I’m Just Going to Remove the Loose Stuff.

Yeah. So this happened while Dave was raking leaves one day:


A+ for industriousness, epic fail for making husbands happy.

I really was just going to scrape a little loose paint off. It’s just that there was a lot of loose stuff, which happened to include a lot of plaster. And cement under the plaster. Also, it was really kind of fun. And hard to stop. It wasn’t until I started to clean up and noticed this…


that I realized I might be in some trouble.

After 3 coats of plaster, things are looking distinctly more wall-like… and happily, Dave is still speaking to me even though he wasn’t planning to work in the entry way until the library, bathroom and living room were done…


By the way. Do you like the new curtain in the window of the basement door (on the far right)? Minor miscalculation of size. Minor.


Garden bounty

When we closed on the house at the end of July, the previous tenants had a humongous vegetable garden growing. Seriously. You could have fed the better part of the block with the tomatoes alone.

These are from closing day –garden1



Sadly, the potting shed had to go. It wasn’t built properly, and we were told by our inspector that it should come down asap – second only to the electrocution-enabling electrical meter box.

So Dave and Tony pulled it (the shed) down. It was… messy. We’ll go with messy.

There is still a pile of construction debris, somewhere under the 5′ pile of snow in the back yard. We didn’t quite get to ordering a dumpster before the bad weather hit. So that’s on the list for this spring, pretty much as soon as the snow melts. I think we’ll also be pulling down the compost bin (again, improperly built; the wood of the bin is as much compost as the contents) which is just out of frame in that last picture.

Since we weren’t living in the house in August when our 2,000 tomatoes were ready, we sadly missed out on a lot of them. We did take several bags of them back to our apartment though and ate and/or gave away as many as we could.


One weekend’s harvest.

By the time we were living in the house in late September, most of the produce was done. With the exception of a lot. A. Lot. of celery. So one cool fall day, I went out and harvested it.


This is what 2.5 lbs of celery looks like when it’s stuffed into your sink.

Once I’d de-bugged and generally cleaned, chopped and weighed the celery, I made cream of celery soup.


(Yes, Dave allowed me in the kitchen once.)

It was a different, less creamy texture than the commercial variety – I think our skinny little celery stalks were more fibrous than we’re used to – but surprisingly tasty.

We haven’t discussed how much of the garden will be veggies this year, but we’ve been throwing around plants like zucchini and string beans and tomatoes and some herbs – basil, thyme, maybe parsley and lavender.

And I’m still hoping that one-apple tree will surprise us all in fall 2014. Maybe with 2 apples.

We moved in! We live here now!

Closing day:


Moving day:


via morguefile.com/kakisky


Sort of.

When the movers left, exhausted, it looked like this:


Happily, we unpacked most of the kitchen and the master bedroom over the course of a couple of weeks. Pretty much everything else is still in boxes, either in the basement or the back room upstairs.

Speaking of the basement, Dave made a discovery: a tiny door to a super-secret hiding space at the front of the house, in the basement.

And by hiding place, I mean place to throw random crap. Which the previous tenants apparently forgot about when they cleaned the place out:


So. We have inherited a large number of empty cardboard boxes, a jumble of wire, and some other… stuff? When we get that dumpster in the spring, I think the majority of this is going in there. Assuming we can get to it again, now that all the boxes are down there in front of the tiny door.


Electricity becomes surprisingly sexy.

In  early September we hired a team of electricians to overhaul the electrical wiring in the house. The inspector’s report had turned up several things that were eyebrow-raising at best, and downright dangerous at the worst.

Rather than trying to live in a space that had electricians working in it, we thought it best to have them come in before we moved in. Turns out that was probably a good thought. We probably also should have pushed our move-in date back another week or two or three (since they finished around 6pm the night before the movers came), but live and learn, right?

Basically, the electricians took our wiring from this:



to this:


So now the house will not burn down. At least from the wiring. And that is my new definition of sexy. (Do you think I might be breathing too many paint fumes?)

They also replaced the death-trap box outside, but I forgot to take a picture before we got 1,300,400,568 inches of snow, so you’ll have to use your imagination on that one. At least for now.

Still alive!

Just in case you were worried.

Things are progressing… slowly but surely. But before we get to that, how are *you*? Been well? Had a nice holiday(s)? I’m still slightly stunned that Valentine’s day is over already.

We’re still living in the house of the holey, but we’ve (and by we I do mean Dave) have been patching and plastering.The next few posts will hopefully catch you up on what we’ve been doing, and then what we’re working on now.

So rewinding to early September, which is sadly where we left off…

Once we had the kitchen in hand, there were a few adjacent rooms that needed attention. Namely: the pantry.

The floor of the pantry is this fab vintage linoleum, with random speckles of black, a salmon-y pink, white and gold metallic glitter. It is AWESOME. Like this:


Because we thought it was hilarious, and it would be a reason to sing “Dead ant, dead ant, dead ant dead ant dead ant dead ant dead aaaaaant“, we decided to paint the pantry pink. Not just any pink; I think you could probably safely refer to this color as pahank.

Here’s how the room looked the day we closed (Spike approves of the pantry, as you can see. He spent most of the time we were working in the kitchen curled up asleep in this corner).


Dave was all over painting this room before we moved in at the end of September, so that it would be immediately useful (side note: the current state of organization makes this statement debatable – this will be obvious from the photo below). As you can see in the photo above, the former owners used this room as a coat closet. We decided pretty quickly that a coat closet located just off the kitchen was probably not going to be as useful as something like a pantry. So we did some measuring, employed the Pantone fanbook to choose the appropriate shade of pink for the walls, and took off with my parents to Home Depot (where we should either a) ask if we can just get a dedicated parking space, or b) buy stock.) After a quick (ish) trip, we emerged from the store triumphant – lugging a gallon of pahank pahaint, some new boards to make shelves, and more high gloss white paint. Did you know that if you ask nicely, the incredibly nice people at Home Depot will cut your wood to whatever size your little heart desires on a gigantic saw? Best thing ever.

We pulled the existing shelves out, and I took those and the new boards out to the garage to give them all 3 coats of gloss white (it took a few days, so they could dry between coats). Dave started the demo and patching required to remove the hanging bar and to repair the electrician’s holes in the ceiling. Once the plaster patches were dry, Dave did all the priming and painting in here, including all the trim. In August. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned, but the house has no air conditioning and that little window faces west. It was an impressive feat of stamina.

Once everything was dry, we installed the boards, and backed out slowly, singing the Pink Panther (or rather, Pantry) theme song.

Now it looks like this:


It’s not particularly pretty or particularly organized, but it’s functioning at least. And far more useful than a giant coat closet with a window.