Come Into My Web, Said the Spider To the Fly
I got a house. It's a fixer. It's partly fixed. I'm pretty proud of the work my friends and I have done, so I'm posting on the Web. Here's the story -- I needed in investment house where I could gain some true sweat equity. So, my dad put down the downpayment and we went in together on this beauty. It's really small and it had a rotten subfloor between the kitchen and the bath. See that fuse box in the kitchen pics? Yeah -- fuses.
Anyway, there was bunches wrong and I've been living in it since March as friends and family and the kids and I all pitch in. For 2 months I didn't have a toilet, and I went 3 months without a shower. The tub is still the only place indoors that I can access water, well, besides the toilet, I guess. Oh, and the water heater didn't work for a month -- that was special to figure out. Brrrr!
My friend, Rachel, has been awesome! She works with my in the Design Center. She helped me pick colors and fixtures on lunches, evenings and weekends, and then called our suppliers to see if they'd sell to an employee. Almost everyone was willing to do so, and to sell at the homebuilder price, even though I'm just an employee. I still can't believe what all I got for what I put out. Well, a lot of sweat, but still, the value is huge.
Now it's an older house in an older neighborhood, so we didn't go too high, end, but I did a couple little things to make my life easier. The microwave is also a convection oven, and that sink was pretty special. But because of the limited space (you see how small!) we needed to do it to create the extra work space. But I stuck with laminate in the kitchen, and some pretty affordable tile (which is cheaper than vinyl for me since I can install it myself) in the bath, and just used a little bit of accent to make it look gnarly. A lot of it was more effort than money, really, and I'm so proud of myself!
This is TOTALLY a work in process at this point. There's so much more to do, but the kitchen and bath are each about 90% done. There's a bunch of different colors on the kitchen walls as I make up my mind (I won't be using any of them, btw), and wires hanging out where the undercabinet lights will be, and unfortunate flash settings galore. But, Star and Skippy graciously offered to demonstrate the features for us, and so here we go...
Here, in this picture, Starbreaker demonstrates the cutest, tiniest dishwasher you ever did see! (See Fawn -- backsplash isn't too busy in this application!) *switches off miners hat light to finish typing*
Now, I bought the French Doors raw to finish them myself. I still have another coat to put on them and the trim was just installed, so it's still completely raw. Their color will match the cabinets, more or less, when I'm done. Starbreaker's butt is featured at the bottom of the picture. Hims got a little tired.
Check the uppers!!! The kitchen is really not very wide, and in that distance, the ceiling drops a full inch. Do you see what an awesome job Alex did with the crown mold? You can't even tell unless you stand in front of the stove staring straight up at it with your face all crinkled up like a country yokel at the World's Biggest Ball of Twine exhibit. *happy dance*
The seeded glass for the cabinet next to the microwave is on back order. Should be here mid September. *pouts* Oh, yeah, and my utility room is all torn apart -- I won't have quite all that on the counter top.
...and I'm loosing the stupid curtains.
I am so proud of this tile work. I've never done anything like this before! Rachel came up with the pattern, and laid it out on the wall, and off we went! Once she got me started with the pattern, I was a cutting and tiling fool! Terry graciously agreed to cut the holes so I could finish off the shower area (you know, around the tub spout and handle and stuff, since my tile saw won't do that and I frankly don't "get" the process.
The shower curtain was supposed to match the tiles Skippy is sitting on. I thought it would look better if I put the blue fabric over the green. I was wrong. I will fix it eventually, but mostly I want to finish the bath first. I still have to do the "sideburns" and the baseboard, and of course the counter top and backsplash (it's all of 2' wide, so not a lot of time, I just need help cutting the sink hole).
Here we see the hole in the wall where the bathroom fan switches will go, and the water heater controls. It turns out that where my water heater was located was going to kill me slowly by carbon monoxide poisoning, so the gas company wouldn't let me keep it there (wimps!). Anyway, Bob's fixed it, but it's a weird hot water system. VERY energy efficient and cheap to operate, though -- holy cow, wow! Anyway, but I can set the temp in my bathroom instead of in my crawl space, 'cause that's one of the efficient features.
We also see, in this photo, the toilet paper holder. Why bring this up? Well, it turns out Star LOVES toilet paper. It's one of the cooler toys ever invented. Now I thought this holder was pretty cool -- slip on, slip off. Star is completely on board with that. I'll be flipping it upside down so the roll comes off on the other side, to cut down on my paper products bill.
...thank you Vanna White...
OK, yeah, so my landscape plantings are abut thrashed, but you can see the new colors!!!
And, of course, everything looks stunning in the snow!
House is coming along! I'm still unpacking a year later. Guess what! Bears are up!!!
OK, well, mostly up. I have one of 3 shelves up for the Beanie Babies
OK, and now that I've gotten to my second summer here, I'm switching gears long enough to get the koi a pond. It's in their best interest, and I really enjoy ponds, anyway, so there it is.
And on top of that, I've, apparently, got this completely twisted rhody in the back yard. It's true -- the wild rhody onto which the fancy one was grafted has grown up through the bush, so now the rhody blooms two different colors at once. It's completely awesome!
"Sometimes there just aren't enough rocks."
Fortunately, this isn't one of those times! So I got home from my father's house on Sunday and read Craig's list just for fun and there they were -- the rocks I'd been looking for to do the pond. I know, I was going to tile the edges. Whatever. I'll do that in front -- these are PERFECT!! So I went to Puyallup twice and filled the van up as full as I dared both times. I made it home with the last load and even had it 1/2 way unloaded before I injured myself! It's true. About half way through unloading the last van-full of rocks, I dropped one on my thumb (don't ask), which hurt really bad, and I thought I'd get a black thumbnail out of it. Well, it's not black, but it sure hurts like hell. Anyway, I was putting the 2nd to the last big rock on the pile when it happened -- avalanche! OK, and one landed on my big toe, so I got two injuries out of it, but I don't think I'm going to loose any nails or anything. Besides -- aren't they beautiful?!!!
The Continuing Saga
OK, so the pond story continues. In the beginning, there was a pond. And it was a good pond and was pretty and sparkly and generally made many people very happy. (OK, well at least 4 or 5 of us) Then the raccoons came and f***ed it all up for everyone. But, I had read somewhere that koi will only grow to the size of their environment, so I went out and got a 55 gallon tank and put them inside the house.
That worked well for about a day when Tinkerbell found out that koi are COOL and threatened to knock them over. So we covered them up and kept her out of the room until she forgot. Then the koi were scared so I got them some friends who never met Tink. They all started moving around and being happy again, when the new ones got sick and kicked off. Apparently they didn't have silly enough names.
Then I moved my whole world to the upstairs of that house, then I moved to a new house. Then I learned that "grow to the size of their environment" essentially means that if you put a koi in a shoe box, it will grow until it is roughly shoebox-sized. So the koi were pretty much over the legal limit at that point and I spent a lot of time worrying that someone is going to get hungry 'cause they keep knocking over the no fishing sign in their tank.
So I figure to build a new pond, right? And I dig a big hole and I line it with liner stuff and I get all my lovely rocks. I begin to assemble the pond and learn that my house is built on this wonderful, sandy, incredibly well-draining soil. How'd I learn that? Cave in. Yeah. I'm pretty sure I could have made a lifetime resident of our penal system blush with what I had to say about that.
Then Tink was diagnosed, Daddy went into the hospital, everyone died, and well, generally all hell broke loose.
OK, so now you're up to date. I've spent nearly a year with a hole in my yard that the mafia would have envied and in the bottom of it has been a bunch of mud and worms and dead leaves and smelly muck piled on top of a pond liner. So it snows in April as I continue to watch that all continue to get worse and I finally get a good day. Nifty! I am blonde therefore I keep doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
So one day, not too long ago, I spent a day in my yard sweating and swearing. I pulled the liner out from under the muck (dear Goddess does muck stink!), and spread it out on the lawn. I hosed off the stinky ick and put it back in the hole. But I couldn't make it fit right, and my back hurt and I'd broken about 3 nails and I smelled like a septic system gone horribly awry. So I went in and did laundry and took a shower. And then the rains came.
Now, I'm from Seattle, so that shouldn't bother me, but great Goddess did it rain. I mean really really rain. Like, "WTF is this October?!!!" rain. Fine. When you're getting an inch per downpour, I'm thinking that wrestling about 10 yards of plastic sheeting in a hole is going to turn out less than ducky. So I exercised my non-existent patience and waited.
The bright thing did eventually show it's face again, and I was back at it. I pulled the liner back out of the hole, rinsed it off, realized it was upside down and backwards, put it back in the hole and IT FIT!!! Woo Hoo!!! *happy dance* I immediately stacked the rocks in place put the filter where it should live, leveled it out, and filled that bad boy up.
It drained completely in less than 3 days. Sandy soil, remember? Yeah. I had a leak. A big-ass leak, apparently.
I decided that the leak was likely in the seam where the two pieces of pond liner were joined, and likely caused by me sweating and swearing and yanking on it the first time I tried to pull it out of the hole. So we went to McClendons because the people who work there are pretty smart, and we asked for advice. Two cans of gooey black stuff later, and I was ready to repair my seam! Except, of course, that it was still raining occasionally, and I had an inch of water in the bottom of the pond. What's an anal-retentive blonde to do?
The next sunny day I took my wet/dry vac out to the pond and vacuumed the holy hell out of it. When it was lovely and dry, I cleaned the seam with Dave's ex-wife's favorite towel, put on gloves and got the goo. I foamed the crap outta that seam. I used both cans of the stuff and covered everything I could find. Then I waited a few days and filled it just a little. It held! So the next day I filled it more. It held again! So the next day I filled the thing to the brim. It dropped a foot in about an hour and then held. WTF?
I left it like that a few days and then we realized that, even a foot down, it was holding. That means the fish can go in it and we can figure out where the second leak is at our leisure. Neato! Dave helped me finish putting the bits and pieces together, and was even good enough to find the second leak! We got plantses and put out the fountains and planted the plants and thoroughly mucked up the water and cleaned the filter and then we introduced the fishies to their new home.
They didn't speak to me for 2 days. Apparently, they remember the whole "death from above" thing from the last pond. However, now, they've started to forgive me. They're exploring the pond, rearranging the plants for us and generally looking way more at home. Of course, I still need to figure out the landscape around it, fix the other hole and hide the cords, but overall, it's a pond! Go us!
I would like to introduce to you, our new master of ceremonies, Spitting Freddie's successor, Drooling Gertie!
And, of course, the rest of the pondtacular little pondy bits
Where would you like to go from here?
Heed ye flower bush and tree.
By the Lady, Blessed Be
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