Fish Out of Water

Musings and observations about life from an East Coast native now living on the Left Coast in the California State Capitol since 2004. This fish has made her home in Madison, WI (7 years); Portland, OR (2 years); Las Vegas, NV (7 months); Middlebury, VT (3 summers); Marne-la-Vallee, a small town east of Paris, France (6 months); Middletown, CT (3 years); and Marshfield, MA, the fish's coastal hometown 40 miles south of Boston (17 years).

Location: Sacramento, California, United States


New Family Member!

Early last week, I learned that the City Animal Shelter was waiving the $65 adoption fee for any adult cat over 1 year old. I inferred that the Shelter was experiencing a surplus population of felines, which of course awoke my "we have to save them!" instincts, so I broached the subject with Mr. E. We had tried to adopt a second kitty last fall after Calypso joined us but were unable to complete the process, due to an outbreak of panleukopenia that affected the black-and-white boy cat we had planned to bring home.

But the idea had lingered... so I went to the Shelter on Wednesday to peruse the likely candidates. I visited with a black-and-grey tiger boy who was there with his brother due to an owner surrender for "too many cats." The little guy was very friendly and sociable, and his purr overflowed the "Get Acquainted" room, so I recommended that Mr. E make a trip to meet the kitty the next day. Although our boy is only 8 months old and didn't qualify for the fee waiver, we decided that he was the one for us, so we brought him home that day (Thursday 9/17).

Mr. E had the honour of naming the new guy and selected Captain Jack as an appropriate companion to Calypso (if you need a hint, think "Pirates of the Caribbean" movies...). The first couple of days were... interesting... as the two felines got to know each other, but by this weekend, they'd pretty much settled in, as the final photo below indicates.

Welcome, Captain Jack!

"Grrrrr! I'm Captain Jack, the pirate cat!"

"What is HE doing on MY bed???!!!"

On day #3, little man Captain Jack charmed the lady Calypso


Floor Tile Tear-Out

We're trying to do some DIY for our remodel to keep costs down. Since the carpet removal (see previous post) was pretty straightforward, we decided our next move was to attack the grey tile in the hallway and coat closet. We have the same tile in the kitchen and powder room but figured the hallway was a better place to "experiment."

Knowing that we'd have lots of dust flying around, we geared up appropriately with masks and safety goggles:

Mr. E took the first stab at the tiles with the scraper tool we'd purchased at Lowe's a few days before (see below), and I took the second shift about halfway through.

To help protect from the dust, Mr. E had taped a plastic drop-cloth to the walls and ceiling and brought our floor fan down from the bedroom to blow the debris out towards the front door as much as possible:

Removing the tiles was actually quite satisfying, and we managed to salvage two stacks of whole or almost-whole tiles for potential re-use. Removing the adhesive, however, was a different story... Here's the hall sans tiles, but the majority of the adhesive remains:

Mr. E took a chisel to the adhesive a few days later and was able to remove it all, but the process was very time-consuming, so we're now thinking it might be worthwhile paying the professionals to tackle this part of the demolition. We've got follow-up meetings with two potential contractors this week to discuss their bids, so we'll see what comes out of those conversations to help us make a decision about the remainder of the tile tear-out.



I just discovered that I'm featured on the web site of the Sacramento Cowtown marathon and 1/2 marathon, an event I've run every year since we mooved (ha, ha) to Sacto in 2004. The photo is from 2006, when I decided to have fun with the event and create a cow costume, complete with mini stuffed cows (courtesy of Mr. E) on my hat, shoes, and hands.

Check it out!


Remodel Project

After 5 years in Sacto, we've decided to tackle a fairly extensive remodel of the first floor of our townhouse. This is inspired primarily by the limitations of the small kitchen and by my deep dislike of the tile counters and tile floor (grout - grr!!!). We'll be removing the wall between the kitchen and living room, extending the wall in the stairwell so that we can rearrange all of the appliances along that wall, and creating a large moveable wheeled island (cabinets, wine storage, countertop, stools) to give us greater flexibility with the space and layout.

Of course, the first step for any remodel is... DEMOLITION! Yep, the fun part!

Last Thursday, I began the carpet tear-out after getting inspired by a meeting with one of our potential contractors. I pulled up the carpet and padding and pried out the tack strips in the area by the couch. Later that day, once Mr. E came home, we joined forces to complete the project - he cut and rolled strips of carpet and pad while I continued to remove the tack strips. He jumped in to finish that part when I headed upstairs to participate in Congresswoman Matsui's phone Town Hall meeting on Health Care Reform. We both pitched in on the clean-up (sweep, vacuum, sweep again, vacuum again, etc.)

Here are some photos of the results:

Carpet pad and underlying concrete near the kitchen

Rolls of carpet and pad in the garage post-removal

Exposed concrete in the dining/living area

Lovely bare concrete in the dining area with Mr. E's "thumbs-up" for a job well done

Rather than install new flooring (e.g. hardwood), we're planning to have the concrete bead-blasted, polished, treated/coloured, and sealed. We both really like the look and feel of the concrete, and the various cracks and holes provide additional texture and interest. And later, we'll add some area rugs for warmth and to help define the different spaces.

I'm planning to post remodel updates here as we continue our journey. This is just the beginning of the adventure...