Wednesday, November 28, 2007

We've moved!

The cable was hooked up today so we are back on line. I won't go into detail about the move itself. Other than the moving company forgetting to send a packing crew on Monday -- which took a few stressful hours to resolve, but ultimately turned out not to be a huge problem -- the move went pretty smoothly. Curt stayed home with the packers while I went to work (no need for both of us to sit around being in the packers' way). Here is what I came home to:

Loren and Curt watched one last Dora on the old couch. The couch was supposed to be sold to a woman from work who never quite managed to get a truck to pick it up. Sometime we'll have to blog retrospectively about the joy of selling our furniture on Craigslist and the intranet bulletin board at my office. The good news is we got rid of almost everything we wanted to. One of the moving guys wound up taking the couch and armchair.

Tuesday morning I took Loren for bagels and then dropped her off at day care. Curt stayed with the movers at the old place while I did some last-minute vacuuming, swiffering and washing in the new place. The contractors got things mostly cleaned up but there was a layer of dust on everything -- they were working up until the last minute on Monday. I snapped a few shots while the place was still empty. Before you look, you may want to look at the "before" pictures or the "during" pictures.

Here is Loren's room (looking at her closet and across to the other side of our L-shaped building).

For those who wanted to see the paint job in the master bedroom. It's pretty boring. I don't have new bedding picked out so I wanted to keep the walls a very neutral cream (Benjamin Moore Cameo White). The only work done in this room was the floor. And I put new pulls on the closet doors.

I didn't take any good pictures of the living room, but here is the angled view out the living room window and you can see the paint job and the new radiator cover.

The bathroom with the vanity and medicine cabinet in (I know we posted some pictures of the tile but I don't think these were up yet), and accessories installed. I'll take more pictures once we get the light bulb replaced and there's better light in the room. You can see the detachable shower head but not the rain shower. The shower system turned out AWESOME. The rain shower is like being under a waterfall, and the detachable shower has great water pressure and is almost like a massager. My shower last night was fabulous. I am looking forward to another one after finishing this post. Instead of coffee we will have to have guests over to try the shower.

The kitchen turned out great too. Here you go, the very first kitchen pictures (taken as Curt arrived ahead of the movers). I was waiting to take pictures until the tile went up, and it was the very last thing done. You'll note the gaping hole where a fridge is supposed to be. Long story, let's just say it involves a damaged (though working) fridge that I refused to have installed. It's currently sitting in the living room and should be replaced by late this week or early next week. We will stage some real "after" pictures once the moving boxes are cleared out and the fridge is in.

And lastly, here are Loren and Curt in her new room unpacking the doll house. Loren was thrilled to open her new closet and find all her toys inside.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Stardate 61898.19 - Thanksgiving

I know I'm a little late, but for Thanksgiving Day we drove in NJ with yet another load of stuff to put into the attic at Cheryl's parents' house for storage. We then went to Aunt Elaine and Uncle Dave's place for Thanksgiving dinner. Loren didn't take her normal nap since we got to NJ right at nap time and she was too excited and spun up about seeing "Grandma" and "Grandpop" to take a nap. So she fell asleep in the car on the way to Elaine and Dave's, and didn't want to wake up for dinner. Cheryl carried her into the house and put her on the couch where she proceeded to sleep through dinner. We finally had to wake her up after 2 hours of nap or we'd never have gotten her to sleep once we got home. And speaking of home, we had one of our quickest trips back through the Lincoln Tunnel Thursday night!

Friday we put Loren into daycare and spent all day going through closets, putting items into the throw away or donation or storage piles. We made excellent progress and will be ready for the packers on Monday!

For all our non-NJ relatives and visitors, the picture at the top of the post was taken as I climbed the stairs up to the main level of Elaine and Dave's house, looking out towards the river.


Friday, November 23, 2007

Stardate 61895.58 - Midway

Took a break from clearing out closets and watched Midway (1976) recently. "The glory, the suspense, the spectacular drama of the men who won the most decisive naval battle in U.S. history," according to IMDB. I thought the acting was better than The Enemy Below, but the special effects were not as good. You could tell they were using a bunch of footage from actual combat, but planes didn't match and the ships looked different and apparently they recycled a lot of footage from another movie out about 6 years earlier (but I haven't seen it so I didn't notice). The video quality changed from shot to shot as a result of this, and it was a bit distracting. Not being a WWII buff, I know very little about battles like Midway so I was fascinated by the history and how a bit of luck (or lack thereof) can really turn the tide.

A thumb up. The history lesson alone makes this one worthwhile.


Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Stardate 61886.93 - The Enemy Below

I've been so stressed out with the move and everything going on, and selling the old TV before the new one arrives hasn't helped either. My normal stress-reduction methodology involves watching a show for that temporary escape (better than turning to alcohol, right?), but without the TV I'm somewhat limited. So I tried out a feature of Netflix late this afternoon called "Watch Instantly". Essentially, you can download a movie immediately and watch it on your PC. Since I have a laptop with a wide-screen, I clicked on the link to see which of my 404 movies in my queue were available as instantly watchable.

Turns out, not too many. About 15 or so were on the list, and the movie I selected was The Enemy Below. The original Star Trek (1966) episode Balance of Terror was based almost entirely on this film, and there was also a Star Trek:Deep Space Nine (ST:DS9) episode I enjoyed where the writers were likewise inspired by this movie. The plot, as summarized by Internet Movie Database, is "During World War II, an American destroyer meets a German U-Boat. Both captains are good ones, and the engagement lasts for a considerable time."

I give the movie a thumb up. For 1957, the special effects were pretty good, and the story was very well done. If you have an hour and a half to spare and you want to watch a "classic" that has inspired others for the past 50 years, then I highly recommend this movie.


Stardate 61885.96 - T-7 Days

We move in one week. The renovations are supposed to be done (for the most part) tomorrow. People keep asking for photos so we'll probably put some up over the weekend.


Saturday, November 17, 2007

Stardate 61879.17 - Painting Weekend

Today. Was. Busy.

First, Loren has a cold and had a pretty bad cough Friday night - one of those death rattle chest cold type coughs. And she was coughing so hard that she spit up a little of her milk a few times while she was trying to go to sleep. I wiped it up with a towel, but there still was that milk vomit smell (parents know what I am talking about) so I asked her if she wanted me to change her sheets. "No!" was her answer, because she was so tired she just wanted to fall asleep but the cough was keeping her up. It was probably 10 PM before she finally fell asleep.

So first thing Saturday morning we did laundry. Then Cheryl's parents came in to help us paint our bedroom in the new place and to help watch Loren. After seeing what the contractors charged to paint the living room back as the renovations were kicking off, we decided to save some cash and paint the bedroom ourselves. Now was the perfect time as things are winding down. So Cheryl, her Dad (Grandpop), and I painted for several hours (1 coat ceiling, 2 coats in the closets, and 2 coats on the wall) while Grandma watched Loren. Loren also took almost a 3-hour nap in the afternoon, so poor Grandma had to just hang out at the new place (no furniture there yet) while we painted. We ordered Persian for dinner and they left after dessert.

Loren is still fighting the cold, but seemed much better tonight when she went to bed. And now I am sore and exhausted and also heading for bed. Tomorrow we have to paint the trim in the bedroom, but then we will be done. The renovations are supposed to be done on Wednesday and we move in after Thanksgiving. We're pretty excited!


Thursday, November 15, 2007

Stardate 61872.23 - Another shot at the credits

Jessica Stover is trying to complete post-production on a short film she just finished shooting. This is a small project, but she is soliciting donations. If you give, you'll be listed in the credits.


Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Stardate 61866.92 - Two Weeks to the Move!

Pending any last-minute issues, we are locked on for moving the week of the 26th. We've started to get rid of our "excess" furniture and also move boxes of stuff we don't regularly need out to Cheryl's parents' attic. We're pretty excited and looking forward to being in our new place by December!


Sunday, November 11, 2007

Stardate 61862.75 - Loren's Birthday Weekend: Sunday

Saturday night after Loren went to bed we set up her Birthday present in the play area of the living room so that Sunday morning first thing she could see it. As you can tell by the picture, she didn't even have time to comb her hair!

She really liked her new doll house and the furniture sets we got for it. Later that morning a couple of friends came over for a very small birthday event for Loren. We had bagels, fruit, and cupcakes.

Here Loren blows out her birthday candles.

In the evening we took a look at some dressers at a place nearby but didn't like any of them. We are rapidly closing in on a move-in date for the new place, and will probably be hiring a moving company tomorrow for a move just after Thanksgiving into the new co-op!


Saturday, November 10, 2007

Stardate 61859.91 - Loren's Birthday Weekend: Saturday

We had a nice, leisurely morning at home and then loaded up the car with a bunch of boxes for Cheryl's parents' attic and went out to NJ for the day. After some really cold playing outside (and lots of toy playing inside) we went to the Monmouth Museum to their Wonder Wing under the sea land.

Loren turn the wheel! Turn the wheel, Loren!

Loren and Daddy fish.

Loren the pirate!

Loren climbed from one end to the other on this rope bridge, all by herself! We were actually pretty impressed that she wanted to do it at all, and that she did it all on her own (she wanted Daddy to go with her but the big sign said "No Adults on Rope Bridge!").

After the museum we went back to Grandpop and Grandma's house for dinner, and Bobby (Great-Grandma) made a strawberry cheesecake with Dora on top for dessert!


Friday, November 09, 2007

Stardate 61857.18 - Loren's Birthday Weekend: Friday

Today Loren got to eat breakfast in the cafeteria (which is not so special) and then she got a birthday pizza party for lunch (which is special)!

Saturday we take a trip to NJ to celebrate with Grandma, Grandpop, and Bobby and on Sunday we'll have a small get-together at the apartment.


Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Stardate 61847.49 - Another Cousin, Another Baby

My cousin Justin and Natalia had a baby last week. Nancy Camille ("Cami") was born on 11/1 at 3:13pm. Everyone is doing well.


Herndon, VA

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Stardate 61842.85 - Weekend Recap

Saturday was a windy day with threatening rain so we went to Costco for a couple of items, and we did a lot of reading and playing inside. During Loren's nap Cheryl cleaned out old clothes and I cleaned out the desk in preparation for our move at the end of the month. We went out for Ice Cream after dinner as a treat.

Sunday we went to Central Park and to the Zoo. Loren had a great time, and we went ahead and joined the Zoo as members so we can go back as many times as we want (and to the Bronx Zoo and New York Aquarium) without having to pay. But before we left Loren wanted to try on Mommy's shoes.

Loren went down this huge slide really fast all by herself, and seemed to like it. Right up until an older kid came flying down backwards before she could get off and crashed right into her.

The NYC Marathon is today, so we took Loren over to First Ave on the way back so she could take a look at it, and then went home for lunch and her nap.

During her nap we went through the file cabinet and filled three boxes for Cheryl's parents' attic. We also purged the cabinets in the kitchen of old food, during which (don't ask for the long version) I stabbed myself in the flesh between my thumb and index finger with a knife. For such a small cut, it hurt like hell especially when I ran water on it to clear off the blood.

We'll probably go over to the new place later this afternoon so we can see the progress. We're pretty excited about moving at the end of the month!

And if you have been out of touch with civilization all day, you should have moved your clocks back an hour last night.


Stardate 61842.12 - El Laberinto del Fauno

Cheryl and I watched El Laberinto del Fauno (Pan's Labyrinth) Saturday night after Loren went to bed. According to IMDB, "In the fascist Spain of 1944, the bookish young stepdaughter of a sadistic army officer escapes into an eerie but captivating fantasy world". We both give it a thumbs up, but with some caveats.

First, the fantasy story is quite good, and reminiscent of the types of stories Cheryl in particular used to read as a child. The juxtaposition of the "real" world and the fantasy world was at times, pretty jarring however. It was a "weird mix of fantasy and a political statement and someone watching for either one of those might find the inclusion of the other part a bit odd," is how Cheryl described it.

Second, the level of violence is quite, quite graphic and even I got squeamish during one particular early scene. This is absolutely NOT one for the kids. I felt the movie could have been just as good without the extremely high level of violence, or that it could have been toned down without lessening the impact of the brutality of the period and highlighting the difference between "fantasy" and "reality".

Third, if you are into all of the technical aspects of movie making, you might want to read Jess' review of the movie, which while praising the story had some serious criticisms of the technical aspects of the end result.

Fourth, if you are expecting a Dungeons & Dragon's style fantasy, you will be disappointed. This is an "adult fantasy" as it has been called, and while the basic story could have been a PG or a PG-13, it has been presented as an R with R-level themes and violence.

So in summary, two-thumbs up but this is one for the "art-house crowd" and not a traditional fantasy story. Of course, your mileage may vary.


Friday, November 02, 2007

Stardate 61836.88 - Eragorn

I recorded Eragon off of HBO a few days ago and finished watching it Wednesday night. It was not so good. The editing was pretty shabby, and I even have an issue with the casting (which I hardly ever complain about). The two actors who were supposed to be cousins looked so much alike that I couldn't tell them apart. Luckily, that it only a problem for the first 15 minutes of the film. I thought that Jeremy Irons did a pretty good job, and Robert Carlyle did a nice job as the shade, but I really didn't like anyone else so much. Additionally, there were many times when a horse was somehow able to keep up with a Dragon, even when the Dragon was intentionally trying to get someplace very quickly. I watched it to the end because it is fantasy and I like fantasy, but I give it a thumbs-down.

The book was better (which isn't saying much as I also was not a huge fan of the book).

One thumb down (Cheryl didn't watch this one - no interest).


Thursday, November 01, 2007

Stardate 61833.76 - Loren's Second Halloween

Last year for Loren's first Halloween she went as a strawberry. This Halloween she went as a cat. Each year people in our building can sign up to hand out candy at Halloween to the children and parents meet in the lobby and are given a list of the participating apartments. Last year I was out of town and Cheryl could barely contain Loren, let alone try to take her from apartment to apartment. But this year Loren is older and I was there to help out, so we took Loren to several apartments where she filled her trick-or-treat bag.

Back home, Loren and Cheryl check out the loot.