mineral oil seal butcher block countertops

Posts like this are precisely why I don’t aim to be a DIY blogger.  I barely know what I’m doing myself, so I couldn’t possibly announce This is How Something is Done and then discover a better way and have to back peddle, feeling dumb.  So, obviously, I’m here to tell you that I wasn’t entirely right about our new countertops.

We initially treated the countertops with Bee’s Oil, a mineral oil beeswax blend.  While I think the product is great, it wasn’t entirely perfect for us for a few reasons.  First of all, Bee’s Oil is intended for cutting boards and salad bowls the important part of that being that they’re small applications.  On something like 14′ of countertop, application kind of…. sucked.  I used a lot of product on each round.  It was tolerable to apply but a bear to buff out.  I started to dread this process so I didn’t keep up with the maintenance and even though water beaded up on the surface, I constantly thought the wood needed more moisture.  This leads to my second issue.  Wyoming is very (very very) dry.  I’ve tried all manner of lotions, potions, and oil for my face, skin, and hair in the pursuit of more moisture and my countertops seemed to be crying out for the same.  Between the dry air and our wood burning stove, the countertops always looked parched.

Unwilling to subject myself to the price and torture (ok, not really, but you know) of more Bee’s Oil, I went for the ole’ stand by – mineral oil.

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I snapped these photos while cleaning the kitchen this morning thus, the mess. Check it out though, I put some things on the walls! I also finally painted the kitchen Egret White, a huge change from this old photo!  The old outlet covers remain for now while we figure out what to replace them with.

When I’m ready for a new coat, in the evening I dump a bunch of mineral oil on the countertop and spread it around using my hand inside a quart size plastic baggie.  This is a carry over technique from my Bee’s Oil application and I continue to love it.  Everyone else says to use towels but I’m not into the idea of wasting that much product and having oil soaked towels in the trash or laying around under my sink.  The baggie – it works.  I cover the countertops… excessively… literally to the point where its just starting to drip off and I have to run around the edge catching drips.

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In the morning the oil has soaked in this much.  Holy crap, right? This is what I’m talking about when I say that the house is dry.  The wood drinks in the oil like crazy.  There’s so little oil left on the surface that I can just rub it in with one sheet of paper towel.  Once that’s done, I do a quick wipe with a small hand towel.  And that’s it.  It’s super simple.

I’ve done three or four coats over the past few weeks and I finally feel like we’re “catching up” to where the countertop needs to be.  Even though I said the Bee’s Oil is annoying to apply, I do plan to keep using it.  I like the barrier that the wax provides and suspect that our ideal process uses both products – mineral oil for maybe bi-weekly use, Bee’s Oil once a month? I’ll see how things shake out and tweak the process if necessary.

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Boom.  That’s what I like to see!

Aside from this small issue, the countertops continue to surpass my expectations.  As I’ve said before, we are not delicate with our house and don’t want a surface that we have to baby.  I am not obsessive about keeping the countertops clean.  If we’re being honest, our countertops are usually covered with all manner of random junk (1 part laziness, 1 part the house still being in construction mode).  I do not clear them off every night, I do not even wipe them down every night.  I don’t watch for spills or stains.  I clean them when I clean them using just a damp sponge and J.R. Watkins All Purpose Cleaner.  The cleaner is effective but gentle and we’ve had no issues with stains or excessive wear.  I welcome a bit of “character” but the countertops still look brand new at the moment.

 

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We failed to get my office in any sort of reasonable shape before my parents came to town but I’ve since made significant progress.  I originally picked paint for this room from our local hardware store (read: not many options).  The color was a lovely subtle tone somewhere between mint and aqua.  Great color, horrible Valspar paint.  I don’t know if it was a hardware store issue or paint issue, but I should have taken that gallon right back to the store because I remember seeing a “satisfaction guaranteed” sign at the register.  When I purchased paint for our big living room painting job it dawned on me that I should get more paint for the office.  Since I didn’t get the chance to paint test swatches, I tried to mentally match the hardware store color and bought 2 gallons of Sherwin Williams White Mint, mixed in their HGTV HOME interior paint.  The paint has been sitting for months, but I finally got to work recently.

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The before

At first I thought omg it’s neon mint green! Amid a sea of wood tones throughout our house, the green looked CRAZY.  Now, a few weeks later, I’m pretty sure I love the color.  No matter what, we’re a far cry from the original oddly placed stripes.  The previous painter was also incredibly sloppy and dripped paint all over the floor an trim work well before I got my hands on the room, so I’m of the opinion that any improvement is a significant improvement.

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This poor mid century cabinet suffered a lot of wear during our move.  Any suggestions for refinishing old wood?

Meanwhile I’ve had a somewhat hard time accepting that all the things I love from our Michigan home don’t necessarily work in this house.  On one hand, these are things that I slowly acquired and collected to make my ideal home.  In some cases, I searched for months, even years, before finding the perfect artwork or piece of furniture.  On the other hand – the more important one at the moment – our Michigan home was very much my home.  I moved there right out of college, fully single and expecting to stay that way for my entire life.  This isn’t a sad thing, I just honestly never expected to get married.  I filled the place with things I loved and didn’t have to answer to anyone.  While Alan is generally ambivalent about home decor issues, I’m very aware that this is mostly my stuff, not our stuff.

I’ve been hesitant to commit to things that I’m feeling unsure about, so I’ve hung pretty much nothing around the house yet.  For now, I’ve decided that this office is my office and I’m just going to let the Me run wild.  This room doesn’t match the rest of the house at all but it is full of things I love.  It’s a pretty good arrangement minus the part where you cross through the doorway and you’re like holy shit this room is a lot to take in.  It’s bright, a bit too cluttered, overflowing with plants, books, yarn, knitting supplies, patterns, toys, artwork.  In short – welcome to my mind.

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Check out that bowl I forgot to put away.  It was hard enough to convince myself to pull out the big camera, I wasn’t going to retake a photo.  You can judge me for the mistake! / I finally plugged in my Wacom tablet and ho-ly crap it’s blowing my mind! /  As it was happening, I hated myself for jumping on the “letterpress drawer trend” but I have lots of little toys and needed a place for them so… ya know / In theory, I’m learning to sew.  Also, the most perfect fabric ever from IKEA.

Based on the above theory, the things in here are not new and they were not purchased to “make” a room.  Most of the stuff – desk, printer cart, mid century cabinet, some artwork – are carry over items from my last office.  The rug is from our old guest bedroom.  The desk chair is new and I hope you’ll allow me a sidebar moment.  I know I should have taken one of our Eames shell chairs from the dining room and staged a picture for you.  Or pretended that I use it at the computer every day.  I love those chairs, but they are not computer chairs, yo!  We are not small people and cannot perch on them for hours.  My old office chair was temporarily left behind when we moved out of my parent’s place and my Dad appropriated it on his recent visit.  When we dropped my parents at the airport in Jackson, Alan and I stopped by Staples during their Chair Event (this is a thing?) and found two Osgood chairs in brown leatherette.  They’re still “ugly office chairs”, but maybe a bit less ugly than a standard one?  I’m still into to the idea of a long built-in desk in the living room, so we liked the idea of matching chairs should that happen someday.

Like the rest of the house, the office still isn’t finished.  I’m committed to sharing things as we go, so we’re in rough draft mode for now.  There are frames propped up against walls all over the house while I decide what to get rid of and what to hang.  I’d also love to paint the ceiling white, remove the blinds, replace the trim, make curtains, wrangle cords, properly organize the shelves, eliminate clutter, and more.  For now, I’m just happy to have my computer set up again and to have hired a solid intern…

Intern

Intern Radio, kicking ass every day

 

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While finishing a project is gratifying, I’m one of those knitters who just knits for the sake of knitting.  I find it soothing.  I sometimes find it frustrating and mentally challenging.  I’m also one of those twitchy people who has been ruined by modern society and cannot do just one thing at once so, in the evenings I can generally be found on the couch with Radio, Baxter, Netflix, a blanket, and some kind of knitting in my hands.  As such, I knit myself a suitable number of scarves, cowls, mittens, and wraps ages ago.  I have piles of finished baby blankets and sweaters tucked away in boxes, mocking me.  I’ve made bowls, rugs, pillows, and a lampshade.  I eventually turned to knitting for others, making hats, scarves, and cowls for all the members of both my and Alan’s extended families.  At that point, I’d pretty much knit all the things that can be knit and resisted eagerly offering to make knit things for any/every one I know.  Or strangers.  This is all to say – if you know a knitter, consider asking them to make you something.  They’ll probably be thrilled.

When my best friend in Michigan commented on Instagram gently suggesting that I might possibly send a hat her way, I was all hell yeah I will!  I grabbed a recent buy, Manos del Uruguay Maxima in Pewter, purchased on sale at Knit on Pearl.  I’ve mentioned this yarn here before and it’s still holding down a solid spot among my absolute favorites.  I love it so much that if I see it on sale, I’m guaranteed to buy it and just know that I’ll eventually find a use.

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This was a single afternoon hat, roughly 7 episodes of Desperate Housewives on Netflix, if I recall correctly.  The pattern is the Quick Cable Slouch Hat with a few modifications.  Thankfully Kate asked about it on Instagram, so I have my changes documented!  I did the brim in 1×1 rib on a size 8 needles then switched to size 10 for the hat.  I cabled all the sections, though not intentionally.  If you’ve been reading forever (of course you haven’t! no one has!) then you remember this was one of my first hats ever, so I was all I got this, no need for a pattern!  It was not until I read ahead to the decreases that I realized I was supposed to be cabling every other section, not every one.  Since I was working with a smaller yarn than intended, I was already in the middle of adding a third repeat of cables for extra length and slouch.  Once I hit the decreases, I only crossed every other cable.  I then decreased as written in the pattern and like the way things turned out in the end.  The top view might explain my process a bit better.

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While this hat was blocking, I remembered that I’m still sitting on her 2013 edition hat and cowl.  I could try to explain why, but I don’t have a good reason.  Sometimes I’m just a total shit at following through.  I wish I had better process pictures to share, but this project is almost a year and one cell phone old, so my documentation is lacking.

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The yarn is two skeins of Plymouth Yarn Baby Alpaca Grand hand dye in a mix of reds, purples, greens, and some navy.  I purchased it last Thanksgiving when we were in Michigan visiting family.  I remember that my mom’s local yarn store was closing, so I went bananas and spent way more than I should have on handfuls of different yarn (most of which I’m still hoarding.  sigh.)  I used less than one skein to make the Giftie Slouchie Beanie then use the remaining 1+ skein to repeat the same motif on a cowl.  The cowl absolutely benefited from blocking, but I now think that I maybe should have skipped it on the hat.  It’s still slouchy and wearable, but stretched more than I wanted.

Now my least favorite part of any knitting post – what is the sense in sharing goods that are meant to be worn if I’m not showing them actually worn?

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In my mind, gray is pretty much the perfect hat.  It’s interesting, perfectly slouchy, and came together in one quick afternoon.  It took 3 days to dry after blocking, but the actual construction was just a few hours.  I love it so much that I think I’m going to dig through my Manos del Uruguay Maxima stash and make one for myself.  The baby alpaca hat is special in a way that only baby alpaca can be.  It’s unbelievably soft with a gorgeous range of colors.  If gray is your every day hat, then this is one for special occasions.

Snow finally hit Wyoming yesterday and I was discussing how unprepared I am for the first snow every year, never knowing where my coat, boots, hat, and mittens are and my friend (different friend!) agreed.  I immediately – of course! – offered to make her a scarf and hat, so that’s the next project on my list.  The way I’m tearing through projects these days, they’ll be ready to share next week!

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The things we eat

by Stef on November 7, 2014

in Food

chicken and dumplings

Chicken and Dumplings are hiding under there, own recipe

Note:  I started on this post before we suddenly lost Cooper.  I contemplated changing it, but I like the reminder of how happy he was before he passed, so I’m going to leave it just as it was.

This house has made all of us - Alan, Radio, Cooper, Baxter, and me – happier beings.  Baxter, the old man, is more active than he’s been in years.  Radio and Cooper love the dog yard and I think it shows on Cooper especially.  He’s a bit of an old man himself but he’s been romping, jumping, running, chasing toys, and is generally less of a curmudgeon these days.  Radio is always happy, so she’s not a great metric for these things.

For me, I’m in a cycle where the more I’m invested in my living space, I in turn invest more in my living space.  We’re grateful that we had my parents house to live in for more than two years and there was nothing particularly wrong with it, it just wasn’t ours.  They like different things in a house (view, water, move-in-ready) than we do (land, needs work, space for hobbies) and the place just wasn’t working for us.  Now that we have this place, Alan is busy maintaining the yard, chopping wood, building fires, playing on his toys.  I’m keeping a nicer home, planning for a garden, learning to sew, knitting more, etc.  The absolute best result of this new found satisfaction?  We’re eating better than ever.  Big time.

I know it’s ridiculous to still get birthday presents at 31, but my parents are awesome and this year they gifted me a mixed set of All-Clad Copper Core cookware and hot damn it’s amazing.  Once upon a time I wanted to post recipes here, but then we moved and I hated our kitchen and everyday cooking felt painful.  I’m getting super spoiled by the new cookware and I’ve finally learned how to cook grandma-style, exclusively on cast iron, enameled cast iron, and stainless steel.  Not a non-stick pain in sight! Rejoice!  These days cooking is a joy and hobby and I’ve pretty much been cooking my ass off.

Lest you look at the prices of All-Clad or Le Creuset and think I’m ballin’ out of control here, it’s just not true.  The All-Clad was an amazing, overly generous gift.  Even then, the secret behind them is that they’re factory seconds… yet still flawless to my eyes.  After a life of waiting, my Mom treated herself to a complete set of copper core (omg, now THAT is ballin’) and got access to a factory seconds sale as a result.  She knew I was still using a 9 year old set of Emerilware from Target and we didn’t have a registry when we got married, so she went bananas for my birthday.  As for the Le Creuset… the brand of ATVs and snowmobiles that we carry at work offers rewards for salespeople in the form of points, kind of like your debit card rewards if you have them.  I’ve been hoarding these points and trading them in on free (free!) Le Creuset, a scheme so absurdly easy, I almost can’t believe it’s real.  When it comes to cast iron, I’m a devotee of cheap ole’ Lodge.  If there is someone out there as excited about cookware as me, I’d love to run through the best/worst of what I have but for now, Ima assume no one likes to chit chat about pots and pans like I do!

Onto the good stuff.  I will now share some highlights.

arroz con pollo

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Arroz con Pollo from Smitten Kitchen.  GREAT flavor, not loving the technique.  We will make our own edits and try again.  

the best chili ever

The best chili, own recipe.  I’ve tweaked the chili recipe I originally posted here and it’s better than ever. 

Spaghetti alla Carbonara

Spaghetti alla Carbonara

Spaghetti alla Carbonara, own recipe

salisbury steak

salisbury steak

Salisbury Steak, own recipe.  Judge ye not! I know it looks questionable, but this one elicited groans from the dinner table. 

latkes

Latkes

Latkes, own recipe.  I read Smitten Kitchen for inspiration because that’s just what I do, then threw things together on my own. 

 

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bathroom

Since we’re currently without kids, Alan and I like to have separate bathrooms.  The upstairs master is “his” and the downstairs main bath is “mine”.  Of course we both use both rooms, but our main getting-ready-ness happens in “our” bathroom.  I’m backtracking quite a few weeks here to show the quick initial updates that we made in my bathroom.  While there are plenty of things we still want to do throughout the house, bathrooms were firmly on the Need List.  I could ignore the colors – almond in our master, blue downstairs – but we couldn’t ignore the scale and functionality of the sinks and toilets.  Maybe my imagination has overly dramatized my memories of the toilets (totally likely), but they were kindergarten height.  Like, you sit down and your knees are sitting higher than your butt.  The vanity downstairs was woefully short, coming in just a few inches above my knee and I’m tall, but not that tall.  Let’s recap with some terrible old pictures.

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free

At the end of June I placed a huge order on Menards.com because, you might remember, there are no local stores and no one delivers here.  I promise there’s a reason for my tangent.  My order was separated into three orders — the stuff already in stock at the store and two special orders.  The in-store stuff was pulled immediately.  The other stuff was given different arrival dates.  The problem with ordering things this way is that my “special order” was only on hold for 30 days.  I initially assumed it wouldn’t be a problem, but one of the two special orders kept getting pushed out.  We eventually hit a deadline where they were going to send back our first two parts of the order, but the third hadn’t yet arrived.  With a handyman on deck and our trip home looming, we zeroed in on pretty much the only weekend that would work for pickup and decided to just cancel our outstanding items, 2 Tuscany Michigan Dual Flush toilets.

On pick up day we ended up in the store for somewhere around four hours.  We purchased more lights, bathroom faucets, shower heads, bathmats, outdoor chairs, light bulbs, paint supplies, and more.  This is the same trip where we discovered our discount butcher block countertops, so it wasn’t entirely bad!  Knowing that we cancelled the toilet order, I needed to find something in-stock that would work.  Our criteria was: tall (16 1/2″), elongated bowl, white, and high performance flush that was both water efficient and effective.  Menards has nice signage in the toilet section, making this process pretty simple.  I selected the Tuscany Huron Tall Elongated White toilet and grabbed two from the shelf.  It’s well under $100 right now, I think our price was right around $100.

Tuscany™ Huron Tall Elongated White Complete Toile

Here’s where things went to…. shit.  I put a lot of thought in our initial choice, the one we had to cancel, and read plenty of reviews.  That toilet should have been great.  Since this is the same brand, I assumed it’d also be great.  Um, false.  The toilet kind of sucks.  More specifically, it doesn’t suck…. anything…. down.  Pros: they look great and are about as sleek as a budget toilet can be, the price is awesome, they objectively fit our criteria perfectly.  Cons: I’d say pretty much the number one purpose of a toilet is to suitably remove the waste from within and these just don’t.  I will say that we’ve since learned how to use the toilets a little more effectively.  I don’t think a toilet is something that should require a learning curve, but there are measures that we can take to make the best of the dumb toilets.  I’m not re-replacing them, so they’re here to stay.  I’m done complaining about toilets.  Don’t buy these.

Finding a vanity was not an easy process.  Did you know that vanities are crazy expensive? Like, CRAZY expensive?!  I checked all my usual haunts – Overstock, Wayfair, Ebay, Amazon, Home Depot, Menards, Lowes, Walmart (ugh), Target, IKEA.  I looked on Craigslist, I considered using an old dresser and converting it to hold a sink.  Since the bathroom is so dark but we’d like to avoid painting the wood, I focused on white options.  My instinct would have picked a different vanity for sure, but I tried to bridge the gap between what I wanted and what the house needed.   Final choice: 42″ Malibu Vanity Ensemble, White.  We paid $699 (ack!) but there’s a rebate available right now to get it for slightly less.  Ideally I wanted something more rustic, but that would have added another tone of wood to the room, so instead I picked something that was just a nice, neutral option.  Our faucet is the Pfister Solita 8″ Bathroom faucet.  We needed a wideset, two handle option and wanted brushed nickel to match the vanity.  That brought us to two options and I let Alan choose between them.

Menards 42'' Malibu Vanity Ensemble

Verdict: Beautiful. The doors and drawers are soft close (so fancy!), the marble top is lovely.  Installation of the faucet happened while Alan’s dad was in town, so I didn’t get to partake.  They had to cut a notch from the large lower drawer, but I suspect that was an issue with our initial plumbing, not the vanity itself.

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Now we can move onto the dirty little secret of our house….  I figured out why the f&*#$g walls are textured!  Check this shit out:

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Sidebar:  I asked Alan to rush install the mirror before his parents came to town, and he installed it perfectly for… his 6’5″ height.  So.  I need to drop it at least 6-8″ but needed new anchors first, which we finally picked up today!

Instead of removing the wallpaper, they just textured over it!  GAH!  Although every piece of me wants to, I’m obviously not going to scrape texture and remove wallpaper from every wall in the house.  Get pumped, guys, because we’re going to figure out how to texture this section of wall to match our stupid existing walls.  Once I figure out the texture, I’ll paint over this delightful mayonnaise color with Egret White to match the other rooms in the house.  I think Egret White will go a long way towards brightening the room and removing the yellow cast, but if it doesn’t I’m open to painting the outside wall with the window or the ceiling.  I know it’s not coming across well in these terrible pictures, but the dark wood is super charming and I’m committed to keeping it.

Since the vanity is narrower than the one we removed, we also eventually need to address the baseboard trim which is now too short.  We’re on a long term plan to swap all trim from the cheap current stuff to something more appropriately Wyoming-esque.  By long term project, I mean I’ll be shocked if we do one room a year.  We’re here for the long haul and won’t/can’t afford to just breeze through projects constantly.  Although it’s not pictured, they also laid flooring around the old vanity, not underneath it, so we’ll have to replace the flooring in this room.  Honestly, we’ll probably just pick a durable and affordable vinyl flooring.  I have to be honest about what is important to us and upgraded floors in a bathroom – one that will hopefully be a kids bathroom someday – is just not a priority.  If I can spiff up the floor for $100 and one weekend of work, that’s 100% ok with me.

 

 

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Loss

by Stef on November 3, 2014

in Pets

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I feel that if I don’t get this out, I won’t ever be able to properly breathe again.  I was working on a post the other day and writing about how this house has made us a happier, healthier family.  I didn’t know at the time that before hitting publish I’d have to remove mention of one little member of our family.

In the fall of my junior year of college I decided that I could not, would not live another year without a dog.  When we signed our lease for the next year around Thanksgiving, I’d convinced our landlord to write in the allowance of “pocket dogs”.  In the spring of 2004 I started my fervent search on Petfinder and found a little border collie mutt in Ohio.  I still remember the day I went to visit his foster home.  His name was Mac, he was a bit of a madman and, while I didn’t feel particularly attached to him, I knew I couldn’t let him continue to live in that grimy little place.  I wrote the check, popped him onto my lap in the car and we decided to rename him Cooper before we got home.  My parents agreed to watch him through the summer until our new lease started in the Fall.

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Shortly after adopting Cooper he came down with Parvo.  The first vet gave little hope beyond sending us home with a bag of IVs.  I still have vivid memories of my Mom and me huddled over Cooper’s limp body on the floor of her master bath, administering subcutaneous fluids.  The IVs didn’t make a dent and we eventually hauled him to a 24-hour emergency care vet near my college town.  My friends would go along daily, letting me cry while I sat on the floor trying to cradle his paw through the cage door.  More than a week and a small fortune later, Cooper rebounded and our devotion to each other was cemented.

How I convinced anyone it was a good idea to have a dog – one that I’d quickly learn was not fully grown, but definitely still a puppy – during my senior year of college, I’ll never know.  Cooper would lay in the bay window of my bedroom with his toys while I was at class.  One of my roommates took a particular liking to him and would hold his little paws while he sat up on his two back legs.  She borrowed him for walks around the neighborhood.  He tolerated our parties and let us dress him up for Halloween.  I’ve since realized that my senior year of college was one of the unhappiest times of my life but Cooper was my forever partner.

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cooper and alan

Friday night Cooper wasn’t himself and on their last trip outside for the night, I suggested to Alan that something was wrong.  We put Radio to bed and spent some time with him.  He didn’t want to walk around and he wouldn’t roll over for a belly rub.  He went in his bed but wouldn’t lay down and, perhaps the most telling of all, refused to take any cookies.  We set some cookies and water by his crate then went up to bed ourselves.  Alan couldn’t sleep and went back down stairs, confessing that he didn’t think Cooper would make it through the night.  I was sure – sure – that he just got into something nasty in the yard and would feel better in the morning.  The next morning he’d perked up a bit but we decided to call our vet’s emergency line and take him in.

I could write about this shit for forever, but I might as well just get to it.  During an ultrasound our vet discovered a tumor on his spleen and significant internal bleeding.  Blood tests confirmed as much.  She said there were measures we could take, but we would eventually be back.  I told her how Emma died on our living room floor two years before and said we couldn’t go through that again.  She warned us that these cases often lead to spontaneous death and bleeding out.  I asked her if we’d be back in a week or a few months.  She said a week to 10 days was likely, definitely not months.  She said we could take him home, but not without painkillers.  We could mask his pain but we couldn’t fix it.

The office was closed for the day so she gave us the space we needed to freak out and discuss options.  We talked how he’d been a bit more stubborn lately and realized that he’d probably just been hiding his pain for weeks or months.  A Cooper who doesn’t want belly rubs or cookies, who won’t stand up on his back legs to hold our hands or play with Radio isn’t a Cooper worth keeping.  We could have taken him home, but it was clearly for our sake, not his.  We tried to give him a few cookies and when he wouldn’t take them we finally said our answer out loud.  Once we decided, Cooper walked over to get some fresh water, then came back to us and started rapidly scarfing down cookies.  I’m sure I’m just trying to make myself feel better, but I think he knew what was going to happen and wanted to pig out one last time.

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I waver between thinking we did what was right and thinking we gave up on him too soon.  No part of me thought we would make that 90 minute drive to the vet as three and return as two.  I was sure he’d just eaten a mouse or too much deer poop and had a tummy ache.  I grew up with a ton of pets and there was always a slow decline in health before the end.  When my parents were here just a few weeks ago, we all discussed how this house had given Cooper some of his years back.  He was more active and agreeable.  He was running, jumping, wrestling, and begging for treats more than ever.  I tell myself it would have been better if we had some time to prepare, if we eased into old age and could plan for things but the sick truth is that you can’t ever plan to lose your best friend.

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Around here Cooper was known as Cooper, Cooper Patooter, Tooty, Bobo, Bubba, and Bubs.  He was the most unique little dog I’ve ever known and our hearts are broken without him.

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I love Lucille

October 30, 2014

I know I’ve been quiet on the Airstream front, but that’s because she’s still not in Wyoming.  Dates got fuzzy with the restorers that we originally planned to use and it eventually became clear that she wasn’t getting an appointment any time soon.  Since my parents knew the Airstream wouldn’t be ready this summer, they […]

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Finished Line Break shawl

October 29, 2014

I’ve long realized that there’s not a huge overlap among the “home improvement” and “knitting” crowds.  Finding a way to either integrate or separate the two pretty much tops the list of “things I should fix with this blog”, but I haven’t yet decided on the appropriate course of action so, for now, I may […]

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One quick update – the lattice is gone from the back deck

October 18, 2014

I took this shot of Radio the other day and realized that I never really shared pictures of the rear deck without all that broken lattice. To prove I’m capable of not rambling, there’s nothing much to say here – just wanted to show our current, much improved, view! That little door may have been the worst […]

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Heating part 2: the new wood stove

October 10, 2014

Before we had a gas line plumbed for the stove and fired up the boiler, we had to fill the propane tank to the tune of just under $700.  We also negotiated a contract for 1,000 additional gallons over the course of the winter, at a potential cost of roughly $2200.  When you get contract […]

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