4.28.2011

Good Thing No Animals Live up There

Have you ever watched that Dirty Jobs episode where Mike goes around with a guy who pulls skunks, racoons or whatever other fun critters out from underneath people's houses? And did you catch that those creatures sometimes find a nice little home for themselves in the nook between the subfloor and your bathtub? Yes, that's right. You may be taking a shower next to a sleeping racoon who's crammed between your wall and your tub.

Lovely.

Makes me want to go take 7 more showers.

So when Chris asked me to insulate around our bathtub from underneath the house I was not really very excited for the job.

I creeped underneath our house and held my breath, hoping and praying I didn't encouter a hairy little creature whose slumber I disturbed. I was pleasantly excited to find that we've got some excessive subfloor around the bathtub that makes it virtually impossible for a critter to make a home

With that good news it was time to get to work. Normally I'm Chris' assistant, but for this job it was time for me to order him around :)

So I summoned him to fetch my supplies while I waited under the house

But after about 3 minutes of the role switcheroo and him making fun of me complaining and me making fun of him ordering me around, we quickly pissed each other off and went back to working on our own tasks by ourselves :)

Once I got to work (and stopped laughing at my jokes and rolling my eyes at his :) hehe) I tried to insulate as effectively as possible. When insulating it's really important not to mash things up a lot because that's actually counter-productive to how insulation works. You need to leave some room for the insulation to breath and essentially "catch" the cool or hot air.

With all the little cracks, it made that job a little difficult

I tried to get the insulation into as many of the cracks as possible without balling things up too much. It took some trial and error to figure out how big to make the pieces that were getting stashed up there.

The task didn't take too long (around 15 minutes) and with a ventilator, gloves, and glasses it wasn't too uncomfortable either. I was able to sit on my butt and reach up as this area of our crawl space is rather spacious.

Now there will be one less place for lost heat and we can be sure no skunk is finding a home next to our tub

4.27.2011

Please Excuse the Bits and Pieces

You may have noticed the last week or so that my blog posts have been quite short, or non-house building or about food we're eating :)

Chris and I have a big project up our sleeves and we're right in the thick of it, but I don't want to reveal much of it till it's DONE, so please be patient. I don't mean to tease or ruffle feathers, so I apologize for the little information about a big project.

But be patient! Until then (another 3-4 weeks is our guess), you'll continue to get silly little posts about our artichokes or a really exciting free pamphlet we got in the mail yesterday (seriously, it was very exciting) or other small projects around the house.

I promise after all these random little posts I'll have a super cool and exciting big post for you!

4.26.2011

The First Artichokes

It's only April but our artichoke plant is already fruiting!

Unfortunately we didn't get to that big one before it started opening, so it was too late to eat it. But we did cut off two tiny ones right next to it. And last night we cooked them up

And we discovered 2 pieces of good news:

1) they were TASTY! The little itty bitty tiny leaves attached directly to the stem were a little bitter, but other than that they were positively delicious.

2) the artichoke plant is already growing some more for us to enjoy! :)

4.25.2011

Happy (Day Later) Easter

With rain in the morning yesterday we were anticipating not being able to get too much work done. We had planned on going to Chris' job and work on replacing broken slate tiles on their patio, but the plan was scrapped.

Instead, we spent Easter Sunday roaming around from project to project.

We worked on reglazing some windows

I studied for my real estate test for a possible job opportunity with my brother's company

We worked on cleaning and repairing some wood siding on the back of the garage.

Chris and I have a goal to watch all 50 of the full length animated Disney movies, so I printed up a sheet of all the Disney movies and highlighted the ones we own (LOVE me some Disney movies) and checked off the ones we've recently already watched

We mowed the front, back and side lawns and worked on building some doors for the access areas to under our house



We capped the night off by making homemade chicken fricassee and crispy potatoes and watching some basketball playoffs. It was a fabulous way for us to celebrate Easter :) Hope you all had a great weekend!

4.22.2011

Picardy Poll: When Do You Start Work?

What time do YOU start housework on the weekends?

Whenever Chris and I watch those renovating shows (LOVE us some Renovation Realities and the new and equally awesome Renavation Rookies), I always wonder what neighbors think when people start banging away at 7:30 in the morning. A few weekends ago I was outside weeding and carting our green waste container around making a bunch of racket while the neighborhood was quiet as a mouse at 10 am. I felt a little guilty because no one else was making noise.

On weekends I usually wake up around 7 and spend the early mornings out on a run, in my art room working on some project, or planted at my computer doing research for my brother's company. It's nice to have that early morning time to hang out by myself.

Around 9ish I usually make me and Chris a nice breakfast to start the work day off right and then I wake the sleeping beauty :) Normally we're outside, around the house, or on a trip to the hardware store by about 9:45/10. Because we're working on the house nearly every weekend I don't want to be a bad neighbor. I don't want to start bang bang banging too early, or keep it going too late into the night.

I know working on your house comes with home ownership, but I also think it's polite (especially for city living and closer to your neighbor quarters), to lay off the loud noises at times that are distracting, annoying, or just plain rude.

So what time do YOU think it's appropriate to start your house work days on the weekend? Are you a super early riser and lucky to have lots of land and further away neighbors that the clanging of a hammer is no distraction or annoyance? Or do you and your family have a "No work till ____ am" rule?

What Time do you Start Work


4.21.2011

2011 Veggie Garden

Every year we plant veggies in the backyard. Chris' mom helped build us a raised garden when we moved in as a housewarming present and it's been so wonderful planting goodies and getting to eat yummy veggies right off the vine.

The first year (2009) our plants were really successful. Last year with the weird "summer" weather we got here in the Bay Area, things didn't go super well, although our artichoke plant went fucking insane

This year we're hoping the weather works out a bit better and we get more than 3 tomatoes.

Last weekend I went to the store and picked up some tomatoes, grabbed some seeds from our shed and got to planting

Our artichoke plant is already doing well and has even sprouted an artichoke or two

Our tomatoes gotta catch up!

So I dug some holes and tossed them in

But when I was digging I came across these little white buggies

Upon talking to a neighbor and googling I discovered that they're beetle larvae, yuckola! After looking in the Western Garden book we found some natural remedies, so we'll have to try them out and pay extra attention to how our plants are growing.

After planting all 3 tomato plants...

(seriously, how did I pick that pathetic one on the left?)

...I planted some carrots and peas. Our beans and peas were pretty successful last year, but we'll have to wait a couple more months till it's bean planting time. But so far things are looking good

And after only a week things are looking even better

And that sickly tomato plant I picked? Not so sickly anymore!

4.20.2011

Curtain Revision

This is one of those projects that's seriously took me about 10 minutes, but for some reason I was completely loathing it.

Back when I sewed and hung my curtains I wasn't sure how I felt about the little puddle they created on the floor

I felt like if I wanted them on the floor they should puddle a little more to make sense.

And after working at my desk a lot I decided I wanted curtain catchers on the sides of the windows too so that it would give me more gazing out into the backyard space. And I'm so glad Chris convinced me to go with such a big window in this room because I am always staring out into the backyard and I love it. It'll be even better when the backyard looks nice :)

So hemming the curtains and putting in the curtain catchers was on my get-this-room-finished list, but I hadn't gotten around to it. Despite the purchased curtain catchers sitting on my sill for about 2 weeks.

With some nice time off yesterday I finally got my ass in gear. I got out the curtain catchers (from Ikea)...

...and hunted around in the garage for some teeny tiny screws

Then it was just a matter of finding out where I wanted the curtain catcher. I decided the little nook between the sill and trim was just perfect

And I slid the curtains in

Perfect! I was a tad afraid that the curtain catchers might look a little too modern, but I really like the shape of them paired with the pattern on the curtains, I think they compliment each other really well.

The catcher on the other side is pretty close to my books and makes a really snug fit

But I figure I just won't put books there that I use a lot.

The best part: sliding the curtains into the curtain catchers essentially hem the curtains an inch or two, so no hemming necessary, woo-hoo!

4.19.2011

Thanks for Terrifying Me Ringo

A bit over a year ago we gained access to the side of our house by building a fence


Then we discovered a drainage issue

So we built a french drain


And now there are no floods. Yay!

Our neighbor has a not friendly dog named Ringo. We've lived next door to him for 2+ years now and he still barks at us every time he sees us. As a result, we sort of neglect that side of our house even more than normal because he goes insane whenever you're over there.

But with the strange winter/spring weather we've been having lately (lots of rain, lots of sun, then lots of rain, then lots more sun), our weeds have gotten a bit out of control

And that's all the weeds that grew through 3 layers of filter fabric and a top layer of rocks. Weeds on crack that's what those weeds are.

2 weekends ago during some beautiful weather I decided to remedy the weeds. So I hauled the green waste container around the yard and picked picked picked away. As I made my way over to the side of the house Ringo began to get very upset with me. I tried to ignore his snout being shoved under the fence as far as it could go and his incessant barking. Annoyed, I made slow progress.

As I got down to the front of the house his barks became more and more viscious, and I finally called it quits when he THREW himself against the fence. Totally freaked out (and this is no teeny dog) I grabbed my pile o' weeds and hightailed it out of there.

Luckily I got most of the work done

But needless to say, I won't be working on that task again anytime in the near future.

4.18.2011

7 Week Countdown

In just under 7 weeks my older brother will be getting married. VERY exciting. It's crazy to think that the person who used to shove me off the top of our bunk beds, nearly cut my finger off, broke my collar bone, and has been the cause of just about 90% of my major injuries in life is getting married. We've gone from playing Sonic the Hedgehog, Bubble Bobble, and squirting people who drove by our house with squirt guns to adults. It's strange. In my head I'll always think of us as 7 and 10. It's something about that age, before Adam was too cool and he let me run around and play with him and his friends and I idolized him so much. We've gone through periods since then when we haven't gotten along (yes, him and my step brother PEED in my hair spray when I was in middle school), but now we've got most things worked out and he's a pretty good buddy. And thankfully he's not pushing me off the top of bunk beds anymore because, well, that hurt.

ANYWAY! He's getting married in just under 2 months! And yesterday me and my moms held a FABULOUS bridal shower for his wonderfully amazing fiancée Christine. I am SO lucky to be a child of divorced parents that all get along and all enjoy each other. In fact, that night before the dads took the kids out for a night on the town in Oakland to see Jerry Seinfeld live (AMAZING!)

Throwing the shower with my mom and step mom was so much fun and because some of our family won't be able to make it down to San Diego for the wedding, it was a really special afternoon where everyone got to share and visit and celebrate with each other, I had SO MUCH FUN!!!!!!

Their wedding colors are red, black and white so we put a little twist on it for the wonderful spring day and had turquoise, red and white




We got these super cute canvas totes made as favors to give all the ladies. I LOVE useful presents, so I thought these were pretty cool (and they had some goodies inside too)

And now for the celebration!

The moms!

The mommies and Christine

My mom and dad toasting a job well done on the son (don't worry, the boys left to go to the batting cages during the shower)

Christine got LOTS of fun goodies and I played present writer, hander-to'er and ribbon collector because Christine's sister lives in Hawaii and wasn't able to make it :(


Everyone had a wonderful time, the food was delicious, the desert was amazing, and it was so fun visiting with everyone.

And I had so much fun organizing and celebrating with my moms


And I'm proud of my big bro

Less than 7 weeks till the wedding!

4.15.2011

Getting Closer

With the chalkboard up, the last shelving unit complete, and another painting finished yesterday the animal room is now just the final finishing touches, yay!!!!

Still to do:

1. Some proper labels inside and on the front of my filing cabinet

2. I still need to figure out what I'm doing about my cubes...

3. Only one more painting to finish

4. I need to bring in some stuff from Chris' office area so he's got room for the rest of his stuff (stationary, some misc. items)

5. and revise my curtains. They'll get a little hem and the addition of curtain catchers on the sides

Hopefully I get my ass in gear and get this room finished, Chris is itching to check it off the list. We have of course already moved on to other projects, that's how we roll :)

Up next (or actually, up already) is prepping the house to get painted!