Tag Archives: home

Broken Oven (or Putting A Wrench Into My Plans)

After writing the post yesterday, I felt extra motivated to get my butt back into gear. I don’t want to play the victim, and when I read my post after writing it that’s exactly what it felt like I was doing. I don’t need to be a victim and I have no plans on being one.

So I went back to the food plan that I created for this week and decided to figure out what I could do to shift things around so that I could still pretty much follow the plan. I needed to move some of the dinners to other days and shift around a few other meals, but it still seemed pretty reasonable to me and I figured I could get it to all work out for me.

So last night, I knew I would need to do some cooking. I’ve been making these really great muffins out of garbanzo beans that taste really decadent for breakfasts and lunches a lot and needed to bake those. And I also wanted to make meatloaf muffins to have for a few dinners. I decided to make the meatloaf first since I needed those for dinner and got to pre-heating my oven. While my oven was pre-heating, I mixed up all the ingredients for the meatloaf (with almost more veggies than meat) and got it into a muffin tray.

And then I tried to open my oven.

For some reason, my oven would only open on one side. The other side seemed stuck and I couldn’t open it no matter what. My oven doesn’t have a self-cleaning option so it wasn’t stuck because of that (which is what everything online seemed to say) and I couldn’t see it stuck on anything. And then, the oven door slipped and somehow one side fell off the hinges.

I’m glad I had turned off the oven before the door fell because it wasn’t too hot when it fell down. I tried with everything I had to get the door back on the hinges, but there was no way that it was going to go back. And with one side falling off like that, the oven was starting to tip over so I figured out how to get the door totally off the over and put it on the kitchen floor.

Fortunately, my neighbor let me use his oven to cook the meatloaf so that at least I didn’t have to throw all that out. He said I could bake the other things that I needed to too, but I didn’t want to worry too much about it and figured that hopefully my oven would be fixed soon enough.

My landlord came by to see if the oven could be fixed, but he doesn’t think it’s possible. I’m waiting for a call from another repair person to see if they are going to be able to fix it or if I’ll need to get a new oven. I’m not sure if I want a new oven because I finally have this one figured out (basically I need to set the temperature almost 100 degrees higher than I need it to be so it’s right). And hopefully I’ll find out within a day or two what will be happening.

I hate that when I get things back on track in my head, there is something that stops me. There are several things that I wanted to make this week that involve using my oven. And yes, I could probably go back to my neighbor to use his again, but I don’t want to inconvenience him. If my oven if fixed soon, it shouldn’t throw too much off. And again, I have rearranged my food plan to see what I can make and how I can get things to work out. I may need to make a grocery run to get a few other things that I know I can make in the microwave or on the stove, but I should be able to be ok.

And even though this isn’t a fun situation, I’m still trying to look on the positives. At least I rent and I don’t have to spend anything to get my oven fixed. My oven broke before I put my food in, because if it broke when the food was in there I’m pretty sure everything would have been burnt. And not having an oven isn’t that horrible. It’s a setback, but a super minor one compared to everything else I have dealt with. And hopefully soon, I’ll have a new oven that will work perfect to use for all the cooking I know I need to be doing!

The Roadrunner (or More Memories In My House)

For several years, I’ve been getting things of my grandparents’ to put into my house.

This started when my grandparents were selling their house and moving to their apartment. They had to do a big downsizing and lots of things were given to various family members. While I didn’t really get any pieces of furniture, I got some cool things from my grandpa’s office. That never felt weird because since they were downsizing, they chose to give those things away. And none of the things I got had significant memories to me because they were mainly things from my grandpa’s office (I wasn’t in his office that often in their house).

Then after my grandpa died, I got more things that belonged to my grandparents because my grandma was moving from the apartment she shared with my grandpa into a smaller apartment.

Some of the things I got then were sent to me by my parents (like the mattress from the guest room) and were selected for me. Some things were things that I specifically asked to get to keep (like the martini swords I got). And some things were things that I saw right before the old apartment was closed up when I went to lunch with my grandma and aunt. Everything that nobody had claimed was in the living room and I was allowed to select anything that I thought was cool and wanted to keep. I took a couple of things, but again they weren’t really things that had specific memories for me.

When I went down to San Diego for Thanksgiving, I knew I’d be bringing back the bear made from my grandpa’s sweaters. The bears had been shipped to my parents’ house, so I didn’t get to pick mine out until Thanksgiving. But I wasn’t expecting to take anything else home with me.

But when I was hanging out with my parents the night I arrived, I saw two painting from my grandparents’ house sitting in the rental house. I asked my mom why they were there, and she said that they were taking them back to their house because they had previously been stored.

One painting I’m not sure where it was in my grandparents’ house. But the other painting was very familiar to me. It used to be in the kitchen eating area of my grandparents’ house. I always called it “The Roadrunner” because it reminded me of the roadrunner in the cartoons. I think my brother and cousins might have called it that as well, but I’m not too sure.

I told my mom that I’d like to have The Roadrunner one day because I’ve always loved that painting. My parents then decided that they really didn’t have a place for The Roadrunner to be in their house, so I could take the painting home with me when I drove back to LA (thank goodness I have a decent sized car).

The day after I got back to LA, my parents came to my house for the afternoon. They were driving up to Santa Barbara to see my brother and sister-in-law and made a stop by me to have lunch, see my house, and help me do projects in my house. Fortunately, almost all the projects in my house were already done (I installed the a/c without my dad being there). But my parents did help me hang The Roadrunner in my living room.

New Decorations

Right below The Roadrunner is the acrylic chair I got from my grandparents’ apartment (it was my grandma’s makeup vanity chair in there) and on the chair is my bear.

I love having these things in my house, but it is a bit odd having The Roadrunner in there. I have thousands of memories of that hanging in my grandparents’ kitchen and even though I haven’t seen it in that space in years the memories are still strong. I’m almost doing double takes every time I pass it because it doesn’t feel quite right yet that it’s with me and not with my grandma.

It’s weird that this painting is the first thing that made me feel like I’m stealing something from my grandparents (which is not the case at all) and nothing else I’ve gotten has had anything but positive feelings. It might be because of all of the memories attached or it might be because it’s the most obvious thing in my house that I’ve gotten.

I know that the weird feeling will hopefully go away soon and I will only have the feeling of gratefulness that my family let me have this painting in my house because it is special to me. And I can create new memories with The Roadrunner now.

FaceTime Repair (or Baby Steps To Prepare Me For Home Ownership)

For the last several years, whenever something goes wrong at my house that my landlord needs to fix, my dad reminds me that these are things that I will have to deal with on my own when I’m eventually a home owner. He always says that there are some things that you just need to be prepared to write a check for (like those floods and gas leak that I had at my house) but there are other things that I should know how to do myself.

I think that I’m pretty handy with things. I have issues with some repairs at my house because my walls are weird (it takes anchors and a special drill bit to hang things on my walls), but I was able to install my air conditioning with the help of a friend. And a couple of years ago, a built a screen door with my dad and installed it at my parents’ house (we talked about that accomplishment a lot). I have a pretty well stocked tool kit thanks to my dad and I’m prepared for several things that I might need to do around the house (or that my dad might do for me when he comes to visit).

The other day, there were some friends over at my house. After everyone went home, I was putting things back where they belong and fixing things up when I realized that my toilet was broken. I eventually figured out that the chain (which on my toilet was actually a rubber string) had broken off. Without the help of YouTube or my dad, I did figure out how I could manually flush the toilet by putting my hands into the tank (that’s clean water, don’t worry) and pulling up the stopper.

But I didn’t want to have to do that a ton. So I let my landlord know that my toilet was broken and then called my dad to see what he would say. He was out but got back to me a bit later that night. He agreed that the chain was broken on the toilet and we tried to think of some temporary solutions to fix it before my landlord would have a chance to fix it.

Somehow, my dad remembered that he had given me picture hanging wire in the past, so I dug through my tool kit and found the last piece of it. I then put my dad on FaceTime and balanced my phone on the shelf behind my toilet so he could see what I was doing.

FaceTime Help

It only took a few minutes, but I managed to fix it! I know this will sound so corny and silly, but it was the greatest feeling ever that I was able to create a temporary fix for the chain in the toilet. I needed this positive boost in my life after having a bad day. I was on such a high knowing that I did this and so thankful that not only is my dad handy but that he is willing to get on FaceTime and help me fix things on my own!

My landlord was able to come the next day to do a real repair, but he was pretty darn impressed with my picture hanging wire repair. He even tested it a couple of times before doing the fix to see how well it worked!

Obviously, it would be nice to be able to call a plumber for every little repair that I need. I’m lucky that I’m in an apartment where I’m not financially responsible for repairs. But I’m trying to do as much as I can on my own (or learning how the repair is done when the professionals do work here) so that hopefully one day when I own a home I can do as much as possible on my own. As easy as it would be to write a check for these things, it’s so much more empowering to do things myself.

Who knew that a broken toilet would be the key to improving my mood?

Out Of The Heat (or Finally Getting A/C!)

I’ve been complaining about the heat in my house since my very first summer here. Because my house is so old, the insulation is pretty bad. So when it gets hot in LA, the heat gets trapped inside even if it cools down outside in the evening. There have been plenty of nights where it’s over 90 degrees inside my bedroom when I was going to bed.

I have never really lived in a place with a/c (my last apartment had it but it was facing a wall in the kitchen so it was useless). And I wanted to get some sort of a/c for my house. But there were issues from the beginning. Until recently, my house had fuses and there wasn’t enough power to run an a/c. Then when I got circuits, I was told that I would have to still watch how much power I used because there is still very little power in my place.

Next was the issue of trying to find a portable a/c unit that wasn’t a swamp cooler (because it does get too humid in LA to use one) and didn’t use a ton of power. Once I found that, then it was the issue of finding one that wasn’t insanely expensive. I never found anything that seemed right to me so I never got a portable a/c unit.

I was talking to my landlord last month and we were making small talk about the heat. I mentioned the lack of a/c and he said that because of my house set up I was pretty limited in my options. I said how I really wanted to put a window unit in my dining room, and he said that it couldn’t block the communal driveway (my dining room looks onto the driveway and there is about a foot of room between my wall and the driveway path). With that new restriction, I started to do some research again.

I actually found a low profile window a/c that doesn’t stick out that far and is energy-efficient so it doesn’t go over the power limit I have in my house! And since I hadn’t asked for anything for my birthday from my parents, they agreed to buy it for me!

Once I knew it was on its way, I had to figure out how I’d install it. Fortunately, the directions were available online so my dad and I both researched them. And when I was at brunch with my friend Jane a week ago, I mentioned the new a/c unit and she said that she had installed one before! So she agreed to help me out when it was here!

This past Sunday was installation day. Prior to that, I had made a trip to Home Depot because my dad discovered some fine print in the directions that would require me to drill a piece of wood onto my window sill. And my dad and I had multiple FaceTime calls so he could look at what I was doing.

FaceTime Help

It was actually pretty funny when we were on FaceTime trying to figure this all out.

On Sunday, there were dozens of phone calls/FaceTime calls to my dad while Jane and I were working and then we also had to make another Home Depot run. But after a couple of attempts (and thanks to my power drill and saw that my dad got me years ago), we were able to install it!

New A:C

I’m sure this sounds silly, but even in the couple of days that I’ve had it this a/c unit has made a huge difference in my life! I got it installed just in time for another heat wave in LA and I’m finally getting to work in my house in reasonable temperatures.

Cooler House

I’m still super nervous about how much more expensive my power bill will be, but there was a little guide on the a/c unit that said if you ran the until 8 hours a day for 3 months it would only cost an extra $48 a year. Hopefully that’s true.

I’m so glad that my parents were generous enough to get me this a/c unit. I’m so happy that I was able to install it and that Jane was willing to help me (and we did this in the heat since the a/c wasn’t in yet!). And I’m so excited that I will not feel as sick inside my house during a heat wave and feel trapped since I have to work in my house.

Hopefully when I eventually move one day this a/c unit is as easy to uninstall as it was to install. This thing is totally coming with me wherever I go!

Upgrading My House (or Feeling Lucky)

Monday was a pretty exciting day at my house. It was the day that my house felt like it was completely refreshed!

First, a little back story.

My grandma switched apartments recently (since my grandpa passed away she didn’t need such a big space). Her old apartment had a guest bedroom with a really nice mattress (my mom picked it out based on what she would prefer to sleep on). Over the few years in that apartment the guest room was used pretty rarely, so the mattress was almost new.

With the move, my family had to think of what to do with the surplus furniture. The original idea was to donate the guest bedroom mattress because that was easiest. But my mom remembered that I had been saying for a while that I wanted a new mattress and was hoping to save up for one. So my mom called me and asked if I wanted the guest room mattress.

I said of course and tried to figure out how to get a mattress from San Diego to LA. In the end, my parents had to hire movers for some stuff for them so they hired movers for my mattress (they gave my parents a pretty great deal). So my parents told me that I should be getting a phone call sometime this week to schedule the mattress delivery.

I had found someone who needed a mattress and was going to take my old mattress and box spring from me, but they weren’t going to take it until my new mattress was here. So we were all just waiting on the delivery guys to call me.

Monday morning, I get a call from the movers. They were parked in front of my house and wanted to know if I needed them to carry the mattress for me! I had no call prior to that to arrange for delivery and they were lucky that I happened to be home when they called. There were a couple of moments of stress, but in the end I had the movers move my old mattress into my garage and then move the new mattress into my house. And since they arrived with no notice, I wasn’t able to tip them (didn’t have time to go to the bank). But they seemed to understand and my parents agreed that it was ok since no delivery time was told to me.

Even with the craziness and stress, I have to admit that having a wonderful new mattress in my room makes me so happy!

New Mattress

And I slept pretty well the first night on it. It’s a much nicer mattress than I can afford and it had a pillow topper mattress pad. So I pretty much feel like my bed is something you would find in a hotel now!

Besides the new mattress, I got another upgrade in my house on Monday. The day I moved into my house (over 5 years ago) there was a small chip in the laminate floor near where I ended up putting my desk. My landlord said that he would fix it but asked me if I wouldn’t mind waiting on the fix. I was fine with that until the hole continued to get bigger and bigger. I covered up the hole the best that I could and waited for it to be fixed.

I reminded my landlord about it a few times, but I was not dealing with annual rent raises so I kind of stayed quiet. But after my recent rent raise, I said something again to my landlord.

There were a couple of issues with fixing my floors. Mainly, the flooring that I have isn’t manufactured anymore so there was no way to match it. After some ideas, we finally came to the conclusion that the flooring could be removed from my closet and put in my living room. Then the mismatched floor could be inside my closet (where it doesn’t really matter how it looks).

The construction was pretty loud and took a few hours, but as you can see from the before and after it was worth it.

Floor Before and After

So in one day I got a new mattress and some new flooring! And my old mattress went to its new home so someone else got a new (used) mattress on Monday. I love win-win situations like that!

Sometimes when you are renting a place it can always feel like a rental and not like home, but I’ve worked really hard to make sure that my place feels like home. And the new mattress and perfect floors really helps!

Challenge Winners (or OK Being A Loser)

This past weekend was the party for the Orangetheory weight-loss challenge. I knew how much I had lost because the weigh-in was the week before, and I was pretty sure that I didn’t win.

There was going to be a men’s and women’s winner and while I had no clue who the winner for the women would be, I had a good idea who the winner for the men would be.

There is one guy who I talk with from time to time. Sometimes we are in the same workout class, but more often he’s in the class after mine. We would check in with each other throughout the challenge and made sure that neither of us were slacking off. It also turns out that we have a mutual friend.

The day of the final weigh-in, he shared with me that he had lost over 30 pounds in the 6 weeks. In my opinion, there was no way that someone else could win.

And I was right. He was the winner for the men.

On the women’s side, until I showed up for the party, I couldn’t guess the winner. But while we were all waiting for the party to start, one of the trainers and I were talking and she brought another woman into the conversation. They were discussing her weight loss and it turned out that she had lost 17 pounds (which was 10% of her original weight).

As soon as I heard that, I knew that she would end up being the winner for the women.

There were also second and third place prizes for both men and women, but I didn’t rank in the top 3.

And you know what? I’m totally cool with that. In the 6 weeks, I had lost 9 pounds. I might have been able to lose more if I hadn’t had any setbacks (including food setbacks and health setbacks), but 9 pounds in 6 weeks is great! It’s a good pace for weight loss.

As much as I want to lose it all quickly, I’ve done that twice before. And it hasn’t ended well for me. So this time instead of the quick fix, I’m going for the happy ending.

But what I’m most proud of is that I was part of such an amazing group of people for this weight-loss challenge. I have really found my community and workout home. I thought that I had found it before, and maybe one day it will become more of a workout home for me. But this time I really feel completely comfortable with the staff and everyone who works out at Orangetheory and I feel no judgement at all.

That’s a prize that no contest can award me and I’m lucky that I got it.


Another Leak In My House (or Testing My Patience)

I’ve had a lot of issues with my house lately. In the past few months, I’ve had 2 different gas leaks and one water leak. Although I will say, the gas leak must have been going on for years because I just got my gas bill for last month, and it’s less than half of the cheapest it has ever been. So at least I’m saving some money now.

I will say, having issues with a rental should be expected when the place you are renting is almost 100 years old. But on Wednesday night, this problem made me go a little crazy.

The evening was going normally. Got home from my workout and took a quick shower. Then I headed into the kitchen to make some dinner. I had to grab something out of my utility room behind my kitchen (that’s where my pantry storage is) and when I stepped into the room, my foot went into a puddle.

I turned on the light in my utility room and noticed water pouring out of the bottom of my water heater. There was at least half an inch of water on the ground (thankfully it turns out that my utility room is the low point in my house and most of the water was contained in that area).

First thing I did was grab some towels, I tried to stop up the leak and that seemed to help a bit. Then I started trying to clean up the floor and move everything that was in the utility room. My suitcases are in there and they are fine (but they were soaked). My vacuum was also there and when I lifted it out, water poured from the bottom. I think that might now be garbage.

Thankfully, the water stopped leaking so I could take a minute to evaluate the situation. I tried to shut off the water to the water heater, but the instructions weren’t clear on which pipe that was. So I called my dad.

My dad was able to FaceTime with me and I had the camera pointed out so he could see what I was looking at. He was able to find the pipe that I needed to shut off, so I tried that. It was stuck, but since my dad stocked my tool kit with everything, I was able to use some WD40 on it and stop the water from filling up the tank again.

My next call was my landlord. I figured this was an emergency and I needed to leave a message for him right away. And of course, when I called, the voicemail wasn’t working so I couldn’t leave a message. I found his email address from an old email that I sent to him regarding a rent issue and sent an email with the subject “Leaking Water Heater”. That got his attention and he emailed me back within a few hours letting me know that the plumbers would be at my house in the morning.

The plumbers showed up (and we laughed about how often they’ve been sent to my house lately), and they immediately saw that my water heater was not salvageable and that they would need to go out and buy me a new one then.

All in all, it took a little over 2 hours to get the old water heater out and put the new one in. And about another 2 hours to clean up all the mess (when they moved the old water heater a flood of rusted water came out of the bottom and all over my floors).

Even though this situation was not idea, I tried to practice gratitude again. At least I noticed the flood at the beginning and it didn’t flood overnight. At least I rent so I didn’t have to pay for the repair. At least my landlord saw my email that night and sent the plumbers right away. And at least I had already taken my post-workout shower.

My dad added one as well. With all the issues that I’ve seen in my house lately, I’m getting more and more prepared to eventually be a homeowner. And I’m seeing what these emergencies can cost and why renting is the best situation for me right now.

In the 4 1/2 years I’ve lived in my house, I’ve rarely had a problem. But having these three back to back has really tested my patience and my ability to stay positive and grateful. But fortunately, I am able to stay on the positive side and not freak out about these things like I would have years ago.

And now, I have a fancy new water heater in my house!


Minor Remodeling (or Putting My Parents To Work On Their Vacation)

Whenever my parents (or just my dad by himself) come to visit, there is always a list of things that I’m hoping to get done at my house. A lot of times it’s minor things like help hanging things on the walls (I have weird walls in my house and my dad has a special drill bit that we need to use to put screws in). But this trip, we had bigger things in mind.

It started with my birthday couch. When the plan was to get something from IKEA, I knew that my dad and I would have to put it together. But since I got a different couch that came delivered all put together, that was one thing that we didn’t have to do.

But I knew that my mom would have some ideas about how to reorganize my house to make the couch fit in better. There aren’t a lot of ways to organize furniture in a 400 square foot house, but my mom has a way of figuring it out.

When she got to my house, we moved the lounge part of my couch to the other side right away. Then we looked at moving my TV around. Finally, my dad and I took the doors off of my entertainment center because I never close the doors. After lots of deliberation, I had an entirely new looking living room just by moving some furniture (and getting the new couch).

My living room went from this:


To this:


I know it’s a little tough to tell the difference from the pictures, but trust me, it’s made a huge difference! My living room looks much bigger now and the flow of the furniture makes more sense.

The next project that we thought would be a huge project involved my dining room chairs. My dining room set is from the late 1960’s or early 1970’s (there’s some debate on that). My aunt actually got it for herself and then she gave it to my dad. My parents had it in storage for a while until I got my first apartment in 2003. Then they gave it to me.

I absolutely love my dining room set. It’s simple and classic and it’s so well made that it doesn’t look as old as it is. The only thing that was bugging me was the cover that each chair had. It was made of black vinyl and all the padding that was there (if there ever was any) was gone. One chair had a little tear in it, but besides that they still looked decent. The chair covers were the original covers that they came with when my aunt bought the set. So my parents agreed with me that it was time for an update.

We headed to a fabric store near my house and found a wonderful fabric that matched my house really well. And it was in a clearance section so it was only $5/yard (compared to $38/yard for another fabric we loved). My dad brought his staple gun down so we were planning on figuring out how to cover the chairs ourselves.

While in the store, one of the employees asked my dad if we needed any help so my dad explained what we needed. Turns out, that employee does chair covers on the side! He would take the fabric we purchased, remove the old fabric, add new padding, and cover it all.

That was so much better of a plan than my dad and I winging it! I’m sure we would have done an ok job, but why not leave it up to the professionals!

We dropped the seats off on Saturday and they were done on Monday morning. While I was at the dentist my parents picked them up for me and came over to my house to put the chairs back together. When I returned home, my parents had done all the work!

The chairs look amazing.


The fabric really goes with the style of the chair and they are so much more comfortable now! I have some of the scraps of fabric from the cushions and I really want to do some sort of project with them. There isn’t enough to make a table runner, but I’m thinking maybe figuring out if they could be turned into placemats (anyone know anything about doing that?).

Besides our decorating work, my dad also washed all the outsides of my windows and my screens so my windows are super clean now. We also did some work with the plants in the front of my house (my dad brought me another bark planter and we did some touch up work on the old one).


Considering I live in a rental house and I can’t do a ton of work to the inside, my parents have really helped me make the space my own. And after living here for 4 1/2 years, having things freshened up really makes it feel new again.

And I’m so lucky that my parents are both willing to help me fix up my house, each in their own ways. My mom is such a great decorator (so much of the artwork in my house was either originally my mom’s or she got them for me), and my dad is an awesome handyman (who only charges me in beer).

Feeling Jet Lag Without A Time Zone Change (or Back To Home)

After my 24 hour visit home, I was back to my usual routine in LA. But everything felt off.

It was weird that on Thursday night I was sleeping in my own bed (with no visitors), on Friday night I was sleeping in my own bed (with my dad sleeping in the living room on an air mattress), on Saturday night I was sleeping in the guest room at my parents’ house (my old room is now a gym), and on Sunday night I was back to sleeping alone in my own house.

I felt jet lagged like when I was in Hawaii earlier this year. When I woke up on Monday, I was really confused. I couldn’t figure out what day it was or what time I had to be at work (I’m lucky that Monday is a late shift day). And then when I got to work on Monday, my boss wanted to know how my visit with my dad went. So I ended up telling him about Dante and how my dad and I went home.

I tried to be totally normal at work, but just after my lunch break at 4:30, I checked in with my mom. I wanted to know how Dante was, and of course I ended up crying on the phone. I spent some time calming down after the phone call, but my boss and co-workers had noticed that my eyes were red and my mascara was underneath my eyes. While I’m still looking for a new job that is better for me, I’m very grateful that my boss is sympathetic to what’s going on right now and he’s told me if I need any random days off that I can take them off with no question.

I’ve also got the film festival that I’m running coming up this weekend so that’s been keeping me busy (and making the days seem to blend together and not helping with the jet lag feeling).

Today, my parents are taking Dante to the dog oncologist. The appointment is around noon, and I’ve asked them to call me as soon as the appointment is over. We will have a better idea of what the future will be like for Dante then. So while I’ve asked so many times for positive thoughts already for my mom, if you can send some positive thoughts to my dog as well today I’d really appreciate it.