Progress: It ain’t always what you think

August 8, 2008

Lately I’ve been realizing that much of the work I do around the house is about getting rid of stuff. Half of what I do is scrape, gut, clear, and throw away. Take, for instance, the old moldy garage. It feels like progress because all that’s left are the rotten moldy rafters. But nothing’s been added or repaired or replaced. Just removed and added to the local landfills. So it may not look like much, but it’s an improvement!

Unfortunately, the repair estimate that came in was–to my mind–extremely overpriced at almost $4000. It seems like an awful lot of cash for some new wood and asphalt roofing. So now I’m in the market for a lower offer. It doesn’t need to be perfect, it just needs to be water resistant.

Or even just water repellant. Hell, I’m not proud.


The first coat is the hardest

July 28, 2008

Turning 38 this summer has ushered in my own Year of Completion. This year I promise to finish things that I start, be thorough about staying on task with projects, and commit to following through. I’m all about bringing things to fruition. This, anyway, is the lofty goal.

As one of the first steps in my year-long mission, I’ve stuck with painting the front porch. I’m buoyed up by the final vision I have and so I’ve been gritting my teeth and getting shit done. I want to drink a latte on that porch while it’s still summer, dammit! Ceiling fan? Painted and reassembled. The light even works, but the fan doesn’t. I’m not going to sweat that though. Two coats of white on all woodwork? Done. Right now I’m waiting for the first coat of gray porch paint to dry and then…ONE MORE COAT. I even painted the kelly green window mullions and it makes a HUGE difference.

Think white lights, sisal rug, lots of plants, and evening suppers spent listening to the sounds of crickets chirping and the neighborhood kids beating each other up.

Life is good.

Garage=The Bane of my existence

July 22, 2008

Remember how the whole experience of closing on your house is a blur of paperwork and checks? Once the dust settled and I took stock of my homestead, I figured out that the garage had been excluded from everything. Should I have realized this sooner? You bet. I don’t even know when or how that information was determined, but everyone else was aware of it long before I was.

The upshot of this is that my tiny cement garage is in dire need of a new roof and (probably) new rafters, joists, beams, you name it—it needs it. I’ve got guys coming to “demo” the rotten and moldy ceiling on Thursday, so I spent today clearing out my clutter: snow tires, bike, kayak, woodpile, piles o’ plastic buckets, lawn tools, gardening crap, etc.

Here’s the problem: it’s hard to feel good about spending money on a structure you rarely use and kind of don’t care about. I mean, I know I need to do it, but wouldn’t a new tile floor in my bathroom be so much cuter? Or how about a new fall wardrobe for teaching? Or a yoga trip to Mexico? There’s easily ten things I’d rather do with my money than spend it on the building of mold that is my garage.

Big sigh. Yet another chapter in real estate reality.

On the brighter side of things, I had to laugh when I went to pay my yoga teacher last night and there was my brand new orange container of Elmer’s Wood Filler in my purse.

Gutter Work

July 5, 2008

I may have just discovered one of the worst jobs ever—cleaning the gutters.  In my mind, I thought all I needed to do was climb a ladder and hose them out. Nope. The combination of a too-short ladder and the amount of refuse from my neighbors’ trees (leaves, nuggets, seeds, twigs) meant that I ended up on the porch roof pulling the crap out with my hands. I filled up two buckets worth. Good times.

Meanwhile, I had to keep climbing down the ladder or out the bedroom window to run and check on the almond crust I was baking. I was so flummoxed by the whole gutter situation that I forgot to add the flour  and ended up with a buttery oven mess. Second time around seems to be working. What a multi-task day–from rooftop crouching to baking a Martha Stewart raspberry tart.

You know you’re a homeowner when…

June 10, 2008

You decide against a half-day yoga workshop because for the same amount of money you can buy one gallon of porch paint and one gallon of exterior latex paint.

You don’t think twice about reheating day-old coffee instead of brewing a fresh pot.

You unplug your toaster, hairdryer, and office powerstrip when not in use.

You feel pure joy when you compare this month’s electric bill to last month’s.

You dream about a clothesline for the backyard and new wainscoting for the upstairs bathroom.

No More Old Man

May 5, 2008

Or as Rhoda said about my new front yard look, “It used to look like an old man lived there, now it’s looking….cuter!”

It’s true. Old people seem to prefer straight lines (think “hand-railings” and hostas planted in a single row) and easy-to-clean surfaces (like carpeting and linoleum).  Same house, different aesthetic.

What’s a girl to do?

March 1, 2008

Even though I love my new front door, I rarely use it.  So yesterday it was a bit of a surprise to see the dagger-like icicles hanging from the front porch.  Winter requires a lot of outdoor maintenance–you’ve got the shoveling, the cleaning of the car, the salting of the walkways and now, apparently, the clearing of killer ice spears that threaten all who visit.  Icicles mean  what? Leaking heat? Lame roof sealing?


And here’s a sneak peek at my afternoon job: