Friday, April 27, 2012


Yesterday was a grey day.  I did not get any sleep the night before, so I was tired.  The lady at the store where we were registering for our wedding gifts was rude.  We had to go to Ikea in New Jersey in under 3 hours.  My mom told me that my grandparents weren't going to come to my (gay) wedding.  It misty-rained all day long, just enough to make my feet wet on the way home from work.  All this was a recipe for sad.

After Ikea, I came home mopey and reticent.  Then Kathy noticed the box on the front porch, which had apparently been delivered sometime after 6:30 when we had left for Ikea.  It was tall and skinny.  I knew in an instant what was inside.  My stewartia pseudocamillia.  Which I have been boring my family by talking about since last summer.  I wanted it last summer.  I ordered it last fall.  And I have been waiting ever since. 

It's funny how magical delayed gratification can make something, and how a little tree can turn a grey day around.

(my very own stewartia, basking in the morning sun in its future home)

Thursday, April 26, 2012


When I was staying at home, I used to wonder if I would contribute more to the family if I was working.  I worried, occasionally, and especially in the early days of staying home, that I wasn't "pulling my weight" if I wasn't doing house work or projects non-stop all day. 

Last night, after work, Kathy met up with some colleagues and I volunteered to go home for kid duty so she could stay out.  When I got home, I was instantly crabby.  Our lawn is, in some places, a foot tall.  A FOOT.  The house was a shambles, with stacks of mail everywhere, dirty dishes, crumbs, toys, and sticky substances coating nearly every surface (this might be an exaggeration.  Then again, it might not).  I decided to spend the night cleaning, tidying, and throwing away.  I worked non-stop for a few hours, until the house was at least tidy, if not clean.

Monday, April 23, 2012

the house of orange - demo

I've tried to think of the right words to describe the horribleness of the walls in our living room at the House of Orange, but it's hard to convey with words, or even with pictures, the experience of opening the front door and being enveloped in some kind of orange pinstripe wonderland.  The pictures do not do justice to the intensity of the orange, and the dizzying effect that white quarter-round trim nailed in stripes and boxes all over your walls can have.  This effect is intensified by the draperies, which were white curtains with orange stripes, or orange and white striped roman shades.  All of this was highlighted by a white lattice-work ceiling (custom built!) and a white linoleum floor.

In the following pictures, we have already moved the furniture away from the walls and started work, but here is a little bit of what I mean.

I'm fond of the shot above because it highlights some of the finer features, including one of our Romanesque statutes and the white wire chandelier with orange wooden tassels hanging all over it.  You also get a good sense of the trim covering every wall.  Yes, that is trim, not just some artfully painted white lines.  They painted, measured, cut, and nailed all that trim to the walls. 

Here's a shot of the front windows.  Sorry to say we've already relocated some lamps, etc. so it's not really a "before" shot like it would be if you had just walked in, but you can see all the extra action that the drapes provide.  You can also see, which I forgot to mention before, that they painted a bright orange stripe around all the window trim with a super-shiny acrylic paint.  So, in order to cover it, all the trim had to first be wiped with a liquid de-glosser, then primed twice.

Friday, April 20, 2012

moving in, and a gross miscalculation

One of the logistical difficulties with renovating a house on Fire Island, is that it's on an island.  Which means you have to take a boat to get to it.  Having a fair amount of experience schlepping personal effects, clothes, and food out to the island for the past few summers, we realized that our week of renovating was going to require a fair amount of prep work.  What this meant for me was a detailed shopping list, including a full week's-worth of meals for six people, purchased in advance, all of our home-improvement supplies, and all of our tools.  What this meant for Kathy was that we got to had to rent a U-Haul.  Her first real-life U-Haul lesbian experience.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

goodbye to Remy

Last week, we started on the renovations to our Fire Island house, so we could get it ready for the wedding.  One of the first tasks was to remove all the crap that accumulated in the house since it was last cleaned in 1985.  The owner of the house in the 1980s was a designer, with a very unique style.  Owners since then have embraced this style but, um, it's not exactly "us."

We learned from neighbors that there are three ways to get rid of weird stuff in your house: (1) put it near your garbage and hope someone takes it, (2) throw it in a dumpster at the dock on community clean-up day, or (3) donate it to the Cherry Grove community center so they can sell it in their annual fundraiser flea market.

As we started to fill the back bedroom with boxes of stuff to donate (this being our preferred option, since it benefits the community), it quickly became clear that we were going to run out of space.  So we decided to start leaving stuff out and see what went.  This was our first attempt:

Thursday, April 5, 2012


Next week, we'll spend the entire week in our brand new-to-us house on Fire Island (which does not have heat!  Lots of snuggling will be required!). 

Our goal: to begin to change it from this

to something a little more like this.

Pinned Image  Pinned Image 
 Pinned Image  Pinned Image

We're going for a look that's a little less Rocky Horror Renaissance Creamsicle and a little more Classic Beach House.  Here's to a sea-inspired palette, natural fibers, and outdoor showers.
On the agenda for the week -- steam cleaning all the existing upholstered furniture, ripping up the dirty orange carpet off the stairs to assess what's underneath, choosing a color for the exterior, and painting that bright orange living room.  If we're way ahead of schedule (haha, when does that ever happen with home improvement projects?!) we might even get started painting our all-white kitchen.  I'll bring along the camera, so you can expect lots of before/after shots.  You might even get some action shots in there along the way. 

See all the beach house design ideas (and the sources for the inspiration shots above) by following me on Pinterest.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

the illusion of four weeks (with tips!)

A conversation I had with a first year associate at my new firm reminded me of one of my least favorite aspects of Biglaw.  At the conclusion of our conference call, a fourth year, the first year, and I started chatting about associate life.  The first year, who has been at the firm about three months, I think (read: longer than me) finally asked, a bit nervously, "Can I ask you guys something?"  I was excited.  An opportunity for mentoring!  I love mentoring!

"Of course!" we both answered enthusiastically.  The fourth year must love mentoring too.

"Well, my hours are kind of low.  But.... I don't know.  I wanted to take this vacation in July.  Do you think I'm allowed?"  Oh boy.  I bet she thought this was an easy question. 

Officially, associates at my firm are entitled to four weeks of vacation per year.  This is the case at most Biglaw firms -- it's totally market.  So it seems like the answer to this poor first year's question would be a "Yes" as long as she hasn't somehow managed to already take one month off when she's only been here for three.