Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Our Plus-One

Last night we welcomed our new member of the family. Meet River.

But please ignore the dust bunnies and muddy paw prints ;-)

River was an owner-surrender at the shelter. The day they were going to euthanize her, one of the foster moms took her. She's 4 years old, but still seems like a gangly puppy. She's got a great personality, and thanks to her foster mom, she has excellent manners. She is housebroken (though we won't be surprised if there are accidents; it's a new home, after all) and knows most of the basic commands, including S-P-E-A-K. I'm afraid to even write it because she unfortunately doesn't know "shut-up" yet. We've got a ways to go on leash skills and re-crate training, but she seems super smart. She was in a crate in foster care, but this a slightly different size and different bedding, home, etc. She has a lot to get used to!

The cats are still under the beds, though River is wholly uninterested in them. And Simon is in love. He's always liked dogs more than people; people make him anxious, but dogs usually know how to communicate. We all woke up to roaring thunderstorms at 4 am. This morning, Simon was upset for a while, but after a little time with River, who is totally unaffected by the noise, and a valium, he calmed down more than I've seen him do in ages. It was great to see.

Did I mention she has the longest tongue in the world? And beautiful brown eyes that a camera flash simply doesn't do justice to.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


First I want to mention, by request, the number of the most recent paint sample. The post just before this one shows Pittsburgh Paints Warm Mahogany, number 430-7. I go back and forth about whether it is too red, too brown, too bright. But somehow I think it's probably just right. Mind, if any of you are trying it out, don't be too alarmed by the baby shit brown color that it is when wet. Yikes.

So. Our latest casualty is one of our red bud trees. I was going to hang our hammock on it. At about midnight last night, I took the dog out to do his business. While we were walking around the yard, I started thinking that the yard was a little wilder and shaggier than I thought-- I mean, it definitely needs a mow, but this was out of hand. Unfortunately, it needs more than a trim.

I'm not sure I even understand how or when this happened. That tree was living, so I guess it just got too heavy. There weren't any major storms yesterday. At least it was that side of the tree and not the side that sits next to the electrical lines.

Guess I know what we'll be doing over the next few days.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Summer showers

The forecast predicted rain for yesterday through today. It looked like it was supposed to start late in the evening, so I decide to test a paint color after lunch.

We slapped it up there and it looked awful-- we wondered if it was even the right color. But as it began to dry, it improved, so we decided to let it dry more and put on a second coat before making a judgment. About 30 minutes later, it started to blow and storm and dump buckets of rain...and wash away some of the still wet paint.

After a little while, I checked the weather and, again, it looked like it would be a couple of hours before more rain, so I went to put a second coat on what was left (which was significant, actually). About 10 minutes after I finished, round 2 of our mid-summer storm popped in and washed a lot of it away, too. But the coverage of each coat seemed great, although the paint itself was runnier than the Valspar.

Today has been just humid and wet, but not rainy. After a day and a half of being cooped up, puppy and I went to check on the now dry paint.

Well, I think it looks great.

You can see the sad bleed... And here it is with the real brick in the background:

This second pic shows how it's a bit more purple than it appears in the other one; it looks pretty similar to the lighter brick. The thing is, real brick is so variable that I know we'll never actually get a match. But that color looks pretty good on its own.

I'm thinking it's ok.

Friday, July 3, 2009

We continue the quest...

I'm sure I've mentioned before that my dad was a contractor. He always used Pittsburgh Paints, and the painter that he worked with when he was a crew foreman and who he would hire for larger jobs when he was independent also always used PP. (Just an aside-- this particular painter was a great friend to my dad and a great guy; strangely, he died of some form of liver cancer almost 2 years to the day after my father also died of liver/bile duct cancer. Strange world...)

When we bought the house, my mother told me she'd had great luck with the guys at our PP dealer, saying, "They always worked with me to get the right color."

I'm not sure what I thought she meant by that, but clearly I wasn't paying attention.

I went on a paint swatch gathering extravaganza this morning on my day off, and found a swatch I like at Sherwin-Williams (btw, ALL paints are 30% off today, tomorrow and Sunday!!) and one from PP. I decided to try the one from PP first. When the much older gentleman working asked me what I was painting, I told him what's going on, that this is just a sample.

"Well, if you put the color up there and you don't like it, don't throw it away! Bring it back. We'll keep adjusting it until you like it and then we can set down a formula for larger quantities." And he said 5 gallons would run in the range of $100; I've prepared myself for a cool $250/5gal, so this is great news.

Normally I'd be skeptical of this procedure. However, these are guys who have been doing this a loooong time and are probably good at both computer-matching and hand-matching. The main selling point here is that they cater primarily to contractors and interior decorators; these are people who have clients to please. And they're not trying to sell me gallon after gallon of colors that aren't right. My mother (an artist, btw) continues to tell me that they know what they're doing.

I haven't put the sample up yet-- there's hamburgers and brats to grill, after all-- but I thought this was a practice worth mentioning, something I would imagine many of the more "professionally" oriented places practice. Our Kelly Moore and Benjamin Moore dealers seem to have similar clients, so it wouldn't surprise me if they did the same thing...

We'll see how this turns out. Do any of you have paint guys who do this for you? What's been your success? And for those of you using SW, don't forget it's 30% off this weekend if you have projects on the horizon...

Thursday, July 2, 2009


Fresh mozzarella, basil, tomatoes, and garlic on french bread, with basil and tomatoes from the garden =

Best Sack Lunch Ever.