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House Update And Why Psychics Shouldn’t Be Allowed At Parties.

Back when I had an office job and I sat around making maps all day for the military, I had an opportunity to go to the big ESRI GIS conference in San Diego. At the time I’d never been to San Diego, and I was like YES! California! Sunshine! Acronyms! Beaches! Bring it!

What I didn’t know was:

  • Anything about networking.
  • How to manage my time.
  • Anything about networking.
  • Free drink tickets are dangerous.

I found myself at the farewell party overlooking the gorgeous bay and the bridge leading out to Coronado Island and realizing I hadn’t really accomplished much except experiencing a short-lived burst of conference motivation and establishing a shorter-lived collection of free drink tickets that no one else wanted. So I wandered around the party, enjoying my buzz and mingling with a few familiar faces while pretending to know others who certainly seemed to recognize me. Eventually I meandered away from the crowds and towards an open-air tent under which sat a woman in loose, gypsy costume with a bored look on her face. I sat in the one empty chair across from her table.

“Why are you here?” I asked her. Buzzes make me brazen, and this was, after all, a party.

“I read palms,” she replied. “Want me to read yours?”

As a teen I’d collected books on reflexology and massage, was a closeted fan of John Edward, and even had an exceptionally strange experience with an Ouija board once (I didn’t have a lot of friends), but I tried to professionally contain my excitement — this was, after all, a conference — and shoved my sweaty hand in her face.

She placed her thumbs on my palm, her other digits resting on the back of my hand, and gently lowered it towards the table. Now. I don’t remember much of what she said, other than that I’d have two — or was it three? — children, and would have a successful career.

Oh. And that part about me dying young.

Okay, I’m exaggerating. She didn’t actually say I was going to die young. What she said was something like, Right now you have two strong spirit guides, but they leave you when you’re 31. Or 33. I can’t remember which age she said, but it was one of those two. Which wasn’t a huge deal when I was 24, but now that I’m 31, it seems like kind of an important distinction. One that, while it seems like a convenient excuse, might actually explain why I’m so incredibly neurotic.

After delivering that devastating blow, she was done. “So like… you mean I’m going to die?” I asked, knowing full-well we’re all going to die, but if I could do it later — much later — than 31 or 33, I’d be ever so grateful.

“No, all I can tell is that you have these spirit guides, and they’re going to leave. That line is short.”

I didn’t know if I believed in spirit guides, but I was pretty sure John Edward believed in spirit guides, and I felt like I might cry.

“Do you believe in what you do?” I asked, suddenly feeling far more sober than I actually was.

“With everything I have,” she replied. Her look — it was as sincere as they come.

With that, I stumbled off in search of more drink tickets.


As you can imagine, I haven’t really been big into psychics since then.


I figure as long as I refrain from having children or remain a bit of an entrepreneurial failure through the age of 33, I’m safe. Right? But recently I’ve begun to tap back into my psychic tendencies, and I have to say — the immediate future looks bleak.

All I see is paint.

This past weekend, I rearranged the laundry room. I had taken all of these wonderful “before” shots so you could see how we’ve been living, but apparently I formatted my memory card before uploading them to my computer, so the best I can show you is how it looked during the worst part of our kitchen renovation:


So imagine this but minus the shop vac and plethora of renovation paraphernalia sitting in the center of the room, and that’s basically how we’ve been living for the last 8 months. If you recall from the house tour, this is not actually a functioning laundry room. We had the movers put our nice washer and dryer in here because I couldn’t bear to stick them in our cobweb-infested pit of a garage, where the jury-rigged operational ones currently reside. Since there’s no water running here, the homeowners used this room off of the garage for an office.

That’s right.

See that desk back on the far wall? This is where they presumably sat doing paperwork while their cats shat in the litter boxes, which they also kept in this room.

Call me crazy, but I just can’t see myself working in there. And even though we’re not quite ready to fully convert it into a functional laundry room yet (our plumber’s estimate came in at $1,100, which I believe we’ll get back when we sell the house but we’re not currently in a place to make that financial leap), I couldn’t resist doing some re-arranging this weekend to get the space ready for the conversion.


Once I cleared all of our junk off of the desk, all I had to do was lift the top to remove it. That big slab of hollow wood had been resting on two shelf brackets and two wooden filing cabinets, but it wasn’t screwed in. I realized it would make a perfect counter for the washer and dryer, once we rip a good 8-inches off of the back so it doesn’t overhang.


I’m really bummed I don’t have my “before” shots of those shelves above the washer and dryer because until a few days ago, they were stuffed with laundry items, cleaning supplies, and basically everything we didn’t have room for in our smaller kitchen plus everything else we couldn’t find a home for in this new house. And while they’re not exactly looking “styled” these days, they’re organized, functional, and curiously absent of all items that belong in the kitchen.


I moved the two file cabinets to the corner where for now, they make a great place to store mutt supplies. I might even line one of the drawers and use it to store dog food so I can get rid of that ugly rubber Blitz container, which used to fit under a peninsula cabinet in our old kitchen.


I hung some hooks next to the door that leads to the back yard for leashes, collars, and car harnesses, which is super convenient whenever we walk the dogs, and I also hung my ugly ironing board holder contraption because, hey. Things don’t always have to be pretty. Sometimes just getting them off of the floor is enough.


I still need to finish organizing the built-ins next to the steps. Underneath is all of the paint we’ve used so far in this place, and above are two drawers — one with “grab ‘n go” junk like pens, rulers, batteries, etc., and the other with a few quick-grab home tools like the tape measure, packing tape, screwdrivers, etc. I’m also storing our cookbooks on those shelves until I get my shelves for the kitchen.


The new arrangement really opens up the space, and now I’m crazy excited to do some laundry in there. Sometimes I just push the buttons on my washer and dryer and pretend that they work.

Laundry Room To-Dos:

  • Install washer/dryer hookups
  • Install overhead lighting
  • Paint the brick
  • Paint the wood paneling
  • Paint the floors
  • Trim and edge countertop

So there is definitely some painting in my future.

And that’s not all.

Remember our master bathroom?


Justin spent the weekend sanding off the remaining wallpaper backing I couldn’t remove with the steamer, then patching, sanding, and priming the drywall to get it ready for paint. So there’s that.

And one more thing —

I also asked Justin to bring two of the extra wall cabinets from our kitchen into the sunroom, because I had a brilliant idea:


Oh hi, Dry Bar.

Anyone else feeling it?


I don’t think anything in my life makes more sense than this.

I just wish I’d thought of it before I’d painted all of the cabinets.

So that’s where we are with the “low-hanging fruit” projects we’ve decided to tackle while we wait for the money to replenish. Unfortunately, “inexpensive” usually translates to “paint.” Which is bad because I hate it. But at least it gives me an excuse to day drink.

As though the impending abandonment of my spirit guides wasn’t enough.


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I know this is random, but I am so glad that I read your blog today. I can’t believe it… I have an iron and ironing board holder on my laundry room wall and I never knew that’s what that was for!!!! Holy cow… I can’t wait to go home and use it the right way!!!! Thanks Katie!!!!


And you’ve just given me a whole new reason for blogging — helping people figure out the weird contraptions previous home owners have left behind. ;) Enjoy your new ironing board thinger majigger!!


I love seeing the renovations happening. When I win the lottery, I am hiring you to do my house!


Ha!! I’ll do it for free if you take me on some of your adventures. :)

The Wandering Gourmand

I sat next to a psychic at a wedding once (this was right after Obama was elected the first time). She was also the officiant which was weird. Should the couple feel relieved that she saw a bright future or scared that she was out for repeat business? But I digress.

For some reason, I was seated at her table. During dinner she told me that we would have a child within a year, my father would immediately die after the child was born, we would name him after my father, Obama would be assassinated before he took oath, my career was in for some hard times in the near future, and my overall career path was bright. So far, she has been right only about my immediate career path (I lost my job three months later). I’m hoping she nails that last part, too.


HA! I can’t believe she’d tell you those things — at a wedding, of all places! So crazy. I’m glad she was wrong, and definitely hope she’s write about the last. :)

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