making plans

This morning, Kelsey posted a list of goals for the upcoming season(s) and you know what, it’s a good idea. Winter for me is generally a time for hibernation/TV watching, but there are a few things I’d like to accomplish:

  • square off the kitchen ceiling hole and fit a patch for it (leak has still not been repaired, patch will be removable)
  • paint the upstairs bathroom
  • hang a plant or two in the living room
  • work on Madeline’s obedience training (puppy classes start on the 30th!)
  • finally post about the guest room, which has been painted and furnished for months

I didn’t actually expect most of these things to be house related, but of course they are. Cold weather is for indoor activities, and home stuff is what I default to if I’m not on the couch. Maybe having this list in the world will help keep me accountable.

Happy Sweater Season!

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the fair so nice, we hit it up twice

Good ol’ Jim mailed me two of the tickets he had pre-purchased and left at home last week, so Darren and I made a quick morning jaunt back to the fair this morning. We stopped in the Grandstand as soon as it opened and I bought a thing of JD’s Salsa, you guys. You know what I’m talking about. Salsa samples. Now available at my house.

Here’ what we nommed today:

  • Sweet corn blueberry eclair (this was sold out when we tried to get it last week, and I’m glad we went back because it was am-AH-zing)
  • maple cream nitro cold press for me (I tried to go back for more, but liiiine), raspberry frappe for D
  • corn on the cob
  • jalepeno cheese curds x2
  • pickle on a stick
  • cheese on a stick (it’s wrapped in cornbread and deep fried. uh, yum)
  • german root beer float
  • deep fried peanut butter cups
  • funnel cake (Darren wanted this, then had one bite and decided he wasn’t into it. That shit was six bucks so I brought it home)

Also, we found a little shop called Rock Garden that sells cute garden decor, with tons of fairy garden stuff. We’re both nerdily into the idea of making a tiered fairy garden (this is why we’re married) to put in one of our actual gardens, and Darren bought a cool little door to get it started.

Not bad for a Sunday morning.

State Fair Eatin’ List 2017

Yesterday was Fair Day, one of the best days of the year. They added a giant ferris wheel this year, and you know we went up in that sucker. Mostly, as always, we ate. We tried a lot of the new foods this year, too…

  • cinnamon rolls with milk/coffee
  • mini donuts
  • foot long hot dog
  • tons of samples in the Grandstand
  • jerky
  • mobster caviar
  • big fat bacon
  • deep fried avocado
  • pizzarito
  • fried green tomatoes
  • beergarita
  • tipsy pies x3
  • beer flight
  • smoked gouda nachos
  • mini sconuts
  • honey puffs
  • bacon-up pup
  • in the Dairy Building: chocolate cone, strawberry rhubarb sundae, pie in the sky sundae, chocolate malt
  • cotton candy
  • memphis totchos
  • giant soft pretzel
  • churros
  • bowl o’ dough
  • lobster roll
  • crab cakes
  • bacon fluffernutter
  • chocolate popover with peanut butter
  • cream puffs
  • Swt
  • Sweet Martha’s cookies
  • giant turkey sandwich
  • all you can drink milk
  • 1919 root beer

quick garden update and a little devil

When I last left off, two months ago, I had what I thought was a pretty solid plan for our gardens. For the most part that’s still the case, with two big changes: one, I have eliminated garden 3. Last year Enli completely flattened it, and she and the new puppy did so again already this year.

So yeah, we got a puppy. Darren had been wanting one for at least a year, and I finally caved. Her name is Madeline, she’s almost six months old, and I’m ready for her to get older, calmer, and house-trained, because puppy shenanigans and this major change in our routine is destroying me. No more puppies in future. She’s lucky she’s cute.

why yes, she does look very much like her big sister.

Anyway! Garden three is gone, I’m trying to replace it with grass. Once that grows in, at some point we’re going to purchase a small storage shed. Then we can quit keeping outdoor stuff on the back porch, and we can move the lawn mower so Darren doesn’t have to haul it up and down the steps to the garage all the time.

Meanwhile, big change number two is that garden 6 has been thoroughly constructed, instead of waiting until next year. It’s been filled with more plants from Paula (plus my rose bush, which has grown quite a bit!). Over all, Operation Whimsical Yard is progressing quite well.

the gardens are happening

Every decent-weather weekend for the past couple months, I’ve been getting our flower beds back in shape. It has been a slow, but very satisfying process. Here’s a zero-skills map of our gardens:

hahaha, thanks Google.

Beds one and two are on either side of our front stoop. Three is the one beneath the kitchen window that I dug out. Four is on the east side if the yard, and five is down the steps next to our tiny driveway. Six is a future foundation bed that I’m going to slowly start building.

After the snow melted, beds one and two were in reasonable shape. I pulled out all the dead weed stalks and trimmed off the dried hydrangeas. There were bald spots on either side of the steps, so I planted lilies in each of them (courtesy of my coworker Paula).

Last fall I totally dug out bed three. On a random nice day in March, I raked it and tossed a bunch of pollinator seeds down. Those are growing in nicely, along with some ferns that survived my fall massacre. I moved the ferns to the back of the bed. On Sunday I added some ground-cover sedum, also from Paula; we’ll see if that takes root.

On the same nice March day, I raked out bed four and then proceeded to ignore it until this weekend. It was completely full of grass among the plants. Instead of digging out all the grass, I cut up a bunch of yard waste bags and laid them out, covering the grass while strategically arranging the paper around the plants. Big thanks to the internet for this tip! It suggested several layers of newspaper, but why track down that much newspaper when the bags are so cheap and biodegradable (and similar in thickness to 5 layers of newspaper)? Once the whole garden was papered, I watered it and then put down mulch. It looks so much better!

Bed five got raked out in April, and I pulled out the weeds a couple weeks ago. It got mulched this weekend, too, and I put up a little border fence (although I don’t love it and will probably replace it with something sturdier) to hopefully help keep trash out. Alleys are gross. Alleys in North Mpls are somehow extra gross.

I picked up a baby Knock Out rose bush on Sunday and planted it in what will be the eastern side of bed six. I also planted two irises along the wall there. I’m going to do the same trick with paper bags to get rid of the grass, which means those three plants are probably all that will go down this year.

At some point in the future, we’re going to build a couple small raised beds for veggies. Those beds will go near the fence-line on the north side of the yard.

Slowly but surely achieving #yardgoals, you guys.

 

05/09/1992

Today is 25 years since my dad died, and it is super weird. Like, I want to talk about it but I also totally don’t want to talk about it. So many feeeeeelings, which I suppose isn’t that surprising. It seems like only within the last year or so it’s gone from “here’s this unfortunate fact about my life” to “holy wow, this is actually a super horrible and traumatic thing.” So that’s been interesting.

Anyway, here’s Wonderwalll Cloud Cult.

leak-no-more

A few months ago I made a passing comment about smashing a hole in our kitchen ceiling. We got home from Christmas dinner and there was water dripping from the ceiling. We promptly pulled down a large chunk of drywall in an attempt to figure out where it was coming from, having forgotten in that moment that all the plumbing from upstairs runs straight down into the basement and isn’t in the ceiling at all.

We did discover a vapor barrier, though, which was trapping a lot of the water (the eastern quarter of our kitchen doesn’t have any rooms above it, so the ceiling was insulated and the vapor barrier was installed to, I dunno, keep it in place?). You can sort of see it in this photo. There was enough water in it that it had found the edge of the plastic and was dripping from there through a seam in the drywall. We sliced open the plastic and let the water run out. It was immediately obvious that the water was coming from the friggin’ monsoon outside. If you’re in the general Twin Cities area you may remember the unseasonable horror show that happened on Christmas. Which, side note, we probably should not have been driving in. Oh well.

The next day, post-rain, we went out and looked and found this:

gee, I wonder how that rain got in.

Ta-da. What happened next is a long story of nothing actually happening. Insurance doesn’t cover the roof repair, and their estimate for the ceiling repair doesn’t meet our deductible which I’m not really mad about. We’d have to wait until spring for someone to get up and fix the roof, so we might as well wait to fix the ceiling as well in case it rained enough to leak more (while it did rain several times, no more water ever entered our kitchen).

Well! It’s spring. I hopped on Home Advisor last week, and they sent my contact info to three companies. They all called me back the next day. One guy came out that afternoon and gave us an estimate. Another took too long to call me back with his schedule. While I was waiting for estimator-guy to leave, I returned a call to the first company that had left me a voicemail and, spoiler alert, they’re the company who handled the repair. Because we had a smaller job, they could send a service tech out to do an estimate and repair all in one trip. Yesterday, Jerico from American Building Contractors came out, did a proper inspection to verify that the hole in our siding was in fact the source of our leak, and then fixed it. And not only was it super affordable, it was just shy of half the cost of the first estimate. I’m calling this a win. Now we just have to wait and see how long it takes us to get around to fixing the ceiling hole. Maybe a DIY? We’ll see.