October 2010

You’ll grow if you know what’s good for you, grass!

I sent the above picture to my dad, and he said “I hate to tell you this, girl” -he always calls me “girl” when he’s trying to drive home the fact that I do not know what I’m doing- “but that’s not what you planted. Probably weeds or maybe some of the old grass.”

My mom was in the background going “Oh Michael, why do you have to be so negative all the time??”

Then a sitcom-esque mini argument ensued, and I sat on the other line smiling and almost missing home.

Anyhow, the grass- or weeds- or something- is trying to poke its little head up out of the ground. It’s showing up in patchy little bursts though, which is making me kind of paranoid. I’ve been diligent about keeping it well watered, so all I can do now is wait patiently. Oh and I bought a hose sprinkler timer for $48 which is turning out to be a wonderful purchase. Seriously, do NOT try to water a big ol lawn without one (if you’re not lucky enough to have a real sprinkler system, like me). You will just end up hating your lawn and your life. Trust me. Oh and also, if you get the same kind as I got (the Orbit complete yard watering kit) do NOT buy it online. Why the H is it $96.99 on their website when it’s $48 at Home Depot? The world may never know.

Yet again, the internet fails to be the best shopping option.

If you’re new, or if you are a regular but already forgot how I came to be a lawn-growing obsessed freak, read this post.

Found here

Wow, guys. I’ve been reading so many other blogs, and they keep posting about their 1-year, or 2 or 3 or 4 or 5 year blogiversaries. I’ve been meaning to check when my first post was, but then I figured that I just missed it so maybe I’d do like an 18-monthiversary or something like that. Imagine my surprise when I realized that not only did I not miss it, but it’s TODAY! (Okay, I’m writing this yesterday, but whatever). Also, technically my first post was the generic Hello World post that WordPress gives you (which contains some comments from confused family members that made me chuckle), but I won’t count that. Yes peeps, on this day a year ago, I wrote my first lengthy post about buying my house. Ahh the memories. I was so gung-ho back then. I would talk anyone’s ear off about buying a new house, the tax credit, you name it. I’m still fired up, but also glad that a lot of the heavy lifting is behind me, and I’m hopefully less annoying now that the house chatter has calmed down a bit.

It’s pretty amazing that less than a year ago I was bathing in this:

And eating things like this for dinner:

Because I was too scared to cook anything on the germy this:

Sometimes I feel pretty inferior next to some of you other bloggers out there. Your houses look magazine-perfect and your photography is flawless! But then I realize, Hey- I’m pretty kickass myself. I ran a marathon among all this madness. I fostered a dog, then adopted one. I’m a single lady who pays for all this crap myself. Sure I get lots of help- but that just means I know how to surround myself with nice people! (Okay, I can’t take all the credit for that one- some of them are my family and it’s in their contract to help me.) I feed myself. I get myself up and dressed (teeth brushed and everything!) and go to a full-time job every day. I make delicious cakes that I find from really cool food blogs. I have awesome friends. I try new stuff. I go camping. I even started reading books again!

Sorry for boasting. You can usually find me self-depreciating on this blog, so I thought it would be a nice change of pace.

If you want to get to know me better you can check out ten things I like and if you really want to get to know me better you can check out 100 things about me. You can also see some of my cheesy aspirations here, and of course tour my house here.

Thank you so much for reading and commenting- blogging and reading all of your awesome blogs really is a favorite part of my day! Here’s to the next year!

See, aren’t they beautiful?


No, of course they’re not installed yet. But could I resist telling you about them? Of course not.

I think the floors are the last big thing about my house that when you walk in you go “Oh, cute- oh nice, I like what you’ve done with the- oh wow, you could really use new floors.” Hopefully after they are installed, all you will see is “cute!” (Since I’m not a hoity toity designer, I don’t aim for words like “esquisitely designed” or “flawlessly executed” or “wow your house should be in Architectural Digest”. I’m thrilled when people say “cute”.)

Now listen, guys. I feel like a real jerk, because a few months ago I made a poll asking for your opinions on what to do with my floors (refinish, replace, cover up, etc). And I appreciated each and every one of your answers- I really did. Why then, am I doing the opposite and putting in all new laminate wood-look flooring?

Well, a few reasons.

  1. I want to get this done, and the thought of pulling everything out and hoping for good weather for 3-5 days while I refinish is just too daunting.
  2. The gaps. I have no doubt that these floors could be made to look really, really nice. But the gaps bug the crap out of me. Every time I sweep or mop, extra dirt gets pushed into the gaps and it’s really annoying to get out. Plus when I’m barefoot I’m always nervous I’m going to step on a gap. I thought about patching them, but most people I talked to said that the patches pop out and they’ve just resigned to having gaps. I don’t like gaps.
  3. The existing wood is no treasure. It’s thin and brittle and was low quality to begin with, so I don’t feel that bad for not rescuing it.
  4. Laminate is a good choice for my neighborhood. New real hardwood would definitely outprice the house for the ‘hood.
  5. A few friends of mine have wood-look laminate, and I really like it. To the untrained eye (ie. the eyes of people who don’t spend their days reading house blogs and visiting Home Depot every waking minute) it looks pretty real. And to the trained eye, it still looks pretty good.
  6. If I had wood floors, I’d be afraid to wear heels on it or let the dog go across it with her big ol claws or move the couch around. I know that laminate needs to be cared for as well, but it seems a little less scary than wood to me (especially since the price is so much lower).
  7. Since they click together and don’t require glue or nails, I don’t feel bad about putting them over the existing wood floors. Someday, a future owner can pull up my laminate and say “What were they thinking covering up these wood floors??” I like to think that someone after me will have that pleasure.

Anyhoo, I had admired Chelsea over at This Fresh Fossil‘s floors before, and one day inquired what brand they were. She kindly responded that they were Harmonics Harvest Oak from Costco. Like the true copycat that I am, I went out and bought it. Plus, it was over 25% off, so it was only $1.25 per square foot. Not bad, my friends- not bad. Including tax and an extra box, it cost me $450.

I’ve been playing around with them a bit, and trying to decide whether to keep the direction the same as the current wood floors.

Option A- same direction

Option B- opposite direction

I’ve pretty much made up my mind to stick with Option A and keep it the same direction, but feel free to weigh in with your opinions anyway. 🙂

Now that the weather is cooling off a bit, it seems like a good time to relax and let the home projects rest. NOT! Just kidding, it really does. In fact, I really can’t wait for the nights this winter of curling up with Netflix or Hulu, or (here’s a novel idea) a good book. (Oh wow, that was an awesome unintentional pun.) I’ve gotten behind on my reading, but honestly it’s mostly because I’m afraid I’ll get sucked in to a good one and lose sleep for about a week- cause that’s how I roll.

Anyway, the direction I meant to go when I started writing this, is that now that it’s cold, I’m putting more focus back on the inside of my house. I have a new secret project that I can’t wait to tell you about (oh the suspense!) but I’m thinking that my bedroom needs a little lift as well. You guys have all met my bedroom.

My friends have bugged me about the purple walls since the moment they laid eyes on them. I truly believe that it could be pulled off, but not by me. Lately I’ve really been loving dark, dramatic bedrooms. Since this room gets a lot of sunlight, I think it could work. And since this is my sleepy place, it might be good to have a nice cozy cave-like shade in here. I obviously don’t know what the hell I’m talking about.

But these people do:

Martha, found here

Nicole, found here

I know I’ve seen a bunch more beautiful spaces with deep tones on the walls, but I’m kinda feeling too lazy to find them right now. What do you guys think” Is it something I could pull off? Would I get sick of it? Would it be depressing?

Today I was going to take a half-day (5 hours) and go finish my yard project, including laying a path and planting the seed and everything. Since I had a 9am meeting, I had to come in this morning and didn’t go home until 10:30. Turns out I needed more than 5 hours to get everything done. I came back to work at 4:45, and now I’m staying after work to write this blog post before I go watch The Biggest Loser at Wendy’s house. I need it!

But yeah, I’m sitting here at my desk, covered in dirt. I tried to wash my arms, but I’m noticing now that I missed quite a few spots, and I didn’t even glance in the mirror at my face, so that’s probably a few shades darker than my normal color as well. Good thing that was a quiet last hour of work.

On to the photos.

This is the condition that we were able to get the yard in after a summer of (okay, somewhat accidentally) killing everything there.

On the right, you’ll see where we dug up some of the pavers and the lovely bumpy texture. Closeup.

Here is the big “tool thing” (rototiller) that I rented to smooth it out and loosen it up.

It was really dusty, so the operator wore a respirator.

It started to look a little more uniform.

Look at all this dead crap we had to remove!

The landscape rake worked circles around the regular rake, in terms of smoothing ability.

But you know what worked even better? Dragging the pallet! Sorry Kate, I didn’t get any pictures. 😦 But that’s partly because I didn’t have to tie myself to it like some damn ox, because Stan and I just each hooked a shovel into the pallet and dragged it around that way. Maybe next time. 🙂

So today, this is what I was looking at at 11am.

I wish I had the damn yard plan to show you guys! Stan and I made a beautiful diagram- we used Illustrator and everything!- and stupid Windows decided to crash right as we saved it.

To make the path, I raked out a general plan of what I thought I wanted, and tweaked it a bit.

Hi Blanche!

Then I burned numerous calories making it with the pavers. Holy S, guys, I’m tired.

I was literally running back to the patio every time I needed another paver. Yeah, I’m hardcore. Oh and by the way- eventually there will be a little fire pit patio area behind the garage, which is why the path is leading back there. The left branch goes to the vegetable garden. Even if people don’t actually walk on the path (Stan thinks we should make them), I think it’s good for even just visually breaking up this long narrow space.

Then I proceeded to seed, fertilize, and rake the dirt. I was successful in covering part of it with peat moss, but then I had to come back to work. Stupid work, always getting in the way of my life! 😀 And since I’m NOT missing Biggest Loser, it looks like I’ll be covering the rest of the yard with peat moss in the dark with a headlamp tonight.

Saturday morning, Stan was getting ready to come to my house for a fun-filled day of good-ol’ manual labor. I casually said to Duncan something dumb and sarcastic like “Aren’t you just dying to do some hardcore yard work today?” and to my surprise and delight, he said yes!

Good thing, too. For the next eight hours, the three of us slaved away back in that 3000 square foot monster known as my back yard. I don’t know what I would have done if Duncan hadn’t said yes (and Stan too, of course).

First, we had to go to Home Depot to rent the rototiller, since the ground is supposed to be soft before you go spreading seed on it. The “tool thing”, as I referred to it later in the day much to Stan’s amusement, was huge. And a big thank you to Jonny for letting me use his big ass paint van (which I am excellent at driving and backing up, which makes me feel like a man- it’s fine).

Then, duh, we rototilled.

Stan took the first pass, and Duncan and I followed behind, picking up dead plant matter and trash. Yes, TRASH. There were bits of clothing (pants!), a stuffed fabric heart, remnants of what appeared to be wifebeaters, flaky plastic, and even a glow stick! Party on. This was a lot of work. I still found that it was pretty hard to get a nice even surface, although the landscape rake was a huge help. Later, I talked to my dad and he said that I should drag a pallet around to flatten it out. Good idea! I’ll be trying that. Can’t wait to tie myself to a pallet and drag it around like I’m some damn ox.

The next day, we spent a lot of time (and money- egads!) on a sprinkler system. If I learned one thing, it is this: pressure and flow rate are not the same thing. I’m no scientist, but I really thought that if my hose had a pressure of 100psi and each sprinkler head required 25psi, then I could put 4 sprinkler heads on the hose. Except each sprinkler head also requires a 3 gallon per minute flow rate, which is the flow rate of the hose itself- about 9psi short. PSI and GPM are not the same thing. Still with me?

The bottom line is, when we turned on the hose for the big reveal, we did not get four joyously spraying sprinkler heads that covered an area of 50 square feet- we got piddle. It looked like four dogs had piddled on the lawn dirt.

So I just had to do the hose-chickachickachicka sprinkler system (oscillating?). It’s cheaper, no doubt, but I’ll have to really stay on top of it to make sure it does an okay job because those kinds kinda suck.

Today on my lunch break I went home and finished figuring out the chickachickachicka sprinklers and also went to the stone yard to buy some sand for making the path (nope, haven’t abandoned that project yet). Tonight, if it’s not pouring rain, I’ll be starting on the path, and tomorrow I will be taking TIME OFF WORK to finish this damn project. Yep, I’ll be taking a trip to the nursery for grass seed, and a trip to the poop factory for some compost, and I will be spreading both in a nice even layer all over the yard. Pictures to follow.

Sorry for the lame post sans pics. I’m so exhausted from this project that I pulled into Smith’s and wondered for a second what I was doing at Home Depot, before remembering that I was, in fact, at Smith’s, and I could, in fact, buy ice cream here.

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