Category Archives: Condo Living

Just another Misadventureless Monday

Congrats to Carolyn, who wonร‚ย Trick or Treat by JL Merrow!

I just needed a little Misadventures break this week – tune in next week when we’ll be back to our regularly scheduled programming! ๐Ÿ™‚

Meanwhile, check out the view from my chaise lounge when I look up from working on my laptop (click to embiggen for the full effect):

Here’s a lovely maple in front of the Linden Hills Library last weekend:

“See how nice and quiet it is without any naughty boys, Mom?!” -Mayhem

Linkity remodels

You can’t tell from the picture, but that toilet was very low and also almond-colored. The light switch for the main bathroom light was a dimmer switch (one of eight (!!!), now all replaced), which made the lights buzz. It’s not easy to take pictures of my wee bathroom, but… Here’s what it used to look like:

While that vessel sink looked great, it was just too low for me. Plus the vanity developed numerous cracks over the dry winter, so the sink wasn’t level anymore and started to leak. Also, the paint on the walls doesn’t look that dark in these pictures, but combined with the tiny frosted glass single-candelabra bulb light fixture (on the wall above the toilet, not in frame)… I could barely see myself in the mirror! Also, the grout was an assortment of different colors – red-brown, light gray, dark gray.

I sealed all the grout using a medium-gray tinted sealer (tinted sealer looks great, but it is sooooo much work), had the walls repainted a much lighter gray-green (SW Rare Gray), had the low almond toilet replaced with a “comfort height” white toilet, had the low sink and vanity replaced with a taller but less wide sink and vanity, had the ineffective single-candelabra bulb light fixture replaced with a three-bulb fixture, switched out the (black) dimmer switches and a white, now black, GFCI outlet… Much better now!


Think, Make, Do, Learn


Gluten Free


Cool or Wha…?



Teh Cute

Reading Update

  • No time to read! Remodeling!

“Hee hee! May will never notice me hiding behind this box until it is too late!” -Chaos

Um, would you believe the cats ate my Misadventure? No? Darn it.

Congrats to Rush, who won Junk by Josephine Myles!

Congrats to Suze, who wonร‚ย The Stars that Trembleร‚ย by Kate McMurray!ร‚ย The Stars that Tremble is being released today by Dreamspinner Press.

My being busy is hell on the Misadventures in Stock Photography, isn’t it?! Yesterday was spent cleaning my old condo until late and I’ll be back there cleaning more today. On the plus side, it’ll hopefully be ready to go on the market after I get a carpet cleaner in there. Keep your fingers crossed that it sells quickly! ๐Ÿ™‚

“Oh, yes, our old condo – so you’re getting rid of that like you’re getting rid of our old table?! I’m not getting off this table, so you can’t get rid of it!! Ha!” -Chaos

Although Chaos may be house panther-sized, he was easily removed when the guys from Steeple People came by for the table…

Misadventures in Home Improvement: #$*)@!%# grout sealer

Congrats to Tracy, who wonร‚ย Black Hurricane (Boston Boys #3) by Erica Pike!

Congrats to PaParanormalFan, who won Waiting for a Spark by Lillian Francis!

I know, I know – you’re here for a new edition of the Misadventures in Stock Photography. Alas, there isn’t one – home “improvement” devoured my weekend, including the Friday I took off.

It all started a few weeks ago, when, flush on the heels of my great tub caulking triumph, I realized that the grout in the shower needed sealing and decided I could certainly do that myself. Since there were multiple grout colors in the shower, I decided I’d use a colored grout sealer. The colored caulk (Pearl Gray) I’d used was a slightly too dark shade of grey, so I went with the lighter shade – Silver.

No one warned me that, like knitting, there’s a tendency to start a home improvement project and, upon realizing it doesn’t quite look as you’d hoped, carry on thinking that of course it will look better when it’s all done. *cue ominous music*

Picture the shower below with very pale grey (erm, silver, whatever) grout. It looked even worse than you’re imagining.

So I spent last weekend and this past Friday removing the silver grout sealer as best I could, using a micro abrasive (to not damage the stone and grout) and plastic grout brushes. I wore six grout brushes to nubs – sanded grout definitely takes its toll. Friday evening I cleaned up and prepped.

Saturday I started sealing grout again. This time I used “Natural Gray” (from a different store – oh, that I’d seen this before ever laying eyes on the accursed Silver) and an actual grout applicator instead of a toothbrush. The directions said to work in small sections and remove excess grout sealer from the tile before it dried. What that turned out to mean was seal one side of a six-inch tile, clean up the edges with little pieces of paper towel, seal another side, etc. Don’t even get me started on the corners – you can’t really tell in that picture, but the corners are made from six vertical rows of one-half inch by two inch tiles. I think each corner took over three hours.

The whole thing took nine hours on Saturday and ten hours on Sunday. Why, yes, my entire body does ache, particularly my wrists and shoulders. Throughout this (and the grout sealer removal and the initial silver grout sealer application…), I had to keep the glass shower doors closed to keep out the cats. Chaos would periodically come sit on the toilet and meow crabbily at me every time I moved. Saturday evening, he sat there for over an hour, meowing his Siamesesque meow nonstop. Oh yeah. That’s what my nerves needed! (Also, it got pretty toasty warm in there for hours with the doors closed. Ugh.)

At least there wasn’t any cleanup to do after finishing, since I had to do it as I went along. And the Natural Gray looks great – great enough that I’ll probably need to seal the non-shower bathroom tile at some point. Not anytime soon, mind you!

Until Wednesday evening, it’s sponge baths and washing my hair in the kitchen sink. *sigh*

“I am still suspicious that there’s a naughty boy hiding somewhere up there. Perhaps behind the bathroom door in that picture.” -Mayhem

Sorry, no room in the portable kitty caves today. Move along.

Congrats to Lily, who won the copy of Mobry’s Dick by K.Z. Snow, which is being released today from Loose Id. (Congrats, K.Z.!)

  • It’s been ages since I did a random update on my life and stray thoughts.
  • When last we spoke, I was worried whether the new refrigerator would arrive before the old refrigerator died.
  • It did!
  • The new refrigerator was delivered on April 29 by two guys who were unnaturally cheerful about carrying refrigerators up and down three flights of stairs at 7:30 am.
  • The new refrigerator is more spacious despite being smaller (I know!) and is quieter.
  • The kitties remain deeply suspicious of it.
  • On Saturday, I finally wandered over to the hardware store and picked up a patch for the screen.
  • I’m sure the kitties are sad about that.
  • Yes, her birthday was two months ago.
  • Give me a break – it’s nearly 80F, so she’s not going to be wearing wool socks for months!
  • Sheesh.
  • I’m trying to figure out what the three sickly trees in front of our building are.
  • I know that they are not ashes, elms, oaks, maples, boxelders, lindens, any sort of evergreen, sycamores, gingkos, hophornbeams, cottonwoods, or aspens.
  • You’d think I’d get a bit further than that with a forestry degree, wouldn’t you?
  • Quit laughing, Mel. (We have the same undergraduate degree.)
  • Hmm. Apparently I’ll be leaving both cat carriers portable kitty caves out for a while. I hate to discourage this sort of behavior:

*….zzzzzz….* -Mayhem

*….zzzzzz….* -Chaos

Sunday Special Edition: The One with the Bat

I knew something was up when May got on top of a cupboard and started chittering at the corner behind the microwave. Then Chaos got on top of the microwave, leapt at the corner, and fell behind the microwave stand.

Oh oh. I don’t remember there being a tarry blob up in the corner like that…

Oh oh. That’s not a tarry blob at all…

It’s a bat!

Remember back in January of 2009 when a squirrel ripped a hole in my kitchen screen? I haven’t been able to figure out how to get the @!*#)@(*!! screen out to take it in for repair. And, since the kitties were taking care of any bugs that wandered through the hole, I haven’t been that concerned about that hole.

Until now. I’m going to get some thread and darn that hole so nothing larger than a bug can get in.

Anyway, back to the excitement. I sat down with my laptop and panicked via email to some people. (Many thanks to the calming online presences of Carolyn Crane, Bronwyn Green, Tam, and Lily, and to Jeanne who laughed her head off on the phone after everything was over.) Then I googled an article about how to get a bat out of your house.

Based on that information, I locked the kitties in the bathroom and closed my bedroom door. Armed with leather gloves and a towel, I put the towel over the bat and attempted to wrap him up. He got away and started to fly around as I hit the floor shrieking. When I looked up again, he wasn’t flying anymore and I didn’t know where he was.


By the time I figured out that the bat was in the ficus, he had taken off and started flying laps again. I crouched on the floor, trying to keep an eye on him in the living room mirror. Finally he hit the living room window and landed on the air conditioner, where I was able to drop the towel over him. (I’m glad that the article I read about removing bats warned me that he would squeak and chitter!!) Took the towel outside, tossed it on the step, and off he flew.


“My eyes are locked and loaded, just in case!” -Chaos

“Mom, that bug was really big and cool! You were mean to take it away.” -Mayhem

In which I ramble for a bit, then include a very cute picture of a sleeping princess with a cold nose

  • If you have suggestions for authors you’d like to see me contact for contests, please leave a comment!
  • Um, no, it’s very unlikely that Neil Gaiman, Nora Roberts, or Stephen King will respond.
  • I’m most interested in featuring authors who have a bit less reach (for now!) and who will interact with us in the comments.
  • I do promise to shamelessly exploit my friendship with Carolyn Crane when her book comes out. *shoots meaningful glance at CJ*
  • For my evil day job (EDJ), I work as a systems analyst and spend a lot of time looking for patterns in data.
  • Turns out that looking for overused stock photos? Just more patterns.
  • For the record? Looking for overused stock photos is a lot more amusing than what I do at the EDJ.
  • Probably I should admit that I’m not sending any more holiday cards for the 2009 holiday season and put all of that stuff away until next winter, huh?
  • I had a sinus-triggered migraine last Wednesday, so I took a shot (mmm… sumatr1ptan), napped for a few hours with the kitties, and woke up feeling great.
  • The kitties were very happy because they don’t get to sleep with me at night – there’s really only so many times I can handle having Chaos walk across my head at 2 am because he wants breakfast.
  • Anyway, ever since then, each evening when I go in to my bedroom to sleep, Mayhem’s sitting expectantly on my bed.
  • Sorry, May. Out you go.
  • Although she doesn’t walk across my head while I sleep, she does cover me with her furry toy mice, apparently bringing mouse after mouse, hoping to find the magical mouse that will inspire me to wake up and play fetch with her.
  • Shhhh… sleeping princess alert….

  • Awww.


I’ve lived with the bungee cords on the closets for years – ever since Chaos figured out how get the sliding doors open.

Bungee cords are quick and easy to fasten and unfasten, so it wasn’t a big deal.

Over the weekend, Chaos taught himself how to open cupboards, to ill effect (from my perspective, at least). Escalation was required.

“I really don’t like the look of that.” -Chaos

“I really don’t like the look of that, either.” -Chaos

*applies cupboard opening technique*

“Why do you hate me, Mom?” -Chaos

Sadly, cabinet locks are not quite as quick and easy to use as bungee cords.

Please forgive the odd colors in most of these pictures – the lighting in my kitchen continually defeats my poor camera!

The weekend (more or less) in bullets

  • Did everyone have a good holiday?
  • My Christmas Eve looked a bit dicey at first, since we got a foot of snow from December 23 through 24!
  • My car is rear-wheel drive (i.e., handles poorly in snow, even with 120 pounds of sand and 40 pounds of kitty litter in the trunk) and is only about three inches off the ground.
  • Did I mention that we got a foot of snow?
  • And that Minneapolis was mostly just plowing major streets until the snow finished?
  • And that I don’t live on a major street; I park my car in a parking lot off of a narrow neglected alley?
  • Oh oh.
  • But! My brother to the rescue! He picked me up in his big ol’ four-wheel drive pickup and saved Christmas.
  • Whew!
  • When my brother dropped me off at home on the morning of the 25th, the snow had changed to rain.
  • I’m sure driving got really exciting at that point.
  • I wouldn’t know, since I hunkered down in my condo and didn’t go anywhere else all weekend.
  • When I drove to work Monday morning, my car looked more like a small portable snow bank than a vehicle.
  • As I got home from work Monday evening, two guys left our building.
  • They were carrying a bathtub…
  • …which had been sawed in half.
  • *blink blink*
  • There was soymilk every flippin’ where.
  • ARGH!
  • Bad kitty.

“I’ll give you one chance to recant that ‘bad kitty’ business, Mom.” -Chaos

Bullet Post: The Auto and Home Repair Edition, with Some GF Bullets, Too

  • You might’ve heard that we had some snow (5-8″) last Wednesday.
  • Followed by some cold – it was -5F/-20.6C when I got in my car Thursday morning.
  • Brrr!
  • My drive was particularly exciting Thursday morning, since I had to drive to the car dealer to get the ASC repaired.
  • What’s ASC? Automatic Stabilization Control – the thing that kicks in when your car starts to slide on slippery roads.
  • Yup, roads are pretty slippery after a bunch of snow.
  • The drive was… memorable, in a white-knuckled sort of way.
  • Sure is nice to have ASC again.
  • Friday afternoon, my car got stuck while I was trying to get into the parking lot behind my building.
  • Many thanks to the two neighbors who helped push and got the car unstuck!
  • Sunday morning we woke up to no heat in the condo – turns out one of the pumps on the boiler went out.
  • Fortunately, it only took a few hours for a repair guy to get the heat going again.
  • Good thing, since the cats were holding me personally responsible for how cold it was: “If you loved us, Mom, it wouldn’t be cold like this.”
  • Do you wish you lived in Minneapolis yet? ๐Ÿ˜‰
  • Sunday afternoon I learned how to use a drain auger and spent a nasty hour or so cleaning out a massive clog under the kitchen sink.
  • Said clog seemed to have been formed by the unholy union of cat hair (note to self – try to keep Mayhem from sleeping in the kitchen sink), coffee grounds from rinsing off the espresso maker, and primordial ooze.
  • Ewww.
  • I am actually knitting!
  • However, it’s for a present, so I’m not sure I’ll post about it until after Christmas.
  • One of the things that’s been sad for me since going gluten-free is not having good bread for sandwiches.
  • Most gf bread has an unfortunate texture or crumbles into bits when used for sandwiches unless it’s toasted.
  • Only eating sandwiches on toast gets old really fast.
  • If you require a gluten-free diet (or know someone who does), I highly recommend the magazine Gluten-Free Living, which I’ve been reading since it was a newsletter.
  • Are you confused by the conflicting gluten-free diet information provided by various organizations? Gluten-Free Living examines such information scientifically to support or debunk it.
  • The current issue is especially good, as it’s a “best of” issue.
  • Make sure you stop back tomorrow, when I’ll kick off an ebook (by a Twin Cities author) giveaway to celebrate its release!

Can you figure out this picture? (Nope, you are right, she’s not in the kitchen sink… at the moment.)

“…..zzzzzzzzzzzz…..” -Mayhem