superbadgirl: (Default)
West Coast Lady

Today I decided to stop being lazy and start clearing out the atrocity that is my back yard landscaping. I can only manage about two hours before my back says it's time to stop, but in that two hours I got a quarter of the way done. I call that a success. The remaining three quarters will take more time, as I'm just getting to the worst of it. Unfortunately, the yanking will not be a permanent victory. What I've been calling morning glory is actually bindweed - so awful. It is literally creeping closer and closer to my house, and if feels like if I let it, it would eventually absorb my home. Ugh. And I thought the blackberries were bad (they are!). At this point the only reason I hate the blackberries is that they make it painful to clear other stuff out. I didn't get punctured too badly.

I solemnly swear to be better at staying on top of the bindweed, ivy and blackberries. I would like to nuke it all. Maybe burn it.
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Mountain Bluet Budding


Happy Mother's Day to any mothers or grandmothers out there.

Productive day! I made whole wheat flour tortillas from scratch, then made them into bean and rice burritos to stash in the freezer for quick meal options later - added broccoli, cauliflower and carrots to beef up the vegetable content. The tortillas, by the way, are so easy to do. I don't generally buy them anyway, but now for sure I'll resist the urge. Fresh is best! Total aside, I read some stupid list online a while back about useless kitchen gadgets - on the list, food processor. La di da, said the list, who needs one of these when you have a Vitamix, thereby alienating people like me who can't afford to buy a damned Vitamix. With the food processor, the dough whipped together in under a minute...

Tangent! Anyway, after the tortillas, I made a batch of dog treats for the shelter dogs. Ground oats, olive oil, low sodium chicken broth. Voila! I'd like to do jerky, but, well. Meat's more expensive than stuff I already have on hand. LOL.

Then I did the dishes. Ugh.

Next, I dragged out the reel mower and mowed the lawn. I almost didn't do this, but figured it would be better to get it over with rather than wait for a truly sunny day. It took just over an hour to do my whole yard, and was quite the workout. I do think the reel mower was the right call for me. Is it a perfectly manicured lawn? No. But to be honest even with all the tools in the world, my yard is going to be the ugliest on the block. I did notice some rot along the lower edge of my siding. :(

I intended to follow all of this up with a walk up the hill to the column. I got halfway there, then decided to turn around. Bit by the lazy bug, I guess. Now I am resting with two cats sprawled on me, one next to me.
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This is how lazy I am: it's gorgeous out and my first thought was, "Damn it, now I have no excuse not to do yardwork."

My lawn really needs a mow. I have a reel mower, so I'm not sure how well that's going to work for me on the jungle, but I have to try. I also need to spread the fertilizer/weed killer. The problem I have with that is that it has been Wet this year (I have never seen the ground so saturated), so using the liquid weeder that you attach to a hose and spray down the lawn with seems like such a waste. Maybe I should buy granules and try to spread them by hand. Hmmm.

Being an adult is difficult sometimes! Haha. Time to suck it up. I always do, I simply need a healthy dose of whine before I do so.


It occurred to me as I ate something that caused stabbing pain in my gut just now (most things do these days, alas, though thankfully it's usually a fleeting sensation), my entire clan has been suffering intestinal ailments for months. I am now locking both Johnny and Roy in other rooms at feeding time. I should do all cats in different rooms, to be honest, because I am running out of creative swear words to use at them when I'm trying to dish out the food. This morning, Abe stuck his snout in the can of wet food and went to town before I could grab him and drop him on the floor. Oh, what I wouldn't give for a kitchen door that was cat-proofed! I need MacGyver.

(The real MacGyver, not the 12 year old Lenkov is trying to peddle.)

Currently, we are all in various sun spots throughout the house, lazing. It's Saturday. I hope the scant few who might read this are having a great day. :)
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Kitchen Window

What a day. There was a gloom over me, I don't know about you.

And I got the bill for my chimney/roof repair, which didn't repair at all - $380 for two guys to come out and caulk around it. $120 of that is "travel charge", because they're based out of a town 45 miles away. Though they were in the area. Double charges because there were two guys in the truck.

They had to come out today to re-fix. Which will probably cost me another $380. What. The. Shit. Pardon my French. It wasn't a great way to end the day.
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I know how to live it up. So far this staycation I have:

Cleaned the grout on my bathroom floor. Lesson: Never, ever, never put in small octagonal tiles offset with diamond shaped even smaller pieces in white with white grout in a bathroom, OMG. Big tiles = less grout = less of a pain in the ass to clean. Sure looks good for the moment, though.

Restored and polished the hardwood floors downstairs with some "miracle in a bottle" product. While it did make things shinier, I wouldn't say my floors look brand new as the product claims. Lesson: Imma have to actually resurface my floors if I want them to look less beat-up.

Removed 90% of the grout from my shower and regrouted. Lesson: this is something I think might be worth the cost of paying someone to do. We'll see how long my crappy attempt lasts before I have to do just that.

Removed caulk around tub. Will caulk later. Lesson: see grout.


I'd call it good, but when I flushed my toilet last time the flap broke. So, one more project. I haven't the desire to always have to stick my hand in the tank to flush, LOL.

Lastly, my arms feel like jelly from all of the grout and caulk work.
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almost comes together. *le sigh*

Good news: I got my kitchen door installed! Colleague and his delinquent but uber-polite (the kind of polite that comes with many addicts I have encountered) son came over this evening and got it up pretty easily. I think it looks great!

Both sides )

BUT, and it's a pretty big one: the second it was up I noticed two things - a gap at the bottom I don't like aesthetically and that it sways. With no track/runner at the bottom, that makes sense, I guess. I immediately said something about how it wasn't going to keep the cats out at all. The men said, "I'm sure it will." then left.

I shut the door and started getting the cats' dinner ready, with Johnny and Hank inside and Roy (and Abe and Pickle, but they were still cowering in the other room, too upset even to get excited about food) out. It took Roy all of a minute to slide his paw on the inside of the door, pull and let himself in...

Should be fixable. I hope it's fixable! The two inch gap at the bottom should also be fixable I can glue or nail on another piece of wood and paint it. As long as no one examines it, should be fine.

Pickle, on the fridge and unimpressed by unexpected visitors:
IMG_8948 (2)

While I'm posting pictures, my neighbors across the street with the pooping dogs are big time holiday decorators. They're the Griswalds. They've put up a Halloween display. It startled me the first time I looked out the window and saw it.

Boogedy boo! )
Actually kind of like how that one came out. No tripod.

I also made cupcakes. It's been a long, long month, work-wise and I'm having troubles again not being irritated with "overworked" coworker who is pulling half of the work I am doing without breaking much of a sweat... I digress. Cupcakes. Vanilla with pear compote and caramel frosting. OMG, the frostinnnnng.

Cupcake )

Equity!

Oct. 18th, 2016 05:34 pm
superbadgirl: (Default)
Well, according to the tax collector, anyway. Estimated value of my home is now $24K more than when I purchased - which, btw, I have to mention again that I did just in the knick of time - which is good. Except that I'm paying for it via taxes. Not complaining, really. It's nice to know that if I had to I could sell and come out okay. No intention of doing that, but if my ten year itch turns into a five year itch... But where would I go this time? Hmmm. Big Island? Back to MN? Vermont?

Meantime, I have called my 10th roofing contractor with no response. If I knew what I was looking for, I'd go up there myself at this point!


Also:


Bwahaha!
superbadgirl: (Default)
In an ill-advised move, yesterday I started peeling back the buckling paint upstairs at the wall where the chimney is. I knew what I'd find, and boy, did I.

20161007_172750_resized

YUCK!

It was ill advised because I had no means to remediate the mold which I essentially let loose. I tried to tape a plastic garbage bag over it, but let me tell ya: packing tape does not stick to walls! I didn't have anything else. First thing this AM I headed out to get a bottle of bleach. Not my favorite item, hence me not having any on hand... It works, though.

I have left message for two more roofing contractors. So far, still tumbleweed and crickets in response. I don't want to use Kilz and repaint before I know the issue is resolved - not sure if the drywall should be replaced. I imagine if it's molding on the inside, the back side is even worse. Gosh, I hope I have enough of that orange paint or I'm going to have to re-do that whole room. Not in love with the color, but also not in love with painting. Hee.

Home ownership, whee! This is actually why I think I'll have a pro look at my tub to re-grout and caulk. I worry there might be something lurking back there that I wouldn't know to look for. Gotta save up a bit for that, though.

On the way downtown for the bleach run, I walked by Pita's new house. She was outside and her new male guardian A. was kind enough to let me have a few minutes with her. He said he'd actually hoped I'd stop by. She's doing so well. He agreed with me - she's just about the most perfect dog, gets along with their 6 YO and pet bird just fine and likes to snuggle. He also said that once when she was new there she busted out of her leash and took off pell mell after a cat across the street. Ran right into traffic. So, while I think I could have gotten her to ignore my monsters after a lot of work, the cat-chasing thing was just in her blood. Apparently she had the same reaction with deer. It was so good to see her, and I know for sure now I made the right call for her. She looked very happy and healthy and A. said I could always stop and say hi if she's out with any of them. ♥
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I did my weekly trip downtown (I try to go down for errands - even if I have to make something up to go do - so that I must walk back up the big 'ol hill) and on the way back, detoured to check out a moving sale. I just had a feeling.

I found a reel mower for $5! It's ancient and it's a heck of a lot of work, but it works. Worked. I, uh, already busted it. LOL. The roller came off. It's rubber and the rubber cracked. I think I can rig it up again, but may have to see if I can find a reasonable replacement part. I got most of my front mowed, so that's something. I need to get the back done, then invest in some soil to fill holes and try to even the grade up. With any luck I'll one day make it a semi-okay lawn. Hah!

I do think I have to up my timeline on a retaining wall along the side - the slope that I'm on is just horrendous to mow for a wuss such as myself. I can't imagine that's going to be easy or cheap.
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Oh man, painting stairs is the WORST. I mean it. All the taping. And the crouching. This was them before:

John on the stairs

I found a simple technique online to do a woodgrain effect, thought I'd give it a go. See below the cut for the results )

Frankly, I am proud of myself - it doesn't look pro-done, but for a rookie doing a new technique? I think they look awesome. I have some touch-ups to do. Effing painter's tape! A couple of my beautiful faux woodgrain planks got wrecked when I pulled it up, and I was very careful not to really press it down hard. :( Was all of the labor worth it? Yes, I believe it was. Do I ever want to do it again? NOT ANYTIME SOON, but I know I will probably have to, given the amount of traffic on the stairs. I run up them between 4K a week, plus the kittenses with their razor-sharp claws.

Speaking of kitties, took The Pick in today for annual shots. I should really have known she'd be a pee-er. Put her in the front seat, in a soft carrier. Pee everywhere! Like, I never knew she could contain so much liquid. Ugh. She was surprisingly docile with the vet, though she's not real fond of me right now. Oh, and she weighs 7.5 lbs! Bigger than I thought she was...and the vet said I have to keep an eye on her teeth. At just over a year old, she's already got inflamed gums. Brushing will help. I love that vets think most cats will be totally chill with you sticking your finger in their mouths.
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I've started my upstairs painting project - soon that baby poo brown will be obliterated from that space (and maybe down in the small hallway too). I did the window upstairs ... and lost track of The Pickle, who of course HAD to hop on the sill when the paint was still gummy. Then she tore off like the naughty thing she is, leaving paw prints in her wake. *sigh*

When I peeled the tape off, some of the wall paint came with it. This is a problem - I don't have matching paint. This is the area I've tried to find the matching remnants down stairs. It's fifty shades of brown, and none of them are right. I fear this means I'll have to repaint the whole freaking upstairs and stairwell. I hate painting!

That said, the window looks 400 times better now that it's not baby poo brown. Tomorrow I'll work on the two closets. I'm also hoping to redo the stairs. It's all brown. I want the risers to be lighter, keeping the dark on top. I know how to spend my vacation time!

Oh, and have a cupcake:
IMG_8700 (2)

Not the prettiest girl at the dance, but tasty. Lightly cinnamon vegan cupcake with vegan peach curd filling, with whipped cream cheese frosting. OMMMMMMMNOMNOM.

One more pic )


And speaking of pickles, when I was in the city I stopped at Trader Joe's to stock up on treats (I like TJ's but even when I was near one, I didn't typically rely on them for the produce part of my groceries - I HATE their overpackaging, and the prices are not that phenomenal. I digress.). I saw a bag of pickle-flavored popcorn. I quite like dill pickle potato chips, so I figured I would give it a shot.

Holy badness, Batman. Not good at all. I'm not one to toss food out, but I'm afraid the pickle popcorn is a definite no for me. Blech.
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Freshly mowed lawn. Fresh poop on freshly mowed lawn. [insert expletive] dog owners!!

Ordered a new lawnmower - battery this time, I am so resistant to gas - and do you think FedEx driver reasoned "hey, this is a heavy piece of equipment that's probably going to end up in the garage" and put it by the garage door? NO. It was schlepped up ten steps and left on my front stoop, meaning since I didn't have time to instantly put it together, I had to drag the blasted thing (very heavy) down those same steps and around to the garage. After I cleaned up my neighbor's dog's shit off my lawn.


I need to re-grout my shower. The existing grout is not holding up, and the caulk is also getting a little discolored. The smart thing to do would be to just patch it up, but I've got it in my head to do the white tile/dark grout thing. I think it would look good. However, since I don't have another bathroom/shower I can use and I know this is a multiple day project (have to remove old grout first)...

Called for a quote on a tree removal. I have a window barely cracked on the north side of the house and the tree is blooming - the smell is giving me a headache. It will every year for about a month. I have to suck it up and get it gone. :( Also having them quote to finish the retaining wall back there. Doubt I can do that yet, but it'll be good to know what I'd have to pay a pro to do it so I can determine if I can find cheap labor elsewhere.

But now to the pet store. I ran out of dry food for the cats on Thursday. They'd like it to be 100% gushy food and truthfully, that keeps Roy occupied longer so he doesn't bump everyone else away from their bowls before they're done (funnily, no one tries to eat his food, freaking food bully!). But it's a smidge cheaper going the half wet/half dry route.

I almost adopted a one year old min-pin chihuahua mix, but then he got kennel cough and I got cold feet.

This episode in This Day of Home Improvement Projects is now over.
superbadgirl: (Default)
Winner and champion: baby food jar.

Ugh. Cats must have tipped a baby food jar over into the sink. For whatever reason, the prior owners installed the sink and garbage disposal as the same drain, not that this matters, except I feel like I might have seen/caught it if the garbage disposal was separate. And I honestly don't use it that much - coffee grounds, mostly, because I have a French press instead of a drip with an easy to dispose filter.

I tried to get all of the glass out and did get a fair amount, but there are some shards that are really jammed in there. I'm going to have to dismantle the whole thing and use a needle nose pliers (which I don't own yet) to get them all. I really, really didn't want to have to do that, as the garbage disposal itself is very heavy and I can totally see myself dropping it on a hand or my face or something. That's how my DIY repairs tend to work.

Wish me luck!

On the plus side, the near-dead hydrangea out front seems to be perking up a bit thanks to the recent heavy rain. Here I'd already thought about having to dig it out and trying my hand at keeping a replacement button dahlia alive long enough to grow. I love, love, love dahlias whereas I'm so-so about hydrangeas.
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For the last 15 years or so, I've been very good about avoiding excess sun exposure. Hats, sunblock, "anti UVA/B" attire. Today was a hot one at 85F (I can hear people chortling, but trust me - for here, that is scorching and since we don't see it that often, few have A/C. It's about 95F in my bedroom. Gross.), and when I went out to hack at weeds around the yard I chose a tank top and sunblock instead of a loose-fitting sunblock shirt.

For the first time in 15 years or so, I've got a sunburn. There are parts of my back I couldn't quite reach. On the plus side, sunblock totally works - I can see where it did. On the minus side, it doesn't work where it isn't applied.

I'd forgotten how uncomfortable sunburn is. I didn't really miss it!


I did manage to finally yank out all the weeds in the driveway cracks - I parked my car on the street last night, because I'd hoped to get my kitchen door installed. Alas, the hardware I ordered has a few screws missing. Grrr. I'm actually being more productive this year with the home maintenance. Now if I could get a blasted roofer to come make sure my chimney doesn't have a leak...
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A while back, I bought two little nighstand-y type tables. One, had I paid more attention, I would have seen was total junk and so the option of stripping and staining was out.

Boring stuff and pictures )

In other news:

One of my favorite dogs at the shelter was returned because he wouldn't stop chasing the family cat. I commented to another volunteer, one a bit more official in the volunteer org, that the "cat test" they do does absolutely nothing in regards to the cats already in the home. The response? "Yeah, cats are mean."

Which is 1) not true and 2) so not where I was going with that. Dog returned for not leaving cat alone does not equal cat's fault in that situation. The dog was not the one being harassed.

I find it frustrating that an organization with "animal assistance" in its name has quite a few members with a hefty dog slant. I get it. Dog people. Cat people. Maybe I'm too sensitive because I love cats and dogs, but have cats. Whatever. That kind of open bias is rude. I don't go out of my way to badmouth dogs as a species.
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Last year I dug up a bunch of plants I didn't want in my landscaping. I thought I got all of the root, but lo! There's that hosta, back and leafier than ever. At least it looks healthy this year. Last year, slugs kinda had free reign. I also cut back this other thing. I don't know what this thing even is, but it's big and sprawling and looks very unhealthy. I cut back the worst of it and... no surprise, it's back and bigger than ever. *bleepity bleep*

Just spend the afternoon digging out 80% of the landscaping in the front, replanting some and hopefully destroying The Thing once and for all. I'm not holding my breath. Digging out roots is hard work, and then trying to remove a honking, sprawling plant and its root system ... my back is killing me. Tomorrow, I'm having rock delivered. I'm sure my back feels amazing compared to how it's going to feel after I spread 1200 lbs of rock. I took the week off of work. People asked if I was going to do anything fun. I'd like to, but I suspect it's going to be more like this: heavy labor tomorrow, heavy recovery the rest of the week. I would do it piecemeal, but it's supposed to rain starting Tuesday. *sigh*

To think I was considering laying a paver patio by myself. No. No way can I dig up all the grass (read: moss) and then dig another 6 inches down on a 10x10 area and not murder my lower back. I will get there. Maybe not this year but I will. The ultimate goal there is to reduce the amount of lawn to deal with.

I'm so disappointed in myself, though. I had to resort to chemicals for weed killing. I have tried various means of abatement, nothing works. The grass and weeds laugh at the newspaper/cardboard barrier idea. "Natural" weed killers do work, temporarily. It's all temporary, really. The weeds that really make me angry are the driveway crack weeds. Mothereffers. I didn't realize how cracked my driveway was.

That's all. I feel I earned the onion rings I'm having for dinner. I am so tired.
superbadgirl: (Default)
1) Moving a foam mattress from a downstairs bedroom to an upstairs one by oneself. (If I could rig some sort of pulley system to pull it with, maybe with a good heave-ho I could do it. Maybe. Not likely. Foam is heavy and physics and engineering are not strong points for me.)

2) The "trick" of laying down newspaper and mulch over an area you want to kill off grass/weeds by blocking out sunshine might work in a different area, but here? The grass laughs at my impertinence, but not until after giving me two months of hope that it could work. One day, no sprouts poking through, the next - you can't even tell I tried to kill anything. I was going to use tax money to help with a bit of pro landscaping, but alas. Other things are more pressing.

3) Putting off a chimney leak. Yeah. Whoops. I'm just hoping the damage isn't too substantial and it's a quick flashing repair that's needed. *crosses fingers* I want to have access panels/hatches cut in upstairs. There are two spots where the attic isn't accessible at all and I fear it's right where there has been some water coming in. Buh-bye tax refund!

I'm not complaining, truly. These things happen, especially with an older house. I still think, in the long run, the house will be a good investment. I have yet to find a good part time job to help with these not-unexpected-but-sudden projects. The cute little deli/grocer down the street was hiring, but they wanted someone full time. Too bad, that would have been perfect if part time.
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GAH. When I put the rug down in the upstairs bedroom, I had to move the bed. To move the bed, I had to tip it up and, due to some misjudgement, I scraped the slanted ceiling and scuffed off some of the paint. No problem, I thought, I'll just touch it up with the paint the former owners left downstairs...

Except the house is varying shades of tan and none of the cans are marked with which room they coincide.

I started out with too-dark and sightly orangey. Now I'm too light and slightly yellowy. I am starting to actively resent the former owners for not labeling their paint and do solemnly swear that if/when I sell this place, I will mark all paint remnants so I don't eff the new people up, should they choose to keep my colors. Which will also not be varying shades of tan.

Filtered flower
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I've started sleeping in the upstairs bedroom. I haven't moved everything yet, as I want to investigate some cedar lining for the closets in the hall before I put clothes in them. I did get a big rug to put up there (and managed to get it placed under the bed all by myself, thank you). It'll look cozy when I can budget in some nice bedside tables and a chair like this:

20160123_194731_resized

♥ However, it's kind of yellowish green, and that's not my color scheme at all! I wish it were more tan/neutral.


Since I've moved up there, I have had to get up in the middle of the night every single night to go downstairs to the bathroom. Every. Night. Prior to the move, this was what I'd call a rare occurrence. An exception to the sleep-all-night rule. I never had to get up and go!

I wonder what that's all about? Psychosomatic? It's not all that fun stumbling down a steepish staircase in the dead of night, so I hope whatever is causing this increase in nighttime bathroom usage will subside.
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Finding the right sheets for the pillowtop upstairs with a four inch memory foam topper is proving to be an exercise in frustration. Either the sheets are too small or they're too big. Too small and they're liable to come up at the corners. Too big and they're loosey goosey and am I the only one who can't stand it when the bottom sheet isn't nice and tucked tightly?

I have such problems, don't I? Hah.


Also, have had a fierce craving for German chocolate cake today. The grocery store used to have them (horribly overpriced and not great anyway). Not today, so I made a mini chocolate cake and whipped up the frosting - sans pecans, which I did not have on hand. The problem with this is that I'm very aware of all the bad stuff that is in this cake, because I put it there. Pictures may follow after it's assembled, because I cannot resist a photo of baked goods.

Chocolate cake for two

Oooooh, I am going to have a hard time not eating the whole thing in one sitting! Don't like coconut? MORE FOR ME.

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