Friday, August 14, 2015

How My Summer Went Off the Rails, and Why It's Still Okay

It will come as no suprise to anyone who is the owner of an old home that things didn't go quite as planned this summer. Only I still get surprised, sometimes. I don't know if it's because I'm stubborn, or stupid. Probably a little bit of both.

Anyhoo, at the beginning of the summer I'd been getting good momentum on bedroom and bathroom renovations, which you can read about here. I was at a good stopping point for letting some hired help come in and do some things. It felt awesome.

But a chronically slow bathroom sink drain finally frustrated all my amateur attempts to keep it unclogged. It turns out there was a good reason, and I had to call in the pros. (If you're eating right now you might want to put down your sandwich).

The glory of old pipes. And by glory I mean alskdnfaeknaefr, that's disgusting. So there was an expenditure that wasn't quite planned.

Then, we went on vacation. That part, at least, was planned.

But then I got a rather large repair bill on my car. Not planned. And THEN my central air conditioner's fan motor burned up, and needed replacement. Another unplanned expense.

None of these were disastrous, but add them all up and it meant that my budget for hired work had been mostly eaten, at least temporarily.

It was a bummer. There may have been language followed by kicking of shit in the garage followed by sulking followed by wine consumption. Maybe. But what can you do otherwise? I was going to have to wait.

So I waited. That meant doing other things, stuff that I could do myself or needed no or minimal financial output.

I waited it out in the garden.

My perennial beds had gotten out of hand a bit in the last two seasons, so I spent a lot of time weeding, edging, and mulching. It's a good thing I like weeding. It's meditative for me; my mind can wander while I tackle the crabgrass.

I also finished the front foundation bed. I'd let the bare dirt and incomplete landscaping get weedy:

But some raking, weeding, mulching, and river rock near the front water tap got it looking much better. It's too late to establish any plants or shrubs here this season, but I'll be ready to go for next spring. 

I waited it out by scraping paint. Paint scraping is always free, except for the part that kills your soul. Ha.

Here's the north garage at the beginning of the season:

And here's some progress from a few weeks ago:

There will be more progress to report soon. 

The weather's been a real jerk this summer too. My first summer with exterior painting, I thought it was just some fluke that every weekday would be sunny, every weekend rainy. But it's apparently some extended cosmic three-year joke that every single weekend would be hosed up by the weather. Climate change, you are really beginning to damage my calm. 

I waited it out by doing more demolition. After the plumbing-car-a/c repair stuff, I decided to use a portion of the remaining money to get something accomplished in a different direction. I rented a dumpster. I'm a bad blogger because while I have a "before" I didn't even think to snap a single "after":

Just know that 10 cubic yards of building waste-- yucky wood paneling, ceiling tiles, old aluminum storm windows, and garage refuse from the previous owners-- went off my property and out of my life. There's another blog post in the future about that but for now, this was the progress we were able to make instead of what was planned. 

How's your summer to-do list going? Any setbacks? Enjoying great progress? 


  1. We are living strangely parallel lives. Unexpected expenses? Check. (Dog and car and sliding door that spontaneously shattered.) Weirdly rainy weekends? Check. Momentum stalled? Check.

    Your garage pics pain me because they give me flashbacks to our own painting projects. We finally finished the exterior painting (3 summers after starting) by painting our shed. We also restained the deck railing. So, so boring.

    But! You are ahead of me! Because at least you've blogged about it, which is more than I've done. :-) And I can't even tell Cane about your dumpster. It is, for some reason, a long-held dream of his to rent one.

    1. You can tell Cane (or not, depending on how you want to steer this) that it is remarkably satisfying to throw things away on a massive scale. To a degree that almost borders on exhilarating.

  2. "...every weekday would be sunny, every weekend rainy."

    It started in 2009 when I bought a motorcycle.

    1. Oh, so this is your doing? Curse you, kind sir. ;)