Category Archives: house

Window dressing

When my main bathroom was renovated a number of years ago, we reconfigured it and moved all of the fixtures within the space. I sacrificed my linen closet in favor of a larger, jetted tub which is located below the room’s window. Since I would never want to offend my neighbors with nudity, I covered the lower window with decorative window film designed to provide privacy, which it did for a good number of years. Recently, though, it’s been starting to look a bit worse for the wear. Time for something new.

      I went to Lowe’s and found their small selection of comparable window film products. After quickly reading the package, where it stated “Static Cling – No Adhesives” I tossed it in the cart. Cross that task off the homeowner list.

Unfortunately, once I was home I realized that I did in fact need to purchase additional items, namely the Gilda Tool kit. This set, at an additional cost of $9, contained window film application solution, a squeegee card, trim tool and low-lint cloth. Great, let’s get this done, right? Believe it or not, this is when I got the most annoyed by the entire chore…

The original package contains enough film to cover a 2′ x 5′ window. Seems reasonable enough. Now, the film application solution bottle contains 16 oz of some kind of liquid for which I have no other imaginable purpose. What’s the point of that? My bathroom window required a couple of squirts, but even a larger window wouldn’t possibly need more than an ounce of solution. Why in the world would the manufacturer provide such an excessive amount of this solution that now I have to dispose of?

Things like this annoy me more than you can imagine. Tell me what household project annoyed you recently.

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Filed under house, Rant

May be

I closed out the month of April with a weekend of low key chores. I got some stuff done around the house that leaves me feeling organized and ready for what’s next. You know, washing the winter bedding and tucking it away until fall and transitioning the sheets completely from flannel to cotton. I love a fresh spring bed with crisp sheets and two layers of light cotton quilts. I slept better last night than I have in weeks.

My cold weather running gear is back down in the basement, UnderArmour replaced with shorts, t-shirts and tanks. I spun my two sided garment rack around and suddenly spring is present in my wardrobe. I’ve still got to deal with getting to the dry cleaner with a couple of items, but most of the work has been done and I feel on top of things.

Speaking of work, I addressed a month’s work of paid invoices and sorted the pile that they were into their respective folders. THAT was an accomplishment and will help as we start our final month as Lark + Lily. I’m excited for May and the events I have planned. We’re going out in a blaze of glory, I tell you!

Early this morning I heard a pretty fierce wind blowing outside. It was loud and penetrated my sleep, even with the windows closed to the chilly and damp air. I’d like to think that breeze took negativity and stress with it as it blew through town. I’ve got some hopes for this new month.

May be.

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Filed under house, love

Breaking (bad) boys

Is it just my kids who seem to break the most random household stuff? I’m not talking about the odd dish or glass, I’m talking about entire hanging racks of stemware, furniture and Sheetrock walls. I mean, how do they do it?

The most recent thing to be destroyed in my home is a wall upstairs in an area of the house I think of as the BoyZone. The claim, from my youngest son, is that he was just leaning on the wall and next thing you knew there was a 18″ x 24″ hole! Isn’t that one of the oddest things you’ve ever heard? Seriously – how the hell does that even happen?

Now, don’t get me wrong. I remember breaking things around the house when I was a kid – I put my hand through a window once and have the scar from my stitches to prove it. But, let’s remember, it was glass. Glass breaks really easily. Holes in the walls, though? That takes some effort.

Over the years, there have been some epic examples of breakage around my house. There was that time when my middle son decided to leap from the back of the sofa to the 6 ft tall wine rack, pre-parcore, by the way. The result of this escapade was multiple bottles of wine smashed and ultimately dripping from our second floor flat down the wall and into the first floor apartment. Talk about pouring someone a drink…

This, of course, is the same child who once carried a large branch into the kitchen which then got caught up in the ceiling fan and took down the hanging glass rack, shattering glasses everywhere.

There have been electronics broken as soon as they were removed from their protective packages and eyeglasses destroyed in the most mysterious of circumstances. I can’t count the times I’ve freaked out when I discovered yet another thing inexplicably destroyed. When I look around my house, I see the cracked window, the wall with a hole and some big furniture that still serves its purpose, but has definitely seen better days. What I feel, though, is that I’m home. On the best days, the boys are, too.

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Filed under Boys, family, house, musings, Uncategorized

A Sunday kind of love

51db022f-5aa6-411a-99e4-2d4422b43c29-10106-000006b3f20da653_tmpIt’s 7:55 in the morning. Sunday. Since getting out of bed, I’ve taken Jeter out, sorted laundry and started a load in the wash, made cupcakes (from a box), waffles (from scratch) and changed the sheets. Is this normal? I mean, on my day “off?”

As the cupcakes cool and the laundry spins, I read the paper(s) and have a second cup of coffee. This is my time to breathe.

The rest of my day involves more laundry, frosting those cupcakes, some house cleaning, organizing myself (and everyone who depends upon me) for a quick trip to the city, driving three 12 year-olds to a climbing gym for a little belated birthday celebration and a longish run. And, as I look out the window and see the cloudless blue sky, all I can do is wish that there were more hours in the day to live.

Happy. Sunday.

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Filed under Boys, breakfast, Coffee, DelSo, family, house, musings, Random, sunday

Who are you?

Yeah, you. My reader. It’s been more than 7 years, 2 domains and a divorce since DelSo was born. Over the years I’ve shared a lot of my life and self here, in print. You, as a reader, have come to know me on some level from my words. What makes you return here (assuming you’re not new around these parts) and read what I write? Let me remind you of some of what I’ve related to you in the hope that you might feel inclined to share with me – who you are, reader? Why are you here?

There have been so many miles – more plane rides than I could have ever imagined, along with  runs and races and road trips. I’ve  explored cities with my boys and my girlfriends and solo. My feet have run in a half dozen different countries and probably about the same number of states.

My home has evolved from a house with two full-time parents to one of three part-time children. There have been physical improvements, rooms repurposed and painted, new rugs and furniture rearranged. It feels different. After a refinance or two, I know it’s mine.

I’ve written about books I’ve read and movies and concerts I’ve seen. Increasingly, politics and my dismay with our current leadership have been topics I’ve felt compelled to write about.

My children and the challenges of being a parent frequently provide fodder for posts. While the joys outweigh the frustrations, parenthood remains a roller coaster ride that keeps me on the edge of my seat with a scream threatening to escape. It’s a heart racing ride.

Sometimes I cook or bake and post recipes and photos of the fruits of my labors. Food and wine are a big part of my life and I’ve happily shared my experiences with you.  Oh – and there’s that wine bar that I own.

There have been times when I wrote with sadness or anger, but I think I mostly write from a place of understanding and acceptance. Balance and moderation are woven throughout much of what I write.

Health and wellness have been covered and the miracle of menopause has been mentioned.  The heartbreak of addiction and the threat of cancer have been present. I’ve learned to ski and have found bliss in pigeon pose in a room heated to 100+ degrees.

It’s all here – my life.  Not perfect, not necessarily what I ever imagined it to be, but a life that I feel grateful for in a city that I have come to love.

Will you tell me why you visit my life?

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Help me see the light – decisions about solar energy

I grew up in a home where “Put a sweater on” and “Turn off that light” were common phrases. One of the reasons I no longer have a traditional cable box is due to the amount of energy I heard they consume and I unplug appliances such as my coffee maker when I’m not using them. How many clocks does one house really need?

Encouraged by my oldest son, I’ve been thinking about solar energy recently. My house has a lot of roof space and faces southeast, pretty ideal conditions for sucking energy from the sun rather than National Grid, it seems. Any hesitation I’ve had about pursuing solar panels has come from my lack of information about how they work and a general sense of being overwhelmed about all the options – lease, buy, finance, etc.

A couple of weeks ago, I took a step in the direction of solar energy and had a salesman visit me and talk about leasing solar panels. I was a little taken aback about the 20 year commitment (what if I sell my house?), but moved beyond that by considering that I essentially had already agreed to purchase all my energy from National Grid forever since they were the only game in town.

Price per kw isn’t a huge thing in my decision as long as I’m not paying more than I already am per unit. I don’t necessarily feel that I should pay less, believing that the environmental benefit is a sufficient compensation. I also don’t want to be paying two companies on a regular basis, so I need to produce sufficient energy for my household’s needs. This is being determined by a site visit, currently scheduled.

I’m wondering if any of you have pursued alternative energy and might be able to share your thoughts and knowledge. How did you make your decision? How much did it cost out-of-pocket? Are your bills lower? Any wisdom you can contribute would be welcome.

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Filed under Albany, house, Local, Recommendations

Getting your mind into the gutter

When you own a house there’s always something that needs attention. If you’re lucky, you can alternate the fun projects such as a new bathroom or a rehabbed deck with the necessary, but unsexy projects like replacing the roof or windows, and achieve some sense of satisfaction with the expense of homeownership. If your house is as old as mine (110 years), I wish you good luck with that.

My investment this summer was of the latter sort – adding gutters to the east side of my house in the hopes of preventing water from coming into my basement. I know that it is irresponsible to hire the first contractor you meet, but I wish it wasn’t. It’s just such a headache having to contact companies and schedule appointments and go through the same process multiple times. Sadly, this is probably my number one reason for delaying projects.

The process for this recent job was pretty typical, I suppose. I started by searching “gutters” on All Over Albany in the hopes that someone else had broached this topic in recent years. Sure enough, there was a thread from a couple of years with a strong winner when it came to customer satisfaction. I emailed the contractor and waited for a response…and….nothing. A week or so later, I emailed a second time and followed up with a phone call and message and still…nothing. I moved on.

I contacted two other potential installers – Huff n Puff and Ipek. I’ve never used Huff n Puff, but they were quick with a response and we set up a meeting. Ipek, who did my roof a number of years ago, took a bit longer to return my call and when they did, I was in the middle of a run and asked them to phone back later, which they didn’t. Huff n Puff was looking better and better.

The salesman came when promised and provided me with pricing which, as he explained, would be out of line with other companies due to their product being superior. He left and I planned to follow-up again with Ipek. But, wait! I received a phone call within a day or so from the salesman and learned that at their weekly business meeting, my project was discussed and they came up with a new option making their price about 25% less than previously quoted. Done, deposit paid and scheduled. Great.

Until, of course, the installers came and determined that they couldn’t hang the gutters because of some sort of issue with the fascia of my house, at least not for the agreed upon price. Back to square one. As tired of the process as if I had installed the damn gutters myself, I called Ipek again. This time we connected and one of the same people who had worked on my roof, came out and gave me an estimate lower than either estimate I had received from Huff n Puff. A few days later my gutters were installed and, ironically,  we’ve been pretty much rainless since.

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Filed under house, Local, Recommendations, Summer, Uncategorized