next_to_normal: (BFFs)
I haven't done a book review in forever - not because I'm not reading, but because I used to use my journal as a place to keep track of everything I read, and now I have Goodreads for that (feel free to friend me there, btw!).

The book I'm reading now, however, sort of begs to be talked about, because it's all about making friends. MWF Seeking BFF: My Yearlong Search for a New Best Friend, by Rachel Bertsche, is a chronicle of the author's efforts to make friends after leaving her BFFs behind in New York and moving to Chicago with her husband. (There's also a website, and if nothing else, I recommend reading the initial articles that kicked off the whole project.) In order to expand her circle of friends, Rachel decides to go on one new "friend-date" a week for a year. Out of those 52 potential new friends, she's hoping to find a BFF whom she can count on to be there in a pinch (whether it's a ride to the airport or a last-minute pedicure), someone who shares her interests and calls just to say hi, and above all, someone who understands the importance of girl talk.

So let's talk.

Read more... )
next_to_normal: (awesome squared)
Here it is! My (mostly) finished condo! Still a few things that need to be done, like grouting the tile in the kitchen and hanging all my pictures, but mostly, it's done!

Read more... )


Jul. 31st, 2011 11:57 am
next_to_normal: (Cordy squee)
I'm all moved into the new place and the cable/internet is now hooked up, so I'm back online (obviously). Everything went pretty smoothly, and Chelsea's been a real trooper (she's such a good kitty!). With my parents here, we managed to get a lot accomplished in 4 days, packing and cleaning up the apartment, unpacking and setting up the condo. The place looks FABULOUS. Picspam forthcoming!

Still catching up on stuff here and on LJ. Much thanks to LJ for being down most of the week, so I didn't miss as much. :) As a reminder, I have plenty of invite codes if anyone wants to hop over here to DW.
next_to_normal: (Caroline adorable)
Last picspam of the condo renovations! The next time you see my place, I will be living in it!

Read more... )

next_to_normal: (VM camera)
As promised, the epic picspam of condo renovations. Unfortunately, I don't have the "before" pictures, since they're on my parents' camera, so these start out partway through our work.

Read more... )
next_to_normal: (Buffy red)
Howdy, kids. Hope all my fellow Americans had a nice 4th of July. Here in Condo World, long weekend means extra dose of parents! But we did get a lot of work done. Here is the list of accomplishments for this week:

1. Picked up my new kitchen cabinets at Lowe's. Also purchased a new bathroom light while we were there.
2. Went to a couple more stores and finally found tile that might work for the backsplash in the kitchen.
3. Installed the new pantry cabinet.
4. Finished installing the floor.
5. Installed new baseboards.
6. Built a cabinet for the bathroom.
8. Took down curtain rods in my apartment and brought them over to the condo.
9. Packed two boxes of kitchen stuff and a box of clothes/shoes/purses, and filled three trash bags with stuff I never wear/use.
10. Bought a new vacuum cleaner and hardware for the kitchen cabinets.
11. Cleaned up the enormous sawdusty mess in my bedroom where my dad had been doing the woodcutting.
12. Took down old bathroom light.
13. Cleaned medicine cabinet.
14. Installed new dining room light.

I also had hoped to have a 4th of July mini-barbecue, but unfortunately, I don't have a grill and we'd already packed the George Foreman. So my mom made fried chicken instead, along with her famous potato salad (famous because it is requested by all of her friends whenever they have barbecues). Then we went back over to the condo and sat out on my balcony to watch the fireworks. (I have a balcony, you guys! Where I can watch fireworks! This is SO COOL.) We weren't sure what we would see, but we had a pretty nice view of the ones at the Washington Monument, as well as a few others in northern Virginia. At one point, we were watching four simultaneous fireworks displays, lol.

Took lots more pictures of the condo, so expect a picspam sometime this week.

Ooh, and guess what I am doing tomorrow? NEXT TO NORMAL AT THE KENNEDY CENTER!!!!!! OMG SO EXCITED.
next_to_normal: (do not disturb)
Parents were back this weekend. Only two days this time instead of four, so all we did was put up the crown molding - and by "we" I mostly mean my dad, since no one else is allowed to touch the power tools. My parents also brought half the floor (that's all that would fit in their car without the bumper dragging on the ground), and picked up the rest on their way home today, to bring next weekend. The appliances arrived on Saturday, though none of them are actually hooked up to anything yet, and the dishwasher and microwave are still on the floor in the living room. Installation will be next week's project, along with the floor.

Still on the to-do list:
1. order additional kitchen cabinets, preferably ones that match the ones that are already there
2. decide on a tile backsplash (because the ones I picked out last weekend won't work, apparently)
3. get additional counter top in the kitchen
4. pick a color to paint the bathroom

And then, you know... putting it all in the condo. Good thing we decided not to take the wall down. I don't think we'd be done in time.

Top Fives!

May. 30th, 2011 01:32 pm
next_to_normal: (big ben)
I'm way behind on responding to comments, and haven't posted in a while. And I have lots of homework to do. But SO TIRED. After settlement on the new condo, my parents and I:

1. Painted the kitchen
2. Removed all the old baseboards
3. Removed the tile in the foyer
4. Went to Lowe's to buy new baseboards and crown molding
5. Painted the new baseboards and crown molding
6. Cleaned the kitchen floor
7. Cleaned the bathtub/shower
8. Recaulked the bathtub
9. Bought new kitchen appliances
10. Picked out tile for the kitchen backsplash
11. Went to Bed Bath & Beyond to look at window treatments
12. Took lots of measurements for putting in the new floor and where the furniture might go
13. Watched way too many Frasier reruns

A while ago, before I got distracted by my NEW CONDO OMG, I asked for top five lists. Here's the first few, but if you have more ideas, leave a comment either here or in the original post.

Read more... )
next_to_normal: (is ded)
Happy Easter! I had a three day weekend, which means the parental units descended on Friday. We spent much of the weekend visiting Lumber Liquidators, Home Depot, Lowe's, the Habitat for Humanity ReStore, and various other home improvement stores, looking at flooring, tile, appliances, etc. for the new condo.

Results )
next_to_normal: (VM camera)
Hey hey hey! Thanks to everyone for the birthday wishes (I think I got around to them all, but if I didn't, please let me know! I'm not hatin' - just overwhelmed, lol.)

As you may know, this week is Spring Break for me, so I took the opportunity to take a week off from work, since I had no classes. It was supposed to be relaxing yet productive, but if I wanted to relax, I probably shouldn't have bought a house, you know? I've just about got the mortgage stuff straightened out (after a minor "OMG this is so expensive, what was I THINKING???" freakout earlier today), and I'm having the home inspection done on Friday.

I did manage to have some fun this weekend, since the oh-so-Irish [personal profile] mcmegan came to visit and we went to the Shamrock Fest in DC. Lots of Irish bands, lots of people in crazy outfits, and a LOT of fried food (my stomach was not pleased), but the main attractions were Hotspur - Megan's like a superfan or something, they know her by name! - and Dropkick Murphys, both of which were great.

We also got our picture taken with a leprechaun:

It's a different sort of awesome ladies picspam )


Mar. 9th, 2011 11:43 am
next_to_normal: (Cordy looking down)
Well, I didn't get the condo. The seller came back with a slightly reduced offer, but it was still above my price limit (not to mention the appraisal value), and they refused to come down any further.

Last night, I met with my realtor and put in an offer on my second choice, which is almost exactly the same as the first choice, lol - same building, just opposite side of the building and a lower floor. And the waiting game resumes...
next_to_normal: (VM fingers crossed)
...but I put an offer in on a condo, the one that had been my first choice and fortunately was still available. The offer was pretty low, so we don't expect the seller to accept it, but hopefully she'll counteroffer and we'll agree on something I can afford. If not, I have a couple other options for similar places, but signing all the papers made it actually sink in. I AM BUYING A HOUSE OMG.
next_to_normal: (Chuck blah)

Another exhausting weekend that makes me wish I had a weekend to recover from my weekend. And this one was even longer than usual! Because it was a holiday weekend, my mom and my aunt (who is not really my aunt, but has been my mom's best friend since approximately age five, so she's basically like my aunt) came to visit me.

It was originally supposed to be just an "Aunt Lynne hasn't seen your apartment yet/let's do fun things in DC" weekend, but since I'm in the throes of condo-searching, that ended up being most of what we did. They did some touristy stuff on their own while I was at work/doing homework/whatever, but we also spent approximately SIX HOURS visiting condos with my realtor. (Who is awesome and I'm so glad my mom thinks he's great, too, because I picked him out all by myself after two kinda sucky realtors.)

So, yeah. Nice to have them here, but not exactly the most relaxing weekend ever. Not to mention that I had to sleep on the sofa bed with my mother because my aunt is not fond of cats and needed to sleep in my bedroom so she could close the door to prevent Chelsea from freaking her out in the middle of the night. My mother is a snoring bed-and-covers-hog, which meant I spent most of the night precariously balanced on the edge of the bed, with no covers, unable to fall asleep due to the obnoxious noise. (In the past, I have thrown pillows, socks, and other (soft) things at her to get her to be quiet when we've shared hotel rooms on vacation.)

On the plus side, I've narrowed down my condo search to three (possibly four) places. I am now mired in indecision because all of them have pros and cons and I can't decide what's most important to me. There may be polling on this in the future.

I'm also feeling kind of crappy, probably because I have a treatment on Friday and my last one is wearing off already. Going out to eat a lot doesn't really help things, either.

I kind of want to do a race or gender swap cast ([ profile] penny_lane_42 has inspired me - I actually showed my mother the West Wing race swap, because she's a TWW fan, though she pooh-poohed most of the choices) but don't know what show to tackle. Thoughts?
next_to_normal: (Buffy sigh)
I've been getting more serious about the whole condo-buying thing this week. I started the process of getting approved for a mortgage and have been talking to a realtor. And I can feel it already starting to stress me out.

I think the trouble is that I feel pressured to buy something, no matter what it is or how much I like it (or don't). Because of course I can't afford the place I really want - something that's not closet-sized, walking distance to the Metro, in a nice neighborhood - which is not really that much to ask except that everything in this area is absurdly expensive. (There are condos that cost more than my parents' four-bedroom HOUSE.) But at the same time, I know that mortgage rates are really low and the market is already starting to recover and so now is the time to buy and I don't want to miss the opportunity. And then I've got my mother saying, "You're just throwing your money away on rent!" and I need to build equity and whatever.

But, you know, buying a condo is kind of a big commitment. I'd have to expect to live there for at least five years, and I don't want to be stuck living somewhere I'm not happy just to build equity. But it seems like I'm supposed to just buy something, anything, and suck it up until I can afford to buy something nicer.

Anyway. I feel like I have a lot of things to write about - the end of Lost season 2, Side Jobs, a couple movies I've seen - so I'll try to get to those sometime soon. If I can just tear myself away from browsing condo sites... (I keep checking the same sites, hoping for an open house to pop up that's in my price range, even though I know that nothing is going to have changed since the last time I checked. Yay for neuroses, right?)
next_to_normal: (do not disturb)
And once again, I disappear for several days at a time. I can't help it, my parents keep coming to visit, and they keep me absurdly busy.

This time, it was because I had off on Thursday for Veteran's Day, so my mom and I both took Friday off to make it a long weekend. I had my Remicade treatment on Thursday, and my mom took the bus and arrived around dinner time.

Read more... )
next_to_normal: (delightful and delicious)
Ack. I seem to have disappeared for several days again. Happy post-Halloween! What kind of costumes did everyone wear? I dressed up as a lame person who didn't do anything Halloweeny, though I did eat a jack-o-lantern cookie. My mom came to visit for the weekend (my dad was supposed to come, too, but he ended up having to work), so we were busy doing lots of other stuff.

On Friday, we went to the Newseum, which is a super-awesome museum about the history of journalism and news coverage of major events. It's HUGE, so they give you a two-day pass, though we managed to see just about everything we wanted to in one (very long) day, but we definitely skipped some things. Since the biggest news coverage tends to be about disasters and horrible things happening, it can be kinda depressing and possibly disturbing (they have exhibits on 9/11 and Katrina), but they also have stuff like the greatest moments in sports and interactive exhibits where you can be a reporter, in order to, as my mom said, "balance out the depressing with fun!" Also, they have one of the best museum food courts I've ever been to (second, perhaps, only to the American Indian museum, but I am biased toward any place where I can get buffalo burgers and fry bread). It's somehow connected to Wolfgang Puck, and so the food is really good, though obviously kinda pricey.

Saturday was the Jon Stewart rally, which I probably wouldn't have gone to if my mother hadn't been here. Nothing against Jon Stewart, but if you've seen one ridiculous mob scene on the Mall, you've seen them all, and getting into and out of the city is an absolute nightmare. (No matter how well-prepared Metro claims to be, they are always overwhelmed by the crowds.) But apparently, on the bus down here, some girl asked my mom if she was going to DC for the rally, and my mom was all flattered that she looked like someone who was a fan of Jon Stewart, lol. (She was expecting it to be all folks my age, but there turned out to be a lot of older people there, too.)

Anyway, the crowd was ridiculous, as predicted, so we missed the first hour of the rally, since it took us so long to get into the city. We never actually made it onto the Mall - we tried a few different spots before ending up on Independence Ave. directly to the side of the stage, which meant we could hear what was going on, but couldn't really see anything except the teleprompter. The best part of the rally was actually seeing all the clever and/or random signs people brought with them. (I think my favorite was the one that said, "The people behind me can't see." Of course, he was over on the side where we were, so there wasn't really anything to see.) There are pictures up on the website.

After the rally, we ended up using our Newseum tickets again (we figured it would be less crowded than the free museums) and had a late lunch at the food court, hoping the crowd would thin out in the meantime. But when we ventured back out, the Metro stations were still packed, and it took us about two hours to get home (it usually takes me 45 minutes during rush hour). I was surprised, though, that the crowd was generally well-behaved. I did not once have to use physical violence, lol, and I only had to yell a little bit when people wouldn't move so we could get off the packed train at our station.

Sunday was supposed to be a relaxing day, but somehow we ended up going to look at condos? I'm not sure how that happened. I mean, I am thinking about moving sometime in the future (no sense in paying all that money in rent if I know I want to stay here for a while, and it's the best market for a first-time buyer), but I've only just started seriously considering it, and probably wouldn't be moving for at least another six months or so. (My lease on my apartment is up August 1st.) Anyway, we started talking about it, and then I was looking at condos online, and we picked out four places with open houses. Except yesterday was the Marine Corps Marathon, so half of the streets in Arlington were closed, so we only managed to make it to two of them. It was a pretty dumb idea to go out while the marathon was going on, but we didn't realize quite how widespread it would be. Anyway, I will not be making any offers just yet, but I did meet a nice, friendly real estate agent who was willing to spend quite a bit of time giving me condo-hunting advice, even though I clearly could not afford the place she was showing. :)

Back at work today. :( Much less fun. How was your weekend?
next_to_normal: b&w Cordelia looking smug; text: Cordelia Chase: doing it better than you since 1997. (Cordy does it better)
Whee! The cable guy was here and I am back in the 21st century! (My new digital box is huuuuge compared to the last one, though. It's about the size of a VCR - the other one was the size of a paperback book. The cable guy tried to put it on top of the TV, but it fell off and nearly conked him on the head.)

It's been a while since I've gone a whole week without internet - and, okay, technically I didn't actually do that this week, since I made daily trips to the business center, but still... one hour of internet a day leaves an awful lot of time to be filled with non-internety activities. Fortunately, I had all the joys of moving and unpacking and going 10 rounds at the DMV to keep me occupied, but in between, I did manage to engage in the fine art of reading books again (and also watching movies).

My accomplishments, let me show you them )

next_to_normal: Cat poking its head out of the ceiling with text "Ceiling Cat frowns on these shenanigans" (ceiling cat)
Well, the move happened, and with very few hassles (yay for professional movers!). My poor kitty was traumatized, but she seems to have recovered after only one puking-in-the-corner incident. (Honey, I've felt like I was gonna throw up all week, so I'm right there with ya.)

My parents stayed for the weekend to help me get settled, and so I'm almost unpacked, except for my bedroom. We went to see fireworks for 4th of July at the Pointy Things (aka the Air Force Memorial), which, if you're not familiar with the area, is up on a hill in Arlington with an excellent view of the Washington Monument (where they set off the fireworks), as well as pretty much the whole city... which meant that we could see pretty much every fireworks display in the DC metro area, lol. I have never seen anything like it - about half an hour before the big fireworks started, we saw all these little ones popping up on the horizon. There must have been a hundred of them all over the place, and they continued on after the big show was over.

Anyway, we've been to DC a bunch of times, so our only sightseeing was the Pentagon 9/11 memorial, and other than that, we just drove around my neighborhood trying to figure out where things are. I have this week off, so I should have time to familiarize myself with the area, although I'm somewhat petrified to attempt to drive outside my immediate neighborhood. (GPS. Schizophrenic episodes. Not pretty.)

As I mentioned, I am currently internetless - the Comcast guy doesn't come until Saturday!! - so I've been using the business center in my building. I'm trying to keep up with my flist by opening tabs in Firefox, which I can read later without internet, but of course can't comment unless I save them for my next trip to the business center. So I've probably read your stuff, but if you think I've missed something that requires comment, let me know. I am also without cable during these dark ages, so I'll probably have a list of books and movies I've read/watched when I come back. :)


Jun. 30th, 2009 05:18 pm
next_to_normal: (confusion)
I am trying to figure out what to do about my cable/internet service when I move. I've had Comcast for both in my current apartment, and never had any problems, but my dad was like, "Get Verizon FIOS if you can!"

The problem, of course, is that they like to do these "bundles" and for some unknown reason, I can't get any TV from Verizon unless I get a bundle with both internet and phone. I don't actually need phone service, though, so my options are: 1. get phone service I don't need so I can get the Verizon bundle, 2. get a Comcast bundle with just cable and internet (what I have now), or 3. split it up and get Comcast cable and FIOS internet.

Right now, I'm reasonably sure I have the plan that has Digital Preferred cable and high-speed internet with "up to 15 Mbps with PowerBoost," whatever that means. I don't really need the preferred, so I could get the digital starter package, which is $70/mo. The Verizon bundle with the phone is well over $100, so that rules that out. Looking at the FIOS page, it looks like I should get the Turbo Plan (up to 7.1 Mbps/768 Kbps) for "heavy" internet usage. That comes out to about $50/mo. If I just got cable from Comcast, that'd be about $30/mo, so I'm paying about $10 extra by splitting them up. But I've heard that FIOS is so much better/faster than Comcast. Is it worth the extra money?

Of course, then I have to keep in mind that Comcast gives you a special, and then jacks up the prices after six months. But it looks like the difference is about the same, so it'd still be around $10 more for FIOS. But both would put me over $100 at that point, so maybe it is worth considering the phone? GAH!

next_to_normal: (Default)
Box count as of 10am Saturday: 3 boxes and 1 suitcase packed.

Box count as of 10am Sunday: 21 boxes, 3 suitcases, and 2 plastic storage containers packed.

My parents are frighteningly efficient.
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