This week the weather has been beautiful. It's been cold, and after some morning fog, it's been crisp and clear. Bunny has been having fun walking on the "crunchy" leaves. Experience some northwest-style Fall color here.
Lately, Bunny is like a parrot crossed with an idiot savant. She's like Rain Man. Yesterday she talked so much that she made herself hoarse. She didn't nap either. Even during "quiet play time" she was singing and babbling.
Her new favorite adjective is "gross." She has no idea what it means. To her, it's a catch-all descriptor.
Me: "Hey Bun. Look at the pretty, fall leaves!"
Her: "THAT'S GROSS!"
Me: "Do you like your pasta?"
Her: "THAT'S GROSS!"
Me: "Dancing is fun, isn't it?"
Her: "IT'S GROSS!"
Me: "Bunny, can you believe George W. Bush got re-elected?"
Her: "THAT'S GROSS!"
Yeah. That is gross.
And just for the record? Bunny can pronounce nuclear. She's two.
So ever since we bought our house we've been addicted to remodeling/redecorating shows. This is where TiVo comes in very handy. I have absolutely no interest in the process, I just want to see before and after.
I haven't see one decorating program yet where I have really loved the work of the decorators. The worst ones are the "budget" decorating shows:
"Hi! Let us take your crap, throw $500 at it, and make it look...EVEN MORE LIKE CRAP!"
"Watch as our designer makes a lamp out of an old wine bottle!"
"I made these curtains out of burlap and I scotch-taped them to the window!"
NO. THANK YOU.
On the other end of the spectrum are the shows where several designers make a presentation to a client and then the client has to choose the best one. The client generally has a bigger budget to work with, but the designer still sucks. They present their concepts using "Fom-Cor" to which various textile and paint samples are glued. I dunno. Maybe it's just me, but I'm not into having my house look so coordinated. And I never, ever want to have drapes custom-made to match my bath towels. Ever.
Things you will never see in my house:
any kind of a valance
stenciling and other "country" decor
anything made out of oak
anything covered in chintz
Having said that, though, I think the people that lived here before us had all of that shit in their house. The kitchen is covered in the busiest wallpaper you've ever seen in your life. It made me crazy when I first walked in there but, now, I am kinda used to it. The master bedroom is painted coral. With green trim. One of the bedrooms has (peeling) rose-bud wallpaper and in other rooms the wallpaper has been painted over. You can see seams. It drives J. nuts.
Slowly but surely we are tackling projects. The hideous glass and metal shower door in the upstairs bathroom was removed almost as soon as we moved in. Hate. Those. The front door has been replaced. New windows are on order for the upstairs bedrooms. It's a shame to replace the original 1927 windows, but it's cold upstairs. Too cold for my little girls. And we chose comparable windows that will keep the integrity of the house.
Right now we are remodeling our basement. Houses in Portland generally have basements and attics. While we were house-hunting it was fun to see what people did with these spaces. Basements are usually made into family rooms which is what we are doing with ours. Gone is the hideous stall shower that was in the middle of the room (who made that executive decision?), the fake wood paneling, and the green wall-to-wall carpeting. The framing is done and the wall board goes up on Monday. We are going to put all of the girls' toys down there along with the TV. I am happy about having a place for them to play and equally happy about reclaiming some "adult space" in our house.
This is the first big project we've ever tackled in a home. We're not doing most of the work (we will paint when it's all said and done), but it feels good to put our own stamp on this house. Everything else here is someone else's mark—from the coral paint to that stall shower—and it sorta makes me feel like we are living in someone else's house. Someone that didn't have kids. With the family room project going, I feel like we are starting to claim this old house as our own. And if we ever decide to sell it, prospective buyers will hopefully say, "This is a great house for a family."
It's exciting to be in Portland today. People are lining the streets holding Kerry signs or holding "Vote!" signs. My neighborhood is covered with Kerry lawn signs. I am amazed to see such community spirit. I never saw anything like this in San Francisco, but maybe I wasn't looking hard enough. Also, maybe it was California was never considered a swing state. Oregon is just barely "blue." The excitement in the air is palpable.
I think it's the sense of community that makes me like living here so much.
I loved living in San Francisco as well, but I think I loved living there as a childless person much more than I loved living there with kids. San Francisco is not the most child- or family-friendly city, which, for such a liberal city is really surprising. San Francisco wants its residents to be single, rich, and childless. You just have to look at the school situation or the state of most playgrounds to know that. Don't get me wrong, it's still one of my favorite cities, but living here makes me realize that San Francisco has a long way to go in terms of child-friendliness.
For example, many restaurants here have child play areas. It's so nice to be able to sit and enjoy a beer at Rogue Brewery in the Pearl while Bunny entertains herself at their Lego table. This doesn't "dumb down" the establishments, in fact, it's a smart move on the part of the owners. We've been back there twice since moving here and will go back again. And again.
I joined a food co-op today and not only do we get a 4% discount on groceries, but they offer free yoga classes for members in their "community room." All for $30 a year.
The local Fred Meyer—which is like those Targets or KMarts with a grocery store in it—has a children's play area like the ones at IKEA. You drop your kid off. A lovely elderly lady keeps an eye on him/her. You shop in peace. You pick your kid up on your way out. If there is a problem, the lovely lady pages you. Why don't all stores have this service? I say again—Why don't all stores have this service?
We went trick-or-treating on Halloween and were invited in for a glass of wine by a neighbor who lives around the corner. Just because.
Another neighbor recently brought us homemade banana bread still warm from the oven. I don't think a neighbor has ever brought us anything before, no matter where we lived.
I feel like I'm living in a movie. A warm, fuzzy movie. It's nice.