Operation: Fix This House has moved!!

We've moved!  Well, not really.  Just the blog.  The old house is in the same place as always and I'll keep updating it, just at a different site.  You can visit it here to keep hearing about all the latest remodeling adventures.  Happy reading!!


No, this house is not abandoned.

The paint on our house was a little worse for wear when we bought it. After three and a half years of rain, neglect, and winds that would make folks in Florida want to call their insurance providers, our house has started to look not unlike a crack house.

Ross and I have talked about painting it for awhile. Well, three and a half years, actually. We're good at talking.

But after I came home to my new front yard I started realizing how bad the house really looked. Ross mentioned how great it would be if the house could be painted by the time my grandmother visits at the end of the month.

On Saturday, about 2pm, Ross said, "what do you want to do today". I said, "let's paint the house!" And he said, "okay!". Actually it didn't go down quite like that, but this version is better so we'll go with this one.

I'm going to regret saying this on here, especially after my little tirade before, but we ended up going to The-Hardware-Store-That-Shall-Not-Be-Named to get paint. For reasons I shall also not go into here. And in defense of that particular store, it was an uneventful visit. With no extra trips back required.

Ross pressure washed the house until 10:30 that night. Thankfully our new neighbors (delightful folks!) were moving in at that time so they weren't bothered by their crazy new neighbors who apparently like to pressure wash their house in the middle of the night. The next morning we masked off the windows (well, most of them anyway) and Ross got to spraying. My parents lent us their paint sprayer a really, really long time ago. And we just sort of never gave it back. Oops.



I picked out the color I thought was the color I wanted: a dark, charcoal gray. But as it turns out, I picked a shade darker of the same stupid color the house was already painted. It seriously reminds me of Civil War uniforms. You know, a nice, happy color. Overcast blue. Blue-gray. Civil War Blue. Tut tut, it looks like Crayola forgot to take his Prozac this morning. It's depressing. And I hate it.

However, I have been informed that hating the color you picked out yourself is evidently NOT a reason to repaint the house. Even if it looks stupid. And seriously depressed.

So I'm working on LOVING the color of our house! Perhaps I'll pierce the eaves and give it a tattoo on the lower part of the back porch. Then we'll have the goth house. And we'll be cool. 'Cause it's cool to be angry and depressed.

Okay I'm done, I promise. Despite that the color is not my favorite (by a long shot), it does look sooooooo much cleaner! It looks fresh! You know, like the goth kid who finally washed her hair for the first time in three months. And the happy front yard takes off some of that Marilyn Manson edge.

At least until I convince Ross to repaint it.


Painting the roses...gray?

I wonder what the queen of hearts would say about this.


Cue the lights and violins

I came home from work on Friday to this! Ross came home from working all night, stayed up all day and re-did our front yard HGTV style. He wanted to have it all done by the time I got home to surprise me! This? This right here is why I love this man.


Raindrops and Whiskers

I had to do an exercise in a training recently where we had to list some of our "favorite things". It took a great deal of strength not to channel my inner Julie Andrews and jump up onto the tables singing, "Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens..." I know the whole soundtrack by heart. What? Don't judge.

I sat and listened to some other people listing off things I too enjoy, like that deep belly laugh little kids do when they've just cracked themselves up, a hot cup of coffee and a good book, the Internet!, funny movies, anything with glitter and rhinestones (that one was on my list, obviously), and then it was my turn. I piped up with: INDOOR PLUMBING.

It's probably a good thing I didn't start dancing around and singing like the scandalous nun in Sound of Music. I don't think indoor plumbing was on Fraulein Maria's list of favorite things, and in a room full of mental health people, you start talking crazy and people raise their eyebrows. Then I had to explain myself.

About a month ago, Ross texted me at work and says, "our basement flooded". And I can go around and around with him about why he would possibly send me a TEXT MESSAGE saying that, but there really is no easy way to tell someone the basement flooded. We're looking into texting etiquette classes.

So I call him, completely hysterical, only to find out that I'm about 6 hours behind the rest of the world.

ME: WTF do you mean the basement flooded?!
ROSS: I don't know how else to say it. There was water, and it was all over the basement.
ME: Well what happened?
ROSS: I don't know
ME: What do you mean, you don't know?!
ROSS: It's gone now
ME: Gone? What do you mean gone? Just now?
ROSS: No, it went away after awhile

You can see how this conversation continued. Apparently Ross took a shower and noticed it after he went to the basement to do some laundry. I should mention here that Ross is a princess in the shower. I don't think I've ever known him to take a shower lasting less than 25 minutes. So when I say Ross took a shower, I mean he SHOWERED. And evidently all the water from his princess shower ended up in our basement. And then went away. There is a hole in our floor where water drains into from our washing machine. I know what you're thinking. And yes, IT RUBS THE LOTION ON THE SKIN. Are you happy now?

So we did what any respectable homeowner would do, and applied the "Car Noise" technique. You know the one, Turn-Up-The-Radio-And-Make-The-Bad-Noise-Go-Away. We shrugged it off, and promptly forgot about it.

You can guess what happened then. A few days later it happened again. Only this time it was worse, and it wasn't just water. Uh huh. Yep, there was poo in our basement. Ross quickly discovered that our main drain was clogged. Which meant anything that went down any drain in our house, ended up on the basement floor!

Ross spend the next 2 days snaking out the drain. First with a 25 foot snake, then a 50 footer, and finally a 100 foot snake. Mind you, we're at day 3 of no plumbing. That means no indoor plumbing. Ross was a champ though, and he used our Shop Vac to suction the water out of the drain enough for me to take a monkey bath in the shower and wash my hair so I could go to work. Our entire house smelled like an outhouse on an 80 degree afternoon.

As this little saga progressed, we were getting input from everyone who was a plumber, or knew a plumber, or watched a thing on plumbing on the Discovery Channel one time. And each person we talked to had a worse scenario than the last. By the time I talked to Ross that afternoon, I had been convinced that the roots of the huge tree in the backyard had worked their way under the house, collapsed a pipe, and they were going to have to bulldoze the house to fix the problem. And it was going to cost me upwards of $10,000 and a pound of flesh. You'll have to forgive me. I hadn't had a proper shower in 3 days. And Ross spent three days covered in poo. We were under a lot of stress.

At about 3pm on Thursday, day 3, Ross threw in the towel and I called Roto-Rooter. AND I GOT A VOICEMAIL. I felt like I had called 911 and was told to leave a message with my emergency. Did he not understand that there was POO! In our BASEMENT!!! So leave a message, I did. And I was careful to make sure he knew about the poo. It was traumatizing.

The message said they closed at 5pm. And at 5pm, he still hadn't called back. So I called the 1-800 number thinking maybe that would get me somewhere, and was informed that when you live in the sticks, they'll charge you your left foot and first born to come out from Portland. We decided it had been 3 days, what was one more? And mercifully I had Friday off. Ross, however, had to go to work. So I woke up at the crack of dawn and waited by the phone with the intention of calling Mr. Rooter at 8:00 on the nose. And then Hangup-Redialing until he answered the phone. No more leaving messages about poo.

But I didn't have to. He called me at 7:50 and cheerfully informed me that he'd be happy to come out in about an hour and take a little look-see into our plumbing problem.

He brought out what appeared to be a glorified pressure washer and blasted the crap (sorry I couldn't help myself) out of the pipe! He said Ross had been snaking right through the clog. Because of course he had. 3 days spent poking around in poo for nothing. Perhaps we ought to take up dairy farming after all.

And when it was all over, less than an hour later, he charged me $85! That's it! That's how much my cleanliness, mental health, and a new cap for the drain cost. God bless the Roto-Rooter guy. I wanted to hug him, and tell him I was forever indebted to him, and perhaps could I build some sort of worshiping shrine to pay him homage? But I didn't. I think he could tell though. He probably drove to the courthouse right from our house and got a restraining order.

For the record, I did try to get some pictures, but Ross got angry that I was taking pictures of him covered in poo, while he was trying to get rid of the poo in the basement, that was also covered in poo. I tried to explain that this was for the blog, and that inquiring minds would want to know about this. His response to that would be edited out of most syndicated programming, so I won't post it here. I don't understand him sometimes.


Formal Introductions

I realize that I have spent several blog posts referencing El Stinko, but have never fully introduced him.  Drumroll, please!  

This is El Stinko.  Our 1972 Dodge Half Ton Something Or Other.  D-100 I'm told.  To me he's just our big old stinky truck.

We bought El Stinko a few years ago after realizing that neither a Mazda Protege or a Kia Rio were ever designed to carry sheetrock.  At least not very far.  I'll admit I was a little leery of this purchase since the last truck we bought off some guy that lived out on a farm (in a van, down by the river - you get the idea) was a disaster of such epic proportions that we do not speak of it anymore in our house.

Ross found it on Craigslist (I swear, he can find anything on that site!) and we drove out to Hillsboro to look at it.  The guy had it parked in an RV storage area.  I don't remember exactly why, but at some point during this little endeavor, the guy wanted Ross to go to the back of the RV park.  I think for papers or something.  Anyway I was left back with the car.  And they disappeared for, like, 20 minutes.  And having the overactive imagination that I have, I remember thinking, 'well this is great.  This creep has gone and killed Ross.'  I was envisioning him chopping up his body somewhere in the back of this lot, and was absolutely convinced that I was next, and just as I was on the brink of a complete hysteric meltdown, they come walking back from wherever they were.  It was a traumatic 20 minutes.  

After a few hiccups and a fair amount of swearing, we got El Stinko home.  Did I mention how loud he is?  L O U D.  Like, could be mistaken for the entire Blue Angels team taking off in our driveway, loud.  And he has that nasty old, musty, stale cigarette smoke smell.  Since El Noiso just sounds silly, we went with El Stinko.  Which is a boy truck.  Because imagining a girl truck as big, and loud, and smelly as El Stinko would just be scary.


Who ever heard of a snozberry?!

Just for clarification, Madam Veruca, this is NOT a snozberry bush.  Though how fabulous would that be?!  It is, in fact, a blueberry bush!  Actually, TWO blueberry bushes.  The package explained the reasons for needing to plant two bushes side by side so they can, YOU KNOW.  Personally, I think it would have been easier to just get them a room and say, "have at it."  It would be better than the driveway, right?  But I was never very good at the whole plant science thing, so I'll take the package's word for it.


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