Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Farm House Love Episode 4

Well hello there, Friends. Since we last met, winter has come and gone. Well, mostly gone. It did snow today, but nothing like the picture above.

We had a long, wet winter and I have been enjoying spring more than I can ever remember in my life.

The goat babies survived winter well in Gunny's dog house. The Bunnery Sergeant didn't need his house because he spent his days snug inside, guarding the house and sleeping on the couch I'm sure, although that is unauthorized behavior. 

Peanut Head made the goats this see saw to help keep their boredom at bay, although the girls had to coax them onto it for awhile before they would play like it was really their idea.

These frosty horse lips make me weak in the knees.

I haven't been back to blog in so long because I really wanted to have some progress to show on the bathroom. We have made progress, but our work stalled big time, and we got busy with other things. We have done a lot though, just not much on the bathroom. Yet.

All that is left now is the tub/shower surround. It's really the most intimidating part because there's so much that can go wrong. Plumbing problems and vertical tile slippage are just a couple that come to mind and plague my dreams.

We finally finished with demolition when we removed the plaster walls. That was a long, tedious job and it had to be done in stages. Peanut Head had to cut through the wall with a metal grinder because the plaster in old houses like this are adhered to a metal mesh. Or maybe it's just our house. What do I know?

Here's how it went down. One day we'd make a vertical cut from tub to ceiling, with Peanut Head cutting and me holding the shop vac next to the blade to catch the ginormous plaster dust cloud he was generating. Then he would take a hammer to that vertical section and rip it all out. That section would fill up our trash can for the week and then we'd have to wait for the next trash pick up. It was hot, sweaty, dusty work, and the bathroom had to be cleaned after each session.

In all, that process was repeated and took at least a month of weekends and trash pick up cycles.

Once the plaster was out, Peanut Head put me to work pulling out a million rusted nails. The nails took FOR. EVER. That was on account of most of the nails were rotted through with rust from all the water seeping into the wall. The nail heads would sheer off in the hammer claw and I would curse and scream at them. I ended up getting most of the nails out with a fencing tool, of which I do not know the name, but it was one scary looking dude.

Once that was done, Peanut Head put new, not asbestos insulation in the exterior wall and slapped a new piece of plywood over it. Now he is working on the plumbing and building boxes for the shampoo and all that jazz.

We've also done some more trim work. There's a lot of trim work, and all of it needs to be sanded, painted, filled, caulked, and painted again. It's time-consuming, but the finished product is well worth the time spent.

Peanut Head also installed this new larger outlet. I love that it has a little night light built right into it.

I put this bit of vinyl up, and I dang near slit my wrists in frustration trying to get it to stick to the wall. There's not much texture on the wall, and the paint is semi-gloss, so it did not want to stick. What finally ended up working for me was to take my hairdryer to it. I don't want to say it is now melted to the wall, but it sure is suctioned on there real good. Well. I sound like a hillbilly, don't I?

I also made these little bathroom signs. Yes, I think the one on the top right is a little too high and to the right. I must fix that.

I put these together pretty quickly with some cute fonts in Photoshop and then I had them printed as 8x10 photo prints. Then I Mod Podged them to canvas that I painted black on the edges. For the final touch I took a white paint pen and drew a dashed border around the edges. Super cheap art with helpful public service announcements.

This one is my favorite because I'm a little bitter about the toilet paper.

And this one is just plain necessary because some people, (yes, probably in this house just saying) need help with their personal hygiene and care and keeping of their ding dang selves. 😐

That concludes the bathroom update for now. As soon as I hit publish, I will start my next post on the project I started while I was spinning my wheels on the bathroom. Because I like to start new projects before the last one is finished. Doesn't everyone do that?

Friday, December 23, 2016

Merry Christmas 2016!

Merry Christmas Everyone! I actually got my Christmas cards out earlier this week and now that all my friends and family have (hopefully) received them by now, I'm safe to post my Christmas letter here without taking the fun out of getting my Christmas card. There was lots to share in our Christmas letter this year, although it's maybe not news to you, my Internet Friends.

Before I begin though, I feel I need to remind you that Peanut Head is not my husband's real name. Hard to accept as it is, his real-life name is Clark, and I know, Peanut Head is a much easier name to remember, as many of my friends can attest to. 

Hello Friends!                                                                                 

What a wild and crazy year 2016 has been. Whew! We are exhausted. That’s on account of we moved out of our house and into a farm house ten miles outside of town. For years Clark has said that he wanted some land. It was never something I wanted because . . . dirt . . . and outside. Although I wasn’t against it per se, I just didn’t have any interest in pursuing it. Well, we’ve been married for 25 years now and we have two horse crazy girls for which we were paying way too much money for weekly English riding lessons, and one day we just got on the internet and started looking at property. We were looking at houses with five to ten acres where the girls could have a couple horses. Within a week we made an offer on a place and started frantically getting our house ready to sell. It’s been a whirlwind ever since. Our house sold in two weeks and we moved into our new (old) house in June.

So, a little about the new house . . . the original house was built in 1954 by a contractor, and it has beautiful crown molding in the living room. It was a teeny, tiny house with just two bedrooms and one bathroom. Technically there are two additional bedrooms in the basement, but there’s no bathroom down there and it smells like grandma, so we’re not using it for much. The original kitchen was about six feet by six feet, and has since been turned into an office. I’ve had small kitchens before, but I can’t even imagine cooking in a kitchen that small!

In 2006 the house was added onto and it basically doubled in size. Thankfully, a huge kitchen was part of the add-on, and we are loving that part. The rest of the add-on, however, is a little hokey. Also added was a family room, which is much too skinny, a mudroom, a three quarter bathroom, a strange room that could be called a den but we call the hub, a master bedroom, a laundry room, a sewing room, and a garage. The master bedroom was originally a detached garage, and the house was extended to meet that garage. Then a new garage was built on, which added the laundry room and the sewing room. The former kitchen window looks out into the garage. It’s bizarre. This house has character for miles, let me tell you.

There are also two outbuildings. The former owners ran a saddlery business out of one of the buildings and the other was a barn. Both outbuildings have been added onto, trailer park style. This is how I imagine DIY went down in la casa before we moved in:

“We need another room on the barn, Vern, let’s just nail up some plywood and slap some paint on it.

This door doesn’t fit my new wall. I’m just going to saw the bottom two feet off of it. So what if the doorknob is positioned for Hobbits? We’ll get used to it.

You say you want electricity? Here, let me just install an outlet on this pole, right here, out in the open and exposed to the weather. GFCI? What’s that? Heh! We don’t need no stinkin’ GFCI.

There’s a hole in that exterior wall, let’s just nail the Ping-Pong table to it. We’re not using it anyway, and it’ll keep the rain out.”

All of the repairs and improvements are like that. It’s terrifying. Clark is at his wits end, and his former dream of owning land has turned into a living nightmare. I feel bad about it, but ironically, I love it here. I love being out in the country. My doorbell never rings and I’m okay with that. I can put my jammies on at 5:00 p.m. and nobody cares because nobody knows. It’s a beautiful thing. And it is beautiful. There’s so much beauty that I never noticed before, and now it’s all around me. I enjoy looking at the countryside as I drive to and from work. I love coming home.


The girls love it because they can ride horses whenever they want. We’re boarding some horses and taking care of them, and the girls get to ride them whenever they want. Their chores have increased exponentially, however, and they have very little free time. They still manage to work in plenty of time for riding on the weekends though.

Personally, I’ve never been much of a horse person, but that’s probably because I never spent much time around horses. I have fallen in love with these horses though, and I thoroughly enjoy their unique personalities. They’re practically people, but better!

Bo aka "Mr. Bo-Jangles
Sweets aka Sweetie Boy
Bo-Bo and PJ aka Mr. Pajama Pants
We also have two Nigerian Dwarf Goats. Zoe volunteered at the zoo all summer and she insisted that we must have these goats. Oh my goodness, goats are basically creepy looking, pot-bellied dogs. The girls walk them on leashes while they wag their curly little tails. They run and chase after the girls, and they jump and climb on everything. It’s bizarre. They also cry like babies when you walk away from them. It’s enough to break your heart.

Since we moved out to the country, we accidentally got a second cat. I fell in love with a big, two year old Tom Cat at Petco, and I named him Barnaby Jones on the spot. After several weeks, and much dickering, we had finally settled on Barnaby Tiberius Jones for his name when the news came that he was a she. This threw us into a state of confusion and he/she was briefly Catlin Jenner while we sorted the whole name thing out. We finally decided on Cecilia or Ce-Ce for short. We spend a lot of time singing the Simon and Garfunkel song to her, and she knows that she has been adopted by crazy people. She is easily the most laid back cat we have ever had. She sleeps only on her back and with her entire body stretched out to its maximum length of two and a half feet. It’s a sight to behold.

Gunny is still alive and kicking, although he has had a rough year. At this time last year, Zoe was setting up obstacle courses for him to jump through and making videos of him, happy as a clam, jumping whatever jump she set up for him. Well, come spring we found out that Gunny had a torn ACL and he had to have surgery to repair it. This happened the week of our move, which we are calling the beginning of our season for hemorrhaging money. It’s been a long season.

In addition to Gunny being laid up, I had rotator cuff surgery three weeks before the move, so I was practically useless for all the packing and moving. Thankfully, both Gunny and I have healed and I’m happy to say that it was worth the pain and suffering. I like to pretend that I have a bionic shoulder now. I can even hear the Steve Austin music playing in my head.

Clark is still working for the Department of Energy and he has been doing a fair amount of travel this year. He even got to go to New York City and I was super jealous! The travel makes things extra challenging with us living farther away. The girls are waivered into our former district, so they don’t have the luxury of going home on the bus if one of us has something going on after school. I am also still working as a Math Specialist for the secondary schools, and I enjoy what I am doing. More importantly, I’m really enjoying my free time outside of school.

The girls and I are very happy, and we are working on slipping some relaxation and fun into Clark’s schedule. He is pooped. He is such a handy guy though, and there is much to be done . . . We hope this letter finds you all happy and healthy. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!


Clark, Jill, Zoe, and Annika

And that's it. Another year is just about in the books, and it has been a good one. I wish all of you a very Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, no matter what you celebrate.

Thanks for stopping by!