mountain_laurel: (Default)
so. things continue as they have been: i'm depressed, i'm bored, i don't have enough to do at work, and my apartment is full of bugs. tonight i get to buy some ant baits to try to eliminate at least that infestation. fortunately, i haven't seen any roaches or palmetto bugs the last week or so.

i've found someone locally who will do what i need done to my carpet -- i need the corner where Daddy-O staged his protests torn up, the padding replaced, the concrete sealed, and the carpet itself steam cleaned. he only charges $25/room for steam cleaning, so i'm guessing his rates for the rest of it will be pretty reasonable. i'm hoping i can get away with only $200 or so to solve the problem. now i just have to call the guy.

i just made an appointment for Iceberg to get a vet checkup. cross your fingers for me -- i'm terrified they'll find something wrong with him, even though he seems perfectly healthy. a cat his age could have any number of health problems...

there are clients in the lab today, which means i need to look busy even though i have absolutely nothing to do. i cannot express in mere words how tiresome this is.
mountain_laurel: (she-hulk)
this is all chattiness about flatpack furniture, tool use, and problem-solving skills, so run away if you don't want to read more... )


May. 26th, 2007 12:06 pm
mountain_laurel: (girl with cats)
yesterday morning, the vet who called to update me on Daddy-O interrupted his own report to say "GREAT cat!" the report itself was excellent: Daddy-O was doing absolutely fine.

this morning, he said Daddy-O is a sweet cat, and that his appetite is great -- "In fact, he was ready to beat me up if I didn't fill his dish in time."

yeah, that's my Daddy-O, all right. apparently that's a good sign, though -- some cats don't feel well after the treatment and don't want to eat. Daddy-O continues to charm, as well as irradiate, all who come in contact with him.

in other news, most of my plants are doing very poorly and i'm not sure why. my lavender is drooping, my curry plant is dying, my rosemary and holy basil are all mottled and yellowy, my sage is just plain dead, and my sweet basil is dropping leaves. both varieties of thyme are still flourishing, though.

i have a bunch of tiny sorrel sproutlets now, and two of my beans sprouted yesterday -- one of them is already six inches tall today! i'm beginning to understand where the story about Jack and the Beanstalk came from, because damn, those things grow fast! i'm looking forward to lots of fresh lima beans this summer.

i've actually made it as far as bathing and getting dressed, so perhaps i'll manage to make it out to Home Depot for some more pots and soil; i need to transplant the sorrel sprouts, and i'm going to have to replace my sage. things seem to sprout quickly enough here that i'm going to just pick up seeds for oregano and marjoram, and i think i'm going to buy a new rosemary as well -- the one i have isn't my preferred variety anyway. it's the upright sort, and i find it's better to use the trailing kind if you're going to be cutting from it randomly. the upright kind gets woody stems very quickly; rosemary only grows new branches if you cut from green stems.

i wish i could figure out what's going wrong with the rest of the herbs. maybe i need to water them more often, maybe they need more direct sun... i tried giving them some Miracle Gro last weekend and it didn't help at all.

i know some plants like tea leaves and coffee grounds, maybe i'll try that next.

in completely unrelated news, today i got the most awesome spam subject ever: 'righteous necromancer'. is that a kickass name for a heavy metal band, or what?
mountain_laurel: (Default)
this weekend, as promised, i finished cleaning out the cabinets and unpacked my kitchen! i also finally figured out why i couldn't get that Ikea light fixture to install properly, so the dining room now has light. i still need to get fluorescent tubes and new plastic and some drywall anchors to fix up the kitchen light fixture, but it's all shaping up very nicely.

i still need to pick up a cheap set of shelves at Ikea to hold chiles and wine and cookbooks and stuff, but it's otherwise ready for a good mopping. and i need to get off my butt and assemble that bathroom etagere i bought last weekend, so i can get my bathroom organized. and i still haven't put up my movie posters. and the living room will be full of boxes for the foreseeable future.

still, it's starting to feel like home. sort of. it'll be a while yet, i think, but it's getting there.
mountain_laurel: (Default)
monday night at the Continental Club was amazing. i highly recommend seeing Paris 49 as soon as possible, assuming that you are the sort of person who enjoys Django Reinhardt. they play authentic gypsy jazz, and every one of them is disgustingly talented. the lead singer/guitarist stands out (as they tend to do anyway) for his lovely voice (and accent -- he's French) and amazing guitar playing, and the sax player is so good he made me feel all melty, and usually i don't even like sax all that much.

tonight James McMurtry is playing there, and i'd love to go, but i don't think i'll have the juice. i'm still trying to get myself locked into a workable sleep/work cycle, because i've been much too tired lately. i think my body is still on west coast time, somehow, plus people here keep earlier hours. in the bay area, the default hours for most tech jobs were 10-6, and here people are more likely to work 9-5. 9 wasn't working for me so i've compromised on 9:30, which seems to be a little better. we shall see.

oh well. i hear James McMurtry is here all the time anyway.

anyway, yesterday i was totally wiped out when i woke up, and i just couldn't seem to get moving. when it was 9:30 and i still hadn't managed to drag myself out of bed, i decided i was going to call in sick and try to spend the day resting. naturally, this was exactly when the non-english-speaking workmen appeared to resurface my bathtub. i had to flee (with the cats) for a couple of hours to avoid toxic fumes, so i ended up running a bunch of errands instead of resting. dammit.

on the up side, i don't have to clean the bathtub anymore -- they had to clean it before they could paint it. and it's all sparkly-perfect now. i was so inspired, i cleaned the rest of the bathroom. instead of resting. because i'm an idiot.

i did, however, make soup. i love making soup, and this was my first soup in the new place -- a spicy vegetarian black bean soup with chipotle puree and orange juice and cilantro. it came out lovely, and i'm about to go reheat some and have it with some flour tortillas. mmmmmm. soup.

the kitchen is still a disaster. i have got to finish dealing with the cabinets and put things away, but i just keep putting it off for some reason. i manage to find enough room to work, but it's getting worse -- the dishwasher is full of clean dishes that need putting away and have nowhere to go, and the sink is filling up with dirty ones.

i suppose i'd better deal with that tonight. i'm feeling better today anyway, since i forced myself to turn off the computer and go to bed before midnight, and i've got leftover soup and tortillas for dinner, so i won't even have to cook.

so. settling in, slowly but surely.
mountain_laurel: (Default)
so, aside from the fact that my entire body is a mass of aches and pains (due to overexertion and severe clumsiness-induced bruising), things are going most excellently. the job is good, the apartment is good (although still not fully cleaned or unpacked-into), and i'm in a pretty damn good mood overall.

Thursday, after a time-consuming miscommunication, i had dinner with my first real-life crush (my first ever crush was, of course, Han Solo), Erik, who happens to live in Austin now with his wife. i hadn't actually seen him in something like 20 years, but we picked up right where we left off. it's incredibly refreshing to talk to someone i've known for so long (since i was 14!). we talked and talked and talked and talked and they closed down the restaurant and we stood outside talking and talking and talking and finally reminded each other we should get going and then talked and talked some more. and tonight we're going to meet up at the Continental Club for happy hour and see a gypsy jazz band called Paris 49 that he insists i must see. i expect we'll, um, talk some more. and i hope i'll get to meet his wife soon, since she sounds amazingly cool. she's apparently one of the top contenders for Funniest Person In Austin.

Friday i spent quite a bit of time on the phone with former fling [ profile] jbsegal, during which i managed to inadvertantly beat the crap out of myself while attempting to converse and do other things at the same time. this was fairly painful, but the entertainment value was worth it.

Saturday i did a ton of random household stuff: laundry, taking-out of trash (mostly packing material from Ikea), putting-away of clothes, and deflating-of-airbed. then the lovely and wonderful [ profile] spinsono and i had dinner, sang Steve Goodman songs, and rescued a Freecycled bed from the far northern wastes of Austin, with the help of with the help of [ profile] madspark's truck. i forgot, however, to retrieve the herbs Matt and Susan have been babysitting for me, or the pots from [ profile] bquinlan and [ profile] valkyrie_kitten's backyard. (i couldn't take them home the last time i was there because it was raining and they were full of mud.) incidentally, my patio gets just the right amount of sun in the early part of the day, but is protected from the harsh afternoon sun... and the light comes in at an angle, so there's an area that's always shaded for things that can't handle full sun. it's going to be perfect for growing herbs. i need to hit the Home Depot soon and pick up a good-sized rosemary plant to put in place of the missing shrub just outside my patio -- it'll make things look better and have plenty of room to get big. (i use so much rosemary that i'll kill a small plant within a few months.)

the orientation of the apartment, and the number of big trees surrounding it, means it stays amazingly cool even on warm days. we haven't had any real scorchers yet, but even in 80+ degree weather i've been able to keep the windows wide open, and when it's cooler than that, the apartment is actually a little too cool for my taste when there's a breeze. i should save a fair bit of money on my electric bill thanks to that.

not having to pay money for a bed meant that Sunday i could spend several hundred dollars (but less than the bed would've cost) on other important things like vacuum cleaners, bathroom etageres, bedsheets, cushy mattress toppers, oscillating fans, potholders, saltshakers, sink strainers, alarm clocks, and random miscellany from an especially overcrowded dollar store. i restrained myself from spending $80 on a supercool comforter set from Target (BTW, they also sell this one for less than half of what Bed, Bath, & Beyond wants for a nearly identical one), but succumbed to the lure of the salad spinner i've been coveting for several years now, which is just too long to covet something that only costs $20.

and last night i finally cooked an actual meal in the new kitchen: a chicken leg quarter, marinated in lime juice, olive oil, garlic, and black pepper and broiled, with a baked sweet potato on the side and a couple of small-but-delicious yellow mangoes for dessert. i should've added some chiles and cumin to the marinade, but i didn't think of it till later.

it's become clear that every time i use the stove the smoke alarm is going to go off, and it's one of those annoying ones that's wired into the electric system. i had to yank the wires to shut it up. there's another in the bedroom, and that one doesn't go off when i cook, and i never close doors when i'm home alone, so i'm not too concerned about having unhooked the stupid thing. i had the same problem in my Pacifica apartment; you'd think someone could manufacture a smoke detector that's usable in a one-bedroom apartment, wouldn't you?

installing a ceiling fan in the dining room area and fixing the screen so i can have both windows open all the way may help with that issue, but i'm hoping i can spend next weekend actually resting, because i need some damn recovery time. sheesh.

of course, all of this meant that i didn't get much time to rest, so i'm still bruised and achy and tired, although having a real bed to sleep on definitely helps. it smells a bit of cigarette smoke, and i couldn't find a properly impermeable mattress cover in the stores, so i've ordered a zippered vinyl one; with the thick fiberbed on top, breathability won't be an issue and it should help with the reek.

so. jazz and conversation tonight. life could definitely be worse.
mountain_laurel: (make my bed in hell)
so. now i can't get the damn thing to light, even for a second, no matter what i do. and it's 39F outside and hailing.

somehow, i get the idea it isn't supposed to be this difficult.

on the up side, i've got the wireless up and running and my Ikea run was a smashing success. i still have to assemble the loveseat, but i even managed to get the TV onto the stand by myself. (and i only damaged the stand slightly in the process... since this is a temporary, $15 TV stand, i can't feel too bad about it, though.)

and now i will go fuss with the pilot light some more. dammit.

update: i thought, hey, maybe the tube is clogged with soot from all these attempts to light it. so i took a toothbrush to it, and was able to get a weak flame. unfortunately, no matter how long i held the knob down, it still wouldn't stay lit. so i tried taking a pin to it, and that didn't seem to make any difference. so i've at least got an idea what the problem is, i just don't seem to be able to fix it.


update 2: FIXED! after some more web searching, i decided i needed to see if i could pull out the thermocouple and take a look at it... and found it nowhere near where i expected it to be. after removing a panel held on by one very rusty screw, i found what appears to be a thoroughly kludged pilot light assembly, which lit right up for me. so the furnace is now doing its thing, and sometime soon it's possible Daddy-O may vacate his spot under the bathroom heat lamp and Iceberg will come out from under the comforter.

and now i need to go wash up and change my pajamas so i can assemble the couch. which has off-white upholstery.
mountain_laurel: (Default)
because my landlord is a moron who told me my furnace was electric and not gas, my pilot light isn't lit. see those toes in my icon? they're COLD. (temps are in the 30s-40s today. never mind that they were in the 80s last week, this is fucking Texas.)

i've figured out how it should theoretically work: i turn the gas valve until it's parallel to the line to turn on the gas, then i turn the knob to 'pilot' and push it down to make the hissy gas noise, and then i light the pilot and turn the knob to 'on'. right?

apparently not. at firsti could get the pilot to light for a few seconds, but as soon as i tried to turn the knob to 'on' it went out. now, no matter how long i hold it down, even though i can hear the gas, i can't get it lit at all.

what the fuck do i do to make it stay lit?

if it helps, the furnace is a Ruud UGAC-045CD.

my chilly kitties thank you.


Apr. 6th, 2007 09:25 pm
mountain_laurel: (Default)
i managed to scrub almost half of the cabinets before my arm gave out. damn, they're filthy. but those were the ones around the stove, so the rest shouldn't be as bad.
mountain_laurel: (she-hulk)
so, after visits to Target (where i got cute pajamas on clearance!) and Home Depot (there's one right at Woodward and 35, i don't even have to get on the access road!) i triumphantly returned home with... a bunch of stuff. in the last half-hour i've installed a solid ceiling hook from which to hang my handy sock-and-underwear organizer, fixed the lampshade on the bedroom ceiling fan, replaced the showerhead, repaired a loose drawer roller, and glued and clamped the two splitting drawer bits in the kitchen. if i can maintain momentum, i'll clean the kitchen cabinets, inside and out, with soap and water. i've got contact paper to put down when they're dry, and the outer layer of plywood is actually kind of pretty, and should look much nicer once i apply furniture polish.

i have to wait for full daylight to replace the dining room light fixture, since i can't see to work. but i bought a nice heavy duty stepstool so i can do it without breaking my neck. i forgot to pick up a new drain stopper thingy for the bathroom sink, and i still need to take down the plastic from the kitchen light fixture and measure it so i can get more, at which time i can pick up some anchor bolts for fixing its wooden frame. i talked to the landlord and he said he'll make sure the disintegrating shelves get replaced reasonably soon. (he feels guilty because the workmen still haven't done the work he ordered in the bathroom, but since that's all relatively unimportant i don't really care. i think they were going to paint the bathtub -- i'm going to ask him not to have that done because i don't understand why you'd do that in the first place -- and put up new towel hangers. whee.)

oh, and i forgot to pick up a new cover plate to replace the missing one on the kitchen light switch. but i've got all my cleaning supplies rounded up now, so once i'm done with the cabinets i can do the counters and the floors. one of the screens in the kitchen has a cat-sized tear, so i'll have to ask [ profile] bquinlan to fix that (since he foolishly told me he knows how), and i still need to work out how i'm going to wedge them from outside so the cats can't push them out of the frames. oh, and the knob on the front door needs replacing, but that's another thing i can easily do myself.

there's about a four-inch chunk of kitchen linoleum torn up in front of the fridge... i'm not sure what i'll do about that yet. it's hardly worth demanding they replace the whole floor, and i sure as hell don't want to do it. i suppose it's not really important.

i think that's about it, although i'd be obliged if anyone can tell me how one might go about cleaning the world's filthiest miniblinds. they replaced all but one set -- i assume because this set still works fine -- but holy SHIT they're dirty.

oh yeah, and i gotta remember to get a toilet brush when i'm at Ikea tomorrow. (who's with me? come on, is it even possible to spend too much time at Ikea?) why i didn't drop the whopping 99 cents on one last time, i do not know, but i refuse to pay a premium for a fancy toilet brush. i mean, honestly.
mountain_laurel: (Default)
puerco aside, i'm feeling kind of weird and restless. three weeks ago i was unemployed and living with friends, and now i have a new job and a new apartment and no furniture to speak of. i can't even fully "move in" because there are things the landlord still needs to do in the bathroom, and the kitchen is so filthy i don't want to put anything in the cabinets until i've had time to thoroughly clean them and put down shelf paper. so it's all kind of jarring and a bit uncomfortable, and i'm not quite sure what to do about it.

i get paid today, so i'm thinking tomorrow evening or saturday i should go to Ikea and buy that loveseat i've been eyeing -- it's only $150, and i desperately need something to sit on in my living room. i should also put up my movie posters and get that kitchen cleaned out, but for some reason those cabinets seem like a really daunting task. and a couple of the drawers need some minor repairs that call for wood glue and screws and a couple of small clamps.

grrr. i can't concentrate on work at all today. this is annoying.
mountain_laurel: (Default)
thanks to a couple of generous housewarming gifts via PayPal (thanks, [ profile] 2wanda, [ profile] ronebofh, and [ profile] yong_mi!), i can afford to buy a microwave for my new place. before i do that (which i won't do till next week anyway), i figured i'd see if anyone had any recommendations, because i know a lot of y'all are the kind of people who do obsessive product research before buying anything. i might as well reap the benefit of your experience, yes?

so anyway, i've got a budget of $80. obviously i'm not talking about an expensive unit here, but i'd like to find one that's big enough to hold a full size dinner plate. anyone have any experience with cheap microwaves lately?
mountain_laurel: (her kind die bloody!)
so. i'm all set up to have electric, gas, and cable hooked up at my apartment on monday. i'm absolutely appalled by how much cable + internet is costing me, but it's still less than cable + DSL would've cost, plus i get a DVR in the deal. (i could've gone with standard cable and skipped the DVR, but that would've saved me only $11/month, which seemed kind of silly considering just how damn useful a DVR really is for someone who likes to watch obscure BBC mystery series that they run at 4 a.m. for random 3-week periods without advertising it anywhere.)

now i just have to hope the apartment is actually ready sunday as promised; there's a very small chance it won't be, but that's a very small chance, so i'm working on the assumption that it will be.

i'm not sure how i'm going to accomplish anything for the next week, because the only thing i can think about is having my own space again, having my own kitchen again, being able to eat what i want when i want to again. i am obsessed. it shouldn't take more than four hours or so to get myself completely repacked and ready to go, and i plan to have everything but the essentials in boxes by the weekend. people are trying to secure me the use of a pickup on Sunday, and if i don't borrow the futon as i'd planned, i should be able to do the entire move in no more than two trips. (at this point, i'm planning to borrow an air bed instead and find myself a cheap/free mattress on Craigslist once i'm moved in. ease of moving is my #1 priority at this point.)

i' m so fucking excited i can't stand it. a great big kitchen all for myself! with a gas stove and windows! it's like a dream come true! i've been in the manager's apartment -- which is identical except for carpet color -- three times now, and all three times i've forgotten to check and see if there's a dishwasher, because i'm so dazzled by those windows. a kitchen! with windows! yes, i know i'm repeating myself, but you know how i get.

anyway. yeah. Sunday. Sunday, it will be mine. and because i decree it to be so, the sun will shine and the birds will sing and there will be a truck and many helping hands and pizza and beer and much rejoicing.

(on the downside, i won't be getting paid till Friday, and i just put my last $2.50 in my gas tank, and it won't be enough to get me to and from work for the rest of the week, and today is my last ramen bowl for lunch at work, and yesterday i ate the last of my fresh veggies, so i'm going to have to borrow a few bucks to get me to payday. i was hoping i'd seen the last of borrowing for a while, but i guess another $20 won't kill me. *sigh*)


mountain_laurel: (Default)

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