Archive for ‘Things Janie Loves’

February 18, 2018

I am not dead, I just bought a house

by Janie Jones

Greetings to anyone still out there.

I did buy a house last June.  Not the one mentioned in the previous post.  That first house ended up having some issues with the inspection that I didn’t want to deal with.  As it happens, I found something I liked better a short while later.  So even though it was stressful, it worked out well in the end.  How often do I say that?!?

This is the house I did buy:

New House w All 1

Janie, the spud and Rupert on the front steps of our new home

Built in 1919, it’s a traditional two storey with 3 bedrooms and a partially finished basement with a 4th bedroom.  There is a large kitchen with a fairly open concept living room-dining room.  The yard is very small, but out back the home has a nice big deck, a detached garage and extra off street parking (a big must in my area).   While in good structural condition, it was lost in the 80s and needed a lot of cosmetic upgrades.  Most urgently the rooms all needed fresh paint and to ditch the 30+ year old carpet.  Underneath most of the nasty old carpet was maple hardwood flooring.  It has been a laborious, stressful and expensive process getting the floors re-finished, but they are finally done everywhere except the stair case (which my contractor was supposed to have done before Thanksgiving, but that’s another story) and the kitchen.  I have new tile for the kitchen, so hopefully I can look into getting that re-done soon as well.  Eventually I also want to paint the exterior.  I am not fond of that brick red color and, though you can’t really tell in this blurry, enlarged photo, the paint job was pretty shoddy.

This is not my first house reno, but it is the first time I had to do a whole house by myself while working two jobs.  It has not been a pretty process; I have broken down and hired contractors for a lot of the floor work and while it saved me personally a lot of time, the dealing with people who don’t give a rat’s ass about what you want even though you are paying them to work on your house has been very frustrating.  But I am almost done (conveniently I am also almost out of money) and I am really looking forward to having a home to be proud of again.  Lately I have been, what do they call it?  Oh, yes.  Happy.

I still have a massive pile of unpacked crap in my basement.  Mostly it is stuff for the kitchen, dining room and decorative fru-fru (such as my wall hangings, decorative glass and pottery) but as I haven’t decided what to do about the kitchen, which is in much need of new, well, everything, and I am still working on finishing painting and wallpapering some of the interior rooms it hasn’t made sense to unpack it all.  However, I did go and set up all my Christmas decorations.  Some of which hadn’t seen the light of day since December of 2013.  When the spud arrived home for the holiday, she said, “Momma, our new house looks like a movie set.”  I knew then that all was right with the world.

My second job, being seasonal, is over for the winter, but the reno work is still slow going.  Most projects have to happen on the weekends and be woven in between other mundane things like grocery shopping and laundry and the occasional fun times with friends.  And, after the holidays, I deflated upon putting away all the decorations and got nothing done but sofa surfing during most of my free time in January.  But, I am trying to grab my motivation by the scruff and shake it back into action.  I do really want to get stuff done, it’s just boring and, well, exhausting to work all week at the JOB then work on the house.  Plus, I don’t really like sanding, and staining, and painting and wallpapering, I just want the finished product.

Things got really bad a few weeks back until I had an epiphany:  Audio books.  I got myself a subscription to Amazon’s Audible, and listened to a Jane Austen spin-off while painting the dining room.  *Cue corny music*  Ahh-ahh-ahh!  I actually started to look forward to painting so I could listen to what would happen to Elizabeth and Darcy in the next chapter.  So, hopefully my new subscription will help keep my nose to the grindstone.  Today’s task awaiting me once I am done here, is to build my new china cabinets and listen to the sequel to the book I listened to while painting.

Anyway, I appear to have digressed.  Those last few paragraphs were probably very dull reading.  The point I was trying to make was, while I am happy, I am getting a bit tired of always being on the job with the house reno stuff.  I want it done so I can just enjoy my new home in my free time.  Eventually I will get there.  And, I will probably be pleased as punch and foist before and after photos on you all.  You might not want to come back to my blog at that point….

Thanks so much to those of you who have always been such an amazing support network for me.  I don’t know if it has been because of the craziness of life, or what, but I just haven’t had the blogging muse despite missing you all.  It has been a tough decade, but I think I might be able to say I’ve finally made it through.  Even though I don’t write much anymore, I do think of you often and how honored I am to have had you as readers and friends.  Hope 2018 finds you all well and enjoying the best life has to offer.

Hugs,

Janie Jones, homeowner

 

Advertisements
January 14, 2016

A whole pile of cutie

by Janie Jones

Leif’s dog, Vera, had puppies yesterday/this morning:

20160114_064120

So far there are nine puppies.

20160113_202907

The proud mum at dinner time.

20160114_001246

Oy! Dog-grampy! That’s a bright light!

 

Vera appears to be doing well and the puppies so far seem to be hale and hearty, mewling loudly when hungry and all latching on to eat.

Hope that starts your day with an “Awwwww!”

January 10, 2016

Ottoman Upholstery

by Janie Jones

I actually enjoy giving old stuff a face lift and making it beautiful again.  While I don’t like being called a dumpster diver, some of my favorite furniture pieces were things people were going to throw away just because they had a rip in the fabric or were outdated.

About eight years ago I inherited an ottoman that some people were going to throw away.  It was covered in a beige vinyl faux-leather and had been in a flood so it was discolored and moldy.  But it was sturdy so I peeled off the vinyl and underneath it looked like brand new wood with nary a hint of decay or warping.  I put on new batting, a pillow top and some new beige fabric with a pretty burgundy and gold braided trim.  I even hammered in some decorative upholstery tacks.  It was lovely.  For about two days.  Then the spud, aged 3 and a half, scribbled on it in black magic marker.  I got some of it out.  Then she pulled off the braided trim.  Then I cried, put it in the basement and figured some day I would try again.

When I moved to the Big City in the fall of 2014, I brought it with me to use in my room in town.  But it was ugly.  Last year after Christmas I splurged and bought some new blue velvet foot stools and the ugly ottoman was relegated to the living room with all the ugly, beat up, old furniture left by the owners for common use.  However, I have been meaning ever since I moved to town to fix it up.  First I thought I’d just buy a slip cover.  But they seemed ridiculously expensive, and none were appealing.  So this winter break I determined to reupholster it.  Yesterday, armed with a 40% off coupon I went to the fabric store and found a lovely caramel-color wide wale chenille corduroy fabric.  I got enough to cover the whole ottoman for less than $6 (slip covers tend to run for at least $30, by the way), paid about $3 for a box of staples, and reused the batting, pillow topper, and some of the decorative upholstery tacks from before.  In about an hour the ottoman was transformed.  A decorative throw from Ecuador (a gift from a friend) on top makes it look amazing.

Ottoman Before

The sad, pathetic ottoman destroyed by the Spud.

Ottman After 4

Pay no attention to the ugly sofas in the back ground. …

 

Ottman After 5

Ooohh. Aahhhh. What a lovely ottoman you have, Janie.

And, to think:  Someone was going to throw this ottoman away, when all it took was a little thrifty shopping, an hour or so of time and less than $10 total for supplies to make it beautiful.  Some people….

November 7, 2015

Just call me Dr. Jones. Some day. Maybe.

by Janie Jones

So, today was a hallmark date.

I officially began my graduate school application process.  It took the better part of the day.  I had to dig up unofficial transcripts from high school and 4 different colleges I’ve attended over the years.  I had to fill out a ton of forms, write an essay about why I want to get my PhD, another about what qualities I would bring to the graduate school, and I had to send letters to people asking for recommendations.  Before I can complete my application I need to get my GRE scores and I need to get confirmation that the people who I ask for recommendations are willing to give them.  Then, I send $75.  If the graduate school thinks I am worthy, then I have to get all official transcripts from my high school and all the 4 colleges I’ve attended sent in.  After that, if my official transcripts confirm I’m still worthy, by April I should know if I will be allowed to torture myself for another 3-5 years in pursuit of my PhD.

It is sort of daunting.  I have to admit, there have been a lot of days in the past year or so when I have doubted whether I want to commit to more time in school.  I don’t really know what I’m getting myself into.  Most people say it’s tough.  Then again, calculus was tough.  Physics was tough.  I’ve been on the tough circuit this past couple of years.  I haven’t always performed as brilliantly as I’d have hoped, and I am quite tired.  As Forrest Gump would say, “I’m kinda tired.  I think I’ll go home now.”  But I have no home to go to, so I guess I might as well keep on running this race and, in just a few more years I could hold the ultimate academic title.  Knowing I am this close, I don’t think I could be satisfied with not going the full distance if the powers that be in the admissions office will let me in.

And I think they will.  I mean, I just have this feeling.  I hope it’s not bullshit, but I do think I could do well in graduate school.  I don’t know why I feel this way exactly.  I just really think this is what I’m supposed to do.  Sure, I don’t know everything.  I certainly haven’t maintained that A average.  But I have yet to give up, and science is 90% being too stubborn to quit even when you have no clue what you’re doing- yet.  That’s the beauty of being a scientific researcher.  You don’t have to know everything.  If you did, you wouldn’t have a job anymore.  Research in science is all about not letting what you don’t know stop you.  You learn along the way, and the more you learn, the more you realize there’s a ton you don’t know, and so you do more research.

And “we” don’t know a lot of things yet about Lyme disease and the bacteria responsible for it.  I can do a lot toward a doctoral dissertation studying them little bugs.

So, cross your fingers for me.  Pray I don’t have to blog 5 months from now that I’m a washed out, has been, PhD wannabe.

It would be way cooler if some day you could be telling all your friends you read the blog of the famous Dr. Jones who discovered a way to prevent Lyme Disease and cure chronic Lyme Disease back when she was a strung out, neurotic undergrad.

Heh.  Paging Dr. Jones….

October 26, 2015

I found a new love

by Janie Jones

yardley aa big

I’ve been poor for so long I don’t usually mess around with “luxury” products like fancy-shmancy soap.  However, the company that makes the cheap aloe glycerine soap that you buy in bulk packs for about $0.33 cents a bar stopped making the aloe variety.  I don’t want to smell like peaches or white tea, so I bought some bargain deodorant soap, which I’ve used in the past, and is comparably cheap.  But, as we enter the alligator season (the time of year when humidity levels fall to minus 50%) my skin, though tending toward oily, is getting too old to handle the harsh deodorant soaps it used to laugh at and just produce a ton more oil.  I have been feeling quite tight, itchy and dry of late.  And, as it is hard to lotion one’s own back, I decided to live life high on the ol’ hog and try, *GASP* an expensive moisturizing soap.

I bought one bar at the drugstore for $1.69 and felt like I was just flushing cash down the toilet.  But, you know what?  I really like it.  I’ve used it for over two weeks now and decided that it was much better for my skin, plus it smells really nice.  Clean.  Not fru-fru-y perfume like, but just nice, fresh and clean.  Still, $1.69 a bar.  I’m pretty poor.  I wasn’t sure I wanted to commit to that kind of monthly expense.  Then, I Googled it.

Good gravy.  What did we ever do before Google?

Well I found this online drugstore called Pharmapacks.  You can get it through them for less than a dollar a bar and if you buy in bulk you get free shipping.  Still pricey.  But hey, I’m worth it.

I did a little more digging and found out that Pharmapacks also carries many other personal hygiene products I have trouble finding elsewhere.  So, double score.

October 22, 2015

Thursday Quote Du Jour: Keeping it simple

by Janie Jones

So apparently this brand of yogurt, Liberte, which is normally crazy expensive but I bought on sale at the Co-op for a deep discount, has a thing for quotes about simplicity.  For, lo and behold, I was eating another cup the other day and received this quote on the lid:

Simplicity is the glory of expression.

Walt Whitman

Having never been a avid reader of Walt Whitman, I cannot comment on his feelings of simplicity.  However, I have yet to meet a Liberte flavored yogurt I didn’t like.  One might say it is simply delicious.

October 9, 2015

I’ve been negligent

by Janie Jones

It suddenly occurs to me that I never shared the big news with ya’ll.  At first I waited to get some good photos, then school got crazy, as it always does, and apparently it slipped my mind.

Anyway.  Drum roll please:

20150912_134137

No, you aren’t seeing double.

Leif adopted a new dog a few weeks ago.  Now he has a brace of white German shepherds.

Say hello to Vince:

20151006_010418

He’s about 18 months and a total sweetheart.  Who doesn’t love a new dog?

20150907_213621

20150919_152229

Vera is in black, Vince in orange.  His previous owner had to move out of state and couldn’t bring him with.  Sad for them, but happy for Vince, ’cause now he gets to live the farm life.  And, he has a live in girlfriend.

20150907_213439

“Um, Dog-dad.  There is a boy lying on my living room rug.  What is he doing here?  Surely you’re not going to let him stay?”

All joking aside, they seem to make a happy pack.  Apparently they play all day.  They run, frolic, wrestle, and constantly try to one up each other for prime sofa and bed acreage and monopolize the petting.  Poor old Rupert, he’d never get a single pet if Leif didn’t toss the two young whippersnappers out by themselves once and a while so Rupert can get some love in peace.

So Vince is settling in pretty well at the farm.  He has decided that Rupert means business when he doesn’t want to play.  He’s learning to respect the chickens as pack members and not chew toys and has a morning chat with the rabbits every day where they stand nose to nose at the bars of the rabbit hutches.  It also seems he has made friends with Duncan the cat, they even share dinner:

20150911_183800

So, all’s well at the farm.  Now if only bones would rain from the sky.