The Ants Are Back

Every spring are the ants just gonna invade my kitchen?

Is this my life?

They have yet to show up in force, so there’s that. The scouts are being drowned in soapy apple cider. Hopefully, eventually they will get discouraged and move on.

I don’t really think that is what will happen, but I’m lying to myself right now.

After claiming they don’t know when, AT&T seems to be bringing fiber to my neighborhood “soon.” Ordinarily, we would be over the moon about this. We have never lived in a place where fiber actually showed up.

Granted, it’s not here yet, but they have left all sorts of equipment around yards. That speaks to forward motion, right?

What’s the downside? Well, about a month ago our “introductory” plan expired. The Hubs called everyone and their grandmother trying to get answers as to whether or not we should sign up for a 24-month plan for internet so we could avoid rate hikes.

After 2 days on the phone and web, he decided fiber was no closer to us than it ever is, and we signed up for a plan. Sure, we’re saving $15 a month for two years, but if we want to cancel to get the phantom fiber, we have to pay $360 to break the contract. I did the math, it’s all the money we would be saving.


There are NO deals to be had in this world.

Was there any doubt the ants would come back?

Over the weekend while the Hubs did Hubs chores, I edged another of my veggie gardens:

I want you to know I totally planned them not to line up.

OK, I really didn’t, and while I was doing it I had this image in my head:

But when it was all said and done, I don’t hate it. I did have the opportunity to watch the Hubs mow around all this, and it seemed like a big pain in the ass. I suppose it would have been easier if they were perfectly aligned. But if he had wanted them perfectly aligned, I would not be doing this project at all!

Actually, I see them all connecting someday, so I’m really not too bothered by the random nature of my squares.

Or that they are not really even square.

I’ll probably do the other two this weekend. Anything to kick the moat project down the road a little bit.

I have sweater news!

Yesterday I sent a random note to someone who has one skein of the yarn I need in her stash. To my utter shock and delight, she answered and said she would be happy to send the skein to me! I was pretty shocked that she didn’t just ignore me. But in a week or so it should arrive and I can continue to ignore my sweater.

Actually, I was so excited, I finished the sleeves last night. I don’t know if making them in tandem was the best option, but it really worked for me. I wish I had done the fronts like that. Right now I hope they match, but I will not be shocked if they don’t.

I blocked the sleeves and back this morning:

Clearly, I need a sunroom because until these dry, there’s no dinner being served here!

This is my first time using blocking pins, and I gotta say, I did not know what I was missing! These things are the bomb. I’m sure when used with the blocking wires I’ll get perfect outcomes.

I have two blankets going right now:

This is yarn Auntie sent me a few months back. It’s super soft and fine to work with so far. This pattern is called “Lars and the Real Girl” by Tanis Grey. It’s kind of my go-to blanket right now. I don’t really know why, but it does look nice when it’s done.

I’m only 3 rows into the other one, so I really have nothing to show yet. I’m using a striping yarn and I’m not really sure it will lend itself to this blanket. I’m afraid the color will change every 2 rows and give a frenetic look to the blanket.

I got a new rug for my desk area:

It’s a lot less dark and heavy than the other rug I had. It’s still a small corner, but I’m trying to make it my own. I keep thinking I really should sand down that drawer unit and paint it something cheery. But I won’t til I get very bored and we’re just not there yet!

The Hubs re-jiggered my little corner to make it less cluttered looking. I still need to hang pictures, and well, clean up my piles. Currently, I’m working on emptying drawers of junk and making room for different junk, which is why I’m starting blankets. I take yarn out of a drawer, cast on, and then stick it in a bag and put it in another drawer.

What? It’s a great system!

I’m now thinking the reason I can’t get settled is because I have two under utilized closets. No, I am not going to show them to you, you’ll get all judgy and say they are anything BUT under utilized.

I picked out some paint samples last time I was at the Depot and am in process of picking one. Once I do that, the bug will take me and I’ll start pestering the Hubs to build out the linen closet.

And then all my storage problems will disappear.

Climbing Out

I’ve been in a funk the last few days. I’m bored of it, so I’m climbing out.

Yesterday I prepped the last part of the living room for painting. It was a bit much. I basically had a ton of pictures and clocks stuck all over the place. When I didn’t know where to put something, I was just putting in a nail and hanging everything near my desk.

Now that it’s all clear, I’m thinking maybe it was contributing to the chaos in my head.

This is where I left it last night:

I was a little excited, because this represents the very last of the nasty beige blah in this house. Oh, wait, that’s not true. I still have 2 closets that need doing. But for areas I have to look at all the time, this gross soul sucking color is on its way out.

All those white spots were where something was at one time hanging. That’s a lot of chaos!

This morning after the Hubs left for work, I got right to painting.

Yes, I was working around all those obstacles! I think that is what took so long to get this done.

But done it is!

It’s like a big fat sigh of relief.

Now I’m weighing the options available for putting this back together. We’ve been kicking around some ideas of moving back into the guest room, and moving other furniture here and there. I kinda would prefer the dining room, but it’s pretty packed in there at present. I think staying here is my best option for the time being.

There are 4 outlets and 2 switches left to swap out, and that is the end of that chore.

While I was painting, I got a call from the ever-popular Anisha. It’s funny, in my head, I was composing my email to the owner of the company when my phone rang. How’s that for burning ears?

She reported the 3 items I’m waiting for are in. Only 10 weeks after they were due. We have set up an appointment for the 28th for someone to come and install 2 screens and fix the balance on the kitchen window – which means I’ll be able to open it by myself whenever I want and I won’t need a stick jammed into the frame to keep it open.

It’s the little things.

If this happens, the whole window ordeal will have only taken 62 weeks from order to completion. That has to be some sort of record someone is proud of!

So, to recap, next Tuesday I have the electrician and the window guy on site. I’m just waiting for Brandon to let me know Tuesday’s his only open day for months. I’ll have the trade trifecta! I actually hope he doesn’t do this, the chaos will be too great!

I almost forgot! We finished the AC in the shed. When I say “we” I mean the Hubs. I could not reach the top of it, so he had to do my part (caulk). But that is one more project off the list:

Super anti-climactic, right? But whatever, it was on the list and now it’s not.

Last but not least, I hung a stained glass dragonfly on my slider the other day. The tail is about 4 feet off the floor. Mayhem wanted that thing so badly!

So far, it’s still hanging there, but he has actually been able to touch it a few times so far. I am sure one day he will manage to get it to fall.

Damn kittens.

Post Pity Party

I had my pity party, it’s over. I’m back to pushing boulders uphill today.

In fact, I had a few minutes to kill, so I painted the bathroom.

No, not all of it, just the one wall. It was dark teal:

But it doesn’t really go with the shower curtain I finally picked for the room. So I have been kicking around re-doing it.

I waited til the most humid day of the week, and got it done.

First I primed it to cover this really dark color:

I know, I’m getting shit pictures here, there just is not a lot of room to move around in this bathroom.

I chose this color:

I got lucky, and found a spray pretty much the same color and used that on the little box I showed you last time. I kinda feel like for the first time, maybe ever, I have a bit of coordination going on.

I don’t have a great after pic yet, the light is all weird, and I still need to do the touch ups. I will decide later if I like it better. If not, it’s too bad, I’m gonna live with it! It’s not a bathroom I use all that much, so if I ever have a guest, they will have to decide if it should be changed.

We are being slowly driven mad today. I’m making a pork butt for dinner. It’s been cooking since 11 and it smells so damned good I can hardly stand it! I am hoping to get 2 additional meals out of it, a pork noodle soup, and then just pulled BBQ with the rest. Not a bad deal for $12. Of course back in Real World this hunk of meat would have cost about $7 on sale.

But whatever. This Other World is MUCH better. Everyone is so much happier.

In other news, now that the peak is painted, I moved the bookcase and hung some pictures in hopes of balancing out the room.

I still need to pack some more art up there. The bookcase over here is a better fit (thanks for the tip, Cat).

Pete went to his final home:

It’s not quite finished, but this whole place will be a work in progress forever. At least now I get to look at Pete more than when he was behind me all the time.

The neighbors got an offer on their house, and things are moving forward. I suppose in a month or so we’ll have new neighbors. I hope they are not jerks.

I finished my sweater back last night. I’m gonna start on one of the fronts tonight.

I’m working on a honey-do list for the weekend. That will make the Hubs super happy! I really hope we can get at least one shelf hung. I’m dying to see how it will look. And I’m afraid it’s gonna look terrible.

I hope you all have a good weekend!

Happy VD

Well look at that, it’s Valentine’s Day!

I hope you get lots of love and chocolate today!

The Hubs is at work today, so I am all by my onesies with no car.

What do I do? Lie around eating bonbons and watching TV?


I’ve been a busy bee painting.

I’m all finished with the straps, caps, and screws! I’m still working on the pipes. I think I’m about halfway through them.

I painted some more of the living room today. I’m still waffling about my desk, the guest room, and a rowing machine. This house is just a tad too small for everything we want to do. Compromises need to be made. I just can’t decide what ones I want to make.

In the meanwhile, I keep chipping away at what I do know.

Shhhh, I’m having a warm feeling about this house.

Now I’m looking at that chaos that is my desk and thinking I really really really need to make a decision. It looks terrible and crowded. But I’m not ready. So I’ll just hate on my desk for now.

Yesterday I did some mulching in between paint spraying.

I finished the front:

I’m not showing you the front of the garage spot because I am GOING TO PICK a plant this week. I need it to climb and be beautiful. I’m going to find this unicorn if it kills me – which it just might.

I made a hosta garden:

I did my Sago:

Gah, my grass looks abysmal!

And finally, I did my lemon:

I did not do the fig, because I think I’m gonna have to replace him. I did the rosemary, and this afternoon I saw a dinosaur hanging around it. The Hubs was concerned the dinosaurs would reject the rubber. Guess not.

So here’s the part I’m a little concerned about.

I got 50 bags.

So far I’ve used 20.

I think next I’m gonna make a garden on the side of the house where the sprinkler pump is. Right now it looks like crap, so I want to do a plant that will hide the pump. I wanted to make it a feature, but I’m out of ideas on how to do that. But I’m gonna put it out there and see if anyone has any suggestions:

I want something less ugly than cinderblocks, but I am not sure now how to get them out without disturbing the pump. Maybe I can get more and paint them, so it looks more like a box than an afterthought.

Here’s the whole area:

As you can see, even the grass struggles here. I am not sure how much shade it gets in the summer, maybe some since the sun will be on the other side of the house. It would be cool if I could grow a line of hydrangeas in different colors. They would hide it all and look pretty. But there is still maintenance stuff to sometimes get done, so I can’t just cover it all up. Maybe I should just plant mint and let it do what it does!

The Hubs did a bunch of starter pots for herbs on Sunday. So he is going to do a post at some point and tell you all about that.

Right. Hubs?

Some News

I’ve been waiting to get a text for about 3 weeks. Last night, it came!

Oh boy! Ohboyohboyohboy!

Initially, I was so excited.

Then I thought about it.

Now I’m kinda scared.

On the 19th Brandon is beginning my kitchen demo.

That is just 4 short days away. On the one hand it can’t start soon enough. On the other, what if I am not ready? What if I have made grave errors in planning? What if the unthinkable happens?

What is the unthinkable?

I have no idea.

But what if it all goes horribly wrong?

At church today, we were reminded to choose the positive.

What if it all goes right?

Yes. That’s better. We’ll stay positive.

Before we delve into a new project, I’ll show you how the last one turned out.

The Hubs put the wire cover over that mess of TV wires:

I won’t show you under the TV stand, because that’s all a mess, but when you look at it from here, it looks serene. It’s not perfect, but it’s much less distracting.

The gaping hole where the doorbell was came out pretty good, too:

I still need to paint the screws, but I’m happy with the way it came out.

The Hubs picked out a new clock:

And here’s the whole wall:

I’m not crazy about the Wi-Fi doohickey over the TV, but eventually, I’ll stop noticing it. It was on the TV stand, but the kittens kept kicking it off and I got tired of picking it up.

I was making plans to paint the rest of the living room next week, but then the text came.

I’ll have to finish emptying the upper cabinets, move some stuff into the dining room, and just generally get ready for the mess and chaos.

I’ll miss having the bridge to nowhere next Christmas:

Just kidding! I’ll not miss this stupid design feature for one hot second. I doubt I’ll enjoy finding drywall dust all over the house, but it’s a small price to pay to get this project going.

I cannot wait til these pillars are a memory!

I know this is going to take a long time, after the demo I’ll paint, and then hopefully Brandon can come back soon-ish and put the shelves where the uppers currently are.

Of course he might say, “I don’t do shelves.”

But we’re staying positive. And he’s gonna do what is in my head for this kitchen.

Be warned.

I will be talking about this kitchen constantly while it’s happening. We’ll all be so over this kitchen by the time it’s finished!

For Once

Today the Hubs went into the office, and for once I didn’t wander around wondering what to do with my day.

For once, I remembered to take some before pictures to show you.

I spent the day painting and baking and packing things to be mailed.

We started with painted baseboards, but the pic is just too boring to show you.

But I did take these just before I painted:

Living room:

After 2 hours of cutting in around 5 door frames, baseboards, and ceiling, I finally got to the rolling. That took about 15 minutes!

And then there was the holiday search:

I did not do a great first pass, from the amount of stickies I had on the wall!

But, overall, I’m happy with the results:

The hallway:

While I was waiting for paint to dry, I made spiced nuts for the Kraken. I wasn’t going to, but she’s been sad so I did:

Couple observations. I have made these before and they usually come out great. Today I did not read the recipe and added too much liquid, so I had to add more nuts and more of the dry spiced stuff. But it worked out OK. What did not work out OK is apparently parchment paper and aluminum foil are not always interchangeable.

Who knew?

Probably everyone but me.

While they were cooking, they were moving around freely. When they came out and cooled a bit, they started to stick. Like a dumbhead, I let them cool more. Then I was left with nuts sticking like they were super glued to the foil. I ended up picking each one off individually so they would not be covered in bits of foil.

Then I tasted one.

I guess I should have actually measured the dry ingredients. They are really spicy! I told the Kraken they might be too spicy for her, but she said, “Challenge accepted.”

So they got packed up and will be headed her way tomorrow.

I also made cookies that I put in the freezer for a rainy day. Or beach trips. Whichever is deemed appropriate.

When the Hubs got home he changed the outlets and re-hung the TV.

I still have some finishing to do, but you get the gist. After living with the two-tone for so long, this seems weird to me.

I think I’m gonna move the bookcase to the opposite wall, but since that wall is as yet unpainted, it’ll have to wait. I also think the clock over the TV needs to be a little bigger, so I am on the lookout for that.

The other thing that happened today was one of Scott’s minions popped over unannounced to look at the AC. Of course it did not do its sweaty socks/high humidity thing in the 10 minutes he was there. But he made some adjustments and said to call if it is still not right. Which is great, until the next humid day when we use the AC. But I am optimistic that it will be fixed for real this time.

I’m sure we’ll be talking about how that turns out!

Gardening in December

How weird is that? But, I think we have found the sweet spot for enjoyable yard work. Yesterday while the Hubs mowed…

Yes, mowed.

I finished up what I started Friday. I went out in the morning and weeded both front gardens thoroughly. I got a fairly respectable pile of weeds. I guess I haven’t been keeping up with it too well! I cut back the plants that needed to go to bed for the winter and trimmed up the rest.

Saturday I hauled bricks into the front and then set to work.

We started like this:

And finished like this:

And then I ran around the yard and took some rough measurements to get a handle on how much mulch I need to order. My notes looked like this:

In a perfect world, the Hubs will be able to look this over and say, “Yes, a ton of mulch is what you’ll need.” In my world, he’ll say, “Enjoy moving it.”

And that’ll be fun, too

My mommy sent me cookies, and they arrived yesterday:

A huge unexpected pack of all my favorites! The Hubs was sad because she did not send Russian tea cakes. My feeling is if they don’t have chocolate or coconut in them, they are not Christmas cookies. But he likes them. Of course he also likes thumbprint cookies (which he’ll be making this afternoon), so there is no accounting for taste.

As I write this, he is installing a new fan in the living room. Let me know if you don’t think it’s an improvement.

Here is the old one:

And part of the new one:

I’m already seeing a vast improvement!

Definitely better! It’s nearly impossible to find a fan with a light kit that isn’t super ugly, this one is not perfect, but at least better than a boob light. Since I hardly ever turn it on, it doesn’t really matter much. It’s quiet and not wobbling, so that’s a point in the win column!

The old one is going out to the shed to hopefully provide some air movement.

We finished up the connection yesterday and now there is power in the shed. The Hubs has some more he wants to finish, but then he will regale all my dear readers with his exploits. I will issue a spoiler alert: We managed to avoid this:

Some Amount of Joy

The first couple days were easy. I was deluding myself that having a pair of kittens would be a breeze. But it’s not.

Yesterday they turned a corner and have come to feel very comfortable with their new home. Almost too comfortable.

On the one hand, it is hard to resist this:

They are starting to nap in the open, which means they feel safe.

But then 10 seconds later they are swinging from the chandelier.


And then this:

10 seconds later he’s on the floor wondering what happened! His head pulled him down when he fell asleep!

And all is right in my world.

The other day my fireplace picture arrived. I was really pleasantly surprised at the quality of it. The Hubs did the hanging and I could not be more pleased:

OK, fine, I could. My mantle still sucks, but I am happy with the picture.

Today we finally finished the rain barrel farm. It took some doing, and last night we got torrential rain. The 2 that were there filled up like they should:

This is where we began the day. 2 full, and 1 half full rain barrel.

While the Hubs toiled to make the ground level, I emptied the one around the corner. We were eventually able to move it into its final resting place:

There is a bit of logistics to finish, like the drooping black hose, and pads for watering cans, but it’s essentially ready for the next rain. Which happened as we got the last barrel in place. Logistics will have to wait til tomorrow.

I have to level out the spot where the barrel was, take away the pads, and hopefully grass or moss will take over. I am now free to dig out and put the rocks in for this downspout.

Nearly all the projects we set for ourselves are done now! Of course hanging over my head is the front garden under the dining room windows. For many reasons, not the least of which is the heat, it has not gotten done. But, there is compost I need to use up and fall planting is around the corner. I guess I just have to suck it up and over a couple of days just get it done. Even if I don’t plant it right away, it’ll be good to have the soil/compost mix settling in.


Let’s go back to kittens!

Can you just see the delight in Havoc’s eyes waiting for that tail to come swishing back?

All sweetness and light!

They have taken to sleeping under my desk, which is super adorable, but I am sure one day I will forget they are there and step on them!

In the evenings they climb up on me and settle in for a nap. First Havoc will come and curl up on my shoulder, then Mayhem will push her out of the way and settle under my neck. With both of them on me, one in each ear purring away it’s impossible to do anything but sit. In a way they are helping me slow down and live in the moment.

Words I need to say to myself every day.

Although, with this house, I might need to bake cookies every day!

Avert Your Eyes, Auntie

Day two of working AC.

Turns out, the problem was a dumafloppy. Tech came out at about 9 yesterday, frittered around a while and then discovered the dumafloppy was faulty. He comes in the house and says, “I turned it back off because it can cause a fire.”

A fire? Really? You left it like that for a week!

I’ll admit, I had mixed emotions about the possibility of this place burning to the ground.

He went away for about an hour and came back and installed a new dumafloppy. Done and dusted. The AC has been running like a nice expensive system ever since.

Seems to me if you’re installing a new system in and older home, you should evaluate the existing pieces and make sure they can handle what you’re about to do.


No? Just me? OK. I sure hope your house doesn’t burn down.

We’ll just see how long the nice cool air lasts, won’t we?

In the mean while, I finished the fireplace:

Here is what it looks like in a larger scene:

It’s not grand or spectacular, but it’s also not pink, so that’s a win in my book.

There’s been a lot of weighing in lately about cats. The Kraken and Auntie are kind of against it, but Cat, who doesn’t like cats, is for it. And I am for it. And the Hubs is hot and cold about it.

A couple of times we’ve gone to the SPCA, and have not been impressed. Saturday we went to the Humane Society and were bowled over. They had a white one! And orange ones! And tigers. And tuxedos! And Siamese! And kittens! And juveniles, and oh my!

Fortunately, when we got there, adoptions were closed for the day.

We stayed a while just hanging out with the lot of them. One of them pushed his face into my cheek and just purred away. Yeah, I know, he was just fixed and looking for comfort. But his sister climbed on me and purred as well.

So we went to the beach and agonized for a long time. Three days long. Should we? Shouldn’t we?

Yesterday after the AC tech left The Hubs said, “You want to, just do it.”

He’s really good like that.

So we did. As it turns out, the kittens were on clearance! And I love a bargain!

So I got them all!

We got two.

I’ll be honest, black was not my first choice for a lot of reasons. The stupidest is that my furniture is all light. The hardest is Blue.

Blue was the smartest cat we’ve ever had. He was graceful, playful, cool, and just an all around great boy with a 13″ tail. I thought I never wanted another black cat. It would be too sad.

And a million other reasons, like I wanted an interesting coat pattern. Or a white one. Or a tortie.

But these two lovebugs stole our hearts:

They are about 3 months old, virtually indistinguishable (except to their mother), and full of it.

So far they have climbed into the couch and decided that is where they nap, and knocked over my plant. Other than that, they have been model citizens! They LOVE the office. Which, of course they do! And they’ll both be his cats soon. But that’s OK, because last night the boy left the office and came up to me and pushed his face into my cheek.

That’s all I need.

Today I managed to get them to look at the camera.

After 600 snaps of blurred black shapes, I managed these:

This is Havoc:

She’s sweet and brave. And she has a 9″ tail. So far. She is the ring leader and plant destroyer.

This is Mayhem:

He’s a lovebug of the highest order. He lets me hold him, but the Hubs cannot. (Score!)

His tail is only 8″ long, but we have high hopes and no rocking chairs! He’s a little shy, and he doesn’t seem to be able to meow but he does bubble from time to time.

They both get that “I’m gonna fuck something up” look and then the tail goes up and off they race!

I think it’ll take a week or so for them to really settle and then we’ll see how Blue they are. I actually find myself hoping they will do some of the things he did. I don’t think either one of them will be as big as he was, (he was over 3′ long nose to tail), but soon I hope to be able to tell them apart!

Actually, Havoc’s tail is a little thicker then Mayhem’s. So there’s that.

Today, the house seems a little less sad to me.

So, You’ll Laugh

I’m just gonna throw this out there. Friday at 5:15 one of the brand new, really expensive AC units stopped working.

The Hubs was not even a little bit amused (mostly because it cools the office).

He called the installer, Scott. Asked for tips. Was told a tech could stop by Saturday.

Not really good enough. So the Hubs employed some magic and got the thing started again. After an hour of it working, he called Scott back and said we were good, but have the tech stop by Tuesday.

Saturday morning I was up early so I went out to rake up some of the endless pine needles that fall into our yard every day. The Hubs mowed and then we worked on the rain barrels. We have 2 of them in line and leveled. The third one is still full. All we need now is rain to fill the other 2.

Afterward we went to the beach to unwind. And bitch about Scott.

The water was a lot clearer than last time, and getting cooler. Just in time for our swimming season!

We watched a bunch of ghost crabs doing some excavating and bitched about Scott.

Sunday we did some more work on the fireplace:

I won’t bore you with the details, except in pictures:


1st Coat:

The Hubs picked the color (of 3 carefully chosen shades). And now he’s jazzed because it looks like slate with the texture of the tiles. Which of course I can’t capture.

I did the second coat this morning in the dark, so I’ll have to wait til I can get a daylight picture and make sure I don’t have any holidays.

OK, back to the AC… Sunday afternoon we were playing cards and realized the AC was out again. The Hubs tried all the magic he could think of, but it is not starting up. So we’ve got the other unit set low and fans trying to push air to the office side of the house. It’s not terrible in the living room, but the office and guest room are kinda warm (83+).

The Hubs emailed Scott to let him know so the tech will be prepared. I think he was hoping for an, “I’ll be out in an hour.”

But got this instead:

“Oh man! Ok I’ll let him know”

That Scott, such a rogue! Great communicator!

Tomorrow morning, when the tech feels like it, he’ll be out.

At least the Hubs doesn’t have to get up early on his vacation!

What did you do for Labor Day?

I did this:


And good night! When I finished it was hot it that room!

I used a 1/2″ nap roller, which technically I should be doing on these walls, but I don’t. Tomorrow I’ll check for holidays and if a second coat is needed. If not, I guess the 1/2″ wins. Sadly. When loaded with paint, it is heavy and unbalanced. I managed not to drop it, but I came close a couple times!

Last night we talked about how this house does not want to be saved. We keep trying to help her, but she keeps fighting us.

Today I am desperately trying to like her and keep a positive attitude. But it feels a lot like this:

We decided we’re gonna save this bitch if it kills us. Which it just might.