December 22, 2008

Our Trimmed Christmas Tree

POST #    2921

I'm heading to Illinois to do some cold-weather farming tomorrow morning, so no updates until next week! Have a nice holidays, everyone!

Posted by tien mao in House and Home, NYC, Photos at 5:23 PM

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December 10, 2008

Framing Prints

POST #    2913

We had these frames at home that we've been meaning to use and I finally got around to ordering prints. This is how they seem to be turning out.

Posted by tien mao in Film, House and Home, NYC, Photos at 6:32 PM

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September 15, 2008

Sunflower From the Greenmarket

POST #    2857

Randolph generally likes to chew on flower petals, and I thought he would at least investigate the sunflower petals. But to my surprise, the sunflower hasn't experienced a nibble yet.

Posted by tien mao in House and Home, NYC, Photos at 5:17 PM

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August 24, 2008

You Know Your Cat Got His Medication When...

POST #    2842

This is written on the chalkboard.

Posted by tien mao in House and Home, Mortimer at 8:09 AM

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July 17, 2008

Clean Apartments Are the Best

POST #    2817

There's nothing like coming home to a clean apartment after you've been at work. An apartment that is clean and where your feet squeak on the freshly cleaned floor. That's like the best thing in the world.

Posted by tien mao in House and Home, NYC, Photos at 5:59 PM

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June 3, 2008

CB2's Inline Vase

POST #    2786

A couple of weeks ago, we got a CB2 catalog and saw these cool inline vases. As one of our cats broke another vase of ours around that time, we thought it would be a good time to get a new one at CB2. While there, we got the inline vase too. But it looks like I need to work on my flower arranging skills. I was having some difficulty cutting the flowers to the right length. I do see potential though (in the vase, not in my skills).

Posted by tien mao in House and Home, Photos at 1:00 PM

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February 27, 2008

Blooming Soon

POST #    2726

I can't recall the name of this flower.

Posted by tien mao in House and Home, Photos at 5:36 PM

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January 15, 2008

Testing Out the Deep Fryer

POST #    2694

Way back in 2006, I was given a deep fryer for Christmas. Since then, it's been in our cabinet waiting to be used. Why hasn't it been used since December, 2006? Because Shannan hates the smell associated with deep frying. As she was away this past weekend, I seized the opportunity to fry some shit up! On the menu were fries, onion rings, and chicken wings (I was watching football).

I found that fries were the easiest (essentially all you do is cut and fry), followed by wings, and onion rings. It was hard to tell when the chicken wings were done, but otherwise they were easy. I think I liked the results the best with the onion rings, but my batter, while good, could have used some salt. I also learned that you can't put a whole bunch in at once because they stick to one another.

I think that everything I fried tasted good and seemed healthier than any fried food I would get while eating out. Maybe it's because I used fresh ingredients and knew what I was putting into/onto the food.

Given the results, I don't think Shannan should discourage me from using the deep fryer again. I think she would be pleased to eat the results.

Posted by tien mao in Food/Drink, House and Home, Photos at 12:29 PM

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January 2, 2008

Douchebaggery to Start Out 2008!

POST #    2685

There are these new tenants in my building (most units are owner occupied) that are young banker guys that like to party. I think they had 2 parties last year and another on New Year's Eve and well into the New Year. The parties are never quiet - doors slamming, people yelling in the hallway, loud music - but I don't think they've ever been as bad as they were the other night. It's like we were living in a frat house. Bottles were broken on the street and bottles left in the hallway, someone was banging on our window for us to let them in (this was after we got home from the night out), a fire extinguisher was knocked down, and someone puked in the hallway on a completely different floor. This of course is in addition to the loud music, door slamming, and yelling in the hallway.

This makes the rest of the building people sound like prudes, but we're not. We just dislike the lack of respect they have for our building. It's a small building, so it's kind of like a community.

Posted by tien mao in House and Home, Photos at 8:58 AM

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November 15, 2007

An Attempt at Growing Paperwhites

POST #    2654


Neither Shannan or I have green thumbs. It seems like every few months or so, we get some new plan and a month or two later, they're dead. We've got a few plants that have managed to endure our brown thumbs, but similar plants in the hands of my parents seem to thrive. With us, they just manage to stay alive.

The other day, Shannan brought home these paperwhite bulbs. If all goes well, they'll bloom into beautiful, fragrant flowers in a month. With our luck, in a month they'll be rotting bulbs.

Posted by tien mao in House and Home, Photos at 5:17 PM

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October 15, 2007

Another Year, Another Soktoberfest

POST #    2628

Ahh, October. When we combine socks and the month to create Soktoberfest. It's the best time to break out your fanciest pair of socks for a party at my place. After all, you gotta keep the floors clean. The parties keep getting bigger and better. And despite thinking that there was way too much beer, there really isn't too much left over at all.

Best costume (no, not required) clearly goes to Grego and Adriane (not pictured), who came in authentic (I think?) German outfits. And whatever Jake thinks, he didn't have the best socks. I think that goes to Miguel and Julia, who made their own fancy socks!

Final alcohol consumption totals: 115 12oz beers, 1 1pt 9.4 oz beer, 2 1pt 6oz beers, 1 1pt .9oz beer, and one 1.1 imperial gallon beer.

Posted by tien mao in Food/Drink, House and Home, Photos at 5:17 PM

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January 17, 2007

Our TV Area

POST #    2369

So we've had this TV for a little while now, but we just recently got the little "entertainment center" and finished the final touches. All we have to do now is reassemble our clean couch cushions. The "entertainment center" is some modular thing from Ikea (I hate Ikea) and the TV is a Panasonic plasma TV.

I could spend all day downstairs watching TV...

Posted by tien mao in House and Home at 9:20 AM

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July 20, 2006

New Plant Life in the Apartment

POST #    2199

A recent addition to the home (my previously barren walls now have stuff on them) are these little pods that Shannan put together. I thought that we should have put little G.I. Joes or maybe some cowboys and Indians, but she elected to put these little plants in them. Of course, there's still space for little action figures. Then again, I also thought the picture frames would have worked well for the G.I. Joes. I suppose I was overruled. I think they're a nice touch though. Here's a wider picture of how the things look on that wall.

Posted by tien mao in House and Home at 7:59 AM

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June 27, 2006

We Love the Roomba

POST #    2171

roombafish.jpg

The newest, and possibly best, addition to our house is iRobot's Roomba. Sure, Mortimer is great and Randolph is as well, but the Roomba is amazing. With the two cats, we need it even more than a normal apartment. All we have to do is press a button and our Roomba does all the cleaning we're too lazy to do! Unfortunately, the deal through Woot! a couple weeks ago was just for a cheaper version of the Roomba, but we still love it.

The big question for me is, what do I love more - the Roomba or the ice maker on my refrigerator. Such a tough decision.

Posted by tien mao in House and Home at 7:56 AM

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March 23, 2006

Coming Soon - Pizza with the Freshness

POST #    2076

There are many signs of a good girlfriend, like encouraging your boyfriend to do stuff with various books, kind words, stuff like that. Shannan does that and she bought me some fresh garnishes to use when I cook. While a nice gesture, I think she just wants me to cook more and make more pizza. I can see right through her dirty tricks!

Posted by tien mao in Food/Drink, House and Home at 7:30 AM

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December 20, 2005

A Holiday Tree Grows in Brooklyn

POST #    1985

We were toying with the idea of getting a tree for the holidays to spruce things up a bit (ha, spruce - too funny). Instead of getting a tree that was already cut, I thought, "lets get a live tree." Unfortunately, Shannan found out that they were being sold for $50, which is a little insane considering they will probably die anyway and most people in New York don't have anywhere to plant them. They're just something to you feel better about not actually having a tree chopped down for you. Well, the other weekend, we were in Target and we found a live tree for $20 something, so we picked it up. Considering how dry it was, the fact that it's still alive is somewhat of a Festivus miracle. Whether or not we can keep it alive until planting season would be another miracle.

Funny thing, I don't have a picture of the whole tree. Also funny, I don't know what kind of a tree it is besides that it's a Target tree. And the $20 we eventually paid is not nearly as bad as some prices I've been reading about. For god's sake, the trees are dead!!

Posted by tien mao in House and Home at 8:06 AM

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October 14, 2005

Mort Cleans the Floor

POST #    1913

Sometimes it's good to have a cat. They can roll around on your dusty floor and act like a rolling swiffer. Then again, their fur eventually falls off and gets everywhere. I suppose it's not that good to have a cat.

- More Mortimer

Posted by tien mao in House and Home, Mortimer at 8:06 AM

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October 7, 2005

Mort's Messy Desk

POST #    1904

See that guilty look on Mortimer's face? That's because he made my desk all messy! It's all his fault. Not mine at all! He better be as good at cleaning desks as he is at licking his butt.

Oh, and those Wasa crackers are sooo good.

- More Mortimer

Posted by tien mao in House and Home, Mortimer at 7:51 AM

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August 19, 2005

Mortimer Looking for Hiding Places

POST #    1850

Since he's moved up from Virginia, I think Mortimer has explored every part of my apartment. As we move stuff around though, he's always nearby and moves into any newly vacated square footage. There, he surveys the empty spot then moves along as his interest fades. There are some spots that he likes though, like under the coffee table. Because the table is so low, he has to dip his body to get under. It's rather amusing.

- More Mortimer

Posted by tien mao in House and Home, Mortimer at 7:45 AM

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August 1, 2005

Digging the New Digs or Just Confused By Them

POST #    1820

Too tired to come up with a real post, but after a busy weekend and some crazed moments, two residents of Virginia are now in New York. Relief. No more moving necessarily. But there is now fun with cat hair and furballs. Joy!!

Posted by tien mao in Friends/Family, House and Home at 7:50 AM

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July 28, 2005

The "New" Kitchen Lights

POST #    1815

I previously mentioned how I was moving my old living room lights into my kitchen. Well, I've got to say, they look great. I actually like them more than the colored lights that I had before. The kitchen is now very well lit and the lights are actually at different heights. The tiered configuration, thought of by my mom, really looks nice. And it allows access to the cabinets above the refrigerator.

Posted by tien mao in House and Home at 7:53 AM

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July 14, 2005

Parental Pond

POST #    1796

Last year, my parents had a pond built in their yard in Pennsylvania. In my pictures from last Ocotber, you can see that it was pretty barren besides the landscaping around the pond. Now, there's lots of algae that has grown on the rocks, making the pond and waterfalls much prettier. And I can confirm that there are fish and they did survive the winter.

Posted by tien mao in Friends/Family, House and Home, Photos at 7:55 AM

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June 28, 2005

Flowers with the 20D

POST #    1777

Did I say that I really like the 20D yet? There are a few problems though. I don't need it, I don't have the money for it, and I don't need it. But when have need and money come into play in the past? (See four sneaker craziness.) My parents have been talking about getting a new camera and since they already have a lens for a Canon SLR, getting a Canon digital SLR would make sense. Then maybe I can permanently borrow it from them.

Posted by tien mao in House and Home, Photos at 7:49 AM

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June 27, 2005

Curios in PA

POST #    1775

Over the weekend, I headed to my parents' house in Pennsylvania with some friends. Yvan brought along his Canon 20D and I took the opportunity to take some pictures. I've got to say that it was very, very, very nice. The "film speed" and quality of the photos is great. It's almost like you can't take a horrible picture with the camera. That's not to say that I didn't take any of those.

Posted by tien mao in Friends/Family, House and Home at 7:42 AM

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June 17, 2005

New Lights

POST #    1762

Over the weekend, I obtained some new lighting for the living room in my apartment. I liked my old lights, but I guess there were some issues with the transformers. That and I broke one when I was changing the lightbulb. Besides, they aren't really all that different. After that, it became too dark in my living room and the other lights were no longer sold. So that's why I need new lights in the living room.

The lights that were formerly there will now go to the kitchen with the ones in the kitchen going...into storage? Follow?

Posted by tien mao in House and Home at 9:58 AM

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March 2, 2005

Who Needs Laundry Money?

POST #    1594

I spent a lot of my night yesterday putting loose quarters into nice and tidy rolls. How fun! It's one of my responsibilities for my building and the first time I'm actually rolling the quarters. When I emptied the washer and dryers, they were actually overflowing with change. So much so that you couldn't even put money into the machine anymore.

If there is anyone wants to trade some $10 bills for some rolls of quarters, that would make bringing these to the bank a little easier. I've done over 40 rolls so far and think I can get to at least 55. Pity that I have my own washer and dryer, otherwise I would never have to scrounge for quarters again. Of course, these aren't quite as cool as having this - also not really mine.

Posted by tien mao in House and Home at 8:00 AM

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January 8, 2005

The Winter of My Discontent

POST #    1504

Damn DirectTV. It's sad. I love TV and this winter I might miss some because of DirecTV and the damn clouds over New York. For the past week or so, I've had some major issues picking up a signal on my TV. And when I do have a signal, it's un-watchable and without sound. God, what a fucking pain. Will someone please fix the cloud cover over my apartment? Thank you.

It's strange, it wasn't that big a problem earlier this year, but I guess there are more clouds in the winter or something. I think I need to call customer service. Now I really wish I had the option of regular cable service in my apartment.

I suppose it's not as bad as this, but at least he has a signal and can watch regular channels.

Posted by tien mao in House and Home, TV at 9:55 AM

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December 16, 2004

Semi-Fancy Fridge

POST #    1470

The NY Times had an article about refrigerators today that was pretty interesting. The article reports that 10 million refrigerators will be bough in 2004 with prices from $450-$6,500. While my GE Profile fridge was expensive at $2600, I love it and it was one of the few side-by-side fridges that would fit in my space. It had the thinnest profile, if you will.

The thing I love the most about my refrigerator is the ice maker and water dispenser. I don't know what I would do without them.

Posted by tien mao in House and Home at 10:55 PM

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December 5, 2004

Managing My Mess

POST #    1448

Anyone who has seen my apartment, or my old apartment, knows that I can get a little messy. Now, I'm not dirty, just messy. It's a fine collection of clothes on chairs, newspapers from weeks/months ago (I plan on reading them!), and other random pieces of paper. I clean every now and then - like when I have a party - but even when I swiff, I tend to avoid throwing away papers. I just stack the newspapers in a pile (to be read later) and swiff around the pile.

My piles tend to develop because I get lazy. I'm too lazy to fold my clothes and put them back into my closet. I'm not motivated to read the whole weekend paper when I can just watch TV or play video games. I really need to get my ass in gear. My once pristine desk is covered with mail, Netflix envelopes, change, and junk.

I guess what I really need is a cleaning service.

Posted by tien mao in House and Home at 11:15 AM

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November 22, 2004

The New Desk

POST #    1426

Sometime last week, my parents got me a new desk from IKEA. When I went in September, they said they were out of the desk, the Gustav, in the black/brown color and said they would mail me a postcard when they got it in. Needless to say, I never got a postcard. Damn IKEA. For an IKEA product, this desk is actually pretty sturdy and damn heavy. Lifting and assembling it by myself was no easy task. Assembly also required a screwdriver and hammer. What happened to the days when you would get a hex key?!? Clearly, this isn't the IKEA I know.

I really like how the color of the desk goes with my computer keyboard. All I need now is some fancier white speakers. Hmm...Oh, and IKEA is still a pain in the ass. I think I'm missing one screw, but I think I can live without it.

Posted by tien mao in House and Home at 7:54 AM

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November 16, 2004

A Serious Case of the Mondays

POST #    1416

As if going home sick from work (which I never, never do) isn't bad enough, the ceiling started leaking. Apparently, when they did the floor on the 3rd floor, a nail punctured a heating pipe. Why did it just leak yesterday? The pump for the boiler was fixed last week and it was finally cold enough for the heat to be turned on. Some more drying and painting for me. Fun, fun.

And yes, I know what that looks like.

Posted by tien mao in House and Home at 7:28 AM

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October 27, 2004

Farewell to the Hole

POST #    1369

After being fairly certain that repairs to the drain were effective, the hole in my wall has finally been sealed. Sure, it's been a huge pain in the ass, but at least it's fixed. There are still some things to touch up with some paint, but at least all the holes are plugged. Oh, and there's the matter of cleaning. A minor detail considering I won't have to mop up rain water anymore.

And, I can walk around barefoot again.

Posted by tien mao in House and Home at 7:57 AM

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October 18, 2004

A Weekend Away

POST #    1354

Over the weekend, I took a trip to the C-House where my parents had a "surprise" for me. They told me about the surprise more than three weeks ago, but wouldn't let me know what it was until I actually went to Pennsylvania. My mind was wild with ideas, money, car, money, money and car (really, I'm not that materialistic, but what else could possibly be a surprise for me). Turns out, the surprise wasn't really for me. It was just a "look what we did" surprise. They built a garden pond.

Totally a surprise...just not for me. As if you need something to make the countryside even more relaxing, they built it. It's nice. Nothing quite like the sound of trickling water, mini-waterfalls, rocks, pools of water, and fish that hide when it's cold. Makes me want to pee just thinking about it.

Posted by tien mao in Friends/Family, House and Home, Travel at 7:41 AM

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October 8, 2004

Why That's a Big Hole You Have

POST #    1335

Hmm, there's nothing quite like three pictures of a hole. This, however, is a very important hole. At least it is to me. It's the hole outside my basement window. Hopefully this hole is fixed. Before, it was not. When my contractor went into the hole, opening it up, it was found that there were cracks in the hole and the pipe that had eroded the ground below over time. All that was left was an empty area with a pool of water. Hopefully, this is now fixed. With a new pipe installed and new cement work, the hole looks good. All that remains is a test with water tomorrow.

With this hole fixed (I'm knocking on wood as I type), I can then fix this hole and after that, I can clean some and have a party so I can clean some more and get drunk to forget this mess.

Posted by tien mao in House and Home at 9:07 AM

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September 30, 2004

Might This be the Culprit?

POST #    1318

So it looks like this pipe might be the issue that's been causing my problems. It's also possible that the water is coming from underneath the drainage area outside the window. We'll have to flood the drain to test it out. Things would be so much easier if it really were the pipe. That wall almost looks like an excavation site or something. Dram. The only plus side I can see to all this is having another party when my apartment is fixed.

Sorry for the boringness as of late, but I'm busy, tired, and...tired. Yikes.

Posted by tien mao in House and Home at 7:23 AM

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September 29, 2004

Build Me an Ark, Because I've Got Some Flooding

POST #    1317

There is nothing quite like rushing home from work and mopping all night long. Apparently that's what you have to do when you have a steady flow of water coming into your apartment from at least 2 sources. I swear that I must have emptied more than 25 buckets of water, if not way more than 25. I think my feet are finally dry.

Now I really want that weather shield to be built. At least my washer and drier are getting a good workout. Why? Because of all the towels that I have to wash every time it rains. I also went through my whole stockpile of newspapers to help soak up some water during the day. Good thing I had those down on the floor during the day otherwise I might have had well more than a 1/2" of water on my floor.

To think that New York City didn't get the brunt of this storm. Sigh.

Posted by tien mao in House and Home at 7:52 AM

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September 19, 2004

My First Household Meeting

POST #    1297

Yesterday, I participated in the first owners for my building since I've moved in. We were supposed to elect a board of directors, but never really got around to it. I was late to the meeting, due to some water issues, but there were some important issues discussed.

Garbage, extermination, mail, common areas, and the all important building of a roof deck. There are still quite a few things to get out of the way before we even consider building a roof deck (structure of the roof, water flow on the roof, size, cost, impact on tenants below, etc), but it seems like everyone is pro-deck. It might even become a communal building thing where we all arm ourselves with hammers, nails, and make a booze inspired deck. With that in mind, who would want to be on the deck?

I think we got a good number of issues out of the way, and hopefully, we can get some things figured out before the next meeting takes place.

Woo, roof deck!

Posted by tien mao in House and Home at 11:45 AM

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September 18, 2004

Rain, Rain Go Away

POST #    1294

Water is a resource that people can't live without, wars starting over it and such, but it's something that I certainly don't need any more of. I'm tired of all the water that has recently flooded New York - and my apartment. All this water is arriving in the form of rain. For the second time in recent memory, there has been a shallow pool of water in one area of my basement. The most recent storm wasn't nearly as bad as the last - no flooding from the roof - but I still spent a good deal of time attempting to mop up the basement.

I think someone needs to build a hurricane stopping machine or mechanism. Sure, it's an impossible task, but if they contain and release enough energy to power the United States for a year, then there must be a way. Or maybe we can stop those winds from coming off of Africa that start the tropical storms. Cooling the waters in the Atlantic would also be a good idea. But seeing that these are more than likely to be impossible, I really need to get that basement fixed.

Oh, and the neighbor upstairs was flipping out again. This time, slamming on the door of the apartment above his at 7 AM demanding that the TV be turned down. Guess he chooses to ignore the fact that nobody is living in that apartment.

Posted by tien mao in House and Home, Rants at 3:14 PM

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September 9, 2004

Those Lovely Neighbors Upstairs

POST #    1269

I seem to have new neighbors upstairs and they are already on my bad side. First, I get a note from them asking me to keep the volume of my television or radio lower in the middle of the night because they "are unable to sleep with its current volume." What?!? My TV isn't that loud. And what is the middle of the night? 3 AM? 4 AM? Well, I'm never up at those hours, so that can't be me. And if 1 AM is considered the "middle" of the night, then they need to stay up longer.

Then, in yesterday's insane deluge, the "man of the house" pretty much went apeshit. He called the building super an "idiot" because he didn't speak English and was sweeping the water out of the hallways. Sweeping seemed logical since there was so much water that a bucket, which the goon was calling for, could never hold all the water. Then the jackass starts yelling, "He needs to call a construction crew, the fire department, anyone! I'm calling the police." Uh...yeah, I'm sure that's what you're supposed to do when there is water all over the place, call the police.

- "911, what's your emergency?"
- "Yes, my building is leaking, and the super is not putting buckets down."
- "Is your life in danger, sir?"
- "No, but my precious, precious walls. And he's just sweeping the water out of the hallways."
- Click.
- "Hello?"

Ah, gotta love it when people overreact.

Posted by tien mao in House and Home at 1:48 PM

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September 8, 2004

Frances Hits Greenpoint

POST #    1266

Now, I've had a "minor" leakage problem in my basement when it rains heavily, but this morning it was much more than minor. The remnants of Hurricane Frances hit my building and hit it hard. I woke up at 6:30 and heard that it was raining hard, so I laid down some towels in my basement. Then I hear a crashing noise and the sound of water in the building hallway. It seems as though the building was leaking as well.

After a little investigation (walking up the stairs), it was discovered that the water was pouring in from the roof. Apparently, there was so much water that the drain on the roof was overloaded and not draining properly. All in all, about 8-12 inches of water had accumulated. The building super fixed the problem, but the damage was done. Water was all over my side of the building and down the hallways. Obviously not a good thing.

Because the drain on the roof was now clear and gallons upon gallons of water were now flowing down the drain, my basement was quickly becoming flooded. A combination of water coming out of the shower and toilet (clean water from the roof, thankfully) and water coming in from my "minor" leak resulted in about an inch of water in one corner of my basement. This combined with water infiltration on the ceilings and walls of my first floor make for one huge pain in the ass. I wonder if there's any chance Pataki declares a state of emergency or FEMA comes to my assistance.

During this, I slipped more than once, falling once and breaking my cell phone in the process. Now I need to find the charger for my old phone. What a freaking pain. At least I'm not seriously injured.

Posted by tien mao in House and Home at 9:39 AM

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July 25, 2004

Welcome to My Home

POST #    1177

Last night, I had some people over to warm the apartment. Friends were brave enough to come all the way to Greenpoint just to see the place and to drink. I had a good time and I hope everyone that came did too. Only now am I getting to the mess that was left behind. I didn't get many pictures from the night, but I know there are some that might be floating around out there - including one with me getting my hair braided. Yikes.

Thanks to everyone who came, thanks for the gifts, thanks for the booze, thanks for coming out to Greenpoint. No thanks for the mess that I am now cleaning. Sigh...I hate cleaning as it is, and now I have to clean. That's what I get for having a party.

More information:
- Jake on "At Tien Mao's" (awesome photos of the evening)
- Joe on "Tien's Housewarming Party" (evidence of braiding)

Posted by tien mao in Food/Drink, Friends/Family, House and Home at 5:13 PM

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July 16, 2004

Mao Enters the 21st Century

POST #    1159

Say goodbye to AOL dial-up and connection speeds of 28.8 kbs; say hello to DSL via an Airport Card. To say that this is one of the best days of my life would be sad, but I don't know, I was pretty excited to finally have this connection up. After some issues in getting DSL service through Verizon, I'm finally connected.

My next door neighbor has DSL (yes, he does and I don't) and he was nice enough to share it with me. Even after moving my computer here and installing an Airport Card, I was unable to connect to his network. Except for a brief one hour period, I wasn't even close to picking up a connection. the instructions for the wireless card called for me to plug in an antenna that came with my G5, but I either never got it or misplaced it during the move (guess which). Thankfully, Apple sent me one after I called them and said it wasn't included with my computer and I just got it today - only two days after talking to them.

Never have I been so happy to be connected to the Internet - okay, there are times when it was better, but this was a damn good feeling. So sad, but so true. You don't know what you're missing until you try life on a dial-up connection after years of broadband.

What does this mean for you? Probably very little, except maybe some better, more thoughtful blogging.

Posted by tien mao in House and Home, Tech at 9:57 AM

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June 25, 2004

Mixing it Old School

POST #    1123

Now that I'm in Greenpoint, I've got to fit in a little. Short of learning Polish, which wouldn't be a bad idea, I have this fancy blender. This blender, full of 80's chic will allow me to blend in (har, har) with both the hipsters in Williamsburg and the older people in the area that still have these appliances.

The Osterizer has ten modes of Pulse-Matic goodness! I think it might be as old as me, I'm not really sure. Since the 80's look is in (or is it out again), I figure my Osterizer is good to have around.

I've got some rum, who wants to make some daiquiris?

Posted by tien mao in House and Home at 9:07 AM

8
Comments

 
 

June 22, 2004

Oh Verizon, How You Toy With Me

POST #    1116

It seems like my never ending issues with Verizon have ended, with no DSL service for me. After being rejected and then re-assured, I've been rejected one last time. So alas, no DSL service for me. I'm not going with satellite since there is an added cost, so I'm either regressing technologically to dial-up, waiting it out for cable, or sharing the connection of my next door neighbor. Obviously, I would like to do the latter - especially since he offered it about a month ago when the saga first started.

I kind of wonder why Verizon can't get their act together. I know sales, customer service, and DSL are all separate bunches of people, but would it hurt to communicate a little? You're one fucking company for christ sakes. I'm almost surprised the customer service person didn't say "why don't you try Time Warner?" after hearing of my troubles. They say the reason is that I'm on fiber optic and not copper wire, which is what they told me the first time too. But when I signed up the second time and changed my number, they pretty much assured me that I would be able to get it. Doesn't look like it, huh? Fucking bastards. Supposedly, they are working on fiber optic DSL now, which is a little crazy. What's going on in their heads? "Let's see, we have some old copper and this new-fangled thing they are calling fiber optic...and now we have this "Internet" thing with high speeds. Hmm...let's install it on the old technology as we upgrade everything else. This is a great idea!!" I'm sure it was probably just a way to get DSL out there to compete with cable Internet service.

Ho hum, looks like I'll be without a connection at home for a little bit. Must go talk to my neighbor. In the meantime, anyone want to buy an apartment?

Posted by tien mao in House and Home, Rants at 8:38 AM

4
Comments

 
 

June 18, 2004

My Apartment is Taking a Leak

POST #    1111

So yesterday after coming back from a spectacular dinner at Sushi Masa, I come home to see some shoes outside my apartment. Of course, this is all very strange since I wasn't expecting guests. Well, it was my parents who had come to pick up some empty boxes. They were in the cellar/basement and discovered some water. That's no good.

They had been there about 15 minutes and had already cleaned up most of the mess. The rug that I had was soaked with water as were a couple of boxes. It seems that the heavy rain last night caused some seepage from a few spots along two walls. This morning, there were a couple of moist spots on the newspaper that I placed along the walls, which could show the problem areas.

Lucky for me (or unlucky for me), my contractors are coming today to look at some other stuff. The forecast for today calls for some more thunderstorms, so I've got my fingers crossed and hope that everything goes a little more smoothly.

Posted by tien mao in House and Home at 8:39 AM

4
Comments

 
 

June 9, 2004

Verizon, You're Back in My Good Graces

POST #    1093

Previously, I mentioned that I hated Verizon because they couldn't give me DSL service on my line. Well, there's some sort of justice in this world - after spending about 45 minutes on the phone with two different Verizon people, I am able to get it by changing my phone number. Simple enough.

The representative I was on the phone with was very apologetic for making me wait a lot during the process, but with results like this, who's to complain? Yes, I had to switch phone numbers, but since nobody had that number yet, it's not really a problem. The new number is also easier to remember. Verizon seemed to know that they could give me service because my neighbor has it while having the same phone extension.

My new apartment is now complete and I won't have to move. Now all I need is a desk.

Posted by tien mao in House and Home at 8:16 AM

1
Comments

 
 

June 4, 2004

Stupid Verizon and Your Stupid DSL Service

POST #    1083

Yesterday, I was dealt a major blow to my grand apartment plans. Verizon said I can't get DSL service because I'm not on a copper wire, but a fiber optic one. Since I don't have cable access in the building, that leaves me with no recourse. Sigh. For an Internet addict like myself, this is a problem.

On the plus side, I can spend more time with my friend, television. I also called Time Warner again and they said that someone else called in about service and they might pull a line. That's the sweet to this sour story. It's only mildly comforting though. Nothing like a really nice computer with dial-up service. Woo!

And what ever happened to fiber optics being the wave of the future?!? Stupid Verizon and your dependence on old technology. Stick that copper wire up your ass! If you can provide me with DSL though, I'll gladly pull it out for you. Thanks.

Someone, please cry me a river.

Posted by tien mao in House and Home, Rants at 12:34 PM

10
Comments

 
 

June 3, 2004

Window Treatments Installed

POST #    1081

Yesterday, my blinds from Smith+Noble were installed. With that done, I can now walk around in my apartment naked and the cops can't watch me. Then again, you can see through the shades and cops probably have special peeping equipment, so I may refrain from walking around nude...but at least I have some privacy now.

Looking at my selections of fabric swatches, it turns out that I only used one of those shown - the privacy one for the bedroom. The other fabric I wanted was actually discontinued right before I wanted to order - those bastards! That said, I'm very happy with the fabric I selected - especially since I didn't see the swatches in person first. I don't have the pictures of it just yet, but you can see the online swatch here. It has a 12% openness factor, but I like the fact that the blinds will let some light in during the day.

I've got to say that my experience with Smith+Noble was quite good. I got one blind within days of placing my order and the rest within a couple of weeks. Sure, you have to install them yourself, but I think it's better than paying a few thousand for a blind company to come out and do all the work. Customer service from the Californian company was also top notch.

Posted by tien mao in House and Home at 9:58 AM

8
Comments

 
 

May 26, 2004

First Night

POST #    1065

I'm still in the process of moving a lot of stuff to my new apartment, but last night, I spent my first night there. With my newly assembled bed (started over the weekend and finished two nights ago), some phone service, and TV service, almost everything is set for my moving in. It's going to take some getting used to in my new place though. I have yet to learn the exact number of steps from bedroom to bathroom, bedroom to TV, TV to bathroom, and kitchen to TV. So many details to learn. I've also had my first run-in with my platform bed. I was warned that the edges were a drawback by several friends, but I'm glad I just brushed my shin into the edge and wasn't going full tilt towards the bed.

Because the phone line is finally working and connected, that means my DirectTV is also active. Excellent. No complaints about that yet, but I'm still working my way through learning the system. There is one thing I do know, I love TiVO! So far, I have set it up to record Seinfeld, The Simpsons, and Scrubs. It automatically recorded Finding Nemo for me, which was nice of it. I told the DirectTV people several times that I don't think I'll ever need to leave the house again.

In this process of putting together my bed, I also learned that man's best friend is not the dog, but the power tool. It made finishing up my bed so much easier. With about fifty screws to fasten, I think my hand would be pretty sore if I didn't use a power drill. Thank the inventors of the power tool, whoever they are.

Posted by tien mao in House and Home at 8:42 AM

19
Comments

 
 

May 25, 2004

The First Residents of Apartment 1E

POST #    1061

Now that the apartment is virtually complete, the first two living residents are in the apartment. They lived with me in Murray Hill too, but don't have any names. One is a queen of thorns and the other is some sort of fig plant. They were in pretty bad shape when I moved out of my old apartment, but have since been nursed back to health by my mom. Excellent work mom.

Posted by tien mao in House and Home at 8:33 AM

4
Comments

 
 

May 23, 2004

Cleaning and Assembling

POST #    1055

Yesterday, with the help of Christina and Shannan, my apartment is cleaner and I have some furniture assembled. There was already a lot of cleaning done through the week by my mom (thanks mom!), but there was a little more to be done yesterday.

The furniture that I bought from West Elm is now mostly assembled. My new coffee table was really easy to assemble, and the bed less so, but still easy. The bed also isn't quite finished yet. I have about 50 screws to tighten and I wasn't about to do that with a regular screwdriver.

The apartment is almost livable, all I need is Verizon to fix the damn phone line and to turn on the air conditioner.

Thanks again to Christina for her help yesterday, Shannan for her help yesterday and Friday, and my mom for her help the whole week (not to mention during the whole process).

- All Home Renovation entries

Posted by tien mao in House and Home at 10:21 AM

4
Comments

 
 

May 22, 2004

Movin', Movin', Movin'

POST #    1051

Since the last time I went to my apartment, it was almost in move-in condition, naturally, it would have been wise to move some stuff in. That's exactly what I did (with help, of course) on Friday. I took the day off and moved all my stuff out of storage and finally moved my bed and coffee table into the my apartment. Some cleaning took place and lots of waiting for Verizon service (fuckers never came). As you can see, I also took the protective PVC off my appliances.

- All Home Renovation entries

Posted by tien mao in House and Home at 9:41 AM

2
Comments

 
 

May 19, 2004

I'm Feeling Sleepy's

POST #    1047

Last night, I went shopping for a mattress. Originally, I was planning on shopping around for a mattress with various stores including Sleepy's, 1-800-MATTRES, and Macy's, but I ended up just buying one on the spot. I went with Sleepy's because they cut me a "deal", selling an $800 mattress for $650. Someone in the Gothamist Forum told me it was difficult to price shop because the vendors all have different model numbers from the manufacturers, which turns out to be true, but I think I got a good deal. All I know is that I'm getting it on Saturday. It's a Serta Perfect Sleeper, which has all those cute sheep in their ad campaigns. (You can even buy sheep in their store!!!)

Of course, I had the jingle in my head while shopping, "We're the mattress professionals doing it right, call Sleepy's for the rest of your life."

Posted by tien mao in House and Home at 7:34 AM

5
Comments

 
 

May 17, 2004

Virtual Move-In Condition

POST #    1039

It looks like my apartment is ready to live in. All that needs to happen is a few minor touch-ups/changes and some cleaning (cough...cough...). I also need to turn on the boiler, the air conditioner, and the washer and dryer. I'm taking Friday off work to get some items out of storage and pile them somewhere into my apartment. Fun, fun, fun. I guess this saga is finally coming to an end.

- All Home Renovation entries

Posted by tien mao in House and Home at 7:37 AM

4
Comments

 
 

May 14, 2004

Working Appliances...Excellent

POST #    1033

Well, it looks like my appliances work. The fridge is pictured here, cold and empty. Those that have known me a long time see this as typical, but hopefully I'll have some stuff in it soon. If not food, then at least some condiments. One cool feature of the fridge is that I can adjust the temperature in both the freezer and the fridge part.

- All Home Renovation entries

Posted by tien mao in House and Home at 7:42 AM

3
Comments

 
 

May 13, 2004

Lacquer and Stairs

POST #    1028

Since my contractors weren't wise enough to cover the floor after they installed it, they applied a fresh layer of lacquer to it. It's very shiny in the photo above, but it was still wet. Hopefully it will get duller when it dries and over time. The stairs also have a fresh coat of lacquer as well as some additional work on the stair treads. It all looks pretty good right now if you ask me.

Rumor has it that my appliances are working too, but since the floor was wet, I could not confirm this. Perhaps another trip tomorrow.

- All Home Renovation entries

Posted by tien mao in House and Home at 7:31 AM

7
Comments

 
 

May 10, 2004

Water, Water Everywhere...

POST #    1019

Okay, so maybe it's not water everywhere, but my kitchen faucet is now installed. The showers are now working too. The stair treads were redone, so now all I have to do is move in, right? Bwhahahaha. You kid. But seriously, I hope that everything can be finished this week with final touch-ups next week. Some serious cleaning between now and then and some moving action.

- All Home Renovation entries

Posted by tien mao in House and Home at 11:32 AM

0
Comments

 
 

May 6, 2004

Finally, Some Counterspace!

POST #    1004

Yesterday, my kitchen contractor installed the countertops in both the kitchen and bathrooms. Both are granite, heavy, and look really shiny and nice right now. This, of course, begs the question, "when will the apartment be finished?" Don't ask, because I don't know. I hope to move my stuff in before the end of the month. As always, I'm sure my contractor will do his best not to let that happen.

- All Home Renovation entries

Posted by tien mao in House and Home at 7:32 AM

9
Comments

 
 

April 28, 2004

A Few Lights and Downstairs Bathroom

POST #    983

Not much is going on at my apartment right now. I'm still waiting for the countertop to be delivered. In the first picture, you can see the lights for the living room. They are hanging a bit low right now, but that will be adjusted. I'm not sure if they will be bright enough, but if they aren't then I can just add some more room lighting. Lights above both sets of stairs, the track for lights in downstairs, and the light in the laundry room/closet were all installed. In the bathroom, the plumbing was re-worked for the fixtures that I ordered and all the patch work was taken care of.

As you can see, there is still a bit of time before it can be considered livable.

- All Home Renovation entries

Posted by tien mao in House and Home at 1:40 PM

4
Comments

 
 

April 24, 2004

Looking Good, Lookin' Real Good

POST #    972


Bathroom, with cabinet and toilet


Kitchen


Kitchen, close up

Since Tuesday's check-up on the apartment, a lot of progress has been made. Or at least it looks like it. In the bathroom, the toilet and cabinet are in place, but not yet secured. The kitchen looks like it has made progress too. The top cabinets are in place, except for two that were the wrong size. The appliances are temporarily in place, awaiting a connection to power and/or water. Swan (my cabinet fabricators) came in and measured for the countertops as well. Some lights, in the kitchen (pictured), living room and bedroom (both not pictured) were also installed.

- All Home Renovation entries

Posted by tien mao in House and Home at 7:20 AM

5
Comments

 
 

April 21, 2004

Splash Guard and Door Details

POST #    962


Splish splash, stainless steel backsplash


Door frame details

Not much progress was made since last week. One problem I have is my bathroom trim. It's all chrome looking, but I'm not sure that it goes with the wood doors. Any opinions out there?

The lights have supposedly arrived and will be installed later in the week. The 1st floor bathroom underwent some minor changes to accommodate the fixtures. I did, however, leave the apartment smelling like paint and wood stain.

- All Home Renovation entries

Posted by tien mao in House and Home at 7:25 AM

8
Comments

 
 

April 15, 2004

Because You Can Never Have Enough

POST #    944


Kitchen, now with some cabinets.


Cabinet details.


Bedroom closet. To be stained to match trim.

I know, you guys can't get enough of this apartment coverage. It's just so much fun, isn't it? Think of it this way, it's like Martha Stewart without the insider trading and the design instincts. I'm just not sure what that leaves you with.

As you can see above, the kitchen and bedroom have made a fair amount of progress since Saturday but not that much since Monday. Hopefully when I take another look on Friday, the cabinets will all be up. I know, you wait with bated breath.

- All Home Renovation entries

Posted by tien mao in House and Home at 7:34 AM

8
Comments

 
 

April 13, 2004

Floor Installed

POST #    940


Bedroom


Living room and kitchen


Kitchen with cabinets

When I went to my apartment on Saturday, they were getting the apartment ready for my wood flooring. Yesterday, during lunch, I went back to the apartment and most of the floor was already laid down. Upon returning after work, all the wood flooring had been finished and the cabinets had been delivered.

It turned out a little darker than I wanted, but the stain is growing on me.

- All Home Renovation entries

Posted by tien mao in House and Home at 7:20 AM

0
Comments

 
 

April 12, 2004

More Apartment Photos

POST #    933


Living Room, 1st Fl.


Bedroom


Looking downstairs to 1st Fl.


Bathroom, 1st Fl.


Kitchen


Stove for Kitchen (floor pictured is not mine)

Saturday, while I was waiting for those Direct TV bastards, I took some more pictures of my apartment's progress. They were paining the walls and getting ready to lay the wood floor. Today, my kitchen cabinets and bathroom cabinets are being delivered, so the floor needed to be finished before then.

Progress was slow, but is now very fast. Excellent.

- All Home Renovation entries

Posted by tien mao in House and Home at 7:21 AM

5
Comments

 
 

April 11, 2004

Direct TV - Welcome to My Shitlist

POST #    931

Today was my installation day for Direct TV. My installation time was set for 8 am to noon, brutal hours for a weekend installation, but I had some other things to attend to in the afternoon. So I dutifully wake up at 6:30 so I can make it there by 8. I get there, I wait. And wait, and wait. At 11:20, I get impatient and call Direct TV customer service. I find out I'm still scheduled for 8-12. At 11:40, I get a phone call saying that they are running late and would be there from 11:30-2. Hmm, that's great, 11:30-2 when it's already 11:40. Fucking retards. Of course, because I have lunch plans, I can't wait there until 2 to get the system installed. And they won't just install it if nobody is there.

My Direct TV isn't even working yet and they already have one strike against them. They blow. They better win me over with NFL Sunday Ticket. Bastards.

Posted by tien mao in House and Home at 10:09 AM

0
Comments

 
 

April 8, 2004

Apartment Update

POST #    926


Bedroom (larger than it looks, but still not huge)


1st floor living room


Cellar bathroom (yes, glass blocks in for shower)


Cellar

My apartment is coming along slowly, but at least there has been noticeable progress (at least in my mind anyway). All the drywall is up and there is primer on the walls, tile on the bathroom floors and walls. Actually, I think that's it in the progress department. Sad when I think that is the definition of progress.

Posted by tien mao in House and Home at 12:35 PM

7
Comments

 
 

March 31, 2004

Window Treatments

POST #    905

Okay, this goes pretty much against everything in my last post, but I'm deciding on window treatments for my apartment (it should be noted that I usually call them blinds). I am going to order roller shades from Smith+Noble, after my cousin recommended them. Prices seem resonable, but you have to install them yourself.

The rooms that I need blinds for are the bedroom, living room, and cellar. I think I'm going with privacy in the bedroom (hubba, hubba!) and just room darkening for the living room and cellar. I'm pretty sure the two blues and green are out as options.

Posted by tien mao in House and Home at 7:32 AM

6
Comments

 
 

March 25, 2004

I'm Going With Direct TV

POST #    886

Despite my desires for having cable and a cable modem, it doesn't look like Time Warner wants my business. Fools! Because of that, I've turned to Direct TV, which has a lot of upside. Over 150 channels for $42.99, a TiVo box for $100, and a free DVD player. You know that come September, I'm signing up for NFL Sunday Ticket, so anyone that wants in on some football action...you know where to go.

I also signed up for phone and DSL service from Verizon earlier this week. I think there is some line testing that is still required, but I hope it works out, because I won't be able to live without a high speed internet connection. I did all the Verizon stuff online too.

Posted by tien mao in House and Home at 7:16 AM

10
Comments

 
 

March 11, 2004

Must Sell HD Stock

POST #    834

Last night, I went to Home Depot to pick up some stuff for the apartment - towel racks, toilet paper dispenser, soap dish, shower rod, and a toilet. Unfortunately, I only 2/3 of my toilet - the water tank and the seat. Home Depot was out of the bowl, which is pretty essential. The customer service, while seemingly short on staff, was actually very good. They looked at alternate locations for the bowl and answered all my questions. One employee even offered help as she was about to leave.

The only problem I had was at the register. While the people were friendly, it took so long to pay for my items. I think I spent an hour and a half at Home Depot, with half of it waiting to pay. How is a company supposed to make any money if they can't get people through the payment transaction?

If only they could have some more people at the registers, it would flow so much smoother. Besides that, my experience at the Long Island City Home Depot was great. Tonight, I make another trip in a quest for the bowl.

Posted by tien mao in House and Home at 7:28 AM

6
Comments

 
 

March 9, 2004

First Item of New Furniture

POST #    821


Table (top) and bed.

After work tonight, I went to West Elm and bought my first new items for my apartment. The queen size platform bed and the rectangular block coffee table.

West Elm also has a white glove service for the assembly and delivery, but since my apartment isn't ready yet and I didn't want to pay the extra money, I decided to go directly to the store. I've since figured out that there is a reason that they have white glove service for the bed - it's huge! The salesperson said that it would fit in the car and boy was he wrong. It pretty much hung out the back. It was really heavy too. Luckily, I got it home okay.

What the furniture will eventually look like, I hope:

Posted by tien mao in House and Home at 7:37 AM

5
Comments

 
 

March 7, 2004

Appliances For Apartment

POST #    818

Since I have a kitchen layout, I needed some appliances to go with it. All stainless steel (well, the outside) and all from GE. Hopefully they will match the kitchen cabinets.

The refrigerator is 22.6 cubic feet and has numerous features including an upfront electronic digital display, an integrated ice system, a dispenser for ice and water outside the door, and an in-door beverage rack. The range is self cleaning, has a "precise simmer burner" and a "high output burner" and claims to have an extra large oven capacity. The microhood (combined microwave and hood) has sensor cooking controls to adjust time for cooking, a hidden vent, and a huge turntable. The dishwasher has two wash arms, the ability to preheat water and delay the start time, and "Piranha™" - a feature that grinds leftover food into small particles that can be washed away.

Also purchased, but not pictured are a washer and dryer (non GE).

Posted by tien mao in House and Home at 12:00 PM

7
Comments

 
 

March 5, 2004

Kitchen Design and Layout

POST #    815


(click on images for larger size)

Looks like the design for my kitchen is pretty much set. 36" wood cabinets with glass panels and stainless steel appliances. From the layout, you can see that the kitchen isn't that big, but it will have a lot more counter space than my kitchen in my old apartment. And it will just be that much nicer. All I need to do now is order those appliances.

- Previous cabinet photos (top for the wood, bottom for the glass)

Posted by tien mao in House and Home at 1:25 PM

12
Comments

 
 

March 4, 2004

Slight Redesign of Apartment

POST #    807

As my apartment progresses (I think it has to be finished in 5 weeks), there are some slight changes. The kitchen has changed a little, but has yet to be finalized. The faucets in the kitchen and bathrooms also changed from the original items I wanted. Now, I'm going with Grohe's Eurodisc in the kitchen and their products for the bathrooms too.

What a painful ongoing project. Hopefully it will be finished soon. I also have to order some appliances today and maybe some furniture too.

Posted by tien mao in House and Home at 7:33 AM

4
Comments

 
 

March 1, 2004

Apartment Update

POST #    798


Water heater.


Air handler.

It's been a little while since I've had any apartment updates, but the apartment is slowly progressing, emphasis on slowly. My air conditioner/heat and hot water heater/tank have been installed. The tile in the basement is finished. A toilet and vanity mirrors have been purchased. Kitchen and bathroom measurements have been taken.

This weekend, I found out that there is no cable in the building, which means no cable TV or cable modem. Clearly, this is not acceptable. I've called Time Warner and they are going to take a look at the building. I also inquired about the possibility of the building getting a bulk contract for cable service. Hopefully, all goes well. I can't imagine life without cable television and a cable modem.

Posted by tien mao in House and Home at 7:36 AM

17
Comments

 
 

February 7, 2004

Window Shopping for Furniture

POST #    752

My apartment is going slower than I would have liked, but what can you do? I'm lazy. The downside to that is that I've owned it since the end of last month. What's better to do when progress is slow on your apartment renovations than shopping for furniture?

I went to West Elm to look for some things since their stuff looks nice while remaining relativly cheap. They have a wood platform bed, a coffee table, and some lighting that I would like to buy. West Elm had plenty of chairs and couches as well, but I'm not sure they were the most comfotable or practical home furnishings.

Previously on the apartment:
- miscellaneous apartment stuff
- apartment closing
- revisiting counter options and tile options
- mortgage approval
- kitchen cabinet design
- contract and mortgage
- appliance shopping
- floor and counter ideas
- the apartment
- the floorplan

Posted by tien mao in House and Home at 11:50 PM

0
Comments

 
 

January 31, 2004

Miscellaneous Apartment Stuff

POST #    735


Bathroom faucets

Today, I went to pick out some more stuff for my apartment. I looked at everything from my kitchen cabinets and countertops (again) to the faucets in the bathrooms. There are some color changes in the countertop, but I didn't take any pictures because my battery was shot. It's either going to be a dark green (you can barely tell it's green) or a dark grey with some hints of red in it. Both are hard to explain, but look nice. The faucets and bathroom sinks are all from Kohler. I was originally going to go with brushed chrome for the faucets and fixtures, but polished chrome was substantially cheaper, so I'm going with those. The sinks in the bathrooms are white and the kitchen sink is stainless steel.

Previously on the apartment:
- apartment closing
- revisiting counter options and tile options
- mortgage approval
- kitchen cabinet design
- contract and mortgage
- appliance shopping
- floor and counter ideas
- the apartment
- the floorplan

Posted by tien mao in House and Home at 6:10 PM

19
Comments

 
 

January 28, 2004

Closing Time

POST #    729


Hello Mortgage!

Yesterday, I closed on my apartment. Closing is always a pain. Both sides have to sign countless sheets of papers, leaving your hand in no condition to do anything when you are finished. If you're buying, you get to fork over tons of money as a bonus. Overall, my contract to closing date was a fast process, but if you're buying an apartment, it seems like a process that will never end.

My reward? Besides owning a piece of property (unlike my last apartment, which was a co-op), I get this nice mortgage. Nothing like a six digit loan to brighten your day. I now get the renovation process to look forward to. This also seem like a process that will never end.

Previously on the apartment:
- revisiting counter options and tile options
- mortgage approval
- kitchen cabinet design
- contract and mortgage
- appliance shopping
- floor and counter ideas
- the apartment
- the floorplan

Posted by tien mao in House and Home at 7:22 AM

10
Comments

 
 

January 21, 2004

Counter and Tile Again

POST #    715


Bathroom wall, counter (bottom sample), and floor tile from left to right.

As buying my apartment becomes less fiction and more reality, my procrastination is coming to an end. Yesterday, we got the general contractor and the air conditioning guys together, re-selected a counter-top, selected floor tile for the basement and bathrooms, and wall tile for the bathrooms. I selected wood flooring and a counter sample in the past too, but we changed that around a bit to make things match a bit better. Now, if we could only start on the construction.

Next step for me is closing, which should be on Monday Tuesday, which is a lot closer that I even realize.

Previously on the apartment:
- mortgage approval
- kitchen cabinet design
- contract and mortgage
- appliance shopping
- floor and previous counter ideas
- the apartment
- the floorplan

Posted by tien mao in House and Home at 2:12 PM

3
Comments

 
 

January 12, 2004

American Dream, Here I come...Again

POST #    694

My bank faxed me a letter saying that I've been approved for a loan of $125,000 at an interest rate of 4.75% and a term of 15 years. I'm not sure what kind of crack they are smoking at the bank, but I say, "hook me up with some of that!" I guess they will be handing the check over to the condo directly, so I won't see a penny of the money, but it's still kind of crazy to be talking about that amount of money for an apartment. My last apartment, a studio, cost a mere $2000 more than what I'm about to borrow.

Previously on the apartment:
- kitchen cabinet design
- contract and mortgage
- appliance shopping
- floor and counter ideas
- the apartment
- the floorplan

Posted by tien mao in House and Home at 6:03 PM

0
Comments

 
 

December 20, 2003

Kitchen Cabinet Design

POST #    658


The style of cabinet and handle I want.


The type of glass that I want.

Yesterday, I went to go look at some kitchen cabinet designs and materials. All along, I have wanted wood cabinets with frosted glass doors, but you still need to see the designs before you order. Ideally, I want the style of cabinets in the first photo. Actually, that's almost exactly how I want my kitchen right down to the cabinet handles. The only things I would change are the tile on the wall, the stainless steel under the sink, and I would change the glass to the type in the second picture.

Previous new apartment entries:
- contract and mortgage
- appliance shopping
- floor and counter ideas
- the apartment
- the floorplan

Posted by tien mao in House and Home at 10:49 AM

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December 18, 2003

Contract Signed and They Are Just Giving the Money Away

POST #    647

I signed the contract for my apartment yesterday and handed over a nice large check. Not as large as the one I got when I sold my apartment, but it was still quite hefty. With the signed contract, I went to my bank to submit my mortgage application. On Monday, a fixed-rate 15-year mortgage was 4.875%, which is already damn low. When I went yesterday to lock in a rate, I was pleased to find out that the rate went down to 4.75%, which is a savings of $7.76 a month, but over 15 years, that's $1396.80. All you math geniuses can now figure out how much money I'm borrowing. The loan officer told me to expect a late January or early February closing. Now, I have to think home design again.

Previous new apartment entries:
- appliance shopping
- floor and counter ideas
- the apartment
- the floorplan

Posted by tien mao in House and Home at 9:44 AM

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December 14, 2003

Appliances Are Expensive

POST #    636

Yesterday, I went appliance shopping with my parents, which is not as fun as it sounds. For some reason, we went to New Jersey, but the place we went to was closed. We took a look at Home Depot and Best Buy. I drew one conclusion, appliances are expensive, but stainless steel appliances are even more expensive. Matching brands is a bitch as well. It seems that everyone and their mother is making appliances, like Samsung and LG. I did see this cool fridge at HD that had a Brita water dispenser built in, so all you had to do is pull the little lever. I also had to search for appliances that are narrower and less deep to accommodate my kitchen.

We did, however figure out the layout of the kitchen and get some cabinet ideas. My idea for the cabinets is wood doors with glass panels. All I have to do now is go through all the literature that I picked up and figure out exactly what I want. Decisions, decisions.

- floor and counter ideas
- the apartment
- the floorplan

Posted by tien mao in House and Home at 12:18 PM

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December 13, 2003

Home Design

POST #    635


Marble and floor samples.

Designing an apartment is hard. When given a clean slate to start with, any design choices reflect on the person doing the designing. Since I'm buying an apartment that needs extensive renovations, I'm pretty much starting with a clean slate. So far, I have looked at floor samples and kitchen counter samples. So, borrowing a page form Eleanor and her home improvement blog, I'll be posting about some of the "design decisions" that my mom and I are making. Unfortunately, I don't have an unlimited budget to work with, but I'll do the best I can. It should be noted that if the look comes out bad, it's entirely my mom's fault, but if it turns out nice, then the decisions were all mine.

Above are the sample of the floor that we are going to use and the marble samples for the kitchen counter. Originally, we were thinking of bamboo flooring, but I didn't take to the look and it's about $2 more per foot, so that idea was scrapped. Of the two marble samples above, I think we are going with the darker one for the kitchen and maybe we can go with the lighter one for the bathroom, but I'm not sure I want to go with marble in the bathroom.

- the apartment
- the floorplan

Posted by tien mao in House and Home at 12:26 PM

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