A Lot of Trouble for Little Things

Time to gripe. First off - I'm so sick of Couptessa ads on Pandora. Every time one comes on, I want to throw up. Secondly, I hate having to "sign up" for your stoopid website before you let me see any of the "awesome" deals... which always turn out to be more like mediocre deals on poop I don't need or want anyway.

Now that that's out of the way...

I've been trying for months, years in fact, to get the right dang end caps for my baseboard heat radiators. The problem originated years ago. Mike bought a buncha radiators without buying the end caps. He bought them from a pro-plumbing store open Mon-Fri 9-5. So obviously, since we work longer hours then that, it's been hard to go there to pick them up. Plus I never wanted to go on my own... not being a pro-plumber.

I finally mustered up the courage after a doctor's appointment put me in that neighborhood. I walked in there and received no assistance from staff. In fact, they directed me to the wrong place. A helpful pro-plumber actually helped me find the end caps, which I purchased four of.

Get home and they didn't fit. I told Mike I wouldn't go back there. So there they sat. $55 worth of end caps that didn't fit. Sitting around for months on end. But, as luck would have it, Mike had an opportunity to try and exchange them just yesterday. He came home with four different style caps at only a $10 increase in price. I was ecstatic!

But they didn't fit either. So now we have $65 worth of end caps that don't fit. I'm just ready to stab someone. I know the original mistake was not to purchase at the same time as the radiators... because over the years, lo and behold, stuff changes. Tis nature's way. But we have no way of knowing even the make and model of the radiators to order old-style ones... they have no brand names or markings on them and it's been too long to remember or have any of the boxes.

One of our pro-plumber friends is going to have to come over and try and identify the durn things... and then try and see if he can order or find the right caps. Two left. Two right.

I am so frustrated.

Then, last weekend, we put together Mikey's big boy bed. It was a gift, used, from some friends. And I assumed it would be a twin.... we get it home, it's a full. Good god the thing is huge, but we managed to fit it in Mikey's room and kind or sort of get things organized around it. Then, I fell in love with this bedding set from Target. Notice that the amazon link says "Twin." Just three days after I fell in love with the set - Target discontinued the Full size! I went to two local Targets to try and catch one left in stock. Nope. I went to Amazon and Ebay and a lot of other online bedding stores. Nope.

I started looking at other bed sets. Target, Walmart, Kohls, Home Goods, Bed Bath and Beyond, Overstock.com, smaller bedding websites, Macy's, Sears, Kmart... you name it, I looked there. And I hated everything.

Why did they discontinue the perfect bedding set three days after I fell in love with it??? That's almost reason enough to send some hate email.

Through some more mad searching, I finally got a wicked deal on ebay on a Tonka truck comforter. (Bought sheets and pillows at Target) See the Tonka tough comforter there on Amazon priced at $60? I got it on ebay for $30 plus $15 shipping. $45 comforter plus $25 sheet set equals $70. Original price of the Target bed-in-a-bag set? $69.99. At least I didn't lose money on this deal, but I'd still rather much have the build-it bedding set. The Tonka comforter by all accounts is thin and cheapy. I'm glad I didn't pay full price.

Mikey doesn't even like to sleep under the sheets and blankets. I'm probably driving myself crazy for no reason.

Meanwhile, nothing else has gotten done lately. We over seeded the back yard, which is actually growing quite nicely. My tree still looks sickly, but I just make sure it gets watered twice a week and hope for the best. Mike was terribly sick last weekend and I had bad allergy symptoms. We were both grounded.

I managed to pick out a paint color for the porch ceiling... but Mike hasn't been able to pick it up from work yet. Our neighbor Richard has been recovering from some minor surgery and hasn't been feeling up to drywall work. Timmy has been MIA, probably fishing. Not that it matters because we haven't been available either.

As you can tell I'm feeling pretty down about everything. Summer flies post 4th of July. This is not where I wanted to be right now.

Inspiring (Though Temporary) Fix

We were at Bike Week last week... Great time, terrible weather, by the way. And while we were gone, Mike's mom (Kathy) was at our house watching out for both Mikey and our two cats. Cool, right?

Well, I returned on Wednesday evening to a few surprises. First, Kathy had totally organized the toys in the living room, with two new shelves, a canvas bin, and a new little table. Now, Mikey can clean up and put away his toys and they'll actually have a place to go.... Then Kathy says to me, "Now look in the bathroom."

Woe. The second I opened the door I was blown away. She'd accomplished something that I'd been thinking of doing time and time again for the better part of six years. She bought a roll of that cheapo linoleum and laid it down on the bathroom floor. It looked AWESOME. I mean like, exceeding any of my cheapo-linoleum expectations awesome. Plus, she got an actually toilet paper roller to go in our built-in holder and a new shade, which she had trimmed with some pink fabric trim to match the rest of the room.

Now, before I post pics, let me tell you just how inspiring this was. I decided just yesterday that this new and clean/fresh bathroom needed to be re-organized. So I started re-arranging all the crud. The four yaffa blocks I had serving as a vanity cabinet (leftovers from college), I moved to next to the bathtub. Nah - that just wasn't going to work. I moved them back. "I just wish these things were thinner," I thought.

Then, I had an epiphany.

Down in the basement, I had two thin plastic rolling drawer cabinets (also leftover from college) that I knew were practically empty. I measured them. I measured the space. This just might work. So I emptied and cleaned them and brought them in to the bathroom. This was going to be good - as long as my towels from the yaffa blocks would all fit in these smaller cabinets. I cleaned out the yaffa blocks and folded the towels.

They fit.

In fact, I had extra room and cleaned out my other bathroom/medicine cabinet, putting some of the bulk purchase items and annoyingly inconveniently sized items (hairdryer and curling iron) in the new cabinets as well!

I only wish I had a proper "before" picture for you. In fact, the only wide shot of the bano I could find on this blog was from 2005. And believe me, it looked much worse now in 2011 then it did then. Let me paint you a picture - the floor was dark green very old linoleum. (or something like that) It was cracked, warped, water damaged, rippled, and breaking all over the place. You'd leave the bathroom with gross pieces of flooring stuck to your feet. Of course dark green gross linoleum matches the light pink tile and teal green bathroom fixtures...not. The shade we previously had was a "temporary" shade made out of paper. Yes, paper. Costs like $2.00 at your local home improvement warehouse. The vanity cabinet, as I said, was made out of two stacks of two yaffa blocks, which didn't exactly fit well under the sink due to the plumbing. The yaffa blocks were made to look as one cohesive unit with a decorative towel draped on top and two cheap kitchen curtains hung across the front on a curtain rod. We kept the TP on top of the yaffa blocks and not in the TP holder because we didn't own a roller. (Hard to believe my husband works at a hardware store.... but I just couldn't spend money on this sh*t hole.)

Now, with all that in mind.... check this out:

In the pictures, the cheapo stuff looks nearly real. The real life view isn't quite as real - but it's 250% better then what it was before. The entire room is so much lighter now... easier to clean.... better on your bare feet.... It's still terribly ugly - but at least we can live with this now until we can manage to redo it for real.

Later on yesterday afternoon I cleaned up and organized the storage in the basement using the yaffa blocks. So that's looking more organized as well. All at NO additional cost. (Love that part!)

I can't wait until we can re-do that basement and get our other bathroom going on down there. But for now, of course, it's summer. And outdoor projects need tending to. Mike will be home today, and rumor has it, our neighbor will be over next week to finish the kitchen drywall so we can paint and trim out the new (now sorta old) window. Next Sunday, Timmy is raring to go on railing installation... After that, steps. After that, siding the other side of the house. After that, (pending funds) new gravel in the side driveway and a fence for the backyard.

That should get us through the remainder of summer.

Tree Woes and Grass Grows

Saturday I was out in the yard with Mikey near our new Japanese maple and nearly died. The leaves on the maple were crinkly and dry. Petrified that tree-death was imminent, I had Mike water it well. Then, I hopped on the internet and read this article from someone in my exact situation.

Ok, phew. After reading all the comments, I came to the conclusion that this was normal - probably transplant shock - maples are hardy, we were watering enough, and not to freak out.

But I still can't help but worry. It's only gotten worse since Saturday. Now, most of the leaves have fallen off. It's been pretty warm, but we had rain this morning and a little last night. Rain is due again over the weekend... other then that, there's not much else I can do but pray it'll bounce back like the article advises it will.

I love this tree and it was so beautiful and full when I brought it home. Now it's a wreck and if it dies I'm going to be absolutely heartbroken. The two cherry trees out in front of our house are absolutely flourishing - despite being eaten again this year by bugs. So I feel like if those can succeed, this maple will too. I'm trying to keep the faith.

Out in the back yard, grass is coming up nicely! We've watered with the sprinklers every morning and evening with great results. It's nearly ready to walk upon!

Unfortunately, all other projects are on hold due to a couple of busy weekends in a row. Hopefully we'll have the rest of the porch railings up by July 4th. I still need to paint. The kitchen needs drywall. The siding is just hanging out on the side yard. The octagonal window is in the basement.

Plenty of materials - I'm not spending anything else until we exhaust our current stock.