Loose Ends

Loose Ends

the creative impulse gone awry

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Things we did this weekend:

I love a long weekend, mostly because I love an extra day with my sweetie.  Also, I take myself off the hook for doing too many things around the house because we have an extra day to play and still get things done.  Did we do the things we set out to do?  No.  As usual we got sidetracked, but we are so happy with what we did that we're not really complaining.  And we even got to spend a little time not working on the house, which was fantastic.

First thing on the agenda was fixing our dryer vent.  Sexy, I know.  It's another one of those things that just needed to be done.  I had popped some wet laundry in the dryer earlier in the week and turned it on and noticed a lot of lint flying through the air.  heh.  That's not really supposed to happen.  When I checked it out I saw that the poor, sad, crinkly and duct-taped dryer vent was hanging on at the dryer end and completely detached from the vent outlet in the wall.  Let's all repeat - Duct tape is actually not for ducts.  Poorly named.  Very Confusing.  I know.  So home depot here we go, for some stuff and some things.  And then there was a tantrum and we couldn't get half of the stuff and a few of the things (this is a theme in my life...) But we were able to secure what I needed to repair the dryer vent and it is so lovely now.  straight, not dented, securely attached (not with duct tape) -- should last for YEARS thus leaving me free to think about other things.  I would show you a picture but my basement is FULL of spiders and I can't really bear to look at pictures of my basement.  Sorry.  I'm just now getting over my fear of the place -- the dehumidifier has helped tremendously, now it doesn't smell so terrible.  Bad smells + spiders = my own personal hell x 2  (I can't help it, I was a math major)  anywho.

So the other thing on our to do list for the weekend was to regrade part of the yard that basically drained all of the water on the side of the yard down toward the house and through a window into the basement (shooting, no less, out of the window frame like a sprinkler into the basement showering our electrical panel and our furnace with rainwater, awesome.)  We wondered why parts of the electrical panel were rusted like crazy (hello fire hazard) and had them repaired pre-purchase and boy did we find out during some pretty epic rain here a couple of weeks ago (flash floods everywhere, it was CRAZY)  During the first storm I was running around (trying to go to a party) and going "oh no!  the road is flooded!"  and "oh my that is a lot of water in the basement!" but during the second storm I was able to go around inside and out to look for problems.  When I heard the noise of water spraying in the basement and saw the puddle by the window (5 inches deep up against the window, hence the sprinkler effect out the window frame) I went outside and saw the pond that was our side yard and noted that it all flowed very effectively into that window well and then onto our electronics (eek!)  So, regrading definitely in order, and before any more significant rainfall.

We have removed these crazy hydrangeas that were growing next to the walkway from the breezeway into the backyard -- essentially they attacked us as we tried to go outside and were the same height as Clara, which is to say, huge.  We knew we wanted to make a little stone patio on either side of the walkway so we could have some potted plants and the grill out there and still have easy access to the backyard from the breezeway.  So I thought, let us dig up some earth from that spot and use it to regrade that section of yard that needed it.  I'm brilliant, I tell you. 

(terrible screen capture from our video walk through before we owned the house)
huge bushes, tiny walkway!  One day I'll remember to take before pictures.  honest.

So my plan worked stunningly.  We ripped up the grass (carefully wanting to re-use it) and put down lots and lots of soil from the place previously occupied by the hydrangeas (which are now hopefully surviving in the front to the left of the garage) and then put the grass back on top of the new soil.  It's raining right now, heavily and so far, the regrading is doing it's job. 

Of course, once we had all the soil out we thought we should put the stones down and it was such a lovely cool weekend (perfect for yard work) that we went back to the home depot (fewer tantrums this time) and got some tester stones that we thought would work.  We were lucky to find something that we liked that fit the spot without having to trim stones (of course that would have meant buying a new tool, but it's alright, I'll get a wet saw eventually when I start some of my re-tiling projects)  Our test stones were laid in place the next morning and we liked it, made some choices about how to level out the spot and went back to the store with two cars to get everything we needed.  Now we have this:

Yes, it's not perfectly level, and, yes, there are some wiggly spots.  But we're pretty darn thrilled with the results.  As soon as we're allowed to walk on it again (4pm, not counting, nope) we'll put the grill there so it's closer to the kitchen which will make my life easier.  Possibly with a chair and a little glass top table.  The other side will have to wait, probably for at least a month -- things are about to get slightly busier around here, lots of weekend plans in the near future.  The pattern will have to be a little different because we only have 32 inches on that side and we don't want to cut stones.  Did I mention we're thrilled?  Oh how nice it is to not be eaten by hydrangeas on our way to the back yard and to have a place to set things that is relatively flat and accommodating.  I can't wait to do the other side!

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