The Power of Technology

When I was a kid, my dad would be working on some project around the house and usually wind up needing a part. This was before the age of big-box stores, but he had a go-to place—McLendon Hardware.  They always had what he needed.

Fast forward a year or two, and my how life has changed. Our 20-year-old faucet in the shower started dripping. It’s not the kind of sound you long to hear in the middle of the night. So the MR put his dad on the case. Unfortunately, we don’t have any documentation, and he couldn’t find any registration or markings telling the model number.

Hmm, what to do next? After talking to the help desk at Koehler, Papa Larry had Sweet Miss take a picture with his phone of the part, so he could then email it to the help desk, and they could identify the faucet and what we would need.

Before you know it, they were shipping out the replacement valve, and the MR installed it earlier this week.

 

Now we can enjoy a peaceful night’s sleep.

While a cell phone picture and email worked out for the shower, there are times old-fashioned is best. The MR ordered a tune-up kit for the riding lawn mower that matched up with the model but had the wrong parts. The guy online from Florida couldn’t help us; they don’t make a kit for that model he said. The lady at the local John Deere dealer in Snohomish knew exactly what we needed. She said she’d set aside one for the guys, so they could come and pick it up.

Computers are a good thing, but sometimes a real person is what you need.

 

 

Chaos in the Name of Progress

Remember way back when in February when I told you we were getting carpet? Well this was the week it finally arrived. But why make it simple with just one event? Let’s add spring break for the girls, shopping trips, denist/doctor visits, dinners out with friends, dinners in with family, game night, trips to the train station, the exterminator visit, sinks in the entry, pumping the septic tank, and moving all of the furniture out of three of the bedrooms.

Now that’s a crazy kind of week.

We were lucky in that the master bedroom has a built-in platform bed, so all we had to move was a chair, the hope chest, and some clothes from the closets. The rest of the rooms were a little more intense. I, fortunately, had a meeting at work, and the MR and the girls took care of all the heavy lifting while I was gone. When I went to start a load of laundry, I was surprised to find an antique ice box blocking the way—oh well. And let’s just say the sewing room is filled to the brim with creative endeavors.

Enough of chaos. Don’t you want to see our beautiful new carpet? The sewing room looks so inviting when it’s empty.

Cocoa, I said the room was empty.

I’ve decided not to bring the broken dresser back in, and the MR talked me out of the bed. Now I have to make some decisions about storage. I spent a few hours yesterday, finishing up some projects. Baby Girl is headed back to school this weekend, so it’s less imperative that the upstairs is all back in order. I’m hoping to show you a new and improved creative space in a few weeks.

Our room is basically back together, and I’m rather in love with this new carpet. It is so soft. Even the little step up to the bed is soft.

The gray of the carpet matches the gray of the flooring wonderfully. We’ve finally irradicated the baby blue and emerald green carpets of the past.

The guest bedroom probably has the biggest transformation going from emerald to beige carpet. It’s amazing how much it’s lightened things up in there. But since the MR had to put the queen-sized bed back together after a long day at work, and I’m off this morning to more shopping, Baby Girl’s hair appointment, and “girl time”, you’re just going to have to wait.

Now for those of you who like details, we had Haight Carpet in Woodinville install Mohawk Natural Splendor II in Stormwatch in the master bedroom. In the guest room and sewing room, it was the same carpet in Morning Mist. Since we have radiant heat on the main floor, they recommended the “Victorious” 10-pound pad. With our oddly-shaped rooms, funky closets, and built-in steps around the bed, the installation took most of a day. They arrived at 8:30 am and were gone by 4 pm. It’s only been a day, but so far so good.

Some of you may be wondering about that big list of things that I glossed over at the beginning. The septic tank was simply maintenance. It’d been three years, so we figured it was time. They did encourage me to switch to a liquid dishwasher soap and spread out the loads of laundry. Old habits are hard to break.

The good news from the exterminator was that it was just mice. The bad news was that it’s mice. We live in the middle of 30 acres; it’s a problem we’ll have to deal with. After some of the horror stories he shared, I’m feeling rather thankful. We had Ben from ProTech Pest Control come out to assess our home and install a trapping system. With a few repairs, the situation should be under control.

On a happy note, the MR reinstalled the powder room sink, while I took Sweet Miss to the train station. I didn’t get any pictures, but I can assure you that the drywall behind the sink surrounds the pipes perfectly. The MR did a great job.

So what’s new at your house? 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

A Look Back at September & October 2016

Maybe it’s spending the first part of September in Italy, or moving Baby Girl back to Oregon, or the MR being home so much more, or turning 50, or teaching classes on skills I’m really still learning, or the record-breaking rains we’ve been getting, whatever it is, I’ve been falling short on the blog lately.

I had big plans to share the beauty of Florence and Rome, to deck out the house for fall, and tidy up all those cluttered spots. It hasn’t happened. I sent some photos to my aunt and dropped a bag of the girls clothes off at a collection box. We’re celebrating small victories here.

So here’s a recap of what I did manage to blog about for the last few months plus a little extra cause I’m just that kind of person.

I’m rather excited about our dining room table and chairs that I talked about in An Upgraded Dining Experience. Do they look great? Are they perfect for the space? I’ll let you know when they arrive. It’s so hard to be patient. We also bought a recliner for my dad’s birthday. He’s still waiting, too. That’s what you get when it’s not mass produced.

A lot of fall seems to center around food. Waste Not those crabapples from our friends’ weekend place at the lake. I’d love to tell you how amazing that applesauce is, but when I pulled it out of the freezer, it was really sweet potato butter, which I’ve been enjoying in my yogurt, but I didn’t want to pull out another poorly labeled container before I finished the sweet potatoes. I really can’t eat that much yogurt.

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You’d think I’d be able to recognize the bright pink color. We did try the broccoli I mentioned in Saving the Harvest with mixed reviews. It tastes quite pickled as pickled broccoli ought to do, and we don’t like pickles. What was I thinking? I guess I was just tired of broccoli salad two or three times a week.

Grandma MeeMee was asking about the sage I used in the Onion Jam. It was just regular culinary sage, an herb that deer don’t like to nibble. We’ve had great luck with it here.

common-sage

I’m waiting for Sweet Miss to come home to try the beet and carrot slaw; cross your fingers that we’ll enjoy that more than the broccoli. I’ve been happy with our Fall Harvest. We still have broccoli, carrots, and some scraggly lettuce. I’m waiting for a hard freeze and the vines to die back before bringing up one really big pumpkin that has yet to turn orange. Then I can sow a cover crop of old seeds leftover from past years and let the garden be until spring.canned-goods

Our Trees with Attitude will probably have to wait for spring’s new growth before being pruned into shape. I’m hoping the months of ugly will pay off.

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I also shared in Inspiration and Disappointment how we were excited about making more wine from our grapes after visiting a vineyard in Tuscany.

id-wine-barrels

Well, it was probably raccoons that had a party with our grapes and tore up the vines by the time we got back from our trip. Me and the MR opened our bottle of homemade wine last weekend. After a sip apiece, we decided it was no great loss that we couldn’t make more wine, and the MR poured it down the drain. We need to refine our skills as winemakers or make grape jelly instead.

We saw tons of white houses on the cliffs of Capri in A Dime a Dozen.

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And then I shared a bird’s-eye-view or our home in The Colors of Fall.

fall-collage

 

The drive home really is beautiful this time of year. Of course, the MR spends hours trying to keep the driveway clear, but it does give him something to do.

 

I’m just teasing; the MR is always a busy guy. He has been out making sure the blackberries don’t come back after hiring a brushcutter to Clear Out all the brambles.

co-tractor

One happy surprise has been the reappearance of foxgloves. Perhaps they were being choked out by all the blackberries. I hope they’ll be putting on a show next spring, and I have seeds to sow from MeeMee and Papa.

The MR also bought new garage doors. I’m a girl. I’m not into garages. I don’t spend a lot of time there. They’re not really my thing, but these Garage Doors Have Style.

gd-new

It’s so nice to go out to the garage and not have to turn on the horrible, buzzing, overhead light. The new doors look great and make the whole space look so much larger.

inside-garage

See, I pulled both cars out of the garage to take this picture just for your. The MR was suprised to come home and find cars everywhere. But that’s how much I care about you guys.

He also Finished Up the last of the guest bathroom remodel. Cocoa ran into a bit of problem in the woods yesterday, so I got to try out the shower, or she did, however you want to look at it. It really did turn out nice. The gray counters look much warmer in real life, and the whole feel of the room is much sleeker and more modern.

guest-bath-collage

Don’t look at the green carpet. It’s going away—I promise. Maybe I’ll make that a new year’s resolution. Baby Girl needs a chance to clean out her room, so we can replace all the bedroom carpets at the same time.

And last but not least that leaves us with the The Big, the Bad, the Broken where one broken window was replaced perfectly and the other was broken as it was being replaced. The new window has arrived, and the installers are on the calendar for next week. Then I’ll call the window film company; eventually it’ll all come together.

When I was crabby about the broken window, I did share some fancy socks I’d made for Sweet Miss. Since then I’ve been working on socks for Baby Girl. They’re in a bright green yarn with speckles of yellow for my favorite University of Oregon student. Maybe I should start calling her Duckling instead of BG?

Maybe the window, the window films, the new table, the new chairs, and my dad’s recliner will all magically arrive before Thanksgiving, but I’m not holding my breath. Perhaps it’s time to pull out the Thankfulness Tree. I think I need a little reminder these days.

How was your fall? Are you shocked that November is already upon us?

 

 

 

 

Finishing Up

The MR finished the guest bathroom remodel earlier this week. First it was the shower.

New Shower

Then it was the tile under the window.

Commode & Tile

That left the counter, the sink and the light fixture. The counter, sink, and faucet were a package deal, but someone failed to mention that to the manufacturer. The store received our custom-cut counter without a sink which put everything on hold for a while.

Meanwhile, the MR had bought and installed a new light fixture. After our old, dim lighting system, it was a bit on the bright side, so he also added a dimmer. We don’t want our guests to feel like they’re being interoggated, or do we?

light

If we do this again, I’ll have to take pictures before he installs them in a very dark room with no windows.

The sink arrived before we left on our trip, but the MR decided to wait until after we got home to install it—just in case. He didn’t want the housesitter left without a working bathroom. Turns out he was right. While the counter fit perfectly, the sink was a bit deeper than the old one, and the stopper was too low to fit with the current plumbing. He ordered a pop-up stopper which came in the mail this week, and now we’re good to go.

sink-counter

He used the same accent tile featured in the shower as the back splash.

sink

Our new bathroom is so subdued compared to where we started.

Sink

I’m hoping our guests appreciate it as much as I do. The MR has been checking a few other things off his to-do list this week, but that will have to wait till next time. You’re going to be amazed.

Any bathroom updates at your house? Remodeling horro stories to share?

 

Celebrating August

It’s been a pretty awesome month with family and friends and a lot of sunshine.

Celebrate

We celebrated Milestones with the girls.

Anniversary Canvas

Dealt with a proliferation of broccoli and cucumbers in Ain’t It Funny and saved some Herb-alicious goodness for the cold days of winter.

Rosemary Cubes Closeup

We did a little shopping and Super-Sized a rug, Problem Solved with a new floor lamp, and Added a Little Drama with some new nightlights.

ALD Light on Maple at Night

The MR has been busily remodeling the guest bedroom bath. I Teased You with a glimpse of tile, shared the newly glorified shower Somewhere In the Middle, and showed you Bit by Bit how it’s all coming together.

New Shower

I dreamed a little about a backyard waterfall—Just Imagine, and dreamed too of winning a Fitbit challenge against my 22-year-old. It’s just A Little Friendly Competition, but I have been getting in more steps lately. I think I’ve won one challenge in the last three weeks. I do have a few years on her and tend to go to bed before my Sweet Miss. Who knows, maybe I’ll actually lose a few pounds.

The MR has picked up the new sink/counter combo for the guest bathroom, and I do have plans to make up those new throw pillows I bought the fabric for way back in June. We’ve done a little shopping, a little planning, Baby Girl is moving back to school in a few weeks, and I have a few surprises to throw your way. September is always a good month.

How is your fall shaping up? Are you in the full back-to-school mode?

Bit by Bit

The MR has informed me this is his last tile job ever. With five bathroom remodels, two patios, and one kitchen backsplash under his belt, I guess he can decide it’s time to call it quits.

As you saw earlier this week, the shower looks amazing, and Sweet Miss assured us that it works great, too. But the countertop the MR ordered weeks ago still hasn’t arrived. When he called the store, apparently the counter was shipped without a sink. Well, it’s not much good without the sink, so they’d sent it back, and we wait.

With that on hold, he decided to finish the bit of tiling behind the commode. Unfortunately, some of the tools he’d lent out hadn’t quite made it home. My brother brought them back last weekend, so the MR was all ready to get started. Of course the saw went out mid-project, and he had to get creative.

No worries—he’s a “can-do” kind of guy, and the tiling turned out lovely as always.

Commode & Tile

It does look really quite nice in person (when you’re not dealing with back-lit, tiny spaces, and bad overhead lights).

Tile Closeup

A little sparkle, a little shine in a subdued color—bliss.

So now all that’s left is the countertop, sink, and lighting up-grade. (I’m sure that’ll make my photography oh-so much better.)

Sink & Shower

Yes, the sink really is that ugly.

Sink

And now, because I’m feeling a little bit nostalgic, let’s go way back to when we bought this place. Remember the faux-finishing?

Overnight guests are treated with a green and blue medley.

Overnight guests are treated with a green and blue medley.

Imagine being surrounded by those walls. How did the MR ever talk me in to buying this place? We’ll never know.

I hear bathroom updates are in the works for a friend and another just finished a remodel. Any stories to share?

(If you need tips on how to fussy-cut tile, check out another blast from the past when the MR tiled the same area in the main floor powder room in A Little Tile Update. That time the sink was delivered three times before it arrived in one piece. Cross your fingers for better luck this go round.)