Tuesday, June 21, 2011

What I Did on My Summer Vacation

While many residents of the Twin Cities have undoubtedly gone off to their cabins to fish, and swim, and boat these past twelve glorious summer days, I have been happily clad in a pair of my daughter's old basketball shorts and a cast-off shirt doing what I can to reel in some upgrades for my 100-year-old condo. I have painted so many things white and caulked so much that I can fake a French manicure. I've entertained myself by watching you-tube videos on how to remove padlocks with lost keys/combinations. I've consulted with hardware store clerks about removing hinge pins from ancient doors, and then invented my own system (involving hair product and an un-inflated balloon) to simultaneously get traction and release on a hinge pin that hadn't been budged in a century.

closet re-design by Storganize
For "before" photo, click HERE

And I've consulted with the experts. Floor guys, strippers, electricians, and closet remodelers have paraded in and out of here as if we were a set for an HGTV show. It's a relief to know that the dining room chandelier is now unlikely to ignite and that the built-in buffet no longer requires a table knife to get into it, that the bathroom door can now be closed, that someone living in this century has a chance at fitting their clothes into the closet, and that I will know whom to hire to re-do my floors someday.

Meanwhile, M. and I have disciplined ourselves to eat in rather than out--thereby preserving the funds to keep me supplied with paint and sandpaper. We've cancelled the cable, discovered how to procure free bagels, and practiced the art of what I call "freeganing" in our kitchen. By no means are we embracing the true freegan lifestyle, but we've waved at it from across the street anyway. The four of us here have eaten wonderfully this past week and a half on far less than what our familial foursome would have spent on one typical Sunday dinner in our favorite restaurant back when we were living the big fat life. Utilizing what we already have on hand and buying whatever fresh ingredients we need to complete the menu has yielded remarkably decent results.

I've taken this approach at my place in L.A. the past couple of months, too. Harvested the pantry, fired  the gardner. Waiting on the contracts for cable TV and my cell phone to expire. But even if I never spend another dime on booze, I'm going to have to throw a serious party if I want to put a dent in my liquor cabinet. A painting party, perhaps, since I have a set of  home improvement projects to finish in L.A. as well.

Four years ago I had two packing parties as I prepared to leave the house I shared with Mr. Ex. There was a blender involved, and the only thing I really remember is trying to come up with the right answer to the question, "Would it be okay to put Cointreau in the Margaritas?"

Caulking and Cointreau? Paint and Pernod? Anyone?

photo credit for vintage post card: Minnesota Historical Society
closet photo was taken by me

1 comment:

Elizabeth said...

I wish I could bring you some cake.