"Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more. It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing."

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Spending Plan

My January spending was not bad. My two concrete goals were:

1) to not step foot in Reitmans, not even 'just to look' for 31 days;
2) to spend less than 200$ total on food for the month.

I succeeded on both counts!

Food totals for January: 160.44$! It definitely takes off some of the bite from last month's obscene figure.

I'm finally admitting to myself how hard it is to make a real spending plan that does not amount to more than I actually bring in. It's especially difficult to concede that I cannot afford to spend what I've been spending on average on food. This is why the penny tracking thing is so important. I'm discovering some alarming patterns to my spending. I think it could take a full year of tracking before I get myself completely on the right track. Never mind that by the fall, I'll be embarking on a new life and mucking it all up again!

February is going to be a mess and March won't be much better. April will even things up again since I'll have three pays. I've noticed that the two months leading up to the three-pay month are always the most precarious. I think I'm finally learning how to balance things out so that I don't end up in such a situation again in October....

I'm taking a trip in April and as the planning stage creeps towards the realisation stage (ie. reservations being booked) I'm reminded of just why I decided to get my finances in order. Being able to go on a cool trip twice a year or so rocks.

Of course, I swore up and down that I would not be going to the US again for a while, but I am. :-) What can I say, Americans are so much friendlier in general (just avoid NYC) than Canadians and with the current exchange rate being just at par, there's no reason not to indulge in a little jaunt down the east coast. Where I'm going will remain a mystery for now. :-)

Monday, January 28, 2008

Product Comparison Tool

There's a neat site for comparing similar products, including their reviews: wize.com.

Let's say, you're looking for a refrigerator. You can put refrigerator in the search box and the website will come up with a list of all the refrigerators out there. You can then narrow your search for a refrigerator by price, key words, brand, colour. etc. There is also a 'compare' tool for when you're trying to choose between a few models. I particularly like that there are reviews of the products. Reviews often highlight little issues or design features about a product that manufacturers don't think to mention.

Whether you are looking for a refrigerator or a car seat for your child, wize.com is a great tool for making sure you get the best bang for your buck.

Sunday, January 27, 2008


Woohoo, I finally organized my computer armoire!

I will not show any before pictures, but I did leave some dust. :-)

My computer armoire is my favourite spot in the house. I researched armoires for months before settling on this one. It's almost perfect. The one I wanted had more cubbies and a built-in filing cabinet, but it was also twice as big and ten times as expensive. This armoire fits perfectly in the space reserved for it and it has the exact layout I was looking for.

The upper portion:

I needed an armoire that had a space that was wide and high enough to accommodate a 24" iMac and allow me to swing it around easily to access the CD slot on the side. I also needed a keyboard tray that would go far enough back for me to be able to sit at a reasonable distance from the monitor. Obviously, this armoire fits the criteria and even has a bonus feature in the extra level between the desktop and the keyboard tray. Since I watch DVDs on my computer and live alone, I frequently eat at my computer. I keep a placemat on that extra level and slide the keyboard tray under when I eat, keeping things neat.

The lower portion:

This is what took me so long to organize. It's obviously configured for a computer setup where you have a tower. In the tower section, I put the files I use almost daily. My filing cabinet is upstairs and I noticed that papers weren't making it up there and ended up being scattered in two or three places. Above it is paper for the printer (which sits on top of the armoire).

The bottom right has wooden unit with drawers which holds all 'office' paraphernalia, including pens, pencils, stapler, rulers, etc. Behind it is my modem.

Above the cubbies is my powerbar and loose change collector.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Productive Day

Accomplished today:

-three loads laundry;
-vacuuming upstairs;
-paint touch ups on armoire;
-two three coats of paint on a dresser;
-one pot chili;
-one loaf insanely delicious beer bread (made with one bottle of Rickard's Honeybrown (341ml);
-one pan vegan brownies (made with 1 cup applesauce instead of 1 cup oil).

The house smells deeeelish.

Friday, January 25, 2008


And now for something completely different....

English isn't my first language, French is. These two languages are one and the same for me and I couldn't be whole if I had one but not the other. Some things, I'm more comfortable doing in English, others in French, and for some I can effortlessly glide between my two mother tongues. I am very fortunate to have had parents who made their children's bilingualism a top priority.

My English is impeccable because I was mostly schooled in English, with French being reserved for home. My French roots are very rarely betrayed; it's usually a slip of pronunciation that makes people smile and realise that I'm not kidding when I say that I didn't speak English the first five and a half years of my life. My French is now impeccable, but it wasn't always so. French is a notoriously slippery language to write so while I spoke it fluently my spelling and grammar were atrocious. I worked at this until French grammar became as effortless as that of my adopted tongue.

I grew up in the vicinity of the Metropolis, where speaking and writing polished French wasn't something to be looked down upon. But where I am now, at the border with an English-speaking province, proper French has been worn down and daily speech is filled with anglicisms--English terms made French.

The speech here grates on my nerves. I work in a legal environment and it annoys me to no end to hear English terms used instead of French ones. If I want to be understood, I have to speak like everyone else, but I don't want to talk like that because I don't want these errors to be ingrained in me. I have nightmares of speaking to a lawyer about a 'chaîne de titre' rather than a 'historique de propriété' or a 'applicant' rather than a 'demandeur.' Often, I find myself doing something I know looks irritating and snobbish; I'll say the proper French term and then put the anglicism in air quotes. Oh, yeah. That's the way to endear yourself to your colleagues.

Quebec has draconian language laws that violate basic human rights, but living here has shown me that the way to save French is not to measure the size of letters on signs but to promote proper speech patterns. Modern English was born from Norman French, a French that has hardly changed in more than five hundred years. But it is mutating rapidly now and merging once again with English. Quebec is trying to hold back the flood and I realised today that I, who has always whined about the language laws, am one of those trying to sandbag the dam.

For the French I insist on speaking, no matter how much it irritates others, is a French that the natives of France have given up long ago. While they spend their 'weekend à faire du shopping pour un sweater après avoir parquer le car', I spend my 'fin de semaine à faire du magasinage pour un chandail après avoir stationné l'auto.'

Perhaps should loosen up. Maybe if I say 'applicant' à la française enough times it'll stop sending shivers up my spine?

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Organizing DVDS... and a Contest

DVD storage has been a bit of a conundrum for me. VHS tapes were just as bad. I like having them out on a shelf where I can see my library at a glance, as I do with books. However, too many people see a library of DVDs as an invitation to abscond with some. I'll admit it: I don't like to lend my stuff. Okay, there are some people with whom I have exchanges all the time and that's great (I'm a notorious borrower), but there are others who return my items in poorer shape than when they borrowed them, and see nothing wrong with this. What can I say, I don't appreciate tears in the DVD covers or huge scratches across the disc.

All that to say that I've come up with a system that I don't adore, but which works for my current space. I'd actually call it perfect for this space:

All my DVDs are arranged in Ikea Kasset boxes by alphabetical order. I don't separate tv shows from movies or anything like that. Just straight up alphabetical order by title. This is just one unit containing boxes. I have three others. :-) The units have doors that close so my collection is perfectly hidden, but easily accessible.

Where's the contest part of this post, you ask?

I have one unopened package containing two Kassett boxes to give away! I will ship anywhere.

Please leave a comment with some contact info.

The draw will take place on February 28, 2008, my blog's first anniversary!

Anyone who blogs about this contest will get an extra entry!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

January Food Expenditures So Far

I'm doing really well this month, only 110$ spent so far on groceries and restauranting. I'm trying to not go grocery shopping this month, beyond perhaps another jaunt to GT, and will probably get lunch once or twice at the food court to get some fresh veggies and fruit.

One thing I'm going to try in February is to set up a schedule for grocery shopping. My current system is to eat up everything in the house and then go shopping. I'd like to make it a habit of going to get groceries once a week, say on Thursday night (or whenever) and get whatever's on special that week that fits onto my master pantry list. This way, I'll have a clear idea of how long something absolutely has to last me.

The food pickings this week seemed really slim, but I just pulled off two awesome dinners with leftovers for lunch. Last night, I made a basic white sauce to which I added a can of tomato soup and some dried basil to make a really yummy (albeit lumpy) rosée sauce. I have tons of parmesan left in the fridge, so I added a bit to the sauce before serving it over pasta. Tonight, I used one of the spelt pastry crusts in the freezer to make a rice pie, which will give me lunch tomorrow and a quickie dinner since I'll be going out and won't have time to cook.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

A Little Slow On the Uptake Sometimes

I just realised that the screws for the pulls were meant to be installed from the outside of the armoire, so they weren't too short. *rolls eyes*

These were the cheapest metal pulls I could find and I absolutely adore them. I was amused to discover that they're the same pulls as that on the door to the dungeon!


Saturday's projects weren't the biggest chunk of my weekend, believe it or not.

I was really, really sick of the white melamine armoire that graces my entrance:

It's been the first thing I see when arriving at home for five years (it was a pantry for 4 and a bit and is now my entrance closet). I decided it was time to do something fun with it and figured that since it'll probably not make the move to Manitoba with me and I will therefore not have to live with it for more than eight or so months,I would paint it a fun colour: orange.

My initial plan was to reface the whole thing with beadboard, but I could have bought a new armoire for the cost of those materials. Instead, I decided to go with paintable vinyl wallpaper. I used that material in my old house, so I knew what to expect with it. My budget was 50$ and I spent 65$ at Réno-Dépôt on Thursday evening. That's okay, there's tons of paint left and I have another item that could use brightening up!

I decided to add some mouldings to the door, mostly so I could use one my favourite toys:

The poor thing has been so neglected since I moved and has sat all alone in the dungeon for seven months!

I wallpapered the armoire Thursday and Friday evenings, got to work on mouldings on Saturday and started to paint, finished painting on Sunday, let everything cure on Monday, and reattached the doors today. I need to touch up the paint a bit and add the pulls. I have the pulls, but the screws are too short and I didn't feel like braving the dungeon tonight to get longer ones.

I'm not thrilled with the way the mouldings turned out (the wood was infuriatingly brittle), but a couple of coats of paint hides a multitude of sins. At any rate, this is so much more welcoming than white:

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Sometimes, Settle for 'Done'

What's a bird to do when her whole house (minus the dungeon, which she's avoiding) is neat and organized? How about doing little projects she's put off for years because there were more pressing things to do?

Project number one was to take a huge box of pictures spanning five decades and to sort them in relative chronological order into an album with descriptions. This wasn't a huge project; there were fewer than 300 pictures to sort, but pictures haven't been a huge priority to me until recently. Now that I have a pretty album to pull out for guests, I'm tempted to get a few of my digital pictures printed!

Project number two was one that I have put off for ten years. It was to create a scrapbook of sorts that would hold all the receipts, tickets, and other paper related to the various trips I have taken. It took me about a half hour to sort everything and then insert it into a nice photo album with sticky pages. Yeah, it's not ultra pretty, but it's organized and my mementos are no longer stuck in a box at the back of a closet. I can't believe I've put that off for ten years and am glad to have settled for 'done.'

Friday, January 18, 2008

Food Deals

I stopped off at Giant Tiger this afternoon on the way home to see if they had any good grocery deals. The GT in my neighbourhood isn't nearly as good as the one in the village I left. I've noticed that the quality of a GT depends on the average income level of the residents living near it.... At any rate, I did get some good deals on sweet potatoes, noodles, cookies (carb fest!), pickles, and soup. I wish this GT carried The Eggrolls. I miss treating myself to a box of The Eggrolls every six months or so. Loblaws has The Eggrolls, but they're 2$ more!

Doing well for groceries/restaurant this month so far; about 110$ (and only 25$ of that is from restauranting). I still have 12 days to go, though. :-)

Good Service is NOT a Thing of the Past!

For several months now, I've subscribed to something called 'Credit Alert' which provides added insurance for my credit card as well as credit report monitoring services. It's a fantastic service, but not cheap--16$/month. I finally called at the beginning of the month, after the charge appeared on my card account, to cancel.

This morning, I went to make sure my credit card balance was still 0 (I'm silly that way) and it wasn't. Credit Alert refunded me my payment for January!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

How to Wisely Spend Your Entertainment Budget

Last night, I 'blew' a month's entertainment budget, plus a small chunk of my grocery budget on two tickets to see a performance of my favourite play.

(What's my favourite play? Check out the bit of soliloquy at the top of my blog that inspired my blog's name. *g*)

It was so worth it. I could have gone to ten movies for the same price and had none of the memories. It was an excellent reminder that my entertainment budget should be spent on theatre and opera, not movies.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Leaving My Nice, Warm, Safe Cocoon

The more blogs I read, the more I see opportunity to make some money from blogging. I've had AdSense on my blog for a while (reported earnings so far: 21 cents) and then I heard about a 'pay to blog' program called Blogsvertise. This sounds interesting; you're paid to blog about a site and the ads don't have to be an endorsement. So, there doesn't seem to be too much conflict of interest. At any rate, some of the best financial advice I ever got was to do what I love and find a way to be paid for doing it, and I love to write, so....

Tuesday, January 15, 2008


I had someone over for dinner tonight for the first time in recent memory! It was a good friend of mine who used to be my boss! We've been so insanely busy that we hadn't had much of a catchup in months. It was so nice to share my lovely and organized home with someone, as well as break out the nice linens and tea accoutrements!

Dinner menu:

-one bottle white wine (found at the back of the fridge, opened tentatively, and muchly appreciated);
-garlic butter/lemon juice shrimp... with a generous splash of white wine :-);
-julienned veggies tossed with the buttery shrimp;
-baked salmon with a hint of lemon pepper seasoning;
-thinly sliced potatoes baked with butter, salt, and pepper;
-TWO pots of tea;
-dessert she brought: one half piece each of cherry chocolate pie, raspberry chocolate torte, brownie, and rum raisin almond cake (from the fancy bakery in the town between ours)

Calories schmalories! LOL

New blog address

I've changed my blog URL to oneidiotstale.blogspot.com since my old URL wasn't super relevant to what my blog ended up being about. :-)

If you're reading, please comment so I know there's life out there! :-)

Saturday, January 12, 2008

More Cooking

For dinner tonight, I decided to make bulgur, using a recipe in Sans viande pourquoi pas! to inspire me.

This cookbook is my bible for preparing legumes and grains and was the inspiration for what became my staple meal as a student: lentil stew.

The recipe I looked at for tonight was for a tabbouleh style bulgur, with lots of parsley as well as red peppers and broccoli. None of those ingredients are particularly interesting right now, so I just used the suggestion to cook the bulgur in vegetable broth, then add carrots and celery, as well as an onion. Now, this isn't something you see every day in my kitchen:

I tend to get my veggies (except for onions) from a bag in the freezer. :-)

The recipe calls for boiling the veggies with the bulgur, but the instructions on the bulgur bag call for it to just sit in hot water. So, I followed the instructions for the bulgur and meanwhile cooked the veggies in a bit of oil to draw out their sugar, finishing with a quick steam. I then added the bulgur:

Unfortunately, the bulgur smelled a bit old, even though it was recently purchased. With the veggie broth and veggies, it's palatable, but I doubt I'll go through the rest of the bag. Next time, I'll buy my bulgur in bulk at the health food store.

I served this with a Tofurky brand Italian-style vegan sausage. Like all vegan sausages I've tried so far, except perhaps for Yves breakfast links, it relies far too heavily on salt for flavouring. I really need to come up with my own recipe.

I'd give dinner 2 stars for taste, but 5 stars for potential. :-)

Laundry and Cooking

I finally decided to tackle the laundry area today. It needed tidying up more than decluttering and organizing:

I put away the clean laundry and used the three plastic drawers to store overflow linens and rags.

Not much of a shocking transformation, but that's all I needed.

Moving on...

My food fatigue phase has led me to reexamine the way I cooked ten years ago and compare it to today. Yeesh. I pulled out all the cookbooks that used to be opened almost daily, selected a few recipes, did a run at the health food store for items that stopped being staples when I stopped being able to afford them, and promised myself to make all the recipes this week.

First on the list are 'silver dollar pancakes' from Burgers 'n Fries 'n Cinnamon Buns. I can't believe I haven't opened this book in recent memory as it offers vegan alternatives to a bunch of foods I've stopped eating since I've had to cut back on dairy and eggs (which I'm trying to eliminate altogether). The recipes I've tried are all fantastic, and it's in this book that I first got the idea to make oven fries as well as 'sausage' from red kidney beans.

The pancakes were awesome!!! I couldn't believe it. The vanilla really gives them oomph. I did find them a bit blah at the beginning and needing syrup, so I added some raisins. This way, they are good as is. The recipe makes a big batch, so I'll freeze the individual portions for a weekday treat.

Friday, January 11, 2008

My Math Skills Seem To Be Improving

I did a Zellers run today for paper goods and kitty litter. The best deal on toilet paper was two six packs of White Swan for 3.99$, limit a total of four per client.

I got to the cash and expected the tp to ring in at 3.99$, with the next one being free. No, all four rang in at 1.99$. Thankfully, I didn't embarrass myself and question the cashier, realising that I was saving 2 cents off the advertised sale price. :-)

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

The Road to Organized

August of this year will mark the 10th anniversary of moving into my first home. It's taken a decade, but I think I've finally figured out what organized means to me, how to keep my house looking the way I want it to, why previous homes didn't work, and what my 'dream home' looks like. Let's reminisce, shall we?

Home #1: bachelor in an urban neighbourhood, August 1998 to July 2000

I loved this place the time I was in it although I did crave a larger home. Rental prices in its city were higher than in the city I had left so I had to give up my dream of having a one bedroom as a first home. I looked at about ten bachelors and picked the best one for its price. It had an awesome layout: ten foot ceilings, no windows overlooking the street, and clearly designated spaces. Sure, the carpet was bright red (think Mountie coats), the walls in the living space were dark wood paneling, the walls in the bathroom and kitchen were tiled in black, and the bathroom was literally a black tunnel with just a half tub at the end, but compared to some of the boxes I'd seen, this place had potential. I liked that there was an entrance area, so guests wouldn't see the whole place the second they stepped in the door. The kitchen had a bit of storage and there were two closets. I only brought as much stuff from my mother's house as would fit and left the rest in storage there. My furniture was a mishmash of bookcases my mother had made, a lawn chair for watching tv, a slab of melamine with legs for a table, etc. There wasn't a lot of space and I had no choice but to keep the apartment organized and neat.

My lifestyle there made it possible pursue homemaking endeavours. I was going to school full-time and working part-time, but I could walk everywhere (longest distance was 15 minutes to work), so I never lost any time in transit. I felt that I had time. The only thing I loathed was going to the laundromat and then spending a few days with a clothesline stretched across the apartment! I ate out a bit, but going home between classes was just as easy and quick as going out for pizza, so I favoured quality restaurant eats.

This apartment was a place to eat, sleep, cook, and study and it was only once or twice that I gave a thought to redecoration or finding 'real' furniture.

Home #2: One bedroom on the outskirts of a small town, August 2000 to May 2002

I loved this place, too. It was incredible to have a room that was just for sleeping! I wasn't so nuts that the bathroom was an en suite, so guests had to go through my bedroom to get to the bathroom, but that was okay. The worst part was that I was in the basement and my only two windows looked out onto the street. I just about never drew my curtains there. The kitchen was in the middle of the apartment, with two entrances, and it remains my best and favourite kitchen to date, not that I ever took full advantage of it. The apartment was in a small building with a lot of older people who were available to catsit for the new addition to my family. I still didn't have a washing machine, but the laundry room was the next door down the hall, so I didn't have to schedule laundry anymore.

My lifestyle there didn't suit homemaking endeavours and the place was humiliatingly messy. I went to school and worked full-time, and had a forty-five minute walk to school each way, as well as a half-hour walk to work each way (the bus would have taken fifty-five and seventy-five minutes respectively each way...). My apartment was the last of my priorities and it showed. Still, I started to dream of real furniture and picking out curtains....

Place to live #3: One bedroom in the boonies with outdoor space, June 2002 to July 2003

I won't deign to call this place a home. It looked great when I visited it, but life there slowly degenerated into hell. The landlords were noisy and nosy, the place was so damp anything on the floor turned mouldy, and there was no storage. I call my time there my lost year. I just ate bad stuff since the kitchen wasn't conducive to cooking, watched too much tv (the place came with cable), and surfed the net. The place wasn't just messy, it was filthy. If I wasn't working, I was taking mini road trips. I tried to only sleep at that apartment, but that was difficult because of the landlords upstairs. I vowed to never again take an apartment in someone's basement. I did love having outdoor space for the first time.

This was the first place where I acquired real furniture--a couch, a kitchen table and chairs, a coffee table--and where I actually tried to design a home.

Home #4: Two bedroom mobile home in the boonies, July 2003 to April 2007

A glorious mistake!

I started as a tenant and finished as an owner. I should never have moved into that place, but I was desperate to leave the apartment and was blinded by the fact that I'd have a whole house to myself.

The place never came together and was always excessively messy since I was always in the middle of some renovation project or another. I'd fix and organize something and there'd be a disaster in that area and my work would be for naught. I was convinced by this point that I was a slob. My 100km daily commute wasn't helping and I was spending all my time at home fixing a crisis instead of enjoying being in the country. I decided that since I was planning to move to Manitoba soon, I'd be best off to move to a place that wouldn't need work so I could take some time to just breathe and regroup.

This was the house where I started purging. Until this move, I'd never had to pay for a move, relying on my mother and family for help. When I realised just how much stuff I'd been moving around for years without touching it, I concluded that my packrat ways desperately needed to end. I did good in this regard and had a lot less clutter to move to the next place.

Home #5: Semi-detached in a quietish urban neighbourhood, April 2007

Finally, everything came together--time to deal with my slovenly and disorganized ways, a home that was conducive to the endeavours, a desire to tackle the problem, and a prize for doing so. I moved into my current home in April and without even realising it, I've been eating the elephant one bite at a time. There's so much more I'd like to do with this place, but I'm renting and will be gone in under a year. I'm satisfied with it being clean and decluttered.

Now, I'm envisioning home #6. I figure that if I pack up an organized home, the next place will be easy to set up and I'll be able to focus on decorating. I hope. :-)

What I've learned about myself is that my home isn't my number one priority if I've got a lot going on in my life and doing long days, but if the home is generally neat I will take the few minutes to spot clean and tidy so problems don't accumulate. Also, a dishwasher is really, really, really important!!!

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Nice to Be Organized

Yesterday, I found a taker for my television, VCR, DVD player, rabbit ears, and several boxes of VHS tapes, all which I swore on the weekend I'd dusted for the last time. The taker said he would come between 5:30 and 6PM. I got home at 4:30 and it took me about ten minutes to assemble in a box the instruction manuals for all the devices (my tv and vcr are ten years old and I still have the manuals); the remotes; and the cables; as well as grab a couple of empty boxes from the dungeon for them to put their selected tapes into. By 5, I was ready for the pickup and assembling a nice dinner that would take about an hour to bake so I could eat when they left. At 5:15, I sat down at the kitchen table to continue work on a jigsaw puzzle I started on Tuesday.

The man and his daughter showed up at 5:40 with grocery bags for the tapes and were wide-eyed with wonder at how organized I was. They had expected a mess of cables and bit parts and there I was with a nicely packed box (containing instruction manuals!!!) topped with the VCR while all the tapes were arranged neatly on the floor so that the daughter could at a glance identify what she wanted. They were gone in fifteen minutes, I put away the tapes they didn't want, then tucked into my yummy salmon and baked potato dinner.

Just a few months ago I would have been scrambling to locate the remotes, much less the instruction manuals!

It was hard to see some of the tapes go since most of their contents isn't available on DVD, but so be it.

The weight of my world continues to feel lighter. Nine months till the big move!

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Slight Overbudget....

December Food Budget: 250$
December Food Expenditures: 340$...

That said, I've noticed a trend that I go grocery shopping twice a month, beginning and late middle of the month, spending about 75$ each time. For December, I pushed the late middle one all the way to December 29th and I won't need to go get a ton of groceries again until early mid-January. So I can probably take that last 120$ of groceries and split it 50/50 between January and December, putting my actual December food expenditure at 280$. I also restocked a bunch of staples.

At least, my restaurant expenses were way down this month compared to the last two months and I buy very little junk food.

Ah, whatever helps me sleep at night. :-)

One Up on Martha

Today's organizing tip at marthastewart.com is to put your tv remotes in a wide mouth vase. Not a bad idea; when I had tv remotes I stored them in a pretty hinged-lid wooden box.

But I have taken my decluttering to a whole new level by doing away with the tv altogether. I watch DVDs on my oh-so-lovely 24" iMac. Remote storage isn't an issue since the Apple remote magnetically attaches to the side of the iMac. Decluttered and aesthetically pleasing, with a better picture than a tv. Ha!

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

A Hammer Is This Bird's Best Friend

I live in a century-old house. The owners have renovated it cosmetically, but not structurally. This has left an impractical narrow and steep stairway to the second level, and an area I like to call the dungeon, ie. the basement.

The basement here really makes me understand why we French call an unfinished subterranean room a 'cave.' It is dank, spider infested, and you can only stand upright in the back part of it. It's no wonder I have yet to get through that part of the house, which I absolutely must do before moving again. *sighs*

At any rate, I decided this afternoon that going down to the dungeon would be a mite easier if the entrance to it wasn't so cluttered. I use it as a broom closet/empty beer bottle storage facility and things were getting out of hand. The following is a picture of just one side of the entrance. The other side was messy, too, but worked for me and wasn't in my way.

I scrapped up some courage and went downstairs to get a hammer. Then, I used this wondrous tool to relocate some of the many nails in this area to better utilize the empty back wall:

Aaaaah. Much better!

Sure, I could have gone all out and added new shelves, real hooks, and other storage solutions using items I have on hand, as well as touched up the paint but a) I'm only here for another nine months and b) I don't own this place. So, this will do.

If I did own this place, I wouldn't have satisfied myself with a cosmetic rehaul. Instead, I would have gutted to the exterior walls and started from scratch to improve the staircases and put a powder room on the first floor. Thankfully, I'm a renter who can appreciate the face lift and the fact that she's not stuck with those stairs for twenty odd years, LOL!