Category: A little bit personal

Checking in

It’s been a bit of an unintended absence the last few weeks and I apologize. It felt like we literally spent the last few days of the 2015 hanging onto a thread and hoping the universe wouldn’t notice and send some other tragedy our way. It worked and 2016 has really turned the corner! So I thought I would check in, chat a bit, show you pictures of our dogs. It’s basically like my Instagram account, but with more words.

The flood waters have receded

Like the rest of St Louis, we faced an unprecedented amount of water falling from the sky in the warm weather of late December. Our basement nearly flooded. Truthfully we were only saved by the drainage system, which Aaron was able to divert most of the leaks into. Our sump pump ran constantly. I spent a sleepless night worrying about the basement literally filling up with water. At the peak of the crisis, water started shooting in OVER Aaron’s head. It was like the firehouse was suddenly built in the middle of a pond.

Fixing

But it precipitated (see what I did there) a welcome change. The massive amounts of water and a call from one of our neighbors (we’re not sure who, we tried to to call the sewer department and couldn’t get through) brought out a crew to pump the storm drain. That gave us a chance to tell them about the entire truck of concrete that was emptied into a now nonexistent manhole in preparation for tearing down the building by the substation. That prompted a massive project to fix the line and now the water is gone. It’s like it never happened. Barring an act of God (or another misplaced load of concrete) we think our basement is finally once again safe… and now has added protection thanks to the drainage system.

The workshop is happening

FOR REAL. I’m a broken record when it comes to this space, but things are getting real down there. The lockers are in place and full of supplies. The dining room is being freed of construction paraphernalia. And if it weren’t for an incorrect order of pvc pipe joints (it was marked incorrectly on Home Depot’s side) we would be JUST about done with that space. You’ll get a real update soon!

I got a Roomba!

Aaron surprised me (despite our “no gifts this Christmas”) with a Roomba he scored on an awesome Amazon deal. It is AHHHHHmazing! I feel so fancy, like a have a cleaning lady… even though she’s really only good at floor maintenance.

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Hank is huge!

Hank is still growing, but we think he’s reached his max height. The situation behind the couch went from this…

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To this:

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So that is what’s new with us. Things will get back to their regularly scheduled programming around here very soon. We’ve got our sights set on the dining room/living room and can’t wait to get going!

Random notes

The pictures for today’s post aren’t quite ready because we got our wires a little crossed. I asked Aaron to edit the “dresser pictures” and he edited the ones for the master bedroom, not the captain’s bedroom. #toomanydressers I blame South Jefferson Mid Century Modern for making us want to replace/add so much furniture.

So instead, you get some random thoughts from me… and some random iPhone pics, starting with a few of Hank!

Watching

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Seriously, how is he growing up so fast? The last check at the vet’s (because we don’t have a monster scale to weigh him) had him at 64 lbs, but I think he’s put on a few more since then.

The captain’s suite redo and the South Jefferson MCM buy (which included two dressers) has left us with so much furniture that we need to purge: two dressers, a desk, a beverage center fridge thing, a ghost chair, a pull down map that was destined for the captain’s room but was usurped by the $10 green and black map from the River Market Antique Mall, possibly an arc lamp, and our beloved record cabinet turned entertainment center/bar.

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As much as we still love this piece, we just don’t have a spot for it here. So we’re hoping to post everything to Craigslist this weekend. I can come back and share the links if anyone is interested.

I dug up this old (2 years!!) “video tour” of the firehouse. I totally forgot that we did this, but I’m glad we did because it’s mind blowing to see all the changes this way (rather than in static pictures.) Also it is CRACKING ME UP. Oh Past Heather, you’re so naïve with your ‘well have the workshop done soon’ statements.

A few notes:

  • It’s CRAZY to see the studio so open.
  • 1:58 – I think it’s funny that I reference having the workshop done “soon” because we all know it’s decidedly NOT done yet.
  • 3:52 – When we pop into the bathroom, you can see out the window. That view is SO different thanks to the ipe garage.
  • 4:50 – Working upstairs SUCKED. Man that space was just wholly depressing I’m so glad that’s a distant memory.
  • 5:16 – The living room wasn’t high on the list, but Aaron surprised me (or at least tried to surprise me) with a living room makeover. I’m so glad we tackled this space. See aforementioned wholly depressing atmosphere.

I’m thinking about doing a new walkthrough after the furniture purge… even if I’m the only one who wants this kind of record of our place. Maybe we’ll peek at the basement and outside too!

 

Hank

We showed you a few pictures of the newest addition to the firehouse, but many of you (rightfully) asked for more of that cuteness in your life. Hank has basically taken over my Instagram feed, but I figured it was worth taking a moment to share a few pictures from the professional camera on here.

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These were all shot in the first month we had him and since then he’s grown so much! When we brought him home he was 26 pounds. Now he’s already 50+. To say he’s going to be big is an understatement. We’re totally cool with that. In fact, it’s what we wanted.

He’s basically so cute that it’s unfair. I mean, come on. That face.

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Obviously there’s been a big learning curve for all of us.

Hank – How do I use these back legs? What can and can’t be chewed on? When will the big dog let me play with her?
Mojo – Is this thing really sticking around? Ok, fine I guess I’ll play with him.

She really wanted nothing to do with him for the first 4 weeks that he was with us. Maybe he was too small? Maybe she didn’t like that he accidentally bit her ear on day one? Thankfully, something clicked and she’s finally turned into the dog we thought she would be around him. She’s teaching him how to play and is so patient with him when they romp. It’s adorable.
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Our learning curve has been focused around finding a rhythm that works for every person and pet. It feels like it gets a little easier every day, which means less time cleaning up pee and more time soaking up this brief time when he’s so small.

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Last week and an addition to the firehouse (4 more paws!)

Last week was one for the history books. And I’m glad that it’s finally history. It was a rough one.

Let’s start with the good stuff. The highlight by far was bringing a new addition to the firehouse. Meet Hank!

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When we moved into the firehouse (after a few cocktails one evening) we got it into our head that with so much space we could totally handle another dog. Mojo is AHmazing, but sadly she won’t be with us forever. She has always been great with other dogs and puppies so we reasoned that we should get another dog (Great Dane was an easy decision) while she was still around to help an maybe instill some of her good qualities. Plus we figured having a playmate would keep her active.

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Thus far she isn’t quite sure how to handle Hank. We think the size difference is making her leery of any sort of playing. Mostly she tries to sleep on a different bed than him, even if it means wedging herself into his puppy-sized bed. He’s doing his best to play with her, but is appeased with the million toys we’ve pulled out from her younger days.

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He is absolutely adorable, which totally makes  up for all of the pee I’ve cleaned off the floor. But seriously, he’s really smart and already doing great in the kennel overnight.

Unfortunately, he (and we) walked into the most chaotic week we’ve ever shared as a married couple. I owe you SO many posts, but we started some of the contractor-fueled parts of the living room/dining room makeovers. First up was cutting holes for three new windows! Working through three layers of brick stirred up a lot of dust and a tear in the plastic + complete oversight at blocking the top of pole closet left our house a complete disaster. (In case you don’t know/remember the floors in the picture below are actually dark brown.)

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When we filmed our House Hunters: Where Are They Now episode, they asked for any and all crazy renovation stories. The only one we could come up with (which I talk about briefly in the episode) was when the paint started melting off our studio walls. That was bad. This was so much worse.

Not only did we not see this coming, it totally ruined (albeit, temporarily) most of our second floor. I’ve talked about it briefly before, but I firmly believe the way we get through renovations is by creating a sanctuary. It’s any no-reno zone that we can retreat to. Usually it’s our living room and on Tuesday it was coated in a 1/16 inch of dust.

Our newly refinished guestroom actually took the brunt of the dirt. It was basically like the dust dancer from Adele’s Rolling in the Deep video… except with less dancing… and more tears. Basically it was horrific.We were both completely overwhelmed. And the dust wasn’t done. Wednesday, Thursday and even Friday created a cloud that really couldn’t be stopped even when we doubled down on plastic and tape. The stairwell, the kitchen, the guestroom, the outdoor patio and garage were all coated. Not to mention the scene of the crime – the living room/dining room.

We kept the upstairs living room at a tolerable level and opted to tackle the living room/dining room/construction zone ourselves on Sunday. For the rest, we called in reinforcements. Today (literal) angels  from Green Angels descended on the firehouse and restored peace and order. Over the course of a day, they cleaned nooks and crannys that would have taken us weeks to address. My kitchen has never been so clean. I keep noticing things they touched, places that sparkle and being amazed. And, for the first time in a week, we are both able to breathe a sigh of relief.

I owe you SO many posts (more puppy pics, plans and windows in the living/dining rooms, more pics of furniture in the guestroom now that is has been cleaned), but I wanted to drop in and document this moment, even if it’s only for us to look back on. We’re doing so many things (puppy, new windows) that will pay off over time. I want to be able to look back and say “That really sucked, but it was really worth it.”

In front of the camera

Sorry for the radio silence. We have SOO much going on right now and not enough hours in the day. So I’ve been prioritizing wine and the couch over blogging. I’m sure you understand. We’re friends like that.

A few weeks ago, before things got crazy, we coaxed our friend, Stacey, to this side of the state to take our picture. We can be incredibly awkward in front of the camera, which is why Stacey’s “day in the life” session was perfect. It doesn’t hurt that we’re already friends, and he and Aaron bond over the love of film cameras. #photonerds Stacey brought a bunch of film (!!!) and we took him out to our favorite spot in St. Louis: a beach on the Mississippi River that only exists in the winter months when the water level is low. It’s the perfect spot to explore: cameras for us and nose to the ground for Mojo.

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And, because it wouldn’t be us if we didn’t WORK on something, we also used the trip to grab some (too much?) driftwood. The shot below is one of my favorites from the day!

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Then we headed back to the firehouse for some forced cuddle time out front. Because when you have a firehouse blog, people will ask you for pictures of your FACES in front of the firehouse. Weird, right? So we decided to get some proper blog profile pics.

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The only problem is that now I want to redo this shoot when everything is leafed out and green…

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Then it was time for dinner and relaxing in the courtyard, as you do.

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I love all of these images. They really do capture what life is like for us right now…. well, the days we’re not working on the firehouse. Trust that we basically killed ourselves before Stacey arrived to make sure the guestroom was ready for a human occupant.

I’ll be back (maybe next week?? It’s going to be a crazy one) with some more substantial updates. As always, if you want a sneak peek or a real-time look at our lives, feel free to follow me on Instagram.