p.m. — May 10, 2004
In the meantime, the excitement in our lives is the new stove we're hoping to pick up tonight. Well, new to us, anyway. We've recently discovered a site called Freecycle where people post things they're getting rid of or things they need, and other people in that county or area will try to match up with them. It's like a huge swap meet, only you don't actually have to swap, and it's all FREE.
Free is good.
So we posted that we needed some new appliances (specifically a washer/dryer, stove, and fridge) and someone sent the message to their neighbor, knowing they were getting rid of a stove...15 minutes from our house. So I will let you know how it goes after we pick it up. We're hoping to not have to shell out money for new new kitchen appliances until we redo our kitchen some years down the road, and hopefully this "new-to-us" stove will get us there.
In other news, I am happy to announce that after almost two months *drum roll please* our yard is finally branch-free. Saturday, it took three trips to the recycling center, a McDonald's breakfast, and a nap in the backyard to finish. And let me tell you, that nap in the backyard really made all the yard work we've been doing worth it.
Here are some photos from our trip to Williamsburg, April 30th to May 2nd.
One of the first things we saw after FINALLY finding a shop with batteries for the camera was this excellent yet completely *serious* marching band coming down the street, in authentic garb, playing the drums and fifes. I wonder why they're not allowed to smile...
There were some excellent wildflower gardens, though I doubt we'll have the space for wildflowers running wild.
These gorgeous, flowered vines along the fence were all growing out of the same base (center).
This nifty shot was on the other side of the walk from the garden panoramic, and made us think that this is how early row houses must have looked, with all the wonderful detail.
These represent some different elements of our future front entrance. The picture on the left has the flat portico, the transom over the door, and the sidelights, as well as columns (though these are MUCH more elaborate than we would like). The picture on the right has the bench seats on either side of the door, just how I like it.
There weren't many 2-story Colonials in Williamsburg, much to my disappointment, but rather many one-story capes with gabled dormers, such as in the photos below:
They were all beautiful houses with beautiful trim and detail (and
I love dormers), but the only real 2-story Colonials anything like what
we want our house to resemble were those below:
Then of course we couldn't go to Williamsburg without your classic "in-the-stocks" photos:
And finally a group photo to complete the album:
You can take the girl out of New York, but... =P
Here are the piles we started with the day we felled the 3.5 trees. The pine branches were the first to go...
...followed by the tree trunks (to Opa's house). The sticks and branches that had scattered about and been pulled from the trunk were stacked throughout the yard...
...then eventually moved here...
...where the pine branches used to live. That left us with an otherwise clear back yard...
...minus the two tree stumps (you can see the other stump two photos up, left of the chipper). Then wonderful Opa and Stanley came with the stump grinder and rid us of those stumps...
...leaving us with a few great piles of mulch to use throughout the yard. Ryan is now earnestly trying to grow grass where the stumps once were. And after this past weekend, our yard is finally brush-free!
Turns out, some rabbits were living in our brush pile that whole while and making daily snacks of my tulips. You can see the tulips coming up in front of the daffodils in the photos below...
...and here, two lone tulips have survived. The daffodils have all died off by now, and the rabbits did not seem too interested in them. (I don't know why one tulip is really tall and the other is not so tall, since they were all from the same bag of Home Depot bulbs.)
And just when I was seething at the rabbits, I see this little guy scamper by...
This scared little thing is maybe 6 inches long, if that. Now I felt bad for being irritated, because I'm a sucker and have a really really hard being mad at something so cute. Darn it! Believe me, I tried. But my irritation felt a little more justified a few days later when I saw a full-grown rabbit run off from the flower bed, and I convinced myself the little guy wasn't causing all the trouble.
The junk pile is ever-changing...
And Ryan is still digging at the stump. Still. This huge project needs some progression photos, as well. Here's how it looked after we moved in:
Here's the work done by hand:
Then after the grinder got at it:
And finally how it looks now:
That hole is really deep. Ryan was standing in it up to the waist this weekend. He's trying to get that last piece of root out of the way of the cracked foundation before the mason comes to repair the crack. I'd say we're finally ready to fix it.
Here's how the pansies under one of our pine trees are looking:
And in case you're wondering why the grass on the outside of the flower bed looks so strange, that's because we don't have grass in our front yard; we have WEEEEDS...
Here's hoping the weed killer we put down this weekend will help.
A giant shout-out to freecycle.org for making this free pickup possible. I'm telling everyone I know about this stove experience and encouraging everyone to join a local Freecycle group, because there's a good chance someone nearby is getting rid of something useful FOR FREE and would love it taken off their hands. (We also picked up a brand new Simpsons Pictionary game on the way home from church Sunday just for fun, from a Freecycle college student.)
In other news, Ryan has FINALLY finished removing the whole stump from the side of the house. *Phew* All it took was a few more hours of digging and one swift tug from the Jeep and that sucker popped right out. So now it looks like we have a castle mote around two sides of our foundation from all the digging, but we're just happy to be done with it and ready for the mason to come fix the crack, at last.
We were surprised with how similar the new stove (which we acquired site-unseen, at right) looked to the old stove. The only difference we miss is the old stove had a digital clock, and now we keep glancing at the new stove, wondering why we can't tell what time it is. Old habits die hard.
The new stove came with a huge plug, but the old stove was hardwired, so Ryan had to splice some wires to get the new stove hooked up.
We're fortunate he's so handy and can do all this electrical stuff himself. Simple to him, "Um, where do I begin?" to me.
Soon, the new stove was snug as a bug in its new home...
Notice there are two different countertops in our kitchen? And no hood or vent over the stove? Just a few of the joys of owning an old home...
With the weather getting much warmer lately, we decided it was time to dig around the basement for the window screens left by the PO (previous owner). Kitty was very happy we found them.
The breeze in our bedroom from the open window and the new ceiling fan was just enough to keep us cool at night. We're beginning to miss the condo and it's central air, and we look forward to the day we have it installed here. The only time I lived without c/a was in college, where we incidentally had the exact same window screens as we have in our house now. I'm going backwards...
I came home from my in-laws Saturday afternoon, walked into our bedroom, and discovered a new view of our neighbors yard. NOT through the window. It's a very strange experience coming home to an unexpected hole through your house. We've had a hole in our bedroom wall for quite some time now, but not with a view to the outside — just to the insulation.
This was a different feeling altogether. It made the whole "home renovation" process seem very real for the first time. It was almost a feeling of excitement (I know it was for Ryan, who looks for any excuse to use power tools).
The PO at one point decided to cut a whole in the wall and stick a wall air conditioner into it. When we tried it out earlier this month, it stunk like a clogged vacuum bag and didn't really seem to produce any cold air. Fortunately, it didn't blow the lights out (which happens frequently).
Sweet Ryan realized I was having trouble sleeping in the crazy, humid, super-hot weather we've been having lately and decided to replace the wall unit with the window unit we had sitting in the basement from his parents. Then I guess he figured as long as there was already a hole in the wall, why take up perfectly good window space?
So after Ryan and Jay built a proper frame for the a/c unit to sit on (the PO had it sitting on sheetrock) and framing in the extra space at the side, we had a wonderful new-to-us a/c unit in our bedroom ready to provide us with a good night's sleep. Add a few Home Depot shingles to the outside and some red paint, and our temporary fix is good as new.
I remember it vividly: walking into my college apartment, seeing Aileen's sad, guilty face, and knowing something terrible had happened. Slowly she approached me, and said "Leah, Ducky took a dive."
Well, I'm flashing back to college again (first the window screens, now this...). Only this time around, it was Ryan who sent Ducky on its dive. I was sitting on the living room couch and Ryan was in the bathroom, scraping away at the moldy window frame, when I heard the crash.
On a trip to Bed Bath and Beyond later that day — where we had originally registered for and received the ducks — I was disappointed to hear that they had been discontinued and replaced with far inferior ducks who are much more yellow and wear rainhats.
C'mon, rainhats? The bathroom's INSIDE. The toothbrush holder doesn't
go in the SHOWER...
So now my poor soap holder is all alone for good, and our 2 toothbrushes are precariously resting across from each other in a Winnie the Pooh Dixie cup. I thought I would pay homage to the dearly departed by posting one last photo of Ducky in her old home:
Isn't it cute how the M&Ms mug thinks it's a duck?
The house where we all had our last meal (minus Eric and Amanda) in the formal dining room Saturday afternoon.
I remember testing Ryan's patience the first time we hung out in his room, before we were dating. Eric, Ryan, and I were sprawled out on the floor with crayons and our paper restaurant placemats, seeing who could best stay in the lines. I began flicking crayons around the room, seeing how much mess I could make before neat-freak Ryan had had too much. Instead, he just looked at me and raised an eyebrow, as if saying "bring it on." The battle of the wills had begun.
Eric just watched and grinned. He could see where we were headed, even if I could not.
Do you see from the photo above why Ryan, after having grown up in a cape, was insistent that we NOT buy a cape? The charm of a cape is evidently lost on people who've hit their heads on low ceilings one too many times. His room was huge when he first lived there in elementary school, but who could have guessed he'd become the tallest person in the house?
I'm sorry that this "panoramic" photo of the three overflowing cars did not come out clearer. After the movers had come and gone Tuesday, it was discovered that many belongings were left behind, and there were no empty boxes to be found. So two Subarus, one Jeep, and one Hyundai later, and the house was just about emptied. If only I could say the same for our basement...
I'm really going to miss that big comfy house. I can hardly imagine how much those who have spent the last 20 years growing up there will miss it. But it's on to a brand spankin' new house at the beach and a lot less yardwork for the currently-in-transition parents. So adieu!