Friday, February 27, 2009

The closet and most of the ugly tile is gone!

The coat closet in our living room is typical of closets in all the houses in our older neighborhood. Though we needed the storage, we decided space was more important. You wouldn't think a closet this size would make a difference, but it has! Our room is so much bigger now, especially since it opened up new possibilities on arranging our furniture.

Before the guys took it out, James drilled a hole in the floor at the back of the closet to see what the flooring looked like beneath it. We were happy to see that it was more oak!

It didn't take long for them to remove the closet. Actually, I don't know how long it took, I left that to the men and went over to Aimee's to watch a chick flick. We didn't mind leaving this to the "men folk" if that meant we could watch our movie in peace. Plus they like destroying things.

When I finally got back to see what it looked like without the closet, I saw that the guys decided to take that horrid ceramic tile out too while they were in the destructive mood. Not that I mind tile, but it was layed in the diningroom and in front of the doorway, creating a distinctive border and consequently making the space appear smaller. Plus, the tile was about a half inch taller than the hardwood floor with a border that was even taller, making it hard to sweep. And considering we have a redwood tree next to our driveway that will not stop dropping seeds that we then track into our house, sweeping is important. You can see a bit of the tile in the first photo and at Aimee's blog, where she talks about taking out the carpet.

Under the tile was linoleum and a thin layer of wood stapled down every three inches. This is when all the swearing started and I decided to appease them by having two giant man pizza's (with various meat and jalapeno toppings) delivered.

The floor is in fairly good condition in most places, though there is some severe gouging that will require replacing a few boards.

Because linoleum is under the tile in our kitchen as well and we could see a gap between the two, it will most likely break up soon. I'm not exactly heartbroken over this since the tile is a little old fashioned and not laid very well. I wouldn't mind replacing it in the future, maybe with a kitchen remodel? You know, with the thousands of dollars we have lying around. As you can see below, we're saving tons of money by skimping on furniture.

Yesterday, Apollo and I removed the plaster using a putty knife, damp sponges and some elbow grease. It looks so much better now. Next on the agenda is a some sanding and refinishing.

For more photos, click here. You can see where someone deliberately scratched the floor and severe gouging occurred. I don't have any photos of the oil spots we discovered under the plaster. Yes, the kind of oil that comes from cars.

There is nothing like a little hard work to make you appreciate what you have just that much more.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


Introducing, Beyonce. The cat whose tail curves to the left.

I'm not sure what her real name is or if she's even a she. But we thought the name fitting.

We think the people who lived in this house last left her behind since she has tried to run inside and meows at the back door until we give her food. She's a real sweetie and is very talkative whenever we pet her. She looks a bit skinny or possibly is an older cat.

After we discovered her sleeping on our doormat and then on the dirt in the corner by the steps in a tight ball one rainy day, I set out a box with a fleece cat blanket in it. It sat there for about five days before I discovered her in it today. Though my cats don't know about her new sleeping place, I think she may be responsible for the muddy paw prints on my living room window.

Monday, February 16, 2009

I still don't want a pit bull.

One of our neighbor's pit bull puppy attacked their poodle, killing it with the clench of its jaws around the poodle's neck. They were attempting to teach the pit to not act aggressively towards the smaller dog while eating. Without growling, the pit suddenly lunged at the tiny poodle, killing it instantly. The owners had to use brute force to get the dog to release the now dead dog.

Sadly, they're giving the dog away instead of taking appropriate actions to ensure this, or worse, doesn't happen again.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Friday, February 13, 2009

I can't get enough

Hazel Knits Artisan Sock in Whispering Pine and Baroness. Baroness really surprised me. Though I'm not a big purple fan, it's rather pretty in person and sadly incredibly hard to photograph accurately.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Purple socks

Mom asked me to knit up a pair of purple socks with a faux cable look for one of her friends, so I bought some purpley wool yarn and started knitting away. After I had completed the leg, I realized it was going to be a little tight for the recipient, especially since I learned she was a big girl with a size 10 foot. I ripped it out and modified the pattern so I could cast on 6 more stitches (you'd be surprised how much this makes a difference) and was almost done with the first sock when Mom said, "Is this the sock you're making for ___?" The tone of her voice told me I was doing something wrong. It turns out she wanted purple Monkey's, which I've knit twice already.

Disappointed, I let the sock sit for a week while I thought about what to do. If I frogged it, I'd still have this bright purple yarn sitting around, taunting me. On the other hand, I don't know that many people with large feet that would like purple socks. In the end, I decided that since I had nearly finished the first sock and had memorized the pattern, I would just finish up the pair.

This isn't the last you'll be seeing of the color purple, though. My aunt asked me to knit some purple socks for her small footed friend and I ordered some new multi colored purple yarn for Mom's friend (yarn that is better suited for larger feet).

Speaking of The Color Purple and things not really relevant, have you read Maya Angelou's "Letter to my Daughter?" You should.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Our neighbors

I had worried that we'd move in to our house and discover that we had one of those type of neighbors, the kind that's cranky and unwilling to work with you when it comes to boundaries, bushes, etc. Well, my worries were unfounded since all our neighbors (even the rednecks) have proved to be awesome.

So far we have tentative commitments to split costs in replacing two fences (one has already been replaced). One neighbor, who has also become a close friend, works in construction and is willing to help us slowly remodel our house. Another neighbor is a plumber and is going to help us find a hot water heater this weekend at a lower than market price. Yet another neighbor works with and has access to roofing material. This will come in handy since we need to fix a leak in our carport roof. Yep, I'd say we're pretty damn lucky.

Unfortunately, I don't have much to give them in exchange though I did offer them access to my knowledge of yarn and knitting. I'm sure you know how that went.

Here's a couple neighbors with Apollo discussing options for the yard, which we hope to take out and redo this spring. We had just finished cutting out a giant out-of-control rosemary bush that blocked the porch, two large rosebushes and some other unidentified bush; all planted too close to the foundation and requiring an axe to chop the tree-like roots. Note the ingenious hands-free method of holding a coffee cup.

A few days before we attacked the bushes, Apollo grilled up some pork and beef Mom gave us. Mom thought it was too cold to grill but clearly she doesn't understand the relationship between a man and his grill. Fortunately we have a carport which practically serves as a gigantic covered porch where we can do as much grilling as we wish whenever we want.

It was absolutely delicious and exceptionally moist! Apollo and the guys are planning on grilling up some pork chops this Saturday. It looks like we'll be exchanging Apollo's excellent grilling skills and food for help with our house. I don't think anyone can say no to that.

Monday, February 09, 2009


This horseshoe set is made up of items found on any old farm and has been lodged in a woodpecker friendly apple tree at Mom's for as long as I can remember. Other than the hole in the tree (you can see through it in this photo if you look carefully) the tree itself is fine and produces tons of apples every year.

Thursday, February 05, 2009


The washer and dryer I bought back in November came in a week early and will be delivered tomorrow afternoon. This means that for the first time ever, every single piece of clothing, all linens and blankets will be clean AT ONE TIME. I can't wait! I've heard that I need to use special HE (High Efficiency) detergent, which I'm totally unprepared for but I'm sure that can be remedied. I'm not even sure if this is true or is just a marketing ploy.

Meanwhile, I just ate a whole quart sandwich bag of frozen blueberries. I eat them in lieu of other high calorie or fatty snacks. My stomach is already grumbling.

Today Aimee and I went to the local library to pick up a couple books. The drive to the library is always a trip down memory lane since we have to drive right by the tiny house we lived in during my first through third grades. Nearby is the big scary church we used to run by on the way home from school (not so big nor scary now) and the alley we walked down and magically found toys in the mud puddles (we honestly thought it was a mystery).

Anyway, we spent an hour or so at the library picking out our books and went up to the counter to check them out when we discovered that even though we live in the city, our neighborhood doesn't pay city taxes! We pay county taxes which means we have to pay out-of-city fees! There isn't a county library, so we're stuck paying either $7 a month at our city's library or $10 a month a neighboring library. Aimee paid the fee for one month, we're going to reevaluate later to see if we'll even use the library that much.

Erg, my stomach.