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A Haircut and Three Pallets of Flagstones Later

28 Sep

After leaving my beloved hairstylist in SD, and a torturous search for a new, qualified, stylist, I found one! She was conveniently located less than 10 minutes from home, (BONUS!!) then she moved ☹️ (points taken away,) so she’s now 20+ mins from home. On my last visit James drove me and figured he’d just make a trip over to Habitat For Humanity which is right around the corner to just peruse, because you never know, and to kill time. Well. In our quest for an outside oasis, we’d conjured up a concept of landscaping some pathways in the front and backyards, carved out with flagstones and accenting with mulch. Much preferred over a slab of concrete sidewalk. Future plans to grow grass in the surrounding areas, maybe a raised bed for veggies and a sparkle of ground coverings when fall brings the rain that summer did not.
Now. Lets backtrack to the day before my haircut. On this day I was in my PJ’s watching Ellen and was not in the “Let’s go to the Depot” mood, but James wanted to go price out some flagstones, knowing he’d be heading to H4H tomorrow while I’m getting my haircut, and again, you never know!! TaDa! H4H had just received a pallet of flagstones, littered with bits and pieces the Depot didn’t possess πŸ‘πŸ». So he took some pics for me to see if they were something I liked and my response was, “Babe, why didn’t you just buy them?” By now we are on our way to lunch, then home so he figures he’d just head over in the morning, hoping they’ll still be there and, YAY! BUT. Two more pallets had arrived that morning! That’s a double yay my friends. πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘πŸ» So he bought all three. I’d say it was about 2 tons worth of stone, you could say a plethora of stones, that we unloaded, super fun, and piled them in the side yard for our next project. IMG_3479Now it’s time to move these little, and big, shits throughout the front and backyard. This was the greatest jigsaw puzzle I’ve ever created, and the heaviest damn pieces for such a puzzle, I’ve ever had to move around.

James spent the next morning using the roto-tiller to clear the paths, ridding them of all the dried out grass, weeds and dust that had taken over this dry ass summer. Filled them in with sand and tamped it down, (tamping is some serious shit, I recommend it for all your upper body needs,) to level them out and in comes me.
IMG_3498Now, this is not a puzzle that the pieces are made to fit together, in anyway, they are just that, pieces. Lots. Of. Pieces. Different, very different sizes and colors, and they are beautiful! I Spent hours spreading them out, randomly putting them along the edges, then moving, then moving again, and yes, again. In my mind I didn’t want any two of the same “color” together, didn’t want any “sizes” next to each other making it look like an organized path. I’m sure my neighbors thought I was crazy as I’d lay a row of stones, then walk up and down it to see how the flow felt under my feet. Then move or add as needed, and repeat. It was more fun than I thought it would be. It was a great creative and physical, (remember the 2 tons part,) project. Now that I’m finally pleased with the placement and ease of the paths, time to do it all over in the backyard.IMG_3517
Priority one was the fire pit, wanting to ensure we had enough flagstones. Hard to determine how far a pile of random size pieces can stretch with an organic concept. Starting with the inner circle I picked through the pile to find any that had the slightest resemblance of a curve, luckily I found enough to make it work. And continued outward. The size of our fire ring was satisfactory and we had, hopefully, enough left over to carve a pathway from the porch to the back gate. I took caution and spaced the pieces out farther with hopes to be able to fill more in as it came down to the wire, and we barely made it.
IMG_3574Our finishing touches was to mulch around the stones in the pathways and fill in the the stones with pebbles around the fire pit. Just needs a few chairs and a fire, which we for sure did right after we finished!IMG_3549-2
With such a great resource as H4H and never knowing what you might find, there might be a diamond in the rough that didn’t work for somebody else but may find a good home, seems this visit worked out for this home. From us pricing retail first, and there isn’t nearly the array of personalities and designs as an option, James figures we saved around $1,000. It pays to shop used first, reduces waste and saves money!

Fork! βœ”οΈ

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Mini Me meets The Big House

6 Sep

Now that we’ve secured the grounds via newly built, (heavy πŸ˜” sigh,) painted, fence, we’ve got a shed to rebuild and, fuck, seriously!, paint. I shall dub her, Mini Me, and when we finish with her we paint the big house. Yes. I said paint. Again!A plus for us with the shed is that the concrete had already been laid and it came with a nice solid frame, it was just that every other part of it needed to be replaced. So we stripped that baby naked!Now it just needs four walls, a roof, trim, and paint. Lucky for us, that good friend I’ve mentioned before, knows all about that and, I mean, who doesn’t want to help cut and install siding, lay some black tar paper and drag a heavy ass, cumbersome pile of shingles up a ladder on a hot day? A great friend that’s who. 🍺🍺🌞

Bring out that piece of liquid gold/airless spray gun again my friends. Voila! And by “voila” I mean FORK! 

(For any new readers that means we stuck a fork in another project.) Now, it’s the big girls turn. And by big I mean, we need a MUCH bigger ladder. Day one was spent pressure washing the house, and that’s a fun tool to play with, so it wasn’t too painful!! πŸ˜‰

Then..

Ok. First, there’s a reason people pay someone else to do this shit, and I thank them for their talent. And I do mean talent. Oh and, for beginners painting a whole house, its like a 17 step, (or whatever horrific number you want to imagine,) process. So I’m just going to give a small picture tutorial with minimal captioning. You and I are both welcome for this shortcut.BeforeSanding the remnants of vines that grew up the house.Paint the under belly and eves our trim color.Cut in the edges a few inches by hand. Spray gun fun again!!Some minor trim work.And, Voila!! Except the garage door and front door, (I need a day off!) Then. FORK

Backyard Oasis Take One.Β 

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!🍐🍎 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. ​

​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.Β Now let’s add a little ground cover plants, and watch them all grow.Β Time to add some fun backyard additions.πŸ‘πŸ» 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. Β πŸ”₯When 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.Β Equipped with a swivel grill grate for your changing wants of a mesmerizing fire or some kick ass steaks and kabobs on the grillπŸ»βœ”οΈ

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

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 naΓ―vetΓ© 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 πŸ˜‰)! 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 πŸ€”)

Paint. 😫 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!  πŸ˜” 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!! 🎨

Update 7/9.  I finally finished the door!!! Fork!! βœ”οΈ

The Neurosis of a Dog, and Some Flooring.Β 

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 πŸ˜‰

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!! βœ”οΈ 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.Β 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.Β 
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. ❀️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

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!☹️ 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 πŸ‘πŸ») 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. β˜€οΈ 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 😊🌧