Sunday, February 27, 2011

My cup runneth over

Every plant has a story don't you think?

My father gave me some pieces of sedum years ago from a pot in his back yard and I stuck it in this pot I got probably 5 yrs ago that I adored. I had tried fern and it died, I tried flowers and they died.
So finally the sedum went in.
I put it outside on my covered patio and it prospered. Until winter came....
All the rest my plants were off the patio getting rained on and I had some idea about it being winter and not needing to water anything. Come spring clean up of the patio, this poor little guy was all brown and down to one tiny piece of green about the size of my thumb nail! The horror! I was supposed to water it since it wasn't in the rain!
So I cleared out the dead and stuck in the little survivor and watered it. After a while it was as long as my pinky! So I tore it in half and stuck both ends back in the dirt.
Then I had 2 fingers worth! And I proceeded to tear those in half and stick then in the dirt and THOSE grew too! I am always a sucker for saving plants.

So here is the sedum in 2010:

Prospering wildly that now all the pieces that escape get planted in a new container. Always trying to escape!
This little fern sprouted here all on its own but it looked good so I left it.

It has started to turn magenta this year, not sure if it is the full sun location it currently lives in or just old age.
It looks great with frost on it too!

These pictures don't really do it justice to the color it has turned. It is so much bolder than my skills allow.

Here it sits all pretty and innocent....until you zoom out

And what do we have here zoomed out?
Father winter had his way with this pot in the freezing weather.

At first I thought it was just this one in green full of weeds.
And over the course of the week...

Little pieces were falling off all around it. First one side and then the other and finally the handle broke free

But was it really the cold weather or did this plant plan this jailbreak? This tea cup  along with other planters has been outside for years and none have ever fallen apart. As much as I would have liked them too!!

Or did I plan this? I always like to buy new pots!

And it shall be! I bought a new pot at Molbaks yesterday. A larger terra cotta bowl with feets. So hopefully it will survive and I can plant a few different succulents in it and try something new! Also I need to go back to Michael's  and search out a new giant tea cup--this time to plant something inside.

Now I am off to the garage to get some replanting done while trying not to cut myself on these shards or freeze outside.

Does this plant have a name other than just sedum?

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

2010-The UGLY truth

OK Friends--I am doing this one with a blindfold on! Or maybe just goggles fogged up. I don't want to write any more negative things. I don't even want to think about them! Nor do I want them to continue being a spot of disgrace--I just want to finish them.
It has been a long long slow process.
Part of it is I have NEVER done this sort of work. I work in an office! I'm good with the keyboard & I'm great at researching!  We don't get this kind of practice. Now learning from the internets... I know what to do... but won't know if I did anything wrong until I finish and that is the point of no return. I will never look back or FIX it. Ok ok--I might try and fix it but I don't want to do it wrong in the first place.

Here it is!!!


This is what I look at on my way to the shower... one quick glance is all I allow myself. Start my day out with disgust and angst. No wonder I want to block it out.
It has seen some progress since this picture

When we moved in I bought new handles! And made a vow to replace the handles before the week was out.
I was so excited! I picked 6 styles and put them up and let my friends vote during the painting party. They all liked this one:

Awesome! Pretty clean and new handles! I can do this! I was ready to put them on... right after I get the cupboards clean.

But they didn't listen. Or maybe they didn't like the new handles?
I make this extra large so you gag too get my point

And this stuck to my arm while painting the wall behind it. *shudder at the memory*
Seriously. Press board, grease, dust, steam + 32 years?
Please go clean the tops of your cupboards now!

So here I am:
Priming with disposable brushes using an oil based Kilz tinted Lavender which is supposed to be a shade of light brown.

This one is for Darth Karen

And my littler(with no head) below likes helping which makes it go faster.
I am supremely grateful for help at this stage, because..... it sucks.
She is just the right height to get the underside of the cupboards.

Wonder what she is doing this weekend?
Meanwhile in the garage (on my awesome work bench made out of a broken ladder) we test paint colors.
The one on the right was my favorite 2 months ago, but someone(Hmmhph Travis?) thought it might be too dark. So I tried some lighter colors... and NOPE. It was perfect all along
(Edit: this picture is missing and I cannot find it. Sorry!)

And if it wasn't enough work already, we decided to get fancy!

Middle is the winner. Sweet Molasses w/ Sweet Georgia brown pin stripes

And back to the garage, Travis fixed the drawers that were falling apart so now I can go back to the cleaning, sanding(by hand this time) and priming of the 7 drawers.
I don't have alot of time or motivation during the week to suit up and waste a paint brush a day so I have been putting it off til the weekends. But some how those fill up with unplanned plans and I get only a few hours in. I did start this in November...In the background are the cupboard doors waiting for the fronts to be primed.

And now we are back where I started. Picking a new handle.

I will post pics later if I have trouble deciding.

So I can have the hinges cleaned and painted to match!

And here I am today:
All one color at least! Now I have to do it all again =/

I thought the pantry was a debacle! I just did not know the meaning of debacle yet.

It just goes on and on my friends... hence my delay in writing this blog. I can look back and laugh once I finish, but since I am still in the middle? It's quite the sore spot for me.

Truly the beams should be on this Ugly list since Travis has worked so long and hard on them...
But you know what?  I am writing this blog :)
And besides, his beams have already become pretty, where I am not quite there yet in the kitchen.

2. Carpet cleaner who needs anger management

I never followed up on the story with the carpet cleaner. He cleaned all our carpets back in March 2010.

Seemed to do a pretty good job on the living room. The pic on the right was a beloved spot by the previous owners little dog. Once they dried some spots are still there, but it feels more sanitary at least.

Here I explain what happened to our stairs.
The man who cleaned our carpets was incompetent.  (Travis approves this word.) He put down "extra water" because the stairs were "extra dirty" but neglected to get up all the extra water. When we found the damage we called him to come see/fix/help/etc but he did not show up.. so we called him back again and he yelled and hung up. Next we wrote him a very nice email and he responded back with a rant, all in lower case, no spaces or punctuation, besides !!!! every other sentence.
Here we realized how unstable this guy was.
We could go after him with small claims court. But he also knows where we live... So we went back and forth on the decision for a while and ultimately decided to NOT go after him in court, but to hit him where it counts. Reviews. ONLINE.
Now yes, I did originally find him thru Craigslistwebpage and somehow I ran across one (old or false ad) that mentioned he was licensed bonded and insured which made me feel confident hiring him.. Now when you do this, you should probably check to make sure they STILL are at the time you hire them. I knew nothing about this at the time. I had a budget and $200 for all my carpets was a fantastic price.
So I made a weekly goal to check his advertisements on several sites and make sure there was a review(nicely written) that mentioned he was NOT licensed, bonded or insured without going in to much detail. Remember, he probably still knows who I am and where I live.
He removed his ads from those sites. The nerve!
Upon googling him for this blog--it seems he has changed his number too. I was going to post his link and name and number just for hits when ever someone searches for him... but with the statistic programs recently--I think he would know... and... you guessed it! He still knows where we live.

I know this sounds paranoid but I really am not. Just this guy seemed angry and unstable and did not seem worth the effort to get our money back.

Moral to this story?
1. Do not hire anyone named Rob to clean your carpets. I don't care if it is an amazing deal. Pick the next guy.
2. Carpet on shallow stairs is dumb anyway.
3. The lowest price is NOT always the best price.

I should have sent him packing after reading this from his website:
High Powered Truck-Mounted "Quality" Steam Cleaning!
And then he showed up in this old van and advertised in my driveway

I have nothing against advertising in my driveway and I full intended on posting my own review on this blog...
until the stairs mildewed and he yelled at us.

#3 And the things we thought were important before moving in and have yet to get to and then realized how dumb we really are thinking they were the "important things"
(Also see original to do list at bottom of this link)

*Mismatched lighting all thru out

*Mismatched 1978 flooring
Master Bath



Main Bath


This is the best of them--but I still hate it.

Old carpet vs Older Carpet

*Replacing the ugly window

This was Enemy #1 on our list---ha!

So if that is not enough for you to cry along with me, I NOW can get back to updating regularly. I have lots to catch you all up on!

PS: I have had a lot of trouble during the editing of this blog and uploading of pictures--probably due to the extraordinary amount of time it took me, so blogger is telling me "post was not saved due to form errors, etc etc"  So if it seems something is missing---It probably IS! I doubt I will fix it in less than 24hrs. Sorry!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Bad 2010

The Bad

#1 Water vs plumber

The leaking water line in month 2 of living here. It is no joke to open a mailbox on a Friday night and find a $300  water bill. The former owners HAD to have known about this, as they had 1 or 2 high bills before they moved. But it was not caught on the inspection nor is there any proof so we didn't get to blame it on anyone. $1500 later with only a $56 credit from the water company (50% of 50% of 1, 2 month bill, minus $75 admin fee) Decembers water was free!

It would be listed under ugly, but it brought to us the lovely patio plan which elevates it up one level. (And because I promised to be more optimistic)

Here is where it started:

When we moved in this faucet on the patio was drip drip dripping away. In fact, the moving party was still here and Travis was determined to fix this. RIGHT NOW. So he did for about 30 cents in 2 minutes.

Now it WAS leaking almost 10 gallons a day, just by the innocent drip drip dripping. So when we pulled up this one broken cinder block, we shouldn't have been surprised to find a swimming pool.

And since we thought it was all from the drip drip dripping, we thought we could bail it out.

But by the time we got one hole empty, all the other holes had filled back in. But we kept it up and kept it up til they were ALL empty at the same time... I mean, how long had 10 gallons/day been leaking on to the patio?
Slowly the sun went down, and they all filled back up again. At this point we started wondering about a leak and I believe the very next day the bill came.
So we called 3 plumbers, hired 1 and waited for a sunny weekend for a surprise destruction of the patio

Now this is less than 2 months after moving in--all we really wanted to do was plant a garden, clean the house and sand those beams. We also had company coming in July for a week and this was the state of the patio in the middle of June:

We couldn't bear to put these back in. All the work to level out the dirt to hate these cinder blocks some more? No thanks! And this is where the dream was born.

And this is how far we got for our company. A big gravel yard!!! I spent A LOT of time vacuuming.

#2 The Beams from hell

Back when everything was white. *shudder*

The beams. The @#$% beams.
Travis couldn't wait to get started on these beams once we moved in. Underestimating the amount of time and work it would take. Grossly underestimating the annoyance.
Also--did I mention he doesn't like heights? (I won't say afraid, because he probably would not approve)
We recently called in some contractors for advice about what type of wood they were and how to stain them and every single one mentioned how Travis had done all the hard work all ready. They oohed and aahed at the fact if we hired them the rest would be a cake walk. (Bastards)
I wonder if the truth was known before we bought the house, if Travis would have still wanted THIS house.

Travis finished PHASE 1! YIPPEEE!

Full shot of Phase 1 complete--time for phase 2, detailing

Some of these divots are super deep

My all time favorite picture. Travis in deep thought about Beams

If it wasn't for this project, we should have moved upstairs. Or so we think. But another item actually is keeping us in the dungeon as well--coming up in Ugly

The truth is Travis climbed off the ladder in the middle of June to let the plumber in, and did not get back up there to work til the patio was done, actually almost done, but the weather was done with being cooperative.
Also climbing to the tallest area in our house in the middle of summer would have been pretty unbearable.

He has clocked more than 80 hours ON THE LADDER.

Phase 1, Sanding: standing on 10ft ladder holding belt sander up and using appropriate pressure to get a good even result. (I was not interested in trying it myself). Also wearing coveralls, goggles and nose mask.
Phase 2, Detailing: same as above, minus sander, but using metal pics and other smaller tools. we will find out after he begins.
Phase 3, Staining: more of the same using conditioner, stain and possibly brushes or rags.

I have forgotten about the first 2 pre-phases the applying of stripper and the scrapping off that happened back in early April. I am sure he has not.
By the end of this--Travis will know these beams quite well. Having worked on each inch more than 5x.

(I do believe I am sounding pessimistic now. I have thought about this series for far too long and have stretched them out to the point that it is now FEBRUARY. I am going to stop being so wordy and try and still make my point.)

#3 Timber

The Tree threatening to fall on our house.

Another item the inspector COULD have mentioned. Being noobs at home ownership--who would think something OUTSIDE the house and yard would pose a risk. This isn't in any manual for people. Actually maybe there is and I didn't get the memo?

The broken fence and leaning tree should have been our first clue

First shot out NE window. Very rustic

I absolutely LOVE the look of this tree

Ominous light-this is how far it leans OVER our yard

Blowing in the breeze

It is on a slope, eroding away with some drainage issue somewhere, leaning leaning leaning. During the wettest season of the wettest year...

I really really do love this tree and all the birds that grace it. If ONLY it was not leaning towards our house, but away, towards someone elses house or not leaning at all!
Only time will tell...

Stay tuned for part 3 of 'The Good, the Bad & the Ugly'