Well that escalated quickly

Before I start cooking a meal, I like to have the kitchen cleaned – at a minimum to have the counters around the stove cleared off and dishes either washed or soaking.  It’s nice to have the space to make a mess when needed, but also makes it easier to wash dishes as you go if you are only washing things you just used.  I’ll admit, clean-kitchen-Emily is the utopian version of myself, but it does happen occasionally and is a nice thing to strive for.  That same Emily decided that before building furniture for the patio and starting on it’s redesign, it would also be nice to clean the garage first.

Before Brien starts cooking a meal, he likes to start two more projects – the knives must be sharpened, let’s feed the bread starter, ooh the herbs need to be dried, but no need to wash the bowls – this is why we have 100 mixing bowls! (I may exaggerate).  Following that methodology in our attempt to clean the garage, we started two more projects.  Admittedly, they are things that will help with long term garage storage, especially for scrap wood, but we aren’t good at one thing at a time.  So after we had purchased plywood for a rolling cart, and while the under-bench crate storage was waiting to be glued together, we started on my number one priority project- removing the existing, not very functional cabinets above the washer and dryer to put in rubbermaid shelving.

While I know it doesn’t seem like it should be an important project (we already had storage up there), it just wasn’t working for us.  A: we didn’t like the looks of it.  Petty, I know, but it had these flimsy yellow doors were that never my thing.  B: we never knew what we had in there, because in a quick sweep of the garage we wouldn’t see the container of weed-b-gone and would buy another on our next home improvement run.  C: the shelves weren’t tall enough to fit things easily and the paint, household cleaners, bug spray, and gardening supplies just got scattered about the garage.  Open shelving would fix problem B, getting adjustable shelves (as opposed to building them ourselves) would fix problem C even as we changed what was stored there, and they don’t sell rubbermaid shelves in yellow.

First things first though, we had to take down the existing cabinet.  This is where things escalated…

The whole unit was built in place and nailed to itself and the studs behind it.  So instead of just unscrewing some supports and lifting it down, we had to take a mallet to it and get things down piece by piece.  During that process, we discovered that the cabinet was covering some holes in the drywall.  We also got a lesson in Newtonian physics: when you hit one part of a cabinet with a mallet, it exerts a force on the wall it is supported by (equal and opposite,don’t ya know).  When there aren’t any studs in that section of wall, you end up cracking your drywall…

And then we opened up the junction box behind the cabinet (since the cover was coming down with the drywall) and found a complete rats nest of wires.  They were capped, true, but it just did not look like it was up to code.

So this is where we quit with the project.  The demolition debris at least got taken to the city drop-off center, but those wires are both beyond our ability and make us a little nervous.  The electrician is coming for an estimate this week, and as a silver lining for Brien, while he is here we may put in more dedicated circuits in the garage to power the equipment we have.  As a silver lining for me, at least we hadn’t started on the patio yet 😛

6 months ago…

Six months ago I was convinced that a blog would be a fun idea and something that I would keep up with.  Six months ago I was also saving up money and planning out when we could build a deck.  It was the dream project- something we would enjoy, would have fun building and be proud of in the end, and would add value to our house.  The blog dropped off quickly, and while I am hoping for a comeback (although I make no promises) it looks like the deck project is on it’s way out.

It turns out that building a deck, and making it to code by pulling the permits for the project, is a lot harder than we thought it would be.  Add in some expected travel and house-guests (both types- the helpful ones and the touristy ones) along with some unexpectedly time intensive work, and it wasn’t looking like it would be done before the summer hit and temperatures rose.  With all the stress in figuring it out, the deck planning wasn’t even fun anymore.  So that is when I had my epiphany:

  • We would really enjoy just having outdoor furniture on our current patio!
  • We would have fun building furniture! And improving the pergola above said patio with nicer wood in better condition while cladding the existing support posts! We could show it off to friends and coworkers and be proud of the work we did!
  • It will be hard to add value to our house until we fix those stupid cracks!

And with that thought, we decided not to build a deck right now.  None of our plans will preclude us from building a deck in the future (except for the cycle of saving up money, then spending it on the next project), and in less time and while having more fun, we will end up with a pretty nice (albeit small) outdoor space.  We hope to build a trestle table, benches, and some Adirondack chairs.  We want to replace the almost-rotting wood of the existing pergola with cedar. We might expand the patio and create a fire zone with crushed granite, flagstone pavers, or (gasp) more concrete.  We will probably either paint, stain, or tile over the concrete we have.  On a rainy day, we may even fix the cracks inside the house.  With no deadlines, no permits, and the dreaming/scheming phase ahead, it’s starting to feel fun again.

I plan to keep posting about our aspirations, designs, progress, and (hopefully) relaxing and complete patio.  Although honestly, we all know how planning can go.