Scrapping Sunday

You know, I was feeling blue on the entire financial::improvement situation. "We're not where I want us to be," I kept thinking, angry at myself as if I could control any of it. Then I took a look at where we were at a year ago, July 2010. The porch was still ceiling-less! We were just trying to wire it at that point. The garage addition wasn't finished either! We still had two and a half Dodges and two 4Runners in the yard! Still browsing the posts I thought, "Wow! We've actually come such a long way!" And I felt much better.

Plus, despite a lack of new materials, Timmy's coming over on Sunday to do what he can with what we have. It'll be interesting. I think we have enough to wrap the last side-stair post and install the stair rail. Mike thinks he may have a good amount of front-stair material too. Time will tell. But if there's one thing Timmy's good at, it's making use of scraps. Very little goes to waste when he's around, and he's always thinking about ways to save money on materials.

Meanwhile, I know I told you all that I would have that playground this week. I haven't forgotten it. Poor Mike has spent every night in the garage this week, working super late nights on what we have dubbed, "The Poop Car." He needs to fix the lawn tractor belonging the the playground owner before we pick it up, but that shouldn't take long. I need to push him to do in the next couple days. Drop off the tractor and pickup the playground Sunday AM?

This week, the two swings we ordered from TV came in too. We're ready. Just fix the tractor, pickup the playground, set it up, install the swings, and measure for the canopy.

I've been looking up a safe and natural poison ivy killer for the backyard. Many online recommend soap and/or a combination of soapy water and vinegar... trouble is, this mixture kills everything. So I found this product. It's a plant based defoliant that I'm going to test out. Safe for pets, kids, and other plants... so they say anyhow.

Playground Time

So here's that free playground! We haven't picked it up yet though. Mike sent me this pic from his phone when he went to go look at it on Wednesday. I think it's a pretty sweet find for $0. All we need now are three swings and a canopy for the fort. Later on we can add more stuff - another slide, a climbing wall, a fire pole, a captains wheel... the options are endless on these wooden playsets. That's why I like them so much more then the plastic. Plus, the wood blends in with the yard so much better then brightly colored plastics.

Ever since Wednesday, I've had playground fever. I want this thing so badly. I even offered to help Mike pick it up myself. (Literally, as the tower needs to be picked up and put on the truck in one piece.) I may petition him to try it this evening if Mikey isn't totally wiped out from day care...

If not, maybe Mike will have remembered my fuzzy rollers and I can get out on the porch and paint tonight. Yeah, it's the hottest day of the year. That might not be the most practical of ideas, even in lower evening temps. Plus there's the threat of mosquitoes. I already have some poison ivy on my foot from all that backyard work I did. (Yes, yes. Don't where flip flops. I know. But I'd rather have the poison ivy then subject my feet to socks and shoes right now.)

This weekend's going to be jam-packed with exciting activities too, leaving little room for work around the house. Cruel summer! But I will have the playground within the next week, with you all as my witnesses.

I showed the pic to Mikey and he kept repeating, "Mikey slide! Mikey slide!" Turns out to have been a bad idea. I told him Daddy wasn't bringing home the playground yet and he cried and kept repeating, "Daddy, playground! Daddy, playground!"

Lots Mow To Do 'Round Here

I'm not the lawn mowing type. I just don't like it and I have a recently discovered severe grass allergy. But this past Friday night, I made an exception. One section of our yard, the steepest hill where lawn tractors fear to tread, was seriously out of control. Grass like long hair flowing downhill... Locusts popping up everywhere. Weeds! Prickers! It was absolutely untamed.

Mike taught me how to run the push mower... yelled at me for wearing flip flops.... and I was off and mowing. Turns out it's pretty difficult to mow such a steep grade. Mike ended up having to help me because I was in serious danger of falling down the hill with the dang mower. I just couldn't cut it. (Ha ha, lawnmower humor.) But with the two of us, we mowed the most of it.

Then, I pulled out all the weeds and locust sprouts. Mike was inspired to teach me how to run the small chainsaw, since I'd done so well with the lawn mower. I successfully cut down one small locust that was choking out a maple. Although as soon as it came down, huge spiders started jumping out of the tree like rats off a sinking ship. It was terrible. I hate spiders. So I guess I won't be quitting my day job for a landscaping life anytime soon.

After the weeding, we still have a little more mowing to do, but by this time, the sun had set. No use trying to mow in the dark. At the last moment, Mike got out the weed whacker and cut the grass on the very edge of the hill, finishing at least that half of it. And we need a retaining wall there pretty badly, I thought. But these things must wait.

Saturday afternoon, I spread some of our leftover gravel in the "machine parking area" at the back of on the yard. There wasn't enough gravel left to even cover half of the area properly, but at least my little bit of shoveling and raking took down the few small piles hanging out in the far corner. One of Mike's clients is giving him a free wooden playset on Wednesday, so I knew I had to at least attempt to tidy up back there. And yes, I just said a free wood playset. A big one with a slide, swings, and a fort on top. I'm so psyched about that. Hopefully Mike will be able to actually move his trailer and pick it up on Wednesday. That would make my week right there.

I should have been painting the porch ceiling Saturday afternoon, but I discovered that we're out of fuzzy rollers. Ok, they're probably like $1. But it was also about 85 freakin degrees out and I didn't really feel like taking off all the patio furniture, lugging out the ladder, and so on and so forth with the drop cloth and yadda yah. Maybe the thing to do is to paint in the evenings when it's cooler. I'll just have to get myself a fuzzy roller and half a glass of motivation later on this week.

Back to Normal!

Ok, so the weekend is back. Time to ask myself what's happening? Are we too sick to move? Are we rushing from one event to another? Is there some sort of holiday? Some vacation to go on? A birthday party to attend? A Minute Clinic to waste the day at?

This past weekend, the answers were surprisingly - No, we're feelin good. No events. No holidays. No vacay. No party. Nowhere to go, errands to run, nothing, naught, nada, zip, zilch, zoop. All quiet on the home front.... Weird!

So, Mike and I held our breath, fearing the next event and/or disaster, and scheduled Timmy to come over Sunday to work on the porch. Sunday morning, Mike mowed the lawn. Everything was still surprisingly normal. Timmy came over and got right to work.

He added another post to our side staircase. Then, he built a wooden form for our last step, which would be made of cement. Mike went to HomeDeep, got the concrete, mixed it, and poured it into the form. Last step - done.

Then, Timmy got to our last two railings, which had been sitting on the side of the house in their boxes since May. One full rail went up on the main part of the porch. The last of the porch rails! Half of the second rail circled the side stairway. The last of the straight rails!

The only thing that remains to be done on the side stairway is the actual angled stair railing - which we have in stock, still in the box of course. The guys ran out of time on Sunday and will have to install this one another day. Timmy also gave us a short list for the front stairway. (Sweet! I love short lists!) The next couple weeks are back to events and occasions, but since I can't afford any new materials anyway, I don't much mind.

Maybe in that time, we can find a moment or two to tackle our back hill, where mini locust trees are sprouting all over the place. We need to weed whack in a desperate way. Also, the back yard grass, though still growing well, needs fertilizer.

Upcoming in August! The porch gets done! Once it's over with, we'll strip the siding off the left side of the house, install the octagonal window, and finally use up the rest of our in-stock siding. Do or die time. Summer's hourglass is quickly filling into fall....