Home Improvement

project bamboo - status update

Bamboo So, we don't have molding down. We don't have furniture back in the room. I started tearing up carpeting Friday morning and it's now almost 11:30 on Monday night, 4 days later. There will be more to come, but just to let you know - I think the worst is behind us. Sawdust, frustrations, choice words, hurt fingers and all...

Say No To Clutter (Pay No Attention to the Top of the Tables)

Recently I showed you what our new computer area looks like. It was all sleek and shiny looking. Except for the cords. And seriously, the cords. Something had to be done. It is a mess.

We ordered the tables in the loft from IKEA. It was a whole line of tables and options and different legs and tabletops and really confusing accessories. We just took a catalogue, ripped it into confetti, threw the pieces against a piece of gum stuck on a wall and picked the one item that stuck. (This turns out to be how we make most major decisions in our house. We?ve had great luck so far.)

We ended up with the glass tables and, using my superheroish foresight (and I home organizing webpage I like), I decided to get trays to hold cords under a table. They all came from the same line of products at the store. Surely everything works with everything, right?

No. (Stupid method of throwing stuff at gum?) Assembly instructions from IKEA are written in every language they sell products to, which is impressive until you realize that it just means there are no words, just pictures. I?m not sure, but I feel pretty confident the first picture shows the trays being screwed into the table top.

Glass tabletop. Screws. Glass tabletop. Screws. Glas?

Behold the Ingenuity.

Metal table frame. Heavy duty double sided mounting table. Velcro straps.

Cords?  What cords?

It?s better, right?

Who worries about heat build up from electricity these days?

As long as you don?t actually look down there.

I had great intentions of unplugging everything and laying it all neatly in the tray, organized, simple, elegant. Late at night is not a time to think about these things. As long as we never have to move those tables again, I?ll be fine.

This home organizing project is Darth Tater Approved™.

I approved this project. Please don't mash me.

At It Again, This Time With Pictures

This is me not talking to internet… …Silence…

This is me giving the internet a hug and making nice. Isn’t that better?

Rhiannon likes to decorate. I like to live in a house that looks nice. I’d prefer not to spend a lot of money on things to decorate. Paint is cheap and makes a big difference and looks nice. Rhiannon considers painting a part of decorating.

It’s really a win-win situation.

So, last weekend we:

1) Picked out paint.

This involved us selecting paint samples of one brand and then requesting those colors in another brand of paint that was cheaper. The paint mixer guy warned us that he would be able to get a much more accurate match if we used the name brand more expensive paint. We declined. He insisted.

I asked him if the entire color spectrum from red to blue was about the length of a nearby yardstick, would the difference in paint colors be more than a sixteenth of an inch, because if they weren’t, we wanted the cheap paint.

Ok, I didn’t ask that, but it would have been cool. We just insisted harder, even against his better judgment.

2) Started moving furniture out of the living room.

This reminded me why we hired people to move our furniture when we moved into the house. We moved a couch fifteen feet. They moved a couch down three flights of stairs. Worth every penny.

3) I took a picture of the shelves.


We like how the shelves looked. We wanted the same way. The chance of this happening without us arguing about how sure we were that this is the way they were: 3.5%. Digital cameras are great.

4) We taped the walls.


Something about blue tape is really cool.

5) We painted.


It took me two minutes to take my shoes off.

It took me three minutes step in the paint tray. I am lucky.


This is what your foot looks like after paint soaks through your sock.

6) We finished painting.

We put the shelves back up. Thanks to the picture, it went well. Rhiannon wanted to see how the silver vase from the mantle looked against the wall. It didn’t go well.

The mirror that was behind the silver frame fell on her back, hit the floor, and broke. She is no so lucky. She is seven years not so lucky, if you believe in that sort of thing. We got a new mirror and put it up on Wednesday. I don’t think the luck gods had time to notice the accident.


See? Not noticeable at all.

How To Strangle A Tree In Three Simple Steps

Maybe you think that with the whole trunk being made of wood, it is hard to strangle a tree. Not so. Step one: Pick tree. Preferable younger. Like in the front lawn of a new house.

Step two: Put stakes around tree and tie it up to support it. Tie straps tightly around young thin trunk. See below.

Step three: Wait. Years is best. About three seems to work. When the tree doesn't look so good, wonder why.

(Optional Step four: Rescue tree. Show results.)

Deck v2.0

Perhaps you missed the first part of the deck cleaning. Perhaps you didn't. Either way, my status as rain god was officially revoked when it didn't rain all weekend. (Except at our softball game on Friday night. 15 miles from our house. It was cold and wet. The house didn't get rain at all.)

Dry deck = time to seal. Saturday morning, we went at it.

The sealer said it was "Transparent 400". The manufacturer has a different definition of transparent than I do, but both Rhiannon and I were happy with the results.

The Deck v2.0 ready for use.

Tip: If you haven't been outside much, make sure you apply sunscreen. Evenly. All over. Only my arms got burned. Rhiannon wore a swimsuit top and asked me if I was trying to prevent her from tanning when I applied sunscreen liberally to her shoulders. I took that as a back off signal and did her lower back pretty sparingly. You could see the edges where I ran out of sunscreen. Rhiannon could feel where I ran out of sunscreen. Oops.

Next Week, I Start Full Time As A Rain God

It hasn’t rained in over three weeks here. Of the first 15 days in June, 13 were above 90 degrees. It was the earliest in the year we ever hit 100. Rhiannon and I decided to seal our deck this weekend. Today, it’s low 70’s and raining.


Last night we rented a pressure washer and did some prep work.

The deck before we started – I don’t think it was touched since being built.

The bucket of cleaner that we rolled onto the deck. It looked strangely like blue Kool-Aid and I got thirsty just looking at it. Apparently deck cleaner is toxic and not to be consumed. Good thing they put warning labels on those bottles. And the whole foaming thing - that was a tip not to drink it.

The deck turned out to be more like a giant sponge than a wood deck. It soaked up the water and cleaner, except for the spot on the opposite side where the previous owners had a mat under their grill.

Difference in old vs. pressure washed section. Turns out if you leave wood outside all year for several years, it gets dirty. Who knew?

Deck version 1.5. Now if the weather holds, we’ll get sealer on it this weekend.

Welcome Back

I have been anti-posting anything recently. However, if the saying that a picture is worth 1000 words is true, look at the previous three posts – yeah, I’m doing excellent then.

So, without further ado, our news of the week

Offer made on: Saturday Offer accepted on: Sunday Insurance and Financing lined up on: Tuesday Home inspection on: Thursday

There isn’t much else for us to do except wait. And prospectively shop for a few items we will need to purchase. We are under strict orders from our real estate agent to hold off on major purchases until after our closing date. She has threatened to personally make us return any large items we don’t need until after the sale.

Our real estate agent is a character.

We’re a little excited. And slowly realizing how much in debt a mortgage lender is perfectly willing to put you. It really hit home when we saw the final payment on the house would be in 2036 if we didn’t prepay or move before then.

We would be in our mid 50’s. And that is just scary.