mad archaelogy

March 13th, 2010

Today, mad completed our first archaeology project. My brother came over today to help us with some dining room mad rehab. Before we got started, he told us a legend that had been passed down from my grandfather to my father, and from my father to him. Supposedly, when my family first moved into this house there were doors separating the two rooms that comprise the aforementioned “double parlor.” For reasons that weren’t altogether clear (perhaps they considered it an ancient, dangerous doorway into another dimension), my grandfather covered up these doors, sealing them for all eternity (or so he thought).


The legendary secret door.

We decided to see if there was any truth to the legend. The risks were great–if we removed the wood, we could damage it, making it hard to reinstall it. In addition, of course, there was the prospect of double work–removing something simply to have to put it back together again. The three of us decided the potential reward would be worth the risks. With pry bars and mallets, mike and my brother started lightly banged away at the piece that likely covered up the door. After a short time, it was clear that there was something behind the wood they were removing. About ten minutes later (after removing all three pieces of wood) two functional, wood pocket doors were revealed. These doors will come in handy when I need to keep working in one room and Mike wants to relax in the other. Also, mad appreciates revealing yet another original detail in the house. However, we’re also tempted to stop all other rehab work on our home and search for the treasures that we’re now convinced are hidden elsewhere in the house.


Our new pocket doors, compliments of Mike and my brother. You can check out the whole reveal process by clicking on the photo and going to our flickr site.

another little thing. . .

March 10th, 2010

Even after we rehab every room, mad maison is only 1,080 square feet (excluding the garage). While many people would consider that a small space, it’s actually a bit larger than our apartment back in Queens–and it’s plenty of space for mad. Like many older spaces, however, it is a little lacking in closet space. Our house only has two closets (one in each bedroom), which is half the number of closets we had in Queens. It’s important, therefore, that we take full advantage of each of them.  The closet in our bedroom is actually more spacious than we expected, with an alcove that fits a little dresser. Of course, despite its size, there is no light in the closet. While our longer term plan is to have an electrician wire the closet with light, that’s not in the cards for phase one of mad maison rehab. I was determined to come up with an interim improvement that didn’t involve me holding a flashlight with my teeth as I try to find my clothes. Do you ever get one of those catalogs of various home improvement gadgets wondering if you’d ever use them? Well, your good friends at mad maison can attest that at least one of those gadgets comes in handy–the motion sensor battery-powered light. It was easy to install, and by using a couple of them I actually have decent visibility of every nook and cranny of the closet. Here at mad maison we call that a win.

closet light

A little home improvement that helps a lot.

dining room inspiration

March 8th, 2010

Now that mad has removed all the wallpaper from the dining room, we can start of the next steps of prepping the walls for painting. Our dining room has some unique features: it has pressed tin wainscoting covering the first five feet of wall, it has a “plate shelf” that sits right above the wainscoting, and it has a coved ceiling. It is also connected to our living room by a wide arch (often referred to as a “double parlor”), so we want to make sure the two rooms work well together. We will therefore carry the beautiful earth-tone wall color we painted in the living room into the dining room.

And again, apartment therapy and my mom come to our aide. My mom, after flipping through a recent issue of Living etc I brought back from the UK, suggested we paint the lower half of the walls the same color as our living room. I was initially wary about painting the pressed tin until I saw a tour of a charming SF apartment over at apartment therapy where the inhabitants painted their wainscoting a darker color. As you can see, the look is compelling and we’re tempted to follow suit. I’ll be doing some test painting after work this week while mike completes some of the other prep steps like washing the walls and completing the plaster repair. Regardless, mad always gets excited when we get to the this point of a project–I think we’re both shocked we got to this point so quickly for this particular room. Whether or not this pace remains is all up to the pressed tin, primer, paint, and guile.

dining room inspiration

My mom proven correct, again. Photo from

A little site business for those of you interested: you’ll notice this photo links to our new flickr account. We’ll be migrating our photos over there, as well as uploading a few additional photos that haven’t been previously blogged.

mad catches a break

March 7th, 2010

Last summer, mad started the journey of rehabilitating our home room by room. We started in the living room, thinking it would take a week and that would be that. Starting with that fateful room, mad soon learned that this was not going to be a fast process. The wallpaper in this house seems to have been partially infused into the wall, all to address cracks and damage to the plaster walls. We realized each room would take weeks or months to strip, repair, prime, and paint. Our dedication to rehabbing this house “right” was recently reinforced when I read a well-written blog by a couple in Chicago who are rehabbing their Chi-town bungalow. When presented with one wall in their bedroom that is like every single wall in our house, they decided to leave the wallpaper and paint over it. It’s become clear to me that our path might be honorable, but it’s also lonely. We started building our arsenal of wallpaper removal products, from scrapers, to DIF gel, to power steamers. It was with this sense of patience and determination that we decided to head to the next room for repair, the dining room. Our dining room is the largest room in the house and serves as both dining room and my home office. It has great bones, and we were thrilled that due to the presence of tin wainscoting that lines the lower five feet of wall (more on that in a future post), we wouldn’t have as much wallpaper to remove.

That thrill was initially squelched when we first moved in, removed some wallpaper in the room “dry” (without any removal gel or steam), and discovered three layers of wallpaper on the walls. Last week, however, we decided to jump in and attack a very small stretch of the dining room with all of our newly found know-how and our arsenal of supplies. Lo and behold, that section of wall was free of all three layers in under an hour. Before we knew it, we removed a third of the wallpaper in less than three hours. Yesterday, mad was committed to getting the dining room to a wallpaper-free state by the end of the day. And I’m happy to report at exactly 11:59 pm last night we stood and looked at the hospital green walls now visible where wallpaper used to be. In addition, unlike every other room in the house, the dining room has three cracks total that will require the infamous Big Wally’s plaster magic. That means we won’t have to skim (and therefore sand) the room. That means we can do minor repairs, and then immediately prime and paint. We might even have a finished dining room before spring is fully upon us. We are eternally grateful to this room and this house for finally giving us a break.

A view of the three layers of wallpaper found in the dining room.

Who would have thought mad would find an expanse of hospital green walls in their own house so beautiful.

our own little legacy

February 25th, 2010

I will admit, mad has strange taste in television programs. Mike enjoys televised sporting events, while I am a sucker for certain procedural dramas. However, we share an appreciation for PBS and documentaries of all shapes and sizes. So it’s not surprising that I’ve been watching the PBS series that sparked the 2009 White House “Beer Summit,” Faces of America. I find myself watching the show with a mix of pride and longing. Mike and I come from salt-of-the earth folks. There are no founding fathers, original settlers, or 600 year-old ancient Asian family histories for either of us. As best as we can tell, there weren’t any mad ancestors inhabiting the new world before 1880. Our grandparents and great-grandparents were farmers, mechanics, salesmen, blacksmiths, bus drivers, and gardeners. No statesmen, no artists, and certainly, no bloggers. But they worked hard to create their own family traditions. As I watch a show that’s all about people seeing generations of family legacy placed before them, thereby renewing their commitment to that legacy, my own commitment is renewed. Because while the legacy we’re a part of in this house is only 67 years old–that seems pretty significant to me. Knowing that we’re not just making a home, but making it in the same place that my pops played ball, learned to read, and learned to drive. It may not be a colonial piece of history, but it works for us.

a mad kind of gothic

a little vanity project

February 21st, 2010

I’ve never understood folks who like to style their hair and put on their makeup in the bathroom (the most humid room in the house). Because I share our one full bathroom with Mike (and I like a steamless room to complete my morning ritual) I wanted to create a little area in our new bedroom where I could put on makeup and style my hair. I took a little inspiration from a recent blog post from Anna at door sixteen and painted an Ikea BEKVÄM step stool in colors that match the bedroom. The step stool also functions as a nice little seat. We then installed a simple shelf and a mirror. I rounded out the project with some inexpensive painted boxes to store glasses and makeup that was inspired by a $100 storage shelf from CB2. I’m very pleased with the results, and I think it will be a very functional area for me to use every day.

Inspiration thanks to doorsixteen, ikea, and cb2

The completed vanity project. Simple and functional.

a different kind of distraction

February 1st, 2010

I know that a lot of people use the internet to distract from the frustrations of everyday life. For some it’s reading every news article on their subject of choice. For others it’s checking out every video on You Tube on their subject of choice. For yet other people it’s all about wikipedia. And of course, there’s always Facebook. For me, while I try to have a nice balance to my internet interests, I’ve been finding myself spending an inordinate amount of time looking at light. Honestly, adding more lamps and lighting is item 1,011 on a 1,200 item list here at mad maison, but I can’t help myself. And, I’ve found my muse. There’s  a beautiful lamp at Room and Board that has become the grail of my quest. My goal is to find a slightly shorter, much less expensive version of the Olinda lamp. I love that the glass base reduces the “visual clutter” as my teachers at HGTV would say. My distraction has begun. I only hope I don’t have to distract myself from my distraction.

My current distraction. Photo from Room and Board

a mad approach

January 31st, 2010

Since I’ve started cross-posting madmaison to my facebook page, mad has started seeing an uptick in the comment traffic on our site, for which we’re very grateful. One of the questions we received via comments warranted an answer in a new post. Faithful reader Michelle wrote “That sure is a lot of work! do you take breaks in between rooms?”

The short answer to the question is no, but with most things mad, the truth is a little more complex. Now that mad has worked through a couple of rooms, we’ve realized that we’ve developed a bit of a rhythm when it comes to completing our rehab work. We’ve already started working on our next project, which is the floor of our bathroom. It has older, dirty linoleum tiles that were installed by my grandfather when my pops was just a lad. We’re many years away from doing a full reno on the bathroom, but as an interim measure we want to get down to the original wood plank flooring (as we did everywhere else in the house). We’re often motivated to start working right away on the next room due to the enthusiasm and excitement generating from finishing a room. Inevitably, once we start working on that next room, we start to realize we’re a little wiped out and slow the pace down a bit–only for that pace to pick up again as we start to see the progress we’re making. In addition, mad tries hard to incorporate a little fun in our fair city. When you’re working on a project like this it’s easy to get frustrated, burnt out, and yes, even a little bitter. We try to make sure we take time to enjoy San Francisco so we can remember why we’re on this adventure in the first place.

All things considered, we think we have a pretty healthy yet productive pace for rehabbing the whole house before we get too far into this new decade.


the two mad cats, trying to teach us how to pace ourselves

Bedroom before and after

January 28th, 2010

mad has been happily sleeping in our new bedroom for almost a month. We’re still in the process of “settling in” to the room–unpacking any remaining boxes of stuff that belong there–but it’s been absolutely wonderful to have such a restorative place to retire to every night. I wanted to share before and after pictures of the room. The before picture was while my pops was still clearing the house out (mad was in NY when the before picture was taken). We won’t be displaying any of our art until the whole house is done (rehab dust finds its way everywhere), but the furniture is in place and (most important), the walls are done.

Here's a before shot of our bedroom, while my pops was working away.

Our newly completed bedroom. It's unusual to have both cats pose for a picture.

project sneaky follow-up

January 23rd, 2010

I’m happy to report that project sneaky was a success. After Mike expressed a little guilt that I completed some work without him (what a sweety!), he has stated that even with the few items that need to be changed, our ‘new’ half bath is currently his favorite room in the house. Given that I picked the wall color (gray tint from Benjamin Moore) without him, I’m thrilled and relieved that he’s happy. I’m also pleasantly surprised that what I had planned as a temporary fix, spray-painting the brass frame of the mirror silver, is one of Mike’s favorite elements. There’s also something invigorating for both of us to work through a room so quickly. I’ve gotten a couple of requests to show the room with the floor visible as well (since it was so visible in the before shot). Here you can see the wood floors that run through the whole house. We’re so grateful that these floors were refinished before we arrived–and I think you’ll agree they ensure that all of our work has a gorgeous “canvas” to sit on .

New half bath with floors

Here's our new half-bath, including our gorgeous floors

Project Sneaky

January 20th, 2010

This past Saturday, Mike caught a flight to Florida to visit his mom. He was able to leave with a sense of accomplishment, knowing that I would be sleeping in clean, restful comfort in our newly completed bedroom. What he didn’t know is that I had a plan to surprise him with some covert home improvements. I decided to enlist my pops to help me complete a small but meaningful project. It seemed like a tangible way to say “thank you” to my amazing partner who has embraced this adventure by working hard to make our house a home. Mike is en route to California now, so this is a perfect opportunity to let our faithful readers in on the project before Mike even knows about it.

We have a small 1/2 bath that was created in the early 1990’s out of a coat closet. True to form, it was decorated with wallpaper and other touches that are not exactly to mad’s tastes. The room is tiny, but something we use quite frequently. Given that the wallpaper isn’t 900 years old, isn’t painted over, and is in such a small room, I thought it presented a perfect opportunity. Over the course of Sunday and Monday (which was a holiday for me), my dad and I removed the wallpaper, primed, and painted the room. I now understand how all of these wallpaper removal products are supposed to work. We scored the wallpaper, sprayed some Diff, and after some steaming, pealed the paper off in about an hour. There are things still left to be done in the room (replacing the beige toilet and sink primary among them), but the task that has given mad the most grief over the last 6 months is done. We’ve also removed all the brass-colored fittings and replaced them with mad-friendly chrome. I’m hoping Mike appreciates the surprise. Perhaps he’ll let you know in this very blog after he recovers from his long flight and jet lag.

Here's the original 1/2 bath on our main floor. Notice the wallpaper and brass fittings.

The after. No more wallpaper, and chrome fittings. Trust me, this light is much better.

Bedroom progress

January 6th, 2010

I’m happy to report that we completed the walls of our bedroom and we’ve started the process of cleaning the floors, moving our furniture in, and hanging window coverings. We’re not fully assembled yet, but I wanted to share the different between our walls before we painted and after. I’m excited to move in and share more pictures with our faithful readers.

The bedroom walls sans wallpaper, post plaster repair, ready for primer.

Our new bedroom walls

desperate mad innovations

December 30th, 2009

We’ve mentioned before the essential role that Big Wally’s plaster repair has played in the rehab of both our Living Room, what will be our bedroom, and we expect every other room of the house. Big Wally’s reattaches the plaster walls to the wooden lathe that sit behind it. When mad used Big Wally’s in the living room, we came very close to running out of the precious caulk. Therefore, I ordered twice the amount of caulk for the bedroom. Unfortunately, the walls in the bedroom were in worse shape than the living room. And with about 12 holes that still required caulk, we ran out. You can only buy Big Wally’s on the internet, so mad needed to implement some combat tactics in order to stay on schedule. As documented before, mad performs well under pressure. Using a chopstick and a pair of scissors we were able to squeeze those last few drops of caulk out of every tube. Thankfully, it was just enough to fill those remaining 12 holes. Most important, it kept the final week of the bedroom rehab work on track.

Completed bedroom plaster repair thanks to scissors, chopsticks, and guile.

sometimes you eat the bar . . .

December 28th, 2009

and, as the dude would say, sometimes the bar eats you. While it’s been a struggle, mad continues to make progress towards completing the rehab on what will be our primary bedroom. Our goal is to have the bedroom complete around the first of January, which means the clock is ticking. In case you’re new to mad maison, or our living room rehab feels like a distant memory, the steps for being “primer ready” are extensive:

1. Remove crazy-glued, band-aid brand wallpaper that was hidden under layers of paint. Remember to employ water, steam, DIF spray, and anything else you can think of to get the wallpaper off. Curse occasionally when a piece of wall accompanies the wallpaper. Sacrifice at least one outfit to the wallpaper removal deities and tell yourself you still have three rooms and a hallway to go (and with them, plenty of opportunities to wear this crusty ensemble).
2. Identify all of the cracks in the walls of the room and determine how many of those cracks represent the walls coming of the lathe. Grumble when you realize it’s most of the cracks. Stare in wonder at the crack that goes up one wall, across the ceiling, and down the other wall.
3. Drill holes in the wall in preparation for the Big Wally’s treatment. Remember to get out all destructive feelings during the drilling.
4. Complete the Big Wally’s repair process by spraying conditioner and then caulk into the holes you just created (yes, even upside-down on the ceiling). Screw in temporary clamps to ensure the Big Wally treatment does it’s job. Wait 24 hours.
5. Slather copious amounts of joint compound/patching plaster over every hole, gouge, crack, and crevice in the walls (yes, even upside-down on the ceiling). Wait 24 hours.
6. Sand the walls as smooth as possible without removing all the joint compound you just applied.
7. Apply two coats of primer–the first primer these walls will see in their 101 years on this planet.
8. Apply two coats of paint.

This room should have been easier than the living room. It’s smaller, the ceilings are lower, and there was no mantle to remove. Alas, this was not the case. The wallpaper was beyond comprehension and underneath that wallpaper the walls were in much worse shape. Despite this, mad endures. We’ve completed all plaster repair and we’ll have finished all the joint compound application before we head to bed tonight. I’m taking off this week from work so we can achieve our goal. Our plan is to sand tomorrow and prime on Wednesday. Painting, which Mike used to hate more than anything, will be our favorite part of the process.

I read a lot of “shelter” and home design blogs when I’m not working or working on mad maison (feel free to check out Apartment Therapy’s 2009 Homies feature to see the variety of blogs out there). When I lived in New York, these were a fun distraction that provided the occasional inspiration for a small tweak to our perfect (in our eyes) home. Now, they inspire me to action and, I will admit, occasionally make me feel a little slow and inadequate. But then I remind myself that Mike and I signed up for the entire journey together, not just the destination. I remember that I live in one of the best cities on earth where I get to enjoy not only the history of this 101 year-old building but the family history that comes with living in the house my Dad grew up in. I remind myself that all of this home rehab work will be well worth it when it’s done. I remind myself that we’ll be living in chaos for only a fraction of the time we’ll be living in this house. And I look out the window of what will be our beautiful bedroom, past the rooftops of those uniquely San Franciscan homes and at the peak of the Bay we get to see and remind myself that this is all well worth it.

We at mad maison definitely have more in common with the tortoise than the hare. Finishing will be all the 'win' we need. Photo courtesy of

Holiday Revelations & Resolutions

December 22nd, 2009

While running some mad-oriented errands on the commercial strip of Diamond St. in Glen Park, I stepped out of my vehicle recently to discover an odd bit of adornment on the parking meters that I hadn’t seen before. We’ve already been struggling with the red & yellow-topped restricted meters all over SF in the never-ending search for parking….isn’t that quite enough, already? Now we have another restriction to worry about?

On closer inspection, I realized that it was a red ribbon wrapped around the meter pole to suggest a candy cane. Oh, that’s a relief, I thought to myself. I’m glad I’m not one of those jaded New Yorkers or anything.

In other mad-related developments, we’re inching ever closer to our goal of completing the upstairs bedroom. Our latest task consisted of drilling holes all over the room to allow the magical “Big Wally’s” caulk to work its charm. It does have the unique effect of suggesting a game of “connect the dots” run terribly awry, or an interstellar constellation. It (almost) makes us regretful that we’ll have to cover it up as we paint.

We’re holding steadfast in our belief that the new year & the new decade will see vast improvements in our humble home, and in our lives. We’re feeling eager & enthusiastic about the future, and we hope everyone reading this feels the same.

Happy Holidays to our dedicated readership, or, better yet, Happy Whatever-You-Wantakah.

another madcap parking designation in Glen Park.

another zany parking designation in Glen Park.

We’re still here. . .

December 7th, 2009

I have no excuses. I’ve been back from my business travels for a couple of weeks now, and honestly, it took me a while to recuperate. After the Thanksgiving holiday (and I hope all of our readers had a pleasant holiday), I knew I was starting to feel better when I cooked honest-to-goodness meals in our kitchen every night last week. Our kitchen was remodeled in the 80’s, and we had some new appliances installed before we moved in. So while the honey-oak cabinets and flowered wallpaper isn’t to mad’s taste, it’s a little more fun to cook in that our tiny galley-style NYC apartment kitchen. After all that wholesome nutrition, it’s not surprising that I felt inclined to get back to work. Mike and I attacked our bedroom walls and we have removed almost all of the wallpaper. Mike and I are confident that with some additional work during this week, we’ll be ready for plaster repair next weekend. Our goal is to have the bedroom walls complete (including paint) by the end of December. I know I say this with every room, but I do believe this is the hardest room we’ll have to complete. Unlike the dining room or other bedroom, the room we’re working on now (like the living room before it) has painted-over wallpaper, which is particularly challenging to remove. But thanks to copious amounts of DIF wallpaper removal gel, a Wagner power steamer, and lots of elbow grease, we’re getting it off. The fact that wallpaper has “come back” as a design trend boggles our minds–and we think anyone who is thinking of installing wallpaper in their home should come to ours and help us get this stuff off the walls.

In the meanwhile, I was looking at one of my favorite blogs, Apartment Therapy, and read an interesting post about a simple remodel that involves the two primary things mad plans to do with our kitchen–paint the cabinets and replace the counters with butcher block. Feel free to take a peak at a place that a little more “finished” than ours.

A little eye candy. Photo credit:

A little eye candy. Photo credit:

I can see clearly now. . .

November 16th, 2009

When you spend your entire life in one region and you’re presented with the idiosyncrasies of other regions, you’re sometimes caught off-guard. While I had lived in various parts of California before I moved to New York in 2004, I lived in California exclusively. There were two of these issues that affected me more than the others. I’ve already spoken about the summer weather (and particularly the humidity). The other one, I’m a little ashamed to admit, is a particularly virulent case of New York city hard water. While I had seen the occasional dishwasher detergent commercial that alluded to it, I had never experienced it for myself. Then, when I moved to New York, over the years, I noticed our drinking glasses started to look, well, disgusting. We had a dishwasher–which didn’t help. We purchased products like rinse aid, jet dry, etc. . .none of them helped. We even brought the hard water stains back to California with us. We were on the verge of purchasing new glasses (which would have cut into our wallpaper removal gel budget), when I turned to my old friend, the internet. And then I discovered a potential fix. That bottle of white vinegar hiding under the sink.

Neither the internet nor the vinegar disappointed me. mad is happy to report that our continued wallpaper removal efforts will not be stalled. After a little soaking, and a little scrubbing, we’re happy to report that we have glasses that look like glasses again. Perhaps they’ll even stay this way now that we’re here in the Golden State.

Before, with the hard water stains.

Before, with the hard water stains.

Clear as well, glass, after

Clear as well, glass, after. And yes, that's the same glass.

A small mad success, brought to you by. . .

A small mad success, brought to you by. . .

I could use some red slippers

October 28th, 2009

Progress on mad maison, both the house and the blog, has slowed a bit due to my October business travel schedule. Over the course of one month, I will have flown over 20,000 miles. Traveling for work has its perks (you get to see colleagues you normally wouldn’t, and in the case of my most recent travels, I’ve gotten to see customers as well, which is always fun), but it is always grueling. There’s no sleeping in to get over your jet lag, very little decompression time, and the knowledge that your “regular” work will be waiting for you in exponential quantities when you eventually get home. And I can tell you, even when your house isn’t perfect, you miss it terribly. Even though the water pressure here in my UK hotel room is better than the mad shower, I still miss home. And of course, there’s the guilt I feel about taking Mike from his hometown to the city by the bay, only to leave him alone to scrape wallpaper and care for our cats. Of course, he’s a trooper and happy to help, but my guilt persists anyway.

When we were originally planning to transform my father’s childhood home into mad maison, we were comforted by the notion that two of the rooms (our bedroom and the living room) didn’t have wallpaper. We were wrong. They have the worst kind of wallpaper–insidious, hidden under layers of paint, and unevenly applied over badly cracked plaster. We’ve repaired the walls in the living room, and Mike has been tackling the bedroom inch by painful inch. It’s taking every ounce of steam, DIF goo, and elbow grease Mike has to get the wallpaper off, but he is making progress. Until then, we’re still living in a serious state of transition and we’re eager for that to change. I’m also eager to actually scrape by Mike’s side when I return from Europe this weekend.

They may not be slippers, but they are red. Perhaps if I click my heels in them I'll be home again.

They may not be slippers, but they are red. Perhaps if I click my heels in them I'll be home again.

Stranger Moments

October 14th, 2009

In between our renovation projects, large-scale and small-scale, mad likes to occasionally pause to enjoy the sights and sounds of our fair city. Personally, I’ve been noticing a mini-trend of stumbling into the oddest conversations with our fellow San Franciscans. Not that I particularly mind…after all, New York is certainly known to have special tolerance, and even reverence, for loud, colorful characters. Anyway, I’m standing in line in the supermarket recently when a well-dressed woman about 30 years my senior calmly & assertively asks me, “Excuse me…do you know what month this is?” I told her the correct date and she replied, “Oh, thank you….I really thought it was December.” And with that, she quietly continued her shopping experience.

The other day, I’m walking past a cafe in Bernal Heights minding my own business when suddenly a young man who was seemingly wearing a white chef’s jacket blocks my path and urgently asks me, “Hey! Do you know how to spell the word “gumbo”? Is it 1 “m” or 2?” Once again, I’m caught a little off-guard and I blurt out, “Um, I’ve always seen it spelled with one m.” Then he excitedly replies, “Thanks! That’s what I thought!” As I was trying to figure out if this man was preparing a menu, finishing a crossword puzzle, or was just so incredibly enthralled with our English language that he couldn’t help himself…he disappeared. I peeked my head into the cafe, but I didn’t see him. He just somehow dissolved into the sunny afternoon, not unlike the alien in the Predator films. Events like these, coupled with our recent apocalyptic-type rainstorm, have had the effect of feeling like we’ve walked into Bizarro World.

But we love it.

A San Francisco delicacy, apparently

A San Francisco delicacy, apparently

Lighter moments

October 9th, 2009

For the majority of my childhood, I lived within a few miles of the house mad now occupies. I have many fond memories in this house–assembling jigsaw puzzles with my grandfather, applying 4 layers of my aunt’s lipstick, enjoying my grandmother’s peanut butter sandwiches, and the occasional holiday celebration. It’s been a long time since my grandmother entertained in what is now mad maison–at least 20 years. Needless to say, mad was surprised to find decorative items still in the house that don’t have any real monetary value. Some of these items are so hilarious that we can’t help photographing them before we purge them. What’s most amusing to me about this “salad” is that the ingredients are now so passe. I mean, iceberg lettuce in a salad for company? Please.

I think mixed greens would be more appropriate, don't you?

I think mixed greens would be more appropriate, don't you?