Tree Trust + a prettier yard

Shortly after we bought our house, one of our neighbors told us about the Tree Trust. They were founded in 1976 in an effort to address the Twin Cities’ deforestation and unemployment problems. They’ve expanded over the past 40 years to offer employment training and environmental education, among other opportunities. Pretty rad, you guys.

North Minneapolis was hit by a devastating tornado in 2011, and the Tree Trust launched a program to re-tree the area that was affected (they have since expanded the program to all of NoMi). The city also planted new trees along the boulevards. Our block was in the tornado’s path, so aside from our boulevard trees, our yard is naked. It’s pretty nuts, actually. The blocks directly to the south and east still have plenty of mature trees, including a couple lining the alley in one of our neighbor’s yards.

Side note: MPR posted a story last year showing the still-visible “tornado scar.”

Several of our neighbors have trees from the Tree Trust now, and soon we will too! They do a free tree distribution program in the fall for NoMi residents (as well as opportunities for Minneapolis and St. Louis Park in the spring where you can purchase a tree).  Luckily we heard about it in time to register, and last night we attended a workshop to learn about the program, and about tree maintenance. Obviously the trees will be immature, so we need to be sure to take extra special care of ours over the next few seasons. All we have to do until then is stick a flag in our yard where we want our tree, and the Tree Trust crew will call 811 on our behalf, then they’ll come out and plant the sucker.

Tree recipients were offered a choice from four tree options, and we decided on a Redmond Linden. It’s going in our front yard, which faces west so the tree will get plenty of sun and eventually shade our house. Plus it’s good for pollinators! When the tree is a bit bigger the garden out front will have to be re-tooled and filled with shade loving plants, but it’s basically a weed bed right now anyway which is another topic for later.

I’m so excited for our new baby tree!

gettin’ our paint on

Yas, more stuff is getting done and I’m so happy.

Darren and I didn’t make it up to the house until like 3:30 yesterday afternoon. Not ideal, but we still had time to get some stuff accomplished. While Darren mowed the lawn, I hung new bathroom hardware (a TP holder and a towel ring). Then I finished painting the bedroom. Finally, since he had run out of primer earlier this week, Darren and I finished the second coat of primer on the living/dining room ceiling.

Today we did some primer touch-ups because Darren decided that would be a thing. He still wants to do another coat, so he and Dan can do that tomorrow if they want. We also painted a first coat on half of the office. We probably could’ve done the whole thing, but sometimes ya need a break.

I finally took some pictures and remembered to grab the color names. Ready for a couple before and afters?

Here’s the half bath back when it was orange:

And here it is in Behr’s “Pencil Sketch.” I’m on the hunt for a new mirror.


The master bedroom was previously yellowy tan:

house 11

Now it is Behr “Valley of Glaciers” (which is way lighter on their website for some reason).


The office was blue-ish, or so it seemed:

house 08

But the old color looks a lot more grey next to Behr “Big Surf.”

office-paint-01 office-paint-02

Whew! We’re getting closer. The living room is going to be painted in “Tower Bridge,” which also looks way different online than it does in person (at least on some computers, whatever), with more green tones but not quite teal. With any luck, Darren and Dan will finish the ceiling so we can get started on the walls in that giant space. The office I could knock out myself if I need to (I did the bedroom solo and clearly killed it). Every other room needs touching up, but that’s all little stuff that we can do once we’re actually living there. Soooooon.

gettin’ a move on

Our mission has changed from “we have plenty of time to get stuff ready for move-in” to “let’s get the goddamn paint on the walls and we’ll deal with everything else later.” Basically. We’ll see how well that goes.

Saturday I finished painting the half-bath, and got one coat up in the bedroom (excluding the closet. Gotta do that still). That was rough on my neck, but hooray for accomplishment! Yesterday, Darren used his dad’s paint sprayer to prime the living room ceiling. It already looks so much better. Getting that sucker painted a nice solid white will make a huge difference I think. I’m probably most excited for the color that we’re going with for the living/dining room. Of course I left the color cards at the house so I can’t tell you the exact name of the color we’re using, but it’s a Behr paint in the teal family. Ha. I’ll do a whole post about our colors later. With pictures! That’ll be fun.

Also, our garage door broke again. Or, the temporary fix that Darren and Lee used was even more temporary that we anticipated, I guess? We had a guy out yesterday to take a look. Darren is taking charge on that, too… It’ll get fixed, that’s all I care about. At least it closes in the meantime, and the little bit of stuff in there isn’t exposed to the world.

Anyway, we’re hoping to get our stuff all moved over by the end of the month, but we’re out of town for part of this weekend which is just awful timing. Meanwhile, at the same time Darren ad I are moving homes, my office is also moving to a slightly new location. At least the office move is within the same building, and we’re hiring professionals to do the bulk of the work. Still have to pack though. Packing is the worst.


you gotta put in work, work, work, work

Saturday we (mostly Darren) made several more house-related purchases, including a good sized charcoal grill and miscellaneous yard maintenance tools. I picked up the pendant conversion kits I had ordered for the kitchen. While at Home Depot, we grabbed some color cards. We decided on colors for most of the rooms we want to paint, and once we decide on a color for the living/dining room, we’ll be good to go.

When we got back to the house I installed the pendants and patched some old nail holes in the walls while Darren grilled dinner. Later I started priming the orange half-bath, and discovered that all of the painting skills I had learned in college have vanished. Between the two of us Darren and I got most of the room primed, but fortunately Darren’s friend Dan is a skilled painter and has offered his assistance, which we will be taking full advantage of.

I also hung this banner next to our front door. I bought it at the fair, from a delightful shop called i like you.

mn banner

front door is just to the left of the banner

On Sunday a hinge on our garage door broke, because of course it did. The automatic opener does not like this, but we can still close it manually. Darren was Not Pleased. But we went to Ikea as planned anyway. We picked up a lamp, a bench for the entryway, and shades for the kitchen pendants. Exciting.

Yesterday, Darren brought Dan over. Darren’s dad also headed over after work to help repair the garage door, and I went up after work. We ended up being there until nearly 10pm. In that time, Dan finished priming the bathroom (two coats!), the shades were attached to the kitchen pendants, the Ikea lamp was assembled, Darren finished removing the old caulking from the door and window trim in the living room, Darren and Lee fixed the garage door (turns out the automatic opener had been poorly installed and basically broke itself), I built the bench for the entry, filled some more holes, touched up the paint over the previously filled holes, found the grey paint for the upstairs bathroom and used it for the first coat inside said bathroom’s linen/storage cabinet. My painting skills still exist on a small scale, at least. I think that’s everything? Of course I failed to take pictures of any of it, save for this one I posted on Snapchat (username: trinalobax).

entry prog

Darren has Saturday off, so we’ll probably put some more time in. Lee bought him a nail gun (he also picked up one for himself. They were on sale, haha), so that should help a few projects along. That said, it seems like most of our spare time has been spent working on the house. I don’t mind, but at the same time I’m thinking we should take a few hours and just hang out. We still have a full two months before we need to be out of our apartment, so we can certainly spare a night off.

another State Fair in the books

We survived another great year at the fair and, as always, ate more than is at all reasonable.  Most items are shared, but not all of them. We tried a few new foods this year, most of which were worth trying but are all ultimately not being added to the permanent list.

2016’s list of eats:

  • mini cinnamon rolls & coffee
  • mini donuts
  • footlong
  • cheese & meat samples
  • 3 types of jerky from The Jerky Shoppe
  • lobster roll
  • deep fried Snickers bar
  • porketta wings
  • Italian sausage
  • funnel cloud beer
  • 2 beer flights
  • candied bacon donut sliders
  • wine slushie
  • “Minnesota corndog”
  • frappe
  • corn fritters
  • fried green tomatoes
  • ice cream from the dairy building
  • giant turkey sandwich
  • all-you-can-drink milk
  • more beer!
  • cream puffs
  • 1919 root beer
  • double-decker s’more
  • deep fried nachos
  • cotton candy
  • another footlong
  • frozen banana
  • Kate & Mat got custard without us
  • Jim got a steak sandwich without us

gotta start somewhere

This weekend we moved some things over to the house. Nothing too exciting, just stuff out of our storage closet, a box of books, and a few kitchen items we don’t have any immediate need for. Friday we brought his parents over. They gave us a lawn mower they happened to have, so that’s awesome. We also met a neighbor – an old German lady who lives on the other side of the alley.

Saturday night while Darren was at Metallica, I went over and lined the drawers in the kitchen and unpacked some dishes. This took a lot longer than you might think.



Today Darren mowed the lawn and I replaced the shower head. Ha.



We met another neighbor too! Judy, who lives across the street with her husband Chuck.

Tomorrow while I’m at work, Darren plans on picking up another load of supplies from his parents (painting stuff, a ladder, etc) and then bringing his friend Dan over to help caulk the gaps in the baseboards and trim (which are not original to the house). Old house, uneven walls, blah blah.

Here’s the rest of the list, as she currently stands. Some of this can and will wait until after we’ve moved in.

  • fill misc. holes in walls
  • caulk baseboards and trim
  • cover crawl space access so the cats can’t get in
  • clean out the random stuff that’s still in the basement
  • install ceiling fans in dining space and kitchen
  • murder all the weeds & poison ivy in the backyard gardens
  • also murder weeds growing through the patio and driveway
  • add screens to front porch windows
  • repair screen on back door
  • repair garage door
  • replace back steps
  • install gutter or gutter alternative in back
  • replace missing trim in stairwell


  • Living/dining room walls AND ceiling
  • Half bath
  • Office
  • Master bedroom
  • Closets
  • Back Porch
  • all the baseboards and trim need a fresh coat
  • touch up… pretty much everywhere else

home is where your rump rests

We bought a house today!

What a pain in the ass, oh mah gah. Weeks of paperwork and waiting, and more paperwork and more waiting. Plus a tiny hiccup at closing today. But we survived and it’s ours. We’re still in our apartment lease until the end of October, so we can take our sweet time moving in – although we’ll be out well before our lease is up, we are SO OVER IT. We have a little bit of painting we want to do, and we need to get the basement ready for the cats (it’s where their litter boxes will be, so we need to cover any spaces they might want to try to crawl into). Really there are tons of nitpicky little things to deal with, but most of them can be spread out over the coming months.

Anyway, it’s a 3 bedroom, 1.5 bathroom, 109-year-old Dutch Colonial in North Minneapolis. We looked at a lot of houses in St Paul because StP4lyfe, but for various reasons this is where we landed. My commute will be shorter, and Darren’s shouldn’t change too much? It’s about the same distance, but time will tell with regards to traffic.

We spent a good chunk of time chatting with the sellers today and it sounds like the neighbors are awesome, which was great to hear. And the next door neighbor has a very nice dog named Norman.

Am I going to start blogging about house stuff? Maybe! I do like reading house blogs, but whether or not I like writing about that stuff remains to be seen.

All right. You want to see pictures? Here are the listing photos in all their flaw-hiding glory. Hooray! Gory details can wait. For now, we are just excited.

house 01

house 02

porch! the window & door trim are not red in real life.



dining/living area

dining/living area

first floor half-bath off the kitchen

first floor half-bath off the kitchen

back porch/mudroom

back porch/mudroom

house 07

this will be the office

this will be the office

guest room/yoga space

guest room/yoga space

master bedroom

master bedroom

our bedroom features a walk-in closet

walk-in closet

house 12

view from the garage

view from the garage