Saturday, July 27, 2013

Miss Daisy

The last time I put any paint on the house was--ahem--a month ago.  June 24th, I think.  Since then there's been some some overtime, some bad weather (heat advisories) and a serious lack of motivation around here.  I can't explain it--usually in the summer I go 90 miles an hour with my hair on fire, but this summer it's been more like drivin' Miss Daisy.

Friday I decided I'd better get my hiney in gear, so I went outside and took a "before" photo of the house.

Then it started raining.  After that, the humidity was 87 percent.  (Not an exaggeration.)  When the humidity and the temperature are the same, I go indoors.

Saturday was unseasonably cool and the humidity was low.  (At least for Missouri in July.)  So, I really did get my hiney in gear.
I scraped a lot of paint off the house, caulked all the nailholes, staple holes, and cracks, glued together a broken clapboard, and primed everything.  I also painted the corner trim there by the porch, painted the downspout, and put it back up.  Because when you're in the middle of a drought, it's really important to have a downspout.

Mid-afternoon, my cousin David came by.  We agreed that the house looks pretty bad right now with the peeling paint, the haphazard primer, yellow paint here, gray paint there, but as David pointed out, "This ain't the worst it's ever looked."  He's one of my favorite people because he's always supportive and encouraging. We walked around the house together.

David:  You're just about to get 'er done, honey!
Me:  Really?!  You think so?!
David:  No, not really.

Well, at least he always makes me laugh.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

A Sittin' Place

Ever since I got my new patio, I've wanted to get some patio furniture so I'd have a nice place to sit.  As with any decision where I have to spend more than about 75 bucks, I agonized over it and comparison shopped and found one thing and another that wasn't quite right.  A couple of months ago I found the perfect patio set, but it was waayy out of my budget.  So I waited, and made do with the blue plastic chairs on the little part of the patio.

And then that patio set went on sale for 50% off.  So I bought it!

It looks kinda nice from this angle.

Not so much from this one, with that icky wall in the background.

I really, really need to get crackalackin on the house....
but at least I have a nice sittin' place.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Plastic Rocks

My yard is pretty awful by most people's standards.  Most of it is shady and what grass there is grows in scrubby little patches.  That's okay with me.  My long-term goal for the yard is for there to be no yard.  I want to have the whole thing planted up in flowers, a little vegetable garden (or maybe a big one), bushes, ground cover, whatever it takes to not have frustrating conversations with people I hire to mow my yard.

Like this:

Me:  Could you raise the blade on the mower a bit higher so it doesn't cut off the clover blooms?
Yard Guy:  Are you serious?
Me:  Yes, I am.  The bees like clover.

He gave me this look like I was insane and then he never came back again.

So I hired somebody else, and they did better, except...sigh...except for one or two things which I called the owner of the company about.

Me:  Hey, you guys are doing a great job on my little yard overall, but last time someone ran over my daylilies and one of my Autumn Joy sedums.
Him: Well, you don't have any edging around your flowerbeds...
Me:  I know.  And I know that daylilies kinda look like grass, but since they were in the hellstrip I don't see how they got mowed down, and since those sedums have thick pale green leaves and the one y'all ran over was about the size of a basketball and now it's three inches high--
Him:  Well, unfortunately, unless you put something around your flowerbeds that's gonna keep happening.

After I kinda calmed down and stopped kicking things, I could see where maybe he has a point.

So I bought me some of those plastic rocks and edged the flowerbeds on either side of my front walkway.

I even got ambitious with a hoe and tore out all the grass and weeds from the right side of the walkway.  (I have to do the left side tomorrow.)  On the left there, in the foreground, barely visible, is the poor little mowed-down sedum.  It was actually larger, pre-mowing, than the one on the right.  There's not much in these flowerbeds now:  daylilies, Autumn Joy sedum, a lamb's-ear, and some lilies of the valley.

This is what it looks like from across the street at Mr. Carl's house.

I need to work on that bed on the right to make the plastic rocks have a nicer curve to them and get that grass out of there so I can hammer the edging into the ground better.  Out in the hellstrip by the street I planted Stella D'Oro daylilies (which got mowed down) and John Creech sedum (stonecrop) because they're really tough. Up by the house I have more daylilies, epimedium, Japanese lilies (which were Esther's), a couple of hostas, and coral bells.

Plastic rocks would not be my first choice for edging my flowerbeds.  In this case I needed something quick, easy, and cheap that I could stick in the ground before the yard man came again.  I'm planning to expand these flowerbeds over the years until they take up pretty much the whole yard, so the plastic rocks are good for that because I can just yank 'em up, move 'em wherever I want, and hammer 'em back into the ground.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

That Tricky Little Slide Bolt

This is, obviously, a door.  A door between the laundry room and the bathroom, to be exact.  But it's not just a door.  It's a cause for celebration.

You see, for the entire 6 years, 7 months and some-odd days that I've lived in this house there hasn't been a decent door here.

There was a Dutch door before.

Yes.  A Dutch door.  In a bathroom.  What the what??*

The Dutch door closed with a tricky little slide bolt on the bathroom side and didn't have a doorknob, so although you could open the door from the laundry room side by pushing on it, you couldn't close it from that side and expect it to stay closed.  Actually, you couldn't really ever expect the bathroom door to stay closed no matter which side of the door you were on.  That tricky little slide bolt meant that it was possible to have unexpected company in the bathroom, especially since the bathroom door's right by the back door, which is the main door to my house.  Surprise!

This became a little aggravating over the years.  (That might be an understatement.)

Once I got over the idea that I had to have a really cool vintage door there--I mean, once I discovered that a really cool vintage door that's only 24 inches wide doesn't exist in my part of the country--I bought a new door and my son helped me hang it.  Dylan also put in a nice doorknob with one of those little push-button locks.  It works perfectly.  The whole task took like half an hour.

I put off a half-hour chore for six and a half years.  That's probably an all-time record for procrastination.

*I actually do know the reason for the Dutch door in the bathroom, and the one in the kitchen as well.  A couple who lived in my house in the early 1970s ran a cab company and what's now my laundry room was the office for Eddie's Cab.  They didn't want people who came into the office to be able to wander through the house, but they wanted to be able to see and hear their customers, so they put Dutch doors in the two doors leading from the office into the rest of the house.  (I'm guessing they didn't use that bathroom during, uh, business hours.)

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Heat Advisory

Even a squirrel knows it's too hot to work outside today.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Meet Florian

The firefighter walked into dispatch about one in the morning.  "Anybody want a kitten?" he asked.

Seeing a big, strong firefighter cuddling a very tiny little cat would melt even a heart of stone, and we all know my heart is made of much softer stuff.

"Ohhhhh, it's so tiny!" I said.  "Where did you find it?"

"Outside on the wheel of my truck, squalling its little head off," he said.

You know I claimed the little thing as mine.

My partner and I gave it a slice of deli ham, two slices of deli turkey, and a saucer of water.  The kitten consumed all that and then went to sleep on my lap.  I worried about the 35-minute trip home, but the little cat slept through that, too.

When I got home, I gave the furbabies an inspirational speech.  "All three of you are rescues.  You were once the new kid and didn't know anybody, and were scared.  I expect you to remember that and be kind."

Louis, who was rescued from the intersection of 40 Highway and 7 Highway in Blue Springs by a nice police officer, was not impressed.  He pretends the new cat doesn't exist.

Gracie, who was found outside the very same fire station in the dead of winter, hissed and spit at the newcomer and then retreated to the kitchen to talk things over with Louis.

But Libbi, who was saved from Death Row at a vet's office, welcomed the new kitten with an open heart.  She crawled right up in the cat tree with the baby cat and snuffled all over him (her?).  The kitten started rumbling a purr.

I call the new cat Florian, after the patron saint of firefighters.  It seems like a good name, given that it was found at a fire station and on a day when we had such bad news from Arizona.