Monday, June 30, 2008

One year later, part 2: the condo.

In two weeks, we'll mark the one year anniversary of owning our condo. It's been a great year, and homeownership has been fantastic for us. Sure, we have to get the carpets cleaned every 6 weeks. And yes, the AC broke and it's looking like it will be well over $1000 to fix. And yes, the market has tanked and if we were to sell the condo now, we'd probably be screwed. But we love our home, and in the past year we have been able to make some minor changes with some major benefits for us, mostly that we've been able to create a space that makes us happy.

To mark the anniversary of the condo purchase, I thought I'd post some photos. Also, I'm working on a design show, and the host/designer encouraged me to post some photos so he can give me some freebie advice. Yay!

Here's the living room:

living room 5

The wall color looks blue-grey in this picture, but looks much grey-er in person. We're happy with it. The sliders used to be covered by horrible vertical blinds. We love the curtains here. Notice Noodle's toys sprinkled throughout the room. We're in desperate need of a new media stand for the TV and components. Also, the tan chair in the foreground will be replaced eventually, but it serves its purpose well now.

living room 3

This is a detail shot of the fireplace. I'm not really crazy about the glass mantle... we tried to make it more "us" by adding little votives all the way across. Also, the shelves on the side were something I loved when we originally saw the place. Now, they're a huge pain because we can't figure out what to put inside on them. Gina just sketched this artwork this weekend, so we think we can get away with leaving those shelves empty since there's finally something to look at above the fireplace. (We both LOVE this piece of art!)

living room 1

Our super comfy couch, which might be too big for our space, and our photo wall. I bought these frames about eight months ago, and we finally hung the pictures two months ago. We LOVE them. There's that tan chair again. Someday...

dining room w/ noodle

This is the dining room, with Noodle being moody under the table. I guess I should've turned the lights on for this picture. The mirror wall was there when we moved in - NOT OUR IDEA. We do not like it, but feel like it's not worth removing. A lot of people say it makes our place look "bigger." I say it makes our place look "70s." To each their own, I guess. I like the table and the high chairs, but I look forward to a time when this can be not our main dining room table, but a spare one. I sort of miss the simple regular-height chairs.


This is the kitchen. We originally didn't want to change anything in this space, because we LOVE it, but I'd like a new microwave (this one is from Vietnam, I think), and I really would love to stain the cabinets a darker color. Gina stained the cabinets in the bathroom, which I stupidly didn't take any pictures of in this set, and they look sooooo good. But it was a hard job and she's not too keen on doing it for the bigger kitchen cabinets. Again with the mirrors, though. Whoever designed this condo was very vain.

Bedroom 2

Bedroom 1

We are so incredibly happy with the paint color in the bedroom. It's exactly what I envisioned when I picked it out. We love the bed and the curtains. However, I now realized we probably should have done the curtains to the floor, but it was hard enough finding these curtains that were long enough to cover the just the windows! Just like in the living room, there used to be vertical blinds covering these windows. It was hideous. I'm looking in to getting a piece of furniture made to go under the curtains, like a low shelving unit in a dark wood to match the bed and to add extra storage. I hope that will make up for the fact that the curtains don't go all the way to the floor.

The one thing about the paint color is that now the doors and the light switches and plates look terrible. In time, we'll probably look at maybe painting the doors a crisper white or something... not sure if we'll ever switch the actual switches. The switch plates would be easy, but the switches? Not so much.

Also, Gina and I both used to love that blonde maple color of the night stand, but now we've both moved to enjoying darker woods, so we need to get new night stands in here. Not to mention, the night stand on my side of the bed is a chair. Classy! We want some darker night stands with COVERED STORAGE, since we both read a lot and always have a ton of books by the bed.

There's another room and 2 bathrooms to post, but the other room is so far from being where we want it to be that I don't want to even put pictures of it up. So that's all you get for now!

Unfortunately, I have no good before pics of the condo, but trust me... it is so much better now.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

It's a laser.

Seventeen years of wearing glasses ended in the most expensive 20 minutes of my lifetime on Friday when I got Lasik surgery. Not just any Lasik – Custom Wavefront IntraLasik or something fancy like that! This means that my eyes were effed up just enough to require an additional thousand dollars or so worth of technology.

I’ve never disliked wearing glasses. As a matter of fact, in the past few years, my glasses have sort of become my signature thing. Some people have red hair. Some people have one arm. I had glasses. I got compliments on them, and they were the one designer item I would purchase.

So why the hell would I spend money to get rid of them? The problem was not wearing glasses. The problem was having no other option. Despite wearing contacts quite successfully in college for two years, I have since become unable to wear them without severe irritation and dry eyes. I’ve gone through four pairs at a minimum of $200 a pair in the last eight years and have not been happy with any of them. So I have gone summer after summer without sunglasses or the ability to see clearly while swimming. I have played tennis, softball, and football, all while wearing glasses. This is not fun.

Gina and I have been talking about me getting Lasik pretty seriously for about 6 months, and not-so-seriously for about a year. My big thing was to get it before we had kids. Oh, I should add “babysitting” to a list of activities I HATE doing while wearing glasses. Kids and glasses do not mix. Anyway, we agreed that the closer we get to having children, the better chance there is that I won’t have the money to get this procedure done, so I just did it. (Believe me, I don’t have the money – but I have until June of 09 to pay it off, interest free! Woo hoo!)

I have to say, I recommend this surgery to anyone. For what the results are, the surgery is a breeze. BUT, I would not want to do it again. (Readers who have weak stomachs, please stop reading now.) The incision part was bladeless for me, which was great, but it still was incredibly uncomfortable and, I admit it, pretty scary. There was a point where my vision went completely black but my eyes were wide open. They quite literally have to suck your eyeballs out of your head to make that incision, and that pressure is NOT fun. It’s that pressure that causes your vision to go black. However, it took about 10 seconds per eye.

The actual surgery was completely painless. The only discomfort I experienced was having the eyelid spreaders in my eyes… but even that was fine once I figured out how to relax. Once they turned the laser on, each eye took maybe 30 seconds. It wasn’t crystal clear like everyone seems to say it is when it was over. Everything was still blurry, but that’s because they kept putting these milky drops in my eyes that are anti-inflammatory. However, I could tell that my vision had improved greatly.

I went home, popped two valium (doctor’s orders!) and a motrin, and slept for 6 hours, which they say is mandatory. I did wake up once during that 6 hours and my eyes felt like they were full of burning sand. I forced myself back to sleep and when I awoke for the evening, they felt just a little dry and a little itchy, but nothing too terrible.

It’s now Wednesday, I am glasses-free and 20/20. My vision is just a little hazy sometimes, and it gets worse at night, but the doctor said that was normal for about the first month. It sort of feels like I’m wearing dirty or old contacts, but it doesn’t hurt or itch at all. I’m not allowed to rub my eyes for FOUR WEEKS, which is probably the hardest part of the whole thing.

I’m also going through a mourning period… I do miss my glasses. I didn’t think that I would, but I do. It doesn’t help that people keep saying, “Oh but I loved your glasses!” or “You looked so cute in your glasses!” Truthfully, I probably hid behind my glasses a lot, but damn it, I’m almost 30 and I don’t want to hide behind anything.

It has been fantastic to wake up every morning and see clearly, and to be able to wear sunglasses every single day in a city that rarely has any cloud cover. It’s amazing to be able to tell the difference in the shower between the shampoo and the conditioner without having to bring the bottle four inches from my face. I love falling asleep on the couch watching TV with no worry that I’m bending my glasses. I love going into the pool and being able to see all around me.

Despite all of this, I might some day be that person wearing prescription-less fashion glasses. Could be worse, right?