The 10 Year Homeowner Itch

This July I will have officially been a homeowner for 11 years and time really does fly when you are “having fun.” It’s an interesting thing being in a house for so long, I really feel like I know it, like I knew my childhood home. I know all the weird sounds, creeks, I can walk around totally in the dark and know exactly where everything is.

When the house was first purchased in July of 2007 it needed a lot of work both cosmetically and behind the scenes. The next 4 months the house was basically a construction zone that didn’t subside until Thanksgiving! Kind of a funny story, I had it in my head that I was hosting Thanksgiving that year in the new house. I spent so much time getting the house together and realized at about 8PM the night before that I didn’t own dining room chairs. I had a table, but no chairs. This resulted in trips to about 5 different Target stores piecing together a chair set that I wanted!

I look at my living and dining rooms and see that they need painting and wonder how could it be?! They were JUST painted…. Oh not really, it was over a decade ago. Last year, was the year of doing not so fun stuff to the house: termite treatment, a new back fence and front gate, new roof, tree trimming and my favorite wall and attic insulation. They were improvements that were well worth it, but not exactly “fun” and besides the fence because you really don’t see your money. This year, I’m really itching to do some cosmetic upgrades that have been bugging me for a while, and fix some things that I’ve been living with mostly in the “master bedroom” (I use that term loosely because in my Lockheed Bungalow, the “master” is 11X11) and backyard.

I’m struggling with having homeowner ADD right now, similar to what went on when I moved in. I have two major projects going on and I feel like my life is in upheaval. I literally have a drill on my nightstand and boxes piled in my living room to the point where I can’t even get into my entry hall closet. Hopefully I’ll have this all fixed over the weekend and will have a new fun blog post about the master! The backyard will still be a work in progress for a few more weeks and unfortunately right now it smells like steer manure. (Fun times).

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(Super classy decor, so you all believe me)

Anyone else have homeowner ADD going on? Is it an always thing or does it come in cycles. Leave me a comment and let me know!

 

Super fun topic, death of an estranged family member

I feel like I’m whenever I start a blog post, I end up apologizing for not blogging for a while. My catch-22 is I feel like I shouldn’t blog unless I have something interesting and of value to add, and the past few months, I haven’t felt that. In short, here is an explanation of what I’ve been up to the past few months that was the inspiration for today’s blog post. It serves a two fold purpose, explaining where I’ve been and using it as a fresh start for blogging. I’ve spoken about this a lot on my personal Facebook page and so if you are a friend, this entry may feel repetitive. I promise this week my blog will return to it’s normal shenanigans.

It’s not a huge secret that for most of my life I’ve been estranged from my mother. It’s a long involved story as to why, but the cliffs notes version is that my parents divorced a long time ago; I lived with my father and truthfully I was too young and immature to really understand my mother and mental illness. A friend who had a similar situation with her biological dad, messaged me in August to tell me that he had passed away that day and she was heading out of town to deal with it. I offered my condolences and told her that I did not know if I would be that good of a person when my own mother passes away. Less than 24 hours later, I was notified that my own mother had died due to long term, multiple substance abuse issues. It’s a day that I had anticipated and dreaded for a long time. As much as I wanted to avoid it, I was the “next of kin” and I had to deal with it.

This may seems like a really weird thing to blog about however, when I googled “dealing with the death of an estranged parent” it dealt with the emotional stuff. Obviously that’s a huge part of it and I’m not saying that process is not important, it is I went through it too! Before you can even deal with that, you need to get physically get through it, and it’s hard, weird and overwhelming. It’s one thing when a close family member dies. You want to do right by them, you know their wishes and who to notify. When an estranged parent or family member dies and you have to deal with it, it’s a bit confusing and chaotic. To understand where I am coming from, a bit of background on my own personal case. I had not spoken to my mother in almost two decades and even before that our relationship was tepid at best. She didn’t try and I didn’t try and yes, I have to live with that. Unfortunately, as I said above, she had quite a few substance abuse and mental health issues, a hoarding problem and therefore I think my situation dealing with her death was extreme since she had pretty much alienated everyone she knew. This is the list of what I wish I had known along with my own experiences.

  1. Usually with estranged family members they have burned bridges with family and friends; be prepared that you may or may not get a lot of help physically or financially. Try to at least notify people that your family member passed away, even if it’s an e-mail or Facebook message. It’s better than hearing about it second hand. As silly as it sounds, it may helpful to draw out a family tree so you don’t forget anyone. It’s a stressful time and you may draw a blank. I totally forgot to call my mother’s stepmother and also forgot she had two step siblings, oops. (To be fair, I probably could not pick them out of a lineup if I had to). Also, you may have to track down phone numbers and have awkward “hi, you haven’t heard from me in 20 years…” conversations. It’s weird, trust me. As far as handling things in my case, my cousin and aunt had been keeping an eye on my mother from a distance for years, were burnt out and I didn’t want to put that burden on them anymore. My brother has a family and he was limited in what he could do, so I did the physical running around mostly.
  2. Figure out their funeral and burial. This includes how it is going to be paid for and also in  terms of what to do for it. In my case, I had no idea what my mother would have wanted because I knew very little about her, and so I guessed. Other family members had very little input as well. I was “lucky” in the sense that my mother was in the Army in the 70s and I was able to locate her D-214 and therefore was able to use her VA benefits for the burial. While the VA does have it’s issues, I’m very grateful to them for the death benefits for veterans. Since I had no idea where my mother would have wanted to be buried, I had a funeral home do the cremation and had her buried in a military cemetery. I’m not going to lie, the fact that the plot was covered by the VA was a huge selling point but, I figured it was at least a dignified burial. While this sound awkward and cheap, it’s brutally honest. Would you want to pay for a plot for your neighbor from decades ago that you hadn’t seen or heard from since? It honestly was the equivalent of that for me. I thought about doing the an ash scattering and/or memorial, but it seemed trite and unnecessary because no one in the family was really interested in that kind of thing. Be prepared for awkwardness and feelings of indifference and be ok with it! There were questions that the funeral home asked me, that I had no idea as to the answer or had no opinion on, such as what type of emblem to put on her grave. At this point I had a “get it done” mentality I went with the most common thing per their suggestions. I could have beat myself up over it for hours and come to the same conclusion, “I don’t know” so why waste time? Remember, chances are you are planning a burial for someone you don’t really know and are doing the best you can.
  3. Piece together their finances and other important stuff as soon as possible. Notify social security (if applicable) ASAP because it takes a while for them to get their act together and you do not want to have to be in a repayment situation with them. (To this day I still do not understand how they prorate checks). Chances are (like me), you probably have no idea what the deceased’s financial situation was. As much as we all hope that we have a secret millionaire of a relative, chances are, it’s not going to be that and it’s not going to be pretty. Depending on how organized/disorganized they were it may be a detective game. My mother was a bit of a mixed bag in the sense that she had a lot of important papers in her car (who carries their birth certificate, divorce papers and army discharge papers in their car… my mother that’s who) but she had not opened mail in three years. (That was fun). Pulling her credit report helped answer some questions but others were a mystery, such as where she had her checking account. I finally found a 5 year old expired debit card and went to the bank with her death certificate, explained the situation; and yes it was literally “Hi, my estranged mother died and she may or may not have a checking account here, can you check?” I thought for sure they were going to throw me out, however I found that people were more receptive and willing to help if you lay everything on the table and admit how weird the situation is. Another instance was when the cable company was hassling me over the return of boxes and I bluntly said “she was a hoarder, there are bugs. Do you want the boxes back?” They didn’t. I know that some will say it’s not their business and this is the truth, but most people do have compassion and are willing to help if they understand the full situation.

     

  4. Be strong, keep your guard up and use common sense. When you are dealing with a situation like this you have a lot of people telling you what to do. Some are involved and some unfortunately are not involved because they aren’t next of kin/executor/etc or they didn’t want to be, and just show up and make demands or even worse try and guilt you into something. For instance my mother’s landlord tried to extort money out of me saying that “my mother would have wanted it that way.” Without going into a rant that could be a blog post on it’s own about that, just keep your emotions out of it and say no. Run the situation by a neutral friend if you have to. I got sucked into a bit of drama and I really wish I hadn’t. Take a deep breath and think things through, no matter what it is, it can wait for a good sleep and tomorrow.

To sum it all up from “tips” and story is that it’s going to be weird, it’s going to be awkward and that’s okay. When the time comes for the emotional stuff, grieve in your own way. Don’t let anyone tell you that you should not be more or less upset. People will guilt you on both ends. As cliche as it sounds, just do you.

On a last personal note, someone told me early on that I should use this as an opportunity to get to know my mother. Out of all the “advice” I received I actually think this was wise. I did and here’s what I have to say. Unfortunately, she wasn’t well. She was under VA care and I think they did the best they could because you cannot help someone who doesn’t want help, and you have to find a balance between investing resources and “treat and street.” However with all the crazy, she was a veteran, served this country and that I’m very proud of.

Teaser Post…

Yes I’ve been away with no good excuses but I promise I have a lot of content coming up.

Teaser post… who wants to guess my project for tomorrow?

This is 3.5 yards of 54″ fabric to be applied up the bolt. Any guesses?

Mema’s Tulips

Back in December my the sale on my childhood home closed. It was also my father’s childhood home and so needless to say it was quite an emotional experience for me and for him as well.

Anyone who has gone through this knows that you obviously want to keep some tangible items from the house. The thing that I most wanted was the tulip bulbs. Believe it or not, my grandmother planted them well before I was born and despite neglect and never digging them up they bloomed every year. The day that I was born (April 17th) the tulips were in full bloom and my father took a picture of it. A few days later it snowed in typical Chicago fashion. Needless to say, they hold a pretty big significance to me.

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Back in October when the house entered escrow my father dug up the bulbs and promised to send them to me and was “getting around to it” for some time. While I was on vacation this last week the box arrived and I opened it up today. My original plan was keeping them refrigerated until the fall and then plant them however, god bless my father but he did the absolute worst thing he could have possibly done… left the bulbs in a lot of soil and kept them moist in a plastic bag. They sprouted, all together in a gigantic mess. After a small fit major meltdown I called a master gardener friend and she instructed me to plant them ASAP and consider putting them in a container. A quick trip to Lowes and this is what I ended up with. I was able to separate some but a few were a lost cause since they were so intertwined. Ignore the dead dymondia in the background, that’s a whole other story completely. Fingers crossed that the tulips can be saved!

Feeling Kind of Trashy

fullsizerender-6Today’s post was spawned by this picture from my Facebook “On This Day” memories  from 2015. This is me standing on top of a giant pile of garbage. That year I participated in the City of Burbank’s Master Recycling Program. It was a neat program where you were educated and learned about different ways of recycling and waste reduction.

One Saturday we actually had a field trip to Burbank’s Landfill #3 located on Lockheed View Drive up on the hill. A little bit of background on Burbank’s waste disposal history. My house was built in 1938 and was of course one of the Lockheed bungalows like so many in Burbank. Behind my garage is a garbage incinerator which is how trash used to be taken care of. One of these days I’m going to turn it into a planter or something but I’ve been saying that for a decade. When it does happen, it will be a blog post. A short time after that, landfills #1 and #2 were built and handled the cities trash until 1970. (Source Cal Recycle) After that our current landfill, #3 was built and continues to handle our trash until this day. I was told that back in the 1980s they did a study and estimated there were about 50 years left on the landfill but that is also when Burbank started ramping up its recycling program. Now as it stands today, the estimated closure date of Landfill #3 is 2053 and that number can fluctuate depending on the use of the city. (Source Burbank Public Works)

I didn’t know what to exactly expect that day at the landfill but what I saw certainly was not it. I had visions of a big heap of trash, some old guy hoarding copper and drinking beer watching the entire thing like the local municipal dump of my childhood. For a landfill, it’s actually very clean and since this is located very close to residential homes, etc the trash is covered every day and layering with dirt happens to keep the area nice and tidy. All in all for a landfill, it’s pretty neat and unfortunately not normally open to the public.

Before the recycling program I considered myself a pretty avid recycler. I composted and recycled what I could but I still had 2-3 bags of trash a week. After the trip and viewing where my trash goes it parked something inside of me. Now anytime I throw something away I imagine it sitting in a landfill. The same goes for bulky item pickup too (I seriously have nightmares about my old beat up sofa sitting up there!) With very little effort I was able to reduce myself to one small bag a week. I wouldn’t even set out my trash bin every week if it wasn’t for the smell. (I have pets if you catch my drift!) So, with all that being said what did I do and what can people do help out Burbank’s landfill.

1. Recycle (Obviously) – Burbank is a pretty easy city to recycle in. Everything recyclable can go into one blue bin. There are three options of bins. A 32 gallon, 65 gallon and 96 gallon. The city does not charge for a bigger size so I say get the biggest one you can and set it out only when it’s full. There’s reasoning behind that but that’s another blog post all together.  The Burbank Recycling Center has a list here and a pretty nifty diagram that shows what can be recycled at the curb and at the center on Flower Street.

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Side note- the city DOES charge based on the size of your black trash container so if you have a 65 gallon one that you don’t fill up, get a smaller one and save a few bucks a month! The number to public works is 818.238.3800

2. Find ways to recycle specialty items – A lot of times items go into the trash simply because there is no way to dispose of them locally. A few items that I’ve struggled with personally are clothing in poor shape, old CDs of the printer software type variety, and styrofoam. Thankfully now we live in a world with google and where there is a will there is a way. There are ways to dispose of clothing not suitable for donation. I’ve heard that many Goodwill places will still take it but I have yet to find one. I usually end up putting it in a yellow Planet Aid Bin. I know there is some controversy with Planet Aid since they sell textiles however I personally feel that at least selling the goods to companies that repurpose them into insulation, playground paving and carpet pads just to name a few is better than it sitting in Landfill #3. CD’s can be sent to the CD Recycling Center through the mail. #6 styrofoam / peanuts is tricky… the best solution I have so far is I bring it to my friend’s house who lives in LA and her curbside recycling takes it or I save it to reship stuff. (Lame I know). The point I’m trying to drive home is there are solutions, they may not be as convenient as dropping it in your blue bin.

3. Reusing and reducing – Everyone knows the three Rs. Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. We also all know to donate our old stuff to charity. What we forget is we tend to focus on the last one and forget about the first two, especially reduce. This is something I’ve struggled with but little changes can make all the difference. I stopped buying milk and orange juice in cartons and buy them in recyclable plastic containers instead. Prewrapped individual packs are great, but terrible for the environment. It’s the little stuff like that can make a huge impact.

4. Food scraps and compost – Instead of throwing food scraps in the trash compost or at the very least throw fruit and veggies into your green bin. I’ve been an avid composter for about 7 years and it really does make a difference. I also found personally doing two smaller shops a week instead of a huge big shop prevents food waste because inevitably I will have a night where I’m too lazy to cook what I’ve planned and order Dino’s.

So there you have it. Typing this out I should retitle this post to “How I went from a pretty good recycler to beyond crazy about it.” Anyone else have any tips? What’s your recycling like?

 

Rainpocalypse 2017

The ongoing drama in Washington is a pretty big deal but what’s an even bigger deal? Rain in SoCal. Seriously, the top news story on our local news channel is not about politics, it’s about rain and for good reason, by California standards this is a pretty big storm, “Heavy Rain Blankets Southern California” to be exact. Being from Chicago,  I’m not any stranger to weather but I have to admit almost 14 years in Burbank leaves me with a little bit childlike wonder when it rains. It’s not so much rain hysteria, it’s more that I’m a weather geek thanks in part to growing up with Tom Skilling on WGN. I do all the normal things that people do in So-Cal: sandbag my downward slanting garage so it doesn’t flood, find my one umbrella and of course post on social media the minute it starts raining.

Like I mentioned above, I’m a weather geek and prepping for rain So-Cal style is not enough. What do I do? Well for starters I have at least half a dozen weather apps on my phone, an antique barometer and a weather radio. I’m not paranoid about the weather, I just find it fascinating. Needless to say, my trusty weather radio has been going off all day with flash flood warnings.

 

I also like so many decided to take a long weekend, hunker down with the ridgebacks and binge my favorite mini series, From The Earth To The Moon. Earlier this morning I was convinced that the storm had shifted and crazy rain was not going to happen but I stand corrected, this is some of the worst rain I’ve seen here.

Like many I’ve been on social media for the better part of the day discussing the rain. I’m amazed, so many friends in LA are without power, here in Burbank we’ve had a few flickers, some and some sketchy U-Verse service but nothing major. It really reminds me how fortunate I am and how much I really love this city.

Making New Friends Today

Last week I had a friendship blind date of sorts, I met someone that I didn’t really know for dinner. About six months ago I posted in the City of Burbank Facebook group looking for a recommendation for a fence company. One individual messaged me with a recommendation and sent me some pictures of her fence. We got to talking and we eventually friended each other on Facebook. We commented on each other’s status and met officially by chance at a Burbank Coordinating Council meeting. Since the holiday season is over and things have settled down, we decided to meet for dinner at The Hanger Grille on Magnolia Blvd (which by the way is delicious!) All in all we had a fantastic time and will hopefully get together soon.

This isn’t the first time I’ve met people this way. About ten years ago I signed up for a now defunct couponing website, “The Grocery Game” and joined their message boards. Eventually with the Facebook revolution a bunch of the “regulars” and I friended each other on Facebook and had a local meet-up. One of the people from that message board actually lives in Burbank and has become a close friend to the point where I go to her house for Thanksgiving almost every year. If it wasn’t for this message board, we probably would never have met. We don’t live in the same neighborhood or run in the same circles. She has kids and I do not and the only thing that brought us together was a love scoring deals with coupons. In October of 2011 another person I befriended happened to be traveling to Texas from New York for business and decided to meet up with a bunch of the people from the message board who live there. A few other people and I found a good deal on airfare and decided to join for a girls weekend. Four of us came from the west coast, and a couple from the East Coast and we all had a fun weekend. (This was when I had super short hair) Before that weekend I had only met one person in that picture. Now I’ve traveled with some of them a few times.

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I really do think online and through social media  is the new way that people make friends. it brings unlikely people together with a common interest that they may not find organically. Thinking back,  I think the last time I made a true friend that didn’t start out online was probably 2010ish and that was through work. Before that it was friends I made in college and in high school/grade school in Chicago. Are they good friends? Yes. Are they friends that would fly to Chicago from Atlanta to help me have an estate sale at my father’s house? Probably not but that’s really the only kind of once in a lifetime childhood friend that would do that and I don’t know if that could ever be found online. Here is my BFF from junior high and beyond Carolyn and I acting like we are teenagers in my dad’s basement making fun of a bunch of 90s flip phones and pagers we found. Why was I dressed up and she was in casual clothes? It’s seriously the nature of our friendship.

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Anyone else met friends online? How do you meet people today? Drop me a line and let me know, I’m curious.

Combating Common Little Free Library Issues

fullsizerender-4 About six months ago after seeing Little Free Libraries pop up in Burbank and all over, I decided to install one in my front yard. As I’ve said in the past my neighborhood is great, there are a lot of people who have lived there for a long time and in general look out for each other however as the “newbie” on my particular block it can be hard to break the ice with people so to speak. I felt it was a way to bring the neighborhood together since we have a ton of young kids that have moved one block down I thought it would be a nice way for people to interact. I had a friend make it and it matches my house. (Naturally there is a dog hook!) I also think (and this is more of a soapbox issue for me) that the branch of the Burbank Library closest to my house has awful hours (12-6 Monday-Friday) and is not conducive to children in school and working adults using it. We have other branches however they require a drive and so the fun of just walking to your local library on a whim is gone. Hopefully someday post recession/Burbank budget crisis this will change. Stepping off the soapbox now…

Before I installed the library I read everything I could because I really wanted to set myself and this library up for success. There’s even a group for just “stewards” (people who have a Little Free Library) on Facebook that is a wealth of information. It seems across the board there seems to be a few common problems with Little Free Libraries, some of which I have come across others which I have not. Here is my take on them and how I have solved the problems that I have encountered.

1. Issues with their municipality/zoning/building codes, etc – I thankfully do not have a problem here. I’ve read several stories of HOAs and cities citing owners and requiring their removal. I didn’t exactly apply for a permit but there are many other LFLs in Burbank and this one is on my side of the property, not the parkway. I could see if it was on the parkway it being an issue. Undoubtably if the city started giving grief to LFL owners you would see me at a city council meeting.

2. Vandalism- Again this isn’t a problem here but I see it all of the time in the Facebook group. My neighborhood is pretty quiet at night and thankfully if something weird is going on outside, my dogs tend to let me know. My library is also near an intersection that is well lit and so I don’t see this issue happening. I know others have installed lights and cameras to combat this issue. I’ve considered installing a light not so much for security but more so patrons can see at night.

3. Weather Related – Here in California we don’t have a snow problem but we’ve had a rain problem recently. Thankfully my LFL is sealed really well and has a pitched roof so it didn’t leak during the last rainstorm. I know several stewards who have issues. The best advice I can give on this is use the same rules of thumb you would use when waterproofing a house and silicone and a slight overhang are your BFFs!

4. Religious Texts / Inappropriate Books- I don’t exactly live in the Bible Belt and so I’m sure this isn’t as big of an issue here as it would be elsewhere but I’ve had a couple issues with religious pamphlets. The occasional Bible does get left in the library. Usually I leave it in for a week to see if someone takes it, if not I donate it or recycle it depending on the condition as I would with any book that isn’t “moving.” It’s not really an issue with me. Pamplets or religious books that are more advertisement for the religion I recycle ASAP. In October I was on vacation for a week and I came back to a ton of religious books and pamphlets in the library. It was like different groups were trying to one up each other. I recycled those because I felt that this was not the place for them and it was really taking away from the point of the library.

As far as “inappropriate books” I’ve never really had any. Some stewards are very picky about this stuff, I’m really not. It’s not my place to judge what people want to read. If something is outright porn with nude pictures, etc I would take it out however I haven’t had that happen yet. (Please don’t start) But as an example, I left one of the 50 Shades books in and it was gone within a day. As I said before though if a book isn’t moving I usually take it out for a while or if it’s in bad shape recycle it.

5. Book Hoarders/Resellers – This is probably my biggest problem and it really isn’t a large issue for me but is annoying. The entire concept of a Little Free Library is take a book, leave a book. I don’t hold people to this. I get sometimes that you are out and don’t have a book to give, that’s totally fine. The issue I have is with the book resellers. They come with little scanners to see how much books are worth and then take a bunch and drive away. They never contribute books, only take them. To me this really defeats the purpose of the library. It’s supposed to be a community thing, not a resale thing. I took the advice of some other stewards and started marking the inside of the books LFL or something like that. It’s harder to for people to sell them this way. This was getting slightly annoying and so I finally broke down and ordered a stamp. I hate to have to police it but people bring books for others to enjoy and not to be resold so someone else can profit. There are many places to get stamps made and I had a pretty decent coupon from Vista Print and so I ordered from there. Here’s what mine looks like. With a coupon code it came to about $15 and it has 10,000 “uses.” I have a somewhat lower volume LFL so hopefully this should last me quite a while.

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Are there any other stewards here who have any additional tips or issues? Or do you use a Little Free Library in your neighborhood? What do you like about it? What would you like to see improved?Leave me a comment!

Termites!

img_2112This is quite possibly the scariest word for any homeowner. I’ve been lucky so far, I haven’t needed any termite work done since the house was purchased in 2007. Weird markings on my hardwood floor started showing up; I usually blame it on the dogs but these markings would be hard to prove it was them. In the back of my mind I had a nagging feeling it may be termites but I didn’t want to believe it so I put off calling.

Finally someone I do volunteer work with mentioned that they had work done by one of the all natural orange companies who advertises on the radio all of the time.

I called and arranged for an inspection thinking it would be a quick thing. It was actually an hour and a half long process. They were very precise with everything. The only thing that struck me as funny is that they mentioned that my attic was very narrow (which I knew) and that they would need to bring the “little person” to do my attic on the day they do the job. Being 4′ 10.5″ (the .5 totally makes a difference!) myself I found this to be hilarious. They went over everything with me and even showed me the termite dust that fell down when they checked my patio. I love how they circled it to drive the point home and to add to my paranoia. It was a nice touch. 🙂

All in all, the price that they gave me was pretty fair and in line what friends told me they had paid for whole house treatments and I saved an extra 10% by mentioning that I heard them on the radio, yay! Since I’m kind of a environmental junkie and the fact that I have three dogs, tenting my house and being out for a couple of days was not an option. I decided to go with this company because they do the no  tenting orange treatment. A lot of people give really good feedback on it. I pushed out service date for March 8th because I have a charity yard sale at my house the week before and I have a feeling my garage and patio will be filled with people’s donated crap, I mean fine treasures and the crew wouldn’t be able to work around it very well. I’ll report back on my experience after then.

70s Pyrex, Curtains and Ugly Washer Hookups

On Thursday night, I received a Facebook message from a stranger whom I purchased some Pyrex from off of my local Buy/Sell/Swap Facebook page last month. She still had a few pieces leftover from her onslaught of buyers and wanted to know if I wanted to take a look at the remaining pieces and buy them for $2 and $5 if anything grabbed my attention. I’m not a Pyrex hoarder collector by any means but I like the look of it in my dining room so I immediately said “heck yeah!” I jokingly said when I posted a picture online of my last haul from her that I was getting my 1970s housewife on. Today was no different. My apologies to my father whom I spent the better part of the 90/00s mocking 70s decor to. He’s totally getting the last laugh here. I really didn’t have a plan in mind when I bought the stuff but somehow it all worked out pretty well on one of the built ins in my dining room.

For whatever reason this sparked something in me and I decided to drag out my sewing machine and sew a valance that I’ve been wanting to put in my kitchen for two years now. Of course, the one time I decided to drag out the machine in years it decided to have it’s reoccurring problem of eating bobbins again so I used iron on tape instead. The result wasn’t 100% awesome, but it’s better than the curtain rod without fabric I had hanging there for 2+ years.

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I also with some of the leftover fabric decided to make a cover with velcro for the unused water lines in my laundry room… I feel like I owe a bit of an explanation for this. It’s not some random house quirk that I can blame the previous owners on (10 years later I still do that), it’s kind of my fault. When the house was first purchased, the washer and dryer were on opposite walls with a microwave hanging on a suspended shelf on the ceiling over the dryer. I so wish I had taken a picture of this because it was really bizarre. When I decided to upgrade to a front loader set, I decided to stack  the washer and dryer so that I could have more space for storage, a built in ironing board and so the dog could have a dedicated eating space. This was when there was only had one dog, oh how times have changed! Long story short, this left very unsightly washer hookups on the opposite side of the stacked set where the washing machine used to be. Instead of caping the lines and filling in the hole I decided to leave them “just in case.” I figured it would be good for the future and to give future owners many, many, many years from now flexibility. In my mind this is perceived added value but I know it’s not really true. Instead of installing some cool door to hide the lines or even running to Home Depot and buying one of the plastic covers I let it sit for five years, unsuccessfully covering it with a hanging duster and dryer brush. Finally I have a little cover made from a bubble mailer, fabric and a glue gun. I would have used plywood but that required a trip to the store and the lazy factor set in. Classy huh? But it worked and it’s better than what was there before. Or at least I think so.