Rotten Luck

Sometime when you look at something from afar, it all looks fine. I’m one to think all is well and good, but the MR has a more discerning eye.

I think the deck is great; he says it’s falling apart. Hmm…guess whose right? I’m pretty lucky to have him around. While I might consider new curtains, I’m not that concerned about soffits. We have synergy; we’re better togther.

So when he suggested we have someone come out and look at the deck, I was totally agreeable. It seemed OK to me, but what do I know? Apparently not a lot when it comes to deck care and maintenance.

We appear to have some trouble.

The plan was to replace the 2×12 board all around the deck and remove and replace any rotting boards. Our contractors bid came in at a fairly reasonable price, and then they got started. 

We had much of the lower deck and stair landing replaced our first summer here, and we had the upper deck recoated two years ago, and half of it re-recoated last summer. How bad can it be? In a word, bad. 

Washington is a full disclosure state. When buy a home, the previous owners are required by law to tell you all about their home repair woes. This was a short sale; somehow the bank was in the middle of the deal and all that transparency wound up pretty murky. 

I thought we had a pretty clear picture of what we were getting into with our 100-page inspection report. The world is full of surprises. Turns out we’re finding all sorts of things no one told us about. 

The deck is surrounded by 38 metal posts that have drainage holes a little too high. So water sits in the bottom of the posts till the wood around them rots. Apparently, in the past they’ve replaced the wood around the posts and left them bolted into a piece of rotted wood or in some cases nothing. 

Our contractor is cutting the bolts from the bottom removing/replacing all rot, and then when we have the deck recoated in a few years, they’ll remove the bolts from the top and refasten them to solid wood—at least that’s the plan. 

Now you may be wondering how that solves the problem of the leaky metal posts; it doesn’t. So the plan is to drill a hole in the bottom of each post, attach tubing flush, and then run it back into the crawl space where it’ll drain harmlessly into the dirt. 


Our two week project has now been extended to three accompanied by a commensurate jump in price. May is turning into a noisy month. But I will feel safer once it’s all done. 


Ever have one of those projects that just kept getting bigger?

Sweep & Scrub

I’ve been looking at the front porch lately thinking it needs a little help. The daphne I bought a few years ago just isn’t thriving. I need to buy some flowers or some shade plants that would add just the right punch of color.

But did I get around to it? No. And then we were having friends over for dinner, and our front porch looked like this.

We had spider webs, and bugs, and all sorts of nasty. In an effort to keep the daphne alive, I’d does it with some worm tea that overflowed all over the porch and runner. This is not warm and welcoming.

With picking up around the house, and getting things together for company, I didn’t have time to wander around looking for a plant for the front porch, so instead I grabbed my broom and swept away the dirt and dust. One of those magic erase sponges worked wonders on the plant ring and the threshold stains. A good hosing of the outdoor runner helped get rid of the worm tea.

Is is perfect? No. Is it warm and welcoming? I think so.

That's Cocoa's thumbs up ear in the photo. She likes this place, too.

I still want to do a little shopping and find some flowers for the step, but this time I think I’ll go for annuals, so when they die I won’t feel like a failure. And maybe the pillow from the little bench remake would be a better size for the chair.

Baby Girl’s painting is getting a little worn, but I can always swap it out for another one she made. And the MR has been power washing the deck this week (think of all those white railings), so maybe I can ask him to power wash the runner, too.

So many things I could do, but for now I’m happy with my sweep and scrub.

When has a little elbow grease worked wonders for you?

You can check out other plants I’ve killed in the name of a pretty front porch here and https://bigwhitehouseonthehill.wordpress.com/2014/06/04/first-impressions/ and https://bigwhitehouseonthehill.wordpress.com/2015/03/09/not-any-other-way/

 

 

 

 

It’s Not Going Away

You know how sometimes you ignore those little nuisances hoping they’ll just disappear? We’ve been doing that lately. We have a rattle that’s been driving me crazy. Let’s say you take 10 noisy refrigerators, stick them in a tiny room in your entry, close the door and pretend you don’t hear them. That’s kind of our problem except instead of refrigerators it’s the heating system that’s making all the noise. 

It’s taken me awhile to call because it’s just a little rattle, right? Before you know it, summer will be here and we won’t even need the heating system. Besides, when I call, they ask all these hard questions like is it the boiler? Or the heat pump? It’s the closet doesn’t seem accurate enough…

So a few weeks ago, I bit the bullet and made the call. Between my dad and the MR, I had a few key phrases to throw out. It sounds like a bearing is wearing out in the heat converter system. I’m pretty sure the lady on the phone could see right through me, but she scheduled a service call.

Sometimes a rattle is way more than a rattle—ugh. We have a leak in the system, major corrosion, seized up parts, and no heat. Hmm, maybe I should have called sooner. 

Apparently the tubing that runs under our feet and heats our floors lets in air that creates rust in the system. They have a plan, and they’ll be back, and they replaced the bad pump, so we now have heat. But yes, we still have that rattle. 

At least spring truly seems to have arrived with a string of rainless days. 


Every just ignore a rattle?

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.

well-truck-at-work

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.

well-truck-stuck

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.

tacoma-pulling

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.

tacoma-pulling-in-the-tennis-court

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.

leaving-the-tennis-court

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

pulling-the-last-bit

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.

the-torn-up-meadow

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?

gd-old

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

gd-showing-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.

gd-inside

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.

gd-new

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.

gd-inside-now

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.

gd-3rd-bay-1

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.

gd-3rd-bay-2

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?