Category Archives: Home Improvement

Back to Blerghing

Sorry for my absence this past week. It was Little One’s birthday yesterday and I spent most of the week running errands in preparation for the Apocalypse the day. My Little One is no longer little, I’m afraid. She has outgrown me by a couple of inches, and I am mourning still. It’s not easy to realize your baby is 15 years old and interested in dating boys.

I may just cut myself.

Anyway it is officially Fall now, or as we in Texas like to call it, Summer v. 2.0. That means it is time to start getting the yard and the shrubbery ready for Winter, or as we call it, Fall-lite. Usually it isn’t a problem, but this past few weeks we have enjoyed copious amounts of the wet stuff that falls from the clouds. As a result, everything is flowering later than usual.

knightswhosaynimotivation

The gardenias, the crepe myrtle, the cassia…. my yard looks lovely and I don’t want to destroy it just yet. But with all the commitments and out-of-town visits planned, this weekend is my only chance at doing it. I am seriously thinking of letting it go and dealing with it in the Spring, or as we call it, Summer-lite. Time will tell. And by “time” I mean my mom, who will probably tell me to take Joaquina to it now. Of course, my mom sees a leaf fall and she is out there with a rake and a blower. Me? I’m all like, “Oh, look….a branch fell. Circle of Life, baby.” I’m not the most meticulous yard person, especially since my dog is intent on destroying it most of the time. For now, I guess I will trim a bit this weekend. Pretending to be productive is the next best thing 🙂

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Picking Battles

I’m a wife and mother. Picking battles is something I do often. I have a 50% success rate, which is not bad considering.

You try dealing with a band director.

Anyway, I am slowly making some updates in the house. The floor was the latest. It was a five year wait, but completely worth it. Unfortunately, the contractor vetoed my plan to burn the Berber carpeting. He did let me stab it a few times, though. I thought he might think I was crazy but he told me his wife did the same thing. Yes, I am well aware that doesn’t rule out insanity. But it’s something. Anyway, one of the things I really, and I mean really want to do is the fireplace. It’s brick in a tan…beige…dun… blah color with blah mortar. I mean it’s there, but doesn’t stand out in any way. And that is supposed to be a feature in the living area. At first I wanted to take it all out, and replace it with slate, which is fantabulous. But the floors were paramount (not the movie company) and that was an expense we couldn’t afford. So then I decided why not paint it, right? And this is where Hubby just looked at me like I had grown another head and said I was nuts no, too much involved in doing it. So then I was casually asking my contractor how I could repaint or stain the brick on the fireplace, to which he replied that it wasn’t a great idea because of the time and amount of ventilation required.

Suffice it to say, everyone is against me.

It was grating on my nerves, dealing with the boring drabness of the fireplace. I watch Property Brothers on HGTV and see the Flynn Ryder twin repainting fireplaces all the time!! But I was vetoed. GAH!!! As I sat there, wondering which house some Canadian couple was going to buy from the dapper twin, I saw it: a bold, beautiful BIG glob of glass sitting on a shelving unit in the background. And as I looked at my fireplace, I noticed something: everything, and I mean everything I had decorating it was in the same color range as the damn brick. Browns, beiges, tans, ambers…. no wonder that fireplace was so awful. That glob of glass stood out like a gorgeous preening peacock screeching LOOK AT MOI!!! And I knew, sure as the sun will rise, that I had seen it somewhere before.

stockholm-vase

Behold Ikea’s Stockholm vase. Actually, it is one of three Stockholm vases they carry in different styles and colors. Which begs the question: why call it the same name when they are different? Well, it’s Ikea. That’s what they do to mess with the customer. I recalled seeing the vase back on Mother’s Day when I last went to Swedesville. I liked them but had no idea where I would place them in the house. So I passed on them. Fast forward a few months and I am upstate for my nephew’s wedding, and my brother’s lovely girlfriend offers to entertain me by obliging my jones and taking me to Ikea, which is only 20 minutes from her home, unlike mine which is about 2 ½ hours if I’m lucky. So now Phase One of Fireplace Redo is complete, because I bought its taller, greener brother as well. Hey, one for either side of the fireplace, ok? I know it’s female logic, but it works. Trust me 😀


Boredness

No, that’s not a word. But it describes my feelings rather well. Hubby and I embarked on a new experience called, “Let’s install hardwood floors and watch the dogs go insane”. For the most part it has been hilarious. The past two days I have kept busy cleaning and dusting as the floor experts worked. But today everything cam to a standstill, because the painter (who will be caulking and painting the baseboards) had a flat tire. And I have no idea where he is. And neither does his boss. And until they finish tonight I can’t run errands. And that means I can’t get lunch or a new air filter.

So I decided to work on a project that I had no idea I wanted to do.

In my house there is this…. hallway. I call it the Hallway of Lost Souls. Because we have a bonus room upstairs, there is a wall that the builders put up to be load-bearing. Well, this wall divides the “formal” dining room from the …… three feet to the kitchen wall. It is a useless hallway, and if I A) had the money, 2) was planning on retiring in this area and keeping the house, and iii) cared enough, I would have hired some contractor to put a support beam and get rid of the damn wall. But as it is, I just dealt with it by hanging wall art that really didn’t fit anywhere.

old hallway

There is obviously a crappy light fixture which I will replace pronto. Anyway, those prints don’t go with anything in the house. I just hung them there when we first moved in because I had no idea what to do with them. That was eight years ago. The little house is a keepsake with all our names hanging from the hearts. That also really doesn’t go there. So, I went to the garage and dug up some stuff I had: old frame, fabric, cork pieces, an old “S”, and paint. I also had a chalkboard sold “as is” at Michaels™ that had been gouged on the bottom of the board area. And I got to work. I spray painted the old frame in an heirloom white, covered  cardboard in the burlap-like fabric, painted the “S” and adhered to wrapped cardboard, and added a flower. Then I cut pieces of corkboard to fit the gouged area and adhered to the board. I found one of my Longaberger Baskets™ to hold chalk and eraser, and now I have a message center.

new hallway

And now I have less crap in my garage, all because I had boredness. Now it’s time to work on the mirrors that will go in my dining room, flanking my Wall of Light™. But that will have to wait until I change the drapes and paint the block shelves. Change is coming, oh yes it is 😀


Helpful Hints From Aggie

Sometimes I amaze myself. What takes most people minutes to learn usually takes me several months, maybe even years. It’s not that I am a slow learner. Ok, maybe I am a little bit. But I think it’s mostly that I am resistant to change. Hm…. that’s not really it, either.

Let’s just go with, I am not the swiftest boat out there.

pancake_bunny

Yes, I feel like this sometimes.

As y’all know, I changed out the ceiling fan in my bedroom, and will be gifting the old fan to a friend. Well, can’t have the fan just sitting in the middle of the floor, right? So I have to take it apart and box it separately. I learned that one should remove the lightbulbs before removing the light shades. As a side note, lay down some newspaper to catch any broken lightbulb pieces so they do not become embedded in your dreadful Berber carpeting.

Yesterday, I decided to start getting rid of clothes that no longer fit. If I haven’t worn it in two years, out it goes to the donation pile. It doesn’t bless anyone just hanging in my closet, right? Today I learned that tangled hangers can become weapons of mass disruption as they take down the stuff on the shelves above. For future reference, check hangers and remove clothing while standing, instead of pulling down clothes while sitting on the closet floor. That way you can avoid being the victim of an avalanche.

This morning I decided to reorganize the pantry. Turns out the kids think the pantry is the perfect place to stuff almost empty bags of chips and cookie boxes, not to mention I think it’s the perfect place to store crap that I think I *may* need at a later date. I admit I am just as guilty as the kids. The only one who doesn’t contribute to the wreckage in that bottomless pit is Hubby, mostly because he only goes in there for the jar of almonds, and maybe peanut butter. Moving on, this morning I learned that I should check the status of bags of grain before moving, specifically whether or not they are open. Using a container to store said grains or even a clip to seal bags will prevent itty bitty grains of rice and quinoa to go scattering all over the pantry shelves and floor, delighting the dogs to the unexpected treat. As an aside, you might as well take a vacuum to it because it is virtually impossible to get all of the quinoa with a broom.

I hope my little helpful hints will help y’all live your lives a bit better. I’m no Heloise, but at least you can learn from my experiences and have a laugh as well.  Welcome to my Monday! 😀

 


Spinning Round

I’ve been a little morose and serious lately, and forgot that my job is to entertain my captive audience with Aggie’s exploits. Nothing so exciting as regaling y’all with stories of how I managed to be in three places at once while baking cookies.

Anyway, one of the things that has seriously gotten under my skin lately is home updates. I blame my sister Reno Queen for that. You see, she has been updating the finishes in her home, like lighting and wall decor. That means that she needs to dispose of the stuff she no longer needs, which in turn means I get to enjoy new stuff!!! So I will be updating the light fixtures in the house soon. Of course, since I am getting new lighting for the main areas of the house, I decided I had to get an updated fixture for the bedroom. But as y’all know, Hubby is adamant in having a ceiling fan. I wanted some glamorous bling and set up a fan on his side of the bed, but no. It needs to be a ceiling fan. He really meant NEED. So I looked into a new ceiling fan, and found one with an acceptable amount of bling.

a+r ceiling fanSee?? I love the drum shade that does NOT expose lightbulbs, and look, just LOOK at the glass sphere that gives it just the right amount of bling. I showed a picture of it to my sister, and her response was….. lukewarm. Not her style, she admits, but she agrees that it’s a good compromise for Hubby and me. And if I can’t have a chandelier in my bedroom, at least I have something pretty to look at when I dust it.

Next on the list? The carpeting. Whoever said Berber carpeting was awesome was either drunk, or selling it. So now the new battle begins: tile, or wood? In truth I’m fine with either, as long as I get to set the carpeting on fire 😀


Nothing Is Ever Lost

As usual, I have big plans. BIG plans. The kind of plans that require hiring some movers for a day.

I’m a dynamo but even I have limits, especially when it comes to moving a sleeper sofa down a flight of stairs.

Over the course of the next month, I will be moving Son upstairs into his own domain. He will now have his own bathroom, gaming area, study area and a nice full sized bed. Oh, and his own closet. Because he has a loft bed, the only room that had the high ceiling to accommodate it is the study, which has no closet. So, he was using the hallway closet to throw all his clothes and shoes hang up his stuff. This is how he felt when I informed him of my plan:

freddie mercury meme

Anyway, in the course of preparing the upstairs for his eventual move, I decided to start organizing all of my craft stuff, as I have been intending to do for the past year. Look, it is a certain fact that messy people are very creative, and I tend to live up to that standard. As I began to organize my clutter, I began to “find” things which I had “lost”.

  • Two pairs of earrings
  • My mom’s old brooch
  • Our tickets to the 2006 World Cup Semifinal match between Italy and Ukraine*
  • Four jars of gesso
  • One pair of socks
  • Several graduation announcements of family members
  • A coffee mug
  • Three hair clips and two scrunchies
  • My stash of 80’s cassettes

(* Yes, we had tickets to the semifinal match. Unfortunately, we also had non-refundable tickets to Paris, and since we were leaving for the US the following Tuesday, Paris won out. Before anyone freaks out, I offered to give up the trip to Paris for Hubby, and he decided that it would be more fun to tour Paris than to sit in a crowded stadium. So there.)

I had no idea I had so many jars of gesso. I suppose I kept thinking I had used it up and went out to get more. But I was elated to find my mom’s old brooch. I remember her wearing it to special occasions when I was little. I thought I had lost it in the move back to the US and had mourned its loss. And imagine my surprise to find my stash of cassettes. CASSETTES, PEOPLE!! There is something so satisfying about listening to a cassette that you have played so often, it is warped. Yes, I still have cassette players, and even a turntable. And now I have an urge to go listen to Warrant and Def Leppard. I’ll even wear a scrunchie while I blast “Animals” on the cassette player while I finish cleaning my craft area.

Who knows? Maybe I’ll find my UHF videocassette 😀


Still Here, Sorta

These past few days have been a bit more hectic than usual. Eldest is getting ready to start her new adventure as a sailor, Son is beginning his senior year in high school, and Little One is in marching band. Meanwhile, I am slowly coming to grips with the fact that my baby is leaving in less than a month, so I have been reorganizing the house.

Room, by room.

It’s not easy. I keep finding baby photos, kids’ art, love notes, hospital ID bracelets (don’t ask), and sundry items detailing every year of their lives. I also found a pair of earrings I had been missing since 2009, so I have that going for me. Still, I need to find a better way to organize all of the mementos.

(We interrupt this post in order to pick up my new ceiling fan from Lowes, so have a funny.)

ruining games lol

Hopefully I will be back in the groove of spilling all sorts of weird crap entertaining y’all with my boring life exploits. Maybe. I am toying with the idea of moving Son to the upstairs and making his current room an office-slash-craft room. And perhaps I may get a formal dining set for the dining room, which currently holds the mouse cage and two kennels.

*sobs*

I just want my house to look normal. And don’t tell me that’s a setting on the washing machine. I watch HGTV.

So, lots on things on the horizon, mostly in the vain hope to keep from becoming too anxious over Eldest leaving home. And getting Son ready for college. And having to deal with Little One not being a baby any more. That usually calls for a box of Hostess™ Cupcakes. Thank goodness they are back because otherwise it would be a box of wine 😀


Busy Living

Yes, yes… I realize I have been away from blogging at all of the sites I admin for a while. The end of the school year is upon us, and so is the usual military turnover. I hate that time of year. You make friends, you forge new ties, only to have distance try to render them asunder. Right now my kids are getting ready to enjoy the summer weeks before starting major life-defining years: one’s senior year, the other’s freshman year.

I am not ready for the drama. And there will be PLENTY of drama. Little One in high school guarantees it.

I am also not ready to be a band parent. When my sister was in the high school band, parents were encouraged to support not just the kids but also the band. Now it is mandatory to support the band. I will pay less in HOA dues per year than I will as a supportive band booster, and the only return I will get is a T-shirt. Don’t get me wrong: I support all of my kids’ endeavors. I just don’t appreciate being told I MUST be a member of an exclusive club to show it. Ok, rant over.

Anyway, the past week I have been trying to get the house streamlined and planning on moving Son to the upstairs bonus room. This is a major, MAJOR event. It’s almost reminiscent of the Brady Bunch episode where Greg and Marsha were fighting over the attic room. Not that the kids are fighting over it, but more like the undertaking of moving three rooms into two. Why? Because the bonus room is used as both a game room and a craft room, and in moving Son up I will have to forfeit my craft area for a while.

Unless I leave the game room up there with Son, and only move the craft stuff downstairs….

Hm…….

IDEA!!!

But I seriously doubt it will come to pass, because someone who shall remain nameless, namely Hubby, will want his own office space. It’s ok. I guess I can box up the stuff I don’t use and wait until the kids begin to leave the nest. Once they do, they become gusts in their own home, and I get the space I need for my crap. It’s a win-win, as far as I’m concerned 😀


Whirling Dervish Alert

Well, not really. I’m not a mystic. But I have been going around in circles trying to get things done around here.

The past few days I have been working around the yard. Yes, the cacti are still alive. So are the petunias. So far. Anyway, I decided to redo the backyard area a bit. I have this really neat ironwork pot holder that I brought back from Germany and had been standing against the back wall unused and forlorn. I moved it out from under the loquat tree and placed it against a sunny area along the fence, then planted petunias (Hello! Have you met me??) to display on it. It looks so nice and makes a great backdrop for my dog, who thinks I beautified the area for her. She’s funny like that.

I discovered to my chagrin that one of my three beautiful hostas did not survive the last freeze, so now I have another planter to fill with….something. I love hostas, but they don’t fare as well down here as they do up north. I may get a hydrangea and take a chance that I won’t end up murdering it it will do well under the tree along the other hostas. I just know I have to put something in the planter. It’s a jones of mine. I see an empty planter or pot and I have to put a soon-to-be-in-hospice plant in it. Currently I have four planters to fill. Which means a trip to the nursery in search of more victims flowers with which to beautify the backyard. Or the front yard.

triumphant kid

That’s how I feel when I garden. At least until the plants begin their transition from hospice to flora heaven. Then not so much.

But until then, I shall enjoy the pretty flowers and make plans to go to Hobby Lobby and buy fake ones when they go on sale so I can replace them after mourning the passing of the current crop. It makes sense to me, and that’s all that counts 🙂


Rising to the Challenge

Well, it’s long past time to clean up the yard and get more plants to murder.

Yesterday, I went to a home improvement store to get some plants for the front yard. I had spent the previous morning cleaning up the dead debris from the previous year, and needed some boosts of color. As usual, I gravitate towards petunias. I love petunias. They tend to do well in hot weather, and their velvety colors are rich and radiant. Who wouldn’t want such beautiful blooms??

petunias

Look at them!!! Aren’t they lush and gorgeous?

I have to admit, those plants tend to survive here quite well, but it does get rather boring after a while. The problem we have is choosing plants for the front stoop. That area acts like a magnifying glass in the afternoon. After consulting Hubby (and by that, I mean he pretty much said I couldn’t kill these), we settled on cacti.

cacti pot

There they are and there they’ll stay. Heat and Summer challenge: accepted. And if they do die, it will NOT be my fault this time.

I’ll take the blame for the other plants that do die off, though. This is me we are talking about 😉