Archive for the 'House Work' Category

Cold . . . So Cold!
 

So as usual, it seems we’ve almost entirely skipped Fall and headed straight into Winter. The cold weather and wind is here, and it sucks. I am however counting my lucky stars that we didn’t get the snow hitting north and west of us. Still, these are late December and January temps we have going on, not Mid-November! Brrrr! This winter is gunna suck. I should stock up on cocoa now.

Thankfully the work on outside of our house is almost all but finished. The only thing left is to re-seal our roof. But the new windows make it nice and toasty inside, and no wind is coming in through cracks anymore either. The garage is being revamped now. Unfortunately the back-yard fence hasn’t gone up because of issues that had to be tended to first out there. It likely won’t go up until the spring sadly. I really could have used that backyard on nights like these. I do like walking the dogs in the snow though, because they enjoy it so much.

I finally got Halloween down on the outside of the house. However I’ve left it up inside and I really don’t care! It’s the “Nightmare Before Christmas” village, and it can just stay up until I get Christmas out as far as I’m concerned. Thanksgiving is around the corner and I have no idea what our plans are yet. I need to find out if I have to cook. We have been invited to my friends, so we may just do that.

I’ve done a few more paranormal investigations, but haven’t really had a chance to go over anything yet. I hope to do a few more before years end as well. So expect some posts about those soon.

In other news, someone on the web host I’m on did some bad things, and a lot of major email servers have blacklisted mail coming from my server. I’m working to fix that, but that has resulted in the blog subscriptions bouncing back since around June for many. Oopsie! Yeah I just logged into that email and saw them all. After this post goes live I will have a new subscription service in place. So you can re-subscribe below under the comment form or from the link on the front page. I’m going to also port over the old subscriptions when I get a chance.

We Really Need Another Brick In The Wall
 

So our big ole ditch out back finally has been filled in with all sorts of high-tech draining system stuff, and they are onto bricking over the ugly cinderblock wall. Unfortunately because it was so wet this whole week, they didn’t get far. Sadly the week coming up doesn’t look much better. Apparently it’s not good to do masonry work when it’s raining or to moist out, it is bad for the mortar.

In the photos below you can see the start of what is planned. Hopefully they will make a dent in this work tomorrow before all the severe storms move in. The pillars you see here will all have some kind of lights/lanterns on the top.

Were the wall bends in is where our new bluestone patio is going. This will also wrap around the backside of the house where our back door is. The indentation is going to be my grilling area, and eventually I hope to get some kind of table and chairs to put out there so we can enjoy the patio.

We are also working on getting some new bushes put in soon. So much of the brush and trees had to be removed, really exposing the back of our house to the street. We are hoping to put something back as a shield, not just for privacy but especially for the noise from the road.

One thing we really need back though is our A.C.. They took this out in order to grade the land for water and dig all the ditches. Unfortunately one of the reason we are getting storms this week is the heat is soaring into the mid-to-upper 80s. We have several windows open now to create a breeze, but it’s also bringing in the dreaded pollen. It seems like every year right when we need the A.C., we don’t have it for some reason or another!

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Spring Is Here! My Garden Is NOT!
 

So spring is finally here, and our house is actually coming along. The contractor is back to working on the outside, thank God! Come fall or winter of next year we are looking to redo our kitchen and bathroom. After last year, I am going to stress that this should happen AFTER the holidays. I want to be able to get decorations up in a timely fashion and without fear of breakage this year.

Right now they are working on our patio and side wall that will also include a French drain to carry water away from our house. The patio is going to be done in bluestone. It will also include short pillars with lights/lanterns on them. I don’t know what the whole thing will look like, the final design hasn’t been set in stone . . . except for the bluestone on the ground. There may be a pergola and backsplash put up for me to put my grill in front of to guard from the wind, which always comes from that direction.

I took the below photos this weekend when it was nice out. They actually did a lot more work since I took these, but the weather turned horrible these past few days and I haven’t had a chance to take new ones. I’ll try and do that this weekend or next week for an update.

Gum Wrapper Rings First up, the bushes in the front of our house got a massive trim, especially the one on the left. The purple walkway is being replaced. I put these old doormats down during halloween to cover all the cords for the lights so that nobody tripped on them and sued us. We are going to use the large stones from our old back porch to make a staggered sidewalk out front. I’ll just have to post photos to explain, but think of the chains made from stick gum wrappers . . . if you remember those things. Here I’ll just add a photo to the left!

The black goop on our house walls in the one photo is what has been applied all over to seal the foundation so that water will stop leaking into our basement. So far so good! Well except for yesterday when we got 5+ inches of rain in 24 hours. We had a very tiny bit of water in the basement, but nothing like the flood we would have had. We also had a nasty back-up with our septic system, but that has been cleaned up and we don’t need to talk about that crap :)

My garden area looks a little bit better than it does below. The giant pile of dirt is gone, but that’s about it. If you’ve followed me, you’ll also notice the entire fence around that area is gone too. I am hoping to do something with that area and have things planted by mid-May. I have told the contractor I must be able to garden, as it is comforting to me. Most of my friends, and even John, think it’s silly since I live on a farm and can just go pick whatever I want from the fields. I always say “That’s not the point! I want to grow it myself!” I like growing my own veggies, though I don’t like the yearly battles with the critters. This year though the groundhog holes got filled up completely and covered with rocks, a lot of rocks. I hope they don’t return!

The porch is almost entirely finished, aside from the one end shown in this photo. They haven’t fit the railing on there because of the giant vine growing. That’s John’s precious wisteria plant, which he has agreed to cut finally. It runs up to the very top of the tree to the right of our house, and the only wisteria that blossoms seems to be at the very top of it . . . which is so high you can’t even really appreciate it.

The other photos are mainly of the retaining wall they’ve been building to redirect rainwater and runoff away from the house. It looks ugly in these photos, but it will be covered with a nice brick facade eventually. This is partially where our new back/side porch will be as well. They’ve actually filled all the trenches in these photos in.

The house still needs a final coat of paint, the roof then needs to be tended to, and finally they have to finish with all the window trim.

While they take care of that this summer, I have to work on organizing the inside of the house a bit better. I finally bought some new dressers, I just have to clean out the old ones, chuck them, and move the new ones into the downstairs rooms. Next up at some point will be a new desk for the room that will be my office! This way I’m not sitting and working in the dining room area . . . where I’ve been for the past 12 years.

Spring . . . It
 

photo So we are experiencing lovely “Spring-Like” temps right now, but it won’t last. This coming Thursday . . . snow is possible. Then next Monday and Tuesday . . . more possible snow. I don’t think Spring is EVER coming! Now I love snow, but I’m at my limits. I want the yard done so I can start planting grass and working in my garden areas.

On an up note, the nice weather we have been having has allowed our contractor to get a lot of work done outside. The front porch is ALMOST done. We also have the final new window in the attic/crawl space, as well as the boards sanded down up there. It still needs some paint. Now all that will be left is final coats and of course all the window trims.

My old garden area by the garage is getting a facelift. They are tearing down the fence there, which really makes the yard look bigger. With a large tree gone out back, and more smaller ones to be taken down, we are now getting a lot more sun. I may be able to move my garden elsewhere this year. Oh and the best part yet, they filled in all the groundhog holes! I’m not sure that will last though.

Soon they will be working on a French drain on the side of the house to stop basement water issues. The back porch area is now being disputed. The built in grill is out, we couldn’t seem to agree on anything (we being John and myself, he was being ornery about what kind of grill . . . as if he would even use it), and I got fed up and just nixed it all. I have my small charcoal grill I like, and I may get a small gas grill I’ve had my eye on since last summer. I have now suggested a smaller porch area and a large fenced in area at the back door and side of the house for the dogs to be outside and safely unsupervised. Being able to let the dogs out and have them hang out outside as long as they want seems to be a better deal anyways.

Home Renovations Continue
 

So we are coping without Moo Kitty. I picked up his ashes this week, to be added to our collection. Our vet now makes a cute little plaster paw print like little kids do with their hands in pre-school. It’s so adorable! To be honest, none of the other animals miss him. He was a mean mofo and was a cat that really needed to be in a one pet home. He loved his humans, but he hated the other animals and was mean and bullied them. None of them seem to be morning him. That actually makes me sad to think about.

As I can’t dwell on Moo forever, I am typing this as I’m watching the Olympics and waiting for the latest Snowpocalypse to hit. Actually it’s moved in right now as I’m editing this post. So the point of this post was to finally share some photos of the work on our house. They’ve done as much on the inside as they can for now, and have moved back to working on the outside. Yeah, bad timing! They won’t be back till next week I’m sure.

Our new kitchen nook is “almost” done. We have walls, we have paint going down to the basement and we have lights. We are missing our new sky light, but that is pretty much because of weather at this point. We did get some much needed cabinets and more counter space . . . YES! That’s what I wanted more than anything. However these are all temporary. These cabinets, pictured below, will go into our brand newly refurbished and cleaned out basement area when we finally begin renovations on the rest of the kitchen. I’ll post some photos on the basement area soon enough, or you can visit my instagram link and see some early photos. The final cabinets that will go into the kitchen nook will match what we pick for the rest of the kitchen, when we redo it. We also only have a temporary floor in the nook, as we are waiting until the final renovations for it as well.

I will say that John picked the color. He was set on this lighter chartreuse color. Why I don’t know! I guess it will grow on me. I hope . . . Everyone on Facebook of course loves it.

Something New Every Day!
 

So the work on the house continues, as does our cleaning house and getting stuff thrown out that needs to go. We are making great progress with the cleaning, the housework is coming along too . . . just not as fast as I would like. It seems like everyday the plans get bigger and more things torn up. Apparently I am being told on an as need basis at this point so I don’t get too stressed and flip out :)

Case in point, I found out that in order to put the new back door in, the whole landing had to come out, and suddenly we were getting all new steps and some closets built in the basement where the laundry room is. This was apparently going to happen perhaps when we were on vacation, so as not to inconvenience us. I thought it might be better to do it while we were here, so we could watch over the cats, who normally go into the basement to eat, pee and poop. Well apparently it all got ripped out today!

Our yearly vacation is coming up soon, and the workers will continue to work while we are gone. I’m just choosing to believe we will come home to so much having been finished. I know that’s a fairytale :)

Christmas Gone, New Year Almost Here!
 

So this wasn’t the happiest of holiday seasons. I had just put up the tree, spent HOURS rethreading new lights into The Pink Nightmare’s pre-light madness to get dark sections to work, dragged all the boxes up from the basement when . . . . the houseworkers who went on hiatus returned! They tore out every window to put the new ones in, which meant gaining access outside and inside to the windows, which mean major moving of things including the Christmas tree. I just had it and put the tree away and took everything back downstairs. Things were getting broken left and right, I was not gunna let Christmas get ruined anymore than it had been by them breaking ornaments or the Baby Jesus!

Then they decided to take out the giant kitchen window, tear the walls down (which meant packing up the entire kitchen and moving things elsewhere) and that’s where we are now. Yes they were gone for weeks and decided that two weeks before Christmas was the opportune time to do all this. Hey I had nothing to do! Sure I can just take time out to pack up half the house, forget decorating. No trouble at all, not like you couldn’t have done this all say . . . when it was still warm out!

Anyways, below is some of the progress on the kitchen nook which is being redone . . . Oh a skylight is going in where there is no dry-wall in the one photo.

So there was some issues as to where we would even be for Christmas, but we did manage to drive down to my mom’s Christmas Eve night. My mom had to have a new water heater installed that day, and apparently the workers there did not bother to close her back gate. We arrived at 10pm, it was dark, I didn’t think the gate would be open and couldn’t see it either. So at about 10:30 Christmas Eve . . . Nikko and Ebbie go missing from the backyard! After walking up and down the street calling them, Ebbie came back. She ended up at the back door barking to be let in, or at least responding to our calls. Nikko was another story. We walked for an hour with Princess and Ebbie on leashes, hoping they’d draw him out. Then we drove in the car even further. NOTHING. I was about to just burt into tears. I had given up, he was not going to be found tonight, so we were on our way back home when my mom called. At about midnight, she found him . . . . directly across the street. He knew he did bad and had been hiding out the whole time. The little shit! I was just so relieved to have him back safe and sound at that point. He knew he did bad though, as his ears were down the whole night without me even having to say anything. He also insisted on sleeping with me/us, when normally he and Princess always sleep with my mom. He stayed by my feet the whole night.

While I was going back and forth between Virginia and NJ before Xmas, John did decorate our tree. We put it back up eventually, and he did it while I was gone. On the 23rd I put out some minimal decorations, pictured below. It’s no where near what I normally do, but with the amount of banging and disruption I didn’t need stuff getting broken. I was already in a foul mood, if they broke the Baby Jesus I would have flipped shit!

We are now in the process of cleaning up the house. This FINALLY includes throwing away crap that needs to be thrown out, the basement and the two rooms on the first floor that will be my study and a new guest room.

Happy New Year! 2013 SUCKED . . .

Thanksgiving Time
 

I can’t believe Thanksgiving is almost here. Where has the year gone? Honestly the last thing I wanna think about is cooking a bunch of food and eating it. For the last 2+ weeks I’ve been sicker than I can remember being in years. A nasty cold turned into a nasty bacterial infection of the nose and lungs. Fun! I’m finally on the mend, but the antibiotics I got put on are ripping my insides apart. It’s been a long time since I’ve been on antibiotics, but I never remember my stomach hurting this bad from them! Must be one of those joys of getting old. So food just isn’t on my radar right now, and hasn’t been for 2 weeks.

However, I likely will end up cooking. I not only have to make John something to eat, but it looks like we have to feed and entertain his brother as well. I’m sure there will be some stories to tell about that. I need to make a new category. “Shit John’s brother says.” Before I knew we had him, I was pondering just going out to eat. Blaspheme I know, but I’ve never been a big fan of Thanksgiving dinner. The only part I like is the stuffing :) I don’t even like the pies. Pumpkin and pecan pie, no thank you!

In other news, our house repairs have slowed to a crawl. I am assuming it’s because the weather has turned bitterly cold. We have a bunch of new storm windows sitting in our garage and new doors are expected any day now. I would personally like to see these go up sooner rather than later. They took all our old storm windows down so now we are just sending heat out the windows! Hell, they still haven’t finished painting the house and our porch is still unfinished. Yeah, getting a little annoyed :)

Noise Polution
 

Ahhhhh! I feel so bad. It’s been a month since I blogged! Well, here is an entry on our house repairs . . . . which need to get moving!

Our garage has been completely emptied of the crap John hoarded in there for years. LOVE IT! Though now it’s their workshop, so we can’t park in there. I actually want them to do the basement if possible :) They also got rid of all the trees and brush on the side of the garage, which I’ve been trying to get rid of for over a year now. We had trees that John cut down as they got too big, but then he left them and weeds grew all over them. They also mowed the woods down on the side of our house too (not pictured). We haven’t had the tree that needs to go removed yet though. We are getting a new porch with a built in fireplace grill for me. Yay!

Some of these I took this weekend, some I ran out this evening and took. They’ve really sanded off all the old paint from most of the front and one side of the house now, as well as dismantled the entire front porch. They haven’t really been here since before Memorial Day, but now seem to be back daily doing work.

Today I was asked “So when do you normally start putting up decorations for Halloween?” I gave them a look . . . Their response was “Uhhhhh October 1st?” I said yes, let’s go with that . . . I should be getting reading NOW! I had planned for things to go up this weekend, but I have no porch! I’m going to work with the yard areas I guess and do the porch later.

I do have to say, the sanding of the house, and hammering on it, is LOUD! There is no sleeping in anymore, as the dogs just bark and bark at them when they get to work early in the morning. Right now I’m battling some insomnia, so I’m not appreciating that. However if they get that damn porch done by October 1st, it will be worth it.

Oh, in one of the pictures (bottom left) you can see the new color of the house. There was a test splotch put up. It’s a darker blue-grey rather than the light grey it was.

House Repairs!
 

First, sorry for not posting sooner! So if you couldn’t tell from my Instagram photos or tumblr blog, we are finally getting some much needed house repairs. Long story we don’t need to advertise as to why John finally bit the bullet to do all this :) Expect a butt-load of my photos to be documenting this work-in-progress!

So what are we having done? So far they’ve power washed the roof, are fixing the chimneys, and are making roof repairs. After that it is painting the house. I will be suggesting they do the front first, so they don’t interfere with my annual halloween decorating of course. We are having at least one tree by the side of the house removed (I’d like a few more, but tree removal doesn’t come cheap), all the saplings cut down, the the ivy removed (as much as they can), and a new porch/patio out back built. We are looking at some kind of built in stone stove/grill for me as well. If we could only work in a Jacuzzi!

I’m hopefully going to also convince them to do some other yard waste removal as well. We shall see. Namely the trees John cut down by the side of the garage and LEFT there, which have become a haven for weeds this very wet summer.