Green Thumbs

We spent all winter mapping out grand plans for our yard and gardens. We've now spent most of spring waiting for the weather to cooperate and let us actually plant some damn things. If it would just stop SNOWING, at least, or plummeting down to near-freezing temperatures every night. That would be a nice start. On Saturday we had a rare burst of summer-like warmth and sun, and so we opened all the windows, dug out evertbody's shorts and t-shirts, then joined approximately 56,231,000 other Vitamin-D starved people buying ALL THE GREEN AND FLOWERY THINGS at the local Home Depot. The Adventures of Zah In the Enchanted Forest Minivan The kids all whined horrifically the entire time about the heat and the sun and the sweat and the my baaaaack hurts my leggggggs hurt I am too pale and video-game soft for such torrrrrrture. So once we got home and got everything unloaded and watered and debated ideal shrubbery placement all that, it was on the late side so we planned to wake up early on Sunday and get planting. Of course, by the time we got up it was grey and nasty and cold all over again. And then... Read more →


In the Sticks

We spent our weekend turning this: Into this: Our trees lost a TON of branches during the wind storms, though we're lucky we didn't lose an entire tree like many of our neighbors. (Noah's social studies teacher lives just down the street and had a tree crash through her bedroom window, barely missing her bed, which she was in at the time.) It was a lot to clean up, but hey! Free DIY firewood! (Ike is wearing a very old Coach logo-print rain hat, circa the year I started this blog and was inexplicably and basic-white-girl obsessed with all things Coach. I didn't even know I still owned this, but Ike has taken a liking to it and insists on wearing it all the time.) Poppy was not happy to be confined to the backyard while Ike and I cleaned up the front. Also not happy that we cut up or threw out all those big, delicious sticks. The firewood will be used to fuel our new fire pit (that old inherited-from-the-former-homeowners one there is completely rusted through because we...uh, forgot about it all winter and also did not inherit a cover), which we shall enjoy before/during/after dips in the... Read more →


PatiOHHHHHH

Well look at that! It's a patio. (Weird pipe thing is the conduit for powering the hot tub, which arrives on Tuesday, so look for updates typed by severely pruny fingers every day after that.) Those are some of the most uninspiring photos on earth, but they were all I could snap before they had to cover the entire thing with plastic sheeting to protect it from the coming snow storm. It's still wrapped up, waiting for the crew to come back tomorrow-ish for the final touches, including replanting all the grass that got mercilessly destroyed and churned into swampland during construction. And we did indeed get snow! And for the first time in the history of my children's existence on earth, waking up to some fresh snow on the ground did NOT automatically equal a day off from school, or even a delay. They were LIVID. Downright INDIGNANT. What do you MEAN. How do you DARE. We are being sent out in the frozen WILDERNESS to DIE or GET OUR SHOES WET. When I informed Noah that no, I would not be driving him two whole blocks to the bus stop because the sidewalks were perfectly clear, he collapsed... Read more →


Whoosh

Hello! Is everyone continuing to enjoy this ass-bonkers March weather? Tomorrow it's pgoing to snow, on Sunday I walked to Starbucks in a hoodie, and on Friday all our outdoor furniture tried to make a break for it and blow off the deck. (#TIREWATCH2018 #ISEEYOU) I bundled up and battled the wind for awhile and got all the furniture and cushions back in place and securely covered, only to look outside like 20 minutes later at this: Yes, that's much better. The kids are LOVING all the canceled school days, although I predict much gnashing of teeth and rending of garments in a few weeks when they realize they're losing most of spring break to make-up days. Pro-tip: If you have to go to Target in the middle of a N'oreaster, try a ponytail! We still do not have a completed patio, and therefore no hot tub either. It's been a lot of stop-and-go trying to get work done in-between all these wind/rain/snow storms. I'm hoping they'll manage to finish up today but who knows. The whole patio-building process is a lot more complicated and labor intensive than I realized (I thought it was more like, "Here are the bricks,... Read more →


Pave the Swamp

Look, it's a patio! Er...well, not quite yet. We admittedly chose the worst time of year to start an outdoor project, as the crew can't work in the rain or whatever the hell kind of INSANE WIND STORM swept in last night that canceled schools and sent everybody's trash cans dancing up the street. So right now we have a lot of dirt and rocks and pallets of pavers beautifying our yard. Also this! Which is delighting the boys to no end. Look at them, not even wearing jackets three days ago and now we're trapped in a sub-freezing bomb cyclone vortex of some kind. All very fine and normal and I am feeling really great about the climate right now!!! We're getting a patio for two three reasons. One, that area behind/under the deck gets absolutely zero sun and is basically a perpetual, unusable swamp. So trying to do anything in the backyard (be it gardening or s'mores or magical berry gathering) requires you to first wade through several inches of mud worthy of the Fire Swamp. Not pleasant, also take off your shoes take off your shoes omg children stop coming inside with those damn muddy shoes. Reason... Read more →


The Storches Did A Thing!

Not long after we moved in, we hat electrician come by and do a couple random jobs -- fixing some faulty plugs, installing extra outlets, etc. We also asked him to wire up some wall sconces and switches in our bedroom. Which he did, and when he called me to come observe that everything was working, I realized that he'd sliced out a huge slab of the drywall rather than...I don't know, I'm not an electrician but I've had this exact job done at two previous residences and neither time resulted in a giant gaping hole running between the outlets. "I know a good drywall guy for that," he said very nonchalantly. I bet you do, I thought bitterly, imagining some sinister organized electrician/drywall referral racket. I told him we'd make the repair ourselves. Which, of course, we did not. We simply pushed the bed back in front of the hole and figured we'd deal with it whenever we finally got around to painting the room. We did not paint the wall, but we (Jason) did fix the hole. And then we (both of our asses) did something else: We hung wallpaper. Wallpaper! Who does that anymore? Nobody at all,... Read more →


The Million Hour Bathmat

I'm not a very big Pinterest user. I have fits where I go and pin three dozen near-identical home project ideas that I will never look at again, and then I go so long without logging in that both my browser and my brain have completely forgotten my password. Twitter gives me anxiety, Facebook makes me depressed, Pinterest is why I have a dozen dead succulents in my kitchen. Jason, on the other hand, freaking loves Pinterest and regularly falls down the wormhole, texting me link after link of things he is TOTALLY gonna build/cook/make/whatever. And a couple times he maybe actually did! (Still waiting on a patio table, console table, bathroom shelves, shiplap bedroom wall, and backyard treehouse.) Anyway, once upon a time and several hundred bottles of wine ago, he came across a tutorial for making a bathmat out of wine corks. Wow, that looks really cool! And seems pretty easy, especially because step one is literally to just drink a ton of wine to collect the corks. WELL I FOR ONE AM SOLD. And so we began saving wine corks. From nice bottles, special bottles, crappy bottles. We'd order wine at a restaurant and I'd snatch the... Read more →


An Ode To All the Crap I Found On Top of the Fridge

The great kitchen appliance I'm Not Dead Yet tour lumbers on. The refrigerator's ice maker broke and leaked water everywhere (something I discovered while sitting downstairs in the basement, when water began dripping on my head halfway through The Cloverfield Paradox). And then that duct-taped shelf randomly un-duct-taped itself the very next morning and took out a dozen eggs and a bottle of mustard. Jason attempted to fix the ice maker, but after spending 10 minutes behind the fridge he realized it was a goddamn miracle the thing was running at all, or not currently on fire. (Maybe it was! Maybe the water leak just canceled it out.) Bitch was old. And very much on its last legs. Not going to lie: I straight-up clapped my hands and cheered. New fridge! New fridge! (In case you're wondering where all this money we suddenly seem to have came from: We took out a home equity loan a few months ago to fund several projects, like the floors and a new patio out back that is getting underway later this week. We also included some buffer/padding money in case of something going over budget or, say, all our major appliances turning to... Read more →


Appliance Purgatory

In an attempt to keep costs down on our kitchen remodel, we opted not to replace any of the appliances. They were all pretty old and not particularly stylish (shiny, black, basic), but they worked. They probably wouldn't work much longer, we guessed, but we could live with them for now. We'd replace them as needed, once they officially gave out and died. It turns out Appliance Death is not exactly a cut-and-dry sort of thing. Much of our lives since have been spent locked in existential debate about the fate and mortality of our stupid appliances. The dishwasher "died" on a semi-regular basis from the day we moved in, but we found it could usually be revived with a couple vigorous slams of the door. If that didn't work, we just needed to pop open the control panel and replace a particular fuse that kept blowing. Also the top rack was prone to popping off its track and falling off completely if you pulled it out a touch too far. That cost us a couple dishes every now and then, but hey, it's all just Ikea and Goodwill crap. Other than all of those things, the dishwasher works! It's... Read more →


Um. Brr.

It's currently 11 degrees outside (-1 with windchill), but apparently that's downright balmy compared to what a lot of ya'll are currently dealing with, as we're at least not digging ourselves out from piles of snow and/or frozen iguanas. We're mostly just piling on the layers*, gathering around the fireplace, and basking in the warming glow of some good ol' fashioned Fire and Fury, along allllll the schadenfreude-y popcorn our doomed planet currently has to offer. Here we are preparing to make the one block trek up to the bus stop. We made it as far as our driveway before I was like, fuck this bullshit, get in the car, we're driving. Sorry again, planet. *This includes a heavy layer of warm-body-seeking cats and dogs** at all times. **This weather justifies the purchase of some absolutely ridiculous pet sweaters Y/N? Read more →