Monday, June 30, 2014

From Drab to Fab (Part One): A Good Scrubbing

One of the things we had committed to this summer (and especially, during our week-long vacation coming in July) was to refurbish certain sections of Green Victoria that needed a little bit of care and attention. I've mentioned on many occasions that the guys who owned the place before us did an amazing job of making this place really special, but of course, there are still sections that need a little bit of fixing up.

The back yard needs the most improvement. Corb, who is the master builder, has a lot of ideas for what he wants to do--and some of it is going to take a few years. For one thing, he wants to grade the entire area so that it slopes downward (and doesn't become a swamp during the start of spring). He also wants to extend the back deck so that we can install a swimming pool and fire pit. And around the swing area, we need to remove an old dead tree that is what is popularly known as a "widow maker." It has a huge dead branch that extends over the swing set. If that ever feel while Kaeden was playing on it...

But, first for the easier stuff, and that's why, this week-end, we started on the patio area. It was clearly once really nice--in fact, at one point, the guys had installed a jacuzzi, but while the house was up for sale, the area had fallen into disuse. The stones were covered in moss, and the garden beds had become overgrown with weeds. This week-end, Corb fixed up a power washer that his brother had that was broken (Corb is a handy one, no?) and Sunday morning, bright and early, we got to work.

I did my fair share, but again, I have to give Corb credit for the grunt work. He spent six hours power washing all the stones. It was like watching an archaeological dig, as he used the washer to line by line remove moss and dirt from each stone individually. The whole project (which isn't completely done yet) went quite smoothly, except for one little rough patch, as we were weeding the flower beds and came across one bit of suspicious wickedness.

CORB: Is it poison ivy?
ME (Still weeding): I don't know...
CORB: It looks like poison ivy. Three leaves...
ME: Then we should get rid of it.
CORB: So get rid of it.
ME: I don't want to get rid of it. You get rid of it.
CORB: Does it look shiny? Poison ivy is shiny. Is that shiny?
ME:L Deep sigh...
Anyway, turns out it was climbing hydrangea. It is now dead climbing hydrangea. We didn't figure that out until we had removed it with a steel rake.

Other than that, I am pleased with our progress. We still have some planting to do and have to pick out patio furniture, but I think part one of the "Drab to Fab" project turned out pretty nice!

Friday, June 20, 2014

Don't fence me in.


You know how when you first move into a place, it’s really just the start of the journey? You never have everything you completely need…or at least, completely want, and you kind of live out of boxes for a spell, until you get everything just the way you’d like it to be.
We haven’t exactly been living out of boxes at Green Victoria, but this past week-end, we finally picked out the last pieces of major furniture that we needed: the dressers for the master bedroom.
Before this, that room had been looking rather sparse, with only the bed, my old dresser from when I first moved out of Josie’s house, a plastic crate full of clothes that neither of us really used, and Kyra’s crate. For the most part, Corb and I had crammed all of our T-shirts and underwear and sweaters into five small drawers. The white T-shirts were hidden in one of the closets under all of our dress shirts.
And, we actually have a…get this...a sock box.
What’s a sock box? Maybe other people have them, too, I don’t know. It works like this: instead of matching and folding your sox when they come out of the dryer, you simply save yourself that step, take all of the socks and throw them, unsorted, into one central box, roughly the size of a milk crate.
Of course, since everyone’s socks are mingled together, touching and groping and snuggled up next to each other, it does make mornings interesting. First, you have to locate the box (it’s never where it was the day before). Then, you have to find a pair of matching socks. And by the way, you have to do this by going into the master bedroom, where usually, either Corb or myself are sleeping.
It’s functional, but not very convenient.
So imagine our excitement when two enormous mahogany dressers arrived yesterday afternoon. Corb and I were like kids at Christmas! We literally spent an hour sorting through our clothing and scoping out our turf in the brave new world we found ourselves living in. Where once I had three drawers, now I had six! Where once Corb had two drawers, now he had five! Seriously, it was as if we had died and gone to heaven, prompting cries of:
“Oh my God, I actually have a place for all my jeans!”
“Hey, is that where that thing went?”
“Wow, I forgot I had that sweater!”
"I haven't had a dresser with this much space since I was in my thirties!"
"Oh yeah? I haven't had a dresser since I was twenty!"
And of course: “We actually have a drawer for all our socks!”
It’s in my dresser (since I had the extra drawer), and we are co-mingling, although we have banished the socks of Theo and Ashes to their respective dressers. But it is a thing to behold and made life extremely enjoyable yesterday. It also meant that the blue tub has been banished to the basement and Kyra’s crate has been moved to the room outside the master bedroom, which means that our master bedroom is finally starting to look like a master bedroom.
Of course, somebody had to be there while the furniture was being moved in, and that lucky guy was yours truly. I worked from home, typing away in the den, and the furniture guys arrived at around one. It was a half an hour job: all open doors, and grunting and groaning, and sweat. I offered the guys something to drink. They declined.
Around two, I was working away, and I happened to notice, out of the corner of my eye, a small brown animal scurrying across our lawn. That was weird, I thought. Was it a chipmunk? I put down my laptop and looked around, to see if I could see it again. But it was gone. Vanished into the shrubbery. I resumed working.
Twenty minutes, it dawned on me. Was that? Could that have been? I put down my laptop and looked around the house. Hmmm.
I opened the door, looked outside. It was a beautiful spring day, in the eighties. Wow, this was what the outside world felt like?
I hunted around the front lawn. Looked around the patch of woods in front of the house. Ah, sure enough.
There, under an old tree, looking cozy on a bed of pine needles. Our oldest cat Hayleigh. She was an indoor cat, but always longed to be outdoors. She had escaped during the move, and was enjoying her newfound freedom.
I picked her up. She made an odd groaning noise, as if she didn’t want to leave.
I completely understood how she felt. A little bit more freedom is a wonderful thing.