Wednesday, April 26, 2017

This (Big) Old (Crazy-Ass) House

A lot has been going on during the Great Slimbo-Doldrums. Let’s catch up.

As a kid, I was obsessed with that show, This Old House, the old-school prototype of the modern home renovation show, in which they documented the step-by-step rehabilitation of some venerable antique home. I loved all the particularities of the transformation as the old structure took on new life. Little did I know, several decades later, we would be undertaking exactly such a grand renovation, living our own real-world version of the show. The house:

In its "before" state (exactly as it had looked all my life)

Points of note:
  • It was my grandparents’. They moved there in the 50s. My father spent the latter part of his childhood there. (My aunt and uncle, his older siblings, continued to live on there as adults.)
  • It was the New Orleans home of my childhood, where I visited every summer and many Christmases. 
  • After my grandparents died, my aunt Annou continued to live on one side, renting out the other.
  • When she passed away, it came to me.
  • It’s big.
  • It’s crazy. Well, it was crazy. Now it’s on its way to being slightly less crazy. More like eclectic-in-a-good-way. (The crazy will take some explaining and will require a separate follow-on post in which we perform a proper architectural psychoanalysis.)
Upon inheriting it, we spent a long time figuring out what to do. Renovate it and keep it? Sell it as is? On the one hand, it was a quirky cool majestic old beast. On the other hand, as I said, it was crazy: a bizarro rambling Frankenhouse maze of awkward untenable rooms, the result of a century-and-a-half of idiosyncratic evolution. To turn it into a viable home would be a massive undertaking.

But after a lengthy spell of deer-in-headlights indecision, mulling our options and culling its contents,1 the inevitable decision made itself clear: make this big old crazy-ass house our big old crazy-ass house, bring it some much needed sanity, and make it a home for the next generations.

And so started our lengthy saga in earnest. And it continues on today. A lot has happened, the bulk of the work, though there’s still plenty more to do. And it’s occupying a big chunk of my Slimbo-brain-space, so let’s give it some Slimbo-blog space. Stay tuned for some proper serialized reporting of the rehab fun, thus far and furthermore.

Next up: The Origin Story. How did that house get so damn crazy?

1 Oh yeah, that’s the other thing. Adding to its crazy-vibe (and amplifying our deer-in-headlights-ness), the house was stuffed to the gills (metaphorically; houses don’t actually have gills) with old stuff — amazing stuff, total crap, and everything in between. But that’s its own other whole post’s worth of pondering, so we’ll save that for later too.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Morning Pourover

The trick was to draw the coffee while making the coffee (with Sarah checking in, "So... how's the coffee coming"), an awkward juggle.

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

What's His Deal? Side-Eye McPompadour

Alright, next up: this guy. What's his deal? Name, backstory, preferred sock color, etc. (Sarah was picking up a Weimar Republic cabaret MC vibe. Your mileage may vary.)

Friday, March 31, 2017

What’s His Deal? Toothy McChunkmullet

Ooh! We haven’t played “What’s His/Her Deal?” in a while. Let’s do that! So...

This guy popped out of my doodle-cortex. What’s his deal? ('Cause I really don't know. He kind of freaks me out.) Y'know, name, backstory? Maybe a favorite color? Name of his cherished childhood stuffed animal...? Dealer’s choice.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Alligator Pear

Pop quiz:
Who is familiar with the term "alligator pear" as a name for an avocado?
That's what my grandparents called them.1 Is that an around-here thing? (I could Google it, but that's no fun.) Really, it's a pretty good name, like if an alligator and a pear had a baby, all green and bumpy:

(Though actually if they had a baby, it would probably have teeth, and the thought of an avocado with teeth is horrifying, so let's not think about that.)

I don't really hear it much these days, but maybe I'm just traveling in the wrong circles. I'm going to have to try it on for size (Avocado pear, avocado pear, acovado pear, avopado care, occupado bear, I walk out O'Hare...)

1 That was one of the many culinary peculiarities I had to adapt to when I came to visit my grandparents from the northern hinterlands (and beyond); that, and calling mayonnaise "my-oh-nez" and saying grace and having a soup course and "French bread" (po-boy bread) and eating tomato aspic and cows' tongues and pigs' feet and merlitons and creole cream cheese and pain perdu and animals that still had their eyes...

Thursday, March 09, 2017

Evening Sketch-A-Doodle: Little Red Cup Sitting on My Desk

Points to note:
And with that, it's time for bed. Goodnight, room. Goodnight, moon. Goodnight, red doodle. Goodnight, sleepy noodle...

Wednesday, March 08, 2017

Check. Mate.

Sarah was in California last week for work/etc. and kept texting us photos of rolling wine country hills and majestic mountains and gorgeous rugged shorelines. It was really much too much.

So a quick trip to Rouse’s later… boom!

I sent her this photo: our first crawfish of the season.1

Check. Mate.

Is there any mountain more majestic than a mountain of hot well-seasoned crawfish ready for the eating? What our murky south-Louisiana swamps lack in scenic vistas, they make up for in cook-able deliciousness.

1 It really is thoughtful of nature, just as Carnival season winds down, to ease us into crawfish season. Lent is hardly a hardship when you can eat all the crawfish you want. (Not that most people around here seem overly burdened with Lenten austerity anyway; pre-Lenten indulgence gets a lot more emphasis.)

Monday, March 06, 2017

There's No Biz-ness Like Sno-Bliz-ness

Kids. The funny thing about kids is that, with proper care and watering, they turn into adults. Not all at once, but little by little, incrementally doing increasingly adult-ish things (they sneak it up on you, the crafty bastards), until before you know it, the little runtling who used to devotedly slurp down rainbow Hansen's Sno-Blizzes1

has grown about eight feet and gone out and gotten a frickin' job at Hansen's!

Yeah, an actual job with actual paychecks and stuff.2 She worked her first shift this weekend. (The toppings station.)

Holy crike-er-oni...

1 If you're not familiar, Hansen's takes some explaining, but suffice it to say, it's a unique magical (James-Beard-award-winning) sweet-frozen-delight-serving extrah-vuh-gahn-zuh. Immediately after dropping Louise off, I headed straight to the back of the line. It took me a full hour to actually get to the front, but my half-cream-of-almond/half-cream-of-ice-cream/topped-with-sweetened-condensed-milk Sno-Bliz was glorious!

2 I had to help her fill out her first W4s. I kindly explained to her, "Being an adult can be pretty cool, but the paperwork sucks."

Friday, March 03, 2017

We're Back, Blog-itches!

I'd kind of thought maybe I'd given up this blog. Y’know, blogs are dead; everything now is InstaTweeterBook; etc. But it turns out I miss it. Plus June told me I should start it again, and when your kid tells you to restart yer blog, goddamit, you’d better restart yer blog.

So stay tuned. The silly sundries shall flow forth once more...