Sunday, November 20, 2016

Yard Crashers: Back Yard Edition

When we saw our house for the first time it was late fall, so everything was dead.

You'd be surprised at how great things can look when everything is dormant. The slate is wiped clean and in the absence of overgrown bushes and trees, everything looks almost... nice. We walked around the back saying things like: 'It has a lot of of potential' and 'What are these weird concrete things everywhere?'

But we could easily envision a cute little back yard and surmise where our 'garden' would be. (Garden = our four tomato plants.)

BEFORE... Not that bad in the winter.


Look at that decorative concrete ball — very cemetery chic.

Imagine our surprise when come springtime, our dead little back yard with so much potential turned into an overgrown Jurassic Park, with those once-dormant bushes becoming so heavy that they tipped over and dragged the ground.


Spring time... yikes
Be afraid of the flora.

Ray and Cassius Clay visited a Superfund site. No wait, this was our backyard.

In addition to being overgrown and a general mess, it had a weird step-down from a railroad tie, some round concrete pillar things and pavers sunk into the ground in what appeared to be the shape of sandwich bread. (No doubt an offering to the deli gods for favor.)


 
At minimum, we would have needed a jackhammer to get the concrete balls out of the ground, and as much as Ray would have probably loved getting a jackhammer, we called a landscaping company. 

They came out and were like, 'Geezus! This is the smallest, crappiest back yard we've ever seen!' 

Okay, they didn't really say that. But they were probably thinking it.

Our direction to them was basically: 'We don't know anything about plants so, you know, put stuff in that's hard for us kill. Oh, and we'd like a small garden.' 

They took some measurements and came back with a schematic of what it all would look like. Sold!

Schematic of new and improved back lawn.

We failed to realize (or maybe we didn't, I can't remember now), that the work would be done the day we arrived home from our honeymoon in Hawaii. No big deal, except that our time zone was off and we slept through the entire thing as though we'd been drugged.

They removed part of a giant tree. Slept right through it. 
They jackhammered. Zzzzzzz.
There was heavy machinery — a bobcat, a chainsaw.  Yawn.

Once or twice we rolled over and thought we heard something happening, but then we fell right back to sleep. I took this one photo while sleep-walking I think.


About eight hours later, we woke up to this. 


Our terrible little ugly duckling had transformed into a beautiful swan. No more railroad tie step-down or weird concrete balls. Instead we had hydrangeas, a little Japanese maple, liriope and, my personal favorite, a weeping spruce.

The best part is that we were assured it would be difficult for us to kill any of it. 



And we even got a little garden plot, where we grow $200 tomatoes.

Determination.
 
  Some before and after comparison shots.




You can really see the weeping spruce from this angle, if you aren't blinded by the vibrant colors of our beautiful wave petunias.
 
This is what everything looked like last summer overlooking the deck 

Is it too bountiful? Is the beauty of the wave petunias too distracting? Does the majesty of the Buddha and the whimsy of the weeping spruce remind you at once of the levity and depth of life?

If so, I feel you

And the best part of the transformation (at least for us) is that now we just cut the grass and plant petunias and call it landscaping. Ta-DAH. (If you need us to do any landscaping for you because we are so super good at it, I can give you the number for our landscaping company.)

Up nextYard crashers: Front yard edition. (Our front yard was somehow even worse than the backyard, if you can believe that.)

Thursday, September 15, 2016

How To Tie a Bowtie

Nailed it.
   
Dudes who wear bowties have a certain vibe. They seem cooler, funnier, and able to get away with things necktie wearers can't.

Hah, look at bowtie guy, doing the worm on the dance floor! So awesome!

Versus:

Look at necktie bro, doing the worm on the dance floor. Yikes

Style and intrigue in a single knot. How hard could it be? 

How to Tie a Bowtie  

1. Watch YouTube videos.
2. Watch YouTube videos while also looking into a mirror.
3. Get everything backwards.
4. Get sweaty and irritated in the hot bedroom. Exclaim: "DID YOU TURN THE AIR CONDITIONING OFF?!" to your super cool, patient wife who is just trying to help you. 
5. Wither as you watch your wife crumple into laughter at your struggle.
6. Repeat steps 1-3 several more times.
7. Show your wife the finished product.
8. Hmm. Close enough.
9. Run pantless through the wedding reception. (Look at that hilarious guy in the bowtie!)

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

What To Expect With a Cat Named Chuck Norris

 
While everyone else is sharing back-to-school photos of their adorable kids, I want to share this photo of my little murderer. 

I went into the bedroom last night to find Chuck Norris standing over the lifeless body of a mouse. When I got over being horrified there might be a dead mouse in the bedroom, I then felt horrified there might NOT be a dead mouse in the bedroom.

What if it resurrects itself when I pick him up to throw him out?! What if it runs under the bed?!

I pondered all of this while Chuck batted the mouse's little dead body around and tried to carry him away. Poor mouse. He was cute. 

Don't let this incredibly handsome face fool you, Chuck Norris is aptly named.  

Art muse, murderer, iconoclast. The cat has plans. 
 

Saturday, August 06, 2016

It Exists


I thought Jess was joking when she said the cheese plate at Bouquet is called The Motherboard. 

I thought she meant she called it the motherboard because it was the mother lode of cheese and meat or something. Some hyperbole to go along with our happy hour on Friday.  

She wasn't joking. It is called that, and it is the mother lode.    

Four cured meats, five cheeses... 'a multitude of accompaniments,' the menu says. 

Sure, Bouquet offers other Charcuterie plates. But please, but why would you get those when there is The Motherboard.

Jess's urban farm supplies Bouquet (and others) with some of their locally grown vegetables, including squash blossoms. Though Friday's squash blossoms didn't come from Yogi and the Farmer, we still had to have an order.   

Bouquet stuffs them with parmesan mousse and fries them, then serves them with cherry tomatoes, summer squash and chive emulsion. I could have eaten 20 of them, easily. (They come in orders of two.)

They should call them crack blossoms.

Truth be told, whenever we get squash blossoms in our farm-share, I give them to the neighbor. I had never in my life heard of eating squash blossoms before, and I hadn't eaten any of them until Friday night. 

I didn't know what I was missing. 

Before we knew it happy hour had turned into happy hours and it was it 8 o'clock already. (Thankfully I was DVRing the Rio 2016 Opening Ceremonies.) 

If you're looking for a spot in the Cov though, I highly recommend a seat at the bar at Bouquet and the Motherboard. And don't forget the side of squash blossoms.
 



Also, I'm a bit on a roll in Covington recently. 

Last week I was supposed to meet friends at Otto's but after some confusion with the reservation, we ended up at Lisse instead. Lisse is the brand new steakhouse in the old Chez Nora spot, and the transformation is spectacular. (Gone is the ratty old carpet and sewer smell, replaced with modern fixtures and a bright, clean look.)

They hadn't had their grand opening yet but already it was packed with reservations and folks at the bar. Since we weren't really looking to spend a small fortune steak that night, we opted for appetizers, salads and a gigantic bowl of mac and cheese to share. Good stuff.