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December 15, 2006

Clearing (yard) clutter

On the last day of my vacation (ie, last Sunday) we finally cleared out the overgown, scraggly, balding bushes at the end of the walkway. I have always known that getting rid of them was the "right" thing to do... but Marc thought it was just a bunch of work for no real reason. Despite this he agreed to help me and we spent about two hours on Sunday morning hacking down the bushes.

Ta-da:

Before:
full_house_20061210_bushes.jpg
After:
full_house_20061210.jpg

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We started off with a branch lopper and completely filled the green recycling bin. Then we decided that we'd just take the bush bits straight to the dump (since after half of one bush we were already overflowing the recycling bin) so we changed over to filling the truck. Good thing too. We completely filled the bed of the truck.

The insides of the bushes were totally filled with dead branches and black widows. I'm utterly freaked out by the spiders. Thank God they're gone now.

Closerup this time:

Before:
zoom_house_20061210_bushes.jpg
After:
zoom_house_20061210.jpg

A few days afterwards Marc said that he agreed that eliminating the bushes makes the house look much better. Yeah!

December 7, 2006

Dogs 2, Christmas Tree 0

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I've never had dogs before. More specifically I've never had to live with something with the curiosity of a five year old that had no thumbs so investigated things with their teeth. The dogs knocked the tree over twice today. It's not a good day to be a dog.
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Hmmm, which of these two looks guilty to you?
Marc had a dentist apointment this morning. While we were gone the dogs knocked it for the first time. We were gone long enough that they also had time to pick over the prostrated tree and scavenge the choice ornaments. The angel on the top of the tree and all of the "ball" ornaments were taken into the back yard and throughly destroyed. Several ceramic ornaments also didn't survive the fall. The tree also took out my favorite pot and smashed one of only three semi-living plants in my house.

The second time I was out mowing the lawn (yes, mowing.. it's December in California and my lawn needed mowing)(yes, it's rough to live here). This time they didn't have time to ravage the tree... but it still ended up on the ground.

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Evil Tree Stand
I place half the blame for this on the dogs and the other half on the "evil tree stand". Invented by blind monkeys, the tree stand required that you carefully set the tree exactly in the center of the stand.. and then used a careful tension between the three screws, gravity and I'm sure elven magic to keep the tree up. It failed it's saving roll. Twice. If there hadn't been dogs I think the stand -might- have made it through the holiday. As it is, the stand's destined for the recycling bin.

Yesterday I OD'd on HGTV. I'm just finding all of the Ho Ho Ho Holiday specials very compelling. Maybe I'm ill. Anyway, yesterday one of the decorators used a big pot filled with pea gravel in place of the usual tree stand. It was lovely.. looked stable and possibly worth trying.

Ta-da:

tree_pot.jpg.JPG

Ok, now crossing my fingers and hoping this makes it all better.

December 6, 2006

Charlie Brown's Christmas Tree

For the last year I threatened to do it. I hated the three pine trees in the front of our house. All year long (in fact since we bought the place) I said that at our first chance we'd cut them down and make them into Christmas trees.

Ta-da.

cut_tree.jpg

cut_tree_house.jpg

My Dad thinks it's silly. These are perfectly good trees in our front yard and we're expending energy to get rid of them. I say they're eye-sores and block the view of our house making the yard seem smaller than it is. Luckily, since it's our house I get to make the decisions.

So far we've only cut down one of them. I want to cut down the other two but I don't have room for them in my house. I may offer them for $20 each on Craig's List.

Ok, I have to admit this Christmas tree makes Charlie Brown's christmas tree look lush. But it's decorated with love. I think it makes a perfectly lovely first Christmas tree for our house. It also benefits from the magic of Christmas that takes a perfectly scraggly tree and makes it look beautiful when you turn the Christmas lights on. *happy sigh*

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December 5, 2006

Starting year two - review of goals

Wow.. has it really been a year? One year ago today we closed on the house. Shortly thereafter I setup my five to seven year plan

Annual things to do:
- Schedule termite inspection
- Replace batteries in smoke/fire alarms
- Check/clean out gutters

Here's our progress so far:

1. Bathroom remodel
- remove flooring
- reset toilet with new wax seal April 2006
- replace galvanized pipes
- replace tile in tub Dec 2006. Re-grouted and re-caulked. Looks ok now.
- remove backside of bedroom closet & convert into linen closet
- move vanity/sink to other side of room
- (opt)replace and resize window (12x60 transom)
-Replace toilet paper holder Nov. 2006

2. Northeast bedroom remodel
- Refinish floor Feb. 2006
- Paint March 2006
- Fix electrical/phone
- Fix mold problemFeb. 2006
- Replace east window
- Add new closets

3. Garage
- Fix garage leak May 2006
- Paint
- Re-roof

4. Add workshop to back yard

5. Kitchen remodel
- Move water heater onto back porch or into lost-space in ex-closet
- remove back-side of bedroom closet.
- Widen kitchen/dining room door (add light switches to left of entry)
- Add light over sink
- remove walls between kitchen/laundry area
- replace back door with a door that lets in more light
- Add drain under washer, recess water faucets, add fuse for dryer, down box for dryer
- move current exhaust fan switch into laundry area (move exhaust opening into laundry area)
- wrap kitchen counter around from stove-side into laundry area
- Add kitchen-style sink in laundry area
- update kitchen/laundry cabinets
- Add hood over oven
- Add dishwasher next to current sink
- Add under-cabinet lights and electrical outlets

6. Backyard
- Add taller fence around yard
- enclose dog run (1/2 covered)
- Add doggy-door from living room
- remove concrete slab from back yard
- Run sprinklers to the back yard
- Add nice patio in place of icky concrete slab

7. Remedy house moisture problems
- Vent dryer to house exterior May 2006
- Add exhaust fan/light combo over shower Feb. 2006
- Regrade around house to get water to drain away(esp. west side)
- Add gutter to back of the house
- Add on-site drain system to move gutter water away from crawlspace
- Condition Crawl space (?)
- Insulate exterior walls of crawlspace
- Add black 6-mil polyethylene (plastic sheeting) vapor barrier to crawlspace
- Add exhaust fan
- Add grills to living space to push warmed air into crawlspace

8. Replace/repair siding

9. Front fascade
- Replace front door with a door I can see out of June 2006
- Fix front porch(Replace tile with redwood, add hand rail to stairs, replace steps)
- Add Bougainvilla next to dining room window (balance out front) May 2006
- Remove front fence Oct. 2006
- Eliminate pathetic trees
- Eliminate pathetic bushes
- Plant tree

10. Living room/dining room
- Add sealed-combustion direct-vent fireplace to livingroom
- Trim doors/windows to resemble bungalow
- Add plate rail around dining room
- Update dining room light May 2006
- Replace Humphrey the cranky furnace
- Replace windows

11. Northwest bedroom
- remove carpet April 2006
- refinish hardwood floor
- Paint

12. Insulate
- Add blow-in insulation into exterior walls.
- Add insulation to attic

13. Electrical
- Replace all wiring in house

14. Plumbing
- Replace all galvanized piping in house

December 3, 2006

High on caulk fumes

I finally feel like a renovator. I mean I kinda felt like it when we sanded the bedroom floor.. but Marc did all that work. And I kinda felt like it when we painted the bedroom... but painting really isn't renovating.. anyone could do that. Finally, today I feel like a renovator.

Yesterday I scraped and sanded and dug madly at the bathroom tub grout and removed the funky caulk that had black mold growing on it. Today, for the first time -ever- I used both grout and caulk. The tub looks 100% better.

All that said, I'm a bad blogger. I was certain I had pictures of the piss-poor job Mr. O did on the tile so I didn't bother to take a "before" picture. AND well, the after picture is kinda boring. I mean it's beige tile with lovely smooth white grout and flawless caulk. *yawn* So no pictures.

I feel accomplished though. I guess that's all that matters.

December 1, 2006

Goals for Vacation

I have next week off. I figure if I make plans now I have a better chance of achieving them.

Things to do:
- Get final paint color for diningroom
- Paint Diningroom Ceiling
- Paint Diningroom walls
- Fix "3A - Wood rot, Front of house, rafter" from Pest Report
- Fix "3F - Wood rot, rim joist" from Pest Report
- Dig funky grout and caulk out of bathtub and re-grout/re-caulk

Bright Green Turgid Drama

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Ok, I lied when I said "I've finally decided I don't care. Even if it isn't perfect, it'll be tons better than butterscotch." I do care. The green swatches I painted in the diningroom aren't perfect. The more time I spend looking at them the more I'm convinced that they're not -right-. *sigh* This means more thrashing about for the perfect color.

While at a friends house I noticed that her kitchen seems to be the exact shade of understated silvery-mossy-green that I want for the diningroom. I asked her for the color info.. and she said that she took a pillow in to the paint store and had them match the color of that pillow. Ah the horror.

She offered to lend me the pillow (gasps of unimaginable joy!!). So early next week I'm going to paint match a friend's pillow.

The next room we're going to paint is the living room. I want the color of coffee with lots of cream. I wonder if they can color match a liquid.