Sunday, May 17, 2015


 For those waiting for news on the arrival of our new family member, stay tuned no news yet.  But we did do some pretty nice renovations (remont) in our apartment.  We forgot to do the before pictures, but I found a few old ones when we moved in.  We got our apartment for a cheap price because there was a leak in the ceiling, water would come in from the upstairs balcony (the apartment below had a leaky ceiling from our balcony).  This eventually turned into a small hole in our sheet rock on the ceiling as it dripped every spring when the snow melted for years.  Finally the balconies got fixed which meant we could then repair the whole.  The value of our apartment should be quite a bit higher now.  While we were at it we decided to get a new light fixture because we hated the old one.

 This is how it looks now.  When the light is turned on you can still see where the hole was patched, but you can't tell when the light is off.  We are very happy that the hole is gone!  There were also some nasty cracks in other parts of the ceiling, so it looks great now.

 This is a picture from before, it doesn't show the cracks or the hole but it does show the light fixture.  Low hanging lights are not a good idea unless there is a high ceiling, which we do not have.  Sometimes I still catch myself being careful when I put my arms up to change my shirt.  Nice to know we are free to not hit our heads or hands on the light anymore. 

 The other remodeling job was to tile the kitchen wall behind the sink.  Maris hated having wall paper behind the sink and the stove top.  It looks great and we are super happy with it. 

Again, we didn't have a before picture but this kind of shows the wall paper behind the sink. Just to state the obvious we did not actually do the remodeling job ourselves.  We have no such skills so we got someone to do it for us.  It took us a while to find someone because companies do not want to do such a small job and individual's don't want to pay any taxes.  Lucky for us we found an honest construction worker and everything turned out just fine.  Estonians will be disappointed in us for getting a remont man, they love to do remodeling themselves.  If you ever ask an Estonian what he or she will do on a weekend it will be one of four things: pick berries in the woods, pick mushrooms in the woods, do garden work at a summer cottage, or do renovations.  Renovating a house or an apartment is usually a multi year project that can sometimes span decades.  I think it gives a sense of purpose.  So in true Estonian form, we have a few more renovation projects to do (meaning paying someone else to do them).  Hopefully we can get them done this year, stay tuned for another remont blog post this fall!

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Best birthday ever!

 Happy birthday to me! In Europe my birthday is on a holiday which makes it really nice every year.  This year it also took place on the NFL draft weekend! that made it officially the best birthday ever!

 I went to one of the malls that sells US candy to get stocked up.  After the store I was worried that I would not have enough candy so I bought some more from the cafe at the university.  Then I was still worried about not having enough when a package from my brother came with fruit by the foot, fruit roll ups, and gushers! Perfect.  This picture doesn't include those, the ice cream, or the chips and dip.  Needless to say it was a pretty sweet few days. I watched the draft in the middle of the night eating all my candy.  By day 3 of the draft I was totally out.  I'll have to plan better for next year.  Just a note, the chocolate covered Oreo cookies were very good, probably my favorite of the bunch. 

Instead of eating out we went to the store and got some good food.  We got steak, sausages (with blue cheese) and sweet potatoes.  Choosing the meat was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do.  The selection in Selver is just totally crazy.  The ready made US style pulled pork was very tempting. 

Maris made me a fantastically beautiful and delicious kräsupea kook, an Estonian classic.  That is a lot of chocolate and sour cream over cake.   We still have some in the fridge thank heavens.  

I loved spending time at home with Maris and our daughter.  The night before we watched interstellar which was really good.  I think the last time I saw a movie was over Christmas break.  

What was my favorite birthday present?  Well that would be the 49ers selecting the largest OL in the 7th round of the draft!  Trenton Brown is 6'8" 355lbs.  He was recently  at 387! but then cut down for the draft.  I just love big fat guys, every year I hope that the 49ers will take a huge fat guy and they never do.  What a special treat this year.  I'm also super excited about their first round draft pick Arik Armstead who is also tall (just over 6'7") but who is a bean next to Brown at 290lbs.  He won't do too much his rookie year, but he should develop into a really good player.  Hats off to Trent Baalke for another fantastic draft!  My plan right now is to vote for him for president as a write in candidate.