It's Curtains For Me... and I'm Quite Pleased About It

This is a story about one living room window.  Last year, when we totally re-did the living room, (fixing the drywall and re-painting, securing the floor, installing the hardwood) we re-installed two out of three window curtain sets. Two brackets per window, two rods per window, two curtains per window.

*And don't make that rookie mistake of installing your curtains right tight to the window frame. That is incorrect. Install at least 4" away from the window frame in each direction. That means 4" above and 4" aside from your frame. This will make your windows look so much bigger and more professional.

However, our third window just would not have it. One bracket installed on the left just perfectly, as normal. But the one on the right found nothing to hold on to. No stud - all mud. A drywall screw couldn't hold it. The molly bolts we had in stock couldn't hold it.

And so, that poor little window sat there sans curtains, sans rods, and sans uno bracket for near to a year. NEAR TO A YEAR! But just this past Saturday, Mike brought home a molly bolt that worked! (For the outrageous price of just a few short cents mind you...) And we were finally able to put up the last set of rods and curtains.

What a difference and what a relief to have something so stoopid finally taken care of. And now those pictures in the center of those two windows look un-centered. I decided at the time not to worry about it. Maybe I'll re-center them next year....

And speaking of stuff that's been hanging over our heads for a year or so... Dodge #2 is GONE! The guy and his posse came back on Sunday as promised, tow truck in tow, and carted it away. We can breath another sigh of relief. That, plus another load of yard fodder gone to the dump... kinda makes me think there's hope in the world after all.

But that's it.

I had wild dreams of starting some new and exciting project this Sunday... or at least making progress on an oldy-moldy project this Sunday. No such luck. I'm having renovation withdrawal and I don't like it.

Strange Coincidence?

Things about my house's past totally freak me out. Things about my house's previous owners freak me out. Way back when we first bought the house, I even purchased this book from the historical society: Bournedale the forgotten village, which recounts the story of the families of Bournedale, including the man who built our house.

But I haven't been able to stop thinking about what happened Monday night.

My zumba/belly dance instructor Christine came to pick me up for an African dance class we were going to together. But when I hopped in her car, she said, "I think I've been to one of your neighbor's houses... maybe 10 years ago when I did meals on wheels. Is there an old lady that lives over there?"

She gestured to my neighbor's house.

"Not for a long time," I replied. "The owner of that house just recently passed away maybe 6 months ago." Then something struck me.

"Mrs. Thompson?" I asked.

"YES! That was it."

I gasped. That was my house. That was the previous owner, who had outlived her husband and died just previous to us purchasing the house. Of course she'd never recognize the house in its present state... plus it was dark outside. "That was my house," I said in disbelief.

"I only went there once, but I was in there talking to the woman for over an hour," Christine went on. "Then as I was leaving, the VNA nurse came in and told me, 'If you want to come here, you have to come all the time - every day. You can't let her down.' So I didn't go back." She frowned. "I just couldn't make that commitment."

It seems like a very small coincidence. I mean, Bourne is a small town. But still... I couldn't stop thinking about it. "You have to come in - do you mind?" I asked Christine on our way home after the class. "We've done so much work... you won't believe it."

To expect someone to remember a house they were in for an hour 10 years after the fact is a bit of a stretch, but I couldn't help it. She had remembered being there, after all. And when we went in she couldn't recognize a thing until I prompted her... "and this room was covered in wood paneling..."

"Yes, and it was very dark!"

Of course Mrs Thompson would have never given her the grand tour, but I certainly did. I couldn't help myself. And I just yacked and yacked away about this and that, before and after. At the end of the tour I remembered I had a "before" picture of the outside of the house hanging up in the living room. I pulled it down and showed her.

"That was it. Oh my god."

I thought about it long after Christine had gone. It doesn't creep me out as much as it just amazes me. The prior life of the house I live in. I wish I had access to more pictures... stories... something. I'd probably seem psycho trying to hunt them down from the Thompson kids. (They had three boys who no longer live in the area.) I have so many questions....

Why is there only one garage door? Why was the chimney cut off and walled off? How did you survive with three boys and no washer/dryer? What was the condition of the house like when you renovated it in 1955? What was the bathroom like before it was pink and green? And who picked out those colors? Who's idea was it to stick a clock over the hole in the kitchen wall? Where did you keep your towels? When did you stop burying your trash? Or did you.... What was up with all those dang tires in the backyard? I don't even know what the Thompsons look like.

I had forgotten about all these questions until I talked to Christine.

Wishful Photoshopping

 Ta-Da! Look, it's beautiful end-of-May-type weather and Mikey and I are headed out to the backyard to play... and the backyard looks so beautiful that I can't help but take this photo.... (click to enlarge)

That's the reality I wish I was living in right now.

This is an extremely photoshopped landscape portrait of the backyard - which I created by merging two skuzzy pictures from Spring, 2010.

Look, the garage addition hasn't even been built yet in this pic. Amazing! (Hard to believe it was just last year? I had to think about it... was it 2009? No - I looked it up on the blog. We began garage addition construction in April of 2010.)

So obviously I added in the addition - with an addition of an addition door. I extended our side-gravel driveway up to that door and added the most perfect grass you've ever seen. The green in the background I actually stole from a much earlier summertime backyard photo - so that is actually what it will look like in back.

Then, since we have a lovely drop-off style cliff just on the horizon of the backyard, I decided to add a Mikey fence. Behind which, we'd store the skid steere and the trailer. (Actual skid steere and trailer may vary. Images for illustrative purposes only.)

Then some hydrangeas on the base of the hill to the left... some azaleas on the base of the hill to the right.... a coat of black paint for our Trogdor burninator apparatus (plus some gravel underneath for safety)... and two of my favorite trees in the known universe.

Looks oh so simple, right? (I tell myself while at the same time reminding myself that We-Can't-Start-Any-New-Projects.) I wish I could just handoff the pic to some landscape dude and say, "Make it so #1."

Unfortunately that's not all. The first pic came out so awesome that I just couldn't help but do another angle.

I took the liberty of adding a bucket of Coronas to this pic... add me sitting in one of those chairs and Mikey going down the little slide... Oh yeah. That would be a dream come true.

Hey! There's a quarter in the gravel! I guess I forgot to take one out. Oh well.

Believe it or not, I went through several incarnations of this angle to really get something sweet. I tried everything on that back garage wall. A couple wall mounted trellises.... a cabana thing... a different patio set... but I really just like this simple awning with the two chairs, a burning bush, and a small decorative trellis. I don't have THAT much room back there, after all.

Here's the pic I started with this time. Note I kinda moved the scene to the left... couldn't help but to do it. I don't have any pics facing the right direction.

Ok landscapers. I'll pay you like $100 and you make my yard look like this. Deal? Deal.

Frustrations and Looming Spring

I was so hoping for big joyful tax returns to jump start spring projects like they always do. (Lowes, by the way, has what I think is a genius promotion. Put your tax returns on a Lowes gift card, then come in on March 18th or something like that, and it'll be worth an additional 10%.)

Unfortunately, I have a gorgeous new fridge and porch railings to pay off. And apparently, we make too much now to get more then that amount back. I suppose I should be thankful not to owe.

Meanwhile, temps have increased and the snow-pack is melting down. I can actually see grass! Which is getting me thinking about landscaping again. And over the weekend we took a deposit on Dodge #2. In the next two weeks, if I'm not cursing myself by saying such a thing, it'll be gone. (And don't think for a second I get a piece of that big money action... Mike needs it to get his trans in the current Dodge fixed.) Bottom line - I get the back yard back. And with the garage addition completed and the Dodge gone... and the porch out front still unfinished, I can't help but think about the landscape.

What about the porch? Well, we still have a decent amount of snow and ice on that side of the house. But if by some miracle we get enough melting to actually work, the next step is to wrap the next pole, install our last "in-stock" railing, and finish the side steps. And that's just the tip of the iceberg. Front steps still need to be built and the bottom needs to be wrapped. We have to purchase a fan and install that, as well as the remaining outlet covers.

And don't forget that new garage door that's just hangin out on saw horses. Unfortunately, there's a big mound-a-snow in front of the garage, making installation impossible. That whole thing needs to melt. Then Mike needs to cut the hole and have his friend come by for installation. (I have to purchase the opener at that point in time too.)

Inside, I have it on my to-do list to count and purchase end caps for all the dang radiators. Plus, we need to finish the radiant heat on one of these warm days. (It's been waaay too cold to turn the heat off for even a second, never mind an entire day.)

Donde esta el bano?! Home Depot has been running these "Bathroom Savings Event" ads on the radio and they're driving me crazy. It's like they know.... They know we're way behind schedule and they're mocking me. Mocking me!

Mike was sick again on Sunday, much to his frustration. He wanted to move the camper and get Dodge #2 into the driveway and ready to fly.

And this is what winter has been - sick and frustrating. Oh, and the weather has been nothing short of THE WORST WEATHER EVER. So unlike previous years, here we are at the center point of Feb, with nothing to show for Nov-Feb save for a kitchen window and a new fridge.

This might be ok for some weekend warriors. For us, it's our least productive winter ever. For example, last year on this very day we installed the hardwood floors in the living room. We had spent the better part of Jan-Feb preparing the living room - fixing the drywall, securing the floor, repainting, etc. The whole works. And on Valentines Day, we tag teamed that floor and did it all, trim and everything, IN ONE DAY. (And we managed a seafood lunch from Eastwind too.)

This winter's accomplishments are nothing more then shameful.

Ode to a Fridge

2004. We're new home owners and demolishing our brand new (old) home. The kitchen is so dilapidated and smelly that I think any food I cook there is somehow tainted. It tastes weird and I don't know if I'm imagining it or not. There's a fridge, a gas stove, and a sink. Four cabinets. Two above the sink and two below. Thaz-it.

Over the years, a new stove, a new dishwasher, a granite sink, and a full set of yard sale cabinets for $200. The fridge stands alone.

We stick stickers on it. Renovation stickers from new windows, new washer/dryer, and more. Giant stickers. Tiny stickers. Silly print outs from natalie dee.

Mike puts 30 packs in it and I'm annoyed because they take up half the fridge. This prompts a Christmas gift, a kegerator.

2010. The replacement fridge is purchased on the Friday after Thanksgiving.

2011. The replacement fridge is delivered on Feb. 5th.

I wanted to keep that old fridge. I wanted to stick it in the basement, not plug it in, and put a TV in the freezer and keep the bottom fridge part for storage. How cool would that be in a cool hangout basement room? I had been thinking about this for years when Mike snapped me back into reality just a few days before new fridge arrival, pointing out that unless I cleaned that thing to the N'th degree, it was going to mold. And he did not want to carry it downstairs either. Plus, it was impossible to carry down anyway, since we winterized the basement's exterior door. (The interior door is too small for a fridge to fit.)

So my dreams were crushed and I elected to say "Adios old fridge." I removed as many of the stickers as I could and watched the delivery dudes as they hauled it out.

And by the way, I swear they were drinking beers in the truck. I was a bit concerned as they pulled up, not backing into the driveway. They just sat there for a few minutes and I caught a glimpse of a silver and blue can... I suppose I could give them the benefit of the doubt and call it a Pepsi.

They did a good job though - beers or not. They measured the doorways, helped me move some furniture out of the way, removed the old fridge even though I told the store I wanted to keep it, kept the box from the new fridge, put it nicely into place, double checked its functionality... I was very pleased.

And I spent the remainder of Saturday afternoon loading the thing up and reading the instruction manual. Mikey figured out how to defeat the child lock on the LED display within the first five minutes. WHY they put the lock button on the bottom of the display where a 1 1/2 year old can reach it... I have half a mind to write them an email.

This particular model as the ice and water in the door, so Mike will have to run water up for it at some point. I'm not EXACTLY sure of its placement, since I want to replace that cabinet to the left with a corner cabinet that we can butt the fridge right up to. And as to when I will have that cabinet?! That's a bit of a laughing matter, since the kitchen is waaaay at the bottom of any kind of list.

The only reason I got the fridge was the amazing deal...

And by the way, it is amazing. This model features that cool blue lighting like you see in all the grocery freezer sections now adays. Plus a slim ice maker that still allows for storage on the left hand door. (Specifically, can storage - which is great for those beers when we have cans.) It has sliding, spill proof shelves. It has a big 'ol platter drawer for your sheet cake, cheese platter, etc. Adjustable crisper drawers. Water and ice in the door - selectable ice shape. Pull out freezer with two drawer levels. And it's so efficient and quiet... Wouldn't that be so cool if my electric bill went down?