Off Topic

Some Thoughts on a Little of Everything

On the new house:

-The house is so great.  I love it.  I’m still working on getting things put away, etc. so it’ll be a little while before I’m ready to post pictures.  As a side note, it’s a major bonus that the previous owners were immaculate.  Aside from a few paint colors I’m not crazy about (and really they aren’t bad, just not what I would have chosen), there’s not much we want to change in the immediate future.

-It’s amazing how quiet it is in our neighborhood.  I can’t remember if I’ve mentioned this before, but our previous apartment was right next to a nasty pond filled with ever-quacking ducks.  It never stopped.  Plus we had obnoxious teen boys living above us and a family of angry, yelling foreigners living below us.  Between all that, there was never a quiet moment.  The first few nights in our house I almost had a hard time falling asleep because it was so quiet.  It’s also great that we don’t have a streetlight shining directly into our bedroom window.  Going in for our goodnight kiss is a little trickier now because our room is so pitch black, but we’ll take it.

-It was also a major bonus moving into a house with an already beautiful yard.  I’m a little worried that we’ll kill everything.  I’ve never had my own grass before.  Or my own flowers.  We’re still trying to get a handle on the sprinkler system, so fingers are crossed.  Every night after things have cooled down a bit I spend an hour or so out in the yard deadheading/weeding.  It’s a little uncomfortable given the whole pregnancy thing, but oddly enough I look forward to that time of night.

-On Monday we got a washer and dryer.  It’s wonderful.  This is the first time in my adult life that I’ve had a washer and dryer in my house that I can use whenever I want.  When we lived in our first apartment together—the cute blue house—the landlord was kind enough to let us use her washer and dryer every Friday, which was by far the best setup up until now.  However, we could only do laundry on Fridays and her washer/dryer were ancient little machines.  I can’t even imagine how expensive they were to run, and yet she did so much laundry.  At least a load a day.  I can’t even fathom how she dirtied that much laundry all by herself.  Anyway, it’s nice to do laundry whenever I feel like it.

-Another bonus of having our own washer and dryer is that our clothes actually smell good after being washed.  Every morning I put on a clean shirt and think, “Holy cow, this shirt smells good!”  It’s amazing!  After years of laundromats (and the previously mentioned ancient machines) I’d kind of forgotten that laundry is supposed to smell good afterwards.  Laundromats tend to make things smell mostly… hot.  That’s the best way I can describe the smell.  It’s not exactly a bad smell, but not a great one.

On a few projects:

-Seeing as life as I now know it is going to change pretty drastically in about seven short weeks, I’ve been trying to knock out as many projects as I can.  Before we moved I painted our kitchen chairs (all different colors!), and now all I need to do there is an extra coat on the red one and touch up the other ones.  I need to make some cushions, so that’s also on the to-do list.

-I’ve also painted the drawer fronts of our dresser.  I still need to do the body of it, but I’m waiting until my husband’s next off Friday to do it since I can’t move it on my own.  I tried out some DIY chalk paint topped with some finishing wax, and I’ve got to say I really like the results.

-In a moment of oh-my-gosh-I-have-only-two-months-left-and-absolutely-nothing-ready-for-my-child stress I set up Baby Ching’s crib.  When I first got out the instructions it had an illustration of one person assembling the crib with a big X and then two people assembling the crib with smiley faces.  My husband was busy mowing the lawn, so I decided to get all the parts out of the box and make sure everything was there.  Then I looked at step one of the instructions, and I was confident I could do that part on my own.  So I did.  Step two also looked very doable, so I did that too.  I kept going, telling myself I’d stop as soon as I couldn’t do it by myself.  Twenty minutes later I had a fully assembled crib on my hands.  I’m really not sure which part required two people, since it was a piece of cake for one pregnant girl.

-I’ve also been sewing up a storm.  I found a free pattern for a Boppy-esque pillow on Pinterest.  Actually, it was a pattern to make a Boppy cover, but I figured stuffing it would make a Boppy.  Anyway, it was super easy and quick.  Except I ran out of fiberfill, so I need to get some more.  Pillows are so cheap, and yet Boppys at the store are $30.  Blows my mind.  I’m also in the process of sewing a nursing cover.  I love the material.  It’s a bottle blue and white Greek key pattern.  I also got it in my head that I could make two fitted sheets for the crib from a twin-sized flat sheet I don’t really use anymore.  After some experimenting with how to sew up the corners (my mattress is foam and pretty flexible, so elastic wasn’t necessary), I’m surprised to say they turned out exactly how I wanted them.  I thought I might need little pieces of Velcro to keep the middles of the long sides in place, but I don’t think I’ll need it, since it fits so well.  Win!

On a few of my favorite things in the tech world:

-This is something I’ve been using for a while, but I love it so much it’s worth mentioning:  Windows Live Writer.  I never realized how obnoxious blogging from Blogger was until I started using this program.  And it’s free (for Windows computers at least—I’m a little doubtful about its availability on Macs).  It’s a Microsoft Word-esque program where you can do your text, pictures, links, etc. and then it magically posts it to your blog with zero formatting issues with one click of the “Publish” button.  Plus the draft is saved to your computer.  It’s wonderful.

-With all of the hullabaloo about Google Reader going extinct, I started to hear about other alternatives.  I never used Google Reader, so the extinction didn’t really matter to me, but all the talk about these other readers made me curious.  The two big ones appeared to be Bloglovin and Feedly.  After doing a little research, I decided to try out Feedly, and I’m in love.  Once again, Blogger seems so inferior.  Plus, it has an app.  I love that app.

-There are a few other apps I really like.  Firstly Camera+ is great.  It’s one of the few apps I have that wasn’t free (although it was only $.99 at the time), but it’s well worth it.  Somehow it takes way better pictures than the normal camera app.  And it has a stability feature that takes the picture only when you’re holding it still, eliminating fuzzy pictures.  I never take it off that setting because it’s always an issue for me.  It also has some cool editing features, and then you can save the pictures to your camera roll.  I also really like the Dropbox app.  Dropbox in general is pretty cool, but the app is absolutely wonderful when it comes to pictures because it will upload your pictures from your camera roll right to your desktop.  It’s so ridiculously easy.  I’m guessing iCloud does something similar, but I’m so satisfied with Dropbox that I don’t really care to try iCloud out.

-A significantly less productive app I’m addicted to is this game called Tiny Tower.  It’s not quite as bad (or embarrassing) as my previous addiction to Disney Fairies Fashion Boutique, but I’m in pretty deep.  I’ve got 41 floors and 75 residents.

-Lastly, I discovered podcasts last week.  In particular, a howstuffworks.com podcast called Stuff You Missed in History Class.  I’ve been listening to it while I unpack and have been learning about all sorts of interesting things.

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