Aug 31, 2010


We don't just work on our own house, we help friends as well.

Three men with 2 ladders and more hammers than you can count - roofing on a hot day...

They are building a shed. That looks like a little house. Does that make them little gnomes?

Aug 30, 2010

Heading in the Clouds

Remember how I mentioned there was an upcoming tournament? Well if you don't already know, I am not a morning person. And flyball tournaments and practice seem to happen precisely at this time. But I honestly can't complain about waking up early for a drive like this:

We moved out here thinking we'd hate it because it's so not us. And we moved here thinking that we'd try it for 5 years and then go back to New England. But now we're not so sure... can you blame us?

Aug 27, 2010

Hendrix Lives On!

You all remember Hendrix the squirrel right? Well here's a video that I never posted. It's also the very first video I've posted on this blog. Look how cute and tiny he is and what strange noises he makes:

Yesterday, we inquired and received the last on him:

"...the squirrel made a perfect recovery and was released with three others nearby. Thank you so much for caring.

I may be checking in with you regarding future releases if you have a good yard. I often get squirrels in from Animal Control with no information or from school sites which is not a good release site."

- Squirrelmender

Is that a great ending or what? Rock on Hendrix!

Aug 26, 2010

Over Fire

When it's warm out, we like to be outside as much as possible. When we can, we grill.

But sometimes, we're just simply forced to (thanks Mother Nature for this wonderful heat wave!)...

Yep, you are seeing right. That's a whole pizza being 'baked' on a grill. No, we are not renovating our kitchen again. We actually chose to do this.

How to do this? Just keep the grill on a low heat, oil both sides of the dough one side at a time, and cook until it is a bona-fide crust (be patient, it takes longer than you would expect). Then top your pizza and cook some more.

The result: a tasty deep dish pizza (take note of the meat cleaver in the photo. You'll need it).

Aug 25, 2010

Bug Out

This morning Karma the dog took interest in a flying insect in our hallway. We quickly had to evict him because Rylie the dog has a habit of eating (or trying to eat) these. Or maybe she thinks it's a game and is only playing with them. Which is cute until she gets stung.

After he was caught, we thought "man this guy is large":

And then we thought "man this thing has a weird body":

All while taking photos of course.

After comparing photos with internet research, I've come to the conclusion that it is a Black and Yellow Mud Dauber. See for yourself, here and here.

They are "thread waisted" and "solitary" wasps. Such weird terms. But befitting for a weird looking bug. No idea where it's mud nest is, maybe in the toilet tank sitting in our hallway?

Aug 24, 2010

Sticky Legs

Some great shots of a big spider web on our spruce tree outside:

Anyone know what kind of spider this is?

Aug 17, 2010

Great Balls and Fire

There's a flyball tournament coming up and I'm on ball washing duty. So here's what I'm armed with:

(vinegar, unscented soap, bleach)

Don't forget the rubber gloves if you're lucky enough to have dry skin like me (trust me, bleach and eczema are not a good combo). It also protects my hands from using the hottest water my faucet has to offer. And wash the buckets too. And then dump the dirty water into the toilet (you don't want the grass clippings, dirt, mud, rocks to go down your tub drain).

Then I rinsed like it was going out of style. Then I rinsed again with vinegar. Then again with water. Because if there is a hint of anything on them and the dogs don't take the ball, you know who's going to be blamed!

Then I set them out in the cleaned out kiddie pool to dry out in the sun. The sun also zaps the germs. So plan on doing this on a really sunny day.

The dogs are confused.

The dogs are tempted.

Oh but wait until I take these balls indoors tomorrow to mark our team name on them! These girls will be thoroughly confused. And tempted some more.

And after the back breaking work of washing balls in the tub (which brought back old memories), and then hauling them downstairs, I tried to make some well earned breakfast:

Today is not going to be a good day.

Aug 16, 2010

It's Hydrangea time

Look what happens when you actually water your hydrangea bush? You get blooms.


Anyone else notice how much water these suckers require? Not drought tolerant that's for sure...

Aug 12, 2010

Master Bath D-Day 3

Now that the master bath has been cleared out, we proceeded to the flooring. You see, it was boring white square ceramic tiles with highlights of hideous shades of orange. I like orange, and have nothing against that color but what were the PO's (previous owners) thinking when they chose to put that in a room that received no sunlight with overhead fluorescent lighting?

And so out it went. For this job, make sure the toilet drain pipe is covered to protect it from debris falling in. Also put up plastic drop cloths to prevent dust and tile chunks from flying into any nearby rooms (we didn't have to do this as we just closed the bathroom door).

What you'll need:
  • rubber mallet
  • crow bar
  • hammer or metal mallet (forget what this is technically called)
  • grout removal tool
  • metal putty knife
  • floor scraper
  • dust pan and broom
  • dust mask (I know the bf isn't wearing one in the above pic but apparently he doesn't care about his lungs)
I also suggest ear plugs of some sort, this process gets loud.

Take the grout removal tool (which is basically a stack of utility blades with one handle) and run along the ground lines (it will make an awful sound. Like fingernails. Along a chalkboard. A very clean one. Times 10).

Then take the rubber mallet and lightly pound the tiles that you have used the grout removal tool along to loosen it up. Work in sections, like one entire row at a time.

Now take your crowbar and hammer (or metal mallet) and pry off the tiles. They should start to come off. Then use the floor scraper and the tiles should come off in whole pieces (which will make for less dust and way easier clean up).

And if a ton of grout was used, then you've just got to smash the hell out of the tiles. Clean up will suck. But at least you can unleash your aggression on the stupid ugly tiles.

By the end of this, you'll be deaf and your arms will want to fall off (if you are hauling loads of broken tile from the second floor, that is).

Any better tips to this type of demolition? Or tile hauling? Did you actually like the orange tiles? Are you the PO's that picked it out? Care to defend it?

Aug 9, 2010

Clean Sweep

We are cleaning up around here. Our house has become a disaster zone. We have a toilet tank in the hallway and unexpectedly had friends come over and they didn't even ask why we had half a toilet outside our bedroom. Or maybe they didn't notice. Either way, it means we are pigs.

So we decided to clean up a bit. Sell some stuff, donate a bunch of stuff, throw away more stuff. Sure we live in the digital age but sometimes you have to toss out that digital stuff as well. Look at that pile of outdated material. My favorite is the one labeled "CD Music" (I'm tempted to write "CD" on the blank one).

Do you keep a drained toilet in your hallway? Does that lead to cleaning out your discs? And then leaving the toilet in your hallway anyway? Please tell me yes...

Aug 6, 2010

Socket Away

I stopped by Pepboys for a very specific item. A 10 mm socket for a 3/8" drive. This is what I saw when I went there:

Really? Does this ever happen to you?

Aug 5, 2010

Keep at Basil

Why buy basil leaves when you can get the whole plant?

A cheap alternative to floral centerpiece. Fragrant. And think of the possibilities!

I'm going to massacre this guy and make pesto. Mmmmm. Any other suggestions?

Aug 4, 2010

Not the Best Medicine

Included in the removal of the vanities, sink, and toilet, I also removed something really minor:

I just unscrewed the 3 screws on the inside of the medicine cabinet:

Which left a nook with unprimed drywall and wood:

I actually really like this open nook much better. Remember when I did this with the kitchen ceiling?

Does your home have those side medicine cabinets? Are you with me on the open storage nook? Do you want my medicine cabinet? Ideas on what to do with it?

Aug 3, 2010

Mending Hoses

For over a year now, I've had this awesome kink-free hose. The only problem is that I bought a cheapo nozzle and it calcified onto my rocking hose:

So one day the bf and I got fed up and snipped the damn thing off:

Then we slipped on a hose mender (which can be purchased at any hardware store):

We inserted the male part into the hose and put the loosened collar around the hose:

Then we pulled it up to the end of the hose and tightened it with a screwdriver:

But wait the fun doesn't stop there. To prevent the calcification (is that a word?) from happening again, we also installed hose quick connects (also available at any hardware store). One end goes on the hose and the other goes on the nozzle:

And then I installed my favorite hose nozzle back on:

And then hose away! Whee!

I've learned that not all hoses are created equal. Do yourself a favor and skip the medium duty and go straight to a heavy duty kink-free hose, and it should come with a lifetime warranty (I got mine at Lowe's). You can go cheap with the nozzle if you wish, as it's dropped often and won't matter. But make sure you do not store the hose with the nozzle attached for any long periods of time (especially if you have hard water). The best way to go about the hose situation, is to get a kink-free heavy duty hose, high quality nozzle, quick connects from the faucet to the hose, and from the hose to the nozzle, and a hose caddy.

Any other advice to share? Any hose caddy recommendations?

Aug 2, 2010

Master Bath: Floor Plan

Here's a floor plan I created for the current layout of our master bathroom (scale 1 cm = 1 inch):

(Like how I incorporated the ugly oranges and yellows from the old tiles? Details people!)

The new floor plan is ever so slightly changed. We're planning for a 6" wider bath tub, moving the toilet over 6", and a 1" wider sink vanity. We're planning to place a storage shelf or hamper where the old pseudo-built in vanity used to be.

I'm also hoping for lush chocolate brown tile floors. But not a gray bath tub or sink...