For Our Next Trick...

I was exhausted all weekend! And Mike never ended up bringing home the de-thatcher, which is fine with me, since he decided to take down some trees instead. Which I suppose should be fine with me, since I despise those locusts.

But we're going to need to replace them with something that's not just "grass" like he wants. Hey let's cut down all our trees and just grow grass... except that's really difficult with no shade. And it's really ugly and you can see all our junk and all our neighbors and all our neighbors junk! Yeah.

So the minute we can plant trees I'm going to be picking out probably two more trees and plunking them in the ground. I'm not sure what type yet, although I'm leaning towards those deep burgundy leaf'd trees.... I've always enjoyed those. Or something that grows big and fluffy with a nice shade canopy. Dunno yet, have to research.

With the end of March upon us, I also pulled the porch trigger. "Mike," I said, "It's time we get TJ back here to finish this thing." We have a footing to fix and then alllll the trim work. Railings, ceiling, stain, paint - the whole bit. I would venture a guess that the hard part is over... though the expensive part is just beginning. Although who knows.

Plus with most of our credit debt gone, big dollar signs in the savings account, and now the $200 per mo savings... I'm ready to pour some juice on the porch. Schedules may be an issue since TJ is also a new father.... and an expectant father... all the more reason to accomplish all this in spring... but there's also a chance he may not be able to at all. I would understand that, but at the same time, I want this done and might seek other options.

I'm getting ahead of myself as per usual. One thing at a time.

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It Aint No Small Chiz, After All

I've got a little bit of the bumms going on.

So all that mad work that we rushed to finished... it was all an effort to push out an appraisal of $300,000+ and save a whole buncha money per mo. But I just found out, we didn't make it. We're still going to save $200 per mo.... but we could have saved $600 per mo. It was a win-win situation from the start, but boy would we have loved to grab the cash from door #2.

Of course I'm not going to publish all my financial details.... this is the internet after all, so no questions por favor.

Anyhoo, I'm trying to look on the bright side and be happy. This nice hot cup of coffee on a rainy Friday is helping a lot. Plus think of the progress.... all that little stuff and all that cleaning we accomplished in under two weeks. It's nothing short of amazing.

I'm still exhausted, actually.

Yeah, me. I just want to sit and do nothing and let me catch up with myself. Mike on the other hand, continues the momentum. This weekend he's going to bring home a de-thatcher for the lawn, burn some more brush, and who knows what else. Fine with me. It's going to be freezing out!

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Hey Outsiders


The photos you are about to see look ghetto. But when compared to the "before" photos, you'll agree that our current exterior condition is much improved.

The camper has arrived! Yes, it's huge... but that's a good thing. (We're actually only part-owners, having split the cost with some friends of ours last summer. And it's been at our friends' house for going on six months, so now it's our turn to house the beast for a bit.) Note the trash hut is now in front of the garage door. Mike was going to move it to its proper location - behind the house where no one can see the trashiness of it - but the skid steer wouldn't start last night. With no energy to spare on fixing the durn thing, Mike just heaved the hut there for now.

Garage Side Before

Note the massive junk pile on the left side, leaning up on the garage. Notice the boat in the background and of course, the old Dodge cab in the foreground, on the trailer.

Garage Side After

Note the lack of junk on the side of the garage - just a wheelbarrow and a spare tire near the back. Note the trailer - empty except for our new snoomoobile. And note lack of boat... but new boat trailer. (The new boat won't be coming until late spring/summer since obviously to change trailers, the boat will need to go into the water.)

Back Yard Before

Yeah. This one's obvious. Scaffolding... truck cab... boat... lawn tractor... leaves.

Back Yard After

Scaffolding has been down for a while now and the cab is on the truck. Note the raked lawn and again, lack of boat.

And here's the other side of the backyard - generally clean and tidy, save for the Dodge hood in the background and the unkempt appearance of the log pile, with a hint of skid steer in the back. (Yes skid steer, we see you hiding behind that tree.)

So, ghetto, but not as much as previously. We're making progress!

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A Beautiful Day for Goin Crazy!

Sunday. The last frontier. *sigh* I'm exhausted. So exhausted. Where do I even begin? I suppose at the beginning - DUR.

We were up at 8 and by 9:00, Mike was out the door and on his way to purchase that burn permit. He arrived back home about the same time his mom did (to watch Mikey) and we were off to the races.

Mike was determined to make a scrap metal run - filling up Dodge #3 and hauling it away. (Prices are near to $150 per ton. Not as awesome as a couple years ago when prices hit a high of around $250 per ton, but still worthwhile.) So he went to work right away - tearing out the wiring he needed and throwing near to every piece of metal junk we had onto his trailer.

Meanwhile, I began tackling the basement. We decided to just scrap our giant scrap wood pile. It just looked like garbage, really. So I spent the better part of an hour just carrying wood up and out. The overflowing trash can - out. Empty paint cans and moldy drywall compound - out. Moldy bits of drywall - out. (Who needs a stair climber? Just climb stairs for a couple hours straight with armfuls of trash! You'll be fit in no time!)

Outside, we got the go-ahead to burn baby burn and Mike lit up the Trogdor Burninator with brush and branches. (Yes, we cut our old oil tank in half, added a handle, and turned it into a burning pit. And yes, we named it after that famous Strong Bad email.) Once the fire was going strong, Mike was right back to loading scrap.

He cut up an old boat trailer with his Sawzall and even loaded that - plus a couple lawn tractors. When everything was ready to go, he drove across the street where our neighbor loaded Mike's truck with even more scrap... until it was overflowing! He had another trailer he wanted Mike to take too, but he was already full up. Time to head out.

About the time Mike was leaving with all that metal, I was just about finished taking junk out of the basement. Time to organize, clean, and vacuum! And I went nuts. I even managed to put down our old living room rug to define a new exercise area for my treadmill and Mike's weight bench, complete with TV table. (Weight bench will have to be moved later - I couldn't lift it.)

It's been a VERY long time since the basement was this clean.

Anyway, when Mike returned we got back to some serious burning. (I had been tending the fire whilst he was away - but keeping it small and just throwing in a few sticks every now and again.)
We had a late lunch and then got started on tidying the yard.

Our other neighbor wanted some of our scrap wood for winter kindling... in exchange for some of his famous homegrown jalapeno poppers. No problemo! And he took more than half off our hands.

Back in the backyard, I cleaned up and raked - Mike decided to fix the old boat trailer so he could deliver the old boat to its new owner. Which is definitely a good thing, don't get me wrong. Unfortunately, this meant that a few things had to be left where they were.... a couple of large Dodge body parts, 4Runner #1, the scaffolding, the trash hut, and a buncha small misc items.

But all in all, the yard hasn't looked so clean in at least a couple years. And now that it's neat and clean, we'll be bringing in a new and bigger boat, 1/2 a trans am (happy birthday to me with a new pontiac 400 motor and trans), and a camper. Don't look at me like that! It's better then adding all that stuff to what we had before! I'll be doing my best to keep it neat, believe me. And I'll be doing my best to sell some items this summer - believe me on that one too.

Mike returned home around 9:30pm, just in time to catch me vacuuming one last time. And this morning he went to the dump with all that junk from the basement. Bu-bye.

Why all the mad cleaning, organizing, and finishing of small projects? In just about a week I will hopefully be able to say, pending if it all paid off that is. And pics of the yard to come... it was pouring rain this morning.

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Small Things in Pictures

The mission is progressing perfectly... oh I forgot the code. The moth is flying neatly into the taco.

The last ever light fixture is installed...
And fully functional...
The kitchen wall is painted...
The mudroom closet doors are installed
The mudroom window trim is done
The french door trim is painted

And the house is clean, dishes are done, laundry is done... and we're well on our way to Monday glory.

Tomorrow is all about the outside. We'll be up early to get our burn permit at 8:30am - and post that, burning of brush will commence. Mike is going to prepare Dodge #3 (remember that truck?) for departure. (Yes, it's still out there on the trailer, ready to go minus the wiring harness.) And everything else out there... well, we've got to figure out something to do with it.

Stay tuned!

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Late Nights and Goals

I'm pushing it. Yes... you may have guessed. There is a reason behind all this rushing around to tidy up and finish up loose ends inside and out. I'm not at the moment at liberty to discuss... but it'll all be over on Monday, and sometime near to a week after that, I'll let you all in on the big occasion.

Until then, let me just say that Mike deserves a metal... and if all works out the way we want, I'm going to give him a monetary bonus prize as another big thanks.

Last night he brought home everything - the paint, the brushes, the stirrers, the stain, the light bulbs, the electrical box... everything! And despite the late hour, he still pulled everything out of the garage to stained the mudroom closet doors via his automotive painting equipment. (You try and hand stain two half louvered closet doors... it's a pain in the butt. Spray way is the best way!)

Then, despite the even-later hour, Mike went down in the basement and put a second coat on all the rest of the mudroom trim! And all so he can put up the trim tonight.

Also on tonight's show, planing each side of the closet trim by 0.372" (Yeah, we have 66" worth of doors and 65" worth of opening... long story - don't try it at home. Not fun, even with a planer.) And once that's done, the doors and trim can go on.

Meanwhile that kitchen wall needs to be sanded so I can paint.... and speaking of paint, I need to paint the french doors/french door trim. If not tomorrow night, most definitely Saturday.

Sunday's agenda is all about the outside. As in, all of that junk in that yard needs to be put away or moved to anywhere else... luckily our neighbors are nice enough to lend a hand. Or in this case, a bit of driveway. If I can remember to get that burn permit on Saturday, I will for sure. Too bad you can't purchase it online!

Chow for now!

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Oat Cake Frisbee

I checked the kitchen paint... glad I did. Oat Cake Frisbee.

So I sent Mike on his merry way to work today to pick up:

White paint in eggshell
Oat Cake in flat
One swirly lightbulb
One halogen lightbulb
An electrical box
Stain #490 (or was it 410?)

If all goes well, I'll be painting soon!

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Somewhat Sunday

Ok, so despite early motivation, Sunday ended up being a pretty lazy day. Eh, that's what happens the morning after you throw a party... not that it was a big rager or anything. Torrential rains and all. But we're not exactly accustomed to staying up past, oh say 10:30pm.

But we did manage a few things here and there - and discovered a few things to add to the shopping list. Mike cut and installed the trim to the french doors - and that's when I discovered that my remaining white paint was now a solid white Frisbee at the bottom of the can. (Great band name, Solid White Frisbee.)

Then Mike cut the rest of the window trim - and that's when he discovered we were dam near out of stain. (Yes we bought a whole buncha brushes just last week... only now to run out of stain. Ironic.) And when we went upstairs to install that final light fixture, we had no electrical box to attach it to!

So no light, no staining, and no painting. But at least some stuff got cut. Mike shmeared another coat of pea coat onto the kitchen wall too, just because he could. Come to think of it, I'd better check on kitchen-colored paint tonight. Mike will be picking up everything we need tomorrow and if there's one thing I hate - it's a second trip for the same item.

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Just Another Hole in the Wall

Thursday night and Mike and I just couldn't figure out just what to do first. We musta stood in the kitchen for near to 10 minutes just shooting out idears -

Do you want me to put up the window casings in the mudroom?
Yes and the trim in the hallway needs to be nailed - I just stuck it there. And oh there's the banister trim...
But that needs another piece to make it work, although I could cut it to fit as it is...
No, just forget that then -
And I can take the trim off the mudroom closet and plane it... do you want the doors up because it looks so much better with just that...and hey, what do you want to do about this kitchen wall?
I want to paint that on Saturday if I can.
Ok, so I need to mud that up and put a patch in here... but I don't know what we have downstairs for compound....

And it went on until finally I was like, "OMG just get started on SOMETHING!"

So Mike brought in the air hose - from the air compressor in the garage thru the living room window - and first nailed on the hallway trim that I had put into place a couple days ago. Then he brought up the mudroom window casings and sills and nailed those on.

And then came the matter of the kitchen wall. Yes, there's one odd section of wall in the kitchen that's white - ie, never been painted. And take down that lovely picture of Mike and I on our wedding day, and you'll see it hides a big banged up mark. Below that, near the floor, a giant foot-sized hole caused by... well... a foot. Next to that, purple stains where I dropped and broke an entire glass of red wine.

Yup, this poor section of wall has taken a beating and we've finally decided to do something about it, at least temporarily.

The kitchen as a whole took a real beating when the house was lifted to put in the basement. (Didn't know we did that? Check it out here.) The walls are cracked all over the place and eventually, all the cabinets will need to be removed to fix it. Not a small undertaking and not something we're ready to tackle just yet.

So in the mean time, to help the kitchen feel better about itself, we decided to fix that wall. And if I was going to paint on Saturday, Mike needed to mud Thursday night to allow for drying/sanding time. Since this is a temp fix, Mike just slapped on what we had in stock - which happened to be ancient pea-coat - screwed on a patch for the foot hole - and tonight, he'll just sand it quick and call it done.

Mikey was so cute, he was very interested when Mike was patching and wanted to help.

And Friday night, Mike decided to sand and put on another coat of pea coat... thus delaying my painting on Saturday, but he really wanted to do a good job for the wall, despite the temporaryness of it all. And as you can see, it looks really good in photo. (Although up close you can tell - it needs some more sanding.)

Friday night we also tackled the difficult business of living room curtains... Yes, curtains can be difficult - especially when trying to put them up in exactly the same location as before... with the old anchors still buried in the wall.... but not utilizing the old anchors, now plastered, sanded, and painted.

The solution - molly bolts. And they worked for two and a half of the three windows. But on that last window, Mike hit a pocket of nothing and the molly bolts had nothing to brace against. We still haven't figured out a solution to that.

So no doubt you're wondering about today's plan. After all, it is Sunday. Day of doing.

Believe it or not, I haven't even thought about it yet. I'll have to get a list going.

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Who Wants Trim for their Birthday?

It's my birthday. My last ever birthday - 29 and never a day older. I must admit that it hasn't been the best of bday's. Work, skin, lack of sleep... you know. Generalized chaos at it's best. If I could only sleep well I think I'd be better poised to deal with it all, but you can't always control yourself.

Besides all that personal, feeling "Off" stuff, homework has been chugga-luggin right along. I accomplished nearly all of my weekend goals - cleaned up, hung up the pictures, ordered baby gates, purchased the lighting fixture. Very productive.

And yesterday, Mike surprised me with more little things to cross off the list.

A second coat of stain on the hallway trim.
Mudroom window prep and measurement for trim
Cutting and staining (2 coats) of mudroom window trim (sides and sill)
Mudroom closet trim installation - which, unfortunately, I reminded him will have to come right back off for planing so the doors will fit... always something to be re-done.

I was highly impressed! And excited. Tonight he'll be nailing on the hallway and mudroom sides and sills. Then, we can figure out the measurements for the rest of the mudroom window trim, get that cut and stained.... take the trim off of the mudroom closet and plane it down to nothing.

That's already waaay too much for tonight. And then there's the matter of installing that last, historic lighting fixture....

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What'Snoomoo? Not Much, What'snoomoo With Yootoo?

It's official - SnooMoo weekend this weekend.

But that's ok - I have plans of my own. Most of them involve cleaning and errands... but that's ok too. Both are long overdue and it'll get us in a better position to move forward with the to-do's into next week.

I've def got to return the too-small cat door I bought and buy a bigger cat door at a different store. (Turns out the exact same cat flaps at Petco are nearly $10 cheaper than PetSmart. Petco - it's where the Jess go.)

I have to get a burn permit.

I have to pick up that last lighting fixture - a bubbly track light from Lowes to match my hallway lights. And baby gates - can't forget baby gates.

Hopefully Mike will remember to bring home more stain brushes so we can finish up the hallway trim and get that on by Tues at the latest.

Then I have to see if I can return all the pictures/mirrors/etc back to the living room and hallway walls.

That all, plus the cleaning, will most likely be all I can handle.

Next week - small stuff, watch out. You're going down.

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Dreary Sunday Turns a Hallway Good

Little stuff is usually not the stuff we like to do. We usually end up starting big new projects when the old big new projects turn into little stupid stuff. But not this Sunday. I was on a mission and had the list to prove it.

Mike, who desperately wants a weekend away with his new snoomoobile had no choice but to comply. (Besides, the weather was dreary, rainy, cloudy, cold, and windy with a hint of snow.)

So we.....

Installed the last two outlets & covers in the living room.

Emptied the bar, returned it to the living room, and filled it back up again.

Installed our very last smoke detector in the hallway.

Nailed on Mikey's window bottom trim pieces.

Trimmed and painted the front door.

Re-installed and painted the trim on Mikey's door.

Painted Mikey's door - just because the paint was already out.

Measured, cut, and first coated the hallway trim.

It's Doorway Glory!

And that, ladies and gentlemen, was about all we had time for. Remaining stupid small stuff left on the list will be tackled this week and this upcoming Sunday, weather and snoomoobile trips permitting. And let me tell you, the hallway looks fab with just those few pieces of trim on. The front door alone is now so grandiose! Plus no more exposed drywall for cats to munch on.

Sill to do....

Purchase molly bolts and re-install living room curtain rods

Install second hallway outlet at the bottom of the stairs

Purchase and install cat hole door

Purchase and install the last remaining light fixture in the house - the stairway light.

Second coat and install hallway trim

Purchase and install ends for all the baseboard heaters

Babyproofing (Yeah, he started crawling last Friday. This should probably be bumped to the head of the list.)

And with those items completed, we will move on to Project Stairway and/or Mr. Mudroom. Talk about a shift in energies since December, huh? If poor weather keeps up like this and Mike continues to be stuck inside and away from his vehicles and other machinery... the interior will be looking awesome going into spring!

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