Not To Be Trusted With Knives

The Internet’s leading authority on radicalized geese

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My New Bar Cart

Because of the state of the world, I decided I needed a bar cart. Ok, that’s not actually true. I actually decided I needed a bar cart because my friend Amy has an awesome bar cart and I was super jealous and also because I was sick of storing my booze in a broom closet. I’d been looking for one that would meet my needs1 for a while and finally found one that I liked, and then it went on sale for 50% off and so it was totally a sign that I needed to buy it.

Naturally, the kitties were very eager to help me build it:

Kitties helping me build my bar cart

Watson says, “My claws don’t count as a “sharp” instrument, do they?”

Here are the kitties doing a thorough inspection to make sure all the parts were shipped to us:

It was a little complicated to put together – this is clearly not an IKEA piece, but hopefully that means it will actually last a long time! Thankfully, Scott came over to put it together with me!

And here it is in all its splendour:

My new bar cart

The part at the bottom fits my wine collection as well as some short bottles of booze, like Cointreau and Chambord. The cart doesn’t actually even fit all my booze – well, it would if I put some bottles on the top, but I want to make sure that the cats don’t plan to go up there (so far, they haven’t). For the moment, my lesser used boozes are on the top shelf of my broom closest and the other shelves of the broom closest can now store other stuff. Hooray!

To celebrate, some wine may have been enjoyed:

Watson and a wine bottle

Crick is my dinner companion

  1. Translate: one where I am reasonably confident the cats will not knock over all the bottles. Not that my cats knock things over very often (certainly they break stuff much less often than I do), but I feel like if they were to knock anything over, I wouldn’t want it to be bottles of booze. []

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Frog Stand

In my old apartment, I had built in gas fireplace with a spot above the mantle that was originally meant to hold those old boxy cathode ray tube TVs, but which made a very good place for a frog tank.

Christmas tree

Apparently the only photo I have of the frog tank above the fireplace is from last Christmas! You can just barely see it in the top right corner of that photo

My new place doesn’t have the built in gas fireplace, so when I moved in, I was faced with the question of where to put the frogs. I needed a piece of furniture that was strong enough to hold the tank, that had room for the two electrical cords required (one for the filter and one for the heater) and, ideally, that looked nice too. When I first moved in, I put them on top of a small bookcase that I had1, which seemed fairly sturdy, but I wasn’t 100% sure it would be able to sustain the weight over the long-term.

One of my friends suggested that I should get a stone pillar – like the kind you might see in a garden, but I looked at a few places and couldn’t find one. And then I got the brilliant idea that perhaps I should actually look a a built-for-purpose aquarium stand. I looked around online and found a few things that would be serviceable, but I decided I should check out the store where I usually go for my frog needs, Aquariums West2. I needed some new filter pads for the frog tank anyway, so I headed downtown yesterday to the store to pick those up and check out my frog tank-supporting options.

They had some tall black plinths which were very nice, but cost nearly $200 and of all the things that I want to spend $200 on, plinths are not high up on my list. But, as luck would have it, they had a couple of small aquarium stands that were end of the line, so they’d built them up and were selling them at a deep discount. Which meant that I got an aquarium stand for cheap AND I didn’t have to put it together3!

And so I bought the stand and put it in a different corner of the living room than I’d had the tank in on the bookshelf – I’d put the bookshelf in was a corner between my two giant living room windows and so the tank was getting too much sunshine, causing the algae to grow like crazy. I’m hoping that having the tank not in direct sunlight will prevent that from occurring again!

New aquarium stand for the frog tank

New frog tank stand!

  1. All my other bookcases were too tall to put the tank on top, but the other shelves had closed backs so I wouldn’t have anywhere to put the cords other than running them out of the front, which would look silly. Plus, they are Ikea bookcases, so I don’t have a lot of confidence in their strength. []
  2. Note that I don’t have any affiliation with Aquariums West – I just like the store as the people there are knowledgable and helpful. And they only teased me a little when I asked them where they kept their terrariums with spiders in them so that I could always be sure to steer clear of that part of the store! []
  3. While I do enjoy assembling furniture, when it comes to furniture that needs to support a lot of weight, I much prefer that the assembly be completed by a professional! []

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New Furniture!

Since my breakup, I have been missing some key pieces of furniture. When Devon and I had originally moved in together, we combined our various pieces to make a full set based on who had the better/better sized piece of furniture. I had a coffee table with a broken leg, where I just  balanced the table on said leg, but which could easily be knocked over with the slightly bump, so I gave that away on Craig’s List and we kept his brand new coffee table. I had a solid couch, while he had two mangy armchairs, so we kept my couch and his armchairs went to the landfill1. My kitchen table was too big for the kitchen area in our place, so I gave it to Kalev and we used Devon’s. My bed is kickass, so Devon’s was relegated to second bedroom status.

So, for the past couple of months, I’ve had no kitchen table and no coffee table, which I have to say are pretty central to my day-to-day life. Given my fondness for mindfulness when it comes to eating, I like to actually have my meals at the table, rather than scarfing down some grub at my desk or on the couch. But scarfing down my meals at my desk or on the couch with a TV tray table have been my only options, so it really was high time that I got myself a proper kitchen table! Similarly, I often use the coffee table as a place to put stuff. Like coffee. Or stuff I’m reading. Or my feet2.

Given my ridiculous schedule of late, I haven’t had much time to do furniture shopping. I did manage to pop over to Antique Alley, which is just two streets away from my building, but didn’t really see anything that caught my eye. Then my friend Heather told me about Champagne Taste Home Consignment store. Though her description of its location – “You know that seedy looking adult store with the bright yellow sign that you can see when you drive down Stewardson Way? It’s right behind there!” – made me wonder, it turned out that she was absolutely right about the awesomeness of this place – it’s full of beautiful, high-quality furniture in perfect condition, and the prices are excellent for the quality that you get3. Being that it’s a consignment store, the pieces in there are all different, so you don’t end up with furniture that looks like everyone else’s furniture4. In addition to finding a kitchen table and a coffee table, I absolutely fell in love with an armchair and had to buy that too!

Given that my Smart car is not exactly appropriate to transport furniture, Heather and her husband Dwayne came out with their pick up truck yesterday to help me get all my new purchases to my place!

The space I have for a kitchen table is not very large, so I was originally thinking I’d get a just a small table with two chairs. But then I found this miracle of modern design, the transformer table5, which is more than meets the eye!

Behold the 32″ x 32″ table and four chairs, which fits nicely in the wee kitchen spot in my apartment:

Table

And now behold it after transformation, where you slide the top over and then pull up and over a second table top that was stealthily hiding beneath the first table top, effectively doubling the table size:

Table

Next up, we have my fancy new glass top coffee table, with awesome swirly legs:

Coffee table

And finally, the pièce de résistance, my funky purple asymmetrical armchair of awesome:

Funky Purple Armchair

When I first saw this in the store, I was all “That is the coolest armchair ever!” And then I sat in it and was all “This is the most comfy armchair in the history of the universe!” I declared to my sister, who was with me at the time6, “This would be a perfect frog-looking chair7!8

Thanks again to Heather and Dwayne for bringing out their truck and helping me move all this stuff into my place!

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some frog looking to do in my new frog-looking chair!

  1. Those chairs were so bad that he couldn’t even give them away on Craig’s List! This is the first time I’ve ever seen a piece of furniture that no one would take for free. See this posting for photos of some horrid furnishings that went like gangbusters. []
  2. The ottoman was also Devon’s, so it went with him as well. []
  3. As per usual, I have no affiliation with this store and am not getting any perks for mentioning them here. In fact, I dropped a large chunk of coin at this place. I just like to promote good businesses run by nice people! []
  4. One I finished my first go-round of school and got my student loans under control, I made a deal with myself that from then on, I would only buy good quality furniture that was built to last – what I like to call “grown up furniture”. I may also have recently declared this in my marketing strategy class when we did a case study on Ikea, so I definitely couldn’t go the Ikea route! []
  5. Yes, I realize that pretty much everyone has a table with a leaf you can insert in the middle to make it bigger. But this one has a set up where it’s all in one piece and slides out all futuristic-like. []
  6. I can’t believe that I never blogged about how my sister visited me for a few days in early June! She was at a conference in Victoria and then popped over to visit me for a few days. I was just scrolling through my blog to try to find the posting about her being here, but apparently I wrote no such posting. Blogger FAIL! []
  7. A “frog-looking chair”, for the uninitiated  is a chair in which one curls up to watch their frogs. See also: “frog-looking stool”: a stool one stands on to look at their frogs because they are only 5 ft tall and the frog tank is on a very high mantle! []
  8. Sadly, my last fraggle of frogs was not long for this world, so learning more about frog raising and then buying more frogs also went on my “to do” list. Which I then did later in the day… but that is for another blog posting! []

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Pay no attention to that mess behind the curtain

Ever since I moved into my new place, I’ve wanted room divider screens.  My living room is ridiculously massive, which means it also serves as my office space.  But who wants to look at their desk when they are chillaxin’ in their living room?  The solution, of course, is to have room dividers that can block out the desk when it’s not in use, but can easily move out of the way when I’m working.

Unfortunately, I had NO IDEA how freaking expensive room divider screens actually are.  Once I finally found some (it was surprisingly difficult to find any places that sold them), I was blown away to discover that a simple, 3-panel shoji screen runs $150-$200!  And given my massive living room and my massive desk, I’d need two of the 3-panels.  A few hundred bucks for some pieces of wood and rice paper?  I don’t think so!

I’ve had my eye on Craig’s List for a while, but no luck.  And then I noticed that a little store around the corner from Tod’s had a big “going out of business sale!” sign and a bunch of room dividers in the window!  The had the shoji-style screens for only $80, but they also had these metal and fabric guys:

Room Divider

for only $40, or two for $70!  The usual price on these were $100 each, so I was pretty happy to walk away with all the room dividing goodness that I need for only $70!

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Bed Update

So apparently the delivery guys weren’t lying when they said that the bed rails of my new bed “just snap on to the headboard and footboard.”  It turns out that there are already screws sticking out of the headboard and the footboard, so the holes in the little metal pieces at the ends of the siderails, which you can kinda see in this photo…

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… do just hook onto the screws in the headboard and footboard.  What they neglected to mention, however, included:

  • some of the screws in the footboard were screwed in too tight and needed to be loosened so that there would be some room on which to hook the metal things
  • loosening said screws requires a square screwdriver head
  • of the 12 screwdriver heads that I have, square is not one of them

They also completely neglected to explain what the pieces of wood shown in this photo are for:

IMG_0445

Even after I asked them what they were for.  Best guess at this point is that the long pieces are the crossbeams (for lack of a better word) and the short pieces are little legs. Meaning that the long screws that came with them are needed to attach the little legs to the crossbeam guys.  Which means I need a drill.  Which I don’t have.

So, does anyone have a recommendation for what drill I should buy or have a burning desire to come to my place with their drill and their square screwdriver head?

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My Apartment Smells Like Varnish!

On Thursday evening, I finally got my new bedroom furniture to go with my new mattress.  You know, the furniture that was supposed to come on Tuesday morning.  Don’t even get me started on the incompetence of Furniture Land, the place I bought this stuff from.  I thought I was so smart negotiating a great deal on a bed, a night stand and an armoire – plus a free box spring, since I’d only bought a mattress at Sleep Country, thinking that I’d by a platform-type bed.  The furniture is really well-made, solid maple and made locally – which is all great.  The fact that they were supposed to deliver it on Tuesday morning and then never showed up and it took three phone calls before they told me that it wasn’t ready (“the varnish is still drying”) – not so great. They promised to have it to me the next day and I told them it would have to be after 4:30 p.m., because I was going to be at a meeting in Abbotsford all day.  So I get a call the next morning from the delivery truck driver – “I’ll be there between 3 and 5 p.m.”  Uh, no you won’t! Because *I* won’t be there until 4:30!  So he says that’s fine and I get home at about 4:30 and I wait and wait and have a teleconference and still no one shows up. So I call the driver again and he said, “Oh, it’s not ready. The varnish is still drying.” What the what?? “But you called this morning and told me you were bringing it today!”  “Yeah, but I called you before I checked if it was ready.”  “And you didn’t think to call back and tell me that you weren’t coming after all?”  Then he tells me “I’ll bring it tomorrow between 4 and 7 p.m.” “No, you’ll bring it at 4:30 because I have somewhere else to be tomorrow night and I’m not going to be home after that!”  Then the next night, it gets to be 5 p.m. and still no delivery, so I call again and he’s like “Oh, yeah, I have to go get the truck and then get your stuff. I’ll be there in an hour.”  Needless to say, I was not pleased and there may have been some more yelling and then my furniture finally freaking arrived at 5:30 p.m.  So, yeah, don’t ever buy anything from Furniture Land in Surrey unless you have copious amounts of time to sit around waiting for people who never show up and you enjoy being lied to.

The silver lining to all this is that I got some really nice furniture for a pretty good price.

Here’s the night stand:

I like the design because it’s simple, yet classy looking.  And like I said before, it’s well-made. This, I’m told (and not just by the people selling me the furniture, is the sign of a solidly built drawer:

Apparently1 in more cheaply made furniture, the wood that makes up the sides of the drawer are just connected directly to the drawer front. But on well-constructed pieces, there is an extra piece of wood attached to the drawer front which allows for this interconnected thing it’s got going on2.

Here are the headboard and footboard:

Apparently I forgot to take a photo of them *after* I unwrapped them (and I’m not at home right now to take more pics), so you’ll have to wait until I get the bed built and take more photos to see what they look like.

And speaking of building the bed, as the delivery guys were dropping this stuff off, I asked them “Uh, how easy is it to assemble this thing?”  “Oh, it’s super easy. The bed rails just snap on to the headboard and footboard.

The bedrails were in this cardboard box; the extra wood on the left side of the photo – I have no idea what that’s for.

This is what the ends of the bed rails look like:

Clearly there are places for screws there, so I’m thinking that “snap together” wasn’t meant literally.  And I honestly haven’t the foggiest what these pieces of wood are for:

And all of this smells heavily of varnish3, so I’m hoping that not having been home all weekend will have allowed some of the smell to dissipate. And I’m guessing that my first task when I get home after the long weekend is to Google “instructions for assembling a bed.”  Wish me luck!

  1. and feel free to correct me if I’ve been sold a line of bullshit on this []
  2. 100 points to the first person who tells me the correct name for that in the comments section []
  3. so at least I know they weren’t lying about this having been made very recently and the varnish needing to dry []

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I Like To Build Stuff

Not really big stuff – I’m not nearly that skilled1 – but the assembling of Ikea or Ikea-like furniture is right up my alley!

First up for assemblage this evening was my new little table to put by my front door. I really like to have a small, but tall-ish, table by my front door. A place to throw my purse and keys when I first get home (otherwise, I lose my keys. Guaranteed).  You wouldn’t believe how hard it was to find a table like this.  Nothing in any of the thrift stores I went to, nothing at Ikea, nothing at the many, many furniture stores I went to.  In fact, when I asked a salesperson at a furniture store if they had anything like this, he laughed at me!  “You aren’t going to find anything like that in a *furniture* store! You have to go to the mall2 to one of those *accessory* stores. Not a *furniture* store.”  Apparently, tables other than of the end, coffee or dining variety are beneath him.  In the end, I found one at Walmart (*hangs head in shame*) – and not even at just any Walmart. I had to go to the freaking “Super” Walmart in South Surrey.  The biggest friggin’ Walmart I’ve ever seen.  Ridiculous big.

Anyway, here’s what the pieces of the table looked like prior to assemblage:

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And here’s what it looked like after I assembled it:

IMGP0682

Next up was a small bookshelf, which I also bought at Walmart while I was there3.  I was so excited to get it assembled that I completely forgot to take the “before” picture! I did remember to take a “during” picture:

IMGP0681

And here’s the “after” picture – as you may recall, I have a propensity to sit in or on things:

IMGP0695

Also, the instructions that came with the bookshelf specifically said not to allow “children to climb on this unit,” and that just sounded like a challenge to me.

  1. my sister took woodshop in high school, so she’s got much more in the way of building skills than I do, as I chose “typing” as my business or tech credit (can anyone say “easy A+”?). I learned the basics of building stuff – e.g., how to hammer a nail and that screws go tighty right, lefty loosy – from my dadm but that’s pretty much the extent of it []
  2. where “mall” was said with a hint of disgust in his voice []
  3. it was only $20 and, though I was expecting it to be made in China, it was made in Canada. Go figure []

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My New Mattress!

My new mattress was delivered today! It’s very, very comfy – I’m really looking to going to bed tonight (which I’ll be doing as soon as I click “publish” on this posting!)

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Every time I walk into my bedroom now, I have the urge to jump on my mattress!

I also got my couch today1.  And my new bed, night stand and armoire will arrive on Tuesday.

So I’m well on my way to making this into a grown up apartment!

  1. long story about that one – but it will have to wait until another blog posting []

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People Will Take ANYTHING That’s Free on Craig’s List

Remember a while ago when I posted my furniture to the Decor Hell contest because it’s so damn ugly?  Guess what went like hotcakes when I posted as “free for the taking” on Craig’s List yesterday morning?

As I prepare for The Great Move of 2010, I’ve made the decision to have a grown up apartment.  As in, not one that’s furnished with a mish mash of furniture that is older than I am.  And having an actual bed, not just a mattress on the floor.  As I mentioned the other day, my former landlady said I could have any of the furniture in my place that I wanted and while I am bringing the kitchen furniture with me to the new place, I decided against the horrible, horrible 1970s living room stuff. The land lady said she doesn’t want the furniture and she doesn’t have the energy to deal with it (she’s dealing with her own move at the end of this month as well as her husband being in hospital, so I don’t blame her for not having the energy to deal with it!).  So I decided to see if I could get rid of the furniture for her.  One less thing for her to deal with.  Plus, it keeps stuff out of the landfill and I’m all for that.  One person’s trash is another person’s treasure, right?

My friend Rachel moved recently and said that she was easily able to get rid of stuff she didn’t want by posting it as “free for the taking” on Craig’s List.  “People Will Take ANYTHING That’s Free on Craig’s List!” she said.   Her suggestion was to say a date and time and tell people that it’s first-come, first-served, rather than having to deal with emails and arranging to meet people.  Unfortunately, I’m not really at my place this week, so I decided to post and have people email and see what happened.

And really, who could resist an ad like this:

One orange couch.
Two orange chairs.
Two lamps (one lamp shade is a bit beat up, but you could probably glue it)
Two wooden end tables.

Free for the taking! You can take any or all of it. Email to set up time to pick up.

I posted my ad at 6:41 a.m., just before I left for work, and by 7:04 a.m. the emails started rolling in.  I received:

  • 5 requests for my ugly lamps (one of which has a slightly busted lamp shade)
  • 11 requests for my end tables
  • 18 requests for my ugly chairs

The couch has proven more of a challenge.  One person said he wanted everything, but when I told him that the only thing left was the couch, he said, “Nah, I mostly wanted the end tables.”  And another person has just now emailed to say she wants the couch and chairs, so I’ve emailed to tell her that I only have the couch left.  So we’ll just have to see what happens there.  If that falls through, anyone interested in a hideous 30+ year old couch?

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Packing Update

I spent most of today and a good chunk of yesterday packing.  I now have the kitchen1, the bathroom and the bedroom completely packed2.  And I did all my laundry, including all the blankets and sheets3, and I took books back to both the Vancouver Public Library and UBC Library. The things I have left to do before moving day4:

  • pack up my printer, scanner and the various things in my geek drawer
  • pack all the food from my cupboards5
  • make sure everything is saved off old desktop and laptop
  • take old desktop to Kalev’s storage
  • take various computer thingys to Free Geek
  • take books to used bookstore and other crap to thrift store:

In other packing-related news, I was talking to Betty, my former landlady (who used to own the house until they sold it a few months ago, but is renting the upstairs until the end of this month) who said that I can have any of the furniture in my place (as I’ve been renting a furnished place6).  Which means I don’t have to buy a kitchen table and chairs! Yay!  I’m also taking this furniture, which I’ve been using in my kitchen these past three years:

And Betty let me in on a little secret: that’s baby furniture!  The thing I’ve been using as a microwave stand, is in actuality a baby change table!  As soon as she told me that, I could totally see it, but until that point it had never occurred to me that it was anything but kitchen furniture!

But even as the Flying Spaghetti Monster giveth, the Flying Spaghetti Monster taketh away. As I mentioned the other day, I’m making a concerted effort to get rid of things that I really don’t need.  For the most part, it’s been easy to toss things7 – like stuff that doesn’t fit/I don’t like anymore/is expired.  But there were two things that I needed to toss that gave me pause.  One was my old McMaster jacket.  It’s about 15 years old, and pretty wrecked up.  I know that I’ll never wear it again, but it was still tough to throw it away.  I took these photos to remember it by:

And the other thing I had to toss was my beloved eBay shoes!  You remember them, right?  Oh, the times we had!  I didn’t take a photo of them because they were pretty wrecked up and I want to remember them in better times.  I have photos like these to remember them by:

You will be missed, Mac jacket and beloved eBay shoes.

  1. except the food []
  2. I’m staying at Tod’s this week so that I could just pack up everything at my place and not worry about needing to leave some stuff unpacked to use for the next week []
  3. have to take advantage of the in-home laundry while I still have it []
  4. Feb 15 []
  5. stuff from the fridge and freezer will get packed the day of, for obvious reasons []
  6. I have some of my own stuff, but a fair bit of it is theirs. But they are downsizing to a retirement condo so they can’t even keep all of the furniture upstairs, let alone the stuff in the basement []
  7. or put them into the “to donate” pile []