Saturday, February 28, 2009
Friday, February 27, 2009
Good news: We got home and I set him up with a bag of ice chips and the new Netflix Sesame Street disc that came while we were out. C's sixth Harry Potter came, too.
The pinkie incident happened at the end of our expedition with my local relative. She and D and I have been walking the architecturally interesting parts of town. We walked two streets this morning and I picked up four house flyers. One house is in violation of the don't-buy-the-biggest-house-in-the-neighborhood rule, but the other three are very promising. They range from $155k to $180k, and from 2000 to 2600 square feet. This neighborhood is one of several genteel islands that float in the midst of general poverty. Trulia.com says that the average house in the city has been selling for $60k. My relative also drove us along another older and architecturally interesting street. Big old stately homes alternated with big old haunted houses, a vivid reminder that real estate doesn't always go up.
Thursday, February 26, 2009
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
C has missed a bunch of school lately. She missed Thursday, Monday, and the academic part of Tuesday. We worked on her homework from about 4 PM yesterday until about 9:35 PM. There was a break for dinner and she got short breaks to watch Little Einsteins after 3 pages of math or a page of spelling. I was expecting her to crack mid-way, but she kept on trucking. She did 12 pages of math, 1 page of spelling, 1 short page of copywork and 1 page for her history notebook. The later involved writing a sentence about Texas cattle drives and illustrating it.
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
UPDATE: They don't have any photos up for the new listing, but it is the same house. That's a $35k reduction, which works out to 17.5%.
Monday, February 23, 2009
Sunday, February 22, 2009
In other news, my husband finished our federal taxes over the weekend.
D spent just over two months in cotton underpants and water-proof pants before I just couldn't take it any more. He wasn't making any progress, the gas and water bills for all that (horrible) laundry was out of sight, and the changes themselves weren't fun either. Toward the end, D was telling me, "I like wet pants!" and "I like poopy pants!" So he's back in pull-ups. However, the dragons seem to be motivating him. Over the past 24 hours (???) he has racked up six potty points.
Anyway, Bleak House was initially slow going, but I'm starting to hit my stride. I did 4.1 miles of the book on Thursday and 4.25 miles of the book last night. Oh, and I've got 50 some chapters to go, each being approximately 30-50 minutes long. Pure bliss.
I will probably do Lord of the Rings next. That's 52 hours, by the way.
Saturday, February 21, 2009
Friday, February 20, 2009
Thursday, February 19, 2009
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
PHOENIX (AP) - President Barack Obama's plan to tackle the foreclosure crisis will spend $75 billion in an effort to prevent up to 9 million Americans from losing their homes.
The plan, which is more ambitious than expected, aims to aid borrowers who owe more on their mortgages than their homes are currently worth, and borrowers who are on the verge of foreclosure.
The initiative is designed to help up to 5 million borrowers refinance, and provides incentive payments to mortgage lenders in an effort to help up to 4 million borrowers on the verge of foreclosure.
For those of you playing at home, that's $8k per distressed borrower. How will that help a borrower who owes $400k on a $200k house? I have no idea. According to my calculations, $8k would be just enough to move and get you set up comfortably in a rental (covering deposits and maybe a couple of months rent).
UPDATE: Elsewhere on the internet, $275 billion has been mentioned as the mortgage bailout allotment. It's still a drop in the bucket.
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Monday, February 16, 2009
Saturday, February 14, 2009
UPDATE: We all ate ours hot with HEB's Intense Chocolate ice cream. The recipe was the usual muffin formula (half all purpose flour/half whole wheat flour) with the addition of chocolate chips and a couple heaping tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa. Needless to say, it was fantastic.
Here are a few more quotes:
- And while the [Bungalow] kitchen was always kept lighter than the rest of the house, by the 1930s, a more lively color palette was introduced. The black stove and white sink were replaced with cool, pastel colors, often mirrored by the linoleum on the floor and paint on the walls. By 1940, when Bungalow-style houses were going out of fashion, the kitchens had developed a characteristic look, especially with their fitted cabinetry, that would remain the convention for decades to come.
- At least once a week, the iceman delivered a block of ice, which was kept in an icebox either on the back porch or in the kitchen.
- Generally, natural wood finish cabinets relate more to the first [i.e. pre-WWI] period of Bungalow design, whereas painted cabinets relate to the second [1920s and 1930s].
I'll pull out some quotes below:
- The Bungalow style in the United States got its start on the West Coast and spread eastward, the first style of American architecture to do so.
- As domestic researchers and social reformers provided models for clean crisp kitchens that reflected new awareness of the relationship between dirt and disease, every effort was made to use materials in the kitchen that were smooth and easy to clean. Wallpaper was banished because it was not considered sanitary, and kitchen walls were usually finished with either painted or tinted plaster, which was easy to wash. Wooden wainscotting that had been much a part of 19th-century Victorian kitchens was viewed as being a hiding place for pesky microbes, and so quickly became passe in early Bungalow kitchens.
- Early Bungalow kitchens did not have the characteristic lush Arts and Crafts woodwork like the rest of the house. For reasons having to do with attitudes about hygiene, original Bungalow kitchens were stark, clean, functional, and usually white. Also, although the classic Bungalow was more or less open space (especially compared with its Victorian predecessors), the kitchen was closed off at the back of the house.
- Cabinetry in the early Bungalow kitchen was freestanding, fairly primitive, and didn't display the wonderful woodwork that appeared in other parts of Bungalow-style houses...A host of new "kitchen cabinets" such as those produced by the Hoosier Company, were a common sight in the first period and allowed for an efficient way to combine storage spaces and work surfaces. These were the predecessors of the modern "fitted," or site-built, kitchen cabinets that began to show up in the 1920s and 1930s.
- By 1910, most cities had electricity, although most rural areas did not.
- In its infancy, electricity wasn't imagined for use to power devices other than lights. Since lights were only used at night, the electric power plants of the time didn't provide electricity during the day. Manufacturers such as General Electric and Westinghouse, which produced early electric toasters, mixers, irons, dishwashers, fans, and other household appliances, were the ones that pressured the utility companies to provide power 24 hours a day.
- The first electric refrigerators came on the market in 1917.
- Starting in the 1920s, built-in kitchen cabinets became more popular. "Building-material catalogs of the time show built-in kitchen cabinetry that looks very similar to today's layouts."
- By the 1920s, most Bungalows had hot and cold running water available throughout the house, so the tall hot-water heater that had once been located in the kitchen was now placed in the basement. The heavy, black cookstoves of the early 20th century were now being replaced by gas ranges (sometimes coated with colored enamel) with accurate thermostats, which meant stoves could be left unattended while meals cooked.
- Freestanding kitchen tables were formalized into breakfast nooks...
Friday, February 13, 2009
Thursday, February 12, 2009
Later in the afternoon, we picked up D. The kids had a snack and disappeared to their wing of the house. I have barely seen them since.
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
On the other hand, it's a fat little book with lots of pretty pictures. I took it to the gym tonight and did 3 miles on the treadmill while flipping through it.
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
- started some laundry
- caught up on email
- repaired Russian dictionary
- repaired Mary Poppins book
- taped up Chutes and Ladders box
- taped up Ravensburger 4 First Games box
- put wool sweater to soak
- did the workbook homework for Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University
- read the Wednesday morning prayers for the Little Office
Noting that the dining room is my most productive space, I moved my Little Office, another prayer book, my Oxford Russian Dictionary, and a two-volume Russian language Anna Karenina to the dining room book case, where they will be sure to catch my eye. My books in the living room have been neglected.
Before pick-up time (which is coming on very quickly), I hope to (at least) finish washing the wool sweater, mend three items, and perhaps hang up some kid clothes. I am not always so industrious, but I think it's helpful to make a list of accomplishments, no matter how small.
Monday, February 9, 2009
That's ten listings: one in the 100s, seven in the 200s, one in the 300s, and one way, way out in the 500s. The 290k listing has just been cut from 300k, making the 200s an even more crowded field.
Sunday, February 8, 2009
D is two months away from turning 4. Tick, tick, tick. Fortunately, prekindergarten is still over six months away.
Saturday, February 7, 2009
UPDATE: She got it.
Friday, February 6, 2009
- In rural areas, kitchens were at the center of family life, a gathering place for the family and any farmhands who worked for them. By contrast, in urban areas, the focus of family life and socializing was the dining room and parlor.
- One thing to keep in mind about sinks is that plumbing fixtures change very slowly. It was possible to buy a claw-foot bathtub from 1860 until well into the 1930s, and porcelain sinks on legs were still being offered until the start of World War II.
- Eventually it occurred to someone that since linoleum held up so well on the floor, it would also be good on the counter.
- The 1920s and 1930s were the real heyday of tile.
- A marble pastry slab might have been found in the kitchens of the wealthy or upper middle class, but for the most part, stone countertops were fairly rare.
- They were still door-happy in the Arts & Crafts period, perhaps a Victorian hangover. Some kitchens had four, five, or even more doors.
- Baker's tables like this one were one of the first forms of what we now know as islands. Two drawers and two bins provided more storage than a typical worktable.
- It's awfully hard to get regular ice delivery these days, although it is still possible to pick up block ice fairly conveniently.
- A fold-down table may serve, and that was a common solution at the time. There were no breakfast bars. All the spaces in these houses were meant to be used, unlike today's houses with their vestigial living and dining rooms, so here's a radical idea: eat all your meals in the dining room.
Thursday, February 5, 2009
2. black and white checkered floors
4. stainless steel counters
5. Blue Danube china (I don't own any, but I'd like to)
6. maple cabinets
7. hardwood floors, reddish or golden
9. cabinets with glass doors, clear or frosted
2. Slipcovers on dining room chairs. It looks like the family is in Town for the winter, and the housekeeper has the whole estate under dust covers until they come down with guests for some shooting/a murder/the village fete.
3. Large expanses of dust and grease-attracting open shelving in the kitchen, particularly next to the stove top.
4. Butcher block that you're not supposed to chop on.
5. Built-in appliances (fridge, microwave, etc.).
6. Non-kitchen things taking up room in kitchens.
I especially like the book because I remember (back in the late 80s) that Country Living used to push a very fussy style of decorating, featuring spinning wheels, fragile-looking antique chairs and huge dust-gathering collections of ugly dolls. I remember photo after photo where at least half of the items in a room would be unusable antiques. I appreciate their move away from museum-quality homes.
UPDATE: C's temperature was 102.9 just now, so she's going to stay home tomorrow and miss a playdate. Oh, and she's done with her Harry Potter.
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
Back to the movie. The hero is Zaza, a 31-year-old philosophy student. He has been introduced to a hundred different girls, but the matches somehow never go anywhere, to his family's growing despair. Meanwhile Zaza is secretly seeing a divorcee. That's where we left off.