It's a Variety Pack!

Saturday, September 12, 2020

dog paw fence stain sidewalk
Boy, I went from zero to sixty on the Variety Pack posts, huh?  For a stretch there, time was sparse hence no DIY project deep dives. 

This summer's Mike-springs-for-a-big-project resulted in two, two major outdoor non-DIY project check marks and man, what a ginormous difference both have made, it’s outstanding.

First, one I was forever itching to do:   Matthews Roofing coated our roof in shiny shiny silver.  And I cannot emphasize enough how life-changing that has been.  Life.  Changing.

Genuinely nice folks, my gosh, I cannot recommend Matthews enough.  Efficient, professional, responsive, no mess, no fuss no muss plus bonus, I was treated as a human with a brain and not as a dumb girl.  Tom our sales guy even let me climb the ladder to peek at the before roof (shh) and their quote happened to beat every other by miles.
roof before
Roof before.  No roof after photos, I wasn't invited up the ladder which is fine, it's scary, heh.  But why yes, that's a roof hatch that the damn flipper cut off access to from inside.  A**holes.

Best thing to happen to this structure in its 124 year history.  Well, since we’ve been here anyway.

Tom slyly alluded to this as "oh maybe making some small difference" but in fact, it was immediately noticeable and our second floor, the bane of our HVAC existence, is no longer an oven.  Like not at all.  Even during these incessant streaks of painfully hot days, not an oven.

Un. Freakin'. Believable.  It's truly astonishing.

Every time I hit the top of the stairs and I'm not slammed with a twenty-ish degree temperature jump despite the a/c being on, it’s shocking. 

I wish we had done this right off the bat but, we didn't.  Tom did say that this reflective coating will extend the roof’s life five to ten years.  Sweeeet.  For a nine hundred buck investment, we saved thousands in future repairs and utility bills.

Sooo that wasn't a DIY.  And neither was this, Mike’s wishlist item:  the backyard west fence. 

Technically it's likely our west neighbor's fence, have to check the survey, but evasion was the issue afoot.  Fences are expensive, I get it.  But, the thing literally wobbled if you glanced at it.  Mike abhorred that fence too.

old fence before and during installation
West fence before, top.  Rolando and his assistant during construction, bottom.

Our neighbor to the east supplied the deets on his guy and on one fine Saturday, in less than eight hours, we went from wobbly to beauteous matchy-matchy.  He was fantastic, Rolando, great guy, did fabulous work.  Both Mike and I are endlessly delighted.

new backyard wood and metal fence
Brand new, sturdy, more attractive fence!  Although truthfully, I will miss the weathered gray.

Of course I had to stain it black!

Just as I was broaching the subject with Mike, I dribbled, "so the fence...." to which he interupted, "yes, I know, you’re going to stain it black."  Man.  Wow.  He is good.

Well I mean, come on, have not you seen images of cool gardens lately and the fences are black?  How modern and chic they look?!  Lush green or flower-filled landscapes stand out while the stylish fence recedes?

Seriously.  Way super snazzy and all fences should be black, IMO.  

So both fences, east and west, went black with a solid color outdoor stain.  I had contemplated stripping the east one but eehhhh, this is why they make solid color stain.  Right?!  


A gallon and a half covered both fences and I was a happy, albeit hot (it was unexpectedly ninety four degrees that day boy was I dumb) camper.

Finn's paint paw prints on concrete walk
How the....I hid the lid....somehow Finn found it and managed to step in it.  Aw jeez, ha, what a jerk!

black solid color stain on new fence
Yay!  New fence!  And it's black!  Woot!  Looks good, yeah?

Ah and then I sprung for these sharp solar up lights* over along the patio plants and I'm feelin' like the yard might come together.  Ha, seven years in.  What a looong way it's come though.  Currently loving those lights so much, I'm contemplating buying more.

Oh.  Right.  Yes.  I had asked Rolando to leave the old fence panels behind thinking I'd use the wood.  Ya know, be thrifty, not wasteful and up/recycle.  I had very good intentions.

I did use a board here and there but mostly I used it to cover over fence bits in gangways and now Finn is mad at me.

Picked up a sawsall* finally and ooohhhmg, what fun is that?!

Luckily for me, and honestly I was stunned as no project around here goes smoothly, all the width measurements worked out perfectly.  

Chop a five board wide chunk, a few bits of scrap pressure treated wood, a few deck screws, and bam, butt ugly chain link gate reimagined.

Chop a seven board wide hunk, cover over wimpy not attached to anything iron fence in east garage gangway, no more errant recyclables slipping into our yard since that's where our recycling bin is located.


Chop a five board wide slab, gate covered at the west garage gangway, Finn can no longer bum rush alley foot traffic.

So, he's mad at me.  Quite. 

Finn upset about fence gate cover
"Mom.  I am mad.  I objext.  I cannot see out front.  You suck.  Meanie."

The rest, well, I wasn’t getting to it quick enough.  Mike wanted it gone and gone asap so up went an ad on ol' reliable Craigslist and it went for free in one day.

Let's see, what else do I have for you today....

Oh!  Soooo, if you have a concrete counter such as we do, which I love by the way and am so glad I made it, be sure to not set acidic liquids on it like vinegar or what else did I just set on there recently....I can't remember. 

Doh, because those will etch your fine fine surface.  What to do if you happen to have a brain fart like I did?  You buy a diamond sanding block.*  That thing is a miracle working a** saver.

Just dribble a lil' bit of water on the surface and gently sand away, checking every so often.  I used 800 grit.  It worked so well, the counter softer and smoother than a baby's butt, I sanded the whole damn thing.  Yep, indeed I did.

Ok, last one for today:  a smart bulb.*  

I know, it seems dorky and oh my gosh you can just get up and turn the light on and off.  Yeah.  Shrug, it was on sale and I was curious. 

Screwed it into the floor lamp, added it to my Apple HomeKit (which really needs work), and I tell Siri what to do.  Turn it on, turn it off.  Turn it low, turn it to a wackadoo color (yeah, no, no on the color thing but now I can....why?  I dunno.).

I do have it programmed to turn on a half hour before sunset but that never works.  And sometimes the signal goes out or the app refuses to work.  So, it's interesting.

Should you get one?  I can't say for sure.  Maybe it's better with a different operating system?   Having grown up without a television remote, it is amusing to laze on the deck or be upstairs in the bedroom and switch the light from my phone.

Recipe time.....hmmmm.  You guys have been over to Flaky Bakers, right?  Yes, I hope so.  Let's see.  Ah, check out this Chicken Farro Salad with Apples and Walnuts, so tasty oh my gosh.  I made this Maple Viniagrette for it but as a bonus, the salad there sounds ridiculously tasty as well.  Bon appetit and see you soon!

*The outdoor solar up lights, sawsalls, diamond sanding blocks, and smart bulbs are Amazon affiliate links.  Mwah, thanks!  Please see the "boring stuff" tab for more info.

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