Saturday, July 30, 2011

Edgewater: Red

I haven't done one of these in a while... with all the hullabaloo with the floors, I got a little distracted. Also, I usually do most of my neighborhood photographing when I'm out walking with Lanie, and it's been so hot, we couldn't do long walks with her. She gets draggy. So even though we had shorter walks, I still took the camera along, and have just been slowly but surely gathering images when I see them. There are so many colors that I have to cut myself off at a certain point or else I'll never post anything! So here's a little Edgewater Red...


Birthday + Family + Summer = Good Times

This morning the Schwabs, etc. all descended on our little condo to celebrate Dave's dad's birthday, which was on Wednesday. Pool time first, followed by a delicious brunch/lunch, capped off by gifts, sweet treats, lots of smiles, silliness, and laughs... it was a great day!

Happy Birthday Joel!

(someone likes Chinese food... Lo Mein noodle-topped cupcakes!)

(close-up! with fondant chopsticks!)

Friday, July 29, 2011

Best Ever


(May 2011)

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Finally! Floors Part II and a Call for Organization

The floors are here (again)! And they're glorious! They really do look beautiful. And maybe even (dare I say it?) better than before? Wood's a funny thing. We ordered the exact same product as we did before and this time around it has more variation, interesting coloration, and richer tones. Or maybe we're just SO excited to have consistent, seamless flooring in again that it just looks and feels that much better to us? I'm not sure. But I think it's the former.
(it also looks yellower and brighter in this shot than it really is, as you can see below where I've panned out)
Again I have to apologize for the lack of sufficient photo evidence - we were so ecstatic about getting our home back the other night that I never took pictures of the floors before we put back all our rugs and arranged the furniture back into place. Still... come on, this is fabulous, isn't it?

The relief at having this all set back up and put into place lit a little flame under our butts. We kicked it into high gear yesterday getting our organization on. The second bedroom had suffered as a paint storage, everything storage, furniture storage, catch-all room for a few months. Our plan for the summer was to get it set up as the guest room/office it's truly meant to be. That will wait just a bit more, but after yesterday's work we can finally see back to imagining it in its final glory again.

(clean, virtually empty of random stuff, besides the pictures we haven't put up that still need to find their homes)
(an organized closet = Maayan is happy!)
And since we were also already at the organization game and doing so well, we figured why not tackle another project and took the extra closet in the hallway to task. It, too, has fallen into a state of chaotic question marks, actually, since we moved in. We're not really sure what it's real purpose is, but it's just extra closet space in a somewhat awkward placement in the house. With all the work we've been doing since we moved in, it sort of just start being a holding pattern for random odds and ends that didn't yet have their own place in the world, as well as for tools and supplies we are using more regularly. With the bathroom debacle and the other work going on the past few weeks, it actually really got horrifyingly out of hand. I was ashamed to open it if I needed anything and someone was over, and a lot of stuff fell into the black hold it had become and I couldn't find it anyway. But look:


(ahhhhhh... that's a collective sigh of relief, since I know I can hear you sighing with me. thanks for the support.)

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Month in Review

Lots of stuff happened here within the last month, but as you know, we were having a variety of issues on the home front that impacted our ability to communicate it all. Unfortunately, too, we didn't photograph everything that went down effectively, so you'll have to take our word on some of it. That said, here's a quick round-up of the last month:

1. You know about the floors, so those were basically in a state of disrepair until Friday. In the meantime, that also meant that our furniture was all over the place, and our second bedroom/guest room/office was in a state of utter and total chaos. That's been resolved - more on that and the beautiful floors tomorrow.

2. For the weekend of the Fourth of July, we decided that in spite of the state of our home, we had a lot to enjoy here, and why not make use of it?! We had the beach, of course, but we got a surprise when after saying it would not be opened, our building opened its pool - and it's a great pool. So the holiday weekend at the beginning of the month basically involved a steady rotation of friends and family moving between apartment-to-pool-to-beach in some variation of that order. And it was delightful! Here are some shots of the family part of that weekend:

Good times.

3. Weather. We've had some weather in the past few weeks. Since we basically spend half the year in crappy winter, it only seems appropriate that Chicago have some of the best summer around! And it's summer-summer here this year, and it's great. With the heat and humidity, though, come the storms, and we have had some hum-dingers. One in particular was so intense that it looked like Armageddon outside when I took Lanie for her morning walk the next day. Okay, that's a little dramatic, but it was intense. It also knocked over some patio furniture on our balcony that ripped the screen door in our bedroom. Dave fixed it.

(torn screen)
(screen repair)
4. The next BIG projects we'll tackle will be the bathrooms. But we're not ready just yet to take them on. Until we are, we had some toilet issues that just had to be handled. In the guest bathroom in particular, the old toilet didn't flush easily and then would run for what seemed like forever. While I was co-hosting the best baby shower ever a few Saturdays ago, Dave decided he'd solve that problem by replacing the toilet. This story gets gruesome in a minute, and though I don't have photo documentation on this one, I'll still give those of you with weak stomachs the opportunity to step away from the computer. You gone? Okay, good. Let's continue. I'll spare you the worst of the details, but long story short (and I promise you this is the short version of the story!), Dave successfully uninstalled the old toilet and then went and bought a new one. After a series of incidents led to Dave's realizing that he had to redo the install on the new toilet, a crack in the base of the new toilet led to splintering porcelain, and the slicing of Dave's finger. It was... horribly bloody. But he was determined! So he put a Band-aid, a paper towel, and some electrical tape around his finger (it was the only way to keep it from bleeding out - seriously), and headed back to the store to buy another toilet. He got it home and apparently the box wasn't packaged well, and it fell out the bottom into our driveway where it shattered. You can imagine how well that went over. Back again, and they gave him the third toilet of the day for free. He got it home and was mostly finished putting it in when I got home, though I was distracted from noticing or appreciating that fact by the blood all over our home. Not a joke. After he completed the project (finally), and our after our bathtub was filled with toilets (I am kicking myself that we don't have a photo of our tub-o-toilets), the adrenaline wore off, and Dave realized both that he didn't feel so well and that his finger was still bleeding profusely (several hours later). We eventually made our way to the ER, where we were seated in the waiting area and told that it'd likely be at least six hours before we'd be seen. An hour and a half or so later, when Dave still hadn't been triaged even, and he realized his finger appeared to have stopped bleeding, we decided to leave. Silly us. The bleeder popped open again in the car, so we made our way to the next closest ER (that's a great thing about living in the city - ERs on every corner!), where we were next in line and Dave got six stitches in the "laceration" on the tip of his index finger. It was a long day/night. The take-away, though, is that for those of you who want to/will be coming to visit, you now will have a brand spankin' new toilet that works -- and you'd better appreciate it!

5. And for the last notes on this one, two lovely evenings on our beach. One for the celebration of our good friend KH's birthday... just because you're in Chicago and not California does not mean you can't toast your birthday on the beach, girl! Here's a shaky shot of what was really a beautiful moon-rising that night, which we enjoyed with a great group of friends, and a picnic of snacks and drinks on our little beach:

And last night, relieved to be home again, and have things looking like they might start moving in the right direction again at the ol' homestead, Dave and Lanie and I grabbed the blanket and stepped out back onto the beach to watch the light of day make way for night on the beach again... There was another huge storm last night and we could see the lightning in a big cloud over downtown while we were out there. I tried to get video, but the light was terrible, so believe me. Here's Lanie's pretty face from last night, though (who can resist this face?!):

And on that beautiful note, I'll bid you g'night. More tomorrow with photos -- I promise -- of the floor do-over and the massive organization overhaul that took place here today. This house feels once again like a home... yay!

20th Project - July

Slightly tardy, but beautiful nonetheless. The beach is always so peaceful and calm after a storm. And in this case I'm referring to both a literal and figurative storm. We had some lively thunder and lightning overnight that (thankfully) brought down the temperature a bit, but it's also great to be home again with repaired floors, our furniture back in its place, and feeling like we can once again resume moving forward... Amazing to think next month's installment of this 20th Project will be the 12th. Unreal what's happened here in the last eleven months already.

Here's our beach this morning (technically the 23rd, not the 20th, but again, you'll forgive me!):

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Quick Update

Blogger is causing image-posting problems (I'm researching options, and may be moving this blog to another host soon... will keep you posted), and on top of that our Internet's been finicky for the past three weeks, so I apologize for the absence of posts and am here to provide a quick update on the goings-on at the HSS. Certainly, with the drama that unfolded last month on our beautiful new floors, you can imagine there's been plenty happening that would, under normal Internet/blogging circumstances, have provided lots of posting fodder. It's true, there's been lots of frustration, rearranging, planning, interacting, shopping, and other activity. We'll give a good ol' summary once everything's finished and back to "normal," we promise.

In the meantime, though, we're here to report that our place has been "packed in" by professionals, and floors should go back down starting tomorrow! Hooray! Unfortunately, the turmoil of all of this means it will be challenging to live at home, so we're packing ourselves out and will be enjoying a brief staycation at the Other Home Sweet Schwab (Dave's parents' place) for at least the next few days. Supposedly we'll be back home by the weekend.

What this also means is that I won't be home tomorrow to record and post our eleventh Twentieth in our home. Can't believe we're so-quickly approaching our first full year! You'll have to forgive the fake-20th post again, which I'll take and post our first day back home. Every day's the same right now, anyway (read: hot/humid/sunny/beach-vacation-y), so it's six of one, half a dozen of the other, right?!

We'll be back soon!

Monday, July 11, 2011


Just a quick explanation for our recent disappearing act. Our Internet connection has been M.I.A. for at least the last two weeks, causing annoying disruptions to lots of our activities at home, but also to our ability to report our HSS-goings on. We're hoping to resolve this soon... this week? After we do, there will be some catching up to do. Since we last posted any home update-related details, Dave has repaired a torn screen and replaced a toilet, though that last one came with some side-effects. We also have some flooring updates, and then some fun things, like enjoying our recently-opened pool, and the beach, and the balcony, and grilling with friends. All good things.

So in the meantime, hold tight! We'll have stuff up here ASAP. While you await our posting return, here's a shot of how we've been spending our weekends lately (and I'll preempt my Aunt Joan's comment be reminding you that there is always an open invitation to join us!):


Wednesday, July 6, 2011


Hooray! Hooray! Callooh! Callay! The Schwabs are going to Cape Cod!

I have said many many times that to me it's not summer if I haven't set foot on the Cape. It's now been two years in a row that my giant Heller foot hasn't made that step, so I'm beyond excited that we'll be able to breathe in that sweet salty air, eat some delicious fried seafood, play some cards, drink some (many?) G&Ts or Cape Codders or vino (depending on who's pouring), and generally engage in various occasions of relaxation, silliness, and excessive time in the sun with our amazing Heller family! I literally cannot wait for August!

And of course, important to note, the Annual Heller Cape Cod Takeover kicks off with the emotional and incredible Pan Mass Challenge, a two-day bike ride across most of Massachusetts raising critical research dollars for the Dana Farber Cancer Institute and the Jimmy Fund. For many years now, my family has participated in any and every way possible, even going so far as to declare ourselves a bicycling club: Hellers on Wheels. This year my father, Eric, my brother, Adi, and my cousin, Nathaniel, will ride, while numerous Hellers (and Hellers with other last names!) will volunteer for the event. While we won't make it in time to reclaim our places on the volunteer roster, we will be loud and proud, cheering on the riders tackling the dunes at the end of the Cape as they make their way on Day 2 into Provincetown to cross the finish line. Of course, this event's over- and undertones give us all pause to reflect on the numerous ways in which cancer has touched our lives. We ride/volunteer/support/cheer in honor and in memory of those we love and lost, of those we love and encourage, and of those we love and celebrate. If you'd like to support our family's fundraising efforts, you can click here to visit my brother's PMC fundraising page. Every little bit helps. As my dad's fundraising letter often remarks, there are lots of simple cures for the sore muscles, aches and pains that come from riding a bike for 200 miles. Through your support, someday there will also be cures for all cancers. GO PMC!

(all photos my own; Nathaniel, I apologize that I don't have a group shot to include - I'll take care of that on the hill this year!)