Thursday, September 29, 2016

Side Yard

We had a rusty, dirty, ugly, nasty basketball hoop on the side of the driveway. (Trust me, it was bad.  It must have been even too bad for a before picture.)  I kept pestering Matt that I wanted it repainted.  He wanted to wait until he got a new acrylic backboard for it and then he said he would repaint the pole.  Needless to say, here's the freshly painted hoop...minus a new acrylic backboard.  Deb 1, Matt 0 for those of you keeping score.

The side of the house has a nice fenced-in pen and doggie door on the side of the garage for any future dogs (yes, plural) we may have in the future. I power-washed the concrete and we added some river rock. We  had a hard time finding just the right river rock to use in our landscaping.  Everything here in Michigan was too gray or too red. We finally found some Indiana river rock...but, it's also 5x more expensive than Michigan river rock. I think we'll have to go to Indiana and buy the bulk of it there for future projects or find a way to stain Michigan river rock tan!

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Cutting Crew

Matt and our awesome neighbor grabbed the chainsaws and got to work cutting and removing the huge tree branch from our roof last night.  Thankfully the damage from the branch isn't too bad...except for the poor gutter.  Another bonus is we also got a head-start on the fall cleanup of the backyard!

The view from our bedroom is MUCH better again!

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Why I'm Not a Good Sleeper

One of the reasons why I'm a horrible sleeper:  trees that fall onto our roof at 3:30 a.m.

Monday night, a HUGE branch from the neighbor's tree fell onto our roof (over our bedroom) in the middle of the night.  We both jumped up in bed and I asked Matt what that crash was.  He said probably lightning.  I'm smart (I know this because I watch a lot of Jeopardy) and told him that lightning didn't make noise.  Since there weren't any storms in the forecast, I went to peek out the dining room windows to investigate because I told him it sounded like Bigfoot crashing into the hose reel and ripping it out of the wall.  We didn't see anything until Matt looked out of our bedroom windows and realized he couldn't see out of them because there was a branch blocking them. (He watches Jeopardy with me.)  Matt went outside with a flashlight and saw the huge branch on the corner of the roof.  Luckily it doesn't look like it did too much damage, other than to the gutter and shingles.  He'll know more when he and his chainsaw-helper crew cut the big branch (60 ft. and 12" in diameter) and roll it off the roof.  I'm just hoping that the tree this branch fell from doesn't decide it likes our yard better and moves over.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Backyard Update

We celebrated our one-year anniversary of being in the "new" house on July 27th...and we're STILL working on it. (The house, not our anniversary.) I want everything new and shiny and clean and pretty NOW.  Truthfully, it's really probably more like yesterday.  But, with not enough hours in the day and that damn elusive money tree we still haven't found in our backyard, we keep chipping away at what we can improve, day by day...month by month. I feel like we're plodding along when I really just want to sprint.  Matt had two fantasy football drafts/poker games and 20+ friends/co-workers over last week.  I was extremely apprehensive about having people visit.  I told Matt that he had to tell everyone that our house wasn't pretty yet.  I was pleasantly surprised by the reactions and compliments I received from everyone...especially from the straight single guys.  

While I spent time in my scrapbook room, hiding from the guys yelling during their drafts/card games, I worked on the New House Scrapbook (a.k.a. Remodeling: A Complete Guide to Inventive Cursing and The Reason For My Gray Hair").  I have to say, I'm pretty impressed by what we've accomplished so far this past year.  We've come a long way, baby...and still have a long way to go!  I'll try and update this blog each week with our projects and the fabulous results!  We really have done a TON around here and still have a ton planned to do.

THE BACKYARD:  The back of the house had a hot tub and super-small deck to climb into the hot tub that covered a basement window.  (That must have been a common theme because we also discovered another window in the basement that was covered by paneling.  This one took us a little longer to was kind of like a treasure hunt.) I decided the 80s were over, I wasn't bathing in public with Matt anytime in the near future, and I needed more light in my laundry room.  So, I talked Matt into getting rid of the hot tub and the ugly brick walkway -  which did NOT even match...our house is tan/orangish brick and these bricks were red and gray. (Yes, he saved every single brick in case he has to use some one day.  This is why I tell him he has hoarding tendencies.)  He was more easily convinced to build a deck when he discovered boards in our wood pile...a.k.a. an inexpensive project...and I kept talking and talking about how ugly the hot tub was; how ugly and uneven the brick path was; and how dark my laundry room was.  I like to think it was the idea of an inexpensive building project, and not my incessant whining about the ugly hot tub and brick path, that spurred him into action.

So, for the low cost of $32 (the price of new screws), we built this fabulous little deck.  We added some new furniture (the taller pub chair set I call 'The Dominatrix' because it's made out of braided faux leather), added an outdoor heater, planted shrubs dug up from elsewhere on the property, hung up our outdoor speakers and made a grilling station from the old deck that used to cover a window.  (Oh, and I painted the storm door and back door and hardware to get rid of that ugly mint green and brassy gold they were so fond of throughout this house.)  It's soooooo much better now!  We now use this space for eating and entertaining...which would have totally been impossible (not to mention unhygienic) to do if we still had the hot tub. We plan on putting rocks around the house one day and either re-pouring porches or covering them somehow.  We'll have a better idea of what we'll do once we win the lottery!  In the meantime, I'm happy with the outcome of this space!!

Blocking the gorgeous view from our sun room were these over-grown shrubs.  We decided to move them to the side yard to create a natural privacy fence and create a room with a view.  We also dug up more bricks they used as a mismatching walkway. And, yes, Matt saved every brick from here too!

We added some mulch and plants from elsewhere on the property and now have a gorgeous...and unobstructed...view from the sun room.  We also added some solar lights and this arbor we found super-cheap at an antiques show. A little soap, water, and spray paint does wonders! I plan to add some decorative large rocks to the walkway, once I find some I like. 

The back deck overlooking the water was pretty dirty and moss-covered.  We power-washed it and covered it with corrective deck paint and brought it back to life.  We added furniture and some solar deck lights and now it's a fabulous space that is perfect for relaxing...if we ever have the time to sit and relax.

There was a little piece of plywood under our bedroom windows that probably was used to cover the hole from an air conditioner.  We haven't found any bricks from the house...yet, but who I just had Matt cover the ugly plywood with a decorative panel from our favorite store in the whole-wide world - Menards.  Ta da...another easy, inexpensive fix.  Oh, and that ladder in the middle of the photo is my herb garden.  Love it!!

We've done a lot in the backyard that I don't have photographic evidence to support. You'll just have to take my word for it.  We've power-washed the house, eaves, and trim; washed windows and screens and rewashed them again and again and again...pretty much every month; weeded and worked on landscaping; continued to battle the damn English ivy that keeps invading our yard; added mulch; and cleaned and scrubbed and cleaned some more.  Our next project in the back is to finish power-washing the steps...all 129 of them.  I got about 1/6 of them done and then the power washer broke.  Now that it's repaired, I have to get the rest washed so we can get them painted before winter.  It'll be quite a job.  I'm sure I'll probably make up some new curse words.  I don't like heights...or painting.