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.

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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.)

 

 

Somewhere In the Middle

Things can take a while when you’re doing the work yourself. Remember in early July when the MR Started remodeling the guest bathroom? I showed you a few pictures for inspiration and then a little later Teased with photos of the tile we’d picked out.

Well, I’d love to say it’s all finished, but these things take time. Parts, and tiles, and sinks have to be ordered. The plumber has to come, and then he has to come again. While the sink and counter, and lights, and tile behind the commode are all still on order, in process, or waiting to be completed, the shower is finished.

Sweet Miss was home for the weekend, and she gave the new shower the thumbs up. So it’s as nice to use as it is beautiful to look at.

Sadly, my photos don’t do it justice. Something about the confined space of a bathroom combined with glass, mirrors, and low light make it very hard to photograph.

New Shower 2

I should have taken pictures before the doors went up—the sleek, glass doors, that roll smoothly back and forth and are pretty awesome. It took a lot of patience and multiple cuts, but the MR put in a wonderful shelf to keep soaps, shampoos, and other potions neat and tidy.

And just take a look at the new shower system that incorporates gentle overhead rain, and a hand-held wand.

New Shower

It really is quite lovely, and makes the green carpet in the bedroom next to it look even more crazy. Carpeting all the bedrooms is on the to-do list for this fall.

I’ll share a few more photos when the entire job is complete. Looking at it makes you want to be a guest at our house, doesn’t it?

Any bathroom remodel or tile jobs to share?

 

July Is Gone

I know you’ve heard that all it does is rain in Seattle, that the inhabitants are frightened when they see a yellow orb in the sky, that we have a dozen names for what most people just call rain. Well, there’s some truth to all of that, but that doesn’t cover July.

Sure summer doesn’t start till somewhere around the 8th of the month, but then we have warm, sunny days, with glorious sunshine. Mount Rainier is out in all its glory, and northwesterners are ready to play. But not this year. We’ve had a lot of gray days with just a few true summer days.

When you can’t frolic in the sun, you have a lot more time for projects. The MR, with his summer off, has been a busy guy. One Saturday, while I was working at the yarn shop, he was building the Garden Box Update. I’d love to tell you that the new addition is filled with dirt and overflowing with vegetables. We have a pumpkin doing well in the corner; we’ll wait for next year for the other.

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That same weekend, the MR took on Bambi. Remember Oh Deer when I found one of our plum trees ravaged?

OD Broken Plum Tree

He’s zip-tied 10-foot lengths of pipe from our well redo to the posts and added taller netting. Friends commented on our fortress. Yes, we are doing battle, and with the number of apples and blueberries we’ve picked this week, we just might be winning.

And now for the truly beautiful, exciting project. It’s Started; we’re on to bathroom remodel number three in this house. All the green tile is gone, Marty the plumber came and dealt with replumbing the shower, the cement board is up, and just yesterday, the MR started tiling. It’s going to be beautiful.

I’m so glad my guy does his homework. When he takes on a project, he researches the heck out of it. He’s redone the showers in every home we’ve lived in and knows a thing or two by now. That’s why he was so surprised when he removed the tile and found dry wall. The experts say, you’re tile and grout will leak, use a protective barrier. What were they thinking?

The slogan on this cement board just makes me smile.

Cement Board

Now while the MR is busy with all his stuff, what have I been doing? I’ve been enjoying the produce from our garden and the farmers market. There’s nothing like fresh ingredients to serve up Good Simple Food. Last night, it was onions and broccoli from the garden, carrots and beans from the farmer’s market, and some leftover BBQ’ed veggies sauteed together to round out burgers for dinner.

With people on vacation, I’ve been putting in extra hours at the yarn shop which leads to lots of knitting and crocheting. You can check out some of my projects On the Needles. (You really should just so you can see Baby Girl and Cocoa modeling my “shoulderette” pattern. I designed it to show off lovely collarbones and add just a layer of warm on a cool evening.)

Speaking of yarn shops, Quintessential Knits moved one block over the weekend. I’ve seen some of the lovely new yarn, and the owner says we have lots of specials and surprises coming out this month. I was rather pleased with this Viroqua Cowl I knitted as a sample.

Umpqua Cowl

And what about A Lovely Jumble of flowers on the hillside or our crazy 5th of July parties? Alas, the poppy seeds are still on my desk, but the Russian sage the MR planted last year is nearly knee-high. If we’re lucky, some day it may look like this—giant, frangrant, gorgeous, filled with bees making honey.

Russian Sage

OK, so that was eastern Washington, which is a much dryer and warmer climate, but I can dream. The MR says if it gets that big, it’ll cover up the retaining wall. Maybe mounds of Russian sage would make a pretty barrier around the orchard—deer don’t like sage you know.

Me and the MR spent a few days wine tasting in Chelan last week. Good wine, good food, nice people, and a few days away with Baby Girl in charge. It was delightful.

Me & the MR

And finally, I just have to show this picture of Sweet Miss.

B Bubbles

She’ll be 22 in just over a week. (That’s years, not months.) I shared with you our deck woes in Not Those Kind of Bubbles. The deck looks great; our deck guy, Isidro, does a great job. Now if the sun will cooperate, I’d like to spend a little time out there.

How was your July? Any big plans for August?