Category Archives: Life List

The Big To Do List.

More Life List Items – Double Check.

To Do (in) Life List Item # 13. Go to Bourbon and Branch and # 21. Have Drinks at the Tonga Room (before it’s gone).


Both of these are long checked off but had never been accounted for. Being 7 1/2 months pregnant, it’s fun to revisit less sober times. I am soo looking forward to my first cocktail and a whole bottle of wine just for me. Until then, memory lane must suffice.

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Life List – Another One Checked Off

To Do (in) Life List Item # 101. Renovate the Austrian Apartment.

√ Check.

This was one heck of a learning experience. It was fun, often stressful and frankly was enough to give me pause when considering whether we ever want to build a house. I’m not sure I want to care that much about drawer pulls again…at least for a good long while. Now it’s done and we can enjoy it.

There we are!

It's more put together than any apartment we've lived in. I'm not sure if that makes me proud or embarrassed.

Here’re all the related posts:

* A recap of what led up to this (link)

* Before, during and after pictures (link)

* How we dealt with reluctant workers (link)

* The Kitchen (link)

* The Entryway and Bath (link)

* The Bedroom (link)

* The Living Room (link)

* From Dining Nook to Cocktail Corner (here)

And we're done here for now. On to the next one!

Renovation: The Living Room and Cocktail Corner

Part 2: The Cocktail Corner

Cozier, but now seats more.

The dining nook became the cocktail corner, sort of by accident. We replaced the original faux farmhouse table with a much smaller table we got from the proprietors of the oldest Hütte on the mountain. It’s a super cool old little table, but it certainly makes things cozier. But for cocktails, I reasoned, this is more than fine.

We’d been looking a long time for a table and had gotten nowhere until we asked someone on the mountain to help us find something with “Hüttenerfahrung” or a bit of mountain experience. They did one step above that. When we went to  thank them, the wife smiled and said with a wink that the table had tons of experience – including plenty of good times for them in their kitchen. What that really means, was purposely left open to interpretation. Continue reading

On Cats, Bags, and Keeping Them In There

Besides staying pregnant, I’d kinda wanted to keep any subsequent pregnancy under wraps until I was sure it was going to stick. This is hard on a trip with 17 people, all of whom expect you to drink a lot.

Still, we decided to try.

Our brilliant plan included telling no one and me always having a glass of wine that I didn’t really drink. With so many people at the table, this was actually easier to do that I thought. We probably didn’t even need the second part of our plan which was for Oliver to switch our glasses every once in a while so my glass could sometimes be refilled. He would also intercept the schnapps that I didn’t manage to toss under the table (my favorite trick when I couldn’t handle any more).

Let’s just say he did his job very well. So well that I’ve rarely seen him that hammered, that often. After two days he told me he just couldn’t keep up this pace. We needed allies. Continue reading

Renovation: The Living Room and Cocktail Corner (Pt 1)

Part One – The Living Room Area

Back to the renovation!

Living room: Before - "The Mountain Cabin" look

Part of the “alpine” look of the original living room were some fake beams along the ceiling. These were just for show (the building was built in the 60’s), hollow and only extended across one room. So with the decision to remove the doorway between the living and kitchen areas, the fate of the fake beams was decided as well. That led to a domino effect that resulted in all the knotty-pine cupboards and matching “mountain” furniture going too**.

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Renovation: The “Why Not Now?” Method

The nagging, demanding wife thing worked pretty well by the way. I wasn’t always clear on what all was going on, but I focused my contribution to making sure that anything that could be done today was not left for tomorrow. I also found that staring without words worked great.


Worker: “So we’ll leave now for dinner and come back in the morning to drill the holes for the cable/internet.”

Me (smiling): “Why don’t you just do that now before you go? The cable guy could come early. A hole can’t take that long.”

Worker: “Well it’s getting dark and my drill is in the car.”

Me: <*unblinking stare*>

Worker: “…ok I’ll get the drill.”

I’m sure they hated it every time I walked into the room, but to my credit, I often brought beers to keep their spirits up.


And except for some semi-major re-dos (that did not happen on my watch) that would have to be done after our vacation, the apartment did come together in the last 15 hours or so leading up to the deadline. No one works well under pressure like construction guys.

The vacation was saved and we had a new place to rest our heads for Christmas.

The Pre-Christmas Holidays Were Busier Than Expected

Here’s where the two stories I’m telling start to come together.

The renovation of the apartment was moving along, but a lot slower than planned/promised. Mountain time is not city time, not by a long shot, and we were getting curve balls thrown at us to keep us plenty busy, like missing floor installers not showing up on time and then the contractor realizing he’d not ordered enough wood for the floors, how’d we’d like to choose something else?

There was a bit of pressure to get this all done because we’d planned on staying there over the holidays and pretty much had no alternative options if this didn’t work out. The hotel rooms and rentals on the mountain are limited, so anyone who hadn’t booked by August wasn’t going to find something now.

In late November we’d gone up to check the place ourselves and found that not only was everything way behind schedule, the one group that had done their job – the guys installing the bathroom fixtures and tiles – had done it all wrong. The tiles for the floor were the wrong color (which could be an easy fix) but the half wall in the middle of the room where the sink was supposed to go was too short for the sink. Apparently, the measurements of the sink were known, and the desired width of the wall had been determined buuuut… the guy making the wall had decided, what the hell, he’d eyeball it. Continue reading