Standing Outside a Broken Telephone Booth with Money in My Hand

Our bathroom sink clogged up a few months ago.  Tom ripped apart the plumbing and the clog is somewhere more than 2' from the trap.  I feel particularly bad and gross since it is my fault.  Whilst cleaning the bathroom, I was rinsing the sponge in the sink.  Apparently our sink cannot handle the amount of grist we had accumulated, hence the feeling bad and gross.

Several days ago, I was rushing to get dishes done before leaving on a weekend trip to the mountains so our house wouldn't stink, so we wouldn't come home to a mess and so our bold mouse friends wouldn't get into them.  Yes, MICE.  When we replaced the dishwasher last summer, there was evidence of them and just yesterday, I was poking around near that general area and my suspicions were confirmed.  Mice are one of the grossest things I can think of; I hate them even more than I hate squirrels and crickets, and I am pretty good at not getting grossed out by a very wide range of things.  That is why I let out a very loud squeal when I saw one scurry across the floor toward the dryer (which is in our back mudroom since it is the only place it has a correct plug for it in our house).  Optimus was outside, so the mudroom door was open and I am *crossing my fingers* hoping it went out the door since I poked around and did not find it (yes, I was being REALLY brave).

Anyway...onto the other part of the story.  I was letting the water out of the sink when I hear a waterfall-esque sound.  Oh, wonderful.  When I opened the cabinet under the sink, there was water squirting out of the top of the piece of PVC that hooks into the trap.  While I did secure the primer and glue that is needed to attach the pieces together, I am not 100% sure that is all that is needed.  Tom doesn't get home until at least 7pm now since he started his new job.  Therefore, he does not want to deal with this after he gets home from work when he has about 3 hours before heading to bed.  I'm going to attempt to attack it if it is still like this in a few days.

So at the moment, we have the choice to wash our pots and pans in the tub or with the hose.

The last three months have been really similar to this particular situation.  Remember Hurricane Irene?  We still have a rather large tree trunk in our yard that we can't get through since we don't have a chainsaw and axes, circ saws and reciprocating saws can only do so much.


On the plus side, we have been in our house for almost 1.5 years.  Yay?


Currently Listening to "I Don't Want to Wait" by Paula Cole (yeah, I said it)


Love and Marriage

So this is what free time looks like when you're married...

...plus grilled cheese and tomato soup, which makes it completely un-lame. 


Currently Listening to "Soft Shock" by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs


Let My Tell You About the Birds and the Bees...

...well, at least the bees part.  Here are the basics of beekeeping equipment.  We harvested the first half of our honey this week.  This was the first time I've actually wanted to make a blog video, so bear with me.  Explaining this in words would be nearly impossible.  More videos to come.


Currently listening to "Tell Her No" by The Zombies


Love and Happiness

Again, we've taken a leave of absence.  Many congratulations to our loved ones we've gotten to share big days with recently. 

Meryl and Scott in Port St Joe, Florida

Look at how beautiful she is. 

Visiting my brother in Roanoke, Virginia for the first time since he moved there in February.  Hanging out at the Mill Mountain Star, the world's largest freestanding illuminated man-made star.  Happy 25th Birthday, kid!

Beach trip with Austin and Marie to Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina. 

Celebrating the graduation of the new veterinarian, Dr. Austin, in Raleigh, North Carolina. 

Jane and Daniel had a baby!  Abram Daniel.  Seeing Tom hold a baby is strange. 

Ben and Stacey in Raleigh, North Carolina. 

Visiting my grandparents in Prescott, Michigan. 

Miranda and Derek in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Photo booth props!

Being bossy getting everyone out of the ceremony venue.   

You can see that I talk with my hands...a lot.

Look how sexy my husband is. 

Aren't they a cute couple?

Seeing Kristine, one of my best friends from college, in Northville, Michigan. 

We also got to see Tallahassee, Florida to see Carlie, a friend from Portland, welcomed another 3 babies (Cora Summer, Lila Gage and Oscar Savage) into our lives and spent time with another friend getting married in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Congratulations to all.  We love you. 


Currently Listening to "Love and Happiness" by Al Green


Brand New Cadillac

More like "Brand New Door".

Yeah, this is my fleeting appearance until I get my tutorials on raised beds and upward growing potato bins.

 Anyway, that is what I did this morning.  I now need to figure out how to adjust the "screen"/glass door to match with the door.  We'll do some fancy footwork involving something with a lock so my paranoia will be quelled...at least a bit.  Also, I would love for Optimus to not be able to get out.  

In addition, I gave Optimus a bath and used some Pineapple Creme Brulee Body Souffle Whipped Soap on him after his normal shampoo.  He smells like dessert!  I may be plugging it (because I love it so much), but I got it off etsy at KreatedbyKarina recently, along with some coconut lime verbena and orange candied ginger.  Can't wait to bust open the others!

So now....Optimus hates me.


Currently Listening to "Brand New Cadillac" by The Clash


Time For Bed!

Ok, I could see how that would be confusing, when Jessie says "time for bed" what she really meant was "time to build a bed before you sleep in it." Not cool.

Thankfully, she already had her own set of plans for a super-tall, indestructible bed that would have space underneath for clothes bins, a bed for Optimus that he will never ever use, and other normal bedroom items like a chop saw and air compressor fittings. All I had to do was shut up and cut or hold boards how she told me to. This was quite nice.

Before you knew it, we had a bed! Simple, quick, easy.

Ok, if you're reading this you know it couldn't just happen like that. But I'll let Jessie tell that tale...

Side note, while working on the bed I went to get a beer from our fridge. Actually from the "freezer" because a while ago our freezer stopped working; the fridge was actually substantially colder. No problem, now we have a fridge and a beer fridge!

Yeah. Apparently the freezer started working again at some point. In our house when someone says "grab me a cold one" they need to be more specific.

Ok, so now that we had a huge bed for Optimus to hog, we thought the room felt a little stuffy....yep, that wall has to go.

We had planned on making some changes anyways, like adding in a closet and making the other bedroom into a master bathroom, thus necessitating a doorway. Probably best to do the dirty demo work before bringing our clean mattress into the room. The main attraction of this wall is the chimney that we wanted to expose. Raw original brick would look awesome in our bedroom and bathroom....if it weren't for the inch-thick layer of plaster applied directly to the brick, it would be easy. Jessie's brother and sister took turns a while ago with hammers attacking the plaster and made tons of progress. We however, are not as awesome or patient as they are, so we brought in the heavy artillery.

We managed to clean off the bedroom side in less than 30 minutes and it was actually pretty fun. Air-powered demolition tools = fun. One problem with this much fun is the amount of dust and crap it kicks up in the air. The hippo light will help demonstrate to your left with the cleaned off brick to the right. Another problem is the several hundred pounds of plaster (basically concrete) waste that you end up with in Rubbermaid containers that can easily bury a room's floor.

Jessie will elaborate on the design details of the room, but there are a few things we needed to make room for, such as the closet. The door to the other bedroom would be entering directly into the closet, so we removed that with the entire frame and transplanted it to the other opening. Lest we forget, this house is really old, so we encountered plenty of annoyances, the least of which was probably the hinges for the door that been painted over so much it no longer needed screws to hold it in place. The door actually opened and closed just fine without them. Super fun.

This leaves us with a gaping hole in yet another wall, but a new, functioning entrance to the future master bath. Even better, it matches the rest of the house because it's original, meaning less new materials to buy/consume. In the end, this is actually progress. I mean, we did end up sleeping in a room with three walls for a couple months, but as of a few weeks ago we've got 3.5 walls....so we're almost there!


Currently listening to "Buried Alive" by Avenged Sevenfold

Our House is a Very Very Very Old House

Ah the joys of rebuilding something way, way, way older than you. We've discussed the plaster and lath wall construction in previous posts...unfortunately that did not magically make it disappear. Some of you may remember when Jessie started painting every room in the house and got between 1/3 and 2/3rds of the way through each room. Well, we hadn't finished a few months later, but that's ok, because we would have to repaint anyways. Turns out the changes of season (and temperature/humidity) cause the plaster to expand and contract at varying rates, which cause either massive fissures or small mountain ridges to appear in walls and ceilings....everywhere. To better illustrate this, we sanded down a few of these magical ridges, seen to your right.

Of course, no matter what we do (short of replacing everything with modern drywall) we'll end up with more cracks popping up later, but we'll worry about that after we get everything painted once. It's amazing the difference color makes for the feel of a room. Now I feel like I'm inside a pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving every day in our living room. Yes, I like that.

Meanwhile, it snowed here! Yeah, it's a dusting for anyone North of us, but here it's the blizzard of the century. Schools closed early, work was canceled, and by 6pm Wal-Mart was completely sold out of 4 items: milk, bread, ground beef, and pizza rolls. Hot Pockets also took a good hit. Naturally, this was a day BEFORE any sort of frozen precipitation began. Gotta love North Carolina winters...

Regardless of how infrequently we get weather like this, the bees are not fans. They'll stay in their boxes most of the day, but the wind cuts through the openings and isn't good for bee morale (or continued bee living). Jessie's mom is totally BA, so she goes out there with a drill and starts putting on a small blocker to keep the wind out of the hive. She doesn't need a suit, the bees respect her too much to screw with her. While she was doing our work for us, I was foolishly riding my bike in the snow because it's fun. It worked about as well as you would expect.

I love the snow, so overall it was a pretty nice, relaxing time. Of course, due to the cold we found even more squirrels had been sneaking into our basement and making sweet pads for themselves in our walls...everywhere. But more on that later...


Currently listening to "Maybe For Now" by Few and Far Between

Depends On Your Definition of "Progress"

Documenting your life's work outside of work is really time-consuming. Let's play catch up.

Remember way back in last year when we dug up half our yard to uncover the large pieces of driveway underneath? Well we finally did something with some of the concrete amalgam: enter the fire pit. Perhaps fire pit is a misnomer, considering we're not sure if it's legal to start large fires in our yard here. We'll just call it the decorative hole in the ground for now.

Now, also remember from that same old post where the squirrels had eaten through some of the insulation on the power mains into our house? There's more where that came from. In fact, just a week ago we woke up after a particularly ornery storm had come through to find that half of the electrical circuits in our house didn't work. Did the usual checks, no breakers were tripped, no lines were loose, no water damage, no squirrel damage....then I got out the digital multi-meter to start probing (yeah, that's right).

First checked an outlet that was working and saw ~121 VAC (volts) as normal. Checked an outlet that wasn't working and got ~20 VAC...so they were still getting power, but not enough to run anything designed for 120. Went back to the breaker box and discovered that every other breaker exactly in order was reading 120-20-120-20-120-20 (-ish). Traced it back to the two big mains coming into the house. Every house has two 120 mains coming in and one ground. The breakers are wired such that each main services every other breaker so when you add breakers they end up evenly distributed between the two mains. The other reason is so when you put in a double breaker for a 240 VAC outlet (to run your dryer or range for example) it will take the two separate 120 VAC lines to be able to essentially add them together and get 240 at the appliance. As a result, our dryer and range were only getting ~140 VAC...

Anyways, this means the problem is outside of our house. The two possibilities are that we have a problem inside our power meter box, at the weatherhead, or in the lines to the transformer up on the street poles. For reference, pretty much every electrical company says the customer is responsible for anything from the weatherhead IN to the house (except for the meter, which you aren't allowed to screw with). We called the power company to come check their lines before I started scaling our house and electrocuting myself.

As it turns out, our mains are routed through a couple decorative trees that were planted in our front yard. Over the years the three lines that are twisted together had rubbed up against tree branches so much that it had worn through the insulation and one main and the ground started to fuse together, creating a resistive short, which made the wires get even hotter and melt together (they were permanently one piece) while corroding due to atmospheric exposure. They replaced them with all new lines from the pole to the splice outside the weatherhead and we were back in business!

And that catches you up on everything in the past 5 months. But not really.


Currently listening to "Lost" by Avenged Sevenfold


Listen to the Music...Round 4

You know the deal by now.  Here is another rendition of motivation music.  Check out Round 1, Round 2 and Round 3.

This music follows me around in my back pocket (no, I don't have one hand in my pocket) whenever I work outside.

"Peter Gunn" by Duane Eddy
"Why Bother?" by Weezer
"Sunny" by B.W. Stevenson
"Blue Jeans" by Jessie James (a guilty pleasure...I hate admitting this one)
"Get Over It" by Ok Go
"Laugh Laugh" by Beau Brummels
"Radar Love" by Golden Earring
"Cha Cha Twist" by The Detroit Cobras
"Race Car Ya-Yas" by Cake
"Pike County Breakdown" by Flatt and Scruggs
"No Time" by The Guess Who
"Get Rhythm" by Johnny Cash
"Point of Know Return" by Kansas
"Lookin' Out My Back Door" by CCR
"In the Midnight Hour" by Wilson Pickett
"Ms. Jackson" by Outkast
"Dig" by Incubus
"Like a Prayer" by Madonna
"My Generation" by The Who

Short list this time, I know.  Send me some mix cd's and they will show up on the next list!


Currently Listening to "Take Me to the River" by The Talking Heads