Thursday, May 27, 2010

Darned If You Do...

Hostess Update: Not as in "Hostess Cupcakes" but as in I played hostess to a friend for dinner. Everything went well, dinner was wunderbar (thank you, Barefoot Contessa!) and I managed to provide some entertainment by inadvertently spraying myself in the face with the vegetable sprayer on my kitchen sink while rinsing the pasta for dinner. My comic timing is impeccable. So Martha Stewart isn't exactly in danger of losing her crown, but she'd better watch her back, just in case. I'm on my way up there...

In other news, it's almost 1 a.m. on Thursday morning, and I'm still awake, have just answered emails from a couple of friends, and am now blogging. This is relatively unheard of, or was, until just a couple of weeks ago. Okay, it was frequent when I was still unemployed, but lately, it's been rare.

What's changed?

Insomnia. That's what.

Raging insomnia.

Bullish insomnia.

We've got the taurus of insomnias over here. It's not going anywhere.

Why? There's a couple of options.

Option Number One: I have no clue. I'm stressed about multiple things on multiple levels and they're all keeping me awake. I have too many ideas and too little time in which to work on them, and I want to start working on some of them NOW but I've told myself I can't until I finish other things.

Option Number Two: It's the pills. My neurologist prescribed preventive migraine medicine to help - er - prevent migraines.


It has multiple side effects, many of which are unpleasant, but which are experienced by a minority of users. I am the majority of the minority. Most users experience a change in the flavor of sodas (my beloved Dr. Peppers aren't quite as beloved, but still, they're part of my diet), so that's to be expected. A chosen few (and I'm one of the Chosen) experience 1) tingling in the face, fingers, and/or toes; 2) insomnia; 3) nausea; 4) decreased appetite; 5) difficulty with concentration.

There are other side effects, too. Others relating to the problem for which I had surgery last year, and which is currently reoccurring. So the medicine that helps my head happens to keep me from sleeping and makes my other health problems worse.

Blargh. So now, I get to call my neurologist and say, "Okay, so I know that this migraine medicine was working pretty well (although not great, because I've been having a migraine a week, the past three weeks, but it's better than five migraines per week, right?) but I think we might need to try something else, because, you know, it's making my other health problems a bazillion times worse and I can't sleep so I'm having difficulty functioning at work.

My doctor's proactive. If I'm having a problem, she's looking for a solution. Bing bang boom. Here's the next step. Hopefully, the next step won't be a pratfall.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Hestia, I Am Not

I am not exactly what you might call a domestic goddess. Oh, sure, I go on and on (and on and on) about interior decor, and drapes, and clothes, but it's all style and not a lot of substance, domestically speaking.

I rarely crack a cookbook, and when I do, it often end with borderline disastrous consequences (Ref: pancakes). So my decision to host a friend for dinner Tuesday night might seem a bit ill-chosen.

When I entertain, I typically keep it limited to hors d'oeuvres or desserts with copious amounts of alcohol. Sometimes, I skip the desserts and crudites and just serve booze. But my friend hasn't seen my apartment yet (only a few people have, and most of them are relatives) and so I decided to have her over for dinner. She's also a very close friend and will therefore be, I hope, forgiving.

And, it's me, so I'll also be serving whine - er, ahem - wine.

In an attempt to bring out my inner Martha, I bought flowers, this evening, for the dinner table. I chose hydrangeas, because they were the least intimidating of the flowers on offer at the Whole Paycheck (and the least expensive for the amount of coverage offered).

I underestimated the number of hydrangea stems to buy.

Okay, so I was able to solve that problem by just using a smaller vase, and yes, it still looks pretty, but I should have bought more flowers! I should have known how to do this! Shouldn't I?

Hadn't I, once before, arranged all the flowers for a very low-budget wedding I attended - as the best man's date - in Oklahoma? After the groom, best man, and I picked up the roses from the nearest Wal-Mart, the bride and her relatives proceeded to cram them, untrimmed stems and all, into the nearest vases they could find (in other words, whichever ones were in the church's rec hall). They all seemed a bit stressed, seeing as they were also in the process of trying to set out the fried chicken and mashed 'taters for the rehearsal dinner (also from the Wal-Mart) in something of a logical manner, while simultaneously putting the plastic table cloths out, so I chimed in and suggested I take over the flower arranging.

They all oohed and aahed over my flower arranging skills, and asked how often I did it, and I replied truthfully that I rarely did it - rarely as in never - but that I'd watched my mother and her friends do it, and I guess some of it had rubbed off.

Enough to know that you need to trim off some of the leaves, at least, or your water will smell and the roses will look like far from elegant.

There was a lot at the wedding that was far from elegant. I've never received so many dirty looks in my life because, God forbid, I wore a strapless dress. It was a wee mite conservative, and I didn't realize that going into the deal. Oops. The minister refused to even look at me, assuming, I suppose that my wanton shoulder-baring ways might rub off on him.

No need to fear that, bub. Not with that greasy Elmer Gantry hair.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Okay, I Need Another One...

The weekend is almost over. In fact, it's essentially done for.

And I could really use one more. Right now. That would be great. Thanks.

Friday night, after skipping Happy Hour, because it was in Ft. Worth, of all the inconvenient places to host Happy Hour for a bunch of architects from Dallas, I came home and worked for a while longer. Because really, what else was I going to do? I'd had a migraine earlier, so I couldn't drink, anyway. Stupid migraines, with their stupid "no drinking alcohol after taking this medicine" medicines. Psh.

After transcribing Uncle Moneybags' existing floorplans from their 1958 hard copies into digital copies (loads of fun, let me tell you), I got an itch to organize something. That never really bodes well, because it usually means a couple of hours of organizing, but I decided to go ahead and run with it.

So I reorganized my bookshelves, in anticipation of what will henceforth be known as The Great Living Room Rearrangement of 2010. If there's another living room rearrangement this year - which I highly doubt there will be - then I will append a month to the second one. For posterity's sake.

This coming Saturday, if all goes as planned, my dad will assist me in moving one very large steel book case from one end of my living room to the other. At the same time - okay, on the same day, obviously not completely concurrently - my TV will move from one end of the apartment to the other. I'm swapping the TV and the book case. It's going to be epic.

I really hope I like the way the layout works... I'm pretty darned sure I will, though.

I failed to get more than 5 hours of sleep, Friday night, not because of an overage of organizing, but because I simply couldn't sleep. This has occurred multiple times this week, and I'm chalking it up to migraines keeping me awake (yes, they can do that, if they strike at night). So I slept poorly, woke up later than intended Saturday morning, and then showed up later than intended at my parents' house where I discovered that...

My dog had been bored to tears at some point and found a nice mushy pile of mud and set to churning it, perhaps with an eye towards profiting by starting a brickyard. Because it seriously looked about like a mudpit in a brickyard. Amazing.

And he tracked a good deal of it inside, of course, where it dried into the carpet. The carpet which, in an hour's time, a host of males would see while they retreated to my parents' house during my sister's baby shower, which was being hosted elsewhere.

I got out the vacuum, wearing my cute little "I'm going to a baby shower" outfit, and set about cleaning up what I could, and then picking up the larger chunks, while the world's greatest brother-in-law took the dog outside and washed his paws off with a hose. I secretly think it was my dog's way of retaliating for my sister's failure to bring her own red-headed pups to visit. He's usually very sweet, but he has his moments, and he's something of an ornery old man, these days.

My mom and my sister arrived at the house in the midst of the grand clean-up (my BIL Swiffered the floor while I touched up my make-up post-vacuuming), and then we jetted to the shower, spent three hours there, got back to my parents' house, rested for a little over an hour, then hosted my BIL's mother, aunt, and cousin for dinner. I drove home that evening and tried to crash. Again, I failed.

This morning, I ran a couple of errands, then met the family for lunch before my sister and BIL departed for Houston with their baby swag. This baby will be the best-dressed baby ever, just in case you were wondering. And then I ran a couple more errands (Container Store! Oh! How I've missed you!) and came home. I intended to go to the grocery store, and to Target, because I need light bulbs and food. But I decided that, heck, I had enough stuff to make pancakes, and I really needed to use those ingredients anyway, so I'd just eat pancakes for dinner.

Pancakes are kind of like men: they can be a lot of fun at the time, but then there's a huge mess to clean up, and you totally regret them later.

Heh. Heh heh. Heh.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Uncle Moneybags

I met my new client for the first time, yesterday, and then spent a full 95 minutes in his presence today.

I thank God I was chaperoned by one of my big-brotherly male coworkers.

At past jobs, my clients flirted with me. It's an occupational hazard when you're a 20-something female in a field where your commercial real estate clients are overwhelmingly male with overwhelmingly large pocketbooks that give them an overwhelmingly large sense of entitlement. Their flirtations were mostly benign and confined to the conference room, or cocktail parties for real estate promotions. But this character is something else, altogether.

Unlike past clients - and my present clients on other projects - who oozed money without ever talking about it except in the context of what they wanted to spend on their project, Uncle Moneybags talks about it. All the time. Seriously.

"I pay $500 per month for a climate controlled storage unit for my 5,000 bottles of wine."


"I was thinking about building a 15,000 SF house in Preston Hollow a few years ago, about $5 million or so, but decided not to."

That's quite the non sequitur. What, pray tell, does that have to do with asbestos abatement?

And he's one of those people who talks about money all the time, talks about how much money he spends, and then talks about how cheap he is and how much he hates to spend money. Wonderful.

And he hardly talked to Radio at all. Most of his comments were directed towards me. Even though I'm the subordinate in the office, the little helper, I received the brunt of his attention. Radio's the big man on the project. I'm just a CAD monkey, right now, inputting the existing floor plans into the computer so they make sense. But noooooooo. He hardly looked at Radio the whole time.

Granted, I was wearing white jeans, and according to my guy friends, a girl in white jeans is difficult to pry your eyes from, but still. When I left the room to investigate things, he inevitably followed, even if Radio was in the middle of discussing things with him. Important things. Sticky issues we might run into.

Like asbestos abatement.

Sigh. Maybe next time we go, his 25 year old ex-girlfriend - who's living in the apartment, right now, while the apartment he's bought for her is being renovated - will be the only one there. I have a sneaking suspicion he'll be there, though.

Maybe it's time to invest in a couple of muumuus.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


So much happening!

This morning, while I was at work, the maintenance man came and repaired the weatherstripping on my door, so it's all shiny and new and actually works, now! Yay!

And I received a notice from my apartment complex that, due to tenant requests, they now provide recycling services! Which means all those Economist and eviscerated Elle Decor magazines that have been going in the garbage bin will now go in the recycling bin!

So many exclamation points!!!!!!!!

I'm also now working on a renovation project for a new-ish client, rather than the lovely 1,000 SF treehouse I've been doing. It's a fascinating project, in a way, because the apartment in a Turtle Creek highrise we're renovating is essentially in the same state it was in when first completed back in 1958.

1958, people.

Granted, a few tenants have made misguided upgrades in the interim - shiny white laminate cabinets in the kitchen, with matching closet doors in the hallway, eesh - and the lighting is absolutely atrocious, but the woodwork is all in original condition. A little worse for wear, and in need of some refinishing, but still in place after 52 years. After 25 years longer than I've been alive.

And get this: the client currently owns one unit on the floor, but he wants to own all five of the units on his floor so he can combine them into one unit. One big, huge, 8 million bedroom unit in a historic Turtle Creek highrise. I don't even want to think about his monthly Home Owners' Association Fees. Actually, yes. Yes, I do.

They would be what I make in 4 months. Just for HOA fees. For one month. That's not including the cost of the mortgage or anything. I know, I shouldn't be astounded. And let's not forget, that includes all of his utilities.

Heck, it's a bargain.

Monday, May 17, 2010

A Day Lost, A Day Found

A day lost, because I did not spend it at work.

I used a vacation day, today, for a much needed mental break from travel, work, and puzzling out a schedule of portfolio projects. I literally did not sleep at all last night (I've had one hour, as I type, since Sunday morning), which was awful, since I did everything I knew within my power to coax myself to sleep. I trotted out the Sleepytime Tea, the extra Benadryl, the warm milk. Nada.

Possibly, the insomnia is due to the fact that the old bug bear, the "side business," is lurking on the edges of my consciousness. It's actually what's provided the kick in the pants to get me started working on my portfolio, once more. So, of course, I kept thinking about my portfolio, too. Essentially, I couldn't locate the "OFF" switch for my brain.

A day found, because I accomplished an awful lot during this day of vacation.

I bought the gift I will give my sister at her upcoming baby shower.

I visited with my apartment management, and as a result now have a repaired washing machine and will soon have new weather stripping at the bottom of my door (either this evening, or tomorrow morning).

And my end tables will be delivered tomorrow at lunch, because I called the gentleman from whom I bought them. He informed me that he could have sold them 20 times over, this weekend, and that the man who founded Freed's Furniture, a local furniture store, said they reminded him of a line of furniture he once sold for Baker, a line akin to the Thomas Pheasant for Baker specialty lines they do these days. He couldn't remember exactly who designed them, but swore up and down they were vintage Baker.

I don't care who made them, though, because regardless, they're vintage gorgeous.

I carted home my brass lamps from Houston, this weekend, in the back of my mom's minivan, but they need shades. I think the shades will have to wait a month or two, though. I've spent enough money, for now, so they'll sit shadeless and embarrassed on my end tables until I feel comfortable buying the shades for them. Twenty-two inch Coolie shades don't come cheap, you know.

I also brought home some pillows, courtesy of my sister, and 5 yards of black silk jacquard with an orange, yellow, and peach Oriental motif on them. Perfecto! And I'm thinking of the best way to arrange my bookshelves, once I get them moved around and all my furniture is in place. How should I arrange all the linen-covered boxes that hide the hideous DVDs and CDs I've accumulated over the years? The file boxes that house my tax forms and insurance information? It's a tricky design question, and one I'm pondering, since the bookshelves provide the backdrop against which I eat my dinner.

It will probably be a matter of trial and error, in the end.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Eating Crow... And Dang, It Tastes Good

Yesterday, I posted about the wonderful - and wonderfully inexpensive - tables I was going to buy, even though there were two others that needed some work that were more expensive and cooler.

I went back at lunch today to buy the tables I posted images of yesterday.

I did not buy them.

I bought the more expensive ones.


Yes, they cost more. Yes, they will need work. Despite my resolution to buy the Baker-esque mid-Century tables, I saw them and knew that I would regret buying them. And that I wanted the more expensive ones. They were what I had originally budgeted for, so far as tables go, anyways. I'll have to wait to have them refinished, but that's what artfully placed coffee-table books and lamps are for, right?


So the beautiful mahogany Chinoiserie tables will be delivered to my apartment next week, and my apartment will be fine, for now. I'll have the fabric samples for curtains, when I eventually get around to buying them a few months from now (after I've saved up some money, what with the purchase of the tables and the lamps), if I decide to buy them from the on-line company, and that will give me more time to formulate a plan for eventual interior decorating cohesion.

The agony is over. And now I can concentrate on lamp shades. For the new lamps. Which are the last purchase that will be made for a loooooooooooong time for my apartment.


(Sorry about the blurry picture; I took it from a funny angle with my iPhone)

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


My end table hunt is over! Today, I decided that I'd eat my lunch while working, and use my lunchbreak for something truly worthwhile, like looking at end tables. Given that I'm a hop skip and a jump from the design district, it's pretty easy to go for a quick shopping excursion during lunch. I generally try to avoid them, though.

I'd been stalking the website for a store called Antiques Moderne, the same store that had the Dorothy Draper wannabe chest (it's still in the store, awaiting pickup, as I write). I'd seen a few things I liked, and when I walked in, I saw even more.

There were two GORGEOUS end tables, the right height, but a little too big, I think, for my current home. And they were kind of pricey, $900 for the pair, and they need to be refinished. The shape of them is absolutely amazing, but still... The price was a bit rich for my blood.

I then saw the two end tables that I'd seen on the website: the man who owns the store says he thinks they're Baker from the 1960s, but the labels are missing, so who knows? Regardless, they're high quality, with solid brass casters, and the finish on them is still in amazing shape. And they're the perfect height for my sofa.

And they're on sale. I get both of them for $350. Tomorrow. When I go snap them up and arrange for delivery, which is only an extra $40, because he just wants "the damn things" out of the store so he can use the room they're in to better display furniture.

So, $350 for the pair, when I'd planned to spend $700. You know what this means, don't you? Yes, I thought so.

It means I can afford drapes without feeling the least bit guilty. Not the least bit guilty, at all. And maybe another end table, just for kicks.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Missed Connections

I had a golden opportunity today, and I missed it. It completely and totally blew by me, and I'm regretting it.

Okay, I'm sort of regretting it. Kind of.

Not really.

Apparently, around 8:00 a.m. Pacman called me to invite me to an oh so exciting concrete pour at the job site. It was slated to start at 10:00 a.m. sharp. My cell phone was set to 'silent' by some strange quirk of the fates, so I missed that call. I also missed the one informing me that it was going to start at 9:00 a.m. instead of 10:00.

I checked my phone while waiting for the elevator at the office building, standing in the lobby in cute spangly sandals. My new work boots were at my apartment. My old work boots were also at my apartment. Yes, my wellies were under my desk, but...

I didn't want to go to the site. It was day two-and-a-half of a migraine for me (because I forgot to take my medicine on day one, and only took the nausea medicine, not the actual migraine stuff, since I'm kind of absentminded sometimes) and my 'old complaint' was acting up, to boot. Heh. Heh heh.

I'm punny.

Yes, the 'old complaint' for which I had surgery, once upon a time, and for which I thought I might need surgery, but right now I don't need it, but I might in the future if it doesn't heal itself, which it might if I take this medicine, so take this medicine, and here you go, and it still hurts.

So I missed a golden opportunity to wear my new work boots. And I'm oddly okay with that. Because I haven't bought gel insoles for them yet.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

They'll Look Great On the Floor

I had a blast in Houston, as always. My sister and I hung pictures galore all over the house, and bought lamps for her bedroom, and lampshades for lamps she already had for her living room, and traipsed all over the Heights looking at junk stores, some of which were actually junk stores, and some of which were anything but.

And I bought two lamps to sit on my end tables. The end tables I do not have.

But the lamps are amazing, and they're solid brass, and you could kill a man simply by hurling one of the finials at him, so I had to buy them. Because they're a matter of personal safety. And they're amazing.

They're the sort of lamps you'd see in Elle Decor for $3000/pair. And I got them for 1/10 of that. It's a deal. It's a steal. It's the bargain of the century.

And now I need tables upon which to rest them.

And I want new curtains, because the new decor monster will not be sated with new lamps alone. Oh, no. It must needs new curtains and new end tables. So I might find myself heading out this weekend looking for curtain panels, and trying to figure out what, exactly, I want my living room to look like. For the longest time, it's been full of muted furniture with orange and turquoise accents on the bookshelves and in the artwork.

But now I have an orange sofa, and I don't know if I want to do soft birch-colored (supposedly) drapes in a tonal vibe with hits of turquoise in the artwork and accessories, or if I want to... yeah. I have no other alternatives. I'm getting ready to take back some fabric that I gave my sister, once upon a time, that's a beautiful black silk with orange and yellow and pink medallions woven into it - amazing fabric - and two pillows she had made out of it years ago. They don't work in her house these days, but they'll be beautiful in mine. And they're kind of the direction I see my house going, too. So...

Any thoughts about my current little David Hicks fantasia? Hmmmm?

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The End of the Affair

Earlier today, I took a short break from that thing I do every day... you know. That thing where you get up, get dressed... You go to a building... Working. Right. That thing.

I perused a couple of websites, and on one I saw a wannabe Dorothy Draper dresser. I lusted after it in my heart all day, but I've been seriously thinking about my plan of attack for this apartment, and I just couldn't decide if the dresser a la Draper was part of the frontal assault. I decided just a few minutes ago, while seized by a fit of security-light-outside-my-window-induced insomnia, to see if the dresser was still on the website, to see if, perhaps, we are meant to be reunited, and have it feel so good.

Nope. No chemistry. Heck, I got stood up, right proper.

I think the dresser was sold when I saw it, seeing as it didn't even have a price on it, and the fellow has a high rate of turnover on his wares. Things that were for sale as of 3:00 pm today are now marked SOLD as unapologetic as you please, and the dresser isn't there at all, so I think it was just a blunder that the dresser was still there, at all.

So my affair with the dresser was short lived, and I can move on to pining away for other worldly goods instead.

Like matching end tables. That I might design and have my dad construct bases for out of metal, that would then be powder-coated gold. And have solid walnut slabs cut for the tops. Because there's a guy with a source in a place who sells them for cheap. I think. I haven't asked about shipping costs yet.

I'm still plotting my plan of attack. I will undoubtedly worry the plan endlessly with my sister when I go visit her this weekend.

Yes, you heard correctly.

I get to visit the world's most amazingly wonderful sister this weekend.

And I get to take a half day off from work to do so. And I will get to help her shop for baby stuff and laugh with her and eat whatever it is she cooks, unless she's tired, in which case we will eat wherever it is she wants to eat.

Although I have a hankering for a curried chicken salad sandwich for lunch on Saturday, just in case she's wondering.

Wink wink.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

What I Did. What I Did.

I bought work boots. And some new work appropriate clothes (at 11:30 at night Friday, because I fell asleep early due to a combination of exhaustion and mild pain medication coupled with Benadryl... and then my wonderful mom called me to say, "Hi" and I woke up, so I put my jolted-awake self to work by scouring J. Crew and bought some adorableness). And a textile to throw over my now-shabby-when-compared-to-God's-gift-to-sofas love seat. The textile doesn't really coordinate with my rug, but somehow still works, because it follows along with the whole idea of "if you like the stuff, it will all form a cohesive whole in the room together" theory of decorating.

Either that or I'm deluding myself because I'm loath to part with $60 after my work boot and J. Crew binge.

No. No. It works.

I also discovered that 1) men jumping rope outside boxing studios that are adjacent to work boot stores will all stop jumping rope in unison when a girl gets out of her car in skinny jeans and big sunglasses; and 2) if you innocently flirt with the youngish work boot salesman you will get free leather sealer for your boots.

Both these tidbits of information have been filed away for future reference.

My mom and I ran errands Saturday after I bought my ridiculously comfortable boots (Red Wing, style 2231), and then decided we should kill some time before eating dinner and adjourning to her house to watch Home and Garden Television. We decided to go to Robb and Stucky, since it was in the general area, and the furniture there is good for both a few laughs and some inspiration.

And oh, did I find inspiration.

This little number would look faaaaaaaaaaaaaaaabulous in my apartment, someday.

As would something along these lines, but in gold, I think. Yes, definitely in gold.

The look I'm shooting for in my apartment, just in case you're wondering, is sort of ... well... let's say if Dorothy Draper and Mies van der Rohe had a love child who hung out with Andy Worhol, and that love child was an interior decorator: that decorator would do my apartment. But keep it tasteful.