Blog Archives for category Projects
I had a major kitchen crisis (nothing fits anywhere and I was losing my mind) and jokingly asked on Facebook if anyone wanted to come help me figure it out…
And Jami volunteered! And then was serious! (She lives about 1:30 away so it wasn’t completely insane.)
She’s an amaaaaazing cook and has bragged about her perfect scallops so, since I LOVE SCALLOPS, she brought them to teach me how to do it! So I learned how to make perfect scallops with a saffron wine sauce on fresh spinach Fettuccini. It was divine!! Of course, she also brought snacks and wine…and a cast iron pan and avocado cooking oil and cream because my kitchen isn’t up to par yet.
They were so beautiful they really deserve a full-size shot:
She had brought cookies to Owen and Katie. When she handed them out, age called them by name. Katie asked how she knew her name and I said she knew her from the day she was born. (I had told the kids previously that Jami was from the same group of friends as Uncle Eddy, Aunt Sheryl, Miss Nancy, and the whole group of people that came to our house a few times).
Owen waited on his cookie, but Katie was all in.
I had to get creative since we forgot to keep it chilled. Yes, that plastic ice cube is from a boo-boo bunny.
I knew this house wasn’t perfect (I don’t think we’ve had a perfect house yet) but it’s always SOOO surprising the little things that are annoying as hell once you actually move in and start trying to unpack.
Here, it’s like the past tenants (actually the owners) didn’t actually live here and use things. Burnt out lights, outlets that don’t work, a ceiling fan so unbalanced the chains jingle loudly on every rotation, cabinet doors that can’t open because the fridge is too high (they actually hacked away part of the bottom of one cabinet so they could open the door halfway), and the fridge placed badly (the spot isn’t big enough for newer fridges) so that one side door can’t fully open and the nearby drawers and cabinets can’t fully open (and there’s obviously no other place to have it).
Let’s see. What else.
Katie’s “touched up” pink room looked like this:
[Note: Long story short, they’re coming to repaint. The owner had no idea what it looked like. His painter used the old paint and when it was wet it matched.]
The living room was “touched up” in the same manner:
Behind the stove (which we had to pull out because they left it unplugged):
The owners “cleaned” (I’m guessing just a basic surface clean) but there seemed to be YEARS worth of grime and food bits stuck on every surface and into the stove crevices. I really didn’t expect to have to deep clean my kitchen… But I mean, look at this. Barf. /shudder I literally almost vomited trying to clean this.
The cabinets and drawers were also all sticky and had disgusting peeling cracked liner on them. We pulled off some of the liners because they were more disgusting then the shelves underneath…but both were still sticky. It was at this point I decided to hire someone…who spent THREE HOURS (with help from her daughter) deep cleaning a 10×10 kitchen. Yikes, I know. (Mad props to my awesome neighbor who had a cleaning lady who could come ASAP.)
The MBR closet racks look good but are somewhat useless in practice. None are tall enough for my dresses, the door can’t open all the way when filled with clothes, and there’s a useless knee-high shelf—I was excited to see a shelf but if you hang clothes on the rod above it, they reach the shelf. The light was also super old, not bright in any sense, and made a loud humming noise.
There’s about 164 different types of light switches, dimmers, slides, knobs, timers, etc., none of which are where you’d expect them to be and all of which are old.
The washer is nice, but…more cleaning required.
Every single outlet is sideways. [Note: I’ve learned that this is apparently an Illinois thing.]
Whoever stained the kitchen cabinets just left the appliances in place so the sides of everything are stained as well (which you can also see in that disgusting stove pic above).
Whoever stained the privacy fence didn’t protect the windows so there are tiny stain dots on them which we’ll have to clean because it will drive me insane to look out through them for three years.
We were happy to see they left a hose and reel. Except when we went to use it we saw it was a water-powered reel that was broken and completely useless so now we have to get rid of it.
They left a crap ton of leftover tiles, wood flooring, etc. in a jumbled mess in the basement which we get to clean up if we want to use the space.
There’s an annoying step on the first level (seriously, whoever designed it was an idiot—there is NO good reason for the step) that not only is annoying but is also slightly higher than a normal step height and is constantly causing us issues. Owen even noticed it was higher than normal.
The stairwell to the basement is a 180° switchback so it’s impossible to get anything big (like a refrigerator or a couch) down there.
There are about four different type of blinds throughout the house. Nothing matches. And some windows don’t have blinds at all. Same with curtain rods. Some rooms have them (but they’re not even basic curtain rods), some don’t.
The vents in the MBR are placed so that our king bed/head board/frame and/or nightstand sits directly on top of it—not over it, like we could use a vent deflector, but actually ON it—so that to avoid that (it’s too heavy) we have to put the bed right up against the wall (which we learned won’t work because every time you roll over it runs against the wall and makes noise) or pull it out about 8″ away from the wall which takes away walkway space and makes lots of unusable room. As it is now, we managed to get the bed placed beside the vents but then our nightstands are about 8″ away from the bed.
And silly/minor things like this:
Tub parts just sitting in the tub:
Fixes by a homeowner who isn’t handy (on the front porch):
A bunch of these door stops are missing. So we either replace them/ask for the landlord to replace them or risk ruining doors.
Missing storm door lock.
The master bedroom closet light that is so dim it’s useless. Now with bugs and a loud humming noise! (We’ve already bought the replacement light.)
I spent probably an hour cleaning the sliding door tracks. They were SO crusted with gunk I’m surprised the door even opened. I was using vinegar and baking soda, a toothbrush, toothpicks, and probably a whole roll of paper towels to get it all out.
Oh! I forgot! They fixed a few broken tiles and apparently also regrouted the whole floor…but did it wrong and it just crumbles like dirt. Fail! [Note: the landlord has decided to replace the entire floor with wood. It was too short notice to do it while we were planning to be gone so he’s going to have it done over Christmas while we’re away.]
And there is one single outlet in the entire garage. One. So we have an electrician coming and all I see are dollar signs…
I might be able to make it through a few more bottles before we leave, but just not quite enough.
The military moves us but we know we’re overweight so we always take a load of really heavy stuff ourselves. It just so happens that this time it worked out to take it in advance so Tom can:
- pick up the keys and make sure the house is ready (our lease there starts July 1).
- paint the garage before we move all our stuff in (it really needs it and the landlord was cool with it and even bought the paint).
- move the deep freezer door-to-door without having to empty and defrost it (I’ve been trying to empty it but couldn’t do it—I didn’t start early enough and the time flies).
It’s hard to see in this picture but there’s a good 6′-8′ of stuff in the shadows there…all of the heavy-duty tool storage cabinets, all of Tom’s tools, our awesome stainless refrigerator (it’s been unplugged two days and we’re already going crazy—the house fridge is much smaller and currently has no water filter or ice capability), the grill and propane tanks, and a few random totes. Tom worked his butt off today (plus had help from a friend) and will have a long day tomorrow as he’s planning on leaving at 4am to get up there by dinner.
So, we just completed the pre-move walkthrough with the moving company guy. Consensus? We have too much shit. I know this comes as no surprise to people who know us… We NEED to purge but it’s SOOOO hard. So I decided today was the day to clean out the bulk of the four-drawer file cabinet. We just keep stuffing crap in there and never use any of it—and it’s about 200 pounds we can easily get rid of. Of course, I have to quickly sort through everything because there’s stuff I know I’ll want to keep, but I came across so much old junk that made me laugh or cringe that I posted some to Facebook.
CMU line dancing class coursebook. Because you know I still need a list of 60 line dances. #purgetreasures #recyclebin
A whole folder of song lyrics. Notice the year? #purgetreasures #recyclebin
A real stock certificate, circa 1995. #purgetreasures #keep
A friend’s senior picture. #purgetreasures #recyclebin
#purgetreasures #keep (But I’m sending it to Dana to keep!)
How many of my Grayling peeps remember these report card folders?! #purgetreasures #keep
From September 11, 1995 Central Michigan Lumber ad. #purgetreasures #recyclebin
Isn’t the limit for keeping taxes 25 years? #purgetreasures #shredder
#purgetreasures #recycle #roommatefromhell (I had quite a few roommate from hell pages!)
I’ve definitely needed to move this from Michigan to North Carolina to Michigan to North Carolina to Virgina. #purgetreasures #recyclebin
#purgetreasures #keep #nolongerexists #weddingreception
From the first time I saw it with my mom, circa 1992? #purgetreasures #unsure
Ahh. Taking out a $2500 loan to pay for uniforms. #purgetreasures #keep #usmc
The amount of toys they have that they don’t play with is insane. I dumped out all the bins from the shelving unit and I’m making them pick out their favorite things and the rest is going away. (And this is just upstairs. Ugh.) Happy Thanksgiving?!
This Year I’m Decorating For Christmas Early, Because The World Needs Some Sparkle (Subtitled “Stage 1, complete.”)
After reading this article—This Year I’m Decorating For Christmas Early, Because The World Needs Some Sparkle—I decided I really wanted to put up our Christmas stuff just a bit early…and since Tom loves me, it actually happened.
We’ve hated the front bushes ever since we moved in and we finally got rid of them! Everything else was old and overgrown, too, so we convinced our landlord to buy the new stuff if we removed the old and planted the new stuff. He was game…and especially thrilled about the end-of-season prices…so we now have a full front yard of sod and way too many trees and grasses (but we don’t care because we’ll be long gone by the time they get overgrown).
Be gone, huge overgrown tree and nasty cedar bushes!
Now we have to get the landlord to purchase the agreed upon replacement stuff so we can get it planted!
Anyone recognize where this is? Yep, the two-story foyer in North Carolina.
But now we get to take birch pieces home!! (His first two projects were getting the wifi extender and the cell booster installed and running!)
We had been talking about looking for fallen birch pieces to take home (birch trees are rare in Virginia) and my dad said he had a small birch he actually wanted taken down. Say no more. Two birds, one chainsaw.
I had done ornament wreaths before with no issues…but today was a fail.
The ball size didn’t seem to work well with the wreath size and it kept growing in thickness and it just looked weird. And then with just a few balls to go, I broke an already-glued ball, obviously realizing at that moment I wasn’t using shatterproof ornaments.
I had a good run prior to this one, but I think my wreath-making days are over. This is likely going in the trash and I’m out about $20.
An exciting Friday night…labeling shoe boxes with photos so I know what’s in each one. These are obviously the ones I don’t wear very often or are off-season.
Tom planted the new bushes today as well as put out new mulch! It looks a lot different but I love it and think it’s awesome!
Grandma Jean attempted to teach me how to use Tom’s mom’s sewing machine that we inherited…by hemming some pants, sewing Tom’s name tapes, and altering some bras. It looks easy enough while I’m watching, but I’m not sure what will happen when it’s actually my turn!
A friend shared a video on Facebook showing how to make a no-sew bag from a T-shirt. I normally bookmark these types of things with grand plans to do them but then never actually go back and do them. Amiright? But since I happen to have an abundance of T-shirts and 10 minutes to spare, I decided to make me a bag. I actually think no-sew was the key term for me.
I used a really big tee (3X) and consequently had a really big bag:
Unfortunately I don’t think it came out looking quite as cute as I had hoped. (It will still work, of course, but just doesn’t look as cute.) It’s also hard to find a tee without graphics on the front/back that will most likely get cut into and ruined. I thought this one was low enough down but it looks funny. Again, it will work…it’s just not exactly right. So I’d suggest plain tees.
It was also very confusing when tying the second layer together—it was hard to tell which strips were supposed to be tied. Maybe it was because it was all black or maybe it was just my old eyes. Or maybe it would have been easier if I had cut the strips longer. (Yes, probably that one.) But it was a valiant first effort and only took maybe 10 minutes so I’ll likely try again.
The video originally posted was in Japanese and didn’t give full instructions so I searched YouTube and found this one which is a bit better.