Category Archives: Priorities

Next house, I’m buying a pickup truck

Yesterday’s sewage issue is solved – thank you nice Roto Rooter man.  Yes, it was roots. Yes, I’ll be buying a new mop.

It raised a new-ish issue that the unused and turned off toilet in the laundry room downstairs is busted and leaks (clean) water.  These are not related other than the cleanup involved both of us jostling the toilet during mopping and dislodged whatever was barely holding the tank to the bowl.  He’s been threatening to officially cap the toilet for a while now – looks like that is on the list for the weekend.  The valve may be busted as well, which is a bigger job and one I don’t want to contemplate right now.

Back to the bedroom.  In preparation for finishing the bedroom, I had to go to the lumberyard to pick out new trim for windows, baseboards, and ceiling.  We aren’t putting in official crown moulding, but VHU (Very Helpful Uncle) suggested that we use a smaller casing about 3 inches down from the ceiling line and paint it and those 3 inches to match the ceiling to add the illusion of height.  A lovely idea.

The room dimensions are laughably small, but not so small that things that run horizontally along full walls are easy to transport.  My Honda can handle trim up to 10 feet if I put the seat down in the back and have it rest on the dashboard.  Naturally I needed 11.  (Well, 10 1/2, but I needed room for cutting errors.) The ceiling casing – which is a very plain cheapo molded casing – is very lightweight.  We stuck it out through the trunk, back seat, and then out the front passenger window.  I drove along as many side streets as I could.  Let’s just say if anyone was watching what I was doing, they clearly thought I was an idiot as the casing FLEW and bounced all around the front.  No, I didn’t tie it up.  Yes, I can see that I should have.  Oh well.

Next day, I got the baseboards at Home Depot and we (the dudes in the parking lot and I) wedged it against the sideview mirror.  That – coupled with the fact that the baseboards were much heavier – made for a safer driving experience for all.

Where is a Ford F150 when you need one?


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Filed under Bedroom, Dry Rot, Laundry Room, Priorities

Thank goodness for galoshes!

If the sewer gods aren’t happy, ain’t NOBODY happy.  That is all.

No, really.  You don’t want more detail than that.  I’ll just say it could have been a LOT worse.  And has nothing to do with this work being done.  Just coincidental timing and roots growing where they shouldn’t be.

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Filed under Priorities

The shell of a pantry

I’m BACK!!!!!!!!!  Squirrels, rodents, LIFE, second grade, first communion, softball, and a sprained foot caused by the world’s smallest pebble have all inserted themselves into our kitchen timeline.  But we are getting back on track.

The pantry closet is framed, the floor tile in said closet is mortared in place and waiting for grout, and today we begin cutting lumber to rebuild the soffets.  In the meantime, Himself has torn down half of the back fence to reveal – oh my! – at least 5 feet of creek bank erosion – so this blog will slowly transition from Kitchen Only to All the Rest of the Crap to Fix in Our House.

I’ll be posting more regularly again (with pics), so stay tuned!

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Filed under Backyard, Closets, Floor, Kitchen, Priorities

The manic squirrel is not happy

Thank you to the wonderful gardener dude who came to clear out the backyard on Saturday.  He and his assistant spent 6 hours getting us back to a blank slate.  Once we saw how much vegetation ended up in his truck to haul away we realized there is NO WAY we could have done that.  Certainly not in 6 hours.  And certainly not without a significant amount of pain.

We are happy – but with a few reservations.  The blackberry brambles next to the back fence hid a serious issue – we’ve now lost about 3 feet of soil to the creek.  Not good – and a retaining wall will require all sorts of wrangling with the city so we are left to consider how to stop further erosion (and further loss of our yard) without harming creek life.  On a budget.  Another day.

Today I went to Big Orange and bought black plastic tarps which we laid to cover the bare dirt – hopefully baking all remaining weeds and giving us a clean canvas for planning.

Kitchen update: 1.  He made some adjustments to the faucet because it was wiggling around a lot in the hole.  All seems better now.  2.  I’m ready to return to cutting things now that I am more confident that nothing creepy is going to be climbing up my leg.

Critter update: 1.  There was a dead something-or-other under that original black plastic we’d laid last May.  It was quite decayed and not easy to identify.  The neighborhood cat that had been hanging out back there was likely the culprit.   2.  New gopher holes appeared within 24 hours.  Well, naturally, they weren’t new, but we could see them.  3.  A big hunkin squirrel is pretty mad.  He’s been running all over the property wondering where the hell all his stuff is.  I would be sad for him if I were a squirrel.

So much vegetation!

The Trash

Erosion is at the foot of the busted fence in the far end of the yard.

Erosion is at the foot of the back fence - that plank of wood that used to sit on dirt is just hanging there

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Filed under Backyard, Kitchen, Priorities

We have a rodent work stoppage

Twice in the last few weeks, I found a brazen rodent jumping onto the deck – pitch black of night, but the bright porch light illuminated the scene.  Neither time did I get a good enough look at said rodent to identify specifics.  So we will call him “rodent” and leave it at that.

We have done ZERO in the backyard since May – no weed mowing, nothing.  Tall grasses and weeds + creek proximity mean to me that we’ve got prime rodent real estate in the backyard right now.  We are taking care of it by delegating – a gardener dude is coming tomorrow to whack the whole yard down to nubs except for the few small ornamental trees.  Black plastic will be laid (by us) after the destruction to prohibit new growth and give us time to reflect on the backyard’s future life.

In the meantime, I’ve got some routing to do, some sawing to do, some closet building to do – none of which is being done because I refuse to go on the deck without a weapon.  This is also hampering my interest in using the grill to cook burgers in the evening.

I’m envisioning a pristine backyard with no hidey-holes for critters to scamper and then I’ll feel comfortable down at ground level.  Only then will I return to my kitchen punch list.

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Filed under Backyard, Kitchen, Priorities

Of course the stove works!

Yes, you knew that already.  But tonight we had to do the official BAKING TEST FOR THE HOLIDAYS.  Or as it is also known, the obligatory stash of treats for the 2nd graders to celebrate you know who’s birthday on Monday.   The result is that the chocolate chips (what else?) came out fantastic.  They took FOREVER to bake though.  The first batch on a fully preheated oven took almost 18 minutes.  And this is the Nestle Tollhouse recipe that says 9 to 11.  The second batch took about 15.

Hmmm… what does this mean for the Christmas butter cookies?  Hard to screw up chocolate chips.  Quite easy to screw up butter cookies.  What about pie?  Too bad I don’t have time or inclination or room for THAT many spare calories on my hips to do many test batches.

Chocolate chip cookies.  Best. Cookie.  Ever.

Chocolate Chip Cookies. Best. Cookie. Ever.

For your drooling pleasure….


Filed under Kitchen, Priorities, Stove

Can I borrow a dollar? Or possibly 51 bucks?

The “sample” hinges came this week.   The frameless IKEA-like hinges did turn out to be a different model number.  The new one fits properly.  I scrounged around looking for cheaper sources and found them in Billings, MT.

Oh, the treasure!  First, nice prices.  Second, some extras for future projects here and here.  I’m calling these guys in the morning before I place my order because I need some drawer glide advice, but I thought I’d share the joy first.

Oh!  And the knobs and the handles came.  THEY ARE FANTASTIC!!!!  The knobs satisfy (I believe) my very particular guru’s requirements for comfort.  The handles satisfy mine – my fingers+rings don’t get stuck when I put my hand fully in the handle.  Which I had to train myself not to do because I’d get stuck.  You would think I have sausage fingers, but no.

Health Update: The little one had a mild fever this week.  Two days home sick.  Naturally, my turn next.  My mild fever doesn’t want to entirely leave, but I’m functional.  He is now exhausted from covering for me and many too many meetings after school last week running him ragged.  Still have pain in my hands, but our insurance changed so I need to pursue finding a REAL doctor who can fix me.

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Filed under Hardware, Kitchen, Priorities