Archive for ‘Introductions’

April 11, 2011

Find Out Who Your Friends Are: Emiley

by Cait

As I mentioned, I’m going to write a couple of these about the important people in my life and link to them in the About section.

Emiley, Kyle and baby Carter

It’s hard to find people who will love you no matter what, and I am lucky enough to have several. Ryan may sometimes be the closest, but that definitely does not discount the others who have always been there for me.

Emiley and I met the first or second day of school in 9th grade World History. We had a teacher with a propensity for giving good grades to students who brought her food and making microwave popcorn during our class (and usually burning it). We passed notes throughout most of that class (I found some of them recently, they’re about typical things like boys and how boring our classes were), and we probably only passed the class because when asked to do projects we incorporated food. History that semester and gym the next were the only classes we had together, because of the way our school worked she was technically in another program, so we kept up with each other by instant messaging, dropping notes in each others’ locker, eating lunch together (if we had the same lunch period) and lots of emails. I can only ever actually calling her once in high school. We were in some stupid fight (that I don’t think either of us remember the root of), but I still called her when my then-boyfriend and I a complete blow-out fight. I said “It’s me, I’ll be at your house in 20 minutes” and she said “I’ll be outside”, and then we drove to the beach and I cried to her about my boyfriend being a complete jerkwad. There were also many nights spent buying bubbles at Walmart, going to Homecoming dances & a few football games, and daydreaming about life after high school and college.

We were there for each other through several boyfriends, especially during a break up, whatever our opinion was of the guy that broke the other’s heart.  When Robert and I got back together in college everyone thought I was insane. A masochist; didn’t I remember how badly he hurt me the first time? It caused a fallout or two with some friends, but Emiley gave him a chance. She was cautious because she’d seen what it did to me in high school (it was ugly), but she was willing to forgive him, just like she was willing to get to know him in high school. And while it took more than bonding over Garth Brook’s In Pieces cd while driving around at the beach that time, she did give him that chance. A few years later I was a bridesmaid in her wedding, and she was a bridesmaid in our wedding.

Em & her husband Kyle at Robert’s and my rehearsal dinner

We got married & bought houses a few months apart (and our houses are two minutes from each other) but our lives keep us so busy we hardly see each other.  Recently we are in a terrible “we’ll get together soon” loop with absolutely no time to actually get together. It isn’t that we couldn’t be there for each other at the drop of a hat, it’s just that she knows that if she needs me I’m here, and if I need her she’s there. From my end it is only out of respect for the fact that she has a 7 month old son that I don’t call her at 2am when Robert is out of town and Freckles won’t stop faking me out that there is someone outside (BTW- hi Ryan). She knows who to call when their fridge dies and they need a truck to bring the new one home, and I know who to call if my car won’t start and I need a ride to work.

Whenever we do see each other we pick up right where we left off. We might miss out on some of the everyday things, but we make sure to hit all the important milestones in each other’s life. I was there for her on her wedding day, and she was there for me on mine. We helped each other move, and painted each others’ houses (and I still have her paint brush from when she helped paint the library, dining room and living room in one day- oops). I made the invitation for her baby shower, went matternity shopping with her, bought Carter way too many Baby Gap clothes & FSU socks, and manned the present table at her shower. Robert and I were there the night Carter was born, and I know she’ll be there for me when I’m pregnant and freaking the hell out during labor. I will always been “Aunt Catie” to Carter (and Robert will be “Crazy Uncle Bob”- as in “go ask your Crazy Uncle Bob why jumping your dirt bike off the shed is a bad idea”), and Carter will be the big brother to my future kids.

Occasionally I leave green ceramic elephants, giant tubs of animal “cookies” (long story) or birthday cards (when I’m sick and don’t want to get the baby sick) on her doorstep. I frequently use her line “I try to be as hilarious as possible at all times” and she doesn’t call me out on it. Somewhere down the line our favorite colors went from blue (me) and yellow (her) to green, but there is a distinct “Emiley” green and a “Catie” green.

In short, Emiley is sweet, loyal, funny (ok, hilarious), creative and stubborn.  She’s the happy-go-lucky to my cynical and sarcastic. She is the firey, passionate and protective redhead everyone needs in their life (she may not cuss you up and down like I would, but you will feel about an inch tall when she’s done). She definitely gives Ryan a run for his money as the person with the biggest heart that I have ever met (let’s just say there is a reason she and Kyle have four dogs and a tank full of fish). We have tried to run each other off with stupid fights, but after ten years it’s pretty much been established that we’re not going anywhere. There is no doubt in my mind that Emiley will always come through for me when I call and say “you. me. gelato. Kleenex. beach. now.”, and she knows I would do the same for her. She has long since surpassed the role of friend, she is family.

PS- I accidentally left my birthday card that Carter made me at your house. Copper didn’t eat it, did he? I need to frame that.

April 8, 2011

Find Out Who Your Friends Are: Ryan

by Cait

Being that it’s Friday and Robert&I haven’t DIYed anything recently, I thought it might be a good time to formally introduce* Robert’s and my best friend, Ryan, on the blog (and post a smattereing of photos from his Picasa of the random things that were born in his dad’s garage). Here’s hoping he doesn’t kill me later for posting these (despite the fact that they’re linked on his Facebook for all to see) and saying some fairly sappy things. 

As a bit of back story, Robert and Ryan have known each other since they were 4 and 5 respectively. I met Ryan 8 years ago standing on the end of Robert’s parents’ driveway shortly after he moved back to Florida from Virginia. Not long after that, Robert wrecked Ryan’s Suzuki GT750 into a telephone pole (the story at this point generally involves Ryan chiming into say “I had just gotten that running right, too”) and then Robert and I broke up (as most high school romances do), so  I didn’t get to know Ryan again until Robert and I were starting talking again two years later. The three of us lived together before  Robert and I bought our house, so Ryan and I became close friends. He was also the best man at our wedding.

That’s Ryan on the right in his standard grey pocketed t-shirt.

It’s always awkward to sing the praises of someone of the opposite gender without it resulting in a lot of raised eyebrows, but when have I ever been one to stray away from awkward? If you had to describe Ryan in two words you might call him extremely loyal. Since I prefer having a flair for the dramatic, I sometimes refer to Ryan as my In Case of Emergency Person. I’m pretty sure he has never seen that episode of Grey’s Anatomy though, so generally he responds to my saying that with a gruff  “as long as I hear the phone” and an “I’m a guy, I don’t talk about feelings” look.

Ryan is one of about five people who I’d trust with my life. He’s the kind of guy everyone wants to know. You can call him when you can’t call anyone else, like when you’re a 20-year-old girl coming home from college, your car breaks down on the side of the highway and the state trooper just dropped you off at a truck stop on Thursday night. (Yes, that really happened, but in that instance I was lucky enough to have both Robert & Ryan come to rescue me.) All I heard in return from Ryan was “I never did get that $50 that we tipped the tow truck driver with back”, but he didn’t even say that until several years later, at the time he just mentioned that he was going to be really tired the next day at work. Applying that to your life, Ryan might be  that friend you have who you were in some stupid fight (that neither of you remember) with, but you still called them when you & your boyfriend have a complete blow-out fight and you say “It’s me, I’ll be at your house in 20 minutes” and they say “I’ll be outside” and then you go sit on the beach and cry to them about your boyfriend being a jerkwad. You know, strictly as a hypothetical (BTW- hi Emiley).

If you’ve ever wanted a 6 foot (possibly larger) dragon sculpture, I know a guy…

In addition to his unfaltering loyalty, Ryan is the go-to person to ask when you have a “how the heck did they do that?” question.  (As a reminder, he’s the friend who once welded a rather large dragon out of rebar that was left over from a project Robert did for school. Getting him and Robert together often results in both amazing things you never imagined possible, and singed hair.) He might never admit it (because he’s incredibly humble and sometimes self-deprecating), but he’s brilliant. The running joke is that if you locked him in his dad’s garage and came back a few hours later, the roof would open like a clam-shell and a spaceship would take off (I think it would probably be made out of a dryer, a stop sign and a lawn mower engine).

He’s kind of like a real-life MacGyver. I’m no stranger to making something from nothing, I grew up with a father and grandfather who did the same thing (in our house the line was “Daddy can fix everything, except broken erasers” which is a long story…although then my dad fixed those, too). And it’s not like Robert is a slouch when it comes to tools, it’s just that Ryan does everything to the extreme. He pours all of himself into what he’s doing, which can often result in ignoring text messages, phone calls, etc. If he is working on a car and he doesn’t have a tool that he needs he just makes one, usually out of an old jack and a piece of pipe. If he doesn’t know how to fix something, he researches it until he figures out how, and then he teaches you how to do it. He has experience with plumbing and remodeling, so he was the one I called when our roof was leaking and Robert couldnt answer the phone because he was in class. And then (as I am apt to do) I accidentally insulted him when I jokingly said “How Not To Fix Your Roof” about his $20 fix (which is holding up perfectly fine, of course). I am excellent and sensitive like that.

Pneumatic can crusher

His smile & laugh are contageous, he says completely poignant things that really make you think (often in five words or less), and he’s listening even when you think he isn’t (that may sound creepy, but I just mean he can seem to be focusing on something else, and then say one of those über poignant things).  He is never anything other than completely himself, take it or leave it. He’s like a brother to Robert, and for me he’s both the big brother I never had and best friend I never knew I was missing. Robert and I both miss talking and hanging out with him when we go any length of time without at least sending each other a funny picture text, like when every May when he goes to Deals Gap and has spotty cell reception. In short, I hope that Robert and I are half the friends for him that he has been for us.

Best way to plan Gran Turismo.

L: the way his dad’s garage gets heat; R: The Incinerator, may it rest in peace.

Electric bike

*I think I’ll probably write a few more of these (about friends like Emiley and Lisa, and since I wrote a bit about my mom here, I need to write about my dad as well) and add a link in the About section.

October 26, 2010

Word To My Mother

by Cait

Alternate title for this entry: The One In Which I Brag About My Mom

For anyone who doesn’t have the good fortune of knowing my mom, she is amazing and you’re missing out.  Seriously.  My mom is creative, resourceful, thrifty, well-informed, eco conscious and hilarious.  She’s the mom who not only made a lot of the clothes my sister & I wore growing up and thought up countless inventions long before they were mass-produced, but she is a constant trendsetter.  (Those vintage soda crates being sold at Pottery Barn?  Yeah, she’s had one as a spice rack for years AND she tracked one down for me when I went off to college, so we have one in our kitchen now.)

All of these wonderful attributes mean that not only is my mom the perfect person to bounce ideas off of when trying to do something for our house, but she picks out design elements that I never would have considered (because I am sometimes boring and set in my ways).  She and my dad got us this awesome green, faux crocidile skin “truckette” it as an anniversary present and, together with the rug we purchased with a generous gift from Robert’s parents, it helps our living room go from a random collection of styles to eclectic & trendy.  (I find it funny how the green of the truck is coincidentally repeated in a patch on the pillow my mom made, the Ikea candle on the table, and even Dots’ pillow and Freckles’ artichoke.)  My mom also mentioned that two of the trunks would make a good coffee table for someone who either didn’t have the money for one or didn’t want a more traditional coffee table.  One of my favorite parts about it is that it makes a much better side table than thes stool Freckles was constantly ducking under (which resulted in several spilled drinks).

See that patchwork pillow on our couch?  My mom made that before she went to college.
Also, that recliner no longer lives in our living room, so I need to take a new picture. Again.

I should also mention that since we took some bifold closet doors down (more on that later) we are going to make an easily moveable screen similar to the one John & Sherry made to make the erg less of an eyesore.

August 3, 2010

More Insight Into Who the Heck We Are

by Cait

Shifting gears slightly from the project posts in the works, I thought I’d give a little more info on who Robert and I are.

Me with Oak Tree

This is me, Caitlin, known to friends as Cait or Catie.  Animal/dog lover who is obsessed with all things green (mainly the color, but I do love me some earth-friendly products), coffee and football related.  To borrow a line from Sex and the City “I was raised in the church of be nice to people and don’t talk with your mouth full”.  As a former art major, I reserve the rights to play the “I think I can make something out of this” card.  A lot.  Which sometimes results in the dining room table being covered in Starbucks cards a slightly cluttered art room.  And thankfully I have a patient husband who puts up with my craziness.  And does the vacuuming because of my allergies.


Robert is my adventurous and fun-loving husband.  He is also quite handy.  You name it and he has probably done it, knows how to do it, or knows someone who can.  That pretty much goes for all things home renovation related, car or motorcycle related, and sports related (ok, well, maybe I hold the majority of the football knowledge, but he’s catching up on that front).  I don’t know if it comes from his upbringing, all the soccer and baseball he played, the BMX and surfing, the industry he works in or what, but this kid cannot go anywhere without seeing someone he knows.  Seriously.  My college graduation 200 miles away from our home town?  Yup, he knew people there.  He is finishing up a business degree while working full time, which makes him pretty much my hero.  I cannot even imagine working full time and taking college classes that involve math at the same time. I worked part time at a coffee shop during college and only took statistics when I needed a math credit (thank you credits from high school, for taking care of pretty much everything else, seriously, math and I are not BFFs).

You already know that we met at Habitat for Humanity, but you probably don’t know that we met in a shower.  Hey, you in the back, get your dirty mind out of the gutter!  I was scraping paint and plaster over-spray off the shower walls.

Fast forward to 2007 after we’d been back together for awhile and this guy entered our lives.


Freckles is our furry first born.  According to the Humane Society’s records he’s from South Carolina, and the fact that we think he’s a mix of American Staffordshire Terrier, some kind of retreiver, and maybe a little Pointer points to the idea that he may have been bred as a hunting dog.  Having lived with him for three years now though, I can say with absolute certainty that he would have been a terrible hunting dog.  Don’t get me wrong, Freckle Face can tree a cat with the best of them, but he’s terrified of loud noises.  Fireworks make him whine (remind me to tell you the story of the 4th of July in 2009, which was spent on a dock 20 yards from where someone was setting off fireworks… good times), thunder sends him searching for a place to hide or a lap to crawl into, and I don’t really want to know what gunshots make him do.  But I’m guessing it’s not “retreive the fallen animal”.  As far as the rest of his personality, it’s pretty much the dog version of Robert, but without the “knowing someone everywhere he goes”.


Dots came into our lives in 2008 when, as usual, I was “just looking” at the Humane Society’s website.  I was pretty much smitten after seeing her furry little face.  (Wouldn’t you be?)  Her story was heartbreaking, and so after begging and pleading reminding the nice folks at the Humane Society who our other dog was, they let us foster-to-adopt her while she finished up her second heartworm treatment in a year.  Two very wiggly years later, I can’t (or maybe more that I just don’t want to) imagine life without her.  If you’ll excuse the slightly hokey tangent, she’s one of those dogs who seems to sense when you feel sad or when you’re sick, and she takes the sadness or sickness from you.  You could also simply say “it is impossibly to be unhappy around this dog”.  We think she is a mix of American Staffordshire Terrier and Pointer, but sometimes people ask if she has Dalmatian in her.  We don’t have a lot to go off of other than her medical records from the Humane Society, because she wasn’t an owner surrender like Freckles, but we think she was probably a stray and might have had a litter of puppies before the Humane Society got her.

Anyway, that’s a brief introduction to our little family, and later on today I’ll post at least one of the projects we’ve done around the house.

And what does it say about me that I had more to say about the dogs than I did about the hubs and about myself?

July 27, 2010

New blog!

by Cait

In September of 2009 we proudly added our names to our house’s long list of owners. Built in 1955, the house came with an even longer list of previous DIY projects and renovations, some of which were better than others. We loved the fact that our house had gone from the original 1220 square feet to 1851 square feet and the original hardwood floors throughout most of the house, but there was more poorly done tile work, mini blinds and contractor’s beige than you could shake a stick at. There was also an awful lot of dust, dead bugs, dirty windows, and general grime, thanks to the owner before us flipping it rather than actually living there. We brought a small posse to one of our last walkthroughs and so R’s grandmother (think of her as Emily Gilmore, but nicer) spoke up and got the house cleaned within an inch of its life.

After the eviction of said funk, I began (lovingly) attacking the house with paint before we even moved in, and pretty much haven’t stopped tweaking it since then.