Construction Update: Electrical and Insulation (Finally!)

The "finally" mentioned in the title is totally aimed at our construction crew...and at myself. These photos were taken more than a month ago. I may be slightly behind on my blogging.

In my defense, photos of insulated walls and wiring are only so interesting. When can I decorate?!

No can lights in this room...well, except for this one random can light. But don't worry. The builder is going to take it down tomorrow...or at least before installing insulation...no, drywalling...umm, I mean after drywalling but certainly before cutting a hole in the drywall for this can light that isn't supposed to be here.

 The can light, by the way, is not even wired in.

F you, can light.

I'm convinced that whenever Sexy Nerd says "Look over here", Pica and Biscuit intentionally turn the other way.

Or perhaps they were just mesmerized by my pants.

For a green-certified home, this sure seems like a high electrical demand.

Soon, Sexy Nerd is going to fill the opening at the top of this photo with billions of end-cut logs. Let's hope the final product looks better than it sounds.

In the photo above, I adore the charming cutout toward the ceiling. I remembered this too late and had to pay the framers to add this. I also had to have the ductwork re-run because they'd had an entire gigantic wall to choose from and of course it had been placed in the exact same spot as my charming cutout.

 There's a photo of the original framing featured in this construction post. $200 well spent? 

IT LOOKS NOTHING LIKE THE PHOTO!!!

Aargh, I hate my "charming" cutout. Why is it so big? What the heck am I going to put up there?

My future office. Somehow, I always knew I'd end up in a room with padded walls.

Sexy Nerd took a "panorama" shot of his garage because it was built by Panorama Homes. Hee, hee.

Funny enough, everyone who has seen our garage door has commented on how great it is. They never seem to realize it's just a temporary door pieced together with scraps from multiple salvaged/broken doors. 

Clearly, everyone in my life is just humoring me.

Our builder stressed to us again and again (and then a little more) that the best way to keep costs down was to build a simple box of a house. This photo of the back courtyard is a reminder that when designing a custom home, even the most frugal cheapskates will go frivolously out of their minds.

I requested to have my photo taken next to our new fireplace "in the exact same pose as our builder, minus the yellow hat". My memory of the pose was off, but the hat was spot on. Though he's a great builder, there's no denying his trademark yellow hat was a big part of our decision to go with him.

Here is a guy who won't balk at our dream of bright yellow doors and shutters, we'd thought, so young and naive in our pre-construction days.

Long Distance Marriage

I don't say it enough here on my site, but I just absolutely love that Sexy Nerd of mine. You wouldn't suspect it if you knew him in real life, with his professional attire and reasonable social skills, but he's every bit as weird as me. I'm missing him this week because he's been traveling for work more than usual. He just got home from Kansas City last night and he's already gone again for a different business trip! And he leaves again next week for California. Sexy Nerd insists he doesn't have a secret other family, but isn't all this travelling exactly what someone with a secret other family would do?

You'd expect this would mean lots of phone calls, but guess what? I don't have a phone, home or otherwise. Well, not a working phone, at least, but my non-working phone is only $5 per month (more than $6 with taxes...which seems like a heck of a lot of taxes, now that I think of it. More than 20% taxes??) so we are all about emailing. Pretty appropriate for us, since we met on Match and built our relationship on a foundation of online conversations. He liked that I baked cookies and I liked that he took his grandpa to the museum. I'm getting off-topic though. Today, I thought it would be nice to share an email from Sexy Nerd that was waiting for me when I woke up the other day, along with my replies.

Oh, and Ansel is the interior decorator whose services are being provided to us free of charge through our builder, Panorama Homes. She's exactly like my crazy boss, so now I get to spend all day with my boss when I'm at work and all day with my boss when I'm not at work. That's a chocolate-covered story for another day though.

SN: Hello my love. The plane is super late, so I won't be at the hotel until really late tonight. Get some good sleep and don't forget to feed the puppies. They are so skinny.

Me: These fat puppies? Do you have some secret, hidden puppies I don't know about? Because that would be awesome.

Sorry your plane is being a jerk. Our travels went so smoothly. Maybe I was your good luck charm.

Mwah! Ansel and I are going to design you a hot pink house with lots of florals and glitter and little garden gnomes. Wait, would you enjoy the gnomes?

SN: I love garden gnomes!  I missed getting to talk to you last night.  Thought I would send you an email this morning since you are probably not up yet. How did your meeting with Ansel go?  How many gnomes did you add?  What shade of fuscia?

Me: You're right that I was not awake at 4:49 am. 2 am would have worked. Sooo close! I MISS YOU! That said, going to bed at 6:45 last night and watching Sailor Moon when I woke up at 11 pm was pretty awesome. It turns out the bad guys aren't really humans and they didn't even know it; they were a bird, a tiger, and a fish. When they died, Pegasus gifted them each with a dream mirror so that they could have a soul and "find salvation in the afterlife." Sailor Moon is a lot more Jesusy than I remember.

Oh, I almost forgot the best part. Ansel wants to know when we're going to have a baby. I suspect she'll be designing our house with a future baby in mind. Bah!
A man who loves garden gnomes is a rare catch. Isn't he just the greatest husband ever?

Cabinet Hardware OOPS

For my new master bathroom, I've bought pendant lights matching the one above. Sexy Nerd is building my vanity and, per my request, he is going to paint the drawers in a variety of colors to match the lights. The final product should be similar, colorwise, to the photo above, minus all that yucky, boring white.

Me: Cost Plus has cabinet hardware on sale today for 20% off, plus I have a coupon for an extra 30% off on top of that. How many knobs will I need for my bathroom vanity?

Sexy Nerd starts counting to himself, adding things up in the air because even calculating the number of drawers he's building must be done in a super-intelligent, nerdy fashion.

Him: 18.

Me, frustrated that my husband isn't paying attention: No, not hardware for everything. How many knobs do I need for only my bathroom vanity?

Him: Yeah. 18. You wanted a lot of drawers.

18?! Don't tell Sexy Nerd, but I probably shouldn't have been trusted with free reign of designing my new closet and vanity. I may have gotten a little carried away.

Side note: If you're reading this on Saturday, March 11th, the Cost Plus World Market sale is TODAY! Sign up for their emails to get the 30% off coupon. Hopefully, I'll be updating this post later to show off an excessive amount of cute new cabinet knobs.

Free and Frugal Things to Do in Washington DC

Sexy Nerd and I had the best time in Washington, DC last week. I love that the city is so walkable. One moment you're browsing gorgeous home items in Georgetown and the next you're inhaling the sweet scent of cherry blossoms at a Smithsonian museum. That's quite a walk, but doable, especially as my FitBit says I averaged 30,000 steps per day in DC. It's quite a bit higher than my average at home of 4,000. Though, that many steps would be around 15 miles, so...my FitBit may actually be broken.
Look at me wearing a sleeveless shirt in DC in February. This was a million times better than our last visit.

We didn't really even do much in DC, as Sexy Nerd was busy with work the majority of the time, but just being there was enough. One day, we will move there. Just you wait.

That last line should be sung, not read, obviously. Soaking up all the history in DC and Virginia wouldn't have been nearly as fun if I weren't a huge Hamilton fan. We went to Mount Vernon. Yes, the very same Mount Vernon as mentioned in the musical! Hee, hee.

Funny enough, we actually should be living in DC right now. Sexy Nerd's workplace would love to send him there for a few years and if they had offered sooner, we gladly would have accepted. But now we're smack dab in the middle of building a house! Get your timing together, Universe.
Knowing a move is off the table for at least another few years, we still enjoyed picking out imaginary houses to purchase. We're going to live by the water in Alexandria in a stately brick home, complete with a garage (hard to come by in the area) and cute shutters. After moving back to New Mexico, we'll use it as a rental.
I thought this yellow one by the Smithsonian National Zoo (which is free - this city is meant for me!) was just my type, so I trudged my tired legs up the street to get a closer look. Sadly, it's a bit dilapidated in person. I guess we won't be buying it after all. It didn't have a garage anyway.

Well, those reasons and the fact that we're in no position to buy the house right now...if it were even for sale.
Do you think these more modest neighbors hate that bright yellow house?
Look at this roof. It's covered in tiny metal eagles! I told Sexy Nerd to text this photo to our builder, along with the words STOP EVERYTHING - CHANGE TO EAGLE ROOF but he refused.

Can tiny metal eagles be added later? Are there other animals to choose from and do any of them look like Pica? She has a very regal look.

I've been into macro photography lately, much to Sexy Nerd's confusion. It drives him crazy when I get super close to a subject and take a photo that barely shows anything. If the above photo hadn't been zoomed in so tightly though and had instead shown the entire structure, you would never have paid attention to the beautiful wooden door and aged hardware. Doesn't it just make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside?

The "structure" is actually a tomb and there are dead bodies on the other side of this door. I hope you enjoyed your warm fuzzies while they lasted.

I'm pretty sure I've seen this exact same roof on a paint website, which is crazy because there's very little paint in the photo. Sherwin Williams?

And, of course, I'm still super into squirrel photos. They're not artistic or anything, but they do frustrate my husband just as much as macro photography. Maybe more.

The squirrel is posing, Sexy Nerd. He wants to have his photo taken. Also, his name is Nutters McGee.

Sexy Nerd took this one.

I had a great time at the Smithsonian National Zoo, excluding one weird incident. I was walking along, side by side with my new emu friend, when I stepped on a piece of gum on the pavement.

Only it wasn't a piece of gum.

It was the lower half (the only half) of a pink mouse, with a tail and two little splayed out legs and teensie tiny feet.

(Ack!)

While watching this elephant enjoy her pedicure, a man turned and sternly informed me that "you never turn your back to them," right before I decided not to stand next to him anymore.

This is my new favorite statue.

Awww! Sweet dreams, giant rat.

This fluffy fellow is a sand cat, which is the most adorable cat in existence. Even his scientific name is cute - felis margarita. I'd never seen one in person before, but have a suspicion zoos could get away with creating Sand Cat exhibits stocked with Persians.

I love this little fellow, but just wait until you see his name. He's no ordinary armadillo. He's...

...a Screaming Hairy Armadillo, AKA my new favorite animal.

For a (window) shopping enthusiast like myself, no trip to DC is complete without a visit to the Tyson's Corner mall in Virginia, which is just a quick metro ride away from the city. I knew it was enormous, but I'd forgotten just how enormous until I was circling its endless corridors. I could spend all day there. They even have a Ballard Designs store! I never knew my favorite decor catalog had physical, retail stores. There was an ottoman marked down from $650 to only $270, but I had no way to fit it inside my suitcase.

Sexy Nerd enjoyed our visit to the National Inventors Hall of Fame at the United States Patent and Trademark Office. The woman there was so friendly (and possibly so bored) that she offered to give us a personal tour.

This was our favorite exhibit. Which of these two Ford Mustangs do you prefer?  


Did you know The Energizer Bunny is a rip-off of The Duracell Bunny? Duracell didn't think to trademark their mascot until it was too late.

"Why are you taking a photo of an old fence," you-know-who demanded. I continued to photograph every post and flower and rock until Sexy Nerd pointed me down the hill...

 
...to the sheep! Look at them, all wooly and bleating. They seemed to be put off by my wool jacket though.

Cows too! "We paid to come here just to look at cows," asked Sexy Nerd? It was a rhetorical question because of course the cows only added extra value to the admission fee.

Ooh, which reminds me. When you go to Mount Vernon, be sure to purchase your tickets online to save an extra $2. We did this on Sexy Nerd's phone right outside the ticket line and it still worked.

Behold, a photo of Mount Vernon with absolutely NO TOURISTS, even on a Sunday. February is a great time to visit.

The Washingtons had quite the view.

George loooved symmetry. This was the greenhouse...but was also originally the home for slaves until George kicked them out to house plants instead. WTF, George?

At Mount Vernon, tour groups consist of about 20 people and each group sees one part of the home at a time. When Sexy Nerd saw a tour group leaving the porch, he tried frantically to take this photo before the next group arrived. They were too quick for him though.

Although the final resting place of George and Martha Washington is well maintained, we were appalled to see vandalism on several of the bricks. Who would do such a thing?

Even if it's in retaliation for the slaves, George Washington eventually changed his stance to anti-slavery. Plus, Martha was the one who actually freed them and it's her tomb too.

Really, if you would graffiti George Washington's tomb, please get the heck out of the United States right now. I'm feeling nice about this at the moment. When I first saw the bricks, my solution was that anyone caught vandalizing should have their hand chopped off. Sexy Nerd thought that was a bit extreme and favored locking the offending hand in a heavy, locked box for one month, at least for first-time offenders.

Next, we practiced our best "lock box" Al Gore impressions.

This dove weathervane would go perfectly with the little metal roof eagles that Sexy Nerd says we are absolutely not adding to our roof, not now and not ever.

And now for the grand finale of this post. It's pretty darn grand, if I do say so myself.

Behold, the first animated gif I've ever made in my life. Ta da!

Mattress Coupons: Save Money on Your New Mattress (Leesa, Casper, Amerisleep, Etc.)

A friend recently purchased a new mattress for her son, who is attending college in New York and relies solely on public transportation. I'd recommended Amerisleep to her, which was perfect because it could be shipped directly to his door, but after discussing it, we decided that investing in an Amerisleep twin mattress might not be the best choice. He would be leaving school in less than two years and needed a cheap, temporary solution.

We spent some time comparison shopping online. Based on cost alone, our top choice was a Sleep Number bed, which was on sale for $399. My friend said, "Two hundred a year is nothing compared to tuition. Sold!" We'd read some iffy reviews online about Sleep Number mattresses not lasting, an opinion reinforced by their abysmally short warranty, but hoped it would at least make it two years. I helped her navigate the checkout process, entering all of her son's delivery information, and felt confident in our choice. Then, Sleep Number demanded an extra $90 for delivery.

Back to square one. The next cheapest mattress on our list was the Leesa bed, which was on sale for $450 and included the ever-important free delivery. Granted, this was only $50 less than my beloved and highly-recommended Amerisleep mattress. With no options, no frills, and no track record (they'd been selling mattresses for only a year), Leesa is the poster child of dorm room living. We didn't need the mattress to last though.

Out of time, my friend had to go but said she could handle placing the order on her own later. She's not at all computer-savvy (even Pica and Biscuit have her beat in the computer department, and they're both terrible) but she was insistent. I should have known better. When we met up the next day, she had ordered her son a new Leesa mattress, but confessed the order process had taken absolutely forever. 

"I kept trying to get the memory foam mattress discount through your blog," she said, "but it wouldn't work." (For the record, this is not the same friend who thought my mattress was filled with straw. I may need to expand my circle of friends.) I explained that the memory foam mattress discount through my blog is specifically for only one kind of memory foam mattress, Amerisleep. "But there was an ad for Leesa right there on your site," she said. I explained that Google showed her that ad on my site because she'd been researching Leesa mattresses and that I have no control over what ad is displayed. (Actually, I have a funny story about this. Silly Google.) You can't just go through the Amerisleep link to get a discount on any mattress!

"Well, maybe you should fix that," she said.

So, 447 words into this post, I am finally getting to the point. You're welcome, Carol.

Mattress Coupons: Save Extra Money on Your New Mattress
(Even if it's not Amerisleep...but you really should buy an Amerisleep mattress! Here's why.)

The best thing about most of these discount links is that the extra savings are applied at the end of the checkout process, even if you purchase a mattress that's on sale or use a coupon from the mattress website. That's double the savings! Yours truly will also receive a bonus if you go through my link. I like to think I'll invest the extra dollars in something important, like replenishing my supply of spaghetti. (Update: I did not purchase enough.)

Nectar Mattress coupon - save $100 with promo code "Kitty100".

Leesa Mattress coupon - save $75 on your Leesa mattress through this link.

Casper Mattress coupon - save $50 on your Casper mattress through this link. (I've tested this one. Scroll to the end of this post for my thoughts.)

Sapira Mattress coupon - save $75 on your Sapira mattress through this link.

Amerisleep Mattress coupon - save $50 on your Amerisleep mattress through this link. (It's much better than Tempurpedic but less than half the cost!)

HIBR Mattress coupon - save $50 on your HIBR mattress through this link.

Brooklyn Bedding Mattress coupon - save $50 on your Brooklyn Bedding mattress through this link.

Zotto Mattress coupon - save $50 on your Zotto mattress through this link.

Oh my goodness, I can't believe this list is still going. Who knew there were so many different mattress options?!

Helix Sleep Mattress coupon - save $50 on your Helix Sleep mattress through this link.

GhostBed Mattress coupon - save $50 on your GhostBed mattress through this link.

Saintly Mattress coupon - save $50 on your Saintly mattress through this link.

Bear Mattress coupon - save $50 on your Bear mattress through this link.

Nolah Mattress coupon - save $50 on your Nolah mattress through this link.


Whew! When I started this coupon list, I never expected there to be so many mail-order mattress companies to include. Hooray for Google, right? I'd be interested in learning where each of these mattresses is built, as I have a strong suspicion several of them are actually the exact same company/same factory/same mattress masquerading under different names. I'm also curious how long each mattress brand has been around. While there are certainly reputable ones, I'm worried some of these newcomers may just be latching onto Amerisleep's success in the hope of making a quick buck, quality be darned.

I can't offer much help if you're set on a GhostBed or Zotto mattress (I chose those two examples because they're fun to say. Zotto! Ghostbed!) but please feel free to send me an email with any questions about our Amerisleep Liberty Bed mattress. We've had it since 2012 and could not be happier.
Leesa mattress coupon
Sexy Nerd smoked us a turkey yesterday and was glad to have a comfy mattress where he could wait out his tryptophan-induced sleepiness.

Experts say the tryptophan food coma is just a myth, Sexy Nerd. You hit the mattress due to overeating!

Oh, one more thing. I am a rambler. One more, more thing, I'd like to share a nifty email I recently received, which I've been wanting to post to my blog but wasn't sure how to tie it into anything. This mattress post is my perfect opportunity:


Hi, Kitty –

I emailed you in early December about considering an Amerisleep mattress. You kindly replied, and I wanted to give you an update.

We did order a King bed, and I was surprised that it arrived so quickly. In fact, we weren’t ready for it so we had to scramble to get things ready. (New paint, leading to new carpet, leading to re-arranging the bedroom.) Anyway, we finally were able to start sleeping on it and we are absolutely thrilled! Thank you for posting your honest evaluation.

We got a nice $250 discount when we ordered, and since I used your link I hope you received your bonus. If you didn’t, please let me know what I can do to make that happen for you.

Have a wonderful Christmas!

My blog readers are awesome. When we were chatting via email last month, this same reader wrote:

Thanks for your help. I hope you and your Sexy Nerd have a great Christmas season. (I would call Janet my Sexy Grandma but that just sounds creepy -- even though she is a grandma and is very sexy.) We have shared a bed for 38 years now and have had a great marriage. It's even greater now with four grandangels and one more on the way.

How sweet is that? I love my blog readers!

DC Cherry Blossoms - Did We Take Enough Photos?

For fun ideas for your next trip, visit my post 6 Reasons to Love Washington DC.

Sexy Nerd was in Washington DC for business last week and I jumped at the chance to join him, eager to escape the darn allergens (my annual nemesis) at home. Unlike our last visit to DC, which was so brutally frigid I actually considered death-by-icicle rather than continuing to trudge along, the weather was sunny and perfect this time. On the day we flew home to Albuquerque, the daytime temperature plummeted down to the low 40s (30s with the wind chill - brrr!) so our timing couldn't have been better. We were supposedly too early in the year to catch the famous DC cherry blossoms in bloom, with the 2017 National Cherry Blossom Festival still several weeks away, but I can't help thinking this year's festivities may be mistimed. By the time visitors arrive to see the cherry blossoms, they're all going to be gone!












You'd never know it from this photo, but Sexy Nerd was actually having a great time walking through the cherry trees. So why so stern? 

I made the mistake of asking him to smile.

*rolls eyes*
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