Monday, February 28, 2011

Toe Kicks and Barbed Wire

After almost 10 months, we finally installed the toe kicks and final cabinet in the kitchen. We had off for President’s Day and Chris’ dad helped him hang the last cabinet. It is the one above the refrigerator and now that it’s there, we’re not sure that we like it. The problem is that the cabinet is 3 inches wider than the refrigerator (probably made for above a built-in). I’m sure we’ll figure out what to do eventually but for now it’s just nice to not have it on the floor.

We still have to install the tile backsplash, trim and paint. None of those are critical to the functionality so they are taking a back burner while the weather is so nice.

The rest of the week we suffered from lack of motivation. On Friday, Chris had surgery to fix his receding gum on two teeth. Because of this, he is not allowed to do any heavy lifting or strenuous exercise for at least a week.

On Saturday, I worked on removing all the barbed wire on the top of our fence (it didn’t make us look like nice neighbors!).

It took about 4 hours to remove all of it because so much of it was under a lot of vines and overgrown bushes.

Chris bought me a camera for Christmas but we weren’t very happy with the picture quality so he did some research and bought a better model. He spent a lot of the weekend playing with the different settings. Here are some of my favorites of Tucker – he’s so silly sometimes!

On Sunday we took some measurements for our deck/patio and took Tucker for a walk. I am headed to California for a few days for work so Chris and Tucker will be living the bachelor life this week. Hopefully next week Chris will be able to do some heavy lifting!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Squirrel Morgue and Mudroom Removal

The weather this week was spectacular – it got up into the 60s and 70s. Because it was so nice, we worked outside every evening after work. We only had about an hour or so each night before it got dark but we were pretty tired at that point and wouldn’t have been able to accomplish much more.

We continued the work on the area at the front of the house. One of our neighbors referred to it as the “jungle” and we think that is a pretty accurate description. The next door neighbors (on the other side of the jungle) are so happy that it’ll be clear soon. Because of the size of the debris piles we have, we are thinking of hiring a company to remove most of it (otherwise it would be many, many trips to the compost/mulch area at the dump).

Our front yard is going to be so much bigger when it’s all finally removed – Chris will have to spend an extra 5 minutes when he cuts the grass!

Chris’ parents came down to help us over the long weekend. They helped us bundle up a lot of the branches we removed from the front yard – we ended up with about 15 big bundles. In spring, we’ll be able to put these out on the same day as the recycling and they’ll cart them away to the dump to use as mulch or compost.

Before his parents arrived, we started work on demolition of the little mudroom on the side of the house. This has been an eyesore for a very long time. Anyone coming into the neighborhood has to see it when they’re at the stop sign.

I started by removing the windows and doors. Then I removed the shingles, tarpaper, and flashing from the roof while Chris worked on removing the upper portion of the walls.

The next part to go was the ceiling. We ripped that off and found a surprise. Someone had insulated the ceiling (we still have no idea why) and the squirrels apparently thought this was a very wonderful location for a nest. We found five squirrel mummies/skeletons. We think that someone poisoned them. It was rather sad and disgusting!

The bottom half of the mudroom was cinder block so after lunch Chris and his dad finished demolition with sledge hammers. Now all we have is a concrete pad and a lot of debris to throw away!

We will have to wait for warmer weather to clean the bricks – it’s going to get cold here again this week. We also still have to move the ugly fence on this side of the house but we have a lot of debris to clean up first – it’ll be another spring project. Here are the before and after pictures:

On Sunday, we went to the Maryland Luxury Home Show. We spoke to a few contractors that we might consider hiring for some small jobs. One nice thing about the luxury home show is that there was so much food and drink to sample. I definitely had my fill of dip, meat, and wine!

Chris’ parents left this afternoon to try to miss the winter weather headed our way. We had off for President’s Day and have been working on some small projects. I’m sure I’ll write more about them next week – hopefully we’ll get a lot of work finished!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Tangled in Vines, Trees, and Taxes

I know I haven’t posted in a couple weeks. Last weekend, I was back in Pennsylvania. My Dad had prostate cancer and had to get his prostate removed. Fortunately, the surgery went very well, there is no more cancer, and he is doing great in his recovery (even though the Steelers lost the Super Bowl!). We’re all very happy to have this behind him.

While I was away Chris did some furniture stripping and beer brewing. He also finished fixing the dogwood tree that split because of the weight of the snow. We hope it works because it is such a nice tree!

Since the weather this weekend was supposed to be warm – Saturday was in the 40s and Sunday was almost 60. We decided to get out of the house and do some yard work.

We started Saturday by removing debris near the fence line. The original owner had planted grapevines along the fence. She had not taken care of them for a very long time and they had completely covered sections of the fence.

Chris hopped over into our neighbor’s yard to cut off the vines on that side. When he did that, we could finally see the thickness of the vines – not easy to remove all this!

While Chris was cutting vines, I worked to remove the parts entwined on the wire. Each vertical part of the fence has vines wound around many times – removing them is quite tedious. Today, my hands feel more like claws.

Chris cut down a couple small trees. The first tree went down without any issues. The second one was another story. There was a small pine tree that was growing in a split in a maple tree. When Chris cut the base of the tree it just hung from the maple. We struggled awhile to try to get it out – push, pull, twist, cut, repeat. Finally, it came down but it was looking sketchy for awhile!

Saturday evening we decided to start some of our seeds for the garden. We started tomatoes, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, eggplant, some peppers, and flowers. We plan on putting them in my window at work because it gets the best sun all day (it worked well for us last year).

Sunday after church we went to brunch with Steve, Diane, and Jared. We had a really nice time – we definitely need to see friends more often!

After grocery shopping and a nice nap, we decided to get back outside. There is still a ton of snow in the yard but it’s melting a lot so our yard is an enormous mud pit. We’ll have to plant a lot of grass seed this spring.

Chris worked on pruning some trees while I tackled the jungle that is our front yard. The right side of the house has a bunch of huge, overgrown bushes and a ton of very thick vines. There were a couple trees that were so covered with vines that they fell over. It took a ton of effort to remove just a tiny portion of the vines. We’ll have to work more on that area later but now we have a giant brush pile out near the road – we’re pretty sure that all our neighbors hate us a little bit!

Sunday night we started our taxes – it may take us a little longer this year because of the rental apartment income. Hopefully it won’t be too bad.

On a happy note, I just got my new muck boots (just in time for the muddy spring!). They are black with little cherries on them – so cute!

Chris' parents are coming for a visit next weekend so hopefully we'll come up with a good project to tackle!