Friday, September 24, 2010

Staying Busy

Dan is about three weeks into his new job, and he is really enjoying it. (Praise the Lord for that!) He's been working some pretty long days, as fall is a busy season for his organization, so I've been trying my best to stay busy. We've pretty much finished settling in, so I've been doing quite a bit of reading. Our public library is a 15 minute walk from our apartment so it's close enough to go as often as I need new books! However, I've also been re-reading from my stash of books in our hallway (no bookcases yet), attempting to convince Dan that many books = happy wife. Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House books are some of my perennial favorites, and while I was working at the HC campus store, I snagged full color collector set copies of 4 of the first 5 books. (I still need to find Farmer Boy in the same edition; I love Almanzo's adventures growing up! And I see that the publisher has some of the later years in the same addition. This is going on my Christmas list!)

Anyways, Dan has never read them, so I can't wait until we have some little girls and we read them out loud on a family adventure. I really think he'll be impressed by how ingenious and industrious Pa was. The stories are so amazing. They had so little but they were so happy and content with what they had. And Ma was an amazing wife. She never failed to support Pa, no matter if they were sick or smashing grasshoppers or doing chores in a blizzard. So very many lessons to learn from the Ingalls family.

One thing I've adopted in my effort to make time pass quickly while Dan is at work is by completing a chore a day.

Ma's chores went like this:

"Wash on Monday,
Iron on Tuesday,
Mend on Wednesday,
Churn on Thursday,
Clean on Friday,
Bake on Saturday,
Rest on Sunday."

I decided to modify a bit:

"Bills on Monday,
Kitchen/Living Room on Tuesday,
Grocery Shop on Wednesday,
Laundry on Thursday,
Bathroom on Friday,
Bedroom on Saturday,
Rest on Sunday."

I guess one could say I'm a person who thrives on schedules.

Monday, September 13, 2010

(Becoming) Home

I love looking at people's homes in magazines. I love admiring how they've decided to arrange their rooms, the curtains they chose, the art displayed on their walls, what the color of their teapot is, and how their quirks are expressed. In my ideal world, my home would be of the caliber to be featured in a magazine -- with a housekeeper to keep it neat and tidy.

Our apartment building totally has potential to be in a magazine. It's an old school building near downtown Dayton, and some of the rooms have some of the original school-house architecture, like the stage for the auditorium or blackboards that used to be on the wall. Our apartment, however, used to be the bathrooms for the kiddos, so most of the original got ripped out (thank goodness!). To me, though, our apartment is perfect, but I hate to admit how much time I spent trying to ready our apartment for a few pictures. Besides the regular straightening up to make it picture worthy, I also needed to wash the windows. We're in the basement/ground level, and the windows were filthy with dirt and dust. The smudges wouldn't have been visible in the pictures, undoubtedly, but when you aspire to magazine greatness, you have to be pretty picky. While I washed the screens and the windows (both inside and outside), the light from the morning passed me by, so I was left to take pictures in the darker afternoon.

Here is the tour:

This is our entrance to the building, with beautiful potted plants lining the sidewalk. One of the residents loves to garden, and we get to enjoy her labor!

If you skip down six wide concrete steps, turn to your left, and then open the door on the right, you'll most likely be greeted with Lander, making sure you're acceptable.

Our door opens into the living room-kitchen-eating area, but because I don't have a wide-angle lens, you'll get it in stages. Here's the living room:

Notice the couch we bought before leaving Pittsburgh. It's pretty big, but it works really well in this space! Also, notice our t.v. sitting on a chair. I'm pretty sure I've never seen that in a magazine, but you know what? Works well for now.

Also notice the presence of an exercise ball. Where do people put their exercise balls when their house is being photographed for a magazine? I bet they throw it in their basements. Me, I leave it out. More real that way.

Another really neat feature of our apartment is the two foot deep windowsills. They are marble or slate (it varies), and so beautiful. They are also south facing, and I'm hoping to keep my herbs alive all winter. Our windows look into the backyard -- something that Lander particularly likes. It allows him to keep tabs on when the other dogs go out to play. I'm thinking that we could use some sheer curtains, especially as our dinner was interrupted yesterday when Lander and a yellow lab had a stare off.

Our kitchen is just dandy. It's pretty simple, without tons of cupboard space, but what we sacrificed cupboards for was a dishwasher! I love it. To supplement the kitchen area, Dan let me use a shelf that he built for his backpacking stuff (behind the table in the previous picture). We're going to add another couple of shelves and paint it white, and then it will look a bit more polished than it does now. We'll also try find a couple of stools or tall chairs for counter, but right now our shoes are happily living there.

Our hallway is lined with books -- we need to buy another bookshelf. If you peek in the door on the left you'll see the bathroom.


On the right you have our storage room -- and theoretically a guest room. It's where Lander sleeps, our off season clothes reside, our chest freezer freezes, and our outdoor gear lives. Give us a few days before you decide to swing by. This room needs some work.

Our bedroom is at the end of the hallway. If I were a designer, I'd make some snooty comments about needing a headboard to give the bed some weight, some more art on the walls, etc. As is it's fine for sleeping in. And it has a nice big closet (no picture; I was tired of making things neat and tidy).

I'm still waiting for the magazine stylists to arrive, with accessories in hand, but until they do, I'm happy with our lovely apartment. I'm sure I'll make small changes -- rugs, curtains, pillows -- but you'll have to come see them for yourselves! We're excited to be settled in Dayton and even more excited for all of the adventures that lie ahead.