Saturday, July 22, 2017

Garden State

Over the past few weeks, the garden has endured a bit of benign neglect. On the bright side, being away even for a few days let me really see and appreciate how quickly things are growing. The contrast is just amazing. I'd spend every waking moment outside if I could!

I'm going to try to do a better job of writing down what I'm observing and when in the garden. I always think "Oh, I'll remember where I planted the lettuce last year" or "Of course I'll be able to keep track of which variety of tomato did the best last summer." Considering that most mornings I have trouble remembering where I took off my shoes the night before, I'm not sure why I persist in this utterly ridiculous belief.

Little pumpkin seedlings emerging in June...
One month later! And still growing like mad. The tendrils are now starting to take over the pathway.

All the pumpkins and squash are doing well in their patch. The Cinderella pumpkins were the first to come up and get established. But the one that's really bowling me over is something new to me: Sweet Mama squash. The plants are ENORMOUS and already covered in little green baby squash. I got a few starts on a whim, and I can't wait to see what the fruit tastes like! (And I hope it's really really great, because it looks like we're going to have one whole heck of a lot of it.)
We got a couple pints of strawberries a week from early June until a week or so into July.


This year, I planted two types of peas - standard sugar snaps (right) and sugar sprints (left). The difference is INSANE. It's even more noticeable now than it was in this photo from a week or so ago. The sugar sprints are three times the size, heavier yielding, and the pods are more tender. I'm definitely going all in with them next year. And as the saying goes, we're gonna need a bigger trellis.

One afternoon's harvest - snap peas, lavender, strawberries, lettuce, eggs.
The lavender also seems very happy now, but I have to say this is the one plant that did not cope well with the lack of attention. I came back after two weeks away, and although Brett was home for a week of that, he didn't have a chance to keep an eye on these plants or do any weeding. The entire border had transformed into a post-apocalyptic hellscape in which all mankind (or at least husband-kind) had died out, leaving morning glories as the dominant species on earth. The vines were twined all through the stems of the lavender, and had to be not just pulled up, but unwrapped by hand.

The tomatoes are just starting up now, and I have to say (knock on wood) that they're looking a lot better than I hoped. Tomatoes are hard in our damp, temperate climate, and I never seem to have much luck. This year I got all cherry varieties, which appear to be a little less fussy. The Sweet Millions plants look the best overall, but the first ripe tomato came from the Sungold. I'm so excited for garden-fresh tomatoes, but I'm trying to reign it in just in case it doesn't go that well.

Now time to get back out there for more weeding!

Well, some of us will weed. Others prefer to watch and sunbathe.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

We're Back!

Whew! It's been ages since the last post, and it's been a wild ride around here. Between new jobs (both of us within a month or so of each other), travel, gardening, and trying to squeeze in a little time to do some actual work in the house, I haven't had much time to do anything but collapse in an exhausted heap.

Thankfully, we've been able to enjoy some much-needed spa-like relaxation in our finished new bathroom!

We put on a few finishing touches:
Brett practicing his contortionist act while trying to caulk around the back of the bathtub. He made it!

Just after the shower enclosure glass install. Since we had to wait a couple of days before getting it wet, it's imaginary shower time!
In what feels like an incredibly significant home-renovation milestone, I have officially moved my toothbrush upstairs. WOOHOO!  Also, I may occasionally be showering/bathing twice a day now out of pure happiness. (Please send moisturizer.)

Here it is, all finished:




Of course, if you look the other direction, you'll see that we still have a ways to go on the rest of the upstairs... but that's for the next few weeks!


Saturday, June 10, 2017

A Spoonful of Sugar Helps the Medicine Cabinets Go Up

Every new step at this point just feels completely amazing, and adds a whole new level of functionality to the bathroom. I can't get over how fast it comes together now, especially know that literally years of work went into getting here.

So, we mounted the medicine cabinets. Because of the angled framing in our wall, we decided to go with externally mounted ones instead of inset. We bought them ages ago, and HOLY COW I had forgotten how heavy these things are.

Installation sounded simple. It uses a french cleat. Basically, you mount a bracket on the wall, and then just slide the cabinet down on top of it, so a matching bracket on the back slots in. Easy, right?

Well, first, you have to get the bracket into EXACTLY the right spot on the wall. And of course it doesn't come with a template, so you have to figure out just where the cabinet will actually sit. And it must be perfectly level (making it probably the only level thing in the entire house). And then you have to get the second one even with the first. And then you have to heft the ten million pound cabinets over your head and into place.

What could go wrong?

Long story short, we only had to re-mount the brackets a couple of times, and a cabinet only came crashing down on us once. So I'm calling that a win.



So although there are still some small things to take care of, all the main pieces are in and the look is basically finished.

Here's the original Pinterest picture that was our main design inspiration for the sink area:


And here's our finished product!


I love how it turned out. It's just what I hoped for, and best of all, it's full of natural light. I can't wait to move upstairs!

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Bath Mitzvah!

Today, our bathroom became a grown-up. I took my first bath in the new bathtub!!!




Sadly, my spoilsport husband says I'm not allowed to shower before the glass enclosure is installed, even though the water works. I promised to stand up really straight and not to accidentally turn on the sprayer or body jets AT ALL. He was not convinced.


Not that I have any experience with accidentally turning on the sprayer instead of the rain shower head.
It looks so innocent.
We're not 100% done yet. We still need to hang the medicine cabinets, install the vanity hardware and towel hooks,  caulk the sink and tub base, and touch up some drywall and paint. And of course there are a few minor issues to resolve. We turned on the chandelier and the breaker immediately blew. The tub filler is kind of wobbly. But these seem like small things with easy fixes. More importantly, the tub didn't leak into our bed in the room underneath or just fall straight through the floor. (As you can see, our standards are very high.)

But that said, all the big pieces are really in place now. Check it out!


I'm hoping to take care of a lot of the remaining details over the long weekend.

Because a finished project means more time to relax in the sun with our pupper!

Monday, May 22, 2017

The Unbearable Lightness of Seeing

Every light in our house is on.

I repeat.

Every. Light.

Not just every light that happens to work at the moment. Not just every light that isn't on one of the many breakers we've had turned off for a year. Not just every light that's plugged into that one outlet that still works for no apparent reason.

Every light.

Today, the electrician turned all the wires that have been dangling in the upstairs bathroom for months into lovely lights, power, fan, and heat. So not only does that mean the electrical work in our new bathroom is basically done(!!!!!), it means the breakers that they connect to are back on too. And those breakers also control our kitchen vent hood, hallway light, and bedroom light. It's like we got half our house back overnight!

Brett and I spent half an hour running around the house, flipping switches and cackling like movie super-villains.

Sconces! Outlets!
Light switches, fan timer, THERMOSTAT! (Er, and a little drywall patching to do. I didn't say we were done with that part.)
And finally, thrillingly, we had confirmation that the heated floor works!! It was terrifying to cement in something before being able to really test it. I needed to feel it turn on to really believe we hadn't screwed it up. But then I didn't expect this conundrum... it was 80 degrees out today. How do you test a heater in that?

Obviously, I cranked it up to 90, and then splayed out face-down like a sea star for maximum skin exposure to the floor. That's clearly the logical response.

Since it heats up really gradually, this led to a lot of weird mind games as I tried to differentiate between the effect of my own body heat and the radiant floor. It's heating up! No wait, it's just warm from my arm. No wait, it's really working! No wait, it isn't and we broke it and my life is over! Oh no, actually, it's definitely working now.

So, long story short, it works. And now I need therapy.

Now please excuse, me, I need to go flip some more lights on and off and giggle maniacally.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

A Brush with Joy

This morning, Brett turned to me and asked "Want to do something naughty?"
Me: Ooooh.... yes please.
Brett: Let's go brush our teeth in the new sink!

When people tell you about major life milestones, they usually focus on things like getting married, buying a house, having kids. Nobody ever told me about the intense joy of the first-teeth-brushing-in-a-new-sink milestone.

I can't imagine why this has been left out of the standard literature.

A truly life-changing moment. Look at those (very hygienic) smiles!

And because I still need to keep repeatedly going upstairs to make sure I didn't just dream this - I give you proof!

It's aliiiiiiiiive!

Friday, May 19, 2017

More Plumbing Progress!

Every day is a new present! It's amazing that it took us three years to get to this point, and now it's only taking about a week to go from empty room to fully functioning bathroom.

First - running water!

The sink and toilet are in and ACTUALLY HAVE RUNNING WATER. And the electrician even got started with a couple of fixtures.

I've never wanted to pee so badly in my life. Should probably wait until it's not up on shims, though...

A sconce over the vanity. Not sure why the electrician only hung one of the two today, but... okay?

Shut up, it's really hard to take a picture of a light fixture that doesn't light up yet, in front of a window in full daylight.

Pretty soon the whole house will have running water and electricity! A girl could get spoiled with all these frivolous modern conveniences.

Of course, some of us are already spoiled rotten. But who could resist those puppy eyes?