Monthly Archives: September 2009

turf’s up


I am obsessed with my lawn. I’ve watched it gradually deteriorate since we bought the place. This house never had that much going for it, but the yard was so nice we figured they must have used a lawn service.

Now, despite two seasons of slavishly attending to its every need—weed killer, fertilizer, lime, new topsoil—it looks like crap. We’ve got weeds, brown spots, sparse patches, invading zoysia, you name it.

Joe gave up after the grass seed we planted and dutifully watered—and which appeared to be thriving—up and died. But I have only just begun to fight.

Fall is prime season for grass. I have a soil sample test kit, but it’s already late in the season, so I’m looking into aerating, dethatching, and top-dressing this weekend regardless of the results. Oh yes, I’ve done my research.

My biggest obstacle is Joe, who refuses to have anything further to do with our traitorous blades, and this:


The 288-pound core aerator I need to rent. But somehow, I’ll find a way.



holding pattern

September—which I can barely believe is more than halfway over—has been a whirlwind of social engagements, and I’ve noticed a pattern. Somewhere in the conversation, I will be asked, “How’s the house?”

I am not asked about Joe or Izabelle nearly as often. Hell, Obama isn’t asked about health care nearly as often. It’s another reminder of how long this renovation has been dragging on.

And I’d enjoy the progress reports if I had anything to tell. But unlike a year ago, when we were putting up walls and installing tubs, our progress is in the details.

Although, on Friday I awoke after coming in late the night before to discover I have closet shelves. It was a beautiful sight. Even better? Joe says we have enough wood to add three more shelves for shoes alone. I am almost giddy.

Now I am on a mission for closet rods, clothes hangers, and shelf paper. But that’s another post.


hope floats

Because we are certifiably insane, we went to the Atlantic City In-Water Boat show this weekend. I mean, our house is only half in shambles, and only a fraction paid off, so why not consider another major purchase?

But Joe wants a boat the way I want a dog, and now that his parents and grandmother both have shore houses on the water, there’s going to be no stopping him.

So we spent around four hours climbing in and out of vessels ranging from those the coast of a luxury car to multimillion dollar yachts with roughly the same square footage as our house, and probably more storage space.

We didn’t end up buying anything, which is just as well. The most affordable fishing boats cost what I assume our kitchen remodel will. And one, though its bathroom nook was little more than a port-a-pot and a radio, did have a toilet paper holder.

I made sure to point that out to Joe.


what is wrong with this picture?

good peony

If anyone has a clue, please tell me. This is my last peony and it’s going the way the other one went, which is to say to that great compost heap in the sky.

Is it a fungus? A plant disease? Or do they all just get like this in the fall (please, please, please). Peonies are my favorite flower, and Joe already destroyed the one beautiful, thriving bush we had when he dug up the ivy in the back bed.

Is there a plant doctor in the house?

PS, the lavender bushes aren’t doing so well either–what gives?


a clean car-hole

clean garage

So this is the cleanest our garage has ever been. Joe was seized by a fit of inspiration this weekend, in the form of his dad threatening to stop coming over until he could walk in there.

I’ll leap at any chance I get to throw crap away, but it didn’t make me as happy as it usually does. Mostly because it just cleared the way for me to see the real mess. The walls are covered in space age foil insulation, not drywall, the ceiling is crooked, and the electric door is on its last leg.

When we came to see the house before settlement, we actually got stuck inside the garage with our realtor because of that lousy door. We all stood in the dark panicking until Joe found an emergency button in the back and freed us.

I guess it’s lasted this long, but I know it’s just a matter of time.


entropy always wins

Things have not been going well.

My toilet paper holder is still in the box.

I haven’t been able to find any storage bins or baskets I like and can afford.

I finished all the closet wood, but this is what it currently looks like:

closet in progress

Our new grass seed inexplicably withered and died.

It’s September.