Archive for the ‘pet friendly’ Category

Family Room Hardwoods

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Posted by Rebecca, April 23rd, 2012

In the midst of the glider chaos of last week, we forgot to tell you something.

Not only did we decide to go with hardwood in our family room (we discussed the reasoning here), but it was delivered and installed.

We didn’t have much time to flip flop on our decision and just decided that the carpet had to go… and quickly. We had stopped spending time in the family room because the cats follow us around the house and if we were in there, it meant Darwin was there, which meant an increased possibility of accidents. Plus, being 9 months pregnant and having to jump over SpotBot crop circles (as we called them) to get on to the couch was not a fun process. We scheduled our install about 2 weeks in advance and we could not wait until the day came. I was counting down the minutes until that carpet was gone and I told the baby that it could not come until that weight was off my shoulders.

So on Friday, we said our final goodbye to our carpet.

I was never in love with the idea of doing anything but carpet in this room. I liked our dark ottoman and dark entertainment center and thought the contrast of the carpet looked better. I accepted the hardwood as more of a necessity.

And I am completely impressed with how it looks. I love it more than the carpet (note: the floors come off strangely orange on camera)

One of our concerns was that the new floors would not match the existing floors, since they were installed over a year apart. But much to our surprise, they match perfectly.

The slate around the fireplace is now more level with the floors, which is a plus (we still need to find a way to paint this or something)

With the hardwoods, we also had to add an additional quarter round piece of molding. By we, I mean our contractor. We didn’t do these floors on our own!

We had to move everything off our of entertainment center so that it could be easily moved for the install… I still haven’t put it back.

I’ve wanted to de-clutter and restyle our entertainment center for months and this is the perfect opportunity. But, right now I am loving the zero clutter look. Does nesting include wanting your house to look like you just moved in? Though our dining room is suffering now, since it’s home to all of our misplaced clutter…

The lack of clutter isn’t going to last long, since we plan on dedicating this corner to a Pack ‘n Play.

Okay we put the Pack ‘n Play together tonight, but I didn’t take an after picture because we had to stuff it with cardboard and a random globe. We had to make it feel less than cozy since someone liked it a little too much…

Don’t worry, we would never forget about our first babies. Macky will be keeping his corner of the family room.

I haven’t brought their toy box back out yet (it’s just a wicker basket that they know stashes the toys) since I’m trying to enjoy the lack of stuff, but Macky’s bed was a necessity in the room. That guy LOVES his bed and will cry if it’s not around. We think that to keep life as normal as possible for him when the baby comes, he needs to keep his little safe zone. He’s much more sensitive than Mowie or Darwin who adapt more easily and aren’t as attached to routines. We’re trying our best to make the baby transition easy for them. Maybe that’s another post for another day?

Strangely, I think that my iPhone better captures the color of the floors.

They’re still cherry, but not an orange cherry. The ottoman and entertainment center mix in well with the darker spots on the floor. Now maybe you can see why we are so impressed with the new floors? Plus they seem to make the room appear larger, which is always a bonus!

ps- for anyone interested, all of our hardwoods throughout our house are Bruce Oak, Dundee Plank, 3 1/4 inch planks, cherry color

Au Revoir Carpet

9 Comments

Posted by Rebecca, March 29th, 2012

This weekend Mike and I came to a sad realization– our family room carpet has to go.

This was not a happy decision because a) I’ve always wanted to keep our sunken family room carpeted and b) the timing is god awful.

It’s no secret that one of our cats, Darwin, has been battling renal lymphoma. In January, he successfully completed 6 months of chemotherapy and was declared to be in remission. This was an absolute miracle considering that the type of cancer he had was especially deadly and the oncologist had never seen a cat make it through a full course of chemo. Darwin did and continues to thrive, despite the fact that he was in such bad shape at one point that the oncologist suggested we stop treatment. We begged for just another week or two of treatments and it worked. We could not be prouder of him and of ourselves– for making the tough decisions we had to make, standing up for what we felt was right in our hearts and never giving up on him.

The downside to this happy story is that Darwin will forever have damaged kidneys. His kidney function did improve with chemo, which is how he is still alive today, but he is still in partial kidney failure. And with that comes the taboo pet owner topic of… accidents.

Darwin spared our family room carpet for months. We replaced our carpeting upstairs and considered ourselves lucky that he never went on our family room carpet. Anyone that has experienced cat accidents knows that they are extremely, extremely hard to stop once they start. Even if you cannot smell cat pee, they can and they continue to reuse certain spots.

Somewhere within the past few months, it finally happened in the family room. Our Bissell Spot Bot and Nature’s Miracle are our best friends. We even have a full sized Hoover carpet shampooer that we use often. While not ideal, we felt like we were managing the issue. One good thing (which is actually a very bad thing) is that Darwin’s pee is not very concentrated because his kidneys aren’t fully functioning. We could get rid of any smell rather easily, at least what us humans can smell. He generally stuck to one small area of the room, in front of our entertainment center (ps- this is an old picture with our old tv with wire hanging…)

After running some additional tests at the vet, we determined that Darwin’s family room issues are mostly behavioral at this point. It’s not that he’s not making it to the litter box in time, it’s that he thinks it’s actually okay to go on the rug since he’s had accidents there in the past. The past several weeks we’ve tried “potty training” him, since we can tell when he has to go. He only uses the family room when Mike and I are watching tv, so we watched him like a hawk. Any sign he had to go and we jumped up, walked him to the litter box and put him in there. If he didn’t go, we kept walking him back. Then we noticed something even stranger– he would only go in the litter box if I personally walked him there. So here I am, super pregnant and jumping up several times at night to walk my cat to the litter box and stand there until he went. Since I don’t sleep well at this point, sometimes I fall asleep on the couch and if he was with me, I’d have to jump up at odd hours in the middle of the night to walk him to the litter box. Needless to say, this method wasn’t fool proof and we still ended up with a few accidents when we weren’t vigilant.

I declared this past weekend as “Re-Potty Train Darwin” weekend. We planned to shampoo the whole carpet and use one of our new baby gates to discourage him from getting into the family room. Yes, we know that cats can jump, but poor Darwin also has a neurological disorder that makes him not the greatest jumper. Any obstacle we could use would help. We planned to have the carpet professionally cleaned before the baby comes to solve any remaining issues.

Well, plan backfired. We had twelve accidents this weekend. TWELVE.

I never wanted to get rid of our carpet, even up until a few days ago I was trying to come up with solutions to save it or be able to get a new one. I didn’t want to do hardwood and we tried to think of other materials we could use that would compliment our existing hardwood, but add some contrast and be pet/baby friendly. I didn’t want to lose this battle. Finally a few nights ago I looked at Mike and told him we should just do the hardwood.

We’ve been stressing over the constant accidents and carpet shampooing, worrying about the baby having a safe and clean place to play and embarrassed that we always have Spot Bot circles on our rug. We just need to be done with it and I have to be okay with that. These things happen and it is no one’s fault. In fact, we are lucky that he is still around and still so incredibly happy.

The problem is that hardwood is expensive and was no where near in our upcoming plans. We still have to buy things for the baby’s room, planned to replace the playroom carpet and there’s the issue of that mower we need. But this is important and urgent. We want to have it done before the baby comes to save our time and energy and also to keep this place as clean as possible. I can’t imagine I’d be able to feed the baby AND stalk Darwin for signs of a pee-pee dance in the middle of the night. We have savings for times like this, but I’ve just trained myself to never touch it. It took me a little while to be okay with using some of it to save our sanity. I mean, that’s what it’s there for.

We did consider trying to install the floors ourselves to save money. John from Our Home From Scratch happens to live in our area, has the same flooring and offered us his nailer. Oh and his floor plan is nearly identical to ours, so we have a nice visual of what our family room will look like with new floors!

(via Our Home From Scratch)

Because of our time constraints, my inability to help and the fact that we’ve never done this before, we don’t think it’s a good idea to take this on ourselves. What would take someone else hours would take us days, which we don’t have too many of lately.

We plan to pick up a small, inexpensive area rug for now that the baby can play on while we’re in the family room. We plan to put it away when we’re done with it. Maybe someday we’ll get a nice, big area rug to warm up this room, but we try not to think that far ahead. Being able to get an area rug may mean that Darwin is no longer with us, which we don’t want to think of.

After all, things are easily replaced, lives are not.

What You Know Bout That

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Posted by Michael, September 28th, 2011

These last few days, Rebecca has been talking about doing a frequently asked questions post.  She planned to do this tonight.  I just went to the family room and she’s sound asleep; completely exhausted from homework and class.  So here goes… just my version… and not necessarily about our house, our projects, etc.

Stamped concrete?  Wood plank stamp?  How much and where do I get the stamp?

All said and done, I believe it ran us just about $10-$11 per square foot to do the concrete patio with the wood stamp.  We had toyed with the idea of doing a wood deck, but in the end, we decided to go concrete patio.  We had found pictures online of a patio that we swore was a wood deck.  And sure enough, it was just stamped concrete with a dark stain.  It absolutely blew our minds.  And so, we knew we’d make the best decision going with the wood plank stamp.

We used a local concrete contractor who was absolutely fantastic.  As for where you can buy the stamp?  I’m not 100% sure, but it looks like you can order it from these guys.

How is Darwin?

Darwin, Diggy, D, Pickles… whatever his name is today, is doing absolutely fantastic.  His cancer is in remission and he’s back to normal.  Actually, he’s better than normal.  Diggy is doing things we either forgot about or are completely new.  He has an abundance of energy, he’s wrestling with Macky and chasing after Mowie.  It’s absolutely amazing how well he is doing and we are so incredibly grateful.

Lately, D has been loving the new couch and cuddling into me as we watch Jersey Shore television.  The little guy actually has his Halloween costume all picked out and ready to go!

What do you and Rebecca do for a living?

I work for a large financial firm where I kinda-sorta administer the content of an internal search engine of sorts.  I would go into what I do for them, but honestly, you’d just sit there confused and be all like, ok so what do you do again?

As for Rebecca, she works for a [not sure if I'm allowed to tell you] company where she does a boatload of statistical analysis.   She comes home at night and tells me all about her day — from what she did in Excel and SAS to how she did such and such analysis.  And I’m all like, ok so what do you do again?

Don’t you also have a music website?

I do!  My partner (What up!) and I run/manage/develop the music community, SongMeanings, where we encourage discussion around lyrics.   It’s been a bit of a side-job for what feels like forever, but has been demanding more and more of my attention each and every day.  We recently licensed over 1 million lyrics from the various record labels, and we pull in about 30-40 million page views per month.

This one time at band camp I filled out one of those ‘Make a donation, write your name on this card’ things and I wrote ‘SONGMEANINGS.NET’ on it.  The employees were all, OMG YOU RUN SONGMEANINGS!  And I was all like, yeah I do — CAN I GET THIS ICE CREAM FOR FREE?

(Rebecca’s comment: We didn’t get the ice cream for free, but Mike felt like Beiber for the night because a bunch of teenage girls knew who he was….)

Did you guys ever paint that newly constructed wall in your master bedroom?

Nope.  We just LOVE looking at drywall as we drift off to sleep each night.  End sarcasm.

3 cats?  Are you crazy cat people?

Yup!  And proud!  Here’s a little ditty about Jack Macky and Diane Sunny.  We found Macky one random day in a driveway, he was less than a half pound, nearly dead and covered in all sorts of bugs.  We immediately brought him to the vet where she said “EW!” and told us he probably won’t make it.  5 years later and Macky is 20 pounds (what Vet, what!).  Sunny came home with us about two weeks later; he was one of Macky’s litter-mates.  He was bright orange, incredibly fluffy and the name Sunny was all too perfect.

One day at Rebecca’s parents house, a cat randomly started crying non-stop at their door.  She was thin, declawed (not cool previous owners, not cool) and was losing her fur from a flea allergy.  We nursed her back to health and then took her in after no one came looking for her.  Oh, we named her Mowie because all she was doing was meow-ing the entire time.

Our life was perfect with these 3 cats for several months.  Then Sunny very randomly contracted feline panleukopenia.  We immediately brought him to an emergency hospital and we fought the virus for two weeks.  After several surgeries, blood transfusions and Sunny telling us he had enough, we made the decision to send him to kitty heaven.   Our little family was devastated.

Several months went by while we mourned Sunny.  Macky would cry non-stop every night looking for his brother.  Mowie wanted (and still wants) nothing to do with him.  Needless to say, Macky was keeping us up every night.

One day, I stumbled upon a cute little orange guy on Petfinder and I fell in love — but we weren’t ready or we thought we weren’t ready.   Then we discovered he had CH, a neurological condition that affected some of his motor skills (he has a very mild, barely noticeable case though).  After doing some research, we found out that CH is caused by the mother having panleukopenia — better known as the virus that Sunny passed away from.  We took this as a bit of a sign and adopted Darwin (see photo as Coke box above)

Here is a picture of Sunny in all his fluffy orangeness.  Before getting sick, Sunny was 19lbs.  He was the original big guy in our family and we credit him with keeping an eye out for Darwin through his cancer.

You don’t eat meat?  I don’t understand how anyone can not eat meat! LOUD NOISES!

We’ve been pretty much meat-free for several years now.  However, whenever I’m with Brian (SongMeanings’ partner) I end up eating meat like the time we were in Philadelphia and had cheesesteaks and also the time in San Francisco when I ate, well, something that was meat.  He’s that friend you have from high school where whenever you’re with them, you turn into your high school self.  (Oh come on, you know that How I Met Your Mother episode.)  But in my case, I eat meat.  But Rebecca hasn’t strayed.

I don’t consider myself a vegetarian.  I just do my best to not eat meat.  And you know what?  I actually enjoy it.  Sure I miss the comfort foods we grew up with, but otherwise, it has made me try new meals and dishes. I actually wrote a series of posts for a while with vegetarian recipes, you can read them here.

Well folks, that is it for me for tonight.  I know Rebecca has several other questions she wants to answer so stay tuned… whenever she wakes up!

The Cats and the Couch

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Posted by Rebecca, September 12th, 2011

On Saturday, our new sectional was finally delivered! (You can read more about it here) Before the delivery men arrived, Mike’s dad came over to move our current couch and our chair/couch (as we lovingly call it) into our formal living room. The living room had nothing in it up until this point, so while it may not be a permanent solution, it’s better than nothing for now. The chair/couch is definitely too big but the room is already getting more use than it ever has…

Yes, that is all 3 of our babies passed out on the new thing in the room. Aren’t they so sweet when they’re sleeping?

But the sweet never lasts. Especially when you have a cat named Macky and you get a new sectional.

Literally minutes after the guys put the couch pieces together (since he was following them back and forth from the door to the family room), Macky claimed the couch as his and started trouble.

This meant that we immediately ran to Target and snatched up some anti-cat scratch tape. It’s sticky on both sides and is supposed to be unappealing and eventually train them to not scratch the couch. We tried out a piece on the back of the couch for a day or so, then covered a Macky danger zone.

We’ve never bought this tape before, but we have had furniture shredded before so we were being cautious. Thankfully, it is hardly noticeable from a distance and only lets off a little shine.

We knew Macky was incredibly intelligent (he runs to the door when the doorbell rings, plays fetch and cries upstairs when he wants to go to bed), but even we were not prepared for his reaction to the tape. He went to scratch the couch and didn’t like the feel of the tape (effective!), so he decided to use his teeth to peel a piece off (ineffective!). I just removed him from the situation and stuck it back on. So far he hasn’t scratched it again and I’m hoping it was just a curious, “I’m just being Macky” moment.

Thankfully, Macky lost interest in the new couch quickly. However, someone else is couch obsessed (besides me).

Darwin. My cancer fighting, little orange love of my life (his arms are shaved for his chemo treatments, we call them his legwarmers :)). He never slept on the old couch in the family room, but he has not left the new sectional. He’s been gaining weight, but he’s still a little cat on a big couch.

He settled on the crack of the chaise and has since been the only member of this family to use the chaise. We are just so happy that he made it to see the new couch that we don’t dare move him. My heart melts looking at his little body curled up there.

I could not wait to get rid of the pillows that came with the couch. I shoved them in our linen closet and put out the ones I’ve been waiting to use :)

And of course, Darwin was available to model them.

I put the Organic Ironwork euro sham and Harbour Rope pillow (both from West Elm) with a wavy blue pillow I picked up at Bed, Bath & Beyond a while back.

We decided to go with the euro pillows because a) the couch is large enough to handle them and b) we fall asleep here all.the.time. I liked that we could use a real sized pillow and wash the shams easily. It’s supporting my back as I type this :)

I was a little surprised at how gold the couch is in the room. I thought it was a little more neutral and less clashy with the carpet. It also seemed massive at first. I think it just took a while to get used to the different arrangement and fabric. The couch seems large because instead of having a bunch of room to one side, we have now centered the couch and have some dead space on either side.

One side is housing Macky’s bed (which he sleeps in every time we’re in the family room, including now) and their scratching post (which Darwin is scratching now). Obviously very important elements in this room and I like that they are tucked behind the half wall.

(note to self- time to pry Macky out of his bed and wash it)

They were previously next to the entertainment center (on the opposite side of the opening to the family room), but more about why they were moved in a second. This space seems a little awkward and we were hoping to put a console here to store our laptops, phone chargers, remotes, etc., but I’m torn about where to put the kitten’s furniture.  One option is the other side of the couch!

Because of space constraints by the chaise, we had to move the accent chair we had in this corner (you can see it in the photo of Macky with his claws out above). That’s Darwin’s cat house, but it’s collapsable and he hasn’t slept in it in a while so it can probably go upstairs. We would like to put a round table with a lamp over here.

As for the accent chair? Well, it got moved to where Macky’s bed and scratching post previously were!

I know, you’re probably confused by all of the cat paraphenalia and need a full room shot. But I can’t give you one because we still have a bunch of stuff in this room that needs to find a new home. We’re still using our former end tables and ottoman for the time being. They’re just pushed out of the way right now, making it obvious that we need to find replacements with mucho storage.

We want taller, darker, round end tables and the round storage ottoman from Target that I mentioned here. We’ll get to it probably sooner rather than later since this arrangement isn’t quite working. But, two accessories that I planned for this room that I did manage to get were my weathered wood urchin thingys!

They required some mantel tweaking, but I love them :)

I originally planned to get just the large one, but I couldn’t resist the thought of stacking the little one on a pile of books.

So there you have it, 20 something pictures of cats, old couch, new couch and my West Elm finds all crammed into one post. Overwhelmed and confused? Yeah, me too :)

A Happy Update

8 Comments

Posted by Rebecca, August 16th, 2011

Remember last week when I mentioned that we were told that Darwin most likely would not beat his cancer and that there was very little hope that his kidneys would regain function? At the time I said that all we needed was that little hope to keep us going and guess what? His kidneys are currently functioning at a manageable level!!!

I rushed home from work today, snapped some pictures for a post on another topic and ran off to our weekly chemo appointment. The doctor was running late so it took forever, which only made the weekly knot in my stomach grow larger. Then we received the great news. So that other post can wait :)

We still have to keep that little bit of a guard up since he is still battling cancer and it can come back at any time. He skipped chemo tonight and will receive it next week if need be. Regardless, this is a huge hurdle we have gotten over, one which we were told from day one would be very difficult to achieve. Now the cancelled vacation, constant cleaning of accidents (his kidneys were so bad a few weeks ago that he was having accidents in his sleep :(), the twice daily fluids, the pills and the emotional rollercoaster were all worth it for this week. I am so proud of him, unbelievably proud of him. No matter what happens from here on out, he has proved that he is such an incredible little life. One in a million. And all mine.

I’ve always loved this sign from Barn Owl Primitives on Etsy… it seems appropriate to have now :)

I’m off to smile myself to sleep. Cautiously, as the vet always says :)

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