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Backyard Oasis Take One.ย 

13 Aug

Now that we’ve cleared out all the nonsense that existed in the back yard it’s time to start creating a beautifully landscaped oasis. We’ll start with some fruit trees, as they take a bit longer to produce. Went in with intent to buy 3-4 and decided for sure on an apple and pear. Now, there are so many damn varieties and we hoped we could find a Honeycrisp apple tree. Yumm! No dice. So we asked for a recommendation and the employees response was, “Dude! You gotta get the Arkansas Black Spur!” So of course with that response we had to. Then, they mention the pollination issue, something we’d never taken into account. They found us trees that were pollinating buddies and we ended up with 2 pear and 2 apple. Three of the four I’m not familiar with, but their confidence left me happy. We may have a handful of adolescent fruit next year, but I assure us all that when it becomes mature, we will not be shy of sharing. I see cobblers and pies and anything your heart desires!๐Ÿ๐ŸŽ Now, before we planted said trees we must confront our weed problem. If you recall in my last post, there was zero shit given to this property for X amount of time. First we must till and amend the soil. Then till again. Just when I think there are no more tools we could possibly need, I am sorely proven wrong! (My Dad assures me there is no such thing as enough, and thinking of my kitchen, I suppose he’s right, and James wasn’t too terribly bummed about buying a new toy!) And buy he did. I do however, recommend one if you plan any further endeavors of yard work. Rent vs Buy, worth every penny! This would’ve been painfully painful and, time consuming to do manually. โ€‹

โ€‹We went a direction we’d learned on our SD home. Sheet Mulching. LOVED the concept. Using cardboard boxes, sans any tape or glossy labels, and luckily we had a shit ton from our move, (also smart on us we didn’t just throw them away,) any-who, it consists of covering the grounds with cardboard then adding a layer about 4-6 inches of a beautiful healthy mulch. This creates a heat that essentially stifles and burns the weeds, while also breaking down the cardboard to become part of your soil. Chemical free, self composting, weed killing beauty. A much better way to enjoy your home grown fruits and veggies.ย Now let’s add a little ground cover plants, and watch them all grow.ย Time to add some fun backyard additions.๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป Someday, when we have grass, I’m getting a fucking slip-n-slide! For now, fire pit. We’re talking the real-deal-bonfire-grill-steel-fire-ring! Nestled in a beautiful Pavestone surrounding, built by James. ย ๐Ÿ”ฅWhen James went through that painful lopping, chopping, chainsaw-ing and stump grinding the damn yard, there was one tree that, as an afterthought, he decided he wanted it gone. However, revisiting that dreaded stump grinder again was, Out.Of.The.Question. So it simply became a large stump. Just need to sand the top to make it level, add a nice layer of lacquer and viola! It’ll be a proper captains chair to man the fire.ย Equipped with a swivel grill grate for your changing wants of a mesmerizing fire or some kick ass steaks and kabobs on the grill๐Ÿปโœ”๏ธ

Looking forward to some clear cool nights after this hot, dry summer.โœจ

Where the Willows Meet the Stump Grinder.ย 

3 Aug

Now that the inside of the house is pretty much squared away it’s time to turn our attention to the outside. I could spend time telling you how un-kept this property was before we purchased it, but you really need visual aids. I’ll first add that in these before and after pics, you’ll notice quite a difference in the ground color so keep in mind that the befores were taken in Dec/Jan and the afters are during one of the driest summers we’ve had in years. We’ll tackle that lawn issue sometime soon, but as you’ll see, the overgrowth of trees and left behind stumps HAS to come first! We took a few cuttings of the branches to our local nursery and their best guess at the species was a sort of Willow tree, or tree-ezz. They have a very invasive root system and they had been having a fucking party in the backyard when no one was paying attention! Our neighbor told us that the city had came in after it was foreclosed on and cut down a slew of trees, just close enough above ground that if you don’t look down while walking there is an inevitable occurrence of profanity from whatever injuries or pissed off toe that transpires.

For this fun-time removal project we started from top to bottom. Smaller pieces, quicker clean up and less chance for crazy shit to happen. James started with his telescoping loppers, then came the chainsaw, then the dreaded stump grinder. There was a good 30 stumps that needed grinding and that’s about 30 more than you’ll ever want to have to use that beast of a machine on. Here’s something you won’t hear James say, “That beat the shit out of me!”โ€‹There was an added small handful of stumps and about 3 trees/bushes in the front yard we took down too, but I think you’ve got the gist of what we’re dealing with. ๐ŸŒฒ (I don’t know why the video isn’t playing with sound, I’m not very tech-y, but imagine a very intimidating/scary movie/chainsaw sound)โš™๏ธ๐Ÿ˜ต

โ€‹

โ€‹This happened for about 8 hours. 8 hours!! Followed by a couple truck loads to the dump of yard waste later, we can get on that landscaping!Remember kids, we’ll work on that dreaded brown ground later, but for now, the view of the clear blue sky just got better.

Paint & Doors & Trim Oh My!

24 Jun

(Late late post, 3/27-ish)

The flooring has been laid and it’s time for the finishing touches! We once had some general contractor friends tell us that finishing work is most often… not finished. They were of course alluding to our naรฏvetรฉ having our first ever contractor to skimp on us unknowingly. They ever so kindly graced us with their experience, referencing that the budget is usually exceeded by the time the little bits come, but the clients’ wad has been blown on all the in your face pretty stuff, that it’s sneakingly undone. So we hired them to do the finishing work for us and we’ve never looked at a room the same. Even the hidden pieces. Lesson learned, there is no way I will let my wad be blown until it is finished. 

   Now, let’s get that trim on so we can move all our shit out of the kitchen and returned to it’s proper place (meaning where I want it to go ๐Ÿ˜‰)! For this full house project we needed 500 feet of trim, and every foot needed to be painted! Yes, 500′!! We bought them in 12 foot pieces, making less cuts needed so to save James a few trips to and from the miter saw. Well, we couldn’t just lay that all out and do a full sweep worths of painting, so there were stages. Some of this 500′ was done previously (back in January, to be able to move into our bedroom,) when we had naked floors that didn’t care if I dripped on them, making it slightly less painful. At the time we only painted enough trim to complete the two bedrooms, and now that all our belongings have been moved in we have a bit less open space and must take caution with the paint and our flooring, get crafty Desiree. (I’m seeing a trend in my attire ๐Ÿค”)

Paint. ๐Ÿ˜ซ Smoosh them together for easy and quick rolling. But then, don’t forget to scooch them apart, without pushing one off of the horses they are hanging onto for dear life, to paint those little top ridges too. Wait to dry. Repeat for two more bundles. But. Nailed it! Of course we didn’t get away without a few paint samples on.. hair of, I’ll just say their initials are Lily and Beau, due to tight circumstances from having to pass under and around this tight knit space. Nail guns are fun!! It’s the little things.Now that’s a finishing touch! On to the next task. 

It’s time to replace all the doors, all 5 of them!! And wouldn’t ya know it, two of them had to be special ordered, the door frames were built in some random measurements that no one carries! So we decide to wait until they come in to paint, trying to get it all done in one swoop.  You all must know how tired I am of painting. Well, one of the two doors arrived and the other was going to take a few weeks so we tackled what we had and figured I’d get to the last one when it gets here. 


Hahaha!  ๐Ÿ˜” It’s been hung for a couple weeks now, chilling naked on its hinges, blue tape and all! And I talk about putting forks in it, shame!
Now that this is posted, I suppose I must finish it. Hold me accountable!! ๐ŸŽจ

Update 7/9.  I finally finished the door!!! Fork!! โœ”๏ธ

The Neurosis of a Dog, and Some Flooring.ย 

4 Jun

It’s been a few months since my latest update on the rehab and I apologize for depriving you of my juicy reads. You’ll probably need a refresher of where I left off so go ahead and reread this last post pertaining to our house progress. 

https://itzalllogical.wordpress.com/2017/03/24/climbing-up-the-diy-ladder/
 

 During our wall tear down/closet project, opening up the kitchen to living room, we had a bit of a floor situation. We were left with exposed subfloor from the 10 tiles we had to tear up in order to form a clean line for the new laminate to be laid throughout the rest of the house. As it turned out, whatever scent or discovery of life Lily caught through the cracks became her new obsession, (she has a history of such a thing). Our temporary solution was to just throw a rug over the void to prevent any life threatening toe stubbing, but nothing gets in the way of a Lily obsession.And it continued throughout the project. We finished building out my new pantry, (shelving and all!) and it’s finally come time to complete this flooring project that we’d started the end of January!! (This completion actually took place around March 27, again, late posting.)Why does it take 2 hours to tear up a floor, and load up the truck for a trip to the dump, but 3 days to lay it? Oh yeah, bc tearing up shit is more fun! 
Something we didn’t even think of when we picked out the flooring we wanted was the fact that they weren’t locking panels and here’s a tip my friends, always go for the locking ones!! If you’d like a first hand experience, laying it was kind of a bitch, as in, fuck you floor! So James spent all day laying laminate, wearing a path through the house to the garage to cut pieces, tapping them in, then one end would pop out so he’d go down and tap it back in, back.and.forth, back.and.forth, tapping.I’m going to take a quick time out to remind you all this is a different kind of “tapping”. You and your dirty minds ๐Ÿ˜‰

Anyway, for me, there wasn’t much I could do to help. The kitchen and back bedroom were full of our living room so I chilled with the dogs and binge watched Netflix, until beckoned upon from time to time. Plus Lily was basically grounded to the room with me for being in the way with her obsession, so that’s what we did. As luck has it, James is almost to the end and you’ll never guess, had to go buy more. The amount of waste there is to match the pattern and fit around hallways and closets is ridiculous!! Finally, its finished!! โœ”๏ธ Our next project is the trim, and until we get that done, the living room stays in the kitchen and we chill in our bedroom with Netflix, and furry animals.

You will see the finished beautiful floors when the trim is in, next post. 

In Sadness it’s ok to ask for Strength

30 Apr

This is my mother and the love of her life, Dan Belair. Which is exactly what he’s fighting for right now, his life.ย Dan suffered a major heart attack April 8th in Sitka, an island in SE, Alaska. The hospital couldn’t provide the care he needed so he and my mother were promptly Medi Vac’d to a prestigious hospital in Seattle, WA where they have been taking amazing care of him, although sadly, it’s being spent in the ICU. He’s struggled through the cardiology ICU, now he’s fighting in the medical/oncology ICU. And hey, nobody wants to be in any type of ICU.ย 
Throughout these weeks and any span of days given, he’s taken many steps forward followed by many back, and we’re not done walking. Dan has yet to be able to breathe without assistance and he can barely form words.

He’s battled two types of pneumonia and a systemic infection. He’s been heavily sedated or confusingly frustrated the majority of this battle and we’re praying that will all soon change. In these exhaustingly scary and emotional times the last thing I want my family to worry about are the day to day living expenses. My mom has been sleeping either in a chair or on the floor of the hospital during these fragile times and isn’t able to return to work, as she’s Dans voice when he can’t speak. Their life is in Sitka yet the care needed is here in Seattle. Being away from home is hard, and I promise they want nothing more than to go there, but he has this battle to fight, and needs help.

The cost of living on an island is more than most of you may know, given the methods of shipping required, so every dollar, EVERY dollar helps. โค๏ธThis is a man who lives for music and sports, and engaging in conversations about them both. He is a large part of this small community, and his voice is truly missed.

Here is a link to his GoFundMe account. Please help if you can, or at the very least, send prayers and thoughts of wellness our way.

http://www.gofundme.com/danbelair

Climbing up the DIY Ladder

24 Mar

Editor’s note; if you haven’t, or have, read these 2 previous blogs, well you don’t have to now, per say, but I highly recommend just taking a quick glimpse at the pics. It’ll help string this whole project together. 

https://wordpress.com/post/itzalllogical.wordpress.com/414

https://wordpress.com/post/itzalllogical.wordpress.com/371

As I’ve mentioned previously, most likely a few times, our path to homeownership began with having little to (leaning heavily on this), no knowledge. The amount we’ve gained is immeasurable. Our tool collection has become quite impressive, considering we started out with, I’m sure, nothing more than a few screwdrivers, a hammer, maybe a couple of those picture hanger things and measuring tape, we’ve officially come a long way! And with every project, every new piece of the puzzle there’s almost always that one tool you don’t have so you buy it out of necessity, because you can’t use just any screw, saw, drill or nail gun and so on. Nope. Nuh-uh. No way. That’s not how it works with building. Sure, you can buy the cheap version first, thinking you’ll save some money, only to replace it later with the real deal, so spend the money now and thank me later. This cycle is vicious and necessary until one day, suddenly, you need a bigger tool box, a bigger garage, with peg board and shelving Oh My!

This wall/tear down/shelf building/closet project has been our biggest so far. I guess I should say James’ in the way of a start to finish, piece by piece, on his own, project. Tackling this closet, goes like this; tear down the unwanted, redirect two outlets and a switch, frame it out, drywall, mud, apply that wonderful knock down texture and install the door. Easy enough yeah? ๐Ÿ˜

Stage 1 and 2, โœ”๏ธ. I’ve basically become his assistant at this point on, hold the drywall while he cuts, hand him tools, find tools for him, ( I hear a lot of, “Babe, did you see where I put the..) and cleanup duty. Which is how I know where to locate almost anything since they are finally finding their way home!! So while I’m not needed I’m chilling. Guilty tv, writing, reading and the likes, but I get to watch him work.

Working his way around the electrical. Installing the drywall, cutting the pieces to fit the outlets just right. The way he seamlessly goes from one tool to the next, handling them with such confidence. Even when he just stands there, visualizing how he’s going to assemble the door, frame by frame, mapping it out in his head, and I gotta say, it’s sexy as fuck! ๐Ÿ˜‹ And I’ve only heard a handful of curse words followed by, “nothing a little caulk and paint can’t fix.” That’s a comforting theory to have in the back of your head at all times. 

Let’s talk about this drywall, in case you’ve never played with it. There’s the cutting and the resulting gypsum particles floating it’s fine ass as it likes, but oohhh no, that’s nothing. Next comes the mud. The application itself isn’t the worst but you can’t just scrape it on and be done, it has to dry and be sanded, (the sanding comes in handy if you’re a beginner bc it gives you room to fix what needs fixing.) It’s not just a one coat and done thing, there’s 2, maybe 3 rounds of this fun. Now that fucking dust, it settles on every damn thing. In ever corner. There’s no escaping it!! And the depths of which it travels! When the time comes for such an experience in your home, I’m sorry for your impending struggle, I offer this, only drape whatever furniture you plan on putting your feet up with that glass of wine, after you’re cleaned and showered yourself. Don’t waste your time trying to cover silly things as a bookshelf or entertainment center, it wont help. You must hide any utensils or cookware that reside the countertops, any. Tomorrow, well, cover that furniture back up! You may have to live with that horrible layer of dust for days, (unless you’re paying someone but then this blog would makes no sense) but hang in there! For every.thing.must.be.dusted! And I ain’t doing that shit more than once.
We survived the drywall and today it’s time to apply the knock down texture. The simplest breakdown, you’re shaking the hell out of the can while only pausing to spray and to scrape it down, repeat.

 

This is not like shaking a can of spray paint, it’s like arm day at the gym. ๐Ÿ’ช๐ŸปGot it done, it dried we painted and all thats left is the door!! Well then the shelves but that’s not a worry.
We couldn’t buy a pre-hung door bc they’re all too big for the frame so James had to build it himself. Not the actual door, but the smallest they sell is still too wide for this frame. So he built in the door jamb, we had to trim about an inch off the width of the door, (thank you table saw) chisel in the grooves for door brackets, he ended up needing to shave a hair off the top as well. Door handle and catch and bam! (Hours, days and I guess a week or two later) It’s done!! (Minus the shelves)Fork โœ”๏ธ

Sunshine on a Rainy Day

21 Mar

I’m loving this move/home/life changing decision more everyday. House aside, this is a beautiful city and it has been confirmed that we did, in fact, make a great choice landing here. Moving somewhere with blindfolds on can be both scary and exciting. I made a similar, I guess virtually the same, venture in September ’05 when a good friend and I decided it was time to leave ‘The Island‘ and head, well, South. Our destination was wide open. After a few months, a handful of states, family and friend visits, we settled on San Diego. Neither of us had ever been there and knew nobody, so instead of dipping our toes in the water, we jumped! Because what the fuck else do you do when it’s time to be a grown up again? Get a job and pay bills!โ˜น๏ธ It was the best decision I’d ever made, up until that point. Fast forward to my current crazy adventure – except this time the husband and I did a bit more research – I had replaced that truck full of a few totes and suitcases with a family and life I had built over the last 11 years. Instead of the unknown destination just being “South,” (growing up in Alaska that means the lower 48) it was now “Northwest”. The farther north we went the air just got clearer and fresher. The water from the tap, colder and tastier. The blues, the whites, the greens, you’ll never guess! Sharper! With every mile we knew we were making the right decision.

Before leaving that POD behind with all of our belongings, awaiting our beckoning, we wanted an estimate of what it would cost to have it shipped and for that they needed a zip code. James just picked one that he figured would be a close or possibly central enough location and well, what’d ya know?! Turns out that’s our fucking zip code!! And not just ours as in Olympia, ours as in, out of over 12 zip codes in the city it was specifically ours!!! Now thats some cool ass shit.

We have yet to do much city and outskirts exploring, spending the bulk of our time within a maybe 5 mile radius of our home, consisting mostly of the grocery store, Home Depot and walking the neighborhood with the dogs, but it is beautiful. We have a gate in our backyard that accesses a little pathway connecting us with surrounding cul de sac communities, a 20 minute walk to a beautiful big park, the streets are quiet and I love it, as do our fur babies. Then the birds. There’s a window over our kitchen sink that looks out to the backyard, and there’s our sliding glass doors opening to the back deck allowing us all to have the opportunity to watch our outdoors do as it likes. The house next to us has a handful of established bird feeders which, fortunately for us, means there’s already word in the hood that there’s access to food around these parts. My mother-in-law sent us this amazing bird feeder, (she’s a bird fan ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป) and we were quick to add to it and I can’t tell you how often minutes just get lost watching the action in our backyard, this is all day action my friends. Zen. Lily has found a new obsession, because her current and never ending one with the cats just isn’t enough. Are you familiar with the movie ‘UP’ ,those dogs and their distraction word “squirrel!” That sums up Lily perfectly. We have been mimicking that for years joking about her attention span and how quickly she’d come to attention with the mere mention of the cats or their names. Well, we can no longer utter the word, she now knows it actually means just that, sadly, we have a few little fuckers that come and steal the bird feed and flare up her neurosis.

 

We’ve been downtown a handful of times. The capitol building overlooks a lake with a park and wrap around boardwalk. A weekly farmers market, cute ‘small business’ shops, restaurants and the like. I’m looking forward to springtime weather for the patios to open up and enjoy a brew with the four legged crew, we apparently moved here in the “off season.”

I’m well versed in the weather up here and I know that this kind of wet/rain is different. Those clouds, rain or not, are mostly just, there, and, as it did before it makes those blue sky days so amazingly majestic. I’ve missed having more than 1 type of weather 3/4 of the year -San Diego, 70 and sunny – is kinda it’s slogan. โ˜€๏ธ One of my favorite weather days thus far I woke up to a light snowfall, then it turned into blue skies. Which changed to sleet, followed by rain, blue skies again, then, BAM! Downfall of big balls of hail, which lasted about 1 minute and quickly petered off resulting in light rain. This was all in a span of about 6 hours. Ahh, I’ve missed those “every type of weather” days. I know my honeymoon won’t last forever and some days or weeks or months the rain and gray may just get old for me again, much like it did those 17 years I spent SE Alaska. But I also know that on the clear blue sky days I’ll forget about all that rain and take a deep clean breath in and smile at how amazingly beautiful this place I now call home is.

Update; while editing this the local news just stated, “this is the rainiest winter in over 2 decades.” Well ain’t that some shit ๐Ÿ˜Š๐ŸŒง