Life Is Messy

Sweet Miss’ Fella shared an article on Facebook last week. While the source was a mountain biker, it promised to share general truths, so I figured I could relate. It was actually saying what I’ve been hearing from lots of sources recently. What you see online may be true, but there’s a lot of garbage stuff that happens in life that doesn’t make into the story. Sometimes, you just want to show the smiles and not the tears; the beauty and not the mess.

So, in an effort to embrace the messier parts of life, I’m going to share with you a little story I like to call “In Search of the Big Stink.” It all started last Thursday, when I noticed a certain odor in the entry near the powder room after I got up in the morning. Maybe we needed to have the septic tank drained, maybe Cocoa had been very naughty, or maybe something had died. I was leaning towards the last.

As the work week wrapped up and the evil scent remained, the MR got busy. First, he drilled holes, cut out sections of sheet rock, and removed the sink from the powder room. The smell seemed to be somewhere in the walls between the powder room, our bathroom, and the MR’s closet.

After talking to some local plumbers, he was fairly convinced it wasn’t a plumbing issue or a leaky pipe. Eventually, the MR drilled exploratory holes in the walls and found the section where the smell was coming from. Then it was just a matter of locating the source. Eventually, after crawling around under the house, he found a dead rodent, removed it, and we were expecting the smell to subside.

Sometimes things take time. Wednesday, I came home to find piles of insulation outside, and yesterday, the MR sprinkled the remaining insulation in that area with carpet fresh which should help with the lingering odor.

Meanwhile this week, I found mouse dropping on the dryer and upstairs. This has been an issue off and on since we moved in. We’ve decided it’s time to talk to a professional. While I was looking for recommendations, I noticed you can adopt feral cats to deal with mice. You just have to provide some type of shelter and food. It could be worth looking into, but I worry about coyotes, and Cocoa, and other critters. These would have to be really tough feral cats.

Now that the search is over, the MR is perfecting his texturing skills. I hope we have some touch up paint.

See it’s not all goodness and light around here. Sometimes it’s mouse poop and stink. It’s all good, as long as we keep our sense of humor.

I’d love to hear your stories of when life gets messy…we can’t be the only ones.





Our New Lawn Ornament

On Wednesday when I woke up, the MR greeted me with the news that the well guys were coming. I wasn’t too concerned about it. I had a busy day planned.

First there was ladies’ Bible study, then I was going to drop in at the library and pick up some books, stop by the store and buy some of my favorite tomato soup for lunch, and then teach a class on blocking at the local yarn shop. I figured the well guys would have wrapped up work by the time I got home. But that wasn’t meant to be.

Now let’s start back at the beginning.  The well has been an issue since day one; it was almost the deal-breaker that stopped us from buying this place. Just before the sale, during the inspection process, we discovered that the output was really low. The original owner couldn’t believe it, so he went in halves with us on a cleaning procedure. That made a big difference, but pressure has continued to be an problem. And let’s be real here. This is western Washington, we live not too far from a rain forest, water is plentiful here especially this time of year.

The well guys have mentioned the need for a new well which is an expensive undertaking with an uncertain outcome. They’re have been advances in well upkeep and the company’s equipment over the past five years, so we decided to try a “cleaning” before doing anything drastic like digging a new one.

And that’s what they were here for to air-jet the perforations and hopefully increase output. We woke to pouring down rain, but they seemed to be dealing with it fine.


By afternoon when I arrived home, the sun was shining brightly and the MR was down in the meadow discussing the amazing progress. Apparently they’d tripled the outflow. Sounds like it was the perfect choice for now. I figured they’d be wrapping things up soon. I first realized something was wrong when the MR ran inside looking for his gloves and unceremoniously locking Cocoa away from the action.

When I stepped out on the deck, I had a bird’s-eye-view of a very large truck stuck in our meadow.


They’d laid down the pavers from our old raised beds that we’d removed last spring. These still weren’t enough to get it out of there, so the MR came to the rescue with his pickup. It looked a lot like David towing Goliath.


I had a few tense moments watching the back of their truck fishtail toward my garden and worrying whether the truck would leap forward and bump the fence or the fellow adjusting the blocks.


The tennis court turned out to be a short reprieve. The well guys needed to add their trailer to the load. We had our fingers crossed that they’d be able to make it.


No such luck. The MR brought his truck around again to tow it out.


This time it just wasn’t enough. They called the office and had them bring out boards with traction and were finally able to leave long after dark. I canceled our evening plans, had dinner in the oven, and a glass of wine ready for the MR when he came in three hours later.

The meadow is pretty torn up, but the MR says he’ll rake it smooth and the grass will cover everything come spring. All I have to do is put a few blocks back in place and my garden will be set.


We’re never living somewhere with a well again, or so I’ve been told.

Do you have a stuck story to share?





Garage Door Style

Have you ever given much thought to your garage doors? At our last home, they were the most forward part of the house—a huge part of the look of the place as you approached. Here, they’re tucked away. You see the east side of the house and deck, then you drive past the portico and the glass front doors, and finally at the far end, you come to the garage.

They were big, and white, and pretty uninspiring, but the were just garage doors, right? When the rest of the house looks good, who care about the garage doors?


If you take a closer look, they’re were starting to show their age.


The panels were beginning to warp, and they could use a paint job. But like I said, I didn’t give them a thought. It was the MR who decided we needed something new.

You see, he’s been taking some time off work since June and has spent a lot more time at home. While the desk set up is great after the sun goes down, or on a cloudy day, there’s a lot of time in the summer when it’s shining in your face and using the computer is anything but fun.

He’s thinking of setting up a home office in the old sewing room located off the garage, and more light in the garage might be nice. Currently, it’s pretty dark with an obnoxiously noisy overhead light.


The worms and the garbage cans don’t seem to mind, but the MR was thinking an upgrade was in order. And boy howdy did he choose a nice upgrade.


These doors are beautiful. The grid and glass carry on the pattern of grid and glass throughout the rest of the house. While the glass appears clear in the photo, it’s actually white satin-etched, so it offers privacy while letting in a ton of light. The rails are insulated, and the representative from Garage Tech told us it would provide better insulation than the old wood doors. While we have a space heater for use in the old sewing room, the garage can get quite cold during the winter.

The old door for the third bay didn’t have an automatic opener. So the MR upgraded to an electric one. I’m not the one who mows the lawn, but I have occasionally been called upon to open that door and just pushing a button has a certain appeal.

I know the outside looks gorgeous, but let’s move to the inside.


It’s crazy the amount of light these new doors let in. I know you’re dying to see the third bay. The MR has been cleaning, and organizing, and now it looks amazing.


This side of the garage has three large windows, so it’s always been much brighter than the smaller side, but now it’s crazy bright.


For the monthly wrap up, I’ll try to get a few photos in different light so you can see the opaque quality of the doors. I might even move my car and Baby Girl’s, so you can see how big the garage feels with the new doors. Simply adding light makes everything feel bigger.

When we moved in, we had to buy a new garage door opener. The old one failed while that move-in day, and we bought one from a local company. We decided to work with this same business, Garage Tech out of Bothell, for the new doors and were pleased with their products and services.

Glass-paneled doors make a lovely addition to our modern exterior.

Have you replaced your garage doors? What have you done to refresh your homes exterior?






The Big, The Bad, The Broken

We love the windows, we love the view they afford, and we love the light they let in. Let’s be honest, the windows are what makes this house so special.Great Room Closer

But they can be a bit of a headache. During the cool months, I love the extra heat they allow in, but during the summer, it’s another story. It can be 75-degrees outside and 85-degrees inside. The glare is so obnoxious, we’ve had to don hats upon occasion. That’s why we went the window film route. (You can check that out here and here.)

The films have been great. They really cut down on the heat absorption and glare, but… Isn’t there always a but? Window films can cause problems. While they’re not insured for fogging, they are for breakage, and lucky us we had two windows break. Last fall is when we noticed them, and we decided to wait until spring in case the cold weather caused any other problems.

I know I said spring, but this has been the headache that never seems to end. The film company had me contact the glass company. The glass company comes to measure, but didn’t bring a large enough ladder. Come on guys; you’ve been here before. Once the glass was measured properly, they tried to order it, but the glass company no longer made one of the larger sizes that we needed.

Sadly, we were out of town, and they didn’t want to order the glass until we’d signed off on another pane from a different manufacturer that was slightly different in hue. We scheduled a meet up in September, and then the glass had to be ordered and an install time scheduled. Can you see why this is lasting forever?

Meanwhile, the film company is pushing to have the films put on before installation. Last time we had the windows replaced, there was a problem, and one was broken. My question was who would pay for the film then. It ended up being a mute point in that the glass company felt the films could pose a safety threat to their men. The film company was all like I never heard of such a silly thing.

Anyways, last Tuesday the glass guys showed up with ladders, gloves, and two very large panes of glass.


I don’t know about you, but three grown men on ladders, huffing and puffing, using colorful language, and carrying heavy things makes me nervous. Perhaps I should have been. They were able to take out the old broken window and break the new window as they were replacing it. At least the new one isn’t as cracked as the old one. To be fair, the windows are large, slightly off, the house is over 20 years old, things have shifted, and I’m totally glad they’re the ones doing it.

This being the smaller of the two windows they were replacing, I decided to go to knit group and let the MR hold down the fort. The second install went off without a hitch. Of course by the time the second window was removed, the sun had broken through the morning fog. It was a glorious day—just the kind of day that makes ladybugs swarm on a sunny, southern exposure with easy access to the indoors.

So in another two weeks, the new window should arrive, they’ll schedule an install time, I’ll call the film company, and schedule them, and maybe we’ll have it all taken care of by Christmas—if we’re lucky.

Meanwhile, I finished some rather lovely projects at knit group. The socks are for Sweet Miss. When your family travels to Italy for two weeks and you stay home because you’re a grown up, and have a job, and are responsible, you get a pair of hand-knit socks. The most complicated hand-knit socks I’ve ever made. The poncho/cowl/shawlette is mitered, garter stitch squares joined at an angle. I had some Noro that I knit up into tiny squares and hated, so I took it out and made something lovely in colors perfect for fall.


Any projects household projects going on forever and ever? What are you knitting?






Not Those Kind of Bubbles

When the girls were little they were fascinated by bubbles. We had a sunroom at our first house, and we’d put Sweet Miss in her walker and blow bubbles for her. Later at our next home, the neighbors had a bubble machine, and the girls would laugh and squeal as they ran through showers of bubbles. Bubbles are delightful, magical, and fascinating.

B Bubbles

Unfortunately, recently the MR found a different kind of bubble. Last summer we had the deck recoated just for routine maintenance. Well, the coating had started to bubble up, or at least that’s what we thought. Then the contractor came back and said he’d redo the half of the deck that had a problem.

All was going well, he was an honorable guy, and was going to stand behind his work. Until, he pulled up the problem areas and realized it was the original coating that had seperated from the wood of the deck. The coating he’d applied was still adhered solidly to the first layer.

B Deck Patch

He still willingly fit us into his busy schedule and did a great job first gluing down the patches, sanding, and then refinishing half the deck.

B Deck Patch 2

What changed was who paid for it. Of course, all the trouble was on the shady side of the deck during the nicest week of the summer so far. That’s OK. Cocoa has given the new deck her seal of approval.

B Back to Normal

It looks like this area could use a few potted plants to soften things up, too. Have I ever mentioned this deck is mammoth? Some day, I’ll have the insides all put together and can turn my attention to the outsides in earnest.

Any bubble stories to share?



When Everything’s Done

If you’ve ever owned a house, you know there’s always something. I was talking to someone about the blog and mentioned that we just have a lot less to do around here now that we’ve completed most of the major repairs. Just when you’re feeling good, something new pops up.

For the last few years, the dogs were sleeping in the laundry room, and the MR would get up and let them out  through the door to the deck in the mornings. Well, sometime over the winter, the door started sticking. It never opened easily, but now it became nearly impossible to open.

Well, the MR’s folks have been visiting for the last few weeks, and his mom started letting Cocoa out in the mornings. She knew the routine, so she just shoved really hard and pushed the door open. Perhaps she told Papa Larry, and next thing you know, he was on a mission.

I thought it was just the house settling. Nope. With over 20 years of wind and rain, the door had started rotting. The MR and his dad took the door down and removed the kick plate to reveal this.

WED Door and View

Shall we move in closer? I’m no carpenter, but that door looks like trouble to me.

WED Rot Removal

The guys took a trip to the hardware store for wood fill and wood. They gathered their tools and got busy.

WED Tools

After removing the rotten wood, they used wood fill and a thin sheet of wood to fill in the gaps. They clamped it all together and left it overnight.

WED Clamps

Baby Girl received a surprise when she heard plastic rattling upon her arrival home after dark.With a few coats of paint, Papa had the door looking great.

WED All Gone

And now it’s good as new.

WED Good as New

The locks a little tricky, but the door swings open with ease. Now we just have to get Cocoa to sleep in the laundry room again. She’s been taking advantage of our company and disrupting routines.

Thanks Papa Larry. It turned out great!

It’s funny how certain areas just kind of get ignored. Maybe a few potted plants would soften this area. Currently we have a bowl of water for the dog, the barbecue, and the smoker, plus some dirt for potting up plants. Now that the door looks so spiffy, it’s time to give the rest of the deck some attention.

How do you entertain your guests?