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Archive for the ‘Home and Garden’ Category

Remodel After Photos (Finally)

Many, many moons ago, I made a promise to my faithful readers that I would post After Photos of the remodel on my house as soon as it was finished.

The problem with making a statement like that?  I don’t think it will be truly finished until my kids go off to college, and by then I’ll probably be remodeling it again.

This weekend I took some photos so that I could kinda-sorta make good on my promise.  Just pretend that the baseboards have all been caulked and touched up with paint, the little half wall is finished, the front door surround has been stained, the head dining room chairs have been recovered, the closet door is painted and none of the walls are bare… also, I move the furniture around constantly because I feel like I can’t get the placement quite right – suggestions? 

Obviously, my to-do list is very, very long… anyone want to come visit me for awhile and help me get all of that accomplished?  I will pay you in wine and fresh vegetables.


The After Photos (Kinda-Sorta with Lots of Pretending it’s Finished):

Living Room:

I used to have rugs.  Until my darling Joy decided that they were a great place to pee.  Labradors, I can house train.  American Bulldogs, apparently, not so much. 

No more rugs.

Sitting Room:

Dining Room:

While you’re here visiting, you can help me finish sanding and staining the absolutely gorgeous table that Jeremy hand-made out of century-old reclaimed wood so that I can take off that damn table cloth. 

Also, yes, those are Christmas tree decorations and yes, it is only October.  My kids insist that they stay in the house year-round. 


This door is my favorite thing in the entire house.  Other than the people living in it, of course.

Kitchen, where all the corn-free magic happens: 

We added the wall on the left, which Maura helped me paint on one of her visits (thank you, again, my wonderful friend), and the retro-fitted cabinet that doesn’t have a proper top.  One of these days I’ll choose a granite I like and the counter tops will all be replaced. 

I’ll post the After Photos of Alison and Blythe’s room another time… in a year or so, based on my track record.

In case you’d like to see photos of the project in progress, the  last update  was from August 2009 and the one before that was from July 2009.  All of the updates can be found in my Home and Garden section if you truly have nothing better to do with your time.  (Warning: If you click those links and then try to click the links in those posts, they won’t take you anywhere, just so you know.  Such is the price of moving blogs – broken links.)

Yes, Another One

Jeremy and I bought another junk house.

It’s disgusting, I won’t lie.  I’ll post some photos, soon!

I wrote about our first day of demolition on twitter, because I don’t like to swear on my family blog.


Speaking of family.

Kelly took some amazing photos of us and I’m giving you a sneak peek.

Neurotic Dishwashing: A Tutorial

I can’t just wash a dish and let it be, because I am a special brand of crazy

It’s why I’d rather pick hay out of my husbands socks every day for the rest of my life than wash dishes.  Why I’d prefer to scrub the diarrhea out of my child’s underwear than wash dishes.  Why I’d rather pick up trash on the side of the highway than wash dishes. 

Well, that might actually be going a little far.  

So, people?  The dosage of my meds just isn’t high enough to battle a broken dishwasher, especially not for a whole damn week.  The planet, my family, and my sanity need me to have a dishwasher.

Here’s a little peek into my neurotic dish washing.  Welcome to my world.

First of all: don’t even think about using a germ infested, disgusting sponge: washable dishcloths or paper towels only.

To get started, the dirty dishes must be rinsed and wiped off with a paper towel before being stacked on the counter to the right of the sink in an orderly fashion.  Which means, front to back and top to bottom, with littlest items on top.  First bottles, then glasses, then cups, then bowls, plates, left-over containers, pots, pans, and finally, silver wear.

After everything has been rinsed, wiped and stacked, both sinks and the counter to the left of the sink must be scrubbed until they sparkle and shine.

Next, plug up the right hand sink and fill it with scalding hot water.  If you’ve got kids, you’ve probably turned your water heater down, so you’ll have to remember to crank that baby up about an hour before you do the dishes.  Don’t forget to turn it back down later!

Pump in two squirts of dish soap, and start dropping in the baby’s toddler’s bottles. 

While they soak for exactly five minutes, put a large towel on the left hand counter.

Thoroughly scrub the baby’s toddler’s bottles – don’t forget the bottle brush!  Drop them into the sparkling clean left hand sink. 

Put the next set of items into the soapy water to soak.  You guessed it, for exactly five minutes.

Rinse each of the baby’s toddler’s bottles with scalding hot water exactly five times.  Hang them to try on the bottle drying rack.

Continue through the rest of the groups of dishes, replacing paper towel/washable dishcloth and the lukewarm, suds-less dishwater with fresh, scalding hot, soapy water after every 2-3 groups, depending on how large they are.

Add extra hot water and a dash of earth-friendly bleach to the last group, silver wear, and let them soak for a full ten minutes before washing.

When finished, scrub the counter to the right of the sink until it sparkles and shines.  Wipe out the sinks.

Pour yourself a stiff drink and liberally apply moisturizer to your scaly, wrinkly, peeling, red hands while you let the dishes air dry for a few minutes.  Don’t let them sit too long, though, or some dust may land on them and you will consider them dirty.

Put your feet up, you deserve it!  And hey, pretty soon it’s time to make lunch! or dinner! or snack! and then you can start the whole process over again.

If you’re lucky, your husband will pick up on your crazy pretty quickly and, since he doesn’t do it right and you won’t let him help you,  he’ll offer to get a brand new dishwasher and install it himself that very day. 

He is so getting lucky later.  As if being married to you doesn’t make him lucky enough!

The Price of Getting It Done

We’ve been remodeling our house for about a year now.

Not the whole thing, just the living room, dining room, and two of the bedrooms.  So, let’s call that half.

We’re almost done.  The end is in sight.  I can almost taste the normal (construction-free) dust.

This past weekend, I was determined to get the primer coat of paint on our new living room.

The only problem?  What to do with my kids while I worked.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not above putting a paint roller in their grubby little hands.  My husband and I are proud that we’ve been blatantly ignoring child labor laws for years now, but the kids lost interest after the first 5 minutes.

It only took 8 hours of child-neglect, but I got it done. 

So, what happens when a desperate mother puts her 5 year old “in charge” for hours on end?

First, they raided my craft/sewing cabinet.  It’s not like I ever use any of that stuff anyway, right?

Next, apparently, it was lunch time.  So they made swill.

And by the way?  Swill really stinks if left to marinate overnight.

So do a dozen bottles.  And yeah, my 2 year old still takes a bottle.  Wanna make something of it?

Alison decided it was her (4 month old) kitten’s birthday, so they had to get into the closet and pull out all the party supplies.  And I do mean all of the party supplies.

Please note that Charlie-the-kitten is not present.  He hid during the “festivities”. 

Maybe because of all the blow up animals that showed up for the party?

Before too long, they lost interest in birthdays and decided August is the perfect time to start decorating for Christmas.

Think I can get away with leaving them up until January?

So, what’s the price of getting shit done?  A big mess, take-out for dinner, whiney kids, and sore shoulders. 

But at least it’s done.  Until tomorrow, when I’ll paint it all again.

Tired and Naked

I’m exhausted.  Why?  Because my house is naked, and that entails a whole lot of work.

Blythe’s new room is finally finished.  And by finished I mean, it still needs one window sill, closet doors and only half of the electrical outlets are working.  But hey, it’s done enough for her to move over.

What?  You can’t see that very well?  Sorry.  I seem to have let my camera run out of battery, and I can’t find the charger.  So that’s all you get.  Crappy, blurry, blown up cell phone camera images. 

Just squint.  And have a few glasses of wine. 

Now, isn’t it beautiful?  I knew you’d agree.

I cleaned out Blythe’s old bedroom so that Alison could move in there.

So that we could strip down the wall between Alison’s old bedroom and the living room.

(More squinting.  A few more sips of wine)

We actually stripped the living room side before I ever even moved her.  Because, have I ever mentioned that my husband is cheap frugal?

We needed the sheetrock over at that rental we’re working on.  So we took it down here, and put it up there.  Already textured!  And free!

Now that Alison has been moved, the living room is all the way naked. 

See my vacuum?  It is begging for mercy.

I hope it doesn’t quit on me when it finds out that we’ve now started ripping out the other side…