24 May 2010

Taking it outside

When I came downstairs on Thursday morning and discovered a seemingly homeless person sitting on the top step of our front porch (smoking cigarettes and drinking a Steel Reserve tallboy - yes, beer at 8 am), I knew it was time to do something about the abandoned appearance of the house.

For the record, I did not approach this person. He or she was having a lovely conversation with him/herself, and I thought it would be rude to interrupt.

Now, to be fair, the weather around here has been really, really rainy for the past few weeks, leaving little opportunity for mowing and maintenance. We're generally pretty good about keeping the grass mowed. We got a little break in the rain on Saturday, so we got to work. First we (by which I mean Tom. I was pulling weeds from the front steps) filled in the majority of the hole we'd dug around the tree stump in the side yard. Here it was last year:

Our next-door neighbors kindly hired someone to cut the stump below grade level. Taking the thing out completely isn't really a viable option. They had a hard enough time just cutting it down a few inches. We think it's cedar, so it's a really dense wood, and rot- and bug-resistant to boot. The yard people had to come back later with a bigger chainsaw to finish the job because their normal chainsaw wasn't powerful enough. At any rate, it's down below grade enough to where we could just fill in some dirt on top. We filled in the hole with the dirt we'd taken out of it. While Tom mowed the grass, I cleaned the street's raingutter and added the dirt from there to the hole. I even found some grass to plant (possibly the only actual grass in our entire yard - and it came from the gutter). Here it is now:

We've still got a long way to go, but hopefully our little cleanup will discourage any more morning visitors.

A year ago (yesterday)...

This boy

and this girl

got hitched.

And there wasn't even that much alcohol involved.

I love you, dear.

First three photographs courtesy of Rae Leytham Photography. I can't remember who took the last one.

21 May 2010

One step forward, two steps back.

I was so proud of myself for finally getting the wire run for the new range yesterday. It required about an hour of crawling around in the basement and running waddling up and down stairs trying to find the right tools to do the job. I announced my victory to Tom when he came home from work, and he totally crushed my win.

I used the wrong gauge of wire. Ugh. Now I get to crawl around in the basement for another hour again today. One step forward, two steps back, as per usual.

17 May 2010

Now we're cooking (but not with gas)

We finally bought a range and had it delivered yesterday. Hopefully I'll get the wire run for it sometime this week. Doing any real cooking might still pose a problem, though, as we don't have the kitchen sink hooked up to wash any dirty dishes we'd produce. I could do a temporary sink installation fairly easily, but I'm afraid that doing something temporary will cause many more headaches with plumbing when we start the kitchen project in earnest. Here's the range we bought:

Frigidaire Gallery LGEF3033KW

I definitely prefer the look of slide-in ranges to freestanding ones, but I couldn't justify the huge jump in cost. Instead, I decided on better cooking features over aesthetic ones - convection oven and 5-burner configuration specifically. This model is only available at Lowe's. The best we can tell, Frigidaire is phasing out the "LGEF"-prefixed models, but it appears to have the exact specifications of the FGEF3034KW from their updated line. They seem to be exactly the same, except the price, of course. The new one costs several hundred dollars more than this one. Including tax, we paid $673.14 for it. I may be able to get an additional refund on it, as well, if my 39-week pregnancy belly can work its sympathy magic. We were told we'd be getting an in-the-box, standard stock item, but we ended up with the floor model. That's got to be worth at least 10%, right? With the amount of money we've spent on appliances so far creeping up toward $2500, I'll take any help I can get.

Update: I got an extra 10% off the cost of the range, bringing it to $605.83 including tax. See? It doesn't hurt to ask!

Update: How's the range doing after a year and a half of daily use? Check out my appliance review to find out!

16 May 2010

A little tour

Sorry for the radio silence. Tom and I have been focused on moving out of and cleaning our old apartment, so not much has been done in the house. Our landlord was nice enough to give us an extra couple of weeks to get everything cleaned up (he was out of the country and wouldn't be able to get to the between-tenant cleaning until now), so of course we procrastinated. We're finally completely out, so I guess I'll show you where Tom and I have lived for almost a year. Here's a floor plan, courtesy of the Historic American Buildings Survey (if you love historic architecture as much as I do, this is an invaluable resource; check out your hometown!):

We lived in the apartment at the top half of the floor plan (the part with a lighter lineweight - it was built at a later time than the original circa-1845 house). Here's the living room:

That fireplace was the only heat source for the entire apartment (which I'm pretty sure isn't to rental standards - I think you're supposed to have a heat source in each bedroom). The doorway you see leads into one of two bedrooms:

For a 10'x10' room, it has a lot of storage - three closets! My former roommate stayed in this room. There's no door into it, so he gave me the room with the door and hung curtains in his doorway. I neglected to take a picture of my bedroom, but it was also about 10'x10', with one tiny, shallow closet. It wasn't even deep enough for a hanger to hang correctly, and the one dresser we had kept the closet door from opening completely, so it was a dumping ground for rarely-used items.

And here's the lovely kitchen:

Across from the refrigerator is the stacking washer and dryer. Who says the fridge needs to be in the kitchen?

The lack of counter space was endlessly infuriating. And exactly how metal cabinets with magnetic latches can fail to stay closed remains a mystery to me. Don't be fooled by the apparent cuteness of the sink, either. The basin was tiny (18" I think), and the drainboard wasn't big enough to hold much. Consequently, the sink always had dirty dishes in it (even though I'd do dishes twice daily). Plus it stained like crazy. How do you like our undercabinet lighting (it had that sickly yellow cheap-outdoor-lighting glow) and our outlets (the surge protector plugged into who knows where)? Did you notice the absurdly small ceiling fan in the kitchen? No?

I wasn't kidding. Absurdly small.

The last stop on the grand tour is the bathroom:

Awkward layout but (generally) functional.

The bathroom also had an odd amount of storage. Other than the medicine cabinet over the sink and this built-in by the toilet, there was also an alcove to the left of the tub. We ended up storing our kitchen linens in here, too.

So there it is, our luxurious 2-bedroom apartment in an historic home. Despite our landlord's apparent love for wood paneling (which covers every wall surface in the place), it was an OK apartment, but we are glad to be out and in our own home.

02 May 2010


We moved lots of our stuff from the apartment yesterday and spent our first night in the house last night. Before we headed out for a celebratory dinner at our favorite Chinese restaurant, I spotted this outside the window and considered it a good omen:

The rest of my celebrating involved falling asleep while watching a movie. It's the same thing I would have done had we been at the apartment, but at least at the house I was already in bed when I fell asleep.

Unfortunately, we awoke this morning and discovered of a roof leak. If you stand in the hallway, you can see daylight (and water splashing in) where the chimney meets the roofline. So it seems to be a simple flashing problem around the chimney stack and not an issue with the roof itself (which was replaced in 2004). We have plastic sheeting hung up in the hallway to channel the water down into a bucket, and that seems to be working for the moment.