Monday, May 25, 2009

Still no deck...

It's definitely not an ideal situation. Our back door is located about three feet from the ground, and without a deck, that is a long trip down for the puppies, who sometimes forget that there's no deck. 

Eric and cousin Matt spent a tremendous amount of time this weekend preparing for the deck. This included doing something with string that took a really long time. I asked Eric what he was doing with the string, and he started to explain to me, but I lost interest. 

Here are Eric and Matt digging post holes. 

And here is our future deck, stacked in the backyard. Funny--it felt like more when we moved it into the yard, piece by piece, on an 85 degree night... 

In other news, we're enjoying a nice day off. I will likely try to get some work done today, particularly if it's raining, but I generally enjoy a day where, even if I do work, I don't HAVE to work. We're going up to the northside in a while to look at a couple antique chairs that we may purchase. That will be fun. 

So far this spring, I've been bitten by no fewer than 15 mosquitos (or multiple bites by the same mosquito). This is perplexing to me, as Eric has no bites and he was outside all weekend. I also have a mystery rash on my left elbow, which is making me crazy. I'm up at 7:00 on my day off. I'm falling apart. 

Remember the fence I keep going on about? Here is visual evidence of its disgustingness. This is just one example. Another would include the far section of fence, which is apparently not held into the ground with anything and is leaning quite significantly. Eric is hesitant to take down the fence without a replacement. I say, I could TOUCH that fence and it would dissolve at my fingertips. This thing is not providing us with any additional security. 

So, we're going to replace it. The retaining wall of our dreams is just not going to happen this year (or next), so we'll put up another fence, and and arbor over the steps up to the house. I think that will look nice. Hell, it will have to look nicer than this. 

Thursday, May 21, 2009


Tomorrow is our one-year anniversary of owning our house. This blows my mind. We didn't move in till July, but effectively, as of one year ago, our thoughts, marriage, and basically our entire lives became consumed with the house and all of its aspects--being broke all the time, living in squalor, worrying about when we're going to have a kitchen, finally getting over the fact that our dishwasher is in a box in the dining room... It's all good. We're pretty happy here. 

To put things in perspective, here's what we've done in the last 12 months:
  • Removed approximately 250 linear feet of trim (which is still on the floor)
  • Removed nails from 250 linear feet of trim
  • Ripped plaster lathe and insulation from two rooms 
  • Insulated and drywalled two rooms
  • Scrubbed drywall off of floors in kitchen, living room, dining room, foyer and upstairs hallway after contractors didn't put down a dropcloth
  • Fixed 9 splits in copper piping
  • Got a new water heater
  • Removed tub, vanity and shower stall from guest and master bathrooms
  • Build the frame for new shower stalls in guest and master bathrooms
  • Painted the kitchen, dining room, living room, foyer (twice), hallway with 25 foot ceilings, master bath (twice), master bedroom (twice), guest bedroom, guest bathroom, third bedroom (twice), bookshelves, fence (now decrepit)
  • Tiled, trimmed guest bathroom, and made a new shower
  • Removed carpet and ceiling from the attic
  • Replaced the ceiling with awesome beadboard
  • Insulated the entire attic space
  • Built a fence around the backyard
  • Built a stoop, soon to be replaced by a real deck
  • Replaced the roof
  • Replaced all the rotten siding around the house
  • Painted the house
I'm forgetting stuff, too. This makes me feel very productive and good about myself. I should do this more often.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Bathroom Tile and Garage Sales

So sleepy... We have been busy little bees today. At least I feel like I've been busy. But it evens out--I work longer, but take more breaks, while Eric works a shorter time, but takes no breaks and is actually productive, whereas I just move stuff around and use a lot of furniture polish. It seems to work out okay for us. 

Today, I woke up early, before the puppies even. It wasn't necessarily intentional, but was a bonus because our neighborhood had a garage sale today. Generally, I don't "do" garage sales. I think it stems from a garage sale I was in on when I lived in Santa Fe, which wasn't fun. Anyway, I decided to head back out today to see what's up. I stopped first at our lovely neighbors Tom and Ed's house. I've been in their house. It is amazing and they have perfect taste. I found a lovely blue wedgewood vase and a candy dish in the same pattern. Then I headed down the street to one of the larger houses in our neighborhood. Seriously, this place is at least 6,000 square feet. I've not been inside it, but it's on the puppies' walk route, so I gaze at it daily. There, I found a nice inside tree and an old sewing machine that I'm going to use as a table up in the hallway. It has seen better days. I just cleaned it all up.  Then up the street, where I hit the mother load. I found a rocking chair, a low extra chair for the living room, and a tallboy for the bottom of the stairs. WHOO! I just have to find a lamp for that, and we'll be good to go. 

I was done by about 9:00, so came back and had some coffee, and then Eric and I headed up to the northside to look at some tile for the master bathroom. We've been keeping our eyes on Craigslist, because you can really find some great deals on there. I was about 2 hours late for a bid on 300 square feet of Daltile glass mosaic for $100. Could've kicked myself... Anyway, we saw an ad for a sale at the warehouse where we stop occasionally to look around, and guess what we found!

I don't think you can see it very well in this picture, but this is a polished porcelain--kind of shiny. I've been pricing this stuff for ages, and I think we got a pretty good deal. $2.29 a square foot? Had been at least $7. I'm pleased. Now we just have to rip out the tile and vanity that are in the master bath now. Eric is also going to bump the master closet into the bathroom space. I am thinking that this tile will likely be on our front porch through the end of summer, enhancing our trash-ness. However, we can't just bring it all inside and put it in the bathroom, because I seriously think it would crash through the floor. We've got 26 boxes and each box weighs at least 30 pounds... I'd rather not tempt fate. 

Eric is still working on the ceiling in the attic. It's coming along, but he has a lot of trimming to do, and some drywall patching to work on, too. He wants to finish it before it gets too hot, as even though the venting we've done will help, on a hot day it's like Hades up there. 

Meanwhile, the puppies are being good and staying out of the way. Pixie sits like this on the couch all the time, making sure she doesn't miss anything, while Yogi just seeks comfort.

Thursday, May 14, 2009


We had a doozy of a storm last night that left branches everywhere (except on my car! Hooray!!!) and tulips from our tulip tree scattered across the neighborhood. It's a mess.
Eric is upstairs cutting and nailing away at the ceiling, which is taking roughly 900% longer than we anticipated. 

And here's spring at #2021. Notice the painted foundation. It's about half done. I couldn't bend over anymore. 

We're getting rid of that shrub. 

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Optimus Prime

That's right--I was, truly, a machine this morning, as I primed the foundation in preparation for a coat of nice brick red paint. While the tuck pointing was a rousing success, we discovered that the foundation uses several different kinds of bricks, as we went around inspecting. So we're just painting the brick to match the chimney and I think it'll look great. The primer has to set for 24 hours, so we'll put the color on tomorrow. I can't wait--this really looks like crap right now. 

In the back, we're having mixed success in growing our grass. I seeded the hell out of the bald spots this morning. Keep your fingers crossed for us. I also primed our rain barrel. 

Meanwhile, Eric is making real progress on the attic ceiling. See the before and after. 

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Tucking Points

I'm still not convinced that I couldn't have done the tuckpointing myself, but I have to admit, it looks really good. And it only took a day!



Sweet. We've got to seal it up, which we'll probably do this weekend, and then we'll paint it the same copper red as we painted the chimney. It will look great. Then it's deck-building time...

Two years and counting...

Today is our second anniversary. Yes, I've ruined Cinco de Mayo for Eric forever--and this was one "holiday" that he really enjoyed. He and several of his ne'erdowell friends would go up to New Hampshire for a celebration, dressed in madras shorts and polo shirts emblazoned with "Team Cinco," returning the next day looking 10 years older, smelling of beer and meat, and reluctant to share any stories. Ah well--this is worth it, right?

We generally don't do much for events like this. Last year, Eric bought me a chili dog. I may have brought him a coffee. This year, we'll continue the tradition. It will have to be cheap, as the contractors are at the house today working on the tuckpointing, so we can't afford much more than coffee and chili dogs anyway. I like to think that we're giving ourselves a present every day with the house... A crappy present that no one wants, but a present nonetheless.

This is my favorite wedding picture--it nearly perfectly captures the mood of that lovely night; namely, we were all crazy happy, riled up, and a little tipsy. Here's to two years, Big Sweetie, and to many more...

Sunday, May 3, 2009

I feel like we were productive this weekend, but I cannot remember a single project that we started OR finished. Yet, I'm tired. We must have done something.

Seeing as I can't remember yesterday, I just asked Eric. He reminded me that he went to a historic window refinishing seminar, and is now convinced that he can fix all of our crap-ass 100 year old windows, and perhaps reduce our ridiculous heating bills in the winter. This is quite a change--last week, he was convinced that we needed to contract this project, and got an estimate for $12,000 to refinish 13 windows. Ummm, no. That was not going to happen. However, I'm still not sure I want him to do this project either, because if he screws up, that's a $800+ mistake. It's not like we can go without a window... Despite evidence surrounding us to the contrary. Our across the street neighbor's house is reaching new heights of decrepitness, what with the plywood windows, sheets hanging askew as curtains, etc. They actually live there, though apparently on only the first floor. It confuses me, but they're not social, so I've never had a chance to get acquainted and ask mildly inappropriate questions.

We also went to a Derby party, held by an old friend who lives down the road. Lovely time. I had my first Mint Julep. I enjoy mint, sugar, AND bourbon, but together, they are disgusting. I added 7-up and had a delightful 7&7 instead.

Today, we spent some time planning out the landscaping in the front and backyard. I am more concerned about the front yard, as it is the worst looking of the two. Eric is more concerned about the backyard, as it offers the most opportunity for destruction and cost per square foot. He pursues the cheap projects with little to no enthusiasm, and the expensive ones with gusto. Anyway, we've got a working plan for the backyard, and no idea what to do about the front. The front yard is tough. We're up from the road about 5 feet, and we don't have a retaining wall. So, right now our yard is being held in to a large extent by the disgusting and rotting white picket fence, which is the only white picket fence in the entire neighborhood. Anyway, I want to remove this fence and just see what happens, and Eric wants to keep it in place till we can replace it with something. We are at an impasse. Thus, no plan for the front yard. We are agreed, however, that the copious evergreen hedges in the yard will be reduced and replaced with something with flowers.

When we got home, we took the puppies for a walk, and ran into a half dozen of our wonderful neighbors. Our neighbors make the relative squalor in which we live worth it.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Non-House-Related Content

I just watched this 5 times in a row. This stuff makes me happy.