Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The Diehl's House

The Diehls with the Krendl's at Lobster Fest on our block.  LOVE.

So I go over to my neighbor and friend's (we'll just call her Sherri Diehl, for insurance purposes), house today because she was having Invisible Fence come over, and I planned on working my "Real Housewives of Upper Arlington" voodoo on them to get them to turn up my dog, Scarlett's, collar so she will stop effing making a run for it through our invisible fence to say, oh I don't know, visit every person on our block and beyond who owns a pet.

Much to my dismay, I missed the poor sap from Invisible Fence, who I planned to run a game on, to score a free battery and possibly explore the opportunity to shock the shit out of Scarlett for making my life, and the lives around me miserable every day.

I mean, I am NOT kidding you.  I receive on the average four texts a day that go a little somthin' like this, "Your dog is in my back yard enjoying my coy fish pond.  I tried to bring her home but she keeps running away from me with my expensive fish or my pond motor in her mouth.  END QUOTE."

Mostly, my awesome neighbors just catch her and bring her back on one of their leashes, which I forget to return (I literally have a rainbow of various neighborly dog leashes in my garage) but in the mean time, Scarlett reeks havoc on the entire block (and various adjacent blocks) until she runs out of energy and someone is able to lure her with a treat or a bowl of water, so that they may interrupt their day, yet again, to bring her home to an environment in which she is sure to be overlooked and then they can repeat the process over again.

Okay, with that RANT out of the way, which was meant to be a broad "thank you" to my neighbors, I want to talk about the Diehl's House and the amazing kitchen renovation that I had the opportunity to witness today.

But, let's back up.  I cannot talk about the Diehls, without elaborating on how hospitable they are at ALL times, under EVERY extenuating circumstance imaginable. 

It is by far the most INVITING house on our street for many reasons.  Let's start with the tenants - Sherri (of course, you get top billing, Doll), Brett, Charlie, and Connor. Oh, and let's not forget Rosie, their new chocolate lab addition, and part of Scarlett's posse.

I met Sherri many, many years ago right before she married Brett, whom I did not yet know, at a wedding shower being thrown, for my sister-in-law.  Looking back now, I am sure that I was invited by default, because I happened to be "in town" or something, and as expected, Sherri's family is as giving and accommodating as she is.

What I most remember about the incredibly unpretentious, yet exquisite wedding shower at her parents' house are two things: (1)there were all of these round tables with white table cloths set up on their perfectly manicured lawn with "mismatched" place settings of antique china (I need to go into detail here.  The setting, itself, was not mismatched - each table had five distinct place settings.  Ya' dig?  Pinterest worthy.  Fo Sho.) and  (2)meeting Sherri for the first time, while we guzzled mimosas and and laughed easily at a variety of things.

We have talked about this since - how we did not meet again, until much later, when I moved on her street ('cause it's YOUR street, yo'!) and that, that spark, that thing that people have when they get each other, was ignited again, because what you recognized in someone, say, a DECADE or two ago, is still there.  If I were Fraunch, I would call it jen es sais quoi, but I'm from Kentucky so I'll just say that she is "kinfolk."  Sherri, that is a HUGE compliment, even if it feels embarrassing right now.

ANYWAY, Sherri and Brett's house is the GO TO place on our street, whether they want it to be or not.  If they don't, you would NEVER know it.  They plan the most amazing Block parties and get togethers for all of us, where there is inevitably at least ONE, it not TWO signature drinks, and amazing food.
Look at these!  Aren't they so cool?

These are even cooler, especially cold, like this!

The night, whether it be a Bucks game broadcasted on the side of their garage, or the last leg of our infamous progressive Christmas dinner, is always hosted by them, which culminates in a bonfire and acoustic guitar or aperitifs in their kitchen, where everyone has a great time because the host and hostess are unparalleled.

I love Hallie's hip hop stance, here.  We were watching the lobsters race, but they kinda just sat there because Sherri's boys had been playing with them for the last three hours and they were just ready to be boiled at that point.

So, we just decided to dress them up and humiliate them right before they died.  Good times.

It is a special thing, to create a home where everyone who enters it, feels welcome and comfortable, and Sherri and Brett have achieved just that.

I know it seems like I pour my heart out to all of you on this blog, but really I have been talking about everything under the sun, but what is really going on, and recently, Brad and I have been going through a trying time.  (Don't go there.  As far as I know, all of B's chillens is all legitimate.) Well, early on, Sherri sent me an email, that melted my heart and made me sob.  This is not because she was melodramatic or condescending or any of the things that I have experienced at one time or another.  It was because it was revealing and personal and raw and understanding, which are all of the attributes that I have come to associate with the name Diehl.

Soooo, before I start to cry, I need to get out my recommendation for this post, which was the impetus, that became convoluted into a reason to let the Diehls know how much I, and everyone on my block, appreciates them.  That is the beauty, or drawback, as one may view it, really, in my writing, I think.  I start out to accomplish one thing, and then the story completely and totally evolves into something else.  Oh well, it's free, right?

ANYWAY, Sherri and Brett and Charlie and Connor just renovated their kitchen and it was accomplished by another neighbor of mine, Dan.  It is perfection.  Sherri and I own houses that are old and we have chosen to "update" them in stages.  We bond over quick fixes and excuses to do anything to keep from replacing burnt out light bulbs.  Its our policy, that if a light fixture holds more than one light bulb that you do not replace the bulbs until ALL of them have gone out.  We call this the "sunset effect".

I am so happy for her that she has finally gotten the "kitchen that she imagined that is within her budget".  The piece de` resistance is the state of the art, drawer microwave, housed in her island, that is the "heartbeat" of any modern Mom's kitchen.

"Screw the six burner range, I'll downgrade to the four burner, and get myself the best microwave money can buy!" she told me, as she was bringing Scarlett home for the second time that day.

I like the way Sherri thinks.  And I like the way she acts.  But, most of all, I like the way she makes me feel.  ACCEPTED.  No matter what.  That is a true gift, and something that one can only strive to emulate.

The neighbor who did Sherri and Brett's kitchen is Dan Stultz of Principle Construction (614-353-4040).  He is obviously meticulous and creative and enjoys what he does.  That, also, is a rare thing, and a risk, given that he abandoned his previous lucrative career in Sales, to do what he loves.  He has one electrician that he uses, one carpenter, one get the idea - you will not have all these random people coming in and out of your house.  He does all types of renovations, from bathrooms to large additions - which is refreshing.  No job is too big or too small, Y'ALL!!!

I am recommending him to you from the bottom of my heart.  He is not only a professional who does exceptional work, but he is a stand up guy, who is eager to make his dream a reality.  Oh, and he plays a mean acoustic guitar.  Who would want more from a contractor than that?  Not me.

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