notemily: A black-and-white kitten looking at the camera (misc - tinycat)
I finally got my coffee table! I've been looking for an Ikea Leksvik table for a while--they don't make it anymore, but apparently it has its own Facebook group about how awesome it is, and I see them pop up on Craigslist occasionally. They've always been snapped up before I can get to them, though, or I don't have the money or the time to go get them. Well, today the stars aligned and I was the first one to call, so I drove out to Germantown where the addresses have way too many numbers and letters in them and got a new (to me) coffee table for $30!

This replaces our old Ikea Lack table, which was falling apart and kind of shoddy and IMO way too big for our space. (As if to demonstrate that a new table was needed, tonight my kitty stepped on to the lower "level" and it immediately tilted downwards and everything that was on it slid onto the floor.) And Kate just got us a dining room table and chairs (the old one wouldn't fit in the U-Haul when we moved so we curbed it), and a cabinet to hold DVDs. Our apartment is slowly becoming a more awesome place to live.

Sadly I lost one of my cool smartphone gloves somewhere along the way. It might still be lying in Germantown guy's driveway, so maybe I'll call him and ask. I quite like those gloves and the cold weather is far from over.

I need to take Hypatia to the vet to get updated records before I can start fostering again this year. I'm enjoying having a break from kittens though, just to rest and not have to worry about all my stuff being knocked over whenever I leave my room.

Sadly, in other kitten news, my favorite internet kitten whose story I had been following from afar got very sick and didn't make it. I had been reading his story since he was a bottle baby and his foster-dad had to keep him in the file cabinet at work so he could be fed regularly. As he got older, somehow he never got any less adorable. But he turned out to have a deadly virus.

The saddest part to me is that he already had a permanent home lined up and a family looking forward to taking him home. Lefty will be missed. :(

a diversion!

  • Apr. 14th, 2011 at 10:13 AM
notemily: Photo of me, a white girl in her mid-20s, wearing glasses, smiling, looking up and to the right (me)
KITTEN PHOTO!

:D

Okay, now that I have your attention:

BUY MY STUFF!

I've never really sold things before, but I need money for this move and I'm trying to downsize, so I thought I might offer my stuff to YOU, the people who read my journal. The problem is I have no idea what's a reasonable asking price for anything, so I'm asking YOU for advice as well. Here's what I have:

- LOTS OF BOOKS, including a bunch of YA ARCs from ALA 2009
- Clothing in several sizes (from my weight fluctuations when I was sick) including some purty dresses (a few are vintage!), in the size 6-12 range
- A 300-disc CD collection which is in seven or eight binders, ranging from the mid-90s to the mid-00s
- If you're nearby, furniture: a desk-with-hutch from Target, a black bookcase from Target, a six-drawer dresser from Craigslist, a very old TV that still works great and a TV stand that fits it perfectly, a large Ikea LACK coffee table, a loveseat, a kitchen/dining table with four chairs. We might not sell most of this stuff until after we move, but this is the stuff I want to replace eventually.

With the books and CDs, I was thinking about sending people X amount of things for Y dollars, like a box of 10 books or a binder full of CDs. It could even be a ~mystery box~, like "tell me your musical/reading taste and I will SURPRISE YOU."

So: Is anyone interested in buying my stuff? How much at a time? How much would you pay? Any help with pricing would be appreciated, even if you don't want to buy anything yourself--I'd love to know how much I should charge for this stuff if I end up putting it on eBay or Craigslist.

And yes, we did apply for the apartment on the first floor of the building we liked. So unless he rejects us on the credit check or whatever, we should be moving in on June 1st. I am EXCITE. And also kind of STRESSED OUT. Because MOVING.

apartment hunting, plus a small kitty update

  • Apr. 10th, 2011 at 12:42 AM
notemily: Photo of me, a white girl in her mid-20s, wearing glasses, smiling, looking up and to the right (Default)
a lot has been going on in my life lately, so I feel like I should update. mainly what has been going on is: moving.

Kate and I moved into this apartment in 2007 because Nathan and Bridget lived here and we thought it would be cool to live right next to them. (it was!) we also wanted to move back to the east side. living in riverwest was OK but it just doesn't have as much in walking distance as over here, and the bus lines are really inconvenient if you work on the east side of the river. (on the other hand the rents are WAY cheaper.)

this year we decided we are sick of this apartment and want to move out, especially since Nathan and Bridget moved and are now in a mythical place called Married Land where we never see them. :P I'm really sick of the carpet (especially when I have kittens) and the general ugliness of the place, and Kate was kind of miffed that our oven was broken for a really long time and she couldn't bake anything. (it's fixed now and she bakes ALL THE TIME. mmm banana bread.) so I started looking online for apartments.

let me tell you internets, once I saw how high the average east side apartment goes for in terms of rent, I started to wonder if maybe we had been too hasty in turning in our notice of non-renewal of the lease. almost every apartment I found in our price range lacked something that I have here that I wouldn't want to lose--heat included, parking, laundry, garbage disposal in the sink, allowance of cats, etc. and there are a couple more things that we have in this apartment that are really convenient--namely, cable included with the rent and the air conditioner mounted on the wall in the living room. we can get cable ourselves and/or install a window AC, but that means spending more money.

I did find some apartments comparable to ours, but once we visited them, we realized they were basically our apartment in a different building. some of them had nice touches, like a dishwasher or a breakfast bar or a walk-in closet, but most of them were carpeted and boring and very similar to our current place. they didn't seem like an upgrade so much as a side-grade. (what else have I said that about recently? oh yeah--my phone.) I crave hardwood floors, but the ones we saw with those were really old and lacked modern updates like a garbage disposal or grounded outlets. pretty small, too.

we visited one apartment that was kind of horrible, like something out of my apartment nightmares. the ceiling was barely above our heads, the "living room" was basically a place where the hallway widened a little more, and everything was wood-paneled and carpeted like we had stepped into the 70s. the price they were asking was ridiculously high for such a crappy apartment, and when I went online I saw that the company had been given awful reviews on uwm's off-campus housing site, so I'm kind of glad we didn't like either of the apartments they showed us.

I bookmarked practically everything on craigslist that remotely fit our criteria and looked at a few more sites like forrent.com, and many apartment management companies have their own websites where they list apartments available, so I looked at plenty of those. one company that seemed really promising was Eastmore--they seem to own half of the buildings on the east side and all of them look really nice. I even scheduled a showing for one, and was all excited about it, but then I read the fine print on their website and found out that they have a STRICT NO-PET POLICY. I had assumed they'd allow cats, because some of the buildings say "small dogs allowed," and who would allow small dogs but not cats? I DUNNO BUT APPARENTLY THEM. so I canceled that showing and was really frustrated for a while, because that meant I had to cross off several of the nicest-seeming apartments on my list.

but then the other day during one of my obsessive craigslist trawls, I found a listing for an apartment right around the corner from where I grew up--the heart of the east side, a couple of blocks from uwm and right down the street from one of my favorite local coffee shops. it fit all our basic criteria--price range, cats allowed, heat included, etc. and it had JUST been posted, so I was like MUST MAKE APPOINTMENT BEFORE SOMEONE ELSE TAKES IT. I was kind of nervous that it would be horrible, though, because I really like the idea of living right around here and it's really hard to find a nice place that's cheap enough.

so we saw that one today, and we were both immediately charmed by it. all of the rooms were painted different colors (the manager said we can paint the walls any color we want), and there's a small built-in bookshelf, and the bedrooms both have windows on two sides (advantage to living in a small building) so there was lots of light. and it has HARDWOOD FLOORS, which is basically the main reason why I wanted to move. (it's either that or buy a 300-dollar vacuum.) the kitchen was small but not TOO small, and it had a gas stove (Kate's preference) and a garbage disposal (mine). also, the free storage lockers are HUGE.

the building also seemed kind of... home-y. there was a lot of stuff in the hallway, people's shoes and such, so apparently everyone trusts everyone else not to steal things, which is nice. the smallness of the building and the friendliness of the people we saw made it seem like people actually interact there, rather than ignoring each other in the halls like we do here. it wasn't a huge impersonal building with few distinguishing characteristics, like many of the apartments we'd visited.

there are a few drawbacks. it's basically the same price we're paying now (I was hoping to pay a bit less, as we're basically too poor for this neighborhood but we love it anyway), and cable's not included in the rent like it is here. there's no air conditioner, although we could put in a window unit. it's right on Locust, a really busy street, and it would never be really quiet even at night. there's laundry in the basement, but only one washer and one dryer.

those are all relatively little things though. what's really making me hesitate about this apartment is the lack of off-street parking. the manager said he hasn't heard any complaints, but parking on the east side can be really difficult when UWM is in session, especially if you want to park during the day. (like I said, my parents live just around the corner, and I've often had trouble finding a place to park when visiting them on a weekday.) you can buy a night parking permit from the city (cheap), but a lot of the streets around there are two-hour parking during the day, and I'd rather just have a place to leave my car where I don't have to worry about moving it. plus, the super-busy street makes me feel kind of vulnerable, especially after coming from the locked garage we have here. not to mention I don't relish the idea of digging my car out of the snow every winter.

but the apartment IS really neat. we have a showing and a couple of open houses to go to tomorrow, but I think both of us are already mentally moving our furniture around to see how it would best fit in that place. unless we REALLY love something we see tomorrow, we've probably found our apartment.

the manager emailed us the application (INTERNET AGE HOW I LOVES YOU), and he said the one we looked at today had been rented, but there was another one available on the first floor (easier move-in) that had the same layout. I told him we'd have to take a look at that one before signing anything. I'm hoping we can do that tomorrow and get things finalized as soon as possible.

I'm pretty anxious about moving, since I'm kind of a weakling and can't do a lot by myself so I either have to ask people to help (and I don't know a lot of people, plus my dad's getting kind of old for it), or hire movers (which I don't think we really have the money for). Kate says she can get some family members to help. I also want to use the moving opportunity to take a bunch of furniture I don't particularly like to Goodwill and get new stuff from Craigslist or rummage sales. especially if we end up getting a uhaul truck like we did last time, since my car is tiny and I don't know anyone with a truck, so moving large furniture items is hard (which is pretty much the only thing that keeps me from entirely redecorating my apartment with Craigslist finds every year or two).

I want to pare down my possessions a LOT for this move, since every fewer box means that much less stressful of a moving experience. I'm going to give away a lot of books through paperbackswap and a lot of clothing to Goodwill, and my never-used desk is not coming with us either. I always end up moving somewhere and then having a lot of boxes that never get unpacked because they're filled with things I never use. there's still going to be some stuff I don't use, like keepsakes and my old writing notebooks, but I can keep them in the storage locker of the new place. (in a plastic bin. I love plastic bins.)

OKAY END BORING MOVING STUFF HERE, ON TO KITTENS!!

The kittens are doing pretty well! They've all learned to walk and use the box and eat solid food, although they do still nurse often. The mama and at least a couple of kittens have diarrhea, which my Special Kitten Food Cocktail (with slippery elm, extra fiber, and probiotics mixed in) is doing nothing to cure, although it might be keeping it from getting worse. I take them to the vet on Wednesday for their first checkup, so I can ask about it then. In the meantime I am cleaning out the box VERY often because otherwise my room constantly smells like poop. WHY DO I DO THIS KITTEN THING AGAIN.

sad kitten?

Oh right.

Basil is becoming a real sweetheart. (For some reason I keep wanting to call him Rufus.) He curls up next to me and goes to sleep and I go awwww. I'm kind of flattered that even with his mama and four siblings available, he still wants to sleep on me. I love sweet kittens.

Cinnamon, who was initially the sleepiest cat, is growing into a little monster. She attacks the other kittens mercilessly and has recently learned to growl. Maybe there's some truth to what they say about the fiery calico spirit. cffgc d ddddddddddddddddddrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr aHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH11111111DYYYYYYYYYYYY HYYYYYYYYYADDR

I went to go get my laundry and that's what I came back to. I think I will end my entry on that note. because KITTENS.

THOUGHTS. about DECORATING.

  • Mar. 7th, 2010 at 1:29 PM
notemily: Photo of me, a white girl in her mid-20s, wearing glasses, smiling, looking up and to the right (Default)
I've been having a lot of THOUGHTS about DECORATING.

Not just like, where should I put my lamp, whatever. I mean PHILOSOPHICAL thoughts.

I really like two current styles of decorating: shabby chic and mid-century modern. I'd say my personal style is somewhere between the two, a mix of clean lines/bold colors and faded cottage homeyness.

But I have problems with the way that both of these styles are implemented

I look at some of the stuff on sweethomestyle or Etsy's decor finds and I feel kind of weird. Take today's Etsy decor find, "Retro Renovation." Etsy describes the couple's house as follows:

Their 1940s Tudor home contains a perfect mix of thrift and handmade collected during the couple's trips to early morning estate sales and weekend rummaging through thrift shops and flea markets.


However, if you click through to the flickr set for the house, you'll find that this isn't always the case. Take this photo, of their colorful kitchen. The mugs are thrifted. But the artwork on the wall is from Urban Outfitters. And the measuring spoons are from Anthropologie.

Now, how much do you think measuring spoons cost at Anthropologie? I don't know how much those particular ones cost, but they're currently selling a couple of sets for $24 each, and one for $18.

How much do you think a similar-looking set of colored measuring spoons would go for at a rummage sale or thrift store? Two dollars? Three?

I have nothing against this couple or their house, which is lovely. And I covet many things at Anthropologie myself, especially the dresses (*drool*). But I really hate the idea that in order to get a "vintage," "retro" style, you have to buy 24-dollar measuring spoons. Or that in order to get the "shabby chic" bedding look, you have to spend more than a hundred dollars at Target for designer sheets and duvet covers.

It's like the jeans thing. How you can spend a zillion dollars just to get jeans which are pre-distressed. They've been carefully destroyed for you, so you can get the look of having worn your jeans for a long time. As opposed to... wearing your jeans for a long time.

Here's a perfect example.

Speaking of which: I remember how much I used to love Victoria's apartment. I still do! But I love it a little bit less than I used to, because there was that moment when she went from flea-market tables and chairs to Saarinen tulip chairs, and it made me sad. I feel like the space lost some originality and charm when she went from unique furniture to the same furniture every MCM-buff covets.

And some of the stuff on the design websites looks kind of generic and... sterile. Like, modern is nice, but I'd like to see some personality, some indication that actual people live there. Not just the same Orla Kiely prints, Urban Outfitters artwork, and Keep Calm and Carry On poster in every other house. Instead of buying mass-produced "art" from UO, why not support an actual artist on Etsy?

My brain gets kind of broken by this stuff because I see beautiful rooms and I go "WANT," and then I realize how much that stuff costs and I go "WHAT," and then I get kind of frazzled by feeling like I want to live inside a photo all the time, instead of an actual house, and I have no money so my apartment will never look like something on Apartment Therapy. And however much it might look nice to have a shiny new sofa from Room & Board, or that dresser I always want from Ikea, some of my favorite pieces of furniture were found on Craigslist or at rummage sales. I don't know, I guess what I'm saying is I get caught up in the MUST HAVE EXPENSIVE PRETTY THINGS as much as anyone, but I really hate it, that in order to make your house look like somewhere poor people might have lived a few decades ago (depression glass, "rustic" farmhouse furniture, etc) you have to spend a bunch of dollars. I realize there's nostalgia for the handmade, non-factory-cookie-cutter stuff of yore, but I have to wonder if the same stuff we think is cheap-looking and tacky now will be trendy and "vintage" in twenty years. (Did you know you can buy New Kids on the Block sweaters for 78 dollars on Etsy? Trufax)

anyway, I don't know what my point is. If I have one, it's probably that I am determined to make my apartment pretty without bankrupting myself and without buying into the "YOU MUST HAVE THIS" messages that Urban Outfitters, etc., want to shove into my brain.

"Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful."

Somehow when I look at too many of pictures of "pretty" I just kinda want to smash things and get some ugly up in there. Maybe I'm the only one.

ETA: I got an e-mail from the owner of the house posted on the Etsy finds page. I just want to make it clear that I think their house is awesome and I do not mean any offense to them.

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