Friday, December 28, 2012

there's a mouse in the basement!

well, the dc curse is upon our house. we have mice. georgetown is notorious for rats, and apparently glover park has mice.

we have a roommate in our basement, with a separate kitchen and laundry. we got an email several weeks ago that she had heard some "squeaking." no droppings, no chewed through food, no sighting. traps were set, but nothing. then she saw droppings and heard something behind the refrigerator. yikes!

we called the exterminator. per usual with house services, i searched on angie's list for a company that is highly rated and has coupons. i also prefer to go with a local company - you can usually bargain and build relationships with the staff (less turnover than a large chain like orkin). what a nice man! he explained the habits of the mice, which (naturally) i found fascinating and helpful. apparently, they can fit through a hole the size of a dime. *shudder* they run around when people aren't out and about - so night or while we're at work - and they run a similar route repeatedly. so he looked for droppings and "mapped" the route. there was a distinct circular route from the bathroom through a hole in the wall around the perimeter of the room (the basement is set up like a little studio apartment). he set up mostly snap traps (warning: people posted dead mouse photos in the user photos section of the amazon listing - ewww) all along the route. snap traps are more humane because they instantly kill the mouse, rather than letting them squirm and suffer in a glue trap. then he tried to plug any holes he found that were suspect.

he explained some important concepts for preventing and dealing with mice:
- they can't see very well, but their sense of smell is strong. use gloves when placing or moving traps so they can't smell your "human" smell. they will avoid the trap area if they smell you.
- don't change everything around along their normal track. for instance, if people see droppings in the cabinet under their sink, their first instinct is to clean everything out of the cabinet and leave a trap. the mouse will notice the drastic difference in the space and avoid the area (and your trap). try to place a trap in their route without disturbing it.
- use steel wool to block small holes. mice can eat through drywall, but not steel wool. he stuffed into gaps around pipes all over the basement bathroom.
- keep things clean and food in tightly sealed containers (like glass). luckily, he said our space was not to blame. it's normal for mice to seek warmth in the winter and having a vacant house next door is not helping; the direction they are all coming is the wall we share with the vacant house. problems will persist until that house also takes care of any issues (emails to the owner go unanswered).

unfortunately, we've found three dead mice in two weeks. i don't know if this is a lot or a little. the exterminator said we are not an "infestation" situation. we just don't want them to have babies! maybe it's just the joys of living in an old house with a basement in a city. and near a large field. my aunt works at a school built in a field in colorado and they have lots of field mice. she said the teachers use bounce fabric softener sheets in their drawers and cabinets because the mice hate it. so when i get home from holiday travel, you better believe i'm running to safeway to give it a try!

so thankful for a helpful exterminator that took the time to explain what he was doing and why so we can tackle this on our own. also thankful that he said the mice don't appear to be in the garage or on other floors. and the concrete, tile, and brick meet up without holes where the floors meet the walls so mice can't get in that way! it's the little victories... : )

update: phil came home from christmas vacation to find a dead mouse in our den. ugh. very upset right now.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

a (wo)man with a plan

remember how i didn't decorate for christmas for this year? well, i've spent the month planning for next year! my plan is to order everything on clearance this year in the after-christmas sales to be ready for december 2013. we're on a bus route - which is wayyy better than an ambulance route! learned that the hard way - so i see our house from the bus everyday. it makes me sad to not have decorations. it also makes me want to make sure it looks as good in the daylight as in the dark.

there weren't as many houses in our neighborhood decorated and lit as i thought there would be. but this one is my favorite. i don't know these people, but thank you for the holiday cheer!

so i'm on the hunt for white lights. obviously, i'm jealous of their awesome storm door / good-looking front door combination. (and their huge corner lot!) but perhaps we'll have a different door by the end of next year : ) anyway, i just love the evergreens, wreath, and garland. and white lights are always my favorite - sparkly but restrained. 

here's the front of our house: 

the plan for next year is wreaths on the windows and door, with icicle lights along the porch and a garland on the railing. so pretty : ) i'm not sure about the red bows with our red brick, but this is the look i'm going after:

i'm really hoping for boxwood wreaths. there's just something about the structure that i prefer. 

these are on sale at lowe's!
i'm not sure about the whole bow issue. not much of a bow person. maybe i'll just use ribbon to tie to a nail above each window. like here. wouldn't that be pretty?? 

as for the interior decorations, i'm not sure which direction to go yet. i'm really drawn to the colorful vintage ornaments, but i'll always love monochromatic schemes. i like a crazy tree, not super-curated, but full of ornaments from special occasions and special people. phil's mom and aunt give us ornaments every year and i'm excited to finally be able to put them up next year. i have ornaments from before we were married : ) i've also gotten ornaments from various travels: italy, amsterdam, belgium, bahrain, various US cities... so that will be eclectic. but what about our mantel? or the banister? or the dining room table? ummmmm... at least i have another year! and, of course, endless inspiration from pinterest. off to shop the online holiday sales!

Friday, December 7, 2012

cyber monday

i love to shop. LOVE. sometimes i enjoy the hunt more than the actual kill... i can look for hours. and hours. and hours. and my plan of attack for each room is to build a scheme around the rug. typically, you start with fabric, or an existing piece of furniture/art/etc (ps - watch sarah 101 to see how she builds her schemes - it's so interesting!). however, given our relatively large spaces and limited budget, i am starting with rugs. i'm also pretty slow at putting together patterns. i enjoy it, but it doesn't come naturally. at work, i don't typically deal in color - much less pattern. i deal in space : ) also, working at a big firm on commercial design projects REALLY skews your sense of appropriate budget! commercial furniture and fabric is very different world from residential. well, the residential world that i live in!

we have been scouring craigslist, onekingslane, gilt, rue la la, 1st dibs, crate & barrel, pottery barn (because i get a designer discount!), ebay... and have only bought two. the first was in the basement of an estate sale in cathedral heights. it is a bit ratty, but found a home in the dressing room/closet. the second is a persian-style rug phil found on craigslist. he bought it while i was out of town. the size is amazingly perfect, but it has a bit of pink. hehe. okay, more than a bit. i still like it! and i'm always impressed with phil's amazing hunting skills. seriously.

so anyway... cyber monday sales. amazing. gilt ran some crazy clearance on nuloom rugs and i found one!! it is 9x12 and reasonably priced, even with shipping. it came in 10 days. in a GIANT bag.

phil brought it inside, but had to go out for work. so i came home to a giant tootsie roll in the living room! hooray! i somehow got it upstairs by myself - thank goodness for the plastic bag : ) 

i vacuumed the bedroom and moved a bunch of furniture. 

love love love this pattern!!! the hardest part was lifting the bed alone. i probably should have waited for phil, but i wanted to surprise him with something finished : ) especially since i'm prone to leaving things partially complete for entirely inappropriate amounts of time. like the half-folded laundry in the guest room...

in the room! night-time iphone photos don't look that great... but i'm very happy. loving the scale of the pattern. and it will look amazing with grey walls, striped curtains and a dreamy painting. i have one panel of the restoration hardware curtains already - phil used to work for an industrial building owner that happened to own a building with a restoration hardware warehouse : ) awesome sales!! i should have bought every curtain i saw - silk drapes are expensive. hoping that some of the after-christmas sales are good so we can keep moving forward!

Saturday, December 1, 2012


for those who know me, you know i go through phases. rather intense phases.
i decided i liked baked potatoes and ordered them at every restaurant for the next several years. every. single. time. except mexican restaurants. duh.
i air-dried my hair and then pulled it back into a low bun as a 17-year-old. i wore it that way almost every day for the next five and half years.
i bought a few bright sarongs at the san diego zoo one summer and wore them as skirts at least once a week for two years. with sweaters in the winter.
i decided i like ballet flats and wear them regardless of weather. seriously. my dad got SO mad at me when he came to visit me in denver at thanksgiving. it snowed and i had no traction.
i listen to the same albums on repeat until the cd skips.
i don't just read one book - i'll read the entire series in quick succession. followed by several more in the same genre (nerd alert).
i ate the same lunch from kindergarten to senior year, for goodness sake. creamy peanut butter, honey and sprinkles on wheat. try it, you'll love it : )

so in the spirit of my totally healthy and random phases, here are my (current) obsessions...

neon indian - polish girl and washed out - feel it all around. on repeat. all day.

nachos in the broiler. with chives from the garden

french braids


ARE study guides from jennypdx. because i'm cool like that.

dark and stormies - winter cousin of the moscow mule


rockstar diaries' eleanor

bailey's - the first errand when the wind starts is to the liquor store