Sunday, November 29, 2009

It's Beginning to Look a lot Like Christmas!

We've had such a nice holiday weekend. I can't believe I have to go to work tomorrow, after five days off. Work? What is that? It's back to the train for me!

Thanksgiving was great, filled with family and food and mouthing off. Friday night I was able to go to Trevor's football game and watch the Huskies advance to the quarter finals in CIF. Apparently Dana Hills is playing in the playoffs as well - I joked about what I would have done if Dana had been playing against Trevor's team (I would have rooted for Trevor, FYI.)

Yesterday we had QUITE the day. We were back in our old West LA stomping grounds at 8:30am on Saturday to help Tim's former-and-about-to-be-current-again-coworker Ed move. I swear, if I see cardboard boxes or a UHaul truck ever again, I will barf my brains out. I am oh so sick of moving. The good news is that Ed is even more organized and anal than me, and the move was pretty quick and painless, as far as moving goes.

We got home and got cleaned up for a date with mom, dad and Sara. As part of our Christmas present to them, I bought tickets for everyone to go see Mary Poppins at the Ahmanson. It's one of mom's favorite movies, and I do love the Ahmanson. Tim and I have season tickets, so it was a pretty easy deal to just get three more seats and change from Wednesday to Saturday night.

For dinner, we went to my very favorite restaurant, Bottega Louie. We had a good table and great service, and the food was fabulous as always. It was a hit with Dad, which I was glad to see. I would have felt chagrined if my foodie father hated my favorite restaurant.

The play was really good. Different than the movie, but the changes really worked well. It was practically perfect in every way. Dad even bought Mom a parrot head umbrella before the show, so she was thrilled beyond belief (hers doesn't talk though, which is sad. Those cost a lot extra.) Sara got the soundtrack, which we listened to the car on the way home. Sara stayed over at our house, which makes her our first official house guest, even if she got here at midnight and left at 9:45 for floor hockey.

This morning I learned an interesting item. Tim has never seen Mary Poppins, the movie. He said they didn't own it as kids and if he saw it at a friend's house, he doesn't remember. I think it's hysterical that he only figured it out today, because he sat through the play and all of us discussing the differences between the play and the movie on the way home. He's a funny guy.

We took it kind of easy today, and are just hanging out together. We went and bought groceries for the week, because we are almost out of leftovers (there's about one slice of carrot cake left. I will miss it so when it goes.) We also went to the garden section of Target and bought our tree! Our first real tree in five years! I am very excited.

We ended up talking more to some of our neighbors as we struggled with the tree in the front yard (had to borrow a saw and cut more branches off.) Jeremy and Jill came over and got a tour of the house. They are the caretakers of Jonesy, and I told them about Jonesy is not only super aggressive to our cats through the glass, but lately if I try to pet him in my backyard or side yard, he will rub up against my legs and then growl and swipe at me. He actually took a pretty good piece out of Dad on Saturday. Jeremy and Jill couldn't believe it, and of course, Jonesy came over while we were talking and was totally nice to me. Our neighbor who shares a backyard wall came over also, and she admitted that she sometimes feeds Jonesy when he comes around, as do I. Though he lives outside during the day, that cat sure appears to have the life. Our backyard-sharing neighbor also asked what we thought of the hedge in their backyard, which creates sort of a privacy fence. I told her that we like the hedges, even though they're big, because it keeps me from having to get curtains for our bedroom slider. She seemed very nice about keeping the yard maintained/getting the bushes cut if they were any problem for us, which is what you want in a neighborino.

We are spending our last few weekend hours watching Sunday Night Football and eating cheese and crackers. The tree is up and decorated. The cats have not started sleeping on the tree skirt just yet, but I'm sure it will happen soon As long as they don't knock it over, they can do what they want. I am interested to see what they think. We had a real Christmas tree the first year we lived together, back when we only had Lulu. She was allergic to it (her lips blistered through the month of December) and she couldn't stop eating the needles, even though she had trouble with them on the way out. I am hoping that as a six year old, she can restrain herself

Here's a picture of Thory, because he hasn't been recently featured on the blog.

He loves my chair from Grandma Pat.

And here's our tree!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Almost Turkey Time!

Well, I learned tonight what Thor thinks of Jonesy. We can only assume that they have seen each other, though the only interaction anyone has seen so far is Thor sitting at the opposite end of the room from where Jonesy sat outside the window. Jonesy likes to come around during cat dinner time and act up - tonight was no exception - except that this time both Lulu and Thor were sitting in the living room while he growled at them. When he jumped at the window to get them, Thor hissed and ran away. My boy is a sissy. It makes sense though - he has been the beta cat since day 1. Lulu, despite being the alpha of the house, continues to look unsure about this white intruder. If Jonesy can't start being nice, he's never going to get himself invited inside, that's for sure, though I do try to let Lu smell my hands after I pet him.

The holiday festivities started on Monday with my office's Thanksgiving potluck. I made a caramel cake with a turkey frosted on top.

I must say, the icing is better on day 2. It's not my favorite thing that I've ever baked but Tim liked it, as did most of my coworkers.

Tomorrow our office has a half day. And since I have a four hour commute round trip, my boss graciously said I could work from home for the day. Hooray for pajama-based grant writing! I am realizing that as a homeowner, I am going to have to get more appropriate lounging clothes. On Saturday morning when the tree guys came I was still in Grandma Pat's mumu, and on Sunday Rita dropped by around 10 and I was in my sock monkey footie pajamas. I guess it's easier to stay dressed like a scrub on weekends when you live in an apartment and never see your neighbors. But know if you come over on a weekend before 3pm, I am probably rocking my jammies and bedhead. You're welcome.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Trimming the Trees!

MIRACLE OF MIRACLES, THE GARAGE IS CLEAN. Seeing is believing - here are our two cars, actually parked in the garage. There are still a few more things to be jammed into the trash and recycling bins (emptied on Thursday, filled by Saturday at noon!) and a coffee table that we will need to find a home for, but having the garage cleaned out means we are almost fully moved in. In fact, most of the chores on my chore list involve sitting in front of a computer, swearing at software.

Proof of our unpackedness.

It's our first real weekend in the house, and we had the tree trimmers here today to take care of the trees, much to mom's delight. They cut down most of the little junk, and did a great job grooming our big pine on the side of the slope. It went from being a giant overgrown bush to a nicely manicured tree! They also gave the willow in the front a trim and it looks very nice. The willow is one of my favorite parts about our house. We also met some more neighbors today and chatted.

Here are some of the pictures of the action today:
This is the big tree in question, as seen from our backyard.

Here it is at the beginning of the adventure.

Some of the cutting down to size.

And here's what it looks like now. The hillside is much cleaned off (they cut down all of the oleanders and other little trees) and you can actually see sunlight through the pine. It was really in need of love - there were tons of dead needles showering down.

Here's a shot of the trimmed up willow.

We've also been doing a little redecorating, mostly using the wonders of craiglist. Here's the pieces we bought this week.

A little glider for the patio. We are still in need of a lot of patio furniture.

Little cherry coffee table for the family room.

A chunkier coffee table for the living room. Slowly but surely, we are abandoning the big 70s style pieces. Our old bookcases got picked up this week too. They'd done a good service to Don and Eileen and then to us, and now they're off to the big forest in the sky.

We also got our new comforter in the mail this week. Now we are snug as bugs in a big giant bed sized rug. I am also using the Minneapolis school desk from Eileen as my night stand. Fat Bunny even has a seat of his own!

This little corner of the family room is still my favorite part of the house.

It's Lulu's too.

Jonesy continues to hate on her. She mostly sits there silently with her fur poofed, and he growls loudly at her. He's also (as you can see) started going at the window to try to get at her. She will sit there for about a half hour or so and give him the stink eye, and then go groom herself. I think she knows he can't get her, so she's not going to stress too much. Then again, she was originally a street cat, and she does have 6 claws on each foot, so maybe she just figures she could beat his butt. Thor continues to mainly be a cowardly lion, in all aspects of his life. At least he's eating though, and snuggling with us at night.

Sunday, November 15, 2009


Alright, here we go. A new tour of the inside of our house.

Welcome, and be forewarned that actively routing for $C inside our home may get you popped in the nose.

Here is our entryway. The bench Jan and Jim gave us, and the mirror is from mom. That little blue stool I made in seventh grade woodshop. It is one of two handmade by Meg Thiel pieces that are in our house!

To your left when you walk in is the family room. It was blue before and we decided to stick with it. The blue is darker, but the trim is white this time (last time it was dark blue.) We had to get a fireplace screen because Lula tried to climb into the fireplace. Bad baby.

Here is the view from the kitchen. We have the cat couch, a chair from Jan and Jim, and a table that mom found at the thrift store. The room also features the Time Out chair from our childhood.

Here is our kitchen. Last night I used the oven for the first time to make a sticky toffee pie. We haven't tried it yet, but appears the ovens from 1972 are running okay.

Here is a fuzzy picture of our dining room. The table Grandpa Thiel bought for my mom and dad when they were married and refinished. The chairs are from the Amish furniture maker in Wisconsin because when dad offered me the existing chairs, I turned him down (they were 50 years old and breaking out from under people. No thanks!)

The living room as viewed from the front door.

Our couch and white chair (which we actually purchased ourselves, and did not poach from friends or family.)

Another view, and a shot of Tim's besties, the TV and stereo system. We are going to put the bookshelf speakers on little stands, or so Tim says. We ditched the big bookcase thingies that went with our entertainment center but kept the base, once Mr. Day drilled some holes in the back from wires and cords. That little bookshelf has childrens' books for when Wolfie learns to read.

Going down the hallway, this is our third bedroom/office. We put the breakfast nook in there, and our CDs and DVDs are stored in here. With the wireless internet, I don't know how much time we'll actually spend in this room, but I LOVE the breakfast nook, and hope to keep it around for as long as possible.

The second bedroom/the yellow room/Wolfie's room. I also call it "Grandma Thiel's quilt-a-torium." She made the quilt on the bed for mom and dad in 1982, and the quilt on the rack is Tim and I's wedding quilt. The quilt rack also has some good memories - our first Thanksgiving in La Crosse we drove up to Amish country to pick it up, in the snow, with Grandpa fishtailing the Mercury this way and that. Tim was a little freaked out.

Here's the hall bathroom, which is repainted white. I also call it the kitties bathroom, because this is where their litter boxes are (gross, but the only real place for them.)

View into our bedroom. I love the big sliding door. The sun coming in was really pretty when we woke up this morning.

Finally, a bed big enough for me, my 6'5" husband and two cats (who can actually take up more room that Tim.) Also, my trunk is finally here. A few weeks ago Tim, my mom and I had the following conversation.

Mom: You can take your trunk when you move.
Tim: What trunk?
Meg: The one in my bedroom.
Tim: Oh, that one belongs to you?
Meg: The one that says Meg on it? Yes, that belongs to me.

I just spent some time showing him my valuable squished penny collection, and my box of rocks.

Our new dresser and my pretties. Our new bed frame will hopefully be here before Christmas, and it's made of a similiar wood.

So that's the house! There is still lots of stuff to be done. I have a couple of books of doo dads and tckockies that could be unpacked... at some point. We still need to hang most of our pictures, and I have a lot of smaller photos that I'm deciding on. But for right now, it's nice to just live in it and lay around a little.

Here's a funny shot - this is what I saw when I pulled up to mom and dad's this morning at 9:30. I told Dad, "don't be mad at me baby, I can make it up to you. Please don't put all of my stuff out on the lawn!" We put most of the stuff into our garage cabinets, but I did ask that mom put my 15 year old, outdated skies directly in the garbage (I still have my ski bag and a parka from 1995 in the garage though, no worries!)

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Getting Unpacked.

Oh, we are living in an actual house. My joy knows no bounds.

Today is the first day that it really feels like a house, and not a huge messy project that I have to tackle. It also helps that as of today we have: internet, cable television, a California king sized bed, a beautiful new dresser and A WASHER AND A DRYER. I could die tonight the happiest woman on earth.

We still have to rent a truck tomorrow and get the rest of my junk out of mom and dad's house. Finally, mom will be rid of all of the things that I've begged her not to throw out. My old dolls, the wedding presents that I didn't have space for the first time around, and 20 years of journals detailing every injustice that I ever experienced at the hands of my parents or sister. It should be a good time. We'll also having our dining room tables here at the end of the day, which is awesome. I am hosting a dinner party, in fact, to celebrate!

Some of you may have heard, but we had the California branch of Thiel and Sons home repair out here this week. The lead engineer managed to mess up a wire, so last night we had one working outlet in the back half of the house. We had a lamp in the bathroom while we brushed our teeth, and then carried it out into the bedroom to get ready for bed. Thankfully, with some advice from the home office in Wisconsin, they were able to get everything working today. Between the new outlet covers, the new carpet and the fresh paint, this place looks like a whole new house. I love it so.

It's funny, because there is part of me that thinks "leave everything packed - it'll be less of a hassle if we have to move again." And then there is part of me that is like, "I love this place. I am never moving. They are going to have to carry me out on a stretcher. Let's fill every corner of this house with crap!" It still hasn't totally sunken in that this is my house and I own this place (maybe it will sink in when we make our first mortgage payment?)

The kitties have mostly adjusted. Thor is no longer living under the bed full time, and is eating normally. He still bolts at a loud noise though. Lulu is sweet as ever. After her door darting incident, I did upgrade her microchip protection, but otherwise, she is her normal little fat love of a self.

I promise pictures tomorrow once everything is in place. In the meanwhile, I need some sleep!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Not Love At First Sight.

She may not have lived in it very long, but Lula is ready and willing to protect her house.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Settling In.

Internet is still a little spotty, so here's a quick one.

The carpet went in today, to much fanfare. Now we can pull the rest of our stuff out of the garage. I can't wait to unpack the bags of clothes and purses. I've missed you, friends. The bed comes tomorrow, and I got a call that our dresser can be delivered this week. That just leaves the actual sleigh bed, and then all of the stuff at mom and dad's that we need to retrieve. And we have to order the washer and dryer. But the big stuff is done! And to mom's great joy, we have an estimate on getting our trees cared for.

Last night Tim and I had what is probably going to be our last LA weeknight date ever, due to the fact that he had to leave work at 4 to get there on time. We went and saw David Gray in concert at the Orpheum Theater, which was awesome. We had a nice dinner at Bottega Louie and cocktail at the Broadway Bar, and then had great seats from which to watch the fabulous show. I've wanted to see David Gray live and in concert for years now, and this was a great occasion. Unfortunately, we didn't get home until midnight, which was not a smart idea. But it was WORTH IT! (plus I bought the tickets back in July.)

The house is starting to come together, though every time I pull into the driveway I pinch myself with disbelief that I really live there. The family room is coming together with all of the furniture we poached from the Sorensons, and the kitchen is unpacked. I love the parquet floors and all of our nice windows and doors.

The kitties are still adjusting. Thor mostly lives under the bed during the day, but wanders around after it gets dark, crying and rubbing against our legs. Lulu alternates between just hanging out, and going on expeditions with her little "up tail." When she's excited, her tail trembles, and we call it up tail. She's very interested in any room with a closed door, including the garage. Bad news: on Sunday she darted out the front door while we were talking to a neighbor. Good news: she ran back in the house and seemed terrified by her encounter. They haven't yet had a Jonsey encounter, so we are still waiting on that.

No pictures yet - I promise we'll have something to show for ourselves on Saturday or Sunday!

Saturday, November 7, 2009


First post from inside our new house, thanks to our pirated internet (thanks, neighbors!) There is still a little painting to be done, the carpet to be laid and cable and internet to be legally procured, but the house is done enough that Tim and I and the cats are once again proudly cohabitating. Some are prouder than others. Some are hiding under the bed with their tailes between their legs (Thor, not Tim.)

Lulu is SO excited. She has been racing around the house, looking in each corner and sniffing all of the smells. Then she'll look back at one of us like, "have you seen this yet? Look at the carpet in here!" Tim joked that she's not used to being on the ground floor - she's always been a penthouse cat. She is going to lose her mind in the morning when she can chirp at birds from the living room slider.

Last night Tim and I went and upgrade our phones, which for him is almost more exciting than buying a house. We're currently on the Verizon network, and we stuck with them to get Droids. You know what is more obnoxious than a dork with a new dork toy? Neither do I.

Today we started our unpacking. There isn't a lot we can do, since most of our house is carpet, and since we packed the garage pretty poorly - most of the boxes I wanted to unpack were buried behind the couch and underneath other things. We did clean the place as best we could today and did a lot of mopping and swiffering. Tim and I managed to drag the cat couch into the family room, and I unpacked my books. Because books are our friends. Also, our built in bookshelf is rad.

Dad came by and installed smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, and then this afternoon we went out with Don and Eileen to shop for a new bedroom set. Thankfully, I have strong opinions about my mattresses (firm!) and my bedroom sets (sleigh bed, no foot board.) We managed to find both without a lot of hassle, and our purchases will be delivered shortly. We had a lovely dinner together and then I went home to pack up my things, and Tim went back to Jake's cto collect the cats. It's almost 11pm on Saturday night, but we're living in our new house!!!

Pictures to follow when the internet isn't so dangerously spotty.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

You Choo-Choo Choose Me?

I am officially a taker of public transport, and a commuter into downtown LA! I picked up my metro pass on Monday and took my first train ride on Tuesday morning. I take the Metrolink to Union Station, and then the red line Metro to the 7th street station. From there, it's a quick walk of a couple of blocks (thankfully, past two Starbucks and a Coffee Bean, should I need a pick me up, after getting up in the pre-dawn hours.)

It's a pretty easy process, though not short by any means. I get on the train at 7:17 in Laguna Niguel, and walk into the office around 9am. I leave the office a little after 5 and am back in my car at 7. I'm hoping as I get more comfortable, I can just sleep on the way there, and then read or possibly do work on the way home. I haven't had any discussion yet with my workplace in terms of working from home one or two days a week or anything like that, but my boss is really great about respecting the work/life balance, so if the commute becomes a crushing issue, I assume she'll work with me as much as she can, as long as my work is being done properly. I love my job, and I want to keep it as long as I can. Right now we're putting together our annual campaign, and the stories about the kids we serve are really inspiring.

So, yesterday I read an entire book during my train ride. Today I got almost half way through Barbara Kingsolver's new novel, which is absolutely delicious. Today's train ride was slightly less awesome than yesterdays - we were delayed because of an accident, and I realized I'd left my cell phone charging on the downstairs counter. Oops. When we got off the train, the conductor said "make the rest of today a good one, and see you tomorrow," which made me smile. Then I spilled coffee down my shirt.

Things with the house are still moving along well. Tim and I went over last night around 8 to explore. We were able to turn some lights on throughout the house, but then the bedrooms we explored with flashlights. Like prowlers. Even in the half-dark, it looks amazing, and I can't wait to move in. The good news is that we're going to be able to start living there over the weekend, and are bringing the kitties too. As I told a friend - now I can have my junk throw haphazardly around my own house instead of my parents'. The carpet goes in on Tuesday, and then we'll be able to arrange the rest of the furniture. Most importantly, internet is installed this Friday so that we can check our email over the weekend! DirecTV next Wednesday. Hopefully this weekend we can go buy a new bedroom set and a washer and dryer to be delivered, and then we should be good to go. Until mom comes over and starts making me do yard work. Today she said I would have to buy a shovel. I don't quite know why - I don't intend on burying anyone in my backyard (YET.)

No new pictires to post - just my regular stupid stories!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Monday Monday.

I did not go to work today - there is a lot to be done for OUR NEW HOUSE!

I went over early to talk to the painter and just go over some of the areas of the house where the current finish is not so great. They are going to do their best to make sure the texture of the walls is smooth all throughout the house - whether it's on top of the old wallpaper in the bedroom, or the stripped walls of the guest bathroom, or the weird spots in the hallway where someone did a poor job patching drywall. I also found out that they put a third guy on the job, so they may be done as soon as Thursday (which means that we could move a lot of things in over the weekend.)

Then I went to the metro station and bought my rail pass - I'll be taking the train to Union Station, and then the subway from Union Station to downtown LA so that I can stay with Big Brothers Big Sisters. I love my job, I love my coworkers, I love downtown LA, so I am going to make the train commute work for as long as I can.

THEN mom and I dropped Sara off from work, and then went and had Pedros for lunch. We got to chat with all of the other angels about our new house. THEN mom and I went and bought carpet. We were total studs about it. We went to the place that Rita recommended, and the guy was kind enough to grab some samples and come and measure our house right away. I thought we'd go with a gray blue or blue carpet, but we ended up picking a green. It'll look nice with our furniture and is very pretty in the late afternoon sunlight. It's called Billard Table. Hopefully they can get it in next week.

It was a pretty smooth day. I feel like I got a lot of tasks out of the way! And now, I am off to my massage.

Here are a couple of pictures of the house and yard.

Another shot of out front.

My future cat, Jonsey.

Birdhouse in the backyard.

A note from Jennifer, with a visual representation of the wrens that live in the bird house.

The family room - it's a mess!

For those who don't remember, or who have never gazed upon its beauty - the cat couch!

Sunday, November 1, 2009


We did it! We managed to get out of our apartment without anything getting broken or anyone getting killed or maimed (I was the one most likely to start maiming people.) It's certainly been a long week - I had my two wonderful 12 hour days, heavy on the manual labor, and then woke up on Saturday needing to get my butt in gear as fast as possible.

Our moving crew was absolutely fabulous and didn't complain too much about trying to get our furniture out to the truck. We don't have a lot of things as it were, because we did live in a 500 square foot apartment, but most of our furniture is oversized. It took Jake and Dana about four tries to correctly angle the couch and get it out of the elevator. Unpacking was even easier, as we just brought stuff down the ramp and organized it in the garage (correction: Dad told everyone where they should put things. He is an excellent manager.) Some of the crew took off after that point (they were missed!) and Tim, Ed, Dad and I went over to Jan and Jim's to repossess the cat couch. Moving that down the hall was QUITE the adventure.

The house itself is even cuter than I remember, though definitely in need of a fresh coat of paint and some new carpet. The painters started yesterday and by the time we arrived at 3, they'd already scraped all of the popcorn off the ceilings. The two guys who are there are super nice - when we pulled up they were blasting Mexican oomp-pa-pa music and one guy was singing along at the top of his lungs. Another funny - we are painting Wolfie's room yellow, just as a pre-emptive measure. I was asking Juan what he thought, and he was like, "is the baby a boy or a girl?" and I was like "there is no baby." It took a couple of tries for us to connect on the fact that Wolfie is at present, a hypothetical. But Juan thinks yellow is good either way.

After we got unpacked, Tim and Ed were my heroes and took the truck back. Mom had a BBQ for the outstanding players of the day - Don and Eileen and Jan and Jim came over to hang out, and we stuffed ourselves, drank, and hollered any time the trick or treaters came to the door. It was a really nice way to end a long day.

And then I slept for 12 hours straight. Today, I am heading over to Jake's to watch part of the Packers game while snuggling my cat children. Tim and I joked last night that it'll be good for them to see me, lest they begin to wonder if their parents are in the middle of an acrimonious divorce. And then, party at the Parms. The good news is, I took Monday off. The better news is, I have a massage appointment on Monday and a spa gift certificate to use!!!