Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Mortgage Approved

Working my way through the packing, cutting off utilities at the apartment, setting up utilities at the house, counting the folks who are coming to help so I can feed them, renting a truck, dropping off stuff to Goodwill, getting our new king-sized bed delivered, homeowners insurance paperwork, changing addresses everywhere with everyone, etc. But the good news is things are moving right along.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Surreal Reupholstry

So today's adventure? Dropping off Nanny's chair to be reupholstered -- something my Mom and I have been talking about for nearly a decade. The adventure part? The reupholstry place is at the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center and is a part of the inmate rehabilitation program.

So we loaded Nanny's chair into the back of the Envoy and off I went this morning. After two wrong turns in the parking lot, I eventually had a guard escort me around the back of the prison to the shady shed behind the area where they train the K9 unit. No worries, I was never near inmates (much to the relief of my Mom).

It was there in the shed behind the prison that I spent a lovely morning with a few gentlemen and about 100 fabric booklets. The surreal part was that my new friends were big, burly, muscle-bound, tattooed, slightly rough-around-the-edges type guys named Mr. Lee, Warren, and "Beef." Each of them had their own well-informed opinion on the merits of which fabric and stain was best suited for my project. They even helped me take some "before" pictures so we can see the difference after their handiwork.

Here's the way that I've always known Nanny's chair. I had no idea that the purple paisley was actually a slip cover because since long before my time, it's been covered. I actually remember this chair at Mom-Mom Nagle's house because Brandon and I used to play on it. Oh, and the stool with it has nothing to do with the chair originally...we're just having it finished to match.

Lo and behold when I was taking pictures of the claw feet (a beautiful detail) I saw the edge of the slipcover, and I decided to take it off to see what the chair might have looked like in it's youth. Interestingly enough, on the seat of the chair under where the cushion fits in, the original label is still intact. I would love to find out more about this company, but a simple Google search didn't yield any great results. I'd especially love to know how old the chair is (and consequently if I'm destroying it's value by having it reupholstered). Chances are since it's my great-grandmother's chair, it's probably got some history in addition to the sentimental value.

It turns out the chair was in fact a bright, burgundy color in its heyday, and the original fabric is a sort of bristly velvet. Under the slipcovers, we found an interesting studded ribbon detail. The only thing that appears to be missing from the original chair is the seat cushion. The paisley cover on that was covering a piece of foam rather than the original cushion.

I decided to go with an ivory color for the new fabric. It's a pretty plain pattern of flowers that's all the same color but with a lovely texture. I wish I could remember the name of the fabric company so I could post a swatch. To compliment the light ivory color, I asked them to refinish the wood elements in a rich, warm, brazilnut color. Now all I have to do is wait and see what Vaughn's best have in store for an old family heirloom.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun

Here's a picture of the gliders enjoying their newest toy. Fiona is playing the roll of daredevil while Mathilda waits patiently for her turn. Too cute!

Fiona's finally getting friendly. Alex has had her out of the cage on some adventures lately -- sometimes on purpose, most times jail breaks resulting in accidental scaling of the curtains after which Fi looks down at us with her "WTF?" face until someone rescues her. And Mathilda's newest trick is to hide in the exact middle of whatever piece of furniture she's under. Usually it takes apples to lure them both back into the cage where they snuggle up and keep each other company.

Monday, March 22, 2010

A Love Poem

I was working on a few blog posts for National Poetry Month at work and came across this lovely poem called "Sonnets on Love XIII" by Jean de Sponde. I think I might use it for the front page of the wedding website once I get that set up.

Sonnets on Love XIII

by Jean de Sponde

"Give me a place to stand," Archimedes said,

and I can move the world." Paradoxical, clever,

is remark which first explained the use of the lever

as an academic joke. But if that dead

sage could return to life, he would find a clear

demonstration of his idea, which is not

pure theory after all. That putative spot

exists in the love I feel for you, my dear.

What could be more immovable or stronger?

hat becomes more and more secure, the longer

it is battered by inconstancy and the stress

we find in our lives? Here is that fine fixed point

from which to move a world that is out of joint,

as he could have done, had he known a love like this.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Venue? Check.

So with 30 days until settlement (and boxes all over our apartment), I've turned to wedding planning again. Alex and I trekked out to Kennett Square in the pouring rain to see the Mendenhall Inn for a tour over the weekend and absolutely loved it. I had this venue in mind since my cousin Ryan and his wife Pamela had their reception there about ten years ago, but since Alex had only ever been to the Mendenhall Restaurant for brunch, we headed over for a ballroom tour. Overall, as far as a package deal goes, they pretty much include everything (which makes the planning so much easier!).

Alex is a big fan of the atrium outside of the Grand ballroom as a space for cocktail hour. It's going to be absolutely lovely in the early evening in September!

I am a big fan of the ballroom itself with it's high ceilings, open floorplan, and grand staircase. If we're able to have a band, there's also a great picture window that the could easily set up in front of!

We're looking at Friday September 16th, 2011 as our wedding date but haven't locked in with a deposit just yet. Hopefully we'll be able to get the huge task of finalizing a venue finished before we move!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Only in Smyrna...

So this week while out and about with coworkers, we came across this storefront. It's right next to Sheridan's on Commerce Ave in town, if you'd like to see it for yourself.

It appears the store itself is gone, but that the owners left a farewell gift for the town. Luckily for Darlene, this storefront is on her way to work, so she has a bird's eye view of this every day.

In other "only in Smyrna" news, we also spotted a tractor-shaped mailbox on Route 13 that I have to take a picture of. It was not too far from Thomas England House, which according to Keith and Darlene, once housed one of the creepiest bars of all time — decorated with nothing but clowns.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Derek's Last Day

Sadly, intern Derek is moving on from the PH family, so Elizabeth and I made him a sparkly, sticker-covered parting gift. Sadly we didn't think of making him wear it to his farewell lunch. He definitely deserved our token of appreciation after putting up with 6 months of PH's good-natured harassment. Cheers to Derek!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Only in Smyrna...

So this one house on my way to work has their own version of what I can only guess is a nativity scene. It's up pretty much from November to March, but now that the extended Christmas season is over it appears that the plastic figures have been banished to the porch where they peer lovingly into the window of their owner's home like some creepy, cheap plastic peeping toms. The assortment includes a kneeling adult Jesus, two altar boys with open mouths, a sheep, two candles, and a tiny snowman. "One sheep shy of an orgy" according to Doug's analysis of the situation...

Everyone that I work with knows about and has seen this strange assortment of characters (located not too far down the road from the Jamaican place with the life-sized plastic, neon palm trees), but no one has ever stopped to take a picture of it. Today on the way back from Derek's farewell lunch, Doug drove really slowly up the shoulder of the road with hazard lights on while I took a picture and Doug and Steph giggled from the backseat so that everyone could enjoy...

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The House Project: Completed

So for those of you who haven't heard, a
fter many months of keeping track of hundreds of emails and a veritable ton of information from our Lady Gaga lovin' realtor, we're finally done with the search. Our offer was officially accepted on the house over the weekend (I have a 50 page PDF to prove it), so we will be homeowners before you know it! Settlement is April 15 and I'm guessing move in will be that Saturday, April 17. So if you happen to be free and want to carry boxes in exchange for beer and pizza afterwards....

For those who are interested, here's the down low on the neighborhood from the listing:

"Thompson Homes introduces Canal View at Crossland, Middletown's newest luxury Townhome community, located on the canal in the absolute best location, just seconds from the bridge. Several floor plans to choose from in a well-designed community that is surrounded by open space and water. Each plan features spacious eat-in kitchens with center island and 42" wood cabinetry, high profile moldings including 7" baseboard, 9 foot first floors, sumptuous master suites with walk-in closets, good size secondary bedrooms, full poured basements with options to finish as well as lofts. Grand Opening incentive includes Trex style decks on all models! Maintenance free exterior with no landscaping or grass cutting, yet minimal monthly fees! Interior features also include Andersen windows & doors and tankless hot water systems from New Castle County's first Gold Level Green Builder."

And here's the answers to all the questions everyone has been asking me:

  • Technically its listed as Middletown, but I think St. George's is a more accurate description of location. You can see the new St. George's bridge from the neighborhood (and alternately you can see the McMansions in front of our community from the bridge). It's pretty much as close to halfway between my job and Alex's as you can possibly get.
  • It's a townhouse. We're the third in a cluster of four, so on the interior. We're the first cluster of townhouses to be built, but more are coming.
  • It is new construction and we will be the first ones to live in it (yay!)
  • Three bedrooms, two bathrooms upstairs, a powder room downstairs, full basement (unfinished now, but easy to finish at a later date), deck, huge closets (walk in in the master that is bigger than my Mom's bedroom growing up according to her), oversized living room/dining area, kitchen with island in the middle, upgraded 44" cabinets (that I can't reach the top of), new stainless steel kitchen appliances, etc.
  • Everything in it is energy efficient and bills are supposedly going to be less than living in our apartment
  • It comes with all sorts of upgrades that this builder does standard: tankless/on-demand hot water heater, 7-inch moldings, huge closets, updated lighting and fixtures, oversized window in the basement that doubles as a fire escape if you want to finish your basement in the future, deck on the back, lawn service, Anderson windows, upgraded railings, etc.
  • No, we don't have another house directly in our backyard. There's designated open space that will reside between us and the next row of houses, so we'll have a nice view from our deck once construction settles down.
  • Yes, I will have you over for dinner as soon as we get in and get settled, I promise.

And for those of you who want me to stop blabbering and just get on with the rest of the pictures, here's the entire album, complete with my quirky comments underneath.