Sunday, June 27, 2010

Basement Water Update

The dehumidifier I bought Saturday is working wonders.  It's been running for about 24 hours and it went for 90% humidity to 65% humidity.  Yea!  It is remarkably better.  I'm still thinking about doing the drylok, but I have to do a lot of prep for it.

I *might* be getting more electricity and lights in the basement and the water hooked up to the fridge for the auto ice maker this week.  Just hoping for Uncle Art to have time....

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Bad News Bears

Last night in the Twin Cities a crazy ridiculous storm passed with flash flooding, hail, and lots of electricity.  We apparently got about 2 inches of rain in a very short span.  Probably like many home owners around me - especially owners of older houses, my basement is WET.  It was wet before, but now my concrete is definitely discolored with water.  One side of my basement is cinder blocks, but the other side - the side showing all the water, is the old stone foundation.

You can see the type of wall it is behind the plumbing in this photo.

So....the question of the day/week/month/year is what I can do about this problem.  I know the best solution would be to trench and lay a sump pump, but I really don't have that kind of cash.  I need a solution that I could maybe DIY - and maybe make the basement more user friendly in the process - creating an actual laundry nook with cabinets, storage, etc.

What say you, interweb?

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Dear Miss Debbie...

Thank you for helping us find books. and now I can find books.

The library was fun hope I see you again. have a good day bey bey Debbie.

thank you for leding us see yer stuffed.

thank you for the stuffed animals thank you for the books

I liked wen we went in the back roum. it was secret. it was a good feal chrip.

Thank you for showing us how people return the books.

thank you for letting us see the book return

think you for leting use seeing your stuffed animals think you Debbie

I like your library Debbie But your library is Cool the End.

I will miss you vare much you did ware mace for mrs. **** i will miss you.

I love it when you showed us the book return machine. thank you Debbie. you’re the best.

Thank you for leting us to see yur Libre we lie miss you.

I love when you shoud us. The cool stuff and you are cool and fun. I like books

I like the bow You have. I like your stuffed animals. I like the books.

Thank you for letting us see every thing in your library and for letting play stuft anmals with you.

Thank you for the book. The book in cool. I bocb as me.

Thank you for thok us aoynnd Thank you for let us read books to my mom.

I liked when we saw your shiney meschin

Thank to you brat size to your lobry

thank you for showing us animals. thank you for showing us stuff.

Love, 1st grade class from local school

Garden Update

I made some changes last week to my garden.  And managed to get heat stroke at the same time. Score!

I didn't like the way the hostas looked in the front garden - they were just too big for the space.  So, I decided to take those out and fill the empty space with red mulch (is that mulch? wood chip stuff?).

I likes, I really likes!

Next, I had a dead space that was next to my driveway - the small strip of earth between the driveway and fence separating my neighbors yard.  I say small strip of earth because it was mostly weeds, a little grass and a lot of dirt.  I bought some more black dirt topsoil and some seeds morning glory's and wildflowers.  I shoveled up the sod and pulled out all the weeds (this was the portion of the afternoon that gave me the heat stroke).  Soon I was left with a fairly cleaned out ready to go garden.  I planted the seeds and watered the heck out of it with miracle grow.  I even saw some green poking out of the dirt this morning. Success!

I put up that little white fence to offer some protection and to give it a little prettiness.  I'm sure it'll look much better once the flowers start growing...right? RIGHT?

In addition to those two projects, I also assembled a wheelbarrow.  That now has to be disassembled and returned because one of the handles is broken. Urgh.

I retired into the house and was so heat stroked out that I couldn't even muster the energy to take a shower. Finally I was able to get up, feed myself and lay on the couch with a deep headache.  When I went to bed, my headache had progressed to the point of a migraine and I couldn't even lay there without excruciating pain.  So, I helped myself to prescription strength pain med (to remain unnamed).  Thank goodness for left over medicines.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Brand New! Never Saw Before! Visitor, Visitor!

yes, that is from Cinderella (when Gus comes to the house)

But its not a visitor I want repeating.

Funny story.

Katsa will go outside, especially at night.  And she's made a rip in my screen door that I haven't been able to fix yet, so she is letting herself in and out.  Last Wednesday night she was outside and came in on her own quite early which was unusual.  She came into the living room and even though it was kind of dark, I noticed she was holding something in her mouth....

"Katsa, NOOOOOOO" and she drops it.  It was a friendly neighborhood mouse.  That I am sure was almost frightened to death.  She drops the mouse and the mouse of course takes off.  She chases it around and around and around. Great fun for her, not so much for me or the mouse.  Finally the mouse cowers behind the entertainment center.  I look at the clock, and its just after 10 p.m.  Too late to call my dad for advice, so I do the next best thing.  Text my sister saying its an emegency and to call.  She calls back ASAP (it was an emegerncy, kwim). 

Conversation goes something like this (from memory):

Me: oh my god, katsa just brought a mouse in the house and she dropped it and it ran off and now its hiding behind the entertainment center and i don't know what to dooooooooooo!  I want to cryyyyyyyy!

Jen: its ok (in voice that she uses with 1 year old Joseph), it'll be ok, its just a mouse.


Jen: Lock the cat in the bathroom and try to catch the mouse in a big pot.


Jen: silence

Me: I'm cowering on the COUCH. I want to CRY!

Jen: try catching the mouse in a big pot.

(isn't she just the voice of reason.  But it's easy to be the reasonable one if you're in Georgia and the Mouse that Attacks is in Minnesota)

So, i lock the cat in the bathroom to attempt to save the mouse by shooing it out the door with a broom.  I reach behind the entertainment center with the broom and I see the mouse... I try shoving it out from behind there, while blocking the way to the kitchen and rest of the house.

But then I lost sight of the mouse.  I swept behind the center, under it, behind it, near it.  Can't find the mouse anywhere.  In a fit of desperation, I let the cat out and hope that she drags the carcass back outside after she kills it. She's apparently good at catching mice, but she appears to have some sort of ADD - she gave up looking about 30 seconds after I let her out.  What the heck Katsa!

I go back to cowering on the couch.  Luckily for me, my friend Molly who lived on a farm is online so I chat her up real quick.

(Actual Chat Transcript)
Me: can a mouse climb my stairs and attack me in bed? omg there it is!!!! its on the window sill

Molly: oh lord

me: ugh, I dont know where it went. It was on the sill and by the time i opened the door and got the broom it disappeared again

Molly: mice are speedy

me: HOLY JESUS omg omg omg

Molly: what??

me: its back!!!!

Molly: debbie, there is very little i can do
Isn't she a great supportive friend :-P

So, while I am cowering on the couch, imagining the horrors that awaited me when the mouse attacked me while I was sleeping...I keep attempting to shoo it out the door. I coudn't understand - why wouldn't the stupid mouse cooperate.  I was trying to save its miserable little life by not being eaten by a cat or trapped and killed. 

So, I'm sitting again and it reappears again.  This time I manage to chase it around the living room to the open front door and out it went


We both made it out alive.  It took a good 30 minutes for my heart to get back to normal.
Katsa and Mouse = 0 Debbie = 1

Friday, June 11, 2010

How does your garden grow?

My garden is growing fine.  Part of my Memorial Day weekend warrior blitz was gardening.  I started at nothing.  Especially after I yanked those bushes out of the front space, I really had nothing but a patch of dirt.  Let the blitz begin!

What I started with - so lonely and sad
I convinced my mom to take a trip to Home Depot with me on Sunday morning for my major plant purchase.  Luckily for me, one of my brothers friends was working and I found him right away to help me. Well, it was luckily for me, not so luckily for him.  There was a lot of heavy lifting to be done.  $260 later,  Iwas the owner of several snowflake viburnum bushes, astilbes, bricks for edging, dirt, gardening tools, weed kill for that pesky creeping charlie, solar garden lights and several flats of annuals.

For the life of me, I always have trouble remembering the names of these things...marigolds! and...Dusty Miller!  I can never remember it...but it always makes me think of whisky.

The hard part of this venture was clearing the dirt of all the grass, trees, bushes, etc.  There was a lot of tree seedlings from the maple tree that had started growing.  I pulled out all I could by hand, but wound up having to get my dad over with some extra tools to take care of the remaining stumps.

Look at those pesky stumps!

Once everything was cleaned out, I couldn't believe how fast the planting went.  Within 30 minutes I probably had all of my plants in there.  I got some hostas for free from one of my parents neighbors.  They are super big right now, but my garden expert told me that in the fall they'll die off and start from scratch next spring and they should be just what I want.

Now, onto the side garden!

There wasn't a side garden for me to start with - so I started out by digging up some grass.  This was hard heavy labor, but I got most of it done before my mom came to go out to the Depot. 

Once it was cleared, the easy part was on - time for planting the marigolds and dusty miller.

1,2,3, DONE!

And so was Mom.

Poor tired Mama

A few finishing touches - planters for the side garden and by the front door and a house for the hose.

Done and Done!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

It's Curtains for You!

I've wanted to take down the heinous vertical blinds hanging at the patio door since the day I bought the house - I'm just not exactly sure why I waited so long.

A few months ago, I bought white roller blinds from the Home Depot, but it's just been sitting in a corner, waiting for me to hang.  I thought that it was going to be too complicated for me to hang myself.  Today, I suppose i finally got tired enough of the stupid vertical blinds being in the way of the patio door (who hangs blinds that slide to the side that the door way is?!?).  Tear down was easy. Bada-bing bada-boom. Ha.

Then the tough part.  I measured the blinds and figured out how far from the center hanging spot for the hangers on either side and drilled me some holes and put in the first two eye hooks to hang.  Turns out I must've measured to the end of the blind and not where the hanger was, so I had to re-drill the hole on the end and then drilled the hole on the other side.  But then it turns out that the center must've been off. Le sigh.  So I re-drilled the center hole and then re-drilled each side again.  Moral of the story. Measure once, drill once, measure once, drill once, and on and on.  In the end I have three holes on right edge, two holes in the center and two holes on the left. But you totally can't see them. Awesome.

After admiring my handi-work, I decided I should probably go get the curtains I needed to complete the look.  The look being this inspiration from Young House Love, one of my favorite blogs.  Off I went to B3 for curtains and hardware.

I did better this time with the drilling of holes - although the stupid anchors were giving me mega-trouble.  I'm pretty sure the curtains won't fall off of/out of the wall, and since you can't see what it looks like, I'm just going to let it go.  Suffice it to say, it wasn't my best effort. Some days you have the DIY handiness, and some days you don't.

But, the end result is faboo!

(sad note, was that being up on the stool drilling holes and hanging, made me realize how desperately I need to clean the blades of my ceiling fan)

I am so impressed with what the curtains do for the room - I can see it from the living room on the couch, and it completely changes the feel of dining room.  It had the same effect on me as well when I came in the side door.  I love easy projects that have mega-impact!

From a design viewpoint, I had white blinds to go with the white cabinets.  I knew I didn't want white curtains, but I also didn't want to get anything that would compete with the turquoise walls.  I went with a "natural" color that really compliments the hardwood floors and natural dining room table.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Weekend Warrior - Door FAIL

Second on my task list for the weekend was installing my storm/screen doors.  The door on the front porch was old and wouldn't latch. Just in terrible shape.  And there is no door on the side door, which feels weird to me.  I had already purchased matching doors a few weeks ago from Menards.  I just needed a volunteer (preferably with experience!) to help.  Luckily for me, my dad stepped up to help out.

Opened the box and directions directions.  We puzzled over them for a while and then finally decided to just take the old door down.  Cordless drill fail for me when the battery died.  Plugged it in while my dad ran to his house for his corded drill and some other necessary tools.  We get the door off but can't dig out the last piece that is under the brick moulding (a piece of trim at the top of the door).  We decide to let that go for a while.  We go to install the new door - and it turns out that the door is too small.  Ergh.  Load it back into the box and go to exchange it at Menards.  Reciept fail when I can't find the door receipt in my wallet or receipt pile. Yes. A pile.  But lucky for me, as long as you paid by plastic it can be looked up. Woot!

Old door parts and that tricky moulding piece

Get the 32 inch door.  Stop at my parents house again for a pry-bar to get the moulding down.  Get home, unload, get a beer.  Open up the new door and start drilling.  Got the holes drilled in the door and hung!  Yea!  Stepped back, admired the view...and noticed....a 4 inch gap at the bottom of the door. What the....

Turns out, the door opening there was 84 inches.  Rather than the standard 80/81 on most doors.  Take door down (sob) and measure again.  Decide that the door has to be reframed for a header at the top.  We give up. Le Sigh.  Now I have NO screen/storm door on either door.  Looks really strange.  I'm hoping I'll get a header soon. 

Payment for a days hard work

As it would happen, the screen door for the side door also won't fit - it measures at ~35.5 inches, which makes it too small for the 36 in. door, but too large for the 34 inch door.  What's a girl to do?!?!!?!?  It is, however, a standard height.  Small miracles.

Hi Grandpa

My grandpa who lives in Arizona is in town for a visit (which might turn into him moving here!). 

Hi grandpa - I know, right, I look kind of rough, but I was gardening all day!

When I was taking him back to his brothers for the night, I drove grandpa by my house (couldn't take him inside since it was so messy!)

"You did good, girl".

High praise, indeed, coming from him.  He's got that stoic, 80 year old man thing going on.

Weekend Warrior - Art!

I had big plans for myself Memorial Day weekend.  And big plans for anyone who would help me.  I made a handy to do list for the weekend.  It was uber long and I knew that I wouldn't be able to get everything done on it, but it was nice to see what I wanted to accomplish.

First up - Friday night I finally grabbed my frames from Ikea and fabric from JoAnn's to make my "art" for the bathroom.  The frames from Ikea are squares, but I knew I wanted to make a rectangle.  So I finagled six pieces to form a rectangle.  The only spot I wasn't able to screw together I used glue (I hope it holds!)

Here's the finished product.

And the view from the mirror

Yikes! Sorry about the spotty mirror and bathroom mess!

Fast and easy project for a Friday night (although I waited until Monday to hang it).