Changies in Schedule

As you may recall, we were tentatively scheduled to work on the farmer's porch this weekend, garage door next weekend, and possibly backyard grading the weekend after that.

But, as always, nothing goes as planned. Garage door is still scheduled for next weekend. And now the farmer's porch is scheduled for next weekend as well. (Timmy was stuck at work this past Sunday and couldn't make it over.)

So, what were we to do but start on the backyard?

Mike firstly came to the realization that he just couldn't and shouldn't grade the entire backyard. It was too much and our little skid steere would spend the next billion years trying... probably blowing itself up in the process. Mike decided that the best course of action would be to pour more cement and increase the height of the garage addition floor. He'd also grade down the gravel driveway, and angle it towards the pavement driveway so that water would flow in that direction instead of towards the garage.

We spoke about the possibility of getting rid of the gravel entirely and pouring a cement side-driveway. I told Mike if we were going to do that, we should do the entire driveway at the same time... we imagined it would be an expensive proposition and left the idea on the table for the time being. One thing at a time.

The backyard.

Now, this all started when I got out my rake and started raking the rocks. (Yes, the rocks. They were fulla leaves.) And when I got near to the end I thought, "Why should I rake this corner when I want it gone anyway?" So I asked Mike if he would get the skid steere and cut the corner.

He agreed and made a nice circular sweep around, creating a new entrance down into the backyard hole. (Which we'll eventually add gravel to...) Meanwhile I kept on raking the back of the backyard where I had left off a few weekends ago. That led into my next problem - there were all these new, small trees growing sideways that were in my way. So Mike got out his chainsaw and we chopped a bunch of them and piled them on the Trogdor for later burnination. (Next weekend, perhaps?)

Well that helped with the raking, to have all those out of the way. And it looked a heck of a lot better. Except now Mike's CB antenna was in the way. So our neighbors from up the hill came down and gave Mike a hand raising the thing to back on the back of the garage. Mike secured it as I continued raking, now unimpeded.

When that was done, I asked Mike to help me out on the waaaay back of the back. I had him skim the top, (where all the gross old leaves and logs were) with the skid steere. This would make a big difference in ease of raking. But that raised another problem. Mike couldn't effectively smooth out the area due to large, massive old stumps.

So he had to hook up chains and drag out a couple giant stumps, which he then loaded onto the truck for a Monday dump run.

Meanwhile I kept raking. (Never go years and years without raking people. You'll die - like I did at about this point.) I raked the bulk of the leaves and called it a day when my arms were about ready to fall off.

And at about the time Mike finished loading the stumps - he was beat too. We called it a day.

Would You Like Windows With That?

Ok, so I'm stoopid. I'm checking out Monday's post and reading right there in my own writing, "no windows [on the left hand side of the house.]"

This is entirely wrong.

There are two windows - the two living room windows - on that side. DUR. But the siding will still be easy. In looking at that side of the house, I forgot that our gambrel style roof goes waaay down. Like to the level of the first floor ceiling. Yes, we won't be siding up two stories even!

Incredible - that's not a lot of siding at all. I can see that side really getting done sh*t quick....

Clean Up, Siding, and An Unexpected Guest

Yes, it's time again for the Sunday Show! The show where we present, for your reading and viewing pleasure, all the awesome and wonderful things that happened around the house on Sunday! You may have thought we were off the air - but yesterday unexpectedly kicked off the spring season of the Sunday Show in ways never thought possible.

We were up at our usual early hour on Sunday. And, inspired by a Saturday burn by our neighbor up the hill, (and not to mention my stick-gathering of two weeks ago) Mike went downtown at 9am and got a burn permit. Needless to say, we were burninating by before 10am. Awesome.

Shortly after the fire was self sufficient, Mike went about moving stuff in the yard. The camper - back to the gravel driveway. Those old logs - pushed down the hill with the skid steere. One lawn tractor - gave to a neighbor. Snowmobile - on the side of the garage, cover on. Junk - loaded in the truck for the dump. Sweet.

Although I must admit, this after photo doesn't look like much. But it looked a lot worse before. Additionally, Mike considered the grading project. He'll need to get himself a bigger machine, that's for sure. He estimated about an 18 inch difference from the garage addition to the edge of the hill. Plus, this nasty bit you see in the bottom third of this photo? All that has to be cut off as well. I'll be prodding Mike this week to remind him to source out a machine he can borrow on the cheap/free. Sounds like a plan.

And if you think that's all we've got on this edition of the Sunday Show - well, you're wrong! Around 12:30pm, Timmy and Richard came over and got right to work finishing the siding. Mudroom/Kitchen Side - done. (Save for a bit of trim and trim-painting.)

It's all one cohesive side! Imagine that.... Mike also cleaned up that side driveway whatever-you-want-to-call-it area. We had a buncha dirt piles there from snow plowing and sanding over the winter. Plus, we had our garage doors stored there on saw-horses. No more. Mike moved those, dug out the dirt, and put in some pea stone from the gravel driveway to fill in. Sigh of unexpected relief. I'll be prodding Mike some more to schedule his friend for garage door installation as soon as this upcoming weekend.

The last little triangle of siding up on top? (There on the right.) Oh yeah, it's done. Trim's back up. All is well with the world of siding.

If you simplify all and everything - you could call our siding half done. But, as Mike is quick to point out, the left hand side of the house is barren - no windows (save for an octagonal one yet to be installed), no doors, no additions, no porch, no nada. And without any of those strange cuts and jags, it will be quick work to side the left. (Not to mention less wasteful as well.) We're so much more then halfway there.

Nearing the end of the Sunday Show, Timmy made us a materials list for another upcoming Sunday Show. And believe it or not, it's not going to pinch my pockets too too badly.

Wrap for the last of the porch posts
Two more railings and a stair rail
Misc trim - and not much of it

Weather permitting, I will be prodding Mike to order everything on Friday. (Lotta prodding going on this week.)

Now it's time for the most Unexpected thing to ever happen on the Sunday Show. And I Missed It. MISSED IT! I'm so pissed. Ken Thompson stopped by. Name ring a bell? As in, just a couple weeks ago I was talking about Mr. and Mrs Robert Thompson, previous owners? And how the strange coincidence of my friend Christine having visited Mrs. Thompson caused me to reconsider all the unanswered questions about my house in my own mind??

And the dude shows up and Mike gives him the grand tour and I'm not there. Oh, I was livid.

Needless to say, he was impressed. Surprised that the bathroom had gone basically unchanged. Loved the kitchen, loved the tile. He did tell Mike in regards to the yard that they dug out a huge hill in order to build the garage. They dug it out and pushed it down the hill in back. It used to be just one giant hill in back of the house. And the family had always wanted to renovate, but didn't have the means to do what we did.

He said he usually has to go to the Cape for something every couple months. Mike encouraged him to stop by at any time, and I hope he does.

After that, Mike cleaned up the gravel driveway with the leaf blower.

And that's all we have time for this week on the Sunday Show! If you can't tell, I'm just giddy with excitement. Everything all of a sudden seems so close and easy again. If we can get that garage door installed next weekend.... If we can get the last posts trimmed and the last railings up next weekend.... If we can grade the backyard the weekend after that....

It's never that easy though, is it?

In the Glass of Her Boudoir

Boudoir - French, literally means "sulking place." I'd like to think of my all-new office as a boudoir. Yes, you heard it here first, all-new. As in, I'm sick of sitting stagnant and couldn't live in the virtual photoshop renovation world any longer. I decided to re-arrange my upstairs office.

It had been annoying me for quite some time - ever since I started my piano lessons and found I couldn't get at the keyboard comfortably with three computers, a TV, a sewing machine, and various pictures, nic-nacs, and other oddities all over the desk. Plus, the excess dust and garbage was highly aggravating to look at. I mean, I had old empty boxes of nothing, giant dust bunnies, a file cabinet from the dump, and wires - wires everywhere! Oh, and the books! Tons and tons of books!

 This is what happens when you have a little boy and don't use your office for near to two years.
It was high time I stormed the castle and regained my place on the office-throne.

As usual, I highly underestimated the time it would take me to do such a thing. Two hours tops. Four hours later and I still wasn't done. I'm actually still not done. It took an additional two nights to clean up the major mess and now I need to organize the minor mess that still remains.

Why did it take so long? Well, I suppose I should have gone back to photoshop land first, because I rearranged that room every which way to Sunday. I knew I wanted to flip the desk around so the chair would face the wall instead of facing out. But beyond that - uugh!

I flipped the desk and centered it. I flipped it and put it to the left - the right - back to the left. Measured to determine if it would fit on another wall. And finally I flipped it so it faced the window. Now, I thought, I was on to something. The rest would be easy! WRONG. Where to put the couches? I can't even tell you how many couch configurations I did. This was the bulk of my time. I moved those things again and again and again. Finally, as the sun began to set, I said, "Come on, think outside the box here." And that seemed to work - I put the large couch in the middle of the room.

Now I was really onto something! All of a sudden I had two defined areas, which solved the problem of a big freakin gap in the middle of the room.

But the love seat was still a problem. I wanted it to fit opposite the couch, but it was just too big for the space. I needed a chair. I didn't have a chair. I needed to buy a chair.

And that pretty much brought me to the end of Day1.

On Day2 I left the dang love seat where it was and brought in all the misc items I had stuffed into the bedroom on Day1. Books, video equipment, nic-nacks, etc.

On Day3 I went into HomeGoods to check out their chairs. I had previously looked online at IKEA and decided I didn't like anything there for the money. I planned to check out HomeGoods and take some measurements and on Day4, get an armchair for around $200. But - I had a total Maxx moment. They had, in the back, a perfectly matching chair... same color as the couches, microfiber, very soft.... on Clearance - $75. It didn't have any arms, but for a price like that, I didn't care.

I brought it home at put it in place of the love seat. And unfortunately I had to stick the love seat on the other side of the room temporarily. I need to get it out of there, but since it won't fit thru the living room basement door, I have to wait until the temps warm up enough for us to open up the exterior basement door.

Final thoughts - the chair could be bigger, but for the money, I think it's great.

Full Frontal Photoshop

I'm getting waaay too ambitious again. Either that or my vitamin D level has dropped to catastrophically low  proportions.  Whatever the reason - I hit the photoshop again. And despite the fact that I'm not totally finished with this pic, I have a need to share anyway.

Click to Enlarge
Check it out!!! The green grass, the lush trees, the fully-doored garage, the nicely paved driveway, the shutters, the front steps, the maple tree on the left hand side that you can barely see, the lattice, and of course the rock wall.

That's the unfinished part. I have to put some plantings in there. Listen to me, I talk like the photoshopping is the hardest part of this whole landscaping thing. If I think this is difficult... woo! I ain't seen nothin yet.

Here's the "Before" picture. (I quote it because in reality, we're still in the "Before" state.)

A Girl with a Rake and a Dream

We had some unseasonably warm weather over the weekend. Or was it seasonable? Winter has been so terrible that I've lost all concept of normal. BUT, seasonable or not, I was motivated by my own summer backyard photoshopping to get out there in the yard and make things happen!

First, I cleaned up and organized some of the JUNK around the garage. (Remember last year when I totally cleared and cleaned up both sides of the garage for painting... yeah, both sides have become a dumping ground yet again.)

Then, I dug out my handy dandy rake... oh wait, I didn't need to dig it out. It was on the side of the garage. Nevertheless, rake in hand, I set myself on the back of the backyard. (You know, the skid steere/trailer parking area.) And I raked until my blisters popped and then kept on raking. Then I went inside and baked cookies. (Oh, the strange and random life I lead...)

So with probably near to two or two and a half hours of sheer raking agony, you'd probably expect that I'd have finished the entire back of the back yard. Wrong. I finished half of the back of the back. And not even the most horrendous half. Looming just to the other side I have more then just leaves and sticks to contend with. I have logs! As in, there used to be a log pile there a million years ago. And there are still some gross old logs hanging out under a buncha gross old leaves.

I've got to find out whether or not the logs are salvageable, and if so, make a new and neat pile. If not, I need to chuck them down the hill with all the leaves and sticks. And if that wasn't bad enough, this section of yard has NEVER been nice. The good twin next door used to be lush, shady, grassy, and wonderful. Its evil twin has been leaf'd upon, log'd upon, and neglected for eons. And that means layer upon layer of disgusting old leaves, decomposing logs, prickers, bugs, and possible snakes/frogs... all the more reason to get a-rakin before spring really springs back.

Mike has some strange notion that come spring, he's going to re-grade the entire garage area so the garage doesn't flood again with snow melt and heavy rain. You know what I've got to say to that... Uh-huh. Not that I'm not in favor of such a thing. In fact, when I was cleaning the yard, I discovered that over the winter, Mike dug a huge hole in the yard to get sand with which to spread over the then icy driveway! And so now I have a freakin huge hole to contend with.

And I'm wondering if I should just bring in the pro's with a skid steere that doesn't have street tires on it that dig in and ruin the lawn. Grade the yard, fix the hole, push the malarkey down the hill, and then spread loam so we can seed. I wonder how much it would cost? I can't remember how much it was when we had Nick Mitchell grade the front after the house lift.... but I remember how incredibly happy I was with the work.

Like I said before, Uh-huh.

In the short term, I need to have Mike move the camper back to the gravel driveway now that Dodge #2 is gone. Then, I need to finish raking the back of the back and move on to the front/mid of the back. And I want to buy those two trees this spring too.