Monthly Archives: July 2009

TP, or not TP

Transcript of a phone conversation between Joe and I:

Him: “How’s it going?”
Me: “Okay. Oh, you know what I had this morning?”
Him: “What?”
Me: “Not toilet paper!”
Him: [hysterical laughing]

If I were a slightly more evil person, I would have taken every scrap of paper product out of the house with me this morning. I certainly considered it.

But I’m reasonable. Instead, I informed him, once his hysteria died down, that I am finally ordering a toilet paper roll holder.

My turn to laugh.



summer days, drifting away

I haven’t posted much lately because there’s nothing to post. The day I never thought would come is approaching: Phase I is winding down.

Except for the requisite weeding, the yard is pretty much done for this year. Much to the relief of our garbage men, I’m sure.

I’m still longing for my closet, but because we have zero storage space (even the shed is full now), we need to get all the sanding and staining done at one shot, and that means a few days of sunny weather and no plans.

I can’t convince Joe to buy anything right now, and don’t want to spend my energy trying. It appears I’m going to need it later; the other day he offhandedly remarked that he couldn’t see us buying any new furniture until Phase II.

The rest is just more unpacking and organizing minutia. So I guess I could relax and enjoy the rest of the summer.

But I won’t, not quite.

Because every time I try vacuum in the living room and remember we have only one working outlet there, or haul buckets out front to water the plants because we don’t have a hose bib there, or see kitty litter all over the kitchen floor because we can’t keep the box in the garage until we punch a door in the adjacent living room wall, I think: I can’t wait for Phase II.

And then I shudder.


lavendar & larkspur

Roses of Sharon3

I know nothing about gardening. Joe knows even less (the other night he complained that our Roses of Sharon bushes, above, were dying; I had to inform him that the blooms curl up at night).

But this lovely lady knows more than enough for us both, writes fantastically, and finally started her own blog. Check it out: Lavendar & Larkspur.


I love my freaking neighbors

I was pulling the recycling can in this morning when my neighbor, Helen, called me over. My first thought was, Oh, no, here it comes.

She has been a wonderful sport so far about all the sanding, hammering, and paint fumes, but since we planted grass seed, we’ve had the sprinkler going nonstop on the side of the house adjacent to hers,and I figured she was sick of us soaking her fence.

So I was totally unprepared when she handed me this:

welcome cake

It’s a homemade (!) ice-cream cake. A welcome-to-the-neighborhood cake. She said that she’s been meaning to give it to us for a while now, but of course we didn’t move in for over a year after we officially became neighbors.

I love it. This is totally something my own grandmother would have done, right down to the card with angels all over it. And old ladies can bake–the cake, which is vanilla and almond and some kind of orangey marmalade, is amazing.

Helen, your lawn will never need mowing and your driveway will never need shoveling. Not as long as we’re next door. Thanks, neighbor!


trash talk


Proof that I was not exaggerating about our yard waste: We actually got a citation from our trash collectors. I didn’t know that was even possible.

Now, I can understand about the branches. We had already filled all five cans so Joe just laid them on top, not cut up. We’ve done that before with no problem, but this time he put out the equivalent of an entire yew. So fine, Mr. Trashman.

What I can’t believe is the assertion that one of our trash cans weighs 200 pounds. I highly doubt it weighs that much, and if they picked it up to get it on a scale, why not just go the distance and empty it into the truck? For that matter, it couldn’t be much harder to lift the pile of branches into the truck than it was to pick them up and lay them back on our grass. And then write this citation.

But I guess if they didn’t, we’d never learn our lesson and go right on wantonly flaunting the rules of curbside collection.


it’s a jungle out here

No fun pictures or stories this weekend. All I can say is I can’t freakin’ believe how much yard work it’s possible to have. Seriously, we only have three-quarters of an acre and I fill four34-gallon trash cans with yard waste every single week. Our garbage men have got to think we import the stuff.

And unlike the mulch, what we accomplished is barely visible to the naked eye. We planted grass seed. (Joe and I have a $100 bet on whether it will grow, and I have a side bet that he welches like grape juice and doesn’t pay up when I win). And we trimmed trees. Mostly, it looks the same.

Spending the entirety of a gorgeous weekend that way makes me think more seriously of my brother’s plan when we were growing up and he, the oldest, was charged with mowing the grass. He wanted to pave the entire yard.

But I guess we’ll hold off on that this year.


mulch ado, part 2

The weather held out, so we decided to tackle the back yard. We ordered too much mulch, and Joe was set on using it to cover the bed of ivy we spent most of this spring ripping out. Thanks to the rain, it all grew back—and then some. Luckily, common sense prevailed and Joe rented a rototiller. I have only two words for this machine: Worth it. Joe also had two words: Whoo hoo.

Joe rototills

But for all its virtues, the rototiller didn’t pick up the weeds and roots—Joe says there is a model that does, but it wouldn’t fit in his truck—so I did the unthinkable. I ordered Izabelle to help us. By this point, my back was killing me, and I figured her 10-year-old spine could handle some stooping and scooping.

In retrospect, I’m not sure it was worth the complaining–she told me she was “calling in sick” about every 5 minutes. But after a full day of work, our backyard looks significantly better:

rear bed mulched1

Maybe now our lavender bushes will catch up to the mammoth azaela.

back side mulched1

The former ivy and weed breeding ground. Oh, and we finally planted our magnolia there at the end. Not that we have a shortage of trees or anything.

side path between mulch beds

We used most of the topsoil to even out the grade of this side of the house. Now we need to plant grass seed and we’ll have a nice path to the front between the two mulch beds.A very sweaty job, but so satisfying to see results.