Resistance to the Couch de Resistaunce

Yes, yes, I know I stopped the previous post mid-sentence, but there's a REASON for it. Just yesterday I hopped online and took a peek at my lovely couch, which I check on every once in a while just to make sure it isn't a dream and the company hasn't gone out of business - you know, psychotic decorator obessive habits. AND THE PRICE HAD GONE UP.

I had a small freak out, considering I was still trying to save up to buy it. So I frantically emailed the company... I swear, I don't make a habit of emailing and complaining to companies. I know I've done it twice in the past couple months - but I'm really a nice, normal person, so don't think I'm a complaining-jane or something.

I recieved a return email from them today - I can purchase the sofa at the previous price. Of course, this is a one time, short term offer. So... despite the fact that I wasn't quite ready to buy the sofa, here I am, buying the sofa!

I can feel it underneath my butt already - the soft microfiber, the cushy ottoman for my dirty feet that I'll have to clean up now, and all those cushions in vibrant color. Maybe I needed this little push to get myself in gear buying this... now I just have to somehow tell Mike he can't have electricity in the garage yet because I bought a sofa.

Stripe that from the record!

Ah the living room. When we first saw it, it was lime green with a woven rug, some sparse furniture, and one, very seventies light fixture. (Which I kept by the way, and put in my guest room - it's oh so funky, just not for the living room.)

I didn't really have a plan for this room, but what I did have was a gorgous shade of dark, hunter green for the walls and a creamy cream color for the ceiling. It looked great when painted, but even then, I still didn't really have all the inspiration I needed. Then, I discovered the couch-de-resistaunce. This gorgeous creamy colored modern masterpeice with it's corner chaise and big cushy ottoman is going to be just the item that will make the room. Plus the pillows add the punch of color that all girls just love - a little red and a little purple to match my floor pillows. (Which are purple, duh.)

I've already anchored the floor to the ceiling and balanced the dark walls with a cream and white area rug with a modern square in square pattern. It'll be just fabulous with the sofa and the floor pillows.

Then, just last week, I discovered gold! Well... in my eyes anyway. I make a habit of checking the local VNA Thrift Store (one of the only ones in the mid-cape area to sell furniture and homegoods) on a weekly basis. Last Wednesday, the moment I walked in, I laid eyes on THE CHAIR. Clean modern lines, comfy cushioning, suedy soft fabric, and a stripe pattern in cream, green, red, and blue. It was love at first sight and I was carting it home the next morning. It's going to be a fine compliment to the couch... though I'm still

Escavation = New Sensation!

WOW! What a difference the escavation makes. Mike and I picked up the dump truck Saturday night and the escavator arrived early Sunday morning. In fact, I woke up to that familiar BEEP BEEP BEEP of the backup alarm. Mike started working around 9am so as not to offend our neighbors - who are pretty cool about this kinda stuff anyway - and stopped work around 5:30pm.
By noon, Mike was already nearly past the garage. By two, the bulk of the hill had been conquered. By 5:30, we had a big flat space where a hill used to be. We weren't able to completely grade the land, but getting rid of that hump was the hard part and that is done!

Next step, we'll create a tie wall to hold back the remaining cliff wall and shape the side yard. Also, we'll bring in some stone so we can park our boat beside the garage and out of the driveway. When we grade the rest of the side yard and take out a couple yucky evergreens, we'll be able to put in nice grass and other trees and plantings.

The only downside to our new flat space - now you can see into the messy backyard from the road... I guess now we need to clean that up too. It's good to have some motivation now and then.

The Escavation Culmination

I thought of something! Mike told me two nights ago, but I was too tired to remember right away. Ur, I need a latte - a lotta latte. Anyhoo - there is a good chance that we will have an escavator and a dump truck at our house this weekend to do some leveling next to the garage. In fact, we could get all the leveling we need done in one weekend with this equipment.

Normally, you'd have to shell out the big money for a weekend rental of big equipment - but Mike has a friend or two who have access to it. And, one said he'd come dig all weekend if Mike would just fix his jet ski. No problem! We'll see if we can borrow the dump truck from another friend of ours. The escavator can dig a lot of dirt, but it doesn't move very quickly. With the dump truck, the dirt could be escavated into the truck and then dumped into our hole of a back yard. It's much more efficient to keep the escavator digging then to dig a little, drive it in back, dump it out, drive front, dig a little more, and so on and so forth.

Mike's so excited - it's something about big machines that just thrills him over and over again. Even I have to admit that I love watching them go. I'll probably just set up my lawn chair in a good location and indulge the kid in me all afternoon.

In case you've forgotten our hilly dillema - we have a weird hill next to our garage that's just got to go. So, we're going to slope the landscape along the same level as our gradually sloping driveway. We'll leave the tree line at the top of the old hill alone to provide privacy and hold up the cliff wall, which we may reinforce later with some kind of wall or stone or something pretty.

With the hill gone, we can park our boat next to the garage and regain that yard space with some grass and other nice plantings. I'd like to ditch two evergreens that border the driveway - they're not looking so hot anyway - and add some nice trees of some sort. I'm not the plantiest of people, but I have a general idea of what a nice yard looks like. And, like everything else, I'll learn as I go.

Great Moments in Monotony

I have been so bored over the past few days. I mean, it's been a week since my last post! What's up with that?! Well, I guess nothing's been happening. Which is, as always, frustrating. But what do you want from me? It's the end of summer on Cape Cod and I realize that I haven't been taking advantage of that. So Mike and I took this past weekend to party it up and leave our troubles behind... except he installed my faucet wrong.

So I told you about my great faucet right? The nice pull out sprayer by Delta in shiny chrome? One of the newer, sleeker ones, not the older, big headed ones. I wanted it installed without the base - so it's just a lovely tower of chrome. However, I guess the problem is that the sink has three holes. (How easy I forget after just installing the darn sink a few months ago!) One of those can be filled with the free soap dispenser that came with the faucet, but what to do with the other one?

As you can imagine, the soap dispenser has not been installed yet. I have to figure out what I want in the other hole and which side I want the soap dispenser on. I'm right handed, so I could go with the right....

You see how the lack of major progress has got me babbling on about faucets like a crazay woman? Ahhhhhh! I gots to get a list going for this weekend so I can stop driving myself to drink... oh wait, that's some good friends of mine who keep buying me shots.

A message, a Mike, and the framing.

Memories sweet memories.

Oh Yeah, And the Basement?

Ok - I've been posting a lot of random ramblings over the past week, reminiscing about the past, letting you in on some of my designs, and of course the passion that is SALE. But you may be wondering - what the heck is going on with the basement?

Well, here's an update. I have just today deposited the $35,000 check. (Boy did I feel like Richie Rich - but I know I have to resist the urge to splurg.) Mike and I are still very excited - he can't stop talking about what he wants to do down there when it's done: make a jacuzzi room, drive a car under there, build a bar... you know guys and their love of rumpus rooms. I on the other hand think of a second bathroom, another bedroom, and comfy wall to wall carpet you can kick your high heels off on and party it up at 3am after getting out of the bar for a little after hours... I guess our needs can co-exist if we plan well - except for that car part. I nipped that in the butt, we just don't have the right yard for getting a car down into the basement. (It won't be the walk out kind, you see.)

Anyway. So the money's in place. Where's the house mover? That's what I'd like to know. I called him on his cell a couple weeks ago... maybe even 3 or 4 weeks ago, I'll have to check my logs. I hate to call him on his cell, but he gave me the number and I hadn't heard from him. At that time he confirmed his willingness to do the job and assured me he'd be sending out a "letter" outlining what he would do, what he wouldn't do, the time frame, and the cost. This letter would also serve as the contract. Sounded good to me... although he then said something about not knowing our address, and then quickly said, "oh I'll get it later."

After we closed last Thursday, I left him a message on his shop answering machine. I said we'd just secured the funds and I left him our address and said I'd expect his letter. Well - no letter yet. Did we close just last Thursday? I think it was the Thursday previous. Yes, I think so. So it's been two weeks now and no letter yet.

I think if I don't hear from him next week I'll have to call him again. I get so nervous that he'll pull out after we went ahead and got the money. But he seemed in such a hurry to do the job! He kept saying "this summer" this summer" so I decided to be ahead of the game for once and took care of the funds. I hope I did the right thing.


Everybody loves to make fun of us Massholes and call our state Taxachusetts and we who live here just hang our heads and admit that it sux like a dyson. (That means it never loses sux-tion.) But this past weekend, the lovely state began its second annual sales tax holiday - ie, no sales tax for two days. (Some restrictions may apply, see Massachusetts for details.)

Great for back to school shopping, large purchases under $2500 that you've been itching to save 5% on, and of course, home reno nuts. Mike and I didn't have HUGE plans for this weekend - after all, a HUGE shopping trip means dealing with HUGE crowds, HUGE lines, HUGE traffic jams... all for relatively little savings consitering that we weren't buying anything close to the $2500 limit.

But there was one thing that came to mind as soon as I heard the reminder radio ads a couple weeks prior. One thing that we needed to complete the mind-numbing finish work on the house. What was it? That saw that cuts the moulding! And that's the technical girlie term for it. (Cut me some slack, I can't keep track of all the saws in the world - jig saw, band saw, chainsaw, hacksaw, sawz-all...)

So we hit the depot late Saturday night to avoid the crowds - in addition to the tax holiday, the depot had a bunch of in-store specials, which was awesome. We picked out the saw right away - on sale for $99. Then, as we walked the store I spotted the kitchen faucet I wanted on sale for $128! I almost didn't buy it, but Mike wanted me to and then I saw that it came with a free soap dispenser. That kicked it. Unfortunately that was the end and over my budget.

The luckiest part of the shopping trip came as we went to the self checkout. The faucet came up $115 - I guess it was on sale even more than I thought! Then, the kicker, the saw came up $77. Now I knew that had to be an error - it had already been marked down over $50! Well, we paid for it and left and laughed to ourselves at the bargain of it all.

We had a similar experience when we bought our insulation. The R30 - thickest, most expensive of the insulation - not to mention a huge package of it in a longer width - rang up at $10 a package instead of $40 a package!!! We were buying four packages of it at the time, so we really really saved on that one.

Of course, Mike didn't want to install the faucet on Saturday night and then he was gone fishing all Sunday... I'll have to wait I guess on that one. And he hasn't even opened his saw yet! I can't wait to get this house trimmed up either! Of course, I need to buy some trim first. Another day I suppose...

A Sticky Situation

Ok ok ok - so we all know that tape is important when you're painting. Especially if you're being artsy fartsy and creating shapes and color blocks and accent walls and ladeeda all over your house. For the past few months, I have been so angry at 3M and their Scotch brand blue painter's tape because it pulled off not only my 3 coats of primer, but also my drywall itself in places - leaving fuzzy brown marks where it should have been white.

When you've just finished building, insulating, drywalling, compounding, sanding, priming, taping, and painting - you're not exactly ready to say "oopsie doo, now I'm going to do it all over again because of a little brown fuzzy spot where the tape wripped off my wall."

So I just painted white over the brown... and you can't tell when you're a good distance away, but I was still kinda steemy about the whole affair.

And then I saw the new blue tape commercial.

And of course I was having not such a good day and so I leapt onto the 3M website and sent them a complaintative email. (Not something I normally do - you guys all know that I'm waaay too nice for that on a normal day.)

Well, would you believe I got a call from them yesterday? They asked me a few questions about my troubles and then asked me if I had more rooms to paint - I told them I still had the bedroom and hallway to do. And then they told me they'd be sending me a package of 3M products for my trouble to help me on my next projects! Wasn't that nice?

It was an itsy bitsy wrath and gloomy lime green and bright pink bathroomie...

This is your worst nightmare! I remember when Mike and I took our first tour of the house with our realtor and caught our first glimspe of the bathroom that wins the superlative in both Ugliness and Small-ness. As you can see, it combines the aweful gross yucky bright green with the equally aweful gross yucky bright pink to form.... duh duh duhhhhhhhh! A grucky preenk design disaster.

And, if that wasn't bad enough, this bad-adz bano sizes out at a whoppingly enormatron 6 by 7 feet. Now if you're sitting in front of your computer thinking that 6X7 is not so small, and that Mike and I could just put in a stand up shower and could have plenty of room for a nice vanity and some storage and a toilet that's not green - then you don't realize that this is our one and only bathroom and I want - scratch that, NEED a jacuzzi tub.

Now you're probably sitting in front of your computer thinking, "There Jess goes again, being rediculous and wanting something that is beyond the limits of her architecture." And believe it or not, up until about a week ago, I was thinking the same thing. The jacuzzi tub, toilet, and vanity would not, could not all fit in the bathroom. I had done several to-size layouts with tub, toilet, and vanity cutouts moving around on sheet of graph paper when we first moved into the house, but none worked. Of course I became ever-so frustrated and threw them all away, declaring that we'd have to tear the bathroom off the house and build a bigger one.

Then, just under a week ago I caught the premier of Small Spaces, Big Style on HGTV. These people lived in the tiniest homes and yet they managed to incorporate all their needs and style through creative thinking. I realized as the show ended that I had been looking at this little bathroom problem in the wrong way! Having a tiny bathroom wasn't, in fact, a problem. It was an opportunity to really be creative and stretch my desginer's wings.

Immediately I got out the graph paper again. I knew I had to give up the idea of having a corner jacuzzi, it was just too large. I looked online and found a tub I liked. (I knew I wanted one from the jacuzzi espree series, available at Lowes - check out a picture of the one I picked. Skirt included. Isn't it pretty?) This tub is 3 feet wide and 5 feet long. Our current tub (behind that lovely shower curtain in the picture) is only 4 feet long and 2 and a half feet wide. Can you imagine? It's very small. So this means the jacuzzi would not fit in that spot.

I decided to place the tub along the current toilet/window wall. The wall is 6ft long, so the 5ft tub pushed onto the back wall will leave a 1ft space (where that green sink is now) in which to put a small water/linen closet - depending on the room we have. (You know you always have to leave a little room for fudging around with when it comes to bathtubs.) This also means that the window will have to go - which is ok because it's an old lead paint window that needs to go anyway. We will replace it with a smaller or thinner rectangular window with frosted glass, which we will place higher on the wall.

The tub area will also incorporate a lover's shower - that's two shower heads, one on either side wall, each with their own controls. This has been a dream of mine and Mike's forever.

Where the original tub was, we will put the toilet area. (Right on the back right wall - toilet facing towards the tub.) I measured the current toilet nook, a 2 and a half by 3ft rectangle, and allotted the same space in the new location. (We'll be purchasing a new, super flush American Standard toilet and throwing away our plunger soon after.)

Now this was always the point where I got stuck when I was originally trying to design this bathroom. Sure, the tub and the toilet can squish in there, but where can I put the vanity and sink? Well, thinking about Small Spaces, Big Style, I decided to probe the internet for a compact wall sink or vanity.

The answer came from Lowes, who has a small, 2x2 corner vanity and medicine cabinet/mirror. So, imagine that you're sitting on the new toilet, facing the jacuzzi tub in the back right corner of the bano.... that may be kinda weird for you to think about, but bear with me. On your left, Mike and I will build a wall - thus enclosing the toilet area in a nook. Can you picture it? No? Well, here's a little (non-to-scale) plan for you.
Ok, so as you can see from the diagram, the corner vanity fits neatly into this little nook. Isn't that ingenious? Now, the design incorporates towel racks in a couple places: between the tub and toilet area and next to the two edges of the vanity. There will also be two hooks on the toilet area wall to hang my robe or a towel, etc.

Some of you may say, hey wait! How do you open the door? Well, I decided to replace the door with a bi-fold door for that very reason. Others may say, isn't that a teenie space beween the toilet area and the tub? The answer is, yes, but you'll still be able to squeeze by and it's a small sacrifice to be able to have the tub.

In addition to that one window over the tub, Mike and I will also put in a frosted glass skylight along with recessed lighting, sconces on either side of the medicine cabinet, and a red light special fan/heat lamp like they have in hotels.

The small space also will allow us to incorporate otherwise expensive features, like a river rock floor and gorgious mosaic wall tiles.

And plus, now we don't have to wrip the bathroom off the house to build a bigger one.

And now for something you'll really Like!

Though I've mentioned it before, I've never really told the entire dry wall story. It just stings so badly whenever I think about it. The walls are a constant reminder of how angry Mike and I still feel even months after. We worked so hard to demo and rebuild... it's such a dam shame that the walls look the way they do and don't reflect our high standards, care, and dedication.

One of the problems with old houses - with all old houses - the floors aren't level, the walls aren't even, and measuring is a constant battle when you're trying to remodel. After experiencing the frustration of re-measuring and wrong cutting and going back to the Depot for more wood again and again, Mike and I decided that rather than go out of our minds, it would be best to hire someone to do the drywall. Plus, time was running short on our mild time scale. It was maybe September, 2004. I was still hoping to be in the house for the annual Halloween Party, traditionally on the first weekend of November. We were tired, I was working a lot. Mike had switched jobs and now had to wake up around 4:30am. We were living at his parents' house, where a flea problem was so out of control that the cat avoided the floor for fear that fleas would jump on him. It was a very stressful time.

Our good friend James Pazakis, who had done some of the plumbing for us (before Mike had learned how to do it himself) recommended us to the dry wall guy that had worked for him before on some small projects. We took his advice and called him, and after he came and looked at the house and gave us an estimate, we hired him. (I don't blame James for what happened next - I don't think he had experience with this guy on a large project like ours.)

The terms were simple. We would pay him in thirds - one third when he bought the materials, one third when all of it was hung, and the last third when it was mudded and finished. Mike had him draw up a contract, and though I didn't look at it, I was sure it was fine and everything would be ok.

Well, he bought the drywall ok. A week after we hired him, it was sitting in our living room, so we paid him the first third and thought everything was great. This was going to be a quick and easy process. However, as the guy and his team began hanging, problems became apparant very quickly.

First, they barely had any tools. They needed to borrow our hammers, our ladders, our tape measures, Mike's toolbelt, our sharpies, our razor knives, our wood for scaffolding, and many other items. Mike and I did not mind lending these things, but it set us off right away. What professional dry wall contractor would not own these things himself? And as you can imagine, many of the above listed items ended up mysteriously disappearing. I recovered some items by rifling though their tool buckets when they weren't in the house - I wanted to steal some of their stuff, but none of it was worth stealing. That was the second thing that set us off. The few tools they did own, scrapers and the like, were all rusted and disgusting. Dry wall tools are not expensive and not difficult to maintain. What professional would not maintain his tools? And how did he manage to rust stainless steel anyway?

They got 75% of the hanging finished and asked us for the second third. Since things were going along well, we gave it to them in good faith. That was a mistake. From there out, their working visits to the house were few and spread out by weeks. If they came, they came for only an hour or two at a time - which made no sense to us since their drive to our house took a half hour each way. (Thank goodness we weren't paying for their gas.)

They complained that the house wasn't warm enough for the joint compound to set up, so we brought in two borrowed Redi-heaters for them. They complained that we needed to empty the house of the few items inside - we did. We had the pleasure of witnessing them spill over 5 gallons of water upstairs and not give a care that they did. I watched the water fall down the wall in the downstairs bedroom in horror and frantically used the sweatshirt off my back to mop it up. At this time I had my new washer and dryer still in their boxes in the kitchen - they used them like tables for their drinks and snacks. One day I discovered a full cup of Dunkin Donuts coffee sitting on its side on my washer. Thank god the lid was unopened. If it had spilt, it could have ruined the $700 machine, or at least caused some damage. What's more, I had to clean up their drinks/snacks/cigarrette butts daily. They had the nerve to even ask us to pick up a pizza for them and didn't offer us any.

Meanwhile, Mike and I were worried about their work. The walls did not look good - joints did not look good - outlet and switch boxes were cut out incorrectly - they gouged our new windows with the razor knives. Plus, they seemed to waste more dry wall than they put on the walls. A stack of odd peices grew and grew out in back of the house - some as large as a near quarter of a sheet. In addition, they threw their food and drink trash into the same pile. Mike and I were getting angry. The house was a mess - they threw joint compound around as if they were in a food fight. There were huge piles of it all over the floors - big drips on the windows - and they nearly ruined our stair treads, which we quickly moved out of the living room when we saw the plaster mess all over them. Yes, they offered to clean up the floors, but we knew that their idea of cleaning meant dumping gallons upon gallons of water all over the house - rediculous.

And still they showed up less and less. All the dry wall still wasn't hung. At this point we were into November, approaching December. My hopes for the Halloween party were long since shattered. The real kicker came around this time. They asked for the final payment. We were stunned - the work wasn't finished. For cripe's sake, everything still hadn't been hung!! Under our original agreement, we shouldn't have even paid them they second payment!

I asked Mike if I could see the contract. When I saw it, I was even more heartbroken. It wasn't a contract at all. It was mearly a letter stating "I'm Mr. So-and-so and I'm going to drywall your house." It wasn't even signed. I informed Mike it wasn't a contract. Tensions were high between us. Mike had a terrible lingering flu, the fleas were still biting, and the holidays were right around the corner. He told the dry wall guy that we wouldn't pay the full amount until the job was done, but he did offer him a partial payment. I was pissed. We were being way too nice.

Then, just as Mike got off the phone with the guy, we discovered that our garage had been broken into. The side door had been forced open with a crow bar - the marks were obvious. And it was funny because I had seen a shovel in the house earlier that evening that I could have sworn was in the garage. The dry wall guys broke into our garage. We were sure of it - possibly just for the shovel, but Mike is a mechanic with thousands of dollars worth of tools and other stealable equipment in the garage. I was glad that our two most expensive and portable possessions, the motorcycle and the ATV, had been moved to his parents' house earlier that week. As you can imagine, we were both livid.

We expected the job to be done before Thanksgiving. It wasn't. However, we were surprised to see the crew at the house the day after Thanksgiving, working away. At this point, we didn't even feel like it was our house. We hated being there with them. We hated looking at their work and finding more and more mistakes. We hated knowing that it was going to look horrible when it was painted. We hated knowing that we should have fired them - should have withheld the money - should have hidden our tools - but it was too late for all that and we were too nice to say anything.

In early December they were "done," even though the walls and the compound were very unfinished, unsanded, and certainly not done in many places. And would you believe - they asked for more money. A lot more money. Mike's mom, who gifted us the money to dry wall, handed them a check for the amount they wanted. I was furious that I hadn't been there to halt that. Of course it's easy for me to say that now - I probably would have been too nice if I had been there too.

We were left with the mess in the house and the mess outside of the house. We spend probably an extra couple hundred dollars taking all the excess drywall to the dump. We still, to this day, cannot clean the joint compound off the floors. We had to hire another couple guys to re-do the upstairs cathedral ceiling because it was so bad - and it's still not looking the way we wanted it to. Mike had to buy dry wall tools and re-compound and sand every single room in the house because they were so horribly done. The outlets and switches don't sit right in their boxes because the drywall was not cut correctly. And still on many walls I can see the tape, I can see where each sheet of drywall ends, I can see bumps and dips where the joints weren't sanded properly, and I get angry every time I do.

Mike and I decided that we should have bit the bullet and done the job ourselves. We ended up having to do plastering and sanding and cleaning anyhow. And I think we would have been so much more picky about how things were turning out. So now things like glossy paint are out. We have to buy larger than life outlet and switch plates to cover the poorly cut boxes.

The lesson here - always get a proper contract. Have all parties sign it. Make sure it outlines exact cost and time frame as well as the exact job of the contractor - ie, will hang, plaster, and sand dry wall, will order dumpster for site clean up, etc. Never be afraid to fire your contractor and never deviate from the payment plan or the contract. And always be sure to padlock your garage and change the locks on your doors if you deal with shady people.

Corky Little Bits

Well, we signed the loan documents last Thursday morning. So tomorrow or the next day, basement money will be in our bank account.

To celebrate this momentus occasion, we decided to catch up on some of those insanely procrastination-producing small tasks over the weekend. The first was the poop pipe, which we extended above the roof line at long last. Ahhh, the sweet smell of success. Literally! Unfortunately, now we have this stupid looking white PVC curling up the house - so we'll have to paint it, but that will be procrastinated until a later date.

Then, we stripped, sanded, and painted an old army locker that I found for free on the side of the road at the beginning of summer... like I've been wanting to do since the beginning of summer. Once it was done, we brought it into the mudroom and I put all of our coats in there - since we don't have a coat closet, all the coats were taking over MY closet. We can't have that, now can we?

We also got a chance to really do some cleaning and throwing out of crap. In the yard we still had an old window, old broken gutters, two halfs of a broken garden hose, the rotted cover to our boat that the previous owner wrecked when he left it out in the blizzardy winter, misc boat engine parts, random rusty metal peices and pipes, a bucket full of tile from when we tiled the kitchen floor... last winter, empty joint compound buckets, a car window screen that appeared magically in the yard, two kitchen faucets that sucked more than the third that we actually used, and a ten year old box fan that finally kicked the bucket.

Our neighbors passed us as we drove to the dump - I'm sure they were happy to see the truck loaded high with all that junk. This is an exciting blog isn't it? Today - we went to the dump. Yay dump! Bear with me people and I'll tell you a good story next. Getting rid of trash is very liberating.

In the house, I really started to organize stuff via techniques seen on one of my other HGTV favorites, Get Organized! One of the key parts to organization is storing everything together so you only need to go to one place when you need something. I consolodated all the gift wrap materials like shrink wrap, ribbons, baggies, etc. into the wrapping paper container instead of my closet. I cleaned out my 3 jewelry boxes and organized them - one for fine, fancy stuff and earrings (which had previously been strewn all willy-nilly over the bathroom cabinet) and one for ghetto bad girl hoochy coo stuff. (You know, the studded leather collar, the light up techno club necklace, the gothic armband - bet you never pegged me for a ghetto bad girl hoochy coo, did you? I'm a complex individual.) I was able to get rid of one jewelry box - and of course anything that was broken or hated imensely.

I finally got all the books out of the closet and milk crates and into the bookshelves. I then used the milk crates in the mudroom to organize my laundry and cleaning supplies. I also cleaned out the bathroom cabinets (which by the way, are leftover kitchen cabinets that just wouldn't fit in the kitchen) and I put everything into two tool boxes. Now maybe next week we can throw out those cabinets.

It feels good to be almost unpacked! How long has it been now? Ten months? We're making headway on really living here, not just staying here.

Partly Cloudy Means Mostly Cloudy

What a blah weekend. I had so much I wanted to get accomplished and barely any of it got done. This was supposed to be the anti-stink fix weekend. You see - the first stinky problem is upstairs in the bedroom - and I don't mean stinky as in, this sux or this is stupid or what the deuce? This is an actual smell. A smelly smell. A smelly smell that smells, smelly. (Ah, the philosophy of Mr. Krabs.)

What is this stink that, well, stinks? You'll love this - the poop pipe, you know, the vent for the septic, is right outside the bedroom window. Whoever did our Title5 plumbing was such a nincompoop. That pipe normally runs up above the roof line, but ours ends just about the bathroom roof, which, conveniently, is located right outside the master bedroom window. My side of the bed too! And so, as you can imagine, it constantly smells, and you can hear the water flowing from the toilet or shower to the septic, echoing out the pipe - such an attactive sound right?

This same plumber also devised a fantastic poop pipe design in the basement. The pipe that runs water and waste to the septic looks like this: L It's an L shape! There's barely any angle. Why is this a concern? Well, stuff... shiznit to be discustingly specific, could get stuck in the corner and clog the whole thing. Hopefully this issue will be resolved when we re-plumb after the house is up.

Anyway, we were going to run a length of pvc from the current vent up the roofline to where it's supposed to be. However - when we got back from the home depot on Saturday, we realized we forgot the brackets. Seeing as how we had already spent $75, I wasn't about to go back. Grrrr!

But that $75 wasn't just spent on pipe - our roof's not that high for crepe's sake! So we move on to our second stinky smelly problem, located conveniently under the poop pipe problem and therefore also underneath the bedroom - the trash cans. I'm sure many of you have had this problem this summer - animals knock over your trash cans, littering your trash everywhere and eating what's left of it, and you don't want to clean it up and procrastinate for a day or so, then the wind takes whatever it can carry and deposits it all over your yard, and you get mad because you didn't clean it up on day one, and if you're like me you're a girly girl and you don't want to touch that gross-ness, so you get a shovel and a pitch fork and you're braving swarms of killer flies, defending their feast to the last - in your work clothes no less - shovelling and pitch forking stuff back into the cans and dirt is flying and you dig up half the yard trying to get every last used tissue and apple core before you're late to work. It's just an aweful situation that no one should have to deal with unless they get paid a lot of money.

So Mike had a streak of motivation - motivated by not wanting to clean up the trash, which I understand - and we bought some plywood at the home depot to make a little trash can house. At least he got that completed - a small job that's worth it's weight in gold for the messy smelly job it saves us from. Plus it looks nicer that all that trash can/stuff that can't fit in trash can stuff in back of the house. And, right away we noticed that fresh air smell... at least from down on the ground. The bedroom still smells poopy.