Home improvement weekend #4

posted by Jeff | Sunday, October 23, 2011, 10:22 PM | comments: 0

Another weekend, another effort to making our house more homely. We started with a slight distraction, namely ants. This isn't a new problem, really, as it happened a few times back in the day as well. What's weird is that they seem to come in from the center of the house, where the garage meets the foundation. We put down a few baits, and already the overall volume has been reduced. It's a problem made more difficult by the fact that Simon tends to fling food down on the kitchen floor from time to time.

We mostly took it easy on Saturday, but started the Sunday effort by getting storage boxes and plastic bins down to the crawl space. For as much as I've reduced the crap I have, there is a fair amount of sentimental stuff I haven't yet parted with. Boxes of stuff from old girlfriends, volleyball medals, video and audio tapes with God knows what on them, just general crap. I did find some photographic treasures of me as a kid. Everything that I've ever shot I have the negatives in one place, and I intend to have those shipped off to India to have them scanned. Gotta get on that.

After the storage, we finished the painting on the back wall of the living room, which crosses over into the kitchen space and covers the front of the stairs. It's just a little darker than white, but it makes a difference compared to the primer that had been there for ten years. We need to get another can, but the goal is to also cover the rest of the inside of the stairs, and the upstairs hall. We want to re-do all of the trim in pure white, but I'm honestly not sure when that's going to happen.

As we were finishing up the painting, my dad dropped by with his power washer. Diana started to trim the bushes and get the low-hanging fruit in terms of ugly in front of the house. It looks slightly less like a vacant lot now. Also trimmed the area around the back by the deck, for future hot tub connection. We have some tall "privacy bushes" along the deck, and nature found a way to start an additional one growing, right in that row, the perfect distance apart. Spring will require a lot of weed disposal and installation of some landscaping fabric before we get new mulch, otherwise it'll just turn to beds of weeds.

After we cleaned up from that endeavor, Diana took Simon for a walk, and I ran to Home Depot for some deck cleaner. I hosed down the deck with the washer, waited a few minutes, and then started to get serious with the washer. You can pretty much cut wood with that thing at 2,500 psi. The deck is actually composed of three types of wood. The railings are a really soft wood that attracts moss and such, and gets a bit splintered when power washing. The vertical posts are something else, the hardest stuff. Then there's the decking itself. I think I got it pretty clean, but I'll have to wait until it's dry to know for sure. It's really hard work! I managed to work all kinds of muscles I don't normally use, fighting the pressure.

We're pretty sure that we'd like to expand the deck at some point, because once there's a hot tub on it again, it reduces the overall functional space. Not to worry right now, as we head into winter, but once the job situation stabilizes, we're definitely going to get a new hot tub. We looked at them Saturday, and we're even considering a slightly smaller one. Kind of bummed that the patio furniture around here is already gone. We were hoping for some end-of-season deals.

The kitchen light comes tomorrow from Amazon, leaving just the need to replace the light at the front door. Then the brass fixtures will be gone. Unfortunately, the fire place is still brass colored. I'm going to hold off on replacing the brassy door knobs for now, because I want the lever kind, and Simon can open those. We don't want him in stuff just yet. I figure when he can open them, I'll replace them.

It's starting to feel like we live here again, though the changes reflect the new life we started in Seattle. The living room in particular feels completely new and different. I'm so pleased with the couch, which is starting to break in, and the Ikea TV/stereo cabinet is attractive, functional and minimal, so as not to dominate the room. The old curtains actually seem new because of the new wall color.

We've really done a ton of work in very little time. Hopefully at some point this week, we can at least get one car in the garage, and maybe even two. There are more empty boxes than anything else.


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