Because we live in our home while we renovate, everything tends to get a bit scattered as we take on projects. Every few months, we take a break to deep clean the house and get everything tidy again. Cleaning out the pantry was an easy place to start, and helped get us mentally ready for our new goal of being vegan flexitarians, (which for us means eating about 80% vegan).
I still intend to strip the paint off of this pantry and the bookcase in the living room and refinish them one day… but for now it’s serving as motivation to tackle bigger organization chores.
What are those? The fruit of the tree of the devil, in my opinion. Some people love them, but I’m unimpressed. The wood from these trees is very strong, making for good fences and bows. I’ve heard from one of our neighbors that the ones lining the west side of our lot are protected, and cannot be cut down. In the spring, all the buds fall off and make a mess of our driveway. I used the blower to clear them off every day, a task that Aaron thought to be futile. In the fall, these trees litter the ground with endless hedgeapples. The squirrels go crazy for them, and will carry many of the early ones off the driveway. They are mostly inedible for humans, but they are known to ward off spiders and other insects if you place them in your window and near doors.
These are the bane of my existence from September to November. When they hit the ground, they usually remain intact, but when they split open they are a slimy mess. If we don’t get them off the driveway, we end up with mounds of goo everywhere. Last year I had an afternoon ritual of removing them from our driveway every day when I got home from work. I kept count of how many I cleared until I got to 200. By then it was just depressing.
I’m not sure exactly what came over me, but I took up the ambitious goal of cleaning out our side lot in late March. I think I just wanted to get ahead of the spring.
We call it the side lot, but it’s really just the extension of our driveway past where it turns toward our garage. It’s probably about 30 feet wide, and as long as our back yard. I cut down everything i could reach back there, aside from the giant Osage trees.
It took three evenings of work to get it done. It was WAY MORE than we expected, and still haven’t found a good way to haul it all off. My current plan is to wait till late fall, cut down everything that has grown back, and then rent a U-Haul to take it to the dump.
Disappointingly, every type of weed took advantage of this newly cleared space and grew like the Amazon forest of Indiana. The picture below is from early spring, when they sprung up seemingly overnight. These weeds grew taller than the shed before we got around to knocking them down. It’s enough to make you want to pave the whole thing.
A few months back, we hosted a party for Aaron’s cousins. Having a theme was by no means necessary, but we chose Pirates all the same. The flag and statue are from Assassin’s Creed IV, and I just happened to see a gift set of Captain Morgan that came with cannonball cups. We made a pirate Spotify list (turns out there are a lot of pirate songs out there) found a bunch of rum drink recipes, and decorated the mantle. That was in march… and I’ve since added a pirate book and a bottle of rum to the mantle. I’m not sure what it says about who I am as a person that this still delights me greatly. Even better, Aaron has said nothing about taking it down, which is either a sign of his love or his indifference. I recently realized that whenever delivery people come to our door, their first glimpse in into the house reveals a gigantic black pirate flag…
Home tours are an interesting concept – you pay a small fee to walk though a collection of other people’s homes. It’s like House Hunters with the pressure to actually buy a house. The Meridian Kessler Home Tour is features homes in the historic district of the same name. Most of the homes have been renovated and modernized over the years, making each one distinct. Honestly, it’s worth a visit to Indy just to go on this tour.
I wasn’t quite sure what to get my grandmother for her birthday when I had the good and possibly a bit ambitious idea to put down new flooring in her screened-in back porch. She had been complaining about her floor for some time, which was just peeling paint on concrete.
I used vinyl plank flooring, which I love for many reasons: It’s relatively cheap, it’s a floating floor that can be installed over many surfaces, and it installs quickly. We surprised her with the flooring one Friday evening after work, and were finished laying it by sundown. Once the new floors were in, it was clear that it could use a new coat of paint as well. I fully intended to paint the ceiling too, but she’s LOVING it all the same, so I figured I’d leave well enough alone for now and go back to working on my own house.
The Indianapolis Home Show was definitely better this year than last year. I actually ended up going twice: once on the weekend with friends when it was super crowded, and once on a weekday with Aaron when it was almost empty.
I felt that a lot of the smaller, less relevant booths were grouped together in an auxiliary pavilion, making the main pavilion more interesting. We saw some cool ideas, nice products, and the feature home was lovely. The master bedroom was especially impressive.
The feature home also made a shallow platform in their media room, which we might consider making in our basement game room
One company featured lighted tiles in a weave pattern.
Another company constructed a massive outdoor room using a covered, angled pergola.
One of my favorite features was an above ground pool with a patio and landscaping build up along the edge. The pool felt integrated into the landscape even though it was above ground. I’m sure that this was more motivated by the constraints of the home show, but I thought it was a great idea for a pool all the same.
Our neighborhood was still on septic tanks when we moved in, but had a deadline to convert to the city sewer by early 2015. Luckily, the seller agreed to pay for this connection (which costs a few thousand dollars). It’s a little strange that homeowners are required to pay for the connection that will result in them paying the monthly sewer fee as well… but that’s the cost of living in the city.
The company that we had do this work for us was abhorrent. They took forever to come out, didn’t say so much as hello before digging up our yard, and left a gigantic pile of of dirt in our driveway for no stated reason.
That said, they didn’t have to run a pipe through the middle of our basement, didn’t need to move our deck and they were done with the work in a couple days. We haven’t had any issues, so they seemed to do a fine enough job. They didn’t return to regrade or re-seed the lawn. They happened to dig up a small bolder, which, out of indifference, we haven’t moved from where they placed it.