Friday, February 26, 2010

An Unhealthy Obsession

So you may be wondering why Brakes has taken over the majority of blogging responsibilities as of late- he’s a control freak, he needed a hobby, he’s stealing my thunder, I have succumbed to an unhealthy obsession.  Drop cloths.  As in painter’s drop cloths.  As in oatmeal colored beauty with ebony flecks big-ass, heavy cheap canvas fabric used to protect floors when painting.  You can get them at Lowes for like 10 bucks a pop.   I buy them in bulk, but I am pretty sure you can buy one at a time too.  I wouldn’t know.  Anyways.

The obsession began innocently enough.  When we moved in I could not get Pago’s 30 year-old-likely-never-seen-the-inside-of-a-washer-drapes down fast enough.  Literally, our realtor was ripping them away as Pago pealed (I’m guessing he knew about the skunks and wanted to make haste before we realized we’d been conned) out of the driveway after the final walk through.  For awhile we made do with satin bed sheets stapled over all of the windows (why do we have 6 different satin sheet sets?  Wouldn’t you like to know!)  but after awhile our “whore-house chic” look grew a bit stale (gross) and I was ready for a change.  Unfortunately this itch (to continue with the stale-whore-house theme) coincided with Brakes’ tabulations of the budget.  After his sketchy number-crunching (pretty sure he secretly loved the satin sheets) he said there was no moula for new window treatments, or as I like to call them, curtain-scapes.  Sadly I packed my Restoration Hardware and Anthropologie catalogues away in my “someday box” and tried to squelch the vision of custom panels dancing in my head.

It kept me up at night.  I could not sleep from the glare of the alarm clock bouncing off the shiny polyester adorning my window.  I grew desperate.  After unsuccessfully trying to piece together a couple of nice wholesome cotton pillow cases in a faux- patchwork look and a failed goth-inspired moodboard (I may have been watching Vampire Diaries.  Don’t judge.) which prominently featured a tin-foil valance, I grew desperate to solve this window covering conundrum!  I promised sexual favors to clip coupons and forgo wine Puffs if it meant I could buy some proper curtains!  In the end, Brakes and I reached a compromise: I could get new curtains but I would have to do it on a very slim-budget. 

Off to TJMaxx, Ross, JoAnns, and Ikea I went.  I scoured dozens of different fabrics and materials and I just could not find anything that made my heart skip… until I happened upon the drop-cloth aisle!  My mental computer raced as it tried to remember some of the blog posts I’d read about drop-cloth DIY.  I examined the color and realized it was just the rich cream that would perfectly complement the cool tones of our new paint job!  I started slow and gently put two drop-cloths in our basket.  Brakes  congratulated me on my ingenuity and self-control.  If he’d only known…

Now every window in the house is dressed in a different varietal of my drop-cloth mania and I am busily trying to figure out how to hot-glue together a slip-cover for our padded headboard (satin sheets and a padded headboard!  Do you feel uncomfortable yet?)  When I resurface from the heady cloud of creation, I’ll try to post some pics!  But until then………….. Hellooooo, Gorgeous!

Finish Factor 8 Oz. 6' x 9' Drop Cloth

She makes my heart sing!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Weezy Wednesday: Its Like Trying to Herd Cats

In honor of the Olympics, Brakes and I spent a good part of last Sunday choreographing a short movie montage depicting the trials and errors of a marathon runner.  We laughed, we cried, we deserve an Oscar.  Or a gold medal.  Either one.

Take 7:

Take 22 (we only wish we were exaggerating):


Monday, February 22, 2010

Celebrity Lookalikes!

The other day a soon-to-be father asked me what it is like to be a dad.  I immediately knew how to answer. Remember the Mogwais? Those cute little fury creatures from the movie Gremlins.  

gremlins mogwai

Well, just like the movie we were blessed with our very own Gizmo 11 months ago. Isn’t she cute?


When we brought her home we knew the rules were simple: Don’t let her stay up past midnight and whatever you do DON’T GET HER WET!

But the other day she sprinted for the sink and next thing we knew….


She was in the kitchen. Gremlins can be extremely reckless and they are really messy eaters.



I summed up my conversation with my friend with this sage advice:  You have two jobs as a parent:

Keep them out of trouble and prevent spawning at all costs. 


Gremlins are a lot of work!  Its a good thing it’s 11:45 PM and Gizmo is finally in bed!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Neighbors, Skunks, and Green Leafy Plants. What do they have in common?

The morning after the floors were completed Gas and I were awoken by an odd smell emanating from the furnace vents. To be more precise it smelled similar to a big greasy breakfast. We were a bit puzzled at the time, but decided to let it marinate (to continue with the food theme. Gas is a fan of themes and I am a fan of Gas, so please excuse my “cheesy” theme. Get it? Cheese? Anyways.) with us for a bit and we opened the windows. The smell appeared to get better until we turned the heat back on in the evening and within minutes the house stunk again although it had morphed into an odor more “herby” in nature; Gas swore it smelled like skunky-weed.

Now the neighbors directly to our north are somewhat of a strange couple. They are older and retired. The wife is a very talkative and gregarious type, while the husband actively avoids eye-contact with us as he trudges to and from his house. I might be able to pick him out of a lineup, but only if it was a profile. Rather than decide he just isn’t the neighborly type, my imaginative wife theorizes that he must be terminally ill and he does not wish to make friends with her for fear that the loss will be too great when the time comes. She has mentioned that I should hint to them that she writes a hell of a eulogy. (I’m not sure that’s the choice of words I would use, honey.) In any case she felt that he may be numbing his pain with the occasional “joint” on the balcony relatively close to our crawlspace and attic intake vents. Case closed. Or so we thought…

I was not so convinced of this story, particularly because it seemed to be localized to the furnace and the crawlspace or catacombs as we like to refer to them. So we searched the furnace ducts and opened the front to the furnace but couldn’t find anything. I kept wondering if maybe the Weez had deviously planted a woodsprite in one of the furnace ducts and it was baking every time we turned on the heater. After suffering (not silently, Gas!) through this for a week or so we decided it was time to call in the experts. I don’t think Mel, our local furnace pro, had ever been greeted at the door so warmly. Gas verbally made-out with him at first site! Its a good think I am not the jealous type and Mel was a happily married Grandfather. After sniffing around a bit we headed to the catacombs and he immediately recognized the smell of a skunk. Apparently the little critter had sprayed near one of the catacomb vents and the smell got pulled into the intake. He recommended taking something that smells nice and attaching it to the furnace intake. So we wet a rag with some sweet pea oil, turned on the heater and within 5 minutes our entire house smelled like the Body Shop. I would highly recommend it.

So, in the end, what is the lesson in all of this? Don’t judge a book… err, house… err, grumpy neighbor… by it’s… err, his… cover… I mean smell. And also demeanor. Anyways.

Till next time, folks! I’ll just leave you with a picture of my sweet-peas in our sweet-pea smelling house.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Weezy Wednesdays: Brown Shirt Beckons

She’ll do pretty much anything for Brown Shirt!

Monday, February 15, 2010

We are Avatars!

Hey guys Brakes here again.

A couple weeks ago due to beer pressure (I convinced her after she’d had a few) I got Gas to agree to see Avatar in 3-D. Now you’d have to be living under a pack-and-play to have not seen this movie, but this was not a given for us due to our sordid history with science fiction movies. The first and only one I’ve ever been able to drag Gas to see was the third Lord of the Rings movie to which we snuck into the theatre midway through on my birthday after I’d agreed to see a Hugh Grant chick-flick. What a deal! She was very uninterested until the epic battle scene where the dwarf demands the ranger toss him over the threshold so he can battle on the other side: “Toss me. I cannot make the jump!” She now exclaims this whenever she doesn't want to do something, be it washing dishes, or walking back to the car in the costco parking lot. It’s a line that never gets old. To her.

Although we do agree that Avatar was akin to Ferngully on steroids . We luckily have been able to avoid Post Avatar Depression (P.A.D. for short) although the other day I thought to myself how neat it would be if real life were in 3-D. We’ve been quoting the movie nonstop and we borrow phrases from the Na’vi language such as:

Na'vi: "I see you" Translation: I love you

Our house: I see you... literately. I see you ignoring the poopy diaper and waiting for me to notice.

Na'vi: "Unobtainium" Definition: A rare mineral valued at “20 million a kilo"

Our House: A synonym for sleep or something that is equally rare and absolutly just not going to happen. For example: "How much unobtainium did you get last night? Oh, not much. How about you?" "You want to unobtainium later?" "Not gonna happen, Brakes." It is a multifunctional word.

Na'vi: "Woodsprites" Definition: seeds of the "holy tree", appearing similar to airborne jellyfish.

Our House: A synonym for poop. Used in a sentence: "Weez made another woodsprite so soon?!... Honey, can you get this one?" "Sorry honey it’s unobtainium."

Our Avatar obsession also lead us to make an avatar of Weezy at this website: She can thank me later.

So without further ado we present our powerful little Na’vi warrior:


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Weezy Wednesdays: Piggies and Kisses

This video is pretty much just a gratuitous homage to my darling girl’s gorgeous pig-tails.  Though it also showcases her new fancy kissing abilities!

Monday, February 8, 2010


Brakes here again. I’m not sure how long you typically wait to tell this kind of thing? We waited about 3 months to announce our first born but this time around we are way too excited!

We always thought we’d plan this in advance, but sometimes life just happens.  Gas and I got drunk one night and, well, you’ve heard this story before…

We started trying last week, but it was a bust, so Auntie Diana came to babysit the Weez on Saturday and, with the splendor of adult-only time, Gas and I decided to give it one more go-round.   Not to get too graphic but it took several locations, frustration, and disappointment before we finally landed in the sweet-spot; Best Buy.  We were about to give up but, at the last minute, we spied the perfect one!  It looked so lonely all by itself. Apparently, another family had purchased it, but it wasn’t a good fit so they had to bring her back. Their loss was our gain; Gas and I were in love at first site!  So we bought the little beauty and excitedly left, in a hurry to introduce her to the rest of the B&G household. On the way home, I couldn’t help but feel a little overwhelmed with the amount of responsibility our new family member would be, but we were sure it was the right choice.

The next day I spend nearly 4 hours with her making sure she felt welcome and comfortable in her new home. I can’t lie, she did tinkle a bit at first, but I think we’ve housebroken her now.

Gas and I are pleased to announce the newest member of our family:


The LG LDF6920ST Dishwasher.  Isn’t she pretty?  And yes, she will be expected to do some chores around the house.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Rainy Maladies

Eloise 10 months and house projects 040I woke up one day last week to a sound that leaves many a mom of newly mobile babies quaking in fear: thunder!  Like much of the west coast, the Bay Area has been inundated with storms and showers for the last two weeks.  We’ve had nary a day of sunshine and poor Weezy hasn’t been to the park in what seems like eons!  For a kiddo who likes to get out and about (and a mom who likes her kiddo to get out and about) the hassle of a rainy day makes us more than a bit blue.  It also makes us more than a bit bored. 

In my pre-baby life I would relish a rainy day and use it as an excuse to stay in my jammies, sipping spiked tea, and watching reality TV reading a good book, all day long.   But life with baby does not exactly lend itself to blissfully buzzed blasé afternoons, and besides it would be inappropriate to ignore the baby and drink read the day away, so I had to get creative.  By 11:00 AM we had banged pots and pans together.  Pulled at Tess’s ears.  Emptied and reloaded Daddy’s sock drawer.  Twice.  Sang silly songs in the shower.  And practiced crawling up and down the stairs.  I was exhausted and ready for a nap but Eloise seemed to be invigorated by the inclement weather and she adamantly refused to sleep.  By noon I was desperate enough to go digging around in the catacombs, combing through all of my old teaching materials, looking for an infant-appropriate diversion.  When my eyes alighted on the gross-motor tunnel, I knew I had struck gold! 

Eloise crawled, dragged, and peak-a-booed the afternoon away until finally her dad came home and mama got a cocktail break!  Before I passed out (from exhaustion, people!  What do you take me for!?) I managed to snap a few cute shots!

It is a good thing she is so freaking adorable because she sure is a handful!

 Eloise 10 months and house projects 037 Eloise 10 months and house projects 041

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Weezy Wednesdays: My Kids a Narcissist (Take II)

(Lets try this again, shall we?)

Mirror, mirror on the wall? Whose the fairest of them all?

Apparently, Weezy feels that she is; she’s been making-out with her image every chance she gets!

Monday, February 1, 2010

I Love My Hardwood.

Wow. There really isn’t a clean way of saying that is there? But it’s true. Hi everybody! Brakes here. While Gas is off steady chasin that paper, her majesty has allowed me to talk about our newest house update.

One thing we loved about our rental was the gorgeous, refinished hardwood floors. That wasn’t in the cards this time around, but we tried to see the bright side; now we’d inherited older, more experienced… even worldly… carpeted Eloise 10 months and house projects 077floors.   They weren’t sexy and sleek like in our rental but we tried to appreciate them just the way they were.  While Gas and I pined after our foxy hardwood of yore, Weez (much to Gas’s dismay) fostered a fast friendship with the wizened blue shag dressing the bedrooms.

We gave it our best shot but the carpets clearly weren’t the floors for of our dreams.  It wasn’t them, it was us… We’d arrived at a different stage in our lives; we’d made (and then spent, on this God-Forsaken money pit) our million (***figure greatly exaggerated for dramatic sake***).  We didn’t want to be tethered down by tired, worn carpeting… not when there are so many fruitful, young hardwood beauties out there just begging to be installed.  So after a couple of months I drove down a discreet back alley to the den of inequity that all renovators know about but never discuss in polite company; I ventured to Lumber Liquidators.  

I told myself that I just wanted to look.  But when I took a gander at such a flagrant display of flooring flesh, I felt my resolve slipping.  I knew this would be an expensive proposition and I suddenly felt guilty for hiding this trip from Gas. I was a bit nervous as I watched the salesman approach, not having done this before and all, but the host made me feel right at home. He assured me that all the hardwood is well taken care of and that people pay good money to spend time with them. So, when I was ready he gently lead me to the merchandise, enticingly lined up along the wall, and asked me to pick my pleasure.  Do I go with something adventurous like a dark bamboo? Or a tantalizing blonde variety? Perhaps an exotic hickory? Hmmm….Then there was the question of size? Thin or thick?  Was bigger really better? There was even a discount on the fake ones but they didn’t feel real to the touch, so I decided not to go that route.  Besides, I knew Gas would never accept a fake.  In the end I went with a solid wide-plank distressed oak. She wasn’t cheap and it only took maybe four minutes to make a commitment, but in the end, I knew she would be well worth the price. Now I just had to go home and tell Gas.

The days spent waiting for them to arrive seemed endless. After an appropriate 48 hours I broke down and called, but I only received a very coy voicemail. The next week, jilted, I called again.  Another two weeks passed, but still no call. I was beginning to contemplate moving on (there are plenty of other flooring options in the sea!), but just as I started to browse various other hardwood ads, the call came at last!  “Your hardwood will be delivered Tuesday,” they said. I immediately phoned our installers, and they assured us that while the transition(s) would be rough (no pun intended) that most couples quickly fall in love with their new floors.  “Tell me something I don’t know!  I’m already head-over-heels,” I sighed dreamily.

The installers weren’t kidding. There were definitely were some tough moments. Could I afford these floors? Would they mesh with our lifestyle? After all, if they can’t get along with my family then it won’t work…. Obviously Gas and the baby were my top priority.  But with relief, I soon discovered that there was one compatibility issue that wasn’t a problem. Gas loved them too (I have the coolest wife ever!) and she embraced them as if they were her idea!

After the first day I thought to myself these floors have everything. We prepared a IMG_4888toast that night to welcome our new floors into our home.  “May our relationship be modern enough to endure the times and old fashioned enough to last forever!” we sang as we carried ourselves over their threshold.

…We celebrated their arrival with a festive meal!


… And afterwards, we cozied up to them by the fireplace.


Then when the time was right… IMG_4910 …….

IMG_4924The morning after (the installation) things were momentarily awkward… but then we introduced our floors to the Weez and her exuberant welcome broke any residual tension!

I know that, on these floors, we will all be one big happy family!