The moment Mr. Speedo rolled out on the Conveyor Belt of Love, he and Bitchy Asian Chick were eligble to run down to the courthouse and tie the knot. After 12 years together Brett and I are not. Sanctity of marriage my ass.

I'm not angry, nor am I sad. Truthfully I'm not even hopeful. I'm just tired of the argument and the rhetoric and the politicization of something so intimate and personal.

Brett and I will do what we must to ensure our wishes and security are safeguarded, whatever the ruling may ultimately be. The fight won't end in San Francisco, and it won't end anytime soon. I've simply lost the ability to care any longer.

Gray matters

We went yesterday to pick up our new cabinet from Kincaid's and fell in love all over again. Here it is with my new white jars from Nell Hills. (and a little asian-esque wood stool that never sold at the mall) Yes, that's the big picture window smack in the middle of our house. The verticle line is blue painters tape and some masking tape, and is a representation of where we're building wall, and where we're removing. It makes more sense when you see it from the other side, where this piece will eventually live.

Something else we found yesterday is this:

You'll remember that I found what I thought was the ideal gray flooring for Chez Malaise. Ideal except for the price tag, which would land in the neighborhood of 20K before installation.

This above is a gray stained prefinished oak just like the first product, but is made by Armstrong rather than Mirage. I like the look a lot. The cost is nearly 2/3's less if we buy a pallet, (and we'll need at least one), and not a whole lot more than the cost of refinishing the existing floors. This would allow us to easily remedy the floors in parts without having to deal with drying times and stop/start finish issues.

So the only question is the quality of the product. The one manufacturer review I've been able to find was neutral, and an installers review named it an average product. I'm pretty much ok with average because it's the look I want, and I don't think we're especially hard on our floors. If you've had any experience with Armstrong's hardwood products I'd be very interested in hearing them.

King of the Crock Pot

With the hellish cold weather we've had all week, Kamikaze Chef (me) pulled out the electric skillet and the crock pot and went to work on comfort food.

So far we've had beef stew and chili. Today I made a basque chicken stew (tomatoes, red and green peppers, olives) that we'll have tomorrow. Currently in the pot for later this week is a beef and mushroom soup.

Who needs a stove?!

Vote for Eric

How fun! My straight cousin Eric is in today's After Elton Battle of the Network Gays poll.
Fans of Modern Family feel free to click on over and vote for Cam & Mitchell.

Resources: Kincaid Antiques

A couple posts down you'll see an antique chinese lacquered cabinet I found online that I thought might be good for under the television in the family room, once we get that wall built. I specifically didn't mention my source by name just in case you were in the market for something similar. Well, we stopped by today and I'm sad to report that it was already sold.

But I'm only a tiny bit sad because of this:

The shop, just like I said, is chock-full of gorgeous asian pieces and we thought this one was outstanding. At 6 feet 9 inches long though we were concerned about it's size. There was a second cabinet in a dark red lacquer that wasn't quite as long, and it was also a contender.

After a run to Nell Hill's to pick up a second white lidded jar we came home to do some measuring. Since we're removing almost an entire wall and replacing it with only a section, we hoped that something around seven feet wide would work. We measured off where the new wall would be opened up and where we'd rebuild the section and seven feet will be perfect. With that we headed back to Kincaid's and made the purchase.

While we were there I asked if I could take some photos to post here and was welcomed to do so. Online shopping is available for both furniture and accessories. Click on these photos to enlarge and you'll see there's some really wonderful things.

Brett was in love with this pair of red lacquered upright cabinets. The owner was telling us that on occasion she's had them modified (by moving interior shelving) and that they work very well as bar cabinets, an idea I like very much.

I tried to express, and hopefully Brett will remember, how much I love these fat horse figures. Perfect, oh I don't know, for a birthday, anniversary, or Christmas gift. I've seen them in the shop before in an ivory glaze, and I like them even better in this turquoise. As gray as we're planning to go here with the renovation we'll definitely need some color to keep things lively.

There's plenty besides cabinetry too. Altar tables, screens, lighting, antique boxes of all sizes and lots more ceramics.

The lines on this little side cabinet aren't really my taste, but I couldn't love the pale gray color more. The lamp and pair of urns are right up my alley.

The white lidded jars on top of those shelves would totally be mine if I hadn't just bought my new jars.

This long, low green box was used for holding scrolls. I could see it sitting on the floor under one of our big picture windows, or perhaps on top of our new gray cabinet. Perfect for holding Wii accessories. By the way, so far Brett is WAY better at Mario Kart.

She also often has these large wooden lattice panels, and I think they're beautiful. In fact I mentioned to Brett that on the other side of the wall we build one of these would be gorgeous with some mirror behind it, and a simple parsons table below.

Prices are good here and as you can see the selection is great. Holding our cabinet until next weekend (I've got to get my car unloaded with stuff from the mall) was also no problem. This was our second purchase and very likely not our last.

Locals are luckiest as they can stop in to see things first hand, but with a website and phone you can likely buy from almost anywhere. And you should.

Kincaid Antiques
1711 W. 45th Street (45th and State Line)
Kansas City, MO 64111
(816) 753-5067