Feb 27, 2009

Birth of the Cool

I'm super excited about a new exhibit at the Blanton Museum that opened last week, Birth of the Cool. I can't wait to go see it. Roger and I are planning to go to B Scene next Friday night to check it out. B Scene is like an art party held the first Friday of every month. And in collaboration with the exhibit the Elephant Room is hosting a music series highlighting music from the time period of the exhibit, midcentury modernism. This Saturday night we will be at the Elephant Room after 9:30 p.m. listening to the Jeff Lofton Quintet. So join us tomorrow night or next Friday night at B Scene. It will be super cool!

Dining Table Resolution

We got a call from the manager of the store yesterday. The factory where the table is made somewhere in northeast America is going to make a third leaf for our table. In order for it to be able to fit our table for sure, they are going to make a whole new top with three leaves then send it to the San Antonio warehouse. When the guys from San Antonio deliver it, they will take off our old top from the legs and reassemble the table with the new top plus all three leaves. Turns out the factory makes third leaves all the time. And of course none of this will cost us anything. Which I expected because they are a very reputable store. So looks like our dining table dilemma is resolved for now. When the actual table top arrives, I'll let you know how it turns out.

Feb 22, 2009

First Dinner Party

We hosted our first dinner party at the new house Friday night. It was a lot of fun. We had a great time. I think it was a success. And judging by the empty pitcher of Mexican Martinis and the recycle bin full of beer bottles, I think our guests had a great time also. We had Roger's family over for dinner. It was an assortment of special occasions. We celebrated Roger and his sister Mirna's birthdays. Roger's was February 13th and Mirna's is March 3rd. It was a mini-reunion as Roger's god mother Martha from Puerto Rico who has lived in Oregon for at least thirty years now was visiting. And our family friend Larry who hadn't seen Martha from when everyone lived in Puerto Rico also came. It was also the first time for Roger's mom Laura, sister Cindy, brother-in-law Joey, nieces Ariana and Cyrene and our dear friend Denise, who is like a sister, to see our new house. So there were many things to celebrate. Roger's dad made his famous tacos which were delicious. I wish I would have eaten at least three more. They are so good. As you can see by the pictures, we had a lot of fun and laughter. And it was great practice for having dinners and parties at our new house.

We did have a dining table dilemma which of course did not affect our fun. But it was a little disappointing for Roger and me. We ordered a custom dining table last Thanksgiving. We were told by the designer and their brochures that with a second leaf added it would seat ten people. We were so excited to be able to seat ten. At our last house, and even our apartment in DC, we could only seat four properly. Of course we would pull out every chair we owned to fit more, but it's not the same as being able to seat ten properly. I was really excited about the new table. It was supposed to take 30 to 60 days to be made and delivered. Sixty days past and I called the store and everything was in except one side chair. At first I was like, well it can wait until the one last chair comes in since I figured it would be maybe another week. I called back a week later and it still was not in the warehouse. The dinner party was a week away and I asked them if they could deliver what they had and they did. We would only have nine chairs, but there were only nine adults coming to the dinner so it would be fine. The little girls would not sit around the table long anyway. And I thought maybe the last chair will come in before the dinner and if it didn't it would be fine. Then we found out another person was added to make it ten adults even. We knew it would all work out. We've pulled chairs from other rooms before. No problem. So Friday afternoon I was getting ready for the dinner and I separated the table to add the second leaf. I went to the second bedroom to get the spare chair and put it under the table and it wouldn't fit. There was no way that chair was going in under the table. Talk about not happy.

I went from disbelief to unhappiness to disappointment. And for me, it's worse for me to be disappointed with you than mad at you. I felt betrayed and lied to by the designer. I felt like maybe she told us that just to sell us the extra leaf and two extra side chairs. Then I was very disappointed with the store. But I always had the knowledge in my mind the store would take care of this. Their service in our past experiences with them have always exceeded our expectations. So I knew I had to talk with them, but of course decided I would wait until the next day to do so. No reason to take it out on them especially since the designer we worked with was no longer employed at the store. Roger and I went yesterday and spoke with the store manager. She was well aware of our delayed pieces. We also ordered a chair and ottoman for Roger and the designer told us 30-60 days but leather pieces take 90 days. So either we were misinformed which would have been easy to do since our order was so large or through the whole process we got it confused and lumped it all together time wise. We explained the new dilemma. And of course she was very apologetic and sincere. We talked about our options, returning the two extra chairs and only seating eight or maybe getting a third leaf which she offered to pay for so we could still seat ten. We had already spread the table out at the house to see if a third leaf would fit and it would. She attempted to call her district manager to see if she had any advice since they had never put a third leaf in their tables and none of us were sure it would be structurally sound. They don't even offer a third leaf in these tables because for that length you would normally add another set of legs for support. But her manager was in interviews and she spoke with someone else there who had the idea of us trying the leaf from the floor model in our table to see if it would work.

So we took it home and tried it. It almost fit. All the pegs lined up all around and it slid in fine all around except one corner. There was a piece of the leaf that hit a piece of the table which prevented us from sliding it in. Since they make the whole table and any leaves at the same time, your leaf might not fit into another table. So we went back and explained all this. The whole store of designers got in on the problem while we were gone. They found the brochures that say with a second leaf it seats ten so we're sure that's where the designer got that from but they all agreed there's no way ten chairs could fit in there. And none of the other designers had ever sold it as that. Of course, our designer wasn't there any more. Although we could order another leaf, there might be a chance it doesn't fit. And there's no way the finish is going to match our table exactly because they make each table complete with leaves individually by hand. No table will ever match another table. So the store manager is going to call her manager to explain the whole situation and see what solutions they can come up with for us. She also mentioned speaking with their corporate office about the misleading brochures. I know they will take care of us. It is disappointing but there are a lot worse things in life. This is really nothing and it will get taken care of. I would still recommend this store in a heart beat. And I know I will order furniture from them again. I've got their catalog open right now to see if they have an end table like I want. So as the young folks used to say, it's all good.

Feb 12, 2009

A Couple New House Firsts

We got our first electricity bill this week. And it is cause for concern. We had to switch from City of Austin to Pedernales (pronounced here as Perdenales) Electric Cooperative for electricity with this move. Although the City of Austin services us for everything else still, water, wastewater, solid waste and recycling. So we closed on January 23rd and had the electricity turned on that same day. Our first bill was from January 23rd to February 4th, thirteen days. And it was $49.32! For thirteen days?! That's what we paid for one month of electricity with the City of Austin. Scary! Even though I almost never turn on lights during the day, we turn off lights when we leave rooms and we don't keep unnecessary lights on, we have been even more diligent with lights and anything else that uses electricity. And Roger has ordered dimmers for a bunch of lights and fixtures so we have the option of dimming a light, which uses less electricity, instead of just off or on. I'm scared to see a whole month's bill.

We also experienced our first storm in the new house. Tuesday night that crazy storm that was going across the Midwest causing all those tornadoes in Oklahoma came across Texas as well. It was a pretty bad storm up there, but down here it was not as bad. I'm sure some places got hit worse than we did. But what was weird was how we experienced it. In our old house, we would have heard and felt everything. We would have been able to hear and feel the wind and the rain. If we didn't have the blinds in the windows open we would not have known there was a storm. We couldn't hear anything, wind or rain, until the hail started hitting the front of the house since the wild wind was blowing everything side ways. We could see the rain being blown sideways down the street, but we couldn't hear or feel anything. I know, that's good. Let's us know our house is pretty solid. It was just weird, that's all. We watched the local cable provider weather channel as it skirted across Interstate 35. And of course, it only lasted here about five to ten minutes. If you have ever heard that saying, "Don't like the weather in Texas just wait five minutes", it's true.

Feb 10, 2009

Hectic Beginnings

Sorry I haven't posted a legitimate post in a while. Things have been a little hectic around here. Not that we thought it wouldn't be but when life gets hectic sometimes you are surprised. I have no idea why? I think every one's lives are hectic these days. Of course because we make them hectic. That's a whole 'nother story. Anyway, I'll try to cover why things have been hectic in as short a post as possible. Yeah, I know, you are all laughing out loud from that.

Okay, so Roger had to work the first weekend we moved into the new house. Monthly server maintenance is usually on the last Friday night of every month. Then he had to work this past weekend also because his company was finally merging networks/systems with the company that bought them last year. Or it was something like that. I'm sure I'm getting it wrong, but that's basically what they did. And he has been working late a lot lately because he was off those two days of packing and moving and it's a busy time for his company. So he hasn't been able to spend as much time doing stuff around the house as he would like and he's feeling a little disconnected to the new house. Hopefully things will slow down enough for him to spend more time at home and do some things around the house so he feels "home". Nothing makes you feel more at home than honey do lists and yard maintenance.

During that week, we also hosted our first guests. Yes, we hosted a friend the first weekend we moved in the new house. But it was easy. Now that we have a dedicated guest bedroom, we don't have to do anything for guests. So you know what this means, come visit us! We hosted our friend Kyla from Nashville for a few days. She was in Texas for her brother's graduation from Air Force basic training in San Antonio and used it as an excuse to catch up with friends that moved to Austin. Then my mom came to visit this past weekend. She helped me make 10 reversible place mats Friday night for our new dining table that was delivered Friday. She was given boxes and boxes of material from a friend so the place mats didn't cost me anything except I had to buy fusible interfacing to give the place mats a crisp shape and so they hold up after multiple washings. We started out sewing in the second bedroom while Roger slept to get ready to go to work Friday night. The second bedroom is still a catch all room right now, but will change once I get everything out of it and get a sewing/craft table. Once he left we moved into the living room and kitchen so we could get our Friday night HGTV shows in while we worked. We are still missing one chair and Roger's living room chair and ottoman. They will be delivered as soon as they come in as I will be calling them every Friday to ensure they don't arrive in the warehouse and sit there forever.

We also had a few friends over for Super Bowl. For a while it seemed like we weren't going to have anyone over for Super Bowl which would have been a first in a long time for us. But at the last minute some friends asked us what our plans were and we told them to come on over. The house layout was perfect for the Super Bowl. We had food spread out all over the island. It is nice to have so many electrical outlets around the island. Makes it easy to plug in crock pots of yummy queso. Everyone sat around the island and in the living room. There wasn't a bad seat in the house. This is the main reason we picked this floor plan. It's exactly how we live and entertain.

I'm still doing lots of little things around the house to make it more of a home. Last week we got the office set up and even put together a bookcase, chair and ottoman from IKEA in the office. Last week was also filled with lots of little things and pretty much all the unpacking was completed. We had some contractors come out to give us a few more estimates for a deck and pergola. Hopefully that will be done soon after we get approval from the home owner's association. This week I will hang pictures, paintings, drapery rods and drapes, shelves, and all those other things that make a house a home. I also have at least one new painting in my plans for the dining room. I can't wait to get started on it. I plan out every step of my paintings, which techniques I will use, what order, etc. Layering is key in painting so I have to plan them out to completion so I don't get things out of order and can't do what I planned. And I have decided to use one technique I haven't used in years on part of the painting in one layer. That technique is crackling. I have seen some paintings recently around town that have inspired me to pull the crackle medium out of my tub of painting supplies. Of course, before I start I'll have to make sure it isn't dried up.

I had to do that recently with my mod podge for a craft I was doing for my dining table center piece. And thank goodness my mod podge was still usable. I'm all about buying as little as possible for, well, everything. I was still researching the center piece for the dining table because I wanted to get the scale right. In my runnings as my mom would say, I knew something would jump out at me either for inspiration or as the actual piece. She and I stopped by a consignment store, Goodbye Hello, on Manchaca Road in our runnings this weekend and found the perfect piece. It's a "boat" of sorts and I thought it would look cool with some big, white decorative spheres in them. I'm not usually a decorative sphere kind of gal but it was just perfect. I searched a few stores and online and I was not about to pay $8 a ball. So I went to Hobby Lobby with coupons in hand and bought all the supplies I needed to cover and decorate styrofoam spheres. I was able to make them for around $3.50 each. I felt so satisfied knowing I saved $4.50 a ball. I'm still working on two, one covered with white yarn and another I will decoupage with white paper.

I know this turned out to be longer than I wanted. But that's what happens when you don't post for a long time. I will try to post more frequently. Hope everyone is doing well. Love you all!

Feb 4, 2009


Sorry, I haven't posted photos since before we moved. I was waiting for the desktop computer to be set up because I didn't know I could upload my pictures to Roger's laptop. I know, I should have asked him. But better late than never, right?! So here are pictures from the night of packing through today. I will get captions up as soon as possible. Hope you enjoy!