Thursday, June 25, 2009

Light! Food! Cactus!

I like to keep my blog updates short, because I figure all y'all's attention span is like mine -- what was I saying? Oh yeah.... well, a lot has been happening, so this could be long. (Also, in commemorating one of my teenage idols who just passed away, I'm downloading a boatload of Michael Jackson songs as I type, so I have lots of time to write until that's done...!)

Earlier this week the electricians took over the place. And now several wonderful things have occurred:
  • We have overhead lights in the living room! (And yes, I still like the color that I painted it when fully illuminated -- phew!)
  • We have overhead lights in the kitchen!
  • The living room light switch no longer power the outlets in the kitchen... yes, I know. It was funky wiring.
And best of all (drumroll),
  • We have a stove! And it works!
Background story: we bought a stove from the previous renters. It was wired somehow through the school clock system, which probably wasn't quite legal, so we wanted to install a 220 line and do it right. The stove was small, so we traded it with another resident who moved in recently and who'd somehow gotten a stove bigger than she needed. We are cookers. Well, Rusty is, mainly. But a bigger stove is definitely better for us. Last night I made a trial batch of No Pudge Brownies -- yum! Just the smell through the apartment alone is worth the effort!

What else has happened?

  • The office is "done." But it's a big mess, so no photo yet. But it's yellow and lovely and a happy space to be.
  • Rusty planted a cactus outside our bedroom window. Photo:
  • I don't have a closet, so most of my clothes are still in boxes, but I'm learning to make do: I got a small clothes rack for the bedroom. And I finally got super-anal about my dresser. You all don't mind seeing a photo of my underwear drawer, do you? I'm so proud of myself, and it makes me happy every time I open it!

That's it for now, I think...! Tomorrow morning I leave for Balkan Music & Dance Camp in the Woodlands by Mendocino, so no blogging for me -- but hopefully Rusty will post something.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Bike storage!

Lest anyone thinks Dina is doing all the work around here... oh no no no. (Just all the blogging -- so far!)

Last night Rusty converted our little storage area (yes, with all this space we still get storage!) into bike storage. Just a few hooks into some plywood and presto! Room for all the wheels. Even room to work on the wheels. (The storage room, btw, is the former Boy's bathroom. All fixtures have been removed, and residents divide it up fairly, with areas being demarcated by duct tape on the floor.)

This made me so happy. And I think it's the first time Rusty has had all his bikes in one location in many many years. (Only one of those bikes is mine, although my favorite bike geek says I need another one...!)

Friday, June 19, 2009

Yellow Dreams...

Ok, back to painting.

I've moved on to the Conference Room, which is to become our home office. Originally we thought this would be *my* office, so I got to choose the color, but lately we realize (as the kitchen table gets more and more cluttered) that we'll probably both use it equally.

Before: White-ish walls with a hint of green, and a bright green heater and window sill. The heating pipes are white, but I couldn't tell until I painted the heater and they stopped reflecting the green. This time I tried to "prep" the area and chip off some of the green paint from the window sill -- it peeled of frighteningly easy. I think I got down to elementary-school-original beige. With some sanding, I hope the new paint sticks better...!

After: Yellow! I love yellow. My happiest living space was a room I got to paint yellow. So I thought I'd try to recreate that. What do you think? I'll leave the heater, window sill and door frames white... and the pipes too, of course.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Living spaces!

Remember living among paint cans?

There's been progress! We have an actual living room now. It's sparse, because we still hope to lay down carpet at some point, but behold -- a place to hang out!

The area rug from Fred Meyer really pulls it all together in a dramatic way. Rusty looked over after we had assembled our room and thought it looked rather like a volcano. Red and yellow and black and brown. Hot hot hot!

There's even a kitchen table to sit at, but it's not pretty, so no photo. :-) And today I start painting the next room: my office. Whee!

Monday, June 15, 2009


For once, I'm not going to blog about paint. No more paint. Yes, the ceiling is done! But that's it.

In fact, let's leave our living space alone for now. There are cool things happening outside our office door that are worth mentioning.

Number one: the shared bathroom. This is one of the first things people ask about when we tell them about living in a school. Even though Rusty and I have one of the two (?) lucky residencies with a toilet (the other is the Kindergarten space... ooh boy, more about that some other time) -- the toilet doesn't work. It's basically just a closet space. Maybe we'll rip the bowl out sometime and make more room. Sometime.

Most of the residents share the updated facilities of the (former) Girls' Bathroom. The stalls have been expanded, and the doors are extended upwards by artfully carved plywood, for beauty and privacy. Then there are the shower room and the tub room. It was actually these two rooms that first convinced me I wanted to live here. I couldn't imagine a nicer bathroom. Sharing is not an issue; even with 14 residents to one shower, I've only had to wait once for 10 minutes. I think everyone's schedule is erratic enough that it works out; not everyone here is a nine-to-fiver.

Just outside the main bathroom is the Free Table. This is a stroke of brilliance: any item no longer wanted by its owner gets placed there, free for the taking. If the item is still there after three days, the owner has to take it back and dispose of it some other way. I've already gotten rid of numerous items this way (extra rice cooker, straw hat, feather boa) and picked up items (Portuguese phrase book, microwave oven!). Today someone has deposited a pile of Christmas decor, complete with blinking wreath. (And apparently it's all found a good home already, too!)

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Done painting... almost

I finished painting the living/dining room! This took, oh, over two weeks. Along the way, I
  • picked out the same identical color that was already on the wall (by mistake)
  • ran out of the color I wanted, and had it matched by a different paint store...
  • ... only to discover that, while the color matched, the texture and sheen did not
  • experimented with an "accent color" (tomato soup red) that we both didn't like
  • found out that retouching primer is a disaster if the primer is still wet -- it takes the primer right off. The "accented" section had to be primed twice.
  • altogether, painted every section of the room at least three times. Some got painted up to six times. :-)
But it looks great, now. I even finished the door frames and window sills. Then Rusty comes home last night, lies on the floor (after a long bike ride home, which is mostly uphill), and says, "You know... we should really paint the ceiling...!"

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Dos and Don'ts when driving with paint

  • DO: hammer the paint lid shut solidly before you put it in your car.
  • DO: check and see what fell over in the trunk when you are driving with half-full paint cans in your trunk. (Or: DON'T wait to check, only to discover the spill when you finally get home after running errands all day.)
  • DON'T: attempt to wipe the spill up with rags. It will take forever, and you'll spend much more time rinsing out rags than actually wiping up paint. And you won't get it all.
  • DO: drive to a self-service car wash, after having emptied out the trunk of all the other garbage that's in there (and now yellow).
  • DO: take out the spare tire and the jumper cables before washing out the trunk.
  • DON'T: pull the trigger on the power sprayer when spraying out the paint in your trunk. It will squirt paint and dirt back in your face.
  • DO: figure out a way to drain the water/paint from your trunk. If you don't, read on:
  • DO: use the vacuum hose to suck up the paint puddle in your trunk, where your spare tire used to be.
  • DO: drive away inconspicuously as the yellow water starts leaking from the vacuum machine...

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

I'm not loving it...

Ok, here's why painting the living/dining room is taking so long:

The structure of the school is supported by heavy cement beams and pillars, either standing free or being part of a wall. Each room therefore has these beams jutting out in the ceilings or at the top of the walls. How to paint this? At first I thought I didn't want the headache of figuring out a color scheme (I'd already rescued the bedroom from a white wall/green beam blend), but then Rusty and I thought we should just try it. So on top of our lovely yummy wall color (which I now call "sunny delight"), we tried what I thought would be a red, brick-like accent color.

Result: yuck.

I don't know -- it reminds me of several fast food chains at once. Or bright cartoons. It's not primary red/primary yellow, but the combination is just too... foody. As I put it on I suddenly wanted some cream of tomato soup. Rusty thought it looked like pumpkin.

What do you think?

So we're back to where we were: let's just go yellow all the way up. Leaving the beams white lowers the appearance of the ceilings, and we love the high ceilings. I'll still paint the door frames and window trim white, for *some* contrast.

Any other clever ideas before I climb back on the ladder?