The day I met Dave Matthews

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

I can't believe I even typed out that sentence.

I'm a huge Dave Matthews Band fan {major understatement}. The obsession started early in high school and continued throughout college. Last night was my 8th time seeing his live show. I have stood in the rain for ten hours to get as close as possible. I was a stalker and drove by his house in Seattle. I would wake up having weird/creepy dreams that we were BFF's (Dave and I). I think I know just about every song he has ever written, and own all of them. OK, I think that gives enough information. Believe me yet?

Well imagine how I felt when my brother-in-law, Stuart, told me he was going to get to go backstage for the DMB show in Utah, along with the rest of Fictionist. They were playing at a gig where the saxophone player (Jeff Coffin) was involved and were being compensated with these tickets. Embarrassingly enough, I started crying (I blame it on the pregnancy hormones). Stu said he would try as hard as possible to get an extra one for me. After a month or so, he found out he was only going to get 2. For the last few years, I have been doing the accounting for Fictionist. Stu, being the best brother-in-law in the world, asked the rest of Fictionist if it was OK if I got the other ticket as compensation for keeping up the books. They all agreed... I couldn't believe it was actually going to happen.

I was so giddy leading up to the show. When we arrived to the amphitheater, the special badges we had also gave us a dinner ticket. We were free to pretty much roam around backstage. I, of course, was keeping my eyes peeled for Dave, or any other members of the band. They all must have been in their vans or something, because no one was to be seen, until I finally saw Stefan Lessard, the bass player. COOL! We hooked up with Stu's friend/connection and we went in to the room to get our food. From the few minutes we were in there loading up our plates to when we rejoined the group for dinner, a miracle occurred. As we were approaching the picnic table outside, there were a few guys sitting down and eating, and one in particular standing and leaning over the table. {HEART SINKS} I start whispering from behind Stu saying something like "Stu. Stu. Stu. Look who it is. Stu. Stu. Oh my gosh. Stu." We finally approach the table and sure enough, Dave Matthews and I are within feet of each other. I set my plate on the table, he turns around, looks at me and says:

"I've heard about you!"

I'm in complete shock. Yet somehow manage to respond by saying "Oh yeah? Why is that?" His response was so completely unexpected but also very characteristic of him (since I know him so well).

"You're the one who got knocked up!"


I kept it cool and we start joking around and I say "And how do you know that?" he responds with "I'm pretty good on picking that up." Blah Blah. And for about a minute or so we just kind of joke back and forth. Stu steps in and says "this is my sister-in-law, Camille" and then I shake Dave's hand. Woah. After he said it was nice to meet me, I said something like "Nice to meet you, too. I'm a huge fan." Whew! I didn't make a fool of myself. Somehow I muster something like "Can I get a picture with you?" And there ya have it. My new favorite picture ever. An image I never thought would come to pass. To be honest, in all the times I dreamed of this happening, I didn't think that's what Dave was going to say to me, but hey, I'll take what I can get! :)

After this lifetime dream just happened, I couldn't even eat. My hands were shaking! Stefan Lessard came and sat at the picnic table next to us, and after about 10 minutes Stu approached him and started chatting with a fellow bass player. I later joined them and we sat and talked to Stefan for about 15-20 minutes. I wanted to pinch myself as I was asking questions about the early days with DMB and he was freely telling me stories of his time with the band (22 years!). So surreal.

Later on we were able to watch the Head and the Heart (the band who opened, also another favorite of mine) from side stage. Stu, being the charmer he is, was somehow able to talk to pretty much every single member of that band. They were all so nice and down-to-earth.

We ended up seeing every member of DMB backstage, even though we only talked to Dave, Stefan and Jeff Coffin. For the actual DMB show we went to our seats out in the audience and rocked the night away. He played some fan favorites - Dancing Nancies, Halloween, #41, and All Along the Watchtower. That band never ceases to amaze me! Every show is amazing and I never walk away disappointed.

Life goal to meet Dave Matthews... check! DMB fan forever!

Finished Island & Kitchen Upgrades

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

I've had a handful of requests to finally see the finished island. We started it forever ago, I think last November? And true to DIY form it took longer than expected. However, I am so proud of Russ. He built this thing from scratch. Neither of us knew what we were doing, but he kind of just learned as he went. The paint color was also a decision, not surprisingly. At first I painted it a beautiful blue-green color that tied in with my wallpaper, but with my dark cabinets and everything else, it just wasn't working. So I decided to embrace the contrasting cabinet look and painted it the same white as our trim (Sherwin Williams Milk White).

 It's been in it's current state since the spring. We have been at a standstill because we still need to add "fake drawers" on the cabinet side. We went to Ikea to buy two handle bars to match the rest of the kitchen, and wouldn't you know it? They no longer make that style. AWESOME. So, the island is still missing fake drawers, but I figured you guys could look past that, right?! :)

And here's the side where all the cereal-in-the-morning magic happens. Since having our island I've realized how much I missed it! The extra storage space and working space is nice, but we also love just pulling up the stool for a quick bite to eat. You can find those stools on, but for all of you Utah folk, you need to go by the Overstock Outlet. It's a total hit-or-miss place, but when you "hit" you really hit! We found these stools for $16 TOTAL. Yes, $8 a stool. SCORE! They've been great. Easy to clean and easy to move around and stack.

The butcher block counter top has been one of my favorite aspects of the island. Butcher block can be really expensive, but Ikea saved the day once again. We bought Numerar counter top and trimmed it to size.  We first applied a pre-stain by Minwax, and then stained it "Dark Walnut" by Minwax. We finished the job with a few coats of Polycrylic to give it the nice, shiny finish. 

One of the major upgrades we sprung for was finally getting a new oven. Whoever built our house put in the cheapest, crappiest electric coil stove-top oven EVER. I hated it from the day we moved in. We had thought about wiring in gas so we could get a gas stove, but soon realized it was going to be either really expensive or really dangerous for Russ to attempt messing around with gas lines. :) So we opted for this great LG double oven. The two different ovens have really been a life-saver. I would highly recommend it!

The final major upgrade we made was a new table and chairs. Once we had built the island, our table really wasn't working. (You can see it here) It was black, which wasn't working with the wood tones of the island, and it was a counter-height table which was awkward as it was the same height as our new island. There needed to be more dimension. We sold it on KSL and bought a new table for less than we sold it and the matching chairs for! Can't complain.

We found the grey-tufted dining chairs at World Market for about half the cost. Finding deals makes me happy.

Russ made the bench from scrap wood he found around the neighborhood (there is still new construction going on, so Russ finds joy in a little dumpster diving).

And finally, the Overstock outlet I mentioned above pulled through again. We found 4 tabouret chairs for less than $40 total! I'm still looking for the perfect chair pads, but until I find them these outdoor pads from Ikea have done the trick. 

 And finally, no more boob lights!!!! I'm not sure if you understand how happy this makes me. We found a great deal on some LED recessed lights at Home Depot. After sending in a rebate and selling our old fixtures, they came to about $10 each. You can see in the picture below from a few years ago, we had way too many boobs to handle. Thank goodness this situation has been remedied. (You can also see another picture of our old table). The only one left is in the living room -- still hunting for the perfect replacement.

....  and now, such a clean ceiling. My happy place. 

So I think our kitchen is a million steps closer to being a kitchen I love. Now only if I could convince Russ that white cabinets and wood floors are essential... They are, right? :)