frozen pipe problems

Early Sunday afternoon I discovered that the water supply line to our downstairs toilet appeared to have frozen. The toilet is on an outside wall and it was like 20 below outside, so I was annoyed but not surprised. That bathroom and the three-season porch next to it are not original to the house, so the underside is only accessible via a crawl space, which you have to climb into from the basement (after pulling out a bunch of insulation that was just haphazardly stuffed in). Next to the entrance hole is a smaller hole that the heat and water lines are run through. Wow, our basement is super jank, isn’t it? I took a peek in and realized that while the far wall of the crawl space is insulted, nothing else is. It perhaps had been at some point, but all that insulation is now just sort of laying around in there. The pipes themselves are bare. Neat. But the pipes leading to the sink are also exposed, so it seemed weird that those lines weren’t frozen. Weird but good!

Darren had to work, but he called his dad. Lee came out and climbed in the crawl space, which was unexpected. I was all set to get under there myself. He brought a pipe-warmer that would need to be plugged in, requiring a 25 foot extension cord which we do own but would basically never be able to be used for anything else ever again. I think we’re going to return that, because pipe insulators are inexpensive and don’t require electricity.

Anyway, he got back there and deduced that the pipe had broken, and it had iced over. He thought he would be able to fix it, but it would require a trip to the hardware store and a bunch of supplies and, at the end of the day, a non-professional solution to a problem that really should be handled by a pro. Darren left a message for his plumber buddy and Lee went home.

Darren called me at work this morning and asked “should the toilet tank be filling?” It appeared that things had defrosted enough to let water flow again, and perhaps the pipe was okay after all. Indeed, the plumber (not Darren’s friend, but his employee) came out and determined that the pipe had not actually burst! It turns out we just had a leaky toilet. The water from the leak froze, which lead to a smaller frozen section of pipe. Everything has been fixed, but the plumber said that the crawl space needs to be re-cemented and insulated. Darren and I will DIY that, and we’ll insulate the pipes as well.

I’ll leave you now with this picture of the treasure we found just inside the entrance to the crawl space.

garbage and dust

garbage and dust

finished table is finished

This weekend I finally wrapped up Project Dining Table. Well, the top could use a little touching up, but in the meantime it’s done.

I’ve already posted about using chalk paint on the chairs and table base. I stained the seats a lovely chocolately brown several weeks ago, and finally finished the top on Sunday. All the stained bits received a coat or two of polyurethane as well. Unfortunately I did all the work on the table top in the basement, and thanks to the poor lighting down there I failed to notice a few uneven spots. So there may be some light sanding and re-staining in the future. Not the end of the world.

The whole living/dining space feels a lot cozier now that this table is there. The two other chairs are functioning elsewhere in the house, and the leaf will live in the basement until it’s needed.

photo taken in early morning light

photo taken in early morning light

photo taken at night with as many lights on as possible

photo taken on a cell phone at night with as many lights on as possible. ha


I know that in the design world, the general advice is to decorate your home slowly, with intention. Not just filling space with whatever fits. Sometimes people wait years until they find the perfect whatever for the space that needs it. I am all for this, but here’s the thing: it’s going to be very cold for the next several months. For that reason and a few others, we needed rugs as soon as we could find ’em.

That said, I wasn’t about to spend money on rugs I didn’t like, just because they were cheap and did the job. BUT I didn’t want to spend a fortune on anything either, because 1) we’re not made of money, 2) pets are messy and 3) rugs aren’t something I’m overly picky about, at least for the most part. I didn’t necessarily set a price range for myself, just sort of trusted my gut when it told me “nah, too expensive.” I have looked at a lot of rugs both online and in person over the last few months and I’m glad to be done with it for a bit.

I knew we’d need a living room rug pretty quickly, because Enli is totally allowed on the couch and it’s hard for her to get on it without something for traction. World Market has the most amazing rug selection and when I saw this glorious jute rug online (and it was on sale!) I knew I had to see if my local store had it. They had one, and I had a coupon on top of the sale so I scored this beauty for 90 bucks.


Next up was the office. Darren had put an old blanket down so his chair wouldn’t damage the floor, which is a perfectly workable but definitely short-term solution. I’d heard great things about RugsUSA and had been spending a lot of time on their site, and finally found a rug in their Final Sale section that Darren and I both liked. It was $79, what a deal! But holy shit did I ever run in to a problem with the shipping.

Story time: I got a shipping notification and tracking number for this rug purchase on October 17, with a scheduled delivery date of the 20th. On the 20th, the tracking indicated that the rug hadn’t even been picked up by FedEx yet. I emailed customer service, who said they’d reach out to the warehouse and get back to me within 24 hours. They didn’t. So I called – I think the morning of Monday the 24th? I should’ve written this down –  and was told they’d escalate my call and contact the warehouse again, and they’d get back to me within 48 hours. They didn’t. Once the 48 hours was up I called again, and was told they couldn’t issue a refund on a item once a tracking number had been assigned (what?). But the CS agent I was speaking with did a little digging and said they had just heard back from the warehouse that they were looking into it, and she’d email me by the end of the day. And she did! The warehouse told customer service that FedEx had lost my rug, and they’d send a new one with the same tracking number. Sure enough, they sent me a rug. It was, in fact, the rug I ordered, with the original tracking label with the original shipping date of 10/17. They could very well have re-printed the shipping label, but the rug I ordered was final sale and the only one available, so… how did I end up receiving the same rug that FedEx allegedly lost?

ANYWAY we got our office rug and it was a headache but it’s a good rug so yay. *breathe*

Enli says hi.

Enli says hi.

Meanwhile, I had gotten tired of waiting for the RugsUSA debacle to be resolved and Target was having a 30% off rug sale, so I bought another one. I hemmed and hawed for a good long time, because I wanted something that could either work in the office (in case the RugsUSA one never showed) or in the guest room. I landed on this Rowena Accent Rug and while it worked fine in the office, I really dig it in the guest room. Hooray! Plus I got it for less than $60. Double hooray.


the guest room still needs a bed.

Last but not least was the bedroom. That was much trickier because of the size we’d need. 5’x8′ is too small, 8’x10′ is too big. Ultimately we knew we’d need either a weirdly-sized rug or a square one, and it would be more of a splurge than the others. I finally found this 8’6″ square shag sucker on Amazon and bought a “Used-Very Good” one available, which saved a few bucks.


still to do: different lamp, second nightstand.

We love it, the pets love it. The door juuuust clears the edge. Money well spent.

Another list item checked!

little weekend bits & bobs

At a record-breaking 72 degrees, Saturday was the perfect day for yard work. I pulled up as many vines and weeds as I could (it was mostly vines, effing Virginia Creeper) from one of the no-longer-flowery flower beds until our yard waste bin was full. If only we had two! Once that was done, I only had inside projects on my list for the rest of the weekend:

  • Finally hung our full-length mirror in the bedroom
  • Cleaned ALL the mirrors
  • Washed our bedding & the rest of the laundry
  • Hemmed the curtains on the porch
  • Made a couple handkerchiefs with this amazing fabric
  • Did a bit more sanding on the table and chairs (this project is going to take 100 years because sanding is boring and I barely do enough at one time to notice)
  • Painted the shelf in the laundry space

Now, lemme tell you about this last one. It’s the dumbest thing, but I love it. Someone at some point built these simple, sort of sad shelves between the washer and dryer.


They serve a purpose but looked gross as hell.


Meanwhile, someone who had rented this house once upon a time decided to paint one of the bedrooms bubble gum pink. It was painted over after she moved out, but about half a gallon of paint remained (one of many cans we inherited upon purchase). I got the idea in my head a while back to dig out that pink paint and snazz up the laundry shelves.


I half-assed this job for sure. It’s also 100% ridiculous but it makes me laugh. Maybe I’ll pick up a pink rug to match, plus I have some cute laundry art to frame for the unused top shelf. I can pretend we have a real laundry room instead of just a corner of the crumbly old basement.

Oh, here’s a fun thing: I discovered a small leak in one of our water supply lines. Tra-la, how great. Fortunately Darren worked for a plumber for a hot second, so he came over and fixed it for a reasonable price.

taking stock

Hey dudes. I saw this “Taking Stock” post over on Making it Lovely (the idea seems to have started with Meet Me at Mikes) , and I liked the idea/I love lists. I was probably due for an update anyway, so here goes!

Making: nothing, but I could probably make the handkerchiefs I have fabric for.
Cooking: whatever I can scrounge up. Grocery shopping this weekend!
Drinking: coffee and water.
Reading: I just stared HP & the Order of the Phoenix. It’s been a while since my last series re-read.
Trawling: anywhere on the internet I can find a doorbell.
Wanting: an endless supply of dollars.
Looking: for a bedroom rug.
Deciding: how much I want to spend on a rug, hahaha.
Wishing: see “Wanting.”
Enjoying: the shorter commute I have now.
Waiting: for 5pm.
Liking: my Harry Potter re-read.
Wondering: if I should have a movie marathon once I finish the books.
Loving: the weather this week!
Pondering: curtains.
Listening: to the sounds of the office at the moment.
Considering: yard work.
Buying: dental work, soon- gettin’ a couple cavities filled, boo.
Watching: so much good TV lately! The Good Place is a new show worth mentioning.
Hoping: the election goes the way I’d like it to.
Marveling: at all the leaves on the ground (but also thinking some people need to rake).
Cringing: about the dentist appointment I have this afternoon.
Needing: a rug in the bedroom.
Questioning: how to answer some of these.
Smelling: nothing at the moment. Maybe my coffee?
Wearing: jeans and a sweatshirt, same ol’ same ol’.
Following: so many house blogs.
Noticing: the things people wear to job interviews sometimes, holy moly…
Knowing: the election will be over soon.
Thinking: this thing is hard!
Admiring: drawing a blank here, sadly.
Getting: nervous about the dentist even though I know it’ll be fine.
Bookmarking: Christmas gift ideas.
Disliking: all the political ads on TV.
Opening: multiple tabs of things to read.
Giggling: at the list I just encountered.
Feeling: a little sleepy, a little antsy.
Helping: only myself today.
Hearing: people in the conference room.
Celebrating: Friday! Oh, also the Cubs I suppose.
Pretending: winter isn’t coming.
Embracing: fall, at least for now.

chalk paint is magical

We have a table! The dining set that formerly lived in Kyle and Jenna’s house now lives in ours. There was just one catch: Jenna had begin the process of re-painting it, and I would have to finish the job. Thankfully she still had all her supplies, and I was pleased to discover that my very first furniture DIY would be made much easier with chalk paint.

Jenna’s plan: the table top and chair seats would be stained dark, the chair legs/backs and table base would be painted with yellow chalk paint. Distressing optional. She had stripped and sanded the seats of 4 of the 6 chairs, and two chairs were at various stages of being painted. Upon take-over, I immediately painted the table’s base and followed up with clear wax. Eventually I moved on to the chairs.


The magic of chalk paint is not having to sand off all the old finish, you can just paint right over it. Such a time saver. I’ll have four of the six chairs fully painted and waxed before the party tomorrow night, probably. Progress! Although I doubt I’ll have time to get the seats stained. Meanwhile, I haven’t even started on the table top, and two chairs plus the table’s leaf are sitting in the basement with Citristrip residue that still needs to be removed. Oh well! It’ll all get finished eventually, but at least we’ll have somewhere for people to sit tomorrow.

I already have chalk-painting plans for our dinged up old rocking chair, as well as the $13 TV stand I found at Goodwill last weekend. All in due time.

progress report

It’s starting to feel like home in here. The hard part is not draining our entire bank account to immediately purchase all the things we need. More rugs (we do have a second rug on the way though, for the office)! Miscellaneous furniture! Random little decorative things that can 100% wait!

I took a jaunt to IKEA on Sunday though, because I decided some things actually couldn’t wait. I had been planning on purchasing a KALLAX unit for the dining room, and when my attempt to hang our large LACK shelves in the living room took a horrible turn* I figured well, there’ll be plenty of room for books on the KALLAX instead. Which is not to say we won’t still hang the shelves somewhere, probably. Anyway, I sprung for the high-gloss white KALLAX, a FULLEN mirror for the downstairs bathroom, and some curtains for the side windows on the front porch (from IKEA’s Vinter 2016 line, which is amazing by the way). I’m going to have to go back though, because they also have 8 foot curtain rods which I need for the back porch, and they’re only like six bucks.

A few other things we accomplished over the weekend: I replaced the screen in the back door, we grabbed another carload of stuff from the apartment, picked up half of a dining set from Kyle and Jenna (our car isn’t big enough for the whole thing; we’ll pick up the rest soon), and I sewed a curtain for the window above our kitchen sink. Darren and I actually picked out the fabric together, which is pretty rare!

Picture time.

porch curtains

porch curtains

maybe we'll add a rug in the entry someday?

maybe we’ll add a rug in the entry someday?

view from the entry. we need a longer coffee table.

view from the entry. we need a longer coffee table.

soon there will be a table blocking this view. sparse shelves!

soon there will be a table blocking this view. sparse shelves!


we have a wizard in our bathroom.

we have a wizard in our bathroom.


There is still a handful of stuff sitting in our old apartment though. Gaaaah. We’ll pick it up this weekend. I hope we can figure out how to fit a vacuum cleaner, a full-length mirror, a large Rubbermaid container, a floor lamp, and a friggin’ car exhaust system in the back of the Forester. Good lord.

*no matter where I tried to drill into the wall for an anchor, I was hitting something before I got deep enough for the anchor to fit. I guess I wouldn’t be surprised if there was plaster and lath behind the drywall, but dang. Whatever it is I broke a drill bit on it!