Time flies when you’re living life…

I can’t believe how long it’s been since I’ve been here!! I wish I could say I haven’t posted because all of our projects are complete and our house is immaculate, but as I type on my phone amid a pile of  unfolded laundry, I am realizing how badly I need a new laptop and a winning lottery ticket…

Since I last logged in, another summer has passed, full of barbecues and fairs, a beach visit and a camping weekend. The air is turning crisp and clear and it’s almost time to start raking leaves.  We have a cat. A dear friend moved nearby and two others moved out of state. Six of my friends had babies. Six! A friend passed away. I had a big surgery and I started a new job. Our vegetable garden was an epic failure, but my big planter of flowers is still blooming. My beautiful sister married her longtime boyfriend,  making him *officially* my brother-in-law, and it was a damn fun party.

The world goes round. We almost got most of the peeling paint on the front porch scraped off. We’re planning a better garden for next year.  Some days we’ve just slept in and done nothing at all.

So I’m welcoming myself back and taking things one step at a time.  Like the rest of life, working on this house is a joy and a challenge and I always wish there were more hours in the day.

But today was a great day.  With the help of my brother-in-law, I tackled the garden area on the side of the house, digging out tons and tons of bulbs that have been multiplying like crazy and getting rid of giant weeds.  I might buy a couple of shrubs to put in. I’m going to replant the bulbs so come spring we will have healthier daffodils, tulips and lilly-of-the-valley.

It’s now a pretty clean slate where I can attempt to grow whatever I choose.  I haven’t done much of this before,  so I’m learning as I go.






If you like watching paint dry …

Then you are going to LOVE my new series:  Good God What Have I Done:  The Front Porch Edition.  It really has everything  — it’s going to be a loooong journey-type tale (like how they say all good stories are road trips?), it’s got humor, it’s got drama, you are really rooting for the protagonists and none of us have any idea how it will end.

Yup.  We started scraping the paint off the front porch.

I’m really, truly having a “what have I done” moment with this one.  It might never end.


We started this insanity last weekend.  I would say this current before & “after” peek represents about 12 hours of work and it’s maybe a quarter scraped and we haven’t even talked about paint, stain, taking the aluminum siding off the ceiling or repairing the broken shingles.

Oh!  But speaking of broken shingles … I was scraping paint on Sunday, enjoying The Glenn Jones Radio Programme, vacillating wildly between “oh, this is such nice, relaxing, rewarding work” and “this will never end.  Never”  when I heard someone saying, “Excuse me!” at the porch railing.  So I met a neighbor, who introduced herself, said she lives around the corner and she has a box of cedar shingles she can’t use that are the same shape as our front porch, and could we use them?  I might have screamed a little and I know I said, “My husband is going to freak out!”  So she came back later with some shingles to try.  They are a little smaller than the ones on the front of the porch (which led Chris on a rant about how everything in this house is in a size they don’t make any more!  Which is actually a good rant, and I will have him guest-blog and tell you his thoughts on the matter) BUT they are beautiful and they will be perfect for repairs.  Or we will move good ones from the back to the front and put smaller ones in the back.  In any case, they are going to come in handy and HOW  NICE IS THAT that a person would stop and say they have extra of something and they would like to give it to you.  Another for the Things You Don’t See in the City series.  Oh – -I’m also all about the series right now.  I think it will give me structure.

So please stay tuned for “People Who Visit Us/ A Series,” which will debut this week. In the mean time, please enjoy this slide show.  I hope to some day find this funny.


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A little work after work


It’s kind of hard to tell how much tree has been dragged to the curb this evening, because all the big stuff is underneath all the leaves. But lemme tell ya, it was a hoot. The one great thing was that it was really hot & humid. The bugs were spectacular. And it has rained a few times since Chris and our friend Eric made nice piles of branches in the yard, so the leaves that weren’t dry and eye pokey were wet and slimy and smelled like swamp.


Eric, as seen on the Fourth of July


So the city will hopefully pick that all up tomorrow. Not Eric, of course. The tree.


I guess it’s been good exercise. And if there are any budding young dermatologists out there who want to try to identify the various rashes I’m developing on my legs, arms and shoulders, just leave me a message in the comments!

Here is a picture of the pretty hydrangeas in the front yard to end on a cheery note. And to keep myself from yammering on about the damn baby birds.


Yankee Gutter Repair

This is DIY-with-a-little-(lot of)-help-from-your-friends….

The major project Kurt helped us tackle was repairing the rotten yankee gutters.  As you will see from the slide show, years of neglect led to lots of rot and water damage.  Luckily the damage was contained to the gutter area and did not get into the porch roof.

Kurt assessed the situation, created a diagram and got to work.  We used cedar lined with tin and the new gutters are a thing of beauty.

I’m going to see if I can get Kurt to comment on this post to talk about what he did in more detail — completely not my department, but he did an AMAZING job.

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Roof photos by Kurt

The fellas worked on the roof of the upstairs porch all day yesterday.  It used to leak, but now it won’t!  I will have to have Kurt in to guest blog and explain what he did… It involved sister joisting and membranes and some kind of rail and Yankee gutters.

6 Month Anniversary!

Today is 6 months since we moved into our house.  We have made progress, for sure, but still have a long way to go!  But the old girl is looking better, and it’s a beautiful late-summer day …  To celebrate tonight, I think we will sand some more wood when we get home.  Not a euphemism.

August 29, 2012, 8:30 a.m.

Also … mulch!