i wish the answer was yes

When I was shopping around for the domicile that would eventually become Chez Hedo way back in 2004, one of the features on the “nice to have” list that I ended up forgoing was a backyard deck.

Sure, it’s got a patio, and the Great Window Adventure of Aught-Six provided me with a door that leads directly to the backyard.  But to be honest, that patio is small and too shaded.  And the door is 3 feet off the ground.

Fast forward to now(ish): Nerd 2 is back, I have one more summer of relative freedom before I (hopefully) sell my soul and my sanity for a few more letters to put after my name, and it’s time to build that deck, dammit.

I’ve read lots of books. We’re taking a Deck Building 101 course this week.  I’m hoping to have plans ready to submit for a permit by May 1st.  So it’s time to call Gopher One Call (or, at least hit their website) so that my plans don’t involve digging a 4″ footing through a gas line or something.

The website is pretty easy to use (even if it’s _very_ obvious that it’s a contractor built front-end around a circa 1983 mainframe system — I swear I can smell the COBOL), but the best part of the application was the question where it asks whether or not your excavation would be performed using explosives.

This deck would be far more awesome if it was.

things that i’ve learned since the last post here

  • That handicapped campsites are really only for handicapped people.
  • That you should avoid thinking about handicapped spaces, for fear of embedding Denis Leary’s musical masterwork deep into your head.
  • That taking delivery of a new fridge is significantly less traumatizing when you have a chest freezer and a bar fridge on your property.
  • That it is possible to feel condiment-related guilt.
  • That the best way to alleviate said guilt is to remind yourself that the bar fridge is not that big, and said condiments have maybe been in the fridge since the departure Nerd 1.
  • That pretty much the entire ass-end of a 2003 Suzuki SV650 is plastic.
  • That those bits that aren’t plastic are probably bolts in really hard to reach places.
  • That it is possible to have a great time camping, even if you can’t devote an entire picnic table to the bar area.
  • That sometimes, even when we bring The Ruckus, we are far from the most obnoxious campers on the St. Croix.
  • That it’s really hard to find fancy stationary that isn’t disgustingly girly, part of a wedding invitation kit, or  in the form of a pack of folded cards.
  • That not working on Fridays is amazing.
  • That’s it’s possible to bullshit your way through being on a Convergence panel.
  • That some nerds (small ‘n’) are seriously pretentious asshats — but most are not.
  • That Presence of Mind means that you can be running when you cast Arcane Blast.
  • That there is a time before the cafeteria at HedoCorp opens, and it is possible to get to HedoCorp before said time.
  • That when you have writer’s block, you should just misappropriate the style of another writer and go for it.

Well, I’m back (for now).  This week is going to involve taking delivery of a major appliance, a triumphant return to the Guthrie, and a BBQ for which my preparedness could be described as both completely inadequate, and also fairly average, considering that there’s still 84 hours to go.  Which means that I should lots to write about… let’s see if I’ll find time.


The awkwardly named, Cost Plus World Market is going out of business.

This is somewhat sad to me, because I always thought that it was pretty neat for a chain store.  Its selection was reasonably interesting (if somewhat static), and I could even find proper (albeit stale and overpriced) Smarties there if I was really jonesing.  It’s also never let me down for Awesome Christmas (an amusing little tradition where one must get a large number of people presents that perfectly suit them, for under $3).

Besides the various strange foodstuffs, stupid toy things, and papasan chairs, Cost Plus also had the distinction of being home to the one piece of furniture that I’ve ever really coveted — the Spruce Bar.

Basically, it’s a wine-rack/bar thing, with extra storage on the doors, and leaves that fold out to double the width when you find yourself needing a larger surface area for your mixology.  It’s constructed out of a mahgony stained hardwood, and manages to have both arts & crafts and asian influences.  It’s the perfect thing for my dining room, and has been since I bought the house.  It also was $550, which, while probably a perfectly reasonable price for what it is, I just could never really justify paying.

So instead, I would console myself by just visiting the Spruce Bar.  Stopping by to look at it whenever I happened
to be in the store (or even near the store), hoping that the price would change for the better, but it was stubbornly firm.  I’d mentioned to Nerd 2 more than once how much I liked it, and even dragged him around an entire HOM Furniture looking for something similar but to no avail.  Once, I found a $100 off coupon for worldmarket.com, and I almost pulled the trigger (it was the $50 shipping cost that killed that deal).

In truth, it’s been a while since I’ve truly pined for the Spruce Bar.  I think the stress of buying new living room furniture  (and a fridge) may have stifled my desire to reappoint the dining room somewhat, and the $50 wireframe wine-rack that I’d picked up at Costco seemed to be doing the job well enough (despite the fact that its open design has a nasty habit of light-striking any actual wine stored in it).  So, when I’d heard that Cost Plus was going under, like I said, I was sad, but I didn’t really realize the true import of the event.  The Spruce Bar is a Cost Plus exclusive — I wouldn’t even be able to visit it anymore.

Luckily, Nerd 2 is a little better at putting 2 and 2 together than I am.  And, given that:

  • he was instructed that a  Valentine’s Day present was expected this year (I generally am pretty against celebrating v-day, especially with gifts because I believe that true love is shown every day of the year, via actions, not things*.  But given that said actions are going to be a little more difficult for about 12 months starting this Feb, I decided to make an exception).
  • he was not given any hints about what I had in mind for him to get me (because its fun to watch nerds squirm)
  • if I had missed my chance to get the stupid thing, he’d have to hear about it for years.
  • the impending closure implied CLEARANCE PRICES

His path of action was pretty clear.  So, numerous phone calls, trips to Roseville, Maple Grove, and Minne-frickin-tonka, and many, many, allen wrenched screws in awkward places later,  I came home last night to find my long lost (lumber-based) soulmate, standing smack dab in the middle of the living room.  From what I understand, it may have been the last of the things in the Twin Cities (even the website doesn’t have it, though there is a picture of it as the icon for “Bars and Wineracks” on the furniture page), hence the trip to the scary land out east.   So, if you want a Bar-ry (Not Barry, more like  Chairy, but  a bar) of your own… too bad suckers!
*fact: this may be the lamest thing that has ever been written on this here blog-thingy.  I promise not to let it happen again.

the best idea i’ve heard all summer

I’m not sure what it is about me and cockamamie yard care schemes that involve fire, but I can’t help but feel, deep down inside, that I desperately need a weed torch to help me deal with the depressing state of my driveway right now.

Or, I could just cover the driveway in kerosene and drop a match.

We’ll see…


Yeah, Amber put it best in her comment on yesterday’s post. Nothing really would have been adequate preparation for the trippy-dippy adaptation of Peer Gynt that we saw yesterday. I’m fairly certain that I grokked it. I’ll even go as far as to say that I think I liked it (even with distracting floor-moving action). Would I recommend this particular production of this particular play? I don’t know yet…I sort of need to ponder it a little more.

This weekend, my goals include:

  • Getting my financial house in order: bills, budget, plus tax return if I get ambitious (prudent)
  • Playing a lot of DDR (hedonistic)
  • Not leaving the house on Saturday (logical, given the forecast – anytime the NWS shows the high for the day with a little down arrow next to it, I like to stay indoors).
  • Finding a use for the copious amounts of leftover frosting I have from last weekend’s aborted cupcake experiment (probably messy).

who you calling a lingonberry?

Do you want to know my least favourite thing about being a homeowner (well, besides leaves and property taxes and plumbing issues)?

Window treatments.

Even the preteniousness of the name, as if our windows have some sort of disease that we must cure, gets on my nerves.  Choosing them, makes me want to cry. Let’s not even mention how I feel about paying for them.  Even at Chateau Tar-jay, where everything should be affordable, they want $20 for 24″ panels that you need six of to cover a decent sized window.

Not that I’m bitter or anything.

I’ve managed to avoid the window treatment issue since I moved in here, since I’ve been planning to replace the windows “soon” for quite some time. However, the windows are in now, and they are still bare. A trip to IKEA today has shown me some hope.  I found some acceptable wood blinds that should work for most of the windows in the living room, though they don’t make them big enough for the 63 inch center of the bay. So the search for big ass blinds continues.

Where do you guys buy stuff to cover your windows?

p.s. it’s veteran’s day today, have you done your part to service your soldier?

Sometimes, it’s nice to have a Nerd.

Most of the time, I love my yard. Both front and back. The backyard is nice and big and fairly level, with plenty of space for me to have a 4 block square foot garden, and for Nerd 2 to grow giant pumpkins. The front yard has a nice slope upwards towards the house which keeps me away from the street and helps to guard against flooding. However, there are times when you burn through the better part of an afternoon carting 8 wheelbarrow loads full of mostly mulched leaves out of the front yard and suddenly you realize that 0.75 acres was the worst purchase you’ve ever made.

I don’t know how the leaf problem got so bad this year, the backyard cleaned up fine with one swipe of the mower a few weeks back (the ash tree drops early). And last year, I only had a rake to work with, but for some reason, the front yard wants to kill me today.

We decided to start packing it up after we started to feel a few drops of rain, and I’m a touch ashamed to say that Nerd 2 is still out there trying to blow the rest of the leaves into a pile. So far it looks like he’s got them piled up about 3 feet high around the trunk of the basswood.

In other news, the American Cancer Society’s World’s Biggest Garage sale is going on into next week. I grabbed a bunch of fun items which included a Hello Kitty pillow and the soundtrack to The Sting on vinyl. Too bad they were out of record players. Here’s the info if you want to check it out. I might just be heading back on Wednesday for the half price sale.

the black caulk isn’t sanitary

I finally got around to trying Surly’s CynicAle last night, and let’s just say that if Omar Ansari wasn’t married… (actually, let’s not say it, it will just make things awkward).  It’s basically got everything that I love about Furious, but without the tongue-throttling, throat-ripping, nose-destroying 100 IBUs that leave you unable to taste anything lower on the Scoville scale than a scotch bonnet for the next several hours.  Their website promises that though it’s a limited release now, it will be coming back. Omar…you better not let me down…you know, a woman scorned and all that.

This weekend, I get to learn how to install tiles.  The installation of a glass block window in the main bathroom means that the interior trim came down as well leaving a good chunk of drywall exposed in my shower, which is obviously a bad thing.  The tiles I need are $0.14 a piece, meaning that I’ll need less than $4 in materials (well, plus grout and caulk and such), but apparently I’ll also need some magical device called a “tile cutter”, the cheapest of which was $20. Sigh.

you might have a problem when…

…you decide to make your next yardwork related purchase from Lowe’s, simply to avoid having the lady at the Home Depot check-out line think that you are some sort of junkie.  Seriously…I think 3 trips to home improvement stores in 24 hours may be somewhat less than healthy.
I poured kerosene down the stump on Sunday…I’m going to try lighting it during my birthday party on June 2nd, even though it will only have two weeks to soak in.  I figure that the worst that could happen is that it won’t burn out all the way, but at least it will be a start…kerosene is cheap.

Speaking of which, I’m throwing a party on June 2nd, and if you know where my house is, you’re invited (if you don’t know where my house is, and I think you’re cool, you might still be invited…email me with your email address).  The evite should be on its way out this afternoon.

in a pickle

Kool-aid Pickles: either the greatest, or the worst, idea ever.  I can’t wait to try them and decide for myself.

The fence is proving frustrating. Just got off of the phone with S., and at least one of the footings is going to need to be repoured.  Also, leveling the posts and nailing up the panels is not as easy of a one person job has he had predicted, so he’s going to need my help to get finished…except that I don’t have time.  Tonight, I’m going to go see Paul Van Dyke, and tomorrow I was hoping to head up to Hinckley and do some camping.

Speaking of camping – I’m having trouble deciding what I want to go with for a backpacking tent.  I’m currently leaning towards the Sierra Designs Sirius 3, since it is #1 cheap, and #2 roomy, and #3, not all that heavier than the 2 person I was looking at.  I worry that the 3 person is just too big, footprint-wise though for when/if I start doing solo trips.
Hopefully I get get Nerd1 to agree to be DD tonight…I hear The Myth pours some good drinks.