Time to Update!

Saturday, May 25, 2019

As I sit here typing, my brain, the house is rattling, rattling with the sound of a jackhammer.  The concrete guys are back.  thu thu thu thu thu thu thump....thud

Yep!  thu thu thu thu thu thu, bang, thu thu thu....

Mike wanted to redo the gangway walkway.  And so we are.

gangway concrete walkway
Cutie Finn, leading the way down the leaf-covered gangway, it's before state.
Hey, when Mike decides he wants to do something home improvement-y, I am one hundred trillion bazillion percent behind that.  For. Sure.  It was an either/or proposition:  either the fence to the west in the backyard or the gangway.  I didn't have a preference so gangway it was.

Out they came for an estimate and a month later, here they are on a drizzly day jacking up the concrete between our house and our neighbor to the east.  Rattle rattle rattle.

Finn of course is out of his mind, the grown-up-Peanuts-wah-wah-like muffled voices he's hearing, the people he sees out the window in his yard, the noises.  Heh, it's gonna be a fun day!

Obviously then, Mike has been pleased as punch with the concrete rectangles, the new and vastly improved concrete by the back door, and the little strip out front.  Or maybe I'm projecting, I'm pleased as punch.  He's fine.

concrete rectangle pathway in backyard
Ooooh yeahhh.  Freshly cut grass, what fortuitious timing too.
Every heavy snow or super drench-y rain I'd say to him, "see, aren't you glad we did this?" as we walk above the fray, dry feeties and all.

"Yes babe, very glad."  Half patronizing, half sincerely, heh.  But he is glad, I know he is.  Home improvement good!

More on the new concrete another day.

Yikes, jeez, I hope that's not our house falling in just now.  Woof!  Woof!  Poor Finn.

Last time I mentioned I'd update on the deck.  After all that stripping of the old stain that failed.  After all the work getting the new stain on.  That huge ginormous project.  Well??  It made it through the winter!  Hallelujah!  Hallelujah!  Wow.

There are a few spots where it looks bare but overall, the deck looks great.  So, after a harsh winter of extreme cold, oodles of ice and snow, Cabot* comes out a winner.  Woo hoo!  Lil' butt wiggle dance there.  Always feels good to have done something right, right?

spots in wood deck stain
Not sure what it is about these spots that decided they needed to be bare.  I'm contemplating touching them up though I imagine they won't match.
How about that ecobee?  Yeah, how 'bout it?

ecobee3 lite smart thermostat
It's our first 80° day today, can't wait to turn the heat off.
Ever since the fiasco was resolved (reminder:  get your furnace cleaned), we have had zero problems with the ecobee.*  In fact, I maybe have opened the app three times since then, if that.  I haven't been to the web portal more than twice, though I should swing by there to review stats and such.

Wait, take that back, the gizmo did have a little trouble staying connected to the wifi about a month after but then, at the time, I remembered we have two bands or whatever internet-y they're called, so I switched some stuff to the other and we haven't had wifi trouble since.

Nice.  I am Team ecobee.

Unlike that Nest which gave me headaches constantly.

Speaking of headaches, remember the ongoing pain in the a** back door closer?  Insanity was indeed buying the same darn door closer expecting different results.  This different closer, while not as fancy with the bump the button, the door stays open whoo-ha, has been hassle-free.  Hassle-free.  How refreshing.

new pneumatic back storm door closer
Real fancy shot of the door closer.  Heh.
Man, I'm really on a positive roll here, huh?!  How fantastic!  Some days it sure doesn't feel like it but put all together here in words, huh, wow.

woof woof woof, they must be doing something different outside now.  Woof!  Sounds like they're pretty close to complete walk removal.  Wow, damn, they are fast.

Let's see, what else....Oh, I set a small goal for myself, get the out front out front area looking less frighteningly terrible, the parkway.  My plan was to keep an eye on the free section of Craigslist for plants to fill it up, overtake the weeds.

parkway plantings
Top:  parkway early early spring.  Bottom:  parkway today.  I'm always moving day liliies out there.  And I did buy one bag of mulch.  And yes, the grass needs cutting.  I yanked a ton of freakin' dandelions, likely to no future avail.
So far I've gotten some free sedge from a very lovely lady in Evanston.  Weirdly, and surely only because I've been looking, free plant offerings this year have been slim to none.  Very atypical.

Why not just buy some stuff?, you ask.  The city can rip apart the parkway at any given time for any given reason so I'd rather not spend money only to have city workers destroy it.

We're required to maintain that patch but they can raze it at will and are not required to replace.  Crazy, I know.

It is pretty amazing what you can find for free on Craigslist though, by the way.  And by amazing, I mean both mind-bogglingly strange and wow, you could furnish several houses many times over.

Speaking of plants, this year I opted to throw down corn gluten meal again, see if maybe my first go around was an error on my part.  So I loaded it up and alas, it hasn't made a lick of difference really.  Menards had it this time, by Preen.*

Picked up a few new plants as every single one I planted last fall died.  Thank you Menards one year plant guarantee; hold onto those receipts!  Plus I picked up a few cool spikey ones from Home Depot.

plantings growing in front yard garden
It looks a mess and hopefully someday the darn grass will grow properly instead of in weird lumps.  New cordyline and rhododendren, blocking Mike's path to mow the parkway, hence why it was overgrown.  Gate key located now.
More than half of the perennials I picked up at Christy Webber have knocked off.  But!  My Charlie Brown lilac is happy as can be, bloooming like mad this year!  Woot!

sad Charlie Brown lilac bush
You go, little guy!  It smells so good too.  Mike rolled his eyes at it the other day.
Plants my friend Bruch gave me last fall are taking off and it's really super exciting.  Did I mention that?  No, seems I didn't.  Doh, oops.  How did I not?!

He has these beautiful bloodroot, just the happiest of flowers, so I traded a patch of coneflowers and coneflower seeds with him for some.  Then he started digging everywhere, loading me with oodles and oodles of plants, I was dizzy, speechless.

So much has popped up that I don't remember, I feel like a total schmoe.  Thankfully I came across a free app, iNaturalist.  Wow, what a seriously helpful app.  App Store and Google Play links for ya, you're welcome.

Let's see, what else....

The gasket on the ol' pop up drain in the master bathroom isn't holding water anymore when the drain is closed and I can't find a replacement.  Very frustrating.  Unsure of route forward.

Oh, over the winter I repainted our living room.  Hilariously, the color I chose, Serene Sky, one I used on the office project, is shockingly verrrry similar to the original color I painted, Sonata.  Haha, I did some head shaking there.

living room walls in Sonata Blue by Pittsburg before
Living room before.  Sonata paint color.  Sunny day.
repainting in behr serene sky paint in living room
Pardon the mess.  Heh.  After.  Serene Sky.  Not a huge heck of a difference, hahaha.  Cloudy day.
But since we ordered a new couch and a new rug for the living room, which I promise, I promise, I'll get to that ASAP because now everything's settled...so many projects to get to, so many posts to get to!  Oy me!

Anywhooo, I thought new paint would be apropos and a lighter blue would be lovely.  And it is.  Just not much different.  Too funny.

Enough different though that Mike caught me one evening, "hey, why...why is that wall, why does that wall look different than the other one?"  [pause]  "Waaaait.  Why are you repainting??!"  Busted.

Ah well.  So I was.

Ok, I gotta get back to this mountain, this Mt. Everest of projects either in the works, lined up, backed logged....Be back soon!

*The Cabot stains, ecobees, and Preen are Amazon affiliate links.  Mwah, thanks!  Please see the "boring stuff" tab for more info.

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