Gung-ho, that was me. Bloggin on a mission and then POOF, drop off the face of the blogosphere for near to a week... leaving thousands in anger and suspense.

Or not.

But flaky and manic as I've been, it's all been for good reason. I've been extremely focused on crossing off items on that 'ol to-do list. First off, the electrical hook-up on the porch. Turns out, we had 9 of the 10 needed outlets in stock. And, Mike decided to patch the porch in with an already under-loaded breaker. So we didn't need that either.  So so... we were able to complete the wiring without having to head to the DeepHo.

But that doesn't mean we didn't head down there anyway. I still had a pole to return! And despite his grumblings, Mike was as glad as I was to bring it back and receive a $33 store credit, which we used to purchase porch outlet covers and concrete.

While at the HD, we checked out the garage doors, which I'm planning to purchase for Mike for X-mas. (No secret. He knows, I know, and we're both happy about it.) This whole freakin' time, we thought they were mad expensive.

Years ago, when we were still in drywall-phase of the house, I had Overhead Door come and look at my garage for door-cost estimation purposes. Well, I don't know whether it was me looking so young, my house looking so old, or my vehicle and yard looking so.... redneck.... But the door dude had the audacity to ask my drywall guys if I "paid my bills." And I was so insulted that I completely severed contact with them - despite the fact that I had the cash and was ready to go at that moment.

But I realize now, it was meant to be. Because the HD has insulated garage doors in stock in store.... for the price of just around $250. When I saw, I sh*t. We don't need no fancy pants doors. We don't need no windows. (And we don't need no grammar either.) And apparently, we don't need to pay upwards of $1,000! Another $150-$200 and you can get yourself a nice garage door opener, complete with two remotes, an exterior keypad, and an interior button.

So, back to the current HD visit. After I had seen the doors and the prices on the internet, we just had to find out if they came with all the springs, tracks, etc. needed to install. Sure enough, everything came in the box! Amazing, isn't it? Three doors, coming right up this holiday season!

HD visit: successful on so many levels.
Electrical: complete!

And now for the bad news. Or, I should say, postponement news. Timmy was called into work on Sunday and couldn't come over to work on the stairs. Mike used the time to complete the electrical, so I can't complain too much. I was really hoping and dreaming that we'd be able to get the concrete poured.

I found out, by the way, that we in fact do not need sonotubes because we're not going to pour footings. We're going to pour pads. Big pads! iPads! (Sorry, couldn't resist.) So the entire footprint of the stairs will be concrete. This is beneficial in a few ways. First, it is a far lesser pain in the butt then to dig and pour footings. Second, with concrete under the entire stairway, there's no chance of annoying plant growth. I'm cool with that.

Unfortunately, we don't know what materials we'll need for the stairs, so we couldn't purchase those. The railings, however, I am going to have Mike purchase tomorrow for delivery on Friday. I figure, if the guys pour the pads on Sunday, they're going to need to dry. What to do while the concrete is drying? How about some railings! Sounds good to me, I just need to remember to send Mike to work with the paperwork that shows what to order.

Truck'pdate, Smidgets, and Upcoming Electrical

At around 11pm Tuesday night, the truck arrived! (Safe and sound, I might add, much to our relief.) So here it is, Thursday, and I haven't even gotten much more then a glimpse of it. I was in bed when it arrived, rushed out of the house Wednesday morning, rushed into the house Wednesday night, crashed early to bed, and rushed out of the house this morning... not that it mattered, because the truck was gone at that point anyway. Mike drove it to work today.

How, you ask?

Turns out, he didn't need to wait 24hrs for that fuel pump. He ordered it in the AM - received it in the PM - and went straight to work as soon as he got home. I had no clue what was going on. He didn't even come in to say, "Hi what's up? Got to get to work, the fuel pump came in early." Oh well. I found out eventually. (Although I didn't know how it turned out, since I crashed early. Apparently, it turned out just fine if he's driving the thing....)

The early fuel pump pushed back my electrical plans. Honestly, I thought Mike had just plain forgot about it, but he texted me this morning, "Got to do some wiring for you tonight." Silly me, I'm imagining he's still talking about the truck. I thought, "Why the heck would that be for me??" Then it hit me - DUR. I'm the one that forgot... but only for a second.

So there's the outlets and the breaker... should probably get concrete and some sonotubes for the stair footings.... unless Mike had those at his store. Speaking of which, how bigga footings we talking about here? Do we need a hole digger? I have no clue. And if the side steps are going up the side of the house.... is that side going to need de-siding?! And if we're in the process of de-siding the side, should I be ordering a nice picture window for the kitchen, where new siding equals new window configuration because you don't want to side just to de-side and re-side?!

These are all questions I do not have the answers to.

Speaking of stuff we need, I should probably add trim for front door to that list. And speaking of the front door - where the heck is the doorbell button?! We really need to put that thing back on again.

And it's Thursday - should I be ordering materials from Morse right now?! Should I be ordering railings from Morse right now? Should I be asking you all these questions?!

Probably not. You'd probably go nuts and tell me to buy up the whole Home Depot.

OH - DOODES! I'm seriously going to return that extra steel basement support thing we've had in our basement for the last three-four years. I don't even care if I only get $2 for it. (But $1 and I'm walkin.) And no Mike is going to stop me this time. MUAH-HA-HA-HA!

But seriously, all questions aside, we need to have electrical up and running and we need to prepare for Sunday. *Was that just thunder?! Why does it rain every time we need to buy concrete?*

Switching topics - I finally remembered to take those pics for you.

Ok, so a little out of focus, but you can see the Smidget clearly here. Think it's no big deal? Doesn't look anything fancy to you? Well, just check out the wide shot:

It looks good. I mean, real good. And it's not even puttied and painted yet! (At this point I'm losing faith that I'll have the painting completed by party-time.) Another brilliant Tim-Idea.

Electrical updates due tomorrow!

Pole Wrapped

Yesterday was a perfect day for pole wrapping. Sun, fair temps, low wind... heavenly fall to say the least. And within a few short hours, the three guys had finished 4 poles!!! They would have even finished the last and final fourth pole, but this one is currently holding up our temporary steps... which, we're still in need of at the moment.

Plus, Timmy had a marvel idea. (And once I explain this, you'll see why I just love him to death!) You see, to fit the posts, the white pre-primed wood needed to be cut down by just a smidget. Obviously, that leaves us with a bunch of scrap smidgets. Trash, you ask? I would have thought so too. That is, until Timmy held one up to the ceiling where the trim meets the bead board. USE THE SMIDGETS TO TRIM THE CEILING! Oh my god, it was a revelation and it looked fabulous! So simple, but we never would have thought of it. We would have just gone out and spent hundreds of more dollars on trim, then burned the smidgets come January when burn season opens up.
Timmy, once again, saved us some big bucks. So I was so happy and excited to write him out a big check that very afternoon. (And, he never asks for any money... usually refuses it, actually. Which made me all the happier to finally be able to give him a substantial amount.)

Anyhoo - check out the new frontal view:

 Pretty swank, isn't it? (I forgot a pic of the smidget trim - I will try to grab one tomorrow.)

Once the poles were finished, the guys attempted to complete the trim up on the gambrel. (At the peak there.) However, something about having the wrong saw or no blade or something like that prevented them from completing it, and they ended for the day.

Plans for next Sunday - the steps begin! Concrete will need to be poured for the step footings, which I had never realized before. Once it cures, the steps can be built. Then - duh duh duh duh - railings. With the Halloween season upon us, I'm hoping to get an early jump on the railings. I have these crazy imaginings that I'll order them and have Mike pre-assemble all the sections so we're ready to slap them up as soon as possible.

Whether he'll be hip to that idea is another story. Hopefully, (oh please oh please) his new truck will be arriving via pro vehicle transport tomorrow. And once it's in our driveway, he's going to do nothing until he installs the needed fuel pump.

But I warned him last night! I said, I'm going to need the electrical on the porch hooked up for Halloween lighting. And I'm going to need it like, this week. On the shopping list there: all the outlets and a new breaker. With the truck arriving tomorrow, we should actually go out and purchase those like... oh, I dunno... NOW.

Halloween Party is Nov 6th.... the race to the finish is ON!

Week of A Million Catastrophes!

Well, of course #1 Catastrophe: Mike returned from South Butt late Monday night/early Tuesday morning sans Dodge. And upon his return, I got the entire U-Haul scoop, which was, unbelievably, worse then I could have ever imagined. (Full disclosure expose' to come!)

#2 Catastrophe: A crazy guy set my office building on fire last Monday night. Thank god our offices are in back - they sustained no damage. But due to the arson investigation and then lack of electrical power, we were unable to get into the building until late Thursday afternoon.

#3 Catastrophe: Crazy mad deadline rush at work Thurs-Fri!!!

And #4 - #1 million Catastrophe were of course, smaller in nature, but all directly related to the first three major catastrophes.

All in all, a week that most certainly took some years off my life. But, amidst all the stress, I have good news to report.

Firstly, Mike and I found ourselves together on Tuesday.... yes! Together on a weekday during normal business hours! (Imagine that?) So after Mike finished his lengthy phone calls to U-Haul, we high tailed it over to Morse Lumber to pick out railings for the farmer's porch. Azek was the composite brand recommended to us - good quality, a best seller, and no-maintenance. (You have to think to yourself - do you really want to re-paint railings year after year? Square poles and trim are one thing - one easy thing. A whole buncha railings and balusters?! A whole buncha pain-in-the-butt.)

We selected a basic white model - no frills, but complete with the bracket-hiding kit or whatever they call it. We'd need 8 sections, not including the stairways. (The figuring for those will come at a later date, as we haven't spoken to Timmy about them yet.) Total cost, approx. $1400.

That probably sounds outrageous.... and, admittedly, we could probably purchase wood for 1/3 of that... but I just don't want to go wood. Wood posts - fine. Wood trim - fine. Wood railings?! Not so much, in my opinion. We saved a boatload going wood on the rest of the porch, so I feel like we can spluurge a little bit where it's going to count.

We didn't order, since we want to check in with Timmy and make sure it's cool. Luckily, what we want is in stock, can be delivered next day, and likely be installed by Mike in one weekend. Each section comes in a box. You just put the pieces together and then attach to the poles. Hopefully, it will be easy.

(Pole wrap hasn't been completed yet, as the guys took this Sunday off, which worked out for us as you'll see in a moment.)

Secondly, 4Runner #1 has been sold! Though I didn't get quite as much as I was hoping, it's gone and the buyer was very happy with it and understood all its problems and quirks. Sweet. Two vehicles down, one to go.

Third, I return you to this past Sunday. As I said, the guys took a break from the porch, so Mike jumped on the opportunity to get Dodge #2 put together. (You know, the one in pieces in the back yard?) He devoted near to the entire day on it and stopped just short of 100% completion. He'll need a little more time, but when it's as tidy as can be for $0, it can be put up for sale as is. And with the sale of Dodge #2, we'll have no more extra vehicles!!!! (Amazing to think.)

Monday, Columbus Day, I took it upon myself to paint the garage and garage addition. I painted the garage white about two years ago.... then we picked out a grey siding for the house. So that white was in need of an update, plus the addition needed a coat of SOMETHING before winter. And what better time then a random Monday off?

Back two years ago, I did the job with a roller and a brush... and it took me hours upon laborious hours. Days, in fact. Yes, I'm pretty sure it took me days. This time around, however, I had a new painting weapon. A super duper power painter.  This thing painted one side of the garage is less then 5 minutes. It took longer to clear away all the mechanical misc from either side then it did to paint! I was blown away! A little bit of touching up on the trim from over-spray and the job was done.

Of course the job still took all day.... Why? Well, the clearing and cleaning up of all the mechanic misc of course! (I took the initiative and loaded up that garage addition. I mean, come on. It was empty and all this junk was outside, next to the garage. Ridiculous!)

Just check out the awesome results:

Look, Ma, no junk!

 Complete With Matching Addition

And the Other Side - One Hood and One Wheelbarrow Left, not too shabby

We survived the Week of a Million Catastrophes and somehow managed to come out.... well, not on top, but pretty high in elevation nonetheless. At this point, no expectations for this week. My brain is no longer processing information.

When Things Are Too Quiet...

With Mike and a couple of his friends off on a Dodge 2500 extended cab buying adventure, and Mikey being such a sleepy baby, I was able to take in some serious R&R on Sunday. Plus, Timmy and Richard were over to start on the posts - and they brought me a coffee! Life is good, right?

Timmy had to leave around noon, so it was a short work day, but they got one post wrapped with a promise that the rest will fly, since they now have the method down. The two plan to return to work one night this week at earliest. Sweet! I was happy with that, for sure.

Plus, I finally got someone who will come to the house and design the yard for me in terms of plantings and such. Woo-hoo! He and I tentatively decided to meet up perhaps next weekend or even some time this week if the opportunity presents itself.

Everything was so smooth.... so relaxing.... So I should have known that the sheet was about to hit the fan. And when I say sheet, I mean U-Haul. And when I say hit the fan, I mean smack us in the face with the wrong trailer. Let me elaborate.

Firstly, understand that this particular Dodge 2500 is in its current condition, un-driveable. Needs work. (Not much - and the price is right - it's worth it.) In Mike's words the truck is "awesome" and just what he's been looking for. We're saving in total $6500 - $7500 on this vehicle.

Here's the initial catch - the boys had to travel a good distance and way into the sticks of South Butt* to pick up the thing. Mike enlisted his BFF Andy and his Dodge diesel along with another friend to help. Mike reserved a large U-Haul trailer at the South Butt location for the price of $250 at our local U-Haul office. The one-way trailer would save us big time in fuel and tolls. The guys would travel down sans trailer, pick it up at U-Haul, and then drive back and return the trailer to our local U-Haul office. Good deal.

Or so it would have been if it had happened as it was reserved.

Mike purchases the truck this morning and the guys go to pick up the trailer and U-Haul. But the one they have is not the trailer Mike reserved. It's too small. It's also $450..... ok hold the phone right there, nearly double the dough for a smaller trailer?! But it's all they've got and Mike grudgingly pays for and takes it in the hope that it will work.

It doesn't work. It's too small.

The boys spend the next 4 hours in a desperate search of South Butt for a proper trailer. But Butt is a rural area and choices are limited... very limited. After four hours of wasted time, the guys have exhausted all resources without a solution. Mike is forced to put the Dodge 2500 in self-storage at the South Butt U-Haul. Lucky for us, at least they agreed to give him that for free.

And now they're en route home. Without the truck. We'll now have to pay to have a professional vehicle transport go down to get it. Add that cost to the cost of this trip - the fuel, the tolls, the food and bev for three guys, the one night hotel stay, and not to mention the 48 total hours of 100% wasted time. Does not compute!

Mike had near to $1500 extra with him on the trip and spent it all on the above mentioned trip-related expenses. So we're basically out $1500 plus another $500-$1000 for a vehicle transport?!!

I'm livid and I haven't even heard the entire story yet. U-Haul is going to get it from me. They owe me at least $2000, but I know I'll never see it. I'm going to read them the riot act though.

By the time you read this, the boys will be home, as I have delayed the post time of this post.
I can't wait to begin drafting my complaint.

*When I say "South Butt," I hope you all realize that I am disguising the actual location with a silly name that's fun to say in conversation. If there is a real place called South Butt and it has a U-Haul office - I recognize and admit that it had nothing to do with any of this wrong-doing.

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