Sunday, August 22, 2010

Home Improvement

Dan and I are not big home improvement people. Sure, we like to get things settled, and we're not made out of money, so that has taken the form of us doing things ourselves. It's not hard; it's just time-consuming and exhausting. We tend to stay away from exhausting, time-consuming things that aren't inherently pleasurable. That having been said, we have a mouse problem. After multiple attempts with traps and exterminators (during the course of which we have managed to catch a mere one unfortunate baby mousy, of all things), we decided it was time to seal off all the nooks and crannies where it* could possibly get in. In an old unit in an old building, that generally means everywhere.

The darned mousy is getting bold as brass. It practically came out to visit with us while we were working the kitchen last night, and I'm pretty sure I saw the little bastard light up a cigarette. This is a no-smoking apartment, Mr. Mouse! We just need to make it clear that it's not welcome. And from the mouse's perspective, all those nooks and crannies practically made it look like a home especially made just for it.

Therefore, we are in the midst of undergoing a mass effort to seal off every cranny larger than one-eight of an inch through the use of silicone caulking, joint compound, and the sticky foaming filler known to me as Great "I-hate-that-stuff" Stuff. From little gaps in the trim to plaster that's falling down in the ceiling of the linen closet, this place has not been impervious to mice. We even pulled out the stove and sealed the holes and gaps around the pipes. We're treating this with the utmost obsessive-compulsiveness. There are lots of places that we're certain are not actual conduits for our mousy right now, but as we seal off the other obvious entrances (read: entrances with mouse poops around them) we realize that a mouse could very easily relocate and find a new way out. Hence the humongous effort.

It seemed like a good idea to use this as an opportunity to repaint the kitchen, too! "Why?" You ask. Well, we're in home improvement mode anyway. We're not the kind of people who do a little of this and a little of that to hammer away at a project when we get home from work every night. So while we're suffering through the fumes and the inconvenience of having moved everything around, so we may as well take advantage of it and repaint the kitchen now. Lord knows we wouldn't otherwise have gotten to it until at least February.

In the end, we'll probably still find the occasional mouse poop. But we're hoping this sends a clear message that it's not mouse friendly unit after all. This a pretty smart mouse, so we hope it gets the message.

* Where there is one mouse, there are many mice. I know this. But I can't bring myself to say the plural form. I can live with the idea that there is one mouse. Mice implies infestation. And I can't live with that. So I say mouse. At any point in this narrative where it seems like I may be fooling myself and that there might really be lots of mice, please humor me and forgive me for using the singular form for the sake of maintaining my sanity. Your narrator has a flawed perspective.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Courtesy of the New York Times...a fun article about having less and enjoying life more.

But Will It Make You Happy?

She had so much.

A two-bedroom apartment. Two cars. Enough wedding china to serve two dozen people.

Yet Tammy Strobel wasn’t happy. Working as a project manager with an investment management firm in Davis, Calif., and making about $40,000 a year, she was, as she put it, caught in the “work-spend treadmill.”

So one day she stepped off.

Inspired by books and blog entries about living simply, Ms. Strobel and her husband, Logan Smith, both 31, began donating some of their belongings to charity. As the months passed, out went stacks of sweaters, shoes, books, pots and pans, even the television after a trial separation during which it was relegated to a closet. Eventually, they got rid of their cars, too. Emboldened by a Web site that challenges consumers to live with just 100 personal items, Ms. Strobel winnowed down her wardrobe and toiletries to precisely that number.

Her mother called her crazy.


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Making Good Use of the Outdoors

daN and I spent a good bit of time this weekend outside. When I got home from work on Friday night, I did yoga on the grass in the breezy sunshine, which was a fabulously grounding way to start the weekend. The next day, we went for a good long walk around Jamaica Pond and enjoyed the flowing water, the wind, and even some young baby duckies. That night, we enjoyed a picnic dinner on Boston Common while securing ourselves good seats on the grass for the Commonwealth' Shakespeare's annual Shakespeare on the Common. This year, they are performing Othello, and we were both impressed by the caliber of the performance this year; as I said on my facespace page earlier, it was a gut-wrenchingly well acted performance. Also, it was so nice to be outside and all laughing with the audience whenever Othello said, "Oh, honest Iago..." What a lovely tradition Shakespeare on the Common is.

Sunday evening, daN happened upon a wonderful new spot for us to go canoeing via the Charles River Canoe and Kayak along some peaceful marshland -- nary a highway overpass to be seen. Those coupled with lunches and dinners on our porch, and I almost felt like I got to be outside enough.

Late summer is one of my favorite things. Hot days, relatively low humidity (when we're lucky), and cool nights. Lots of breezes. We even got a little chilly at times! The change of the season from late summer into fall makes me feel relaxed and glad to be alive. And in New England.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

I love yoga in the sunshine.

I love doing yoga in the sunshine on the grass. Something about it brings me a real sense of peace that I'm hard-pressed to find somewhere else. When I am doing yoga in the sunshine on the grass, that's the only thing I'm thinking about. It's important to have stuff like that in one's life.