Bad, Harvey!

One of the more interesting things about living where we are in Scottsdale is the abundance of wildlife. Last weekend, we spotted our first javelina on our property! Meet Harvey:

Yes, Harvey Javelina. I like to name the wildlife. Unfortunately, we found Harvey happily munching on the roots of our front yard plants : ( He was so cute I couldn't get mad. In person he looks like a teeny, tiny bear. He was totally chill and just looked at us, looking at him destroying our yard.

Thanks, Harvey.

Pepper Meets Projects

My husband was left to his own devices Friday night. Where was I? Oh, home asleep with my new friend the humidifier:

I've been Sicky McSickerson for over a week now. Not fun. To make matters worse, last week was Parent Teacher Conference Week, and on Day Two I lost my voice. I went through the remaining 22 of my conferences whispering, thinking that I was "resting" my voice. Then I found out that whispering it pretty much the worst thing you can do for laryngitis as it strains your voice the most. Oops. So here I am on Saturday, still voiceless and trying to stay in bed and not talk at all.

Back to my husband. Being without me, he thought it to be the perfect opportunity to do something I wouldn't approve of ; ) On a previous trip to Home Depot, we had picked out the baseboards we wanted for Max's office and downstairs. I gave my opinion that we should spend the $50 to have the supplies delivered as the baseboards were really long. Without my voice of reason, this is what my husband did:

Yep, he just plopped them on top of Pepper. Well, he did use a roof rack and some bungee cord, plus those orange flags. And some engineering skills of course. So really, in the end we saved what ended up being $79 and now have the supplies for our next project. Thanks, honey ; )


What I'm Loving Wednesday

I'm loving
that this is a four day week at school! Happy Birthday, Dr. King!

I'm loving NOT having to clean a coffee pot every day thanks to my heavenly little K cups! These Donut Shop ones make me so happy! How can you not smile looking at them? (P.S. Donut Shop K cups were introduced to me almost a year ago by my sweet friend Christine, I'm just a little slow.)

I'm loving that I found a place for my DIY art that I put together back when we were renting.

I'm loving that my old friends made it a point to come through Phoenix and stay with us overnight as part of their cross-country road trip : )
John, Teyawn and I all met back in 2004 while we were interning in D.C. and it's so great to still be in touch. The funny thing is that Max was also living in D.C. at the time, we just hadn't met yet! I imagine that period in our lives to be something like the movie Serendipity: Max walking out of Au Bon Pan with a croissant just as I walk in for a cappuccino. I seriously wonder if we were ever at the same place at the same time... I guess we'll never know!


We're Floored (Weekend #2)

Saturday morning we were up bright and early to finish the floors in the office. I had my doubts about using a power saw for the first time, but my husband (being the kind, patient, supportive and encouraging person he is) actually got me to do it (with his supervision of course). My first cut took something like two minutes because I was so nervous (and slow) but I did it!

The piece on the left is mine - perfect cut, don't you think?

After a few more rows, it was time for more underlayment:

Then fitting the wood by tapping with a mallet:

And finally stapling each piece in the side using an air nailer:

We had a handy system where I would lay out all the pieces, and do the end cuts, and Max would basically do everything else. After a yummy lunch of Chick-fil-A, I felt super fueled and energized to try the rest of the process. Here I am fitting the wood. It was so not as easy as it looked when my husband was doing it! The mallet and the air nailer were both really heavy. I did one row and was wiped out.

There were definitely some tricky parts, namely the diagonal cuts where the room changed shape, and then the edge where we couldn't use the air nailer due to the impending wall and had to go back to gluing and nailing with a smaller gun. We did eventually get to the last piece : )

And when we did, the room looked something like this:

Here we are now, a bit dusty and in serious need of baseboards, but holy cow, we did that! I'm still so amazed : )

In case you're wondering, the wood we installed was pre-distressed solid black walnut. It's the same wood we have downstairs, and now we're even thinking of taking out the carpet in the upstairs hallways and replacing it with the same wood. We'll keep you posted ; )


What's the Dealio?

Max and I own lots of things that we can't afford. No, we don't have credit card debt, Max is just really good at finding deals. Me, not so much. I kind of get overwhelmed when I walk into stores like Nordstrom Rack. I finally just give up and leave with nothing. Max, on the other hand, is seriously a master at the art of discount shopping. I'm trying to learn from him. Here are some things I've picked up so far:

1. Think outside the box
Literally. Our high-end movie projector was purchased from Fry's Electronics with no box (or remote control, or cables for that matter). It was just by itself on a random shelf. Normally I would walk right by something like that, but not my husband who immediately swooped it up. He thinks the projector was most likely used as one of their in-store demos. All hooked up and mounted in our theatre, you'd never know the difference.

2. The Internet is your friend
Pretty much anything you see in a store can be purchased online for cheaper. This is doubly true for anything computer/technology related (adaptors, chargers, cables, etc.). Some places to peruse: (which features one deal every day and is where our kitchen T.V. is from), (I'm a fan of the $2 iPhone covers), and (we used this site for our T.V. mount in the den).

3. Be patient
If you wait long enough, something you really want is bound to show up for the price you want to pay on either Ebay or Craigslist. Max has been wanting a compound miter saw for months and just last week he saw a posting on Craigslist for the exact saw at half the retail price (plus sawhorse and laser attachment). It was listed by a man who had bought it for his shop at his second home. The man sold the home and no longer needed the saw - which had never been used! Seriously - the laser was still in the packaging. Score for us!

4. Stay patient
We waited for three months for the bank to approve the price on our short sold house (our best deal to date!).

Happy Shopping!

We're Floored

On Sunday Max lost his happy helper as I had to go into the classroom (this is my third different grade within three school years so at times it feels like being a first-year teacher). I also needed to do other fun stuff like put away our Christmas decorations which were still out! (I can see you opening your mouth in horror!) I was around enough to document, though : ) My husband started off the day with his newest toys (table saw and compound miter saw).

The table saw helped narrow the planks down to put along the first wall.

These first strips that go against the wall have to be glued and nailed (opposed to the rest that just get nailed down).

The miter saw does the diagonal cuts which were especially helpful in the corner.

Once the strip against the wall was done, Max rolled out this underlayment (technically this type of installation is called a "floating floor") and then used the air nail-gun to secure the boards.

And here's where we stand right now : )

So we're all set for next weekend to bang the rest of it out! I'm not sure I'll want to use the power saws (I was scared enough using my power sander) but I might give the nail gun a go : )

Good-Bye Carpet, Hello Mess!

When we moved into our house in April, we decided that this upstairs room would be Max's office (lab). It's on the second story and has a cute window that looks out onto the den and kitchen so he can call down to me when I'm making dinner : ) It also has a neat door that leads to the outside balcony. Unfortunately, it also had carpet, which is bad for electronics as it can generate static electricity. Max has been patiently storing all of his equipment in another room until we can change the floor, which we finally got around to starting this weekend. Here's what the office looked like this morning:

And me, mid carpet roll:

Next it was time to pry up the tack strip that kept the carpet down:

And then the baseboards needed to go, too:

By mid-day, we had this mess on our hands:

Max decided he also wanted to add a 20 amp outlet for his work bench, as well as a bunch of network connections:

They were a bit tricky to run:

By nightfall, we were looking at this clear floor:

So it was time to bring out our new hardwoods! We purchased more of the same exact type we had installed downstairs:

We prepped by measuring and making chalk lines:

And then fit a few pieces together to get a feel for the look:

Tomorrow it will be time to glue and nail-gun! Wish us luck!



What a fresh start 1-1-11 seems like! Before we jumped into 2011, Max and I spent some time thinking about 2010, a year of firsts for us...

Our first trip to Europe:

We bought our first house:

Celebrated our first anniversary:

And most recently spent some time covering our citrus trees to prepare for our first freeze (the news anchor on our local station made the comment yesterday: It's Arizona; it's not supposed to be this cold):

A chilly cheers to 2011!
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