Flat-Pack & Vintage is Expanding!

Well, at least I am…. literally!  Matt and I are super excited to announce that we’re expecting a new addition to our family in July!

Which also means that this…


… is the future baby room. (and yes, this picture was taken today)

Will we get it done in time?

Will I give up and say “screw it, kid can sleep in a box, I want ice cream”?*

Will I whack Matt with a crowbar for treating me like a fragile flower?**

Will I have to trust Matt to handle painting projects?***

Stay tuned….. same Bat Time.  Same Bat Channel.


If you’re interested in the details (if not, skip down to the next break, it’s cool), I’m officially in my second trimester as of today.  Woot!  According to different trackers baby is the size of a beet, a lemon, a cupcake…. or a mouse?  Either that’s some tiny produce (and mini cupcake) or someone out there gets some ginormous mice…. I also feel like the produce comparisons are kind of weird because there’s such a wide variation in sizes.  Twin Cities peeps, if you’ve been to Lunds and Byerlys you know there are lemons out there the size of naval oranges.  Anyway… there’s a baby, it’s the size of a something and it’s continuing to get bigger so wearing jeans kinda sucks, even with a belly band thingy.  I still maintain that leggings are not a proper substitute for pants unless your ass is covered.  Luckily I tend to like tunic tops anyway, so I’m in the clear of my own personal prudishness.

I seem to have lucked out with my first trimester in that I never got bad morning sickness, although I tended to feel pretty gross in the evenings.  Sources seem to say I should be feeling mostly normal again around now, but actually this last week has kind of sucked and been filled with day-long bouts of dry-heaving.  Hopefully that will end soon (it sounds like 16 weeks is the sweet spot for the majority of people… please?).  I know it could be way worse, but I’m still feeling ucky enough to be generally uncomfortable.

In terms of plans for the blog… yes, there will be baby stuff happening but I still plan to focus primarily on design and DIY.  The current project though is obviously the nursery (I’ve always wanted to design a baby room!).  As a first time mum though, I obviously have no frickin clue what I’m doing (I didn’t even hold an infant until my mid-twenties!) so I’m clearly not one to be doling out advice.  Babies are exciting though so he/she will definitely be making an appearance here and I’m sure I’ll be sharing both my excitements and epic failures, because, let’s face it, life is filled with both.


And because I’m just full of news today, we have a more recent addition to the household as well.

Meet Mort.


We adopted a new sweet little boy cat (age 2-3 years) to hopefully be a companion for Schmutz.  She’s still pretty pissy but slowly (very slowly) coming around.  Mort is an absolute sweetie who loves snuggles and following me around… Matt might be a tad jealous because we seem to have ended up with another mama’s boy.  He’s also spent a large part of this morning chasing his own tail so he’s a bit of a goofball.  Mort’s very interested in Schmutz and we’re hoping she’s more friendly with him by the time the baby comes because that’s going to be pretty hard on our little furry diva too.


* Not gonna lie, this is a real possibility.  I stared at a BOGO ice cream sale at the grocery store for a full five minutes before convincing myself I could in fact live without it.  I was always told being an adult would come with hard choices.

** And then take a nap because hefting a crowbar is a lot of work and man am I tired.

*** Thankfully this sounds like a no since interior paint is almost all low VOC now.



About 8 and a half years ago I went out shopping for work pants.  In one shopping area I passed a PetSmart that was advertising Cat Adoptions that day.  I had moved to MN only a few months prior, was still bummed that I had had to give up my dog who didn’t handle apartment life well, and was still really missing being around cats (I had grown up around cats and am definitely a cat person).  I figured I’d wander in, get some kitty snuggles, and be on my way.

Only I ended up leaving with a cat.


He was so chill despite being in a strange place surrounded by strange people.  The lady from the rescue group saw me petting him through the cage and told me to go ahead and open the door.  As soon as I did, he stretched up and gave me a hug.  I melted.

I brought him home and named him Spencer.  He immediately waltzed out of his carrier and investigated the apartment then picked a chair and took a nap.  He was friendly right off the bat but it wasn’t until a few weeks later that he started snuggling.  One night I woke up to find that my arm was completely asleep–he was curled up next to me with his front paws wrapped around my arm and completely blissed out.


Spencer was the most mellow cat I’ve met.  He liked strangers.  He liked dogs. He did well with small children.  He even tolerated the vacuum cleaner (he’d put his ears back because of noise, but rarely moved).  Every night he’d cuddle up to me in bed to sleep.  He loved bread and he loved curry (I once tried sprinkling cayenne pepper on my plants to stop him chewing on them…. he thought they were even tastier).  He loved having his belly rubbed… and wouldn’t spontaneously change his mind in the middle.


About 5 years ago I met Matt, we started dating, and eventually moved in together.  Matt already had a cat when we met and we had to blend households.  Schmutz was super social with people, but Matt was told when he adopted her that she didn’t really like other cats.  Spencer won her heart anyway.  The two of them would snuggle and play together, and Schmutz would groom the heck out of Spencer whenever she had the chance (and put him in a headlock if he tried to move away).  Anyone who’s had cats know that blending cat families is hard and pretty much a crap shoot.  Most people hope for an ignore-and-tolerate situation, but these two were buddies.


Then a couple weeks before Christmas our super-sweet, snuggly, floofy boy-cat started just picking at his food.  We brought him in to the vet, they ran some labs and started him on an anti-nausea medication because their best guess was Inflammatory Bowel. A few days of the meds didn’t change anything but the lab work didn’t show anything abnormal so they had us start him on Prednisolone.  We were hoping to see an improvement before we left for Christmas to visit family, but nothing really changed.  He’s a super difficult cat to pill so our cat-sitter couldn’t really continue his meds while we were gone but we made sure he would always have plenty of food available to him.

When we got back home he was super skinny and really wasn’t eating so we hauled him back to the vet.  They gave him another shot of anti-nausea drugs and some IV fluids plus an appetite stimulant and he seemed to be doing a little better that day…but then immediately went back to not eating.  We started syringe feeding him a prescription, high-calorie diet but still couldn’t get a lot into him.


We took him back to the vet Saturday since he still wasn’t showing improvement.  They re-checked his red blood cell count and it had tanked, so he was clearly severely anemic, but the blood work didn’t show any clear causes of the anemia, which the vet thought meant there was a strong chance he had cancer which was attacking his bone marrow and bringing his RBC count down.  We had the option to do more tests and a blood transfusion…but the likelihood that anything would change the outcome was very slim  and we just didn’t want to put him through additional stress.

We brought him back home.  Snuggled.  Cried.  Matt cooked him some super-buttery tialapia which he even picked at a little bit.  We later made an appointment with MN Pets who will come to your home.  We didn’t want to stress him out anymore by bringing him back to the clinic.

Dr Heather came out today and was very supportive and patient.  We went over everything we had done so far and what his labs showed and she agreed that it also sounded like cancer, but even it wasn’t he was too severely anemic for there to be a good prognosis (especially since he was already on steroids and they weren’t helping).  There’s no way to feel good about this decision, but I’m pretty confident it wasn’t a bad decision…. even if it was an incredibly painful one to make.


I got to hold in my arms in the end and I hope he was aware of how much he was loved.  I already miss him like crazy but I couldn’t bear to drag this out and watch him get even weaker. He was one of the best companions anyone could have ever hoped for and it breaks my heart that I had to lose him so early. I feel so lucky that he was able to be a part of my life.



Slice of Life: Useless Pets Division

Around 1:30 this morning I woke up to strange sound in our bedroom.  One of the cats was running around like a lunatic and occasionally meowing.  This is a little bizarre for either of them at 1 am and I was only partially awake so I listened for a few minutes to try and figure out what the heck was going on.

Eventually I turned on the light and peered over the foot of the bed.  Schmutz was the one racing around the floor and she wasn’t after one of her toys.  Because I had already expected this from the earlier noise I stayed calm, sighed resignedly and said to Matt, who was at least somewhat awake now too, “Your damn cat found a mouse.”

We watched her for a couple minutes while caught the mouse, pranced around proudly, deliberately dropped it, chased it again, caught, pranced, dropped, repeat.  Spencer wandered in to see what the commotion was all about and would occasionally bat gently at the mouse with his paw if it came his way, but he clearly didn’t have any idea what to do with it.

Eventually it became clear that the mouse wasn’t going to be put out of it’s misery anytime soon so I decided to step in.

“Schmutz!  Get the mouse!”  And she did, but ran away with it as soon as I got off the bed.  I followed her into the dining room as she continued her game of chase-catch-prance-drop and grabbed a plastic tumbler and a large putty knife to attempt to catch the stupid thing myself.

Sometimes Schmutz and I would be working together and flanking the mouse, but I never managed to shoo it into the cup.  The 3 of us kept going around and around the dining table while Spencer watched from under a chair.  Occasionally the mouse would rear up or charge Schmutz. “I think it may have toxoplasmosis!” I shouted up to Matt.

After 10-15 minutes of this (and more random things shouted up to Matt who was staying in bed playing a game on his tablet) I finally managed to catch the damn thing.  Since it was nearly 2 in the morning, I just dumped it outside, so I’m sure it’s back in by now, but it was the middle of the night and I was all out of fucks to give.

I went back upstairs (Schmutz was still frantically searching for her new favorite toy) and Matt asked if I had given the cats a treat.

“A treat? Why?”

“Because my cat found a mouse.”

“But she didn’t kill it.”

“But she found it.”

And brought it into our bedroom!

Matt eventually went downstairs and gave both of them a treat.  What Spencer did to deserve it I have no idea since he was even a bigger failure.

Around 5:30 this morning Schmutz sat on my chest and yowled at me for her breakfast.

If you had just killed the damn mouse you wouldn’t be hungry right now.” I grumbled and then Matt kicked her out the room because she was being pesty and it was still way too early.

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So those are our cats in a nutshell.  Spencer thinks everything is a friend and Schmutz has currently brought us one well-dead mouse and one far-too-alive mouse.  At least this is the first sign we’ve had of rodents currently in the home so I don’t think we have an infestation on our hands.

Looking on the bright side, at least she didn’t drop it in our bed.


Slice of Life: Cat Food Division

Our cats are very demanding about their food.  They’re both little furry alarm clocks that may go off as early as 5 am and start crying like they’re starving to death the second you get home from work… even if you only had a 1/2 day are home by noon.  They also know what our real alarm clocks mean so they get extra excited when those goes off in the morning.


This morning though…. silence.  Matt and I both looked at each knowing this was suspicious.  I went downstairs and found Schmutz waiting at the front door, hoping I would let her out onto the porch.  Not yowling, not scolding me, not racing to her food bowl, but waiting quietly.

HIGHLY suspicious.*

I turn into the dining room and find that the cat food bin was tipped over… which had popped the latch… which had opened the lid… which had spilled food all over the floor… which had allowed the cats to gorge themselves.  Spencer was still inhaling food off the floor.

The most disturbing thing about all of this?  They learn, like the raptors in Jurassic Park.  Our sealed food bin may never be safe again…

God help us when they figure out how to open doors.


UPDATE: They’ve learned how to open the latch on the food bin!  We noticed the latch was undone in the middle of the day and I know I had fully closed it in the morning.  Matt turned the bin around so the latch was against the wall and later we noticed Schmutz nosing at the hinges, searching for a weak spot apparently.  I don’t know how long we can continue to outsmart them….

UPDATE #2:  …apparently not for that long.  If the bin isn’t pushed all the way against the wall, Schmutz will squeeze her way into the gap so she can get to the latch and then get her snack on.  No wonder she’s turning into a bit of a pudge.


*Anyone who’s known Siamese knows it’s highly suspicious when they’re quiet about anything.  A year ago Schmutz was pretty sick and when we first took her to the vet we listed one of her (several) symptoms as “she’s being really quiet.”