Thursday, August 30, 2012

The deck is done!

Last night I stained the stairs and the top portion of the deck, and the deck is officially done! It looks great, and it's really nice to be able to run out barefoot (barefooted?) without fearing what you're stepping on. In the past few years, we've gone from this: 

to this:

Right?  Amazing!  There's still plenty of work to be done - the walkway needs to come out, there's still some grass to be replaced, I need to do something with the railing and paint the little door - but the deck is done.

Really, the deck and the fence have made an amazing change to that scrappy backyard I started with.  The pergola has also been pretty key, not only as a framework for the grapes, but also as a sturdy hammock holder.  The other day I actually fell asleep in a peaceful, pretty backyard on a hammock with lovely plants around me - and had a grape off the vine when I woke up!

I brought the decking up the stairs (evening out the stairs in the process), and covered the upper concrete "patio" with cedar as well.

There were lots of amusing interim steps (pictures are on the Tumblr site, - cutting a stringer for one side of the stairs, figuring out the blocking for the rest of the stairs since there wasn't enough room for another stringer, Home Depot being out of lumber two times in a row when I went for more cedar, causing me to have half of each step done on July 4th, meaning tipsy people were dealing with tiny stairs...  But at the end, there have definitely been more frustrating projects, it looks great, and I've already gotten to apply all my lessons learned to fence and deck for a friend.  Onwards!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012


Fix the glass on the top one and keep them or give a nod to their history (my final project for photo minor in college) and toss them?


Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Monday, July 2, 2012

Playing with technology

Ok, we all know I'm bad at timely posts.  I do the things, I even take the pictures, but then I procrastinate getting the photos off the phone and into the web...  So I'm playing with technology to make life slightly easier.  I've started using Instagram, and loading the photos up to a Tumblr site, and hopefully I can make all these things play together...

The Tumblr site is  For those of you on Tumblr, go follow me there!

I'll bring the Tumblr pics/posts over to this blog, but the Tumblr post will be the most cutting edge (see the saw pun I worked in there? ;)).

Monday, May 21, 2012


On Saturday I changed the light fixture in the hallway.  Why are there no pictures of that?  Because in the process I touched some very old wires, and the insulation disintegrated right off them - thus causing me to leave the fuse off to avoid accidentally burning down the house.  Electricians tomorrow.  So I pouted - and went downstairs to build and then hang a couple planters for veggies!  One project accomplished at least...

Monday, May 7, 2012


I had my bedroom ceiling, office ceiling and walls, and dining room ceiling skimcoated. 
(skimcoat: coat with a mixture of gypsum and spackle; "he skimcoated the drywall",  The bedroom and office had to be done as the paint was crackling and falling off.  Apparently the original primer didn't get a good grip!  The dining room ceiling was just ugly.  

The contractor did an ok job.  It's better than I would have done, but not as flawless as the guy who did my hallway ceilings.  Why didn't I hire that guy back?  Well - he made me uncomfortable.

Of course now I think I should have gone with brief discomfort - or had Jaimee deal with him ;) - as this guy didn't do as good a job, and he took nearly 2 weeks to finish.  2 weeks is a long time not to have a bedroom or easy access to your clothes... 

Anyway.  It's still a better job than I would have done.  Since I really wanted my room back, I took Friday off and primed and painted.  Max came to help, and by Friday night all 3 rooms were primed and the bedroom and office ceilings were painted.  Sunday I finished the dining room.  So after 2 weeks of work, a not -inconsiderable amount of money, and an exhausting weekend, I have 2 rooms that look...almost exactly like they did 2 weeks ago.  I mean, the paint is no longer falling off, which I think is great, but I'm reliably informed that many people don't actually notice that.

Phooey on those non-detail people!  I think it looks good.  And now I can finally paint the walls in the office - right after I pick the color.  And clean up all the joint compound dust that's all over the house.

In other news, my garden looks lovely.  New plans and some hard work from Hobs - it's coming along!  Pics soon.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Stained deck!

Stained the deck last night.  It looks pretty good - but you can see lines where I reloaded the deck pad with stain, even though I carefully followed the directions and smoothed up over stain already applied...  (Also, this is just a clear coat, so it shouldn't really be colored at all!).  Hopefully that fades out as it continues to dry?

Anyway, still looks better than concrete!

Monday, April 9, 2012


This weekend, we went from this:
to this:
No more ugly concrete patio.  And shockingly, it's actually almost finished!  We ran out of screws 3 times, and so I have about 8 more to put in, I have one final cut to make, and then I need to seal it.  Bringing the cedar up the cement stairs will the next phase of it, but that probably won't happen until at least May.

Jaimee was a deck superstar, Max and his buddy fixed my falling down fence slats (if you shoot all the nails in from the inside, the slats on the outside will start popping off as they age, thanks fence contractor) and then turned to framing and decking, and R2 was a key last minute reinforcement fetching more screws and wielding the drill and the garbage bag.

Decking is better than a gym trip - whole body soreness!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Unrelated to house things.

I sat down this evening to update my resume (because really, one should have an updated resume just in case something interesting crosses your path).  Very luckily, I have a good friend who is marvelous at resume critique, and she pointed out that I had reached a point in my career where I needed to alter my format and include a profile.  So off I went, diligently searching for samples of what others in my line of work have done.

You know what?  They all say the same things.  Everybody is working from the same list of resume action verbs.  What I really want to do is just finish this up, and write the world's frankest cover letters.  I just want to say - you know what?  I'm good at my job.  I'm not the smartest, nor the easiest, and I don't know everything.  But I know I don't, and I admit it.  I'm smarter than some, I'm fast, I'm logical, and my work is high quality.  I don't miss deadlines.  If you give me something that needs doing, I'll figure it out.  So here's the resume.  I think it has all the right buzzwords.  It looks the same as everyone else's.  Just call me.  We'll talk.  And either we'll like each other and I'll do a good job for you; you'll be glad I'm there, or we won't fit, and then no harm done. 

But I don't think that would get me any interesting things that crossed my path.  Unless it was a tiny startup.  And really - that's kind of a bummer.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

And the spring adventures continue

This morning a waterbug meandered into my bedroom (!) as I was about to walk out.  Like any adult, mature, capable person, I - squealed like an 8 yr old, jumped on the bed, and yelled for Jaimee.

I hate those things.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

And the nightmare situation w the mouse happened

Live one on the glue trap! Ugh. Hence the glue trap dilemma. Jaimee took it outside, pried it off with a plastic knife, and (despite my comment that this is not the Collesium), released it to the feral cats. Then when it tried to run back towards the house she blocked it and told it there were rules... Poor mouse.  Ugh. What would you do?

(And I also have snap traps and the electric ones, so I'm trying everything...)

Monday, March 5, 2012

I didn't mean to slack on the posting.

I did, however, mean to slack on the bathroom.  After a push to finish it before Christmas (fail), and then a couple projects where I thought I was doing quite well but realized I had installed things improperly (I am not good at moldings.  Just - not.), I needed a break.

So I altered my tack a bit, and decided to tackle some projects where the raw materials were in the house, I just hadn't done it.  Sort of a use it or lose it kind of deal.  Also a make things work a little better kind of deal.

I hung a shelf:
Twice, actually, after it fell down.  Turned out the anchors I selected just weren't big enough.  Oops. 

I put hardware on the pantry doors:
Ok, so I have to stretch to reach them.  Maybe this won't be the final location of said hardware.

I also:
  - cut and installed a shelf in one of my kitchen cabinets (with the side effect of making the glasses drawer much much easier to use!)
  - put shelf supports in the counter under the sink to hang the dishrack (so. very. exciting.)
  - hung the artwork my friends made for my birthday 2 (3?) years ago
  - made good progress on the shelves in the bathroom (they aren't done, but you can use them!)
  - installed a cat door in the basement for Jaimee's cat when he visits (let's not talk about the fact that he won't go through it yet)
  - and cleaned the basement.
But then it was time to ease back into the bigger projects.  I still didn't want to return to the bathroom, though.  So - have I mentioned that I hate my upstairs closets?  Well, I do.  Or did.  Or both, really.  I mean, I have huge closets, so I really shouldn't complain.  But a shelf and a bar just don't use the space efficiently.  Plus bifold doors just shouldn't exist.

And - here we are:

We (Jaimee put her muscles to good use too) took off the bifold doors, took down the shelf and the bar, and put up this thing of beauty.  The bar will get new life in R2's room.  Of course we had the usual reno issues; plaster crumbling in certain spots, drill-walking creating some not quite level hooks, cutting the long shelves too short because I was too focused on one side of the plans - but we overcame and this thing is solid.  There are still no doors, the other two closets and the upper storage areas still have the old doors, and the middle closet also desperately needs to be redone, and the inside walls really need painting - but this is SUCH a nice step!  No more trying to get my sweaters out of a falling apart wire system, no more dust collecting on the bottom items, and more usable space.  

Of course this came with a spring-cleaning type purge (also helped by watching Hoarders too much), and decluttering a bit has felt good too.

Currently I'm fighting a mouse infestation (those critters are BOLD.  They stroll on the counters!  They meander through the bottom shelf of the pantry!  They poop ON the snap trap bait!  I shall overcome.).  So that might have to dictate the next project, meaning that I might have to focus on sealing up the pantry/nook/kitchen before I can return to the bathroom.  TBD.  But work continues!