Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Aftermath of the Break-In…

While it was Shane and I, the homeowners, who actually broke into the house…it has still been a traumatic experience. A big mess…no doorknob on the exterior…compromised security in our home…we need a new door. Here’s what I’m thinking:

And I must say that figuring stuff out about doors is very difficult. There are no prices on this specific door…anywhere. It could cost $100 or $1000 – not quite sure. I don't know what size door I have, but that's my own fault - I haven't measured. Do I want aluminum or steel? Do I want E-rated glass or not? I contacted someone from Pella Windows and Doors to come out next Wednesday to give us a quote, but we will probably be engaging Home Depot as well…

Hopefully, these doors will be reasonably priced and we can replace the one that we mauled on Tuesday and get a new side door as well. And rumor has it that they even make models that have blinds INSIDE the panes of glass…I’ll keep you posted.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Beau and Brother Turn 1!

Our baby boys turned one-year old on Saturday! Well, that isn't actually their birthday, but it is the one-year anniversary of when we rescued them and began to show them the good life. :)

May 2008 -
Beau weight: 16 lbs.
Brother weight: 13 lbs.
Food: Ate 1 cup of food per day/per puppy
Crate: Shared a 32" crate by putting a divider in the middle

May 2009 -
Beau weight: 80 lbs.
Brother weight: Roughly 70 lbs.
Food: Eat 4 cups of food per day/per mammoth dog
Crate: They each have their own 42" crate

Even though they are big, big boys - they are always our wittle, bitty squishy faced puppies!!!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Breaking In

Hope that everyone had a wonderful Memorial Day weekend!

We got locked out of the house, and so this had to happen:


Friday, May 22, 2009

Fill Dirt = No Fun

I got home yesterday afternoon and our mulch and fill dirt had arrived and was sitting at the top of our driveway…taking up the whole space. I think that we may have ordered too much mulch, but oh well – we’ll find somewhere for it to go.

Last night, we finished mulching the bed on the left side (you remember, the one where I butchered the bushes), and then started to put the fill dirt up against the house in the backyard. Okay, here is my rant on fill dirt:
  • It’s red clay. Not dirt. Clay.
  • It’s really heavy, and difficult to move around with our one-wheeled wheelbarrow. Yeah, one tire is flat…but we still use it anyway.
  • It has rocks in it and big clumps of dirt that you have to break up with a hoe. That sucks.
  • It doesn’t spread evenly.

It took a lot of dirt to bring the ground beside the house up to the same level as the yard. What happens is that when it rains, the gutters overflow and all water just beats down on the dirt...just so you know. I don’t want anyone losing sleep over my erosion problems. But on another note, I’m having someone from GutterGuard come out next Wednesday to quote new gutters (Surprise, Shane! Love ya, mean it!).

Tonight’s plan consists of pruning the holly bushes and spreading mulch in that area and around another tree in our front yard. Just how I like to spend my Friday nights…

I hope everyone has a fantastic Memorial Day Weekend – I can’t wait to relax and not do yard work!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Happy 18th Patty!

Today is my little brother's 18th birthday...tear. They just grow up so fast.

He isn't part of my massive blog following, but I figured I'd give him a shout out - Happy 18th Birthday Pattywhacker! Love you!

Progress on the Deck and Butchering Bushes

Last night, Matt (the master deck builder) and Shane worked on the deck handrails. The one on the stairs going down to the yard is now complete; we just have to put on the balusters so I’ll wait until we do that to post pictures. This means that we now lack only the following items:
  • Handrails on the stairs going to the driveway
  • Gates at the top of both stairs
  • Lattice

I believe that Matt and Shane made plans to work on it sometime next week…I am so ready for it to be done. Have I said that before?

While the deck boys did deck stuff, I got to work on the front yard. I am so proud of myself for starting and almost finishing, I ran out of daylight, this little project all by myself. As you know, on Tuesday night we ripped out all the monkey grass from the front two beds. Last night, I sprayed the area on the left with Roundup, to hopefully kill any monkey grass that may be lurking in the dirt, and started to ‘trim’ the shrubs. I say trim, but I think that it may border on butchering. I think they look good, and look a lot neater, but I’m no plant person. Take a look for yourself:



I was going with an 'umbrella' technique that I so often hear about on 'Flip This House.' Anybody watch that show? I LOVE IT, and I love the Montelongo family on there...and his tree umbrella-ing. So, did I butcher them? Be honest, I can take it.

I also got a lot of the mulch spread, but only in the front as I ran out of daylight and it is very difficult to spread black mulch in the dark, as you can imagine. If it isn’t raining tonight, I’m going to finish the mulch in the bed on the left and start on the right side. These are prickly holly bushes, so I might not be doing too much pruning. But Shane will be available to help, so maybe he’ll do it. How that works is I point to a limb and tell him to cut it and he crawls in and chops it for me. This actually works quite well because I can stand back and take inventory of the ultimate vision. Yes, I have visions about my yard.

We are also having five more loads of black mulch and three loads of fill dirt delivered today. Why fill dirt? We have a lot of uneven areas around the foundation of our house that we need to slope down so that water doesn’t sit against the house.

Yard work sucks. But I did get to operate a hedge trimmer, which wound up being very anticlimactic. I thought that it would be more like a chainsaw, really dangerous and sharp and 'Jason'-like, but I’m certain that this thing wouldn’t even file down one of my fingernails.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

No More Monkey Grass

We have officially rid our yard of the crazy, uncontrollable monkey grass! Take a look:




Better picture of the rock:

Tomorrow will involve trimming the front hedges and spreading the rest of the mulch.

Yard work is not fun. Fo' sho'.

Monday, May 18, 2009

River Rock

We received our big shipment yesterday! Two tons of mulch, three tons of river rock and 55 bales of pinestraw…it sounds like a lot, but it actually isn’t.

Last night, Shane and I spread the river rock in the area in front of the driveway:


The pictures are dark, but you get the point. I will try to get some better shots in the daylight. Also, the rock looks a little orange, but I think that is the cast off from the porch light.

I am very pleased with the turnout – what do ya’ll think? This area gets very little sun, so grass isn’t an option, and the rock provides great erosion control. You will notice that the rock stops right before the azalea bushes on the left (which Shane and I butchered trimmed on Sunday, in the rain), which we had intended to also be rock. But after seeing it, I think that we could get some bigger cobblestones or some kind of landscaping border, cordon off the rock, build up the azalea beds a little, and use black mulch over there. Not sure…just tossing around some ideas. Bottom line is that we don’t want to have to spread any more rock around – that really sucked (for Shane).

Our goal is to not spend our entire Memorial Day weekend landscaping, so we are going to try to do a little bit each night this week. I believe that Tuesday night will consist of ripping out the crazy monkey grass in the front beds and spreading the mulch. We won’t have enough mulch to cover the entire area, so I’ll have to order even more. Who thought that a TON of something was a lot? This girl did…but apparently I was wrong.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Ready for the Weekend

I am so ready for the weekend…for the first time in over a month, we are not planning to work on the deck all weekend, we aren’t sick, and we don’t have any plans…other than to relax and hang out. Ahhhh! We are planning to get started on the yard on Sunday…but more of a prep job for these new elements:

That’s right! I ordered river rock for in front of the driveway, pinestraw for the backyard, and mulch for the front beds! I’m unusually excited about yard work. We'll see if this excitement continues after the cocktails that I plan on consuming tonight...

Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Mid-Month Goal Check-In

Let’s see how I’m faring on day 14 of this month…and by the way, I do recognize that this isn’t exactly mid-month, but close enough.

  1. Finish reading Breaking Dawn – Currently on page 487…almost done.

  2. Organize office files – Not done.

  3. Paint front door – If it will stop raining long enough, I plan to paint the front door black on Sunday.

  4. Paint kitchen trim – I’m dreading this…but I’ll try for Saturday.

  5. Paint kitchen and bathroom ceilings – I’ll do this when I paint the kitchen trim.

  6. Paint master bath and shower room – More than likely, this is going to roll to June.

  7. Get bamboo shade for kitchen – need to go to Wal-Mart, because they are the cheapest there, but the closest one to my house is absolutely frightening…and SO FAR down the East/West connector that I have to bring a snack and fill up twice.

  8. Sign up for 401K – So, I’ll just be honest that this goal basically equates to “Give away money out of your paycheck so that you can live on meager paychecks when your 70.” Not too anxious to knock this one out, but I did receive my PIN in the mail the other day.

  9. Figure out Breck medical bills – Yeah, again…’Give away money to a place whose debt collectors rarely call, and that my stupid insurance should have covered at 100% anyway.’ Enter the Michael Moore ‘Sicko’ movie…

  10. Make 1 new piece of jewelry – Yep, I’m going to do this. I’m thinking of something like this:

    Love that yellow!

Also, I’ve ‘ordered’ some stuff for the yard that will be delivered on Monday…EXCITING! And the type of stuff that I ordered can’t just sit around, so that means that landscaping the entire yard is on the calendar and within our sight!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Holes & Camelbaks

Our house’s holes have been repaired…thank god! Justin came by last week and repaired three holes: the huge gaping one on the side, one under the shingles in the back and one under the shingles in the front. I have no idea how a rodent or pest would be able to know that there was an entry point under the shingles, but I’m definitely glad that it’s fixed. Neither of us has been in the attic to see what’s going on up there, but on a good note – we don’t smell anything, which means that nothing is dead up there. Awesome.

On a side note, Shane and I bought these new Camelbak water containers this weekend and I absolutely love it. It has a straw in it which makes it so much easier to drink my 64 ounces, but you have to bite down on the straw and then suck…it’s like a little game that makes drinking water fun.

I’m planning to update on my goals tomorrow…a mid-month check-in. It’s going to be exciting and you won’t want to miss it. :)

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


Must-watch movie alert! I'll preface this by saying that I am NOT a Michael Moore fan, and a staunch Republican to boot, but after Shane's recommendation to watch this movie...I'm definitely a fan of Michael Moore's 'Sicko' documentary. In a nutshell, this documentary is about the American vs. foreign health care systems and it is a huge eye-opener. Why are people denied coverage? Doesn't my HMO have my best interest in mind? I don't know that I'll completely change my political views, but maybe Hilary wasn't as big of an idiot as I thought...

I know that this movie is currently running on The Movie Channel, but if you don't have this channel - go rent it. Now.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Cable: Don’t Call a Professional…

Because you can do it yourself! This story is a little old, but I was just looking through some pics and realized that I never shared the story of how Shane and I, mostly Shane, rerouted the cable in our living room.

The problem started out as a cable wire taped to walls and fished over to the other side of the room. The solution began with calling Charter Cable to come out and move the cable line under the house so that it ‘poked’ out in the right spot. They basically just grabbed a really long piece of cable, ran it around the house (in the backyard) and popped it through an existing cable hole through the brick. It had special tools to fish that through…foreshadowing.

The cable line that was buried a good 1 centimeter in the backyard was quickly dug up, excuse me, dusted off, by Beau and Brother and chewed until we had no cable in the living room. No cable on a NASCAR Sunday is not a good thing in my house…Shane has to watch the race in the bedroom – unacceptable.

So, Shane decides that instead of calling Charter and paying another $85 for them to do crap work, he would get under the house and figure out how to re-route the cable. (Our house is a crawlspace and all of our cable wires are run underneath the house using a splitter and holes drilled in the floors…very complex setup.) He pulls the remaining piece of cable from the living room through the pre-existing hole and goes into the crawlspace and disconnects that piece from the splitter. Then, he puts on a new cable, runs the wire through one of our crawlspace vents (yes, it looks like a vent that would be in your floor – but it is on the side of our house) and up through that pre-existing hole again. What happens? Well, the dogs find that and chew it. They were about a hairs length away from the pound at this point.

And the conclusion of this story, finally, is that we run another cable the same way (through the vent), and put stuff in front of it so that the dogs can’t get it. We knew we were building a deck so why bother trying to figure out a new way to do this? I’ll tell the rest of this in pics...
Drilling a hole from the outside to the inside of the house, because we needed a bigger hole to get through and didn’t have the proper ‘fishing tools.’
Using the non-proper fishing tool (which is the wand from our blinds, duct taped to the cable and pulled through) to fish the wire in.
Our completed product, with a big gaping space both inside and outside (we welcome all critters!), but overall a very conveniently and cheap cable line move.
Don’t try this at home. Which I’m sure you wouldn’t, but seriously – don’t.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Deck: Still In Progress

Yep, rolling into a month of deck construction. It has taken a LOT longer than I anticipated, which I believe that I have mentioned before, but I can really see why. It takes a lot of measuring, and leveling, and squaring, and on and on and on...too much math for me. I can't even add.

Items complete:
  • Deck boards (the actual structure)
  • Handrails
  • Balisters on 3/4 of the deck
  • Stairs

Still to be completed:

  • Stair handrails and balisters
  • Gates
  • Plastic sheeting under the deck
  • Side door handrails and balisters
  • Mailbox

I'll hopefully have pics soon! Stay tuned!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009


So our snake wrangler, Justin, who comes to our house every other day to check on our snake problem, has officially announced our home snake-free, but he has noticed an increase in ‘rodent activity.’ His plan is to patch all of the holes (I say ‘all the holes,’ but there are only like three) by the end of the week and start catching ‘things’ after that. He will continue to come back every other day because Shane, nor I, will be touching any rat traps, or excavating dead mice, or even going in the attic for that matter. We now both have an attic phobia.

When Justin was over yesterday, he set bait stations in the backyard, which has proved to be a pain because we now can’t just let the dogs roam out there (but I’ll TOTALLY take that over having rats). I assume that there is rat poison in the bait station and that just doesn’t seem to be a good situation. I would be embarrassed of having ‘rat stations’ in my backyard, but I don’t even think that my next door neighbors would notice…they are, well…they suck. Shane and I attempted to give them the heads up on the snake in the attic last week...the guy came out of his side door (we weren’t sure if he spoke English) and Shane and I said ‘Hey!’ You know the ‘Hey!’ that ends in a high pitch tone indicating that you would like to say something else after that? Well he responds ‘Hey’ and goes inside and slams the door behind him. Whatever dude, Sammy is packing his spend the night bag and coming over.

Monday, May 4, 2009

May Goals

So, since my goal completion rate for April was a measly 37.5%, I’m going to continue to list my monthly goals in an effort to get better. I’m shooting for at least an 80% completion rate…yikes. Here they are:

May Goals
  1. Finish reading Breaking Dawn
  2. Organize office files
  3. Paint front door
  4. Paint kitchen trim
  5. Paint kitchen and bathroom ceilings
  6. Paint master bath and shower room
  7. Get bamboo shade for kitchen
  8. Sign up for 401K
  9. Figure out Breck medical bills
  10. Make 1 new piece of jewelry

You will notice that some items have been scaled back. I have the tendency of shooting for the moon on things like this, so hopefully this is more realistic and complete-able…that’s not a word.

Friday, May 1, 2009

April Goals: What Did We Accomplish?

Let's take a look at how well I did on last month's goals...

  1. Finish reading Eclipse and Breaking Dawn – I finished Eclipse and am half way through Breaking Dawn. I’ve got to be honest that the ‘new addition’ that came along in the book almost lost me…I mean, really? Really?

  2. Organize office files – Didn’t happen. Moving this to May’s goals.

  3. Build new deck – Well, the weekend project is officially going on three weeks. It should be done this weekend, so I’m going to say ‘Mission Accomplished’ on this one.

  4. Paint hallway bath and mirror – Done! I’ll share pics next week.

  5. Paint kitchen trim – Nope. Moving this to May’s goals, as well.

  6. Develop front and back yard landscaping plan – Done! Take a look at them here.

  7. Blog 5 days per week – Ha! I blogged a total of 14 times in April…coming to a total of 2.14 times per week. I’ll be better in May.

  8. Get bamboo shade for kitchen – Couldn't find one...moving to May.

  9. Sign up for 401K – Attempted. I tried to sign up and didn’t have my PIN, so they are mailing a new one to me…I knew I shouldn’t have waited until April 29 to move on this one!

  10. Figure out Breck medical bills – I’ve already put this off for 15 months…what’s one more?!?

  11. Make 3 new pieces of jewelry – I have some ideas…but no finished pieces.

  12. Send security certificate to HOI – Done! Saved a whopping $42 a year on my homeowners insurance. Woot Woot!

So, 4.5 out of 12 isn't bad...actually, yeah, it is. I'm going to kick butt and take names in May...I can feel it!

And this is for Shane, just because. Because it's TOTALLY true. Love ya, mean it!