Wednesday, April 30, 2008


We finally listed the place on Monday, about a month after the realtor was hoping we would. But I think all the improvements were worth the delay and now if it languishes on the market I'll have fewer woulda/shoulda/couldas to kick myself about.

Tuesday morning H had to get the place ready at the last minute for a showing. He showered, set up the bed and all the "show" towels, vacuumed, cleaned the electric stovetop, cleared all the clutter and took out the garbage in about 25 minutes. He opened the door with the trash in hand to the realtor and prospective buyers. What a trooper.

This weekend he will be joining the Cadiz clan on a drive to Alabama for my brother's graduation. Nothing like a 12-hour road trip to get to know your girlfriend's parents. Any suggestions for a good book on tape?

Thursday, April 24, 2008

hey nonbelievers: this is how we did it

A few weeks ago we went to suburbia to wait for H's stuff that never came, and we made the most of being unable to leave my parents' house all day by using my dad's tools and all that room to fashion a headboard for our place.

After a trip to the hardware store and the crack house, we had the materials: foam, plywood, fabric, staplegun, household glue and random measuring equipment.

H's sister had suggested we hang three panels of varying colors for more interest, so we originally had a large piece of plywood cut into thirds. But after we settled on a very diagonally patterned and texture-y fabric, we decided it'd be easier to do a single color in one large piece instead of three separates that we'd have to match up over rounded edges.

So we had to attach them back together and cross our fingers that the divisions weren't too obvious under the fabric.

I'm not that into glitz, but we agreed that a little shine never killed anyone. Plus I like the fact that what's normally the "wrong side" (the stitching of all those pieces together) is what makes the "right side" look cool.

We put the boards together with brackets. At this point it would have been really smart to add a layer of batting, as H's sister had originally suggested, because a) the fabric is a hundred diamond-shapes of silk sewn together—if it ripped, it'd be a mess b) the edges of the board wouldn't feel so hard and c) it'd help hide the divisions between the three panels underneath. Unfortunately we forgot about the batting until we were done and attempting to transport the thing (which was not easy, by the way. Maybe panels would have been a better option after all).

Stapling was good for channeling our angst about waiting around all day with no word on when his stuff was going to show. Especially when it didn't even end up coming.

I was a little over-enthusiastic about pulling the fabric taut. If we do this again, I'll have to take more zen breaths and relax.

It's always a good idea to make sure everything is level and matches up. I let H do the math.

I'm happy with the way it turned out. Maybe in the next place we'll get to do more home-improvement projects. My inner Martha is constantly straining at the leash and H has proven himself to be more than handy. However, I'm starting to think he's acquired those skills to justify his constant daydreaming about the ridiculous power tools he'd someday like to own. 

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

let them do the walking

Hey peeps, I know there are a bazillion great causes out there, but two people I know (one of whom is the illustrious highcontrast) are putting on their walking shoes to raise a little cash for charity.

The first is someone I worked with years ago, right around her son's birth. Jackson is a great kid who's making a lot of progress. His parents* have participated in Walk Now For Autism for several years, and Team Action Jackson always has cool t-shirts.

Highcon** is walking in New York to help fight AIDS. This epidemic isn't going away, and many people are still getting infected every day.

And just because it has helped my brother so tremendously in his life—from making him confident and aware that he's not suffering alone, to offering him a whole network of people his age who understand the crap he's been through that goes way beyond the "camp" experience—I include a link to Camp Bon Coeur, a camp for kids with cardiac issues.

* Jackson's mom has an essay published in the local paper.
** Some of you may have noticed that I didn't include a link to highcon's donation site. If you'd like to contribute to his AIDS walk, please e-mail me at cadiztwelve[at]gmail[dot]com.

Friday, April 18, 2008

another seven years of bad luck? no thanks.

Every potential hole in the wall warrants a discussion about whether the safety/necessity of said hole is worth pissing off potential buyers or having to patch them later. 

In our redecorating we got a small table for the front hall, on which I put a fairly large and heavy mirror. I was content to leave it leaning on the table, but H was uneasy that someone might catch a table leg and the mirror would crash and break into shards. I told him not to be so uptight—it's not like Illinois is known for its earthquakes, and tornadoes rarely hit downtown—but I relented. He attached those safety straps people put on furniture so kids don't pull it down on top of themselves. 

It was a good thing he did it, too, because apparently there was an earthquake in the Chicago area at 4 am this morning. I don't believe there was too much damage or any injuries, but my boss woke up and blamed his wife for shaking the bed. And people even felt it in the dungeon.

I sort of remember waking up in the middle of the night, but I doubt it was because I felt the tremor. When my family and I visited my  mom's godmother in California in 1987, there was a 6-point-some earthquake while I slept in a bed on wheels. The next morning I woke up clear across the room, having been tossed around quite a bit without noticing a thing. 

Thank God H went with his instincts and protected that mirror, because these last few years I've had just about all the bad luck I can handle.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

edged out and showing up

Long ago, I reported seeing some kind of jackal tearing through the streets of Chicago.

A little less long ago, there was a coyote who parked himself in a cooler of a Quizno's in the Loop (downtown).

And now it seems a cougar has wandered into the city from maybe as far as The Badlands.

Perhaps this is a sign that people should stop putting concrete on every parcel of land not covered in water?

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

that white speck is the light at the end of the tunnel—or just an errant piece of drywall

H and I have been furiously working to get the condo ready to be listed since he got off the plane on March 24. This has included new appliances, a new wood floor, new furniture, making a headboard, and scouring every home-type store, student art gallery, hardware store and Target within 30 miles. We have made more trips to IKEA in the last three weeks than trips made in the combined lifetimes of all members of both of our families, and the condo's front-desk people are wondering if we're building an emporium in our unit because of the frequent requests for freight elevators and luggage carts to haul all this stuff up there. 

We even contacted artist friends to see if we might borrow a few pieces for a few months, but unfortunately the logistics didn't work out (however, I really liked a piece featuring a Rabbit that was painted by Kaiya's fiance, and was disappointed that we needed more of a vertical). It even got to the point where I bought a ginormous canvas and dug up my own oil paints in an attempt to come up with something useable. But then I remembered that any piece of art I've made has taken weeks or months, and we just don't have that kind of time (and I can't stand to look at my own stuff anyway). So we hung a mirror instead.

Our realtor came by last night and said things looked good. The only thing left to do is hang six framed photos in the hall—a 30-minute job that will likely take 4 hours with all the scooching and adjusting and laser-leveling.  We've been been procrastinating on it, probably because after that I'll have nothing to do but lose sleep over how long it will take the place to sell.

We had the good luck of finding an all-purpose contractor guy who happens to be married to my mom's coworker, and he finished all of our projects in record speed (it also really helped that the weather was craptastic all last week so he wasn't able to go to his 9-5 job and could work with us). So if anyone is looking to make home improvements in the Chicago area, e-mail me.

What's hilarious about this whole thing is that it's a TINY place with only four rooms. I have no idea how people with full-out houses complete with backyards and chimneys and shutters and all that other jazz do what it takes to get things moving in this kind of market. All I know is that we're going to think long and hard about the next place we get because renovating is not as fast and simple and cheap as it seemed when we started. But I do like the way it looks, even though it feels a little impersonal.

As a reward, I have been on a Guitar Hero fast since the Wii was delivered. H has already rocked it, and he even bought me my own guitar-controller, but I have stuck to my policy of delayed gratification and won't plug in until that last damn picture is hanging on the wall and our place is listed. Because, as we all know, once I get the fever, I'm not going to want to sleep, eat or work until I have conquered it. So I may as well get everything done first.

But once it's on, it's ON.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

nothing says "I'm sorry" like rows and rows of gadgets

"Sorry I didn't call you earlier to say I couldn't come home early and you had to sit around all afternoon."

"Take me to Fry's Electronics, and I'll forgive you."

"Ok, we'll make time for Fry's tonight in between the paint store and the hardware store."

"I can be bought—I forgive you."

"I guess every man has a price."

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

let's hope i don't have to re-knit sweaters

For years, I've said that I lived at my parents' house because I had to stockpile money for the impending Depression, and that all my years spent learning to make clothes, knit and generally be crafty were preparation for the hard times I was sure are coming. I was mostly kidding, of course.

Salon has an opinion piece today about just how close we are to falling off the edge of the cliff and into another economic depression. And while this is one person's take on the current situation that I don't even completely understand, there's some interesting discussion in the comments that sort of freaks me out.

Nobody knows what will happen, but I'm going to try and educate myself a little better about what's going on. And I sure as hell will think twice about joking about it again.