Thursday, September 24, 2015

Home Renovation Part Four: The Moving Begins

We have to be out of our apartment by the 30th of September. That's just under a week away! Our big moving day is going to be this Sunday, but that hasn't stopped us from already getting stuff in. Greg's boss gave us a patio table (no chairs, though), which required using the store's box truck to move. We were allowed to take advantage and move a few more big items that same day, so there is now a table, an entertainment center, and most of our book shelves as well as most of our books. 

After some serious kitchen demolition, we got the kitchen walls half painted (the places where the new cupboards will go because heck no I am not painting with the cupboards up), and did some major, major cleaning of the bedrooms so that we could start to move things into them. The new cupboards have arrived, but are not yet installed. The inept company installing them keeps neglecting to call us to schedule that, and when we call, they tell us they can't take our call and need to call us back, so most of the kitchen and much of the living room is taken up by these huge and heavy cupboard boxes.

Side note: If you live in the Ann Arbor-Ypsilanti area and are thinking of having your kitchen cupboards done by Home Depot, DON'T unless you plan to hang the cupboards yourself. Home Depot has been wonderful, but the company they contract with to do the install is HORRIBLE. They have delayed this project by months for reasons such as "Oops, I forgot to check my email. My bad." So now we get to live in a house without a kitchen when the main reason we stayed in our apartment and paid rent on top of mortgage rather than move in right away was so we wouldn't have to live without a kitchen. Thanks, assholes.

We also had to take up some of the tiles in the kitchen to make room for expanded cupboards in places that cupboards were not before. That was brutal! I'm guessing they were linoleum or some such other awful tile on top of the same, and the lower tiles were adhered by the Devil's Own Glue. Chipping away at them with a hammer and a spackle knife was brutal. Even pouring Goo Gone just dissolved the top layers and left the glue fully in tact. But between the two of us, we got it done. (Now that awful company just needs to call and schedule an appointment...)

That is all for now. I need to get back to packing and schlepping more stuff over to the house before going into work. Because why-oh-why would I actually get days off while moving. (The reason we're moving on Sunday is because it's the only day this month that Greg and I have off together.) And I have my first Journal deadline October 1st, which means this computer needs to be set up again ASAP once it's been dismantled and moved. Joy.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Guilty Pleasures

In case you weren't aware, one of our cherished community burlesque performers Luna Legare, mistress of the tease, puts on regular shows in the Ann Arbor-Ypsilanti area. Greg and I attended the Guilty Pleasures: Feeling Hot Hot Hot show at the amazingly tasty Bona Sera Cafe in the heart of downtown Ypsi about two months ago. (The basement is available for shows and is complete with its own bar.) 

It was phenomenal! Possibly the best performance I've seen yet this past year. The host was celebrity comedian James Pequignot, husband of one of the dancers. He was funny! Reminded both Greg and me of John Hodgeman from the Daily Show. (And me of my friend Will, who also reminds me of John Hodgman in looks and occasionally humor.) 

My new favorite dancer Dusty Bahls was also there! Really bummed he won't be back for Guilty Pleasures LIVE on Saturday, September 26th (mark your calendars!!). Celebrity comedian James Pequignot will be reprising his role as host, though. This next show will also feature Cruel Valentine (keep an eye on her, she's good), Florence of Alabia (gotta love that name), Gala Delicious, Miss Kitty Bourree, and more! (Those are just the names I recognize and love.) 

Only $15 at the door for what promises to be a terrific show! See your there. ;)

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Home Renovation Part Three: Demolition and more Painting

Nearly every spare moment I have had over the last few months has been devoted to working on the house. We relinquish our apartment at the end of this month, so it is crunch time! (I'd actually like to be completely moved out before then, which means there is even more to do in less time.)

The three bedrooms, or as we call them the library, the bedroom, and the jungle room (it's painted green), are all painted, the floors are cleaned up, and we've already started moving stuff in. We also brought over the chairs from our balcony, a small table, and set them up on the front porch where we've since enjoyed a couple of meals and a few drinks. This past weekend, I even sat and enjoyed a drink while chatting with friends. It feels like home already! 

Since this Monday was Labor Day, we obviously devoted it to labor. Our friend Dustin came over and helped Greg demolish our kitchen. Given that the previous owners' solution to seemingly every problem was cover it in caulk, and one of the main things holding up the previous dilapidated cupboards was caulk, there were a lot of caulk jokes. Surprisingly, it didn't take very long to rip out the cupboards, just a few hours with two people. The stove's hood turned out to be unsalvageable (it looks like it has caught on fire in the past), which was unfortunate, and we found a few soft spots on the wall by the sink, but nothing terrible. (Pretty sure.)


While Greg and Dustin worked in the kitchen, I finished up edging the walls in the living room, which has been tough since the edges along the ceiling are mostly uneven. After the kitchen was done, Dustin headed out and we were joined by friend Heather, who helped Greg with prepping the kitchen to be painted before the new cupboards arrive next week. A lot of crap needed to be scraped off the walls and holes (surprise, surprise, more holes in the walls) patched and filled. I suspect we’re almost out of drywall at this point. There is also a nice pile of broken cupboards in the backyard. We’ll work on hauling that away later.


More friends Red and Cassi arrived and Cassi helped me empty boxes of books so that I could take them back home to be filled up with more books so the process could repeat. We really have a lot of books to move, and obviously we can't move the bookcases until the books are moved first.

In addition to also drywalling in the kitchen, Red installed our BRAND NEW WASHING MACHINE courtesy of one of my oldest friends and bridesmaids Robin, who won it in a raffle at work. Since she lives in an apartment, she generously passed it on to me and Greg, who drove out to Benton Harbor last Saturday to pick it up. Red did discover some soft wall behind the washer, but Greg doesn't think the damage is too bad and we can fix it. I just hope it isn't the product of a drip or leak and is just from changing out the machines! 

I anticipate all of my free time over the next two weeks to be devoted to packing and hauling. And here's hoping m our cat Memphis doesn't pee in any more boxes. I need those!


Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Some of My New Favorite Neighborhood Places in Ypsilanti

I've been writing a little bit about the places that Greg and I have been visiting and the events we've attended in Ypsilanti as we have gotten to know our new city. Here are some of my favorite places that we have discovered.

There are so many places to eat in Ypsilanti! We breakfasted at the Wolverine Grill per one friend's recommendation and have yet to eat at Beezy's per another. One of our favorite restaurants for dinner is Maiz Mexican Cantina in Depot Town, which I reviewed for the Crazy Wisdom Community Journal for the Fall 2014 issue

I also like to stop in at the Ypsilanti Food Co-op when I am in Depot Town. They carry a line of organic bagged tea that I enjoy and much more! Also in Depot Town is the Eyrie, a gift shop that sells products made only by Michigan artisans. It's located right next to Sidetrack, a bar and grill I used to frequent with friends when I first moved to Ann Arbor, and where Greg and I still like to grab drinks every now and again. We also like Corner Brewery, which hosts events like DIYpsi and occasionally burlesque.


A few blocks away in Downtown Ypsi, within easy walking distance to our house, are some more fun shops. There is the Rocket, of course, a much beloved by locals novelty gift shop with all kinds of toys, candy, and fun clothing. World of Rocks on Huron is a great place to pick up stones, gems, rocks, and beads to make jewelry - as well as premade jewelry. People tell me their prices are high, but I find them reasonable. And so many shinies!

Also downtown is the Black Stone Bookstore and Cultural Center, which sells books (obviously), handmade candles, incense, clothing, African imports, art, jewelry, and more. They also host and sponsor events, like in-store author signings and the upcoming black tie gala Fight For Your Life at Weber's Inn that will raise money for the SafeHouse Center of Washtenaw County. The owners are super friendly and it's great to stop by for a neighborly chat. I've already heard so many fun stories about the neighborhood from Kip - it's great! And I love my candle. Mmm...

Ypsilanti is also home to two farmers markets, one downtown and one in Depot Town. Since I work every Saturday, I will probably never make it to the one in Depot Town. Downtown on Tuesdays, though, I can do! For a half hour anyway, before heading into work. I want to pick up some handmade soaps and more scones soon. Hyperion Coffee might also be there with their delicious iced coffee. (Greg has been stalking them since he first learned of them a couple of months ago.) 

We've attended two First Fridays events thus far, and we're both looking forward to another this Friday, September 4th. Since neither of us usually works late on Fridays, we've decided to make this a regular thing for us. Hopefully, we can persuade more friends to join us in the future. At the last one we met up with a few people we knew at different points throughout the evening.

So far, Ypsi has been treating us great! I like how vibrant the community is and there is always something to do. Maybe when our families visit, we will check out the local museums, too. Both my and my sister-in-law's families have backgrounds in firefighting. She used to be a volunteer firefighter herself! (Because she's a badass.) Depot Town is home to the Michigan Firehouse Museum and Education Center. I have many fond memories of Christmas parties at the Otsego, MI firehouse, so I would like to check this museum out one day. 

Look forward to many Ypsilanti adventures to come!