Saturday, June 11, 2011

Old and New, Part 2: Desk

This is Part 2 of a 3 part series of big new things. Typically, these sort of things might not be noteworthy, but they all converged in a small period of time, making the changes stand-out. Also, each has a short little story; thus, my mini-series.

Like the Washing Machine, I got my old desk for my first apartment in college. The desk was a "new" purchase for the apartment because the space I had that could hold a desk in the bed room of that apartment was so small that most student desks, with enough surface space for a computer and printer, wouldn't fit. We looked at several stores and finally found one that measured up. I was never completely happy with the desk we found because it had no drawers, leaving everything out in the open. Also, it didn't quite match my style, but it looked decent and most importantly, It Fit!

That desk made 3 moves with me after that first apartment, and it served its purpose well, squeezing into a couple more small places and faithfully holding my computer. In the new house, I've set up my office in what a Realtor would call the Formal Living Room - and it's the first room you see when you walk into our house. Though I'm not sure if it has ever been a formal living room (the most recent previous owners used it as an office too), it is a focal point to guests that come over.

The space is quite a bit bigger than my previous desk spaces, and the clutter of the drawer-less desk really bothered me when we hosted people.

The old desk. Note that the floor was a necessary storage location, and there's no extra desktop space to use.
I tried to buy a new desk in the Black Friday sales last Thanksgiving, but when the desk arrived at the house, it was damaged and the place we bought it from was out-of-stock. We returned that desk, and I had been casually looking at other furniture stores for a new one since then.

Last weekend, while we were over at a friend's house, the topic of IKEA came up.  I've never actually been to IKEA, but John is familiar - that's where he got his bed. We thought it would be fun to visit IKEA just to experience the store, and if I happened to find a desk, that would be an added bonus.

I had looked online at IKEA for desks, but being unfamiliar with the numerous configuration setup of most IKEA furniture, all I could see was a bunch of desk tops with no drawers, which wasn't going to help my cause any. In going to the IKEA store, I was enlightened. I found a desk line I thought I liked, and we left that first visit with a booklet of all my many options for that desk.

My little project.  The final layout of the office (to-scale) is on the right and all the other option pieces are on the left.
Being the nerd that I am, I came home and made a scale drawing of the space and made little puzzle pieces to match the various IKEA desk options. I played around with the options for about 30 minutes and then John joined in my play for another 5 minutes before a final decision was reached.

A few days later, we returned to IKEA and purchased the appropriate parts. Unfortunately, I overestimated the opening of the hatch on my car by about 3.5 inches, and the desk top wouldn't fit. Luckily, our friend and frequent dog-sitter wasn't too far away and came to the rescue. (He actually has great taste in cars, so he drives the same model car as I do, but it's in shop for hail damage leaving him with a larger loaner vehicle that held the desk top nicely. Thanks again, Forest!)

Lo and Behold - Spacious and Uncluttered
After the multi-hour process of assembling IKEA furniture, the new desk is in its home.  It's amazing what a drawer set can do. The desk actually now holds more in it than before - Everything the starting picture above, plus a few things that I had stashed away in the guest bedroom closet, all fit nicely in the new, tidy desk. Hooray!

Stay tuned for "Old and New, Part 3: Oven" which is still a continuing saga that will hopefully end soon.

Old and New, Part 1: Washing Machine

This is the first of a three part series that I'll call "Old and New."  A bit by coincidence and a bit because we had wedding gift money, we've made several new additions to our house to replace some old troublesome items.

First, the washing machine.

When I got my first apartment in college, I scavenged furniture and appliances from many relatives, either recently deceased or moving to a smaller space.  One thing I was not able to scavenge was the dryer, so it was one of the very few items that I got new in that first apartment.  The washing machine on the other hand, was far from new... Our best guess from online research and looking at pictures and model numbers is that the washing machine was made in the late 1970s, but since it's previous owner had no more need of it, it was free if we could haul it away.

Before John met me, his goal in home furnishings was to have as little as possible, so that if he needed to move, all of his belongings could fit in the back of 1 or 2 pickup truck loads.  Needless to say, he didn't bother himself with owning a washer or dryer.  Thus, my 1970s washer became our joint washing machine.  Behold:

Though, in most cases, it did get our cloths clean, the gentle cycle had become a little too gentle, so my delicates often needed soap rinsed out before moving them to the dryer. Also, it was quite loud, off-balance, and since it has a center agitator, frequently tangled and stretched on our clothes.  

Along came Texas tax free Energy Star appliance weekend.  We decided to take advantage of the tax free and Memorial Day weekend sale combo, and we relieved the old, warn-out washer of its duties. And I think it was about time, seeing as the old one had more years on it than either of us do.

As an added bonus, our laundry room is much more presentable now.  Not that I plan on leaving the door open when guests come, but I won't be as embarrassed when we bring people in through the garage.  :-)

Thursday, June 9, 2011

What Now?

Since we got back from the honeymoon, we've:
  • Unpacked
  • Cleaned up the mess that was our front room
  • Opened all our gifts and put them away
  • Written all the Thank You cards
  • Hosted 2 poker nights
  • Gotten the pictures from the wedding (
  • Spent a portion of the money and gift cards we received on registry items we didn't get and other things that have been on our wish list for a while.
I just finally got the Thank You cards in the mail yesterday. Now, I'm not sure what I'm supposed to do next.  For the first time in over a year, I don't have a project or any deadlines in my personal life. (We were only engaged for 9 months, but before that we spent about 4 months choosing and buying our house.)

It's a nice feeling to not have something big looming... We've watched movies at home the last two nights, which we didn't do as much in the past year because there's always been some task to focus on. I like being able to goof off and not feel like I'm shirking some responsibility. I hope it stays that way for at least a little while.