zoethe: (witch)
1. Had the first landscaping guy out on Saturday. Measurements and ideas, dreams leing laid out in a backyard that is nothing but dead grass and leftover leaves here at the awakening of spring. Another guy is coming out next weekend. I hope it's all done before too late in the summer so we can enjoy it this year.

2. Bought new couches yesterday - well, ordered them and coughed up the dough. The furniture in our livingroom came with the house for a low price and has gone from marginal to embarrassing - a closer observation to note that the cushions were dissolving would have been in order, but we couldn't afford furniture at that time and were grateful for places to park our butts. The new furniture will be a Lane double rocker/recliner and matching couch with massage units and both ends and a fold-down snack tray in the middle--couch potato heaven. I have always loved Lane furniture so am happy. We're also going from beige to burgundy, which will be a big change, and which will also not show off what total pigs we are quite so publicly. Just the ability to sit on the couch without the cushion sliding forward and inching your butt off the edge will be a welcome change.
zoethe: (Default)
I spent much of yesterday in the small town of Delaware, Ohio, helping [livejournal.com profile] neorxnawang look at homes, in case he decides to take the job there. It's a tiny town just outside of Columbus that is fast moving into Bedroom Community status. Loads of new construction is covering the landscape with heartbreaking sameness - 2500 square foot cookie-cutter houses stacked one atop the other on what was only a year ago fertile farmland. The real estate agent drove us through some of these subdivisions, and because it was not my home tour I refrained from paroxysms of greenie frustration and anguish - though when she dragged us through the area with the alleged "faux-oldfashioned" architecture my jaws ached from clamping them shut.

Certainly, these bad-lumber-and-slathered-paint horrors were not the reason why I carved 7 hours out of my crazy schedule to go south with the Weasleys. Instead, it was the historic homes in downtown Deleware that attracted me. We saw three, all of which reflected a different philosophy toward restoration.

House One had a historic registry placard out front. It also had a turret and a front porch, facts I confess up front because they both prejudice me. I love victorians. Inside, the restoration work had focused on digging through the layers to what was old about the house, and upgrading the amenities that we americans do not wish to live without. The place had a very genuine feel to it, and looked a bit battered, but the kitchen was brand new, the wiring all top-of-the-line, including speakers wired into the living spaces so the stereo could hide from view, and central a/c was part of the existing ductwork. The attic has never been finished, but you could see Master Suite possibilities there. The gardens, though under snow, are fabulous, and the wisteria vines conceal the back porch (yes, TWO porches!) in the summer. I loved this house, but it had that fragile feeling, like you would always have to be on your best behavior there.

House Two was a French colonial sort of affair, all old brick outside (an historical placard outside pronounced it the "President's House", but no indication of president of what), completely modernized inside. So much so that the widescreen TV in the livingroom barely seemed an incongruous note. Just too casual, to "souped up."

House Three we only got to see because we asked. It had been redone extensively, modernizing the kitchen, covering the hardwood floors with carpet and tile, adding a two-person jacuzzi to the upstairs bathroom. And yet, it had been done with so much thought and care that it felt right. The house was somewhere between formal and a farmhouse, and there was just a sense that the updating was practical and sensible and that this was a practical and sensible house. The attic had been finished as a kids' retreat, all interesting angles and nooks and crannies. The kitchen was clean and bright, and a family room led off one end of it. To top everything off, its front porch ended with a gazebo - how cool is that?

So, if I had to choose, where would I live? Number Two is knocked right out of the running, but One and Three are pretty close. If it was just me, I would choose One - the garden and the wisteria would make up my mind. If I had a batch of little redheads to consider, I would go with Three. It just felt kid-friendlier.

But as it is, I will stay in my little 1950s ranch and make the garden beautiful.

But spring is coming and porch lust begins to rise again....
zoethe: (Default)
So today Ferrett and I decided to purchase a hot tub and gazebo for about $10,000, a home theatre for $13,000 or so, a backyard landscaping project that included a lovely fountain for $7,000, and redo the kitchen to the tune of $25,000.

It's a good thing neither of us took the checkbook to the Home and Garden Show. We actually left with a couple candles and a dreamy look on our faces.

I had somehow gotten the opinion that jacuzzis were kind of a thing of the past. Apparently not, since there were hundreds of them on display. I have fond memories of my plain wooden hot tub, with its wood-fire Snorkel Stove, but some of these are just plain frightening. There are jet attachments every few inches, and seating that looks like half an eggshell. I worrried that I could find myself answering pointed questions about my involvement with Al Qaeda, were I to try out these tubs. Others Ferrett described acuratly as "oversized sex toys." I love soaking, though, so it's on my "iwanna" list.

The home theatre systems are frightening because they are so insidious. They must be playing subliminal messages: "there is nothing in yoor life more important than TV." Standing in the display area, gazing at a screen as long as I am tall, it made perfect sense that we should have one of these.

The fact that they had Aragorn on the screen had almost nothing to do with it. Really.

The gardens were very cool, and a good inspiration for the things we want to do in our backyard to make it more inviting. If we actually do spend any money as a result of this show, it will be in this area, I think.

The kitchen - oh, hell, who doesn't dream of a new kitchen. The problem is, what we really need is a kitchen twice the size of the one we have, and that ain't coming from the home show. I's not coming from anywhere in our house, either. So we live with the kitchen we've got, and our wallets breathe a sigh of relief.

But not too loud a sigh. There was this one hot tub with a built-in sound system, a built in TV, and disco lights. If we put it in the same room with the home theatre....
zoethe: (Default)
The front page of Yahoo has a Valentine's Day ad showing a couple embracing. A man has his back to the camera, the roses he has obviously just flourished draped around his shoulders in the hand of his...

ambigously-gendered partner. Woman? Man? I really can't say. And I think this is the idea.

Congratulations to the gay community. This is the biggest stride forward in acceptance you have ever made.

In the U.S., rights are things we grant to those who make us sqeamish, long before we grant them acceptance. Despite the continuing lag in accepting homosexuals as appropriate legal life partners, we have afforded as much protection as is legally practical. And yet gays and lesbians have remained on the fringe in the minds of the average American.

Why? Because nobody mainstream markets to them. The U.S. is all about commerce, mainstream, Target/Wal-Mart/Costco commerce. Every radical idea eventually gets stirred into the slumgulleon stew of America and made palatable to the average Joe Sixpack. Music is the greatest example. Rap may still be the angry music of the people, but we also sell stuff with watered down versions of it. And everything in America that becomes mainstream eventually enters the selling machine.

Ads aimed at a demographic are the ultimate acknowledgement that it exists. Mainstream huckstering for the gay dollar has begun.

Welcome to the front of the bus.

Ho ho ho

Dec. 23rd, 2002 06:09 pm
zoethe: (Default)
Christmas shopping. I don't do Christmas shopping on the day before Christmas Eve. I have everything wrapped and ready by the day before Christmas Eve.

Except this year. When the lack of funds had me in the store playing chicken with hordes of procrastinators.

This was combat shopping. Survival shopping. Anyone who could be left off the before-Christmas list was brutally triaged out of the list. The mall was attacked with extreme prejudice.

The mall won anyway. By the time we were finished, Erin and I, both given to claustrophobia, were racewalking our way back to the car--LET ME OUT!!!!

If it's not here now, Christmas will live without it.
zoethe: (Default)
But even in the much more violent days of my childhood we didn't have anything like the G.I. Joe bombed out home . Is Refugee Barbie next???
zoethe: (Default)
Received the final determination for my unemployment--denied. They were not presuaded by my ethics concerns arguments, apparently. A couple of attorneys have sugggested that I go after her for "constructive dismissal," but considering the tooth-and-nail way in which she is fighting the wrongful dismissal case in which she is currently embroiled, it is unlikely that she will "just settle" and I can't see myself spending two years entangled in such a mess--let alone finding an attorney who would think it worth their while to take up. So my pocketbook remains empty for the time being, but I do have a job lined up starting next week.

Second fascinating item: An offer for a National Notary Association Platinum Visa® Business Card. Because, apparently, Notaries Public are high-fliers. This is a part of the training I seem to have missed. I mean, I'm allowed to charge something like $2.00 for notarizing a document. I can't see that adding up to the kind of volume that would make me relieved to learn that I can give cards to my staff at no additional cost. There's a fortune to be made in making paper bumpy, and I've just been giving it away!

Item three is a set of checks from my credit card company that will allow me to transfer balances from other cards to my current card at low,low interest. This would not generally be an item of much interest save for the fact that my card has expired and they haven't sent me a new one yet. Hmmm..Cart? Horse? (I will admit to a vague worry that I threw it away, thinking it was yet another credit offer, but I tear these in half so it doesn't seem too likely.) I should call them, but considering that I am terrified to spend money just now, it's probably just as well that I don't have a credit card.

And, at last, the wedding invitation of a good friend. These invitations have been the source of more tears and grief in the last month than would seem appropriate. The bride has been beside herself, trying to get them done. I, quite frankly, could not understand the fuss. Now I do. Within the inner envelope is the stiff card invitation to the wedding, the stiff card invitation to the reception, the stiff card RSVP with its envelope. Each of these printed items has a square of loose tissue paper protecting the print. Additionally, there is a copy of the directions. In other words, 8 separate items had to be fitted (and fitted carefully, since tissue paper crinkles so easily) within the inner envelope, and then that envelope addressed to the party and skipped into the outer envelope for final addressing. Taiwanese women refuse to do assembly work this complex.
zoethe: (Default)
So, how did I find this site. Well, I went looking for information about a small town in the Cleveland area where a job I was thinking about applying to was located. Turns out it was too far away, but the search led me to a, "Huh?" moment: "E-bay lists real estate?" Of course I had to go look. And in one of the listings was a link to this site.

http://internationalrealtyservice.com/dream_property.htm

Now if you ever come into millions of dollars you don't know what to do with, you will know how to find a real estate agent to sell you a castle!
zoethe: (Default)
So, I was at a little comic shop Saturday with Ferrett (okay, I was trying to finish off my collection of Buffy The Vampire Slayer Action Figures), and I notice that they have a set of H.R. Giger Tarot Cards.

"Coool," sez I and buys 'em up.

Today I went through them. They are gorgeous, but so creepy that I don't want to cast with them. Seriously, they weirded me out!

So, here they'll sit, because they're too great to get rid of. I just can't imagine using them.
zoethe: (Default)
Went with Jeff to the BMW dealership today to pick up his convertible, which was in for a minor repair. We had to walk through the showroom to get to the Service window. All that chrome. All that leather. I had a freakin' stiffy for these shiny, sleek machines. Seriously, I was damned near panting over a forest green Z-3. Driving home in Jeff's "winter car" (translation: beater), I contemplated whether a sports car would make a good prezzie to myself when I finish law school.

I would like to report that I've recovered myself and put this sily notion behind me.

But no. Car lust continues. Being me, I am of course sexualizing this desire. Take me on the hood of a sportscar, press my face into the leather backseat of a luxury sedan.

Spring is coming and there will be country road drives with the top down. Yum.
zoethe: (Default)
The rest of the mall is boutiques and upscale department stores. Where did this thing come from? It wasn't here the last time I walked through, but in those short weeks it has somehow permeated the walls. It's not just a matter of the melmac ashtrays and the bad ceramic hearts that make you realize are--comparatively--good ceramic hearts. It's not the peg toys and the pig-shaped salt and pepper set. It's not the cosmetics gift sets or the "novelty wall plaques." There's nothing here that you can't find at a WalMart or KMart. Yet the sum of the parts is somehow nastier than the individual parts. I walk through the store and feel...greasy.

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