Category: House

Why August is awesome this year

By , August 9, 2017 7:23 am

As I am writing all of these River Trip 2017 posts I’ve been looking for posts to reference from our 2016 river trip and they aren’t there! You know why? Because as soon as we got home from our river trip last year, we started working on demolishing our second floor ceiling* (and replacing/repairing electrical, HVAC, structural, etc., etc.). And that is all we did for most of August. I never prioritized the time to recap last year’s trip (sad face)!

So happy our ceiling doesn’t look like this anymore

Don’t worry, this isn’t me announcing I am going to recap it now (ha, although, I still do have more to write about this year’s trip). This is just me remembering how intense last August was – working on the house during the majority of our free time – and me being grateful we haven’t had a huge project like that since then.

So happy our living room doesn’t look like this anymore – we had to sleep down there (for a month) while we did the second floor project

That project desperately needed to be done and I am glad we did it (and so proud of Steven for organizing/coordinating/doing it all, and proud of myself for my contributions and what I learned), but man, we did NOT get an August last year. Which is why August feels so awesome this year! We have plans for the weekends, free time on the weeknights, and most importantly, a (clean) ceiling over our heads on the second floor! Woot!

*Our current house was a foreclosure that sat empty for several years, becoming a welcoming home for animals. A family of flying squirrels lived in the attic before we moved in, and for a month or so after we moved in. The squirrels damaged/soiled much of the attic and ceiling. When it got hot in the summer (as it does, ha) the second floor smelled like a barnyard because of the all the damage/soiled spots. This project HAD to happen. But gosh, were those squirrels ever cute!!!!!

Random Thoughts Thursday 140

By , July 13, 2017 6:36 am
  • The county I live in has been pounded with rain over the last week (particularly Tuesday night) and there are lots of roads under water, and flooding in businesses and people’s homes. At least two cities (that I saw) have declared a state of local emergency. It’s horrible, and I feel so bad for the people dealing with property damage. I hope we get a break from the rain for awhile (it was supposed to rain last night AGAIN, but luckily, it didn’t!).

Rain we got at our house this week

  • Luckily, we didn’t have any issues at our house. We did get a lot of rain, and our power went out early Wednesday morning (12:30 am), but the generator kept the sump pumps running (for over twelve hours until the power came back). Steven and I both had interesting commutes, with all the flooding. The route I take to work had an intersection under water, and Steven had to completely reroute the way he normally goes (the town his warehouse is in is one of the towns that declared a state of emergency).
  • I’ve actually had stuff I wanted to write about this week, but I’ve been in training all day since Tuesday and haven’t made the time to post. I signed up for this leadership class at work and was hoping I’d learn some new skills and concepts, but so far, it’s been stuff I already know (ladder of inference, Myers Briggs, etc) and mostly activities I’ve done before (GAH, if I have to build a “tower” with my team again, my head will explode), The teacher is engaging and I like the people I am in class with, so there’s that! Maybe today is the day I will learn something new!
  • I had to turn off the screen on my Garmin app that shows how many steps I do per day and if I was reaching my “goal.” Seeing it made me kind of nuts about it, when it’s something I don’t care about. I turned it off and immediately stopped thinking about it.
  • Snow (our outdoor cat) is extremely lovey dovey and I like to spend time holding and petting him each day, but the mosquitoes have been SO horrible that I get eaten up when I go outside to see him. Snow is afraid of coming inside, but I’ve been bringing him in for little bouts so I can pet him and not get bit (by mosquitoes, ha). Last night I brought Snow in, and Steven got him all buttered petting him while he ate. After that, he was chill (for Snow) and stayed in the house for quite some time! When I opened the door to offer for him to go back outside, he didn’t bolt straight for it, but casually walked outside. Winning!

  • Who else is excited for the Game of Thrones season premiere on Sunday? I hope our HBO app doesn’t crash!!! (That’s been an issue in the past with so many people trying to stream it live – I hope they’ve figured that out.)

Link to Random Thoughts Thursday 139

Random Thoughts Thursday 138

By , June 22, 2017 6:14 am
  • Our generator was installed in May (which means now we’ll never lose power)! On Saturday, Steven planted emerald green arborvitae trees to block it from view from the front yard. We’ll let the trees grow as high as the wing wall over the next several years, then trim them to that height.

  • After the generator was installed in May, Steven built out framing to hold in the pea gravel around it and the air conditioners. It looks so nice compared to how it was before!

  • I love that our yard is filled with perennials we don’t have to think about planting each spring!

  • In early June, we hung up some maps, which makes me very happy (I love maps). I hope we hang up more of our prints this year. They make the house feel more “ours.”

  • A year ago, we were flying to Alaska for Nick and Alyssa’s wedding! We haven’t done a “big” trip since then. I am hoping we can go on a trip for our ten year anniversary this year!
  • I’m having a hard time finishing Pour Your Heart Into It: How Starbucks Built a Company One Cup at a Time. It’s too cheesy for me. Steven listened to it in one day and has already moved on to a new book! I need to decide if I am finishing it or giving up on it so I can re-join Book Club for Two.
  • My bike is fixed and I am picking it up today! I better ride it before the race Sunday!

Link to Random Thoughts Thursday 137

Random Thoughts Thursday 134

By , May 18, 2017 6:23 am
  • It would be inappropriate (and boring) to talk about the stuff at work that makes me nuts, but a lot of times, I make a list of it and imagine posting about it here. Ha. Doing that, along with venting with coworkers, helps!

Awesome picture, right?!

  • More vagueposting – it feels ironic, that as someone who shares personal information on the internet, there are people out there I don’t want knowing mundane information about my life. It’s not because of knowledge reasons, but what they do with the information – hold it against me, overreact, or gossip about it. It’s hard for me to NOT share things, but I know it’s better off in the long run, with certain people. Ugh. (Most of it’s harmless, just annoying. Example – somehow other people have information I only told YOU, that I would have liked to share with them myself.)
  • On to the mundane! Steven and I are always looking for a show to watch during our lunch breaks. We watched Parks and Recreation, then tried to watch Extant, then watched Big Little Lies. Now we’ve decided to rewatch Game of Thrones. We’re catching a lot more watching it the second time, which is fun! Sometimes Khaleesi watches the TV when her namesake is on, which always makes me laugh. I haven’t grabbed a photo of that, but here she is watching The Secret Life of Pets:

  • My parents are visiting in June and this will be their FIRST trip to our “new” home without an entire weekend of labor involved (they’ve been here twice but once was for the move and the other time was to help with the second floor attic work). I am looking forward to them being here with the house put together and having more “free” time… along with a few projects, of course. Ha ha.

Link to Random Thoughts Thursday 133

All about the cat house!

By , May 12, 2017 7:24 am

A question I understandably get asked a lot is “what house projects are you guys working on now?”

All winter, my answer was “the cat house!”

Our fall ended harshly with below zero temperatures and lots of snow. The outdoor cats were doing okay – we had store-bought heated kitty houses (which Jen and Troy generously helped us purchase!) that we further insulated with moving blankets and insulation, then built a little platform over to block the wind, and covered with a tarp. It looked lovely.

What the set up looked like from inside the house…

But we wanted something more permanent that:

  • we could control the temperature in
  • was visually pleasing
  • we could see in to from our house
  • wouldn’t blow away (ha)

So, in December, Steven got to work building the cat house! We knew it would be costly, so we decided to have it be our Christmas gift to one another.

Steven used the cat house as an opportunity to learn about current house construction best practices. He already knew a lot, but this was his chance to try things out on a small scale! He spent a lot of time researching the best methods to build it, then sketched out the design.

And here is what he did! Get ready for LOTS of pictures!!! This is a loooooooooooooong post. But I want to document it all. I understand if you skim!

Continue reading 'All about the cat house!'»

Random Thoughts Thursday 133

By , May 11, 2017 7:45 am
  • I forgot to mention in my race report that I like the design on the Wisconsin Marathon/Half/5K shirt this year!

  • We’re having a generator installed in a few weeks! We’re mostly getting it for backup for the sump pumps, but I’m excited about the other things we’ll be able to continue using if the power goes out. Steven did a lot of work a few weeks ago moving the air conditioners (and putting down pea gravel underneath) to get the area ready for the generator!

  • I am loving the sun being up so early (today sunrise was 5:35 am)! Since we’ve been going to bed at a decent hour, some days, I can just let the sun wake me up. Okay, and these two:

  • I think this opinion article – “How I Learned to Shut Up About Running” (pdf here) – is not very well written or easy to follow (so how I read the whole thing I’m not sure) but I really like this statement: “But I’ve also made a realization: a lot of my pushing of others comes from the assumption that what’s good for me will also be good for everyone else, and also from my need to try to regulate or dictate other people’s lives.” YES. THIS. PEOPLE. Quit thinking you are the authority on how other people should live their lives. Gawd, if people would stop doing this, it would solve SO MANY problems. SO MANY.
  • The blogosphere has been dull lately, here included. It’s interesting how a lot of us have stepped back a bit, at the same time. I wonder if the bubble has burst and we’ll all get back to more story telling and connecting (as opposed to product shilling and “how to” lists). One can hope!

Link to Random Thoughts Thursday 132

Random Thoughts Thursday 132

By , April 20, 2017 7:23 am
  • Ha, my snister is so much smarter than me. She pointed out that the title Fate of the Furious, sounds like “eight,” and it’s the eighth movie in the The Fast & the Furious series. They so clever. Also, duh-town, Kim.

  • I LOVED the movie! I was entertained the whole time and sad when it was over! I might go see it again in the theater.
  • It’s been almost ten years since I graduated from college (in May 2007). My classmates are having a ten-year reunion in October. I may actually try to go!
  • I am itching to write a post about all the work Steven put in to the outdoor cat house. We just need to get a few more photos of it (which involves moving it a bit on a day when the sun is right for taking photos).

  • Ugh. Someone rear-ended me when I was sitting in traffic on Saturday (I’m fine, they just bumped me) and I have to take the car to get a quote on the bumper repairs today. Totally not in the mood to adult this week! At. All.
  • When I went outside on Tuesday, I noticed our log pile looked a little different. Last time we saw that tree in the middle, it was standing up! It just fell over, luckily, in to the woods (it was dead and we already had it marked to cut down). I am surprised we didn’t hear it!

What it looked like before

Link to Random Thoughts Thursday 131

Bad cat mom ii

By , April 19, 2017 7:46 am

Another bad cat mom moment!

I was excited when I saw tulips at Aldi* for a reasonable price this weekend.

And I was super impressed with myself for tying a bow on the vase and making it look festive.

A few days later I was thinking “Wow, the cats haven’t even destroyed them yet!” (As you know, Data likes to rearrange flowers.)

Then I googled “tulips and cats” and realized they were poisonous for cats. Oops.

Now the tulips are making the cat-free garage festive! Ha.

(What are they sitting on in garage? Steven built a storage unit to hold all of our building supplies on! Now I can park my car in the garage! Yay! Love my handy husband!)

*OMG though this tag. IT IS NOT “ALDI’S”!!!!!!!!!!!!! Ahhhh.

We’ve been here a year!

By , February 6, 2017 4:06 pm

A year ago on this date, we were moving in to our home! (All photos below are from move-in day.)

“Where the hell am I going now?” I learned from our first move it’s better to take Data to the new place FIRST and let him explore (rather than take him after the stuff moves in), so we did that at this house. 

Someone recently asked me if I have any regrets moving where we did. NOPE. We wanted peace and quiet and we got it. We were unhappy and on edge in our townhome. We’re not at all, where we live now. We’ve had one of our best years here.

Overlooking his new kingdom.

Steven wanted more projects and he got them! We’ve accomplished so many things at the house in the past year, all with his leading and planning (and some times, ALL his labor and very little of mine). And there’s always more to do. He’s happiest planning, solving problems, and building. It makes me happy to see him in his element and help when I can. And I’m grateful he takes the lead with that stuff – it’s not my forte!

I am so happy we hired movers for move #2. They rocked.

We have longer commutes now, and have put many more miles on the car, but a year in, we’re doing fine with it. We’ve adjusted our schedules accordingly and gotten used to it.

Powered by chai lattes!

I’ve also gotten used to running out here. We live off of a country road with a high speed limit – not ideal for running on anytime, really, but especially when it’s dark or the road conditions are bad. But I’ve found safe routes. And I luckily live between two thirty mile+ trail systems, a forest preserve, and a two+ mile lake trail loop. I have lots of awesome options, and even more if I hop in the car to get there.

We were unpacked in a few days, thanks to some help and smart packing!

We live “in the country,” but we’re actually equidistant between three decently sized cities, and it’s only a fifteen minute drive to each. We’ve figured out where to shop, and more importantly, found the good Chinese and pizza takeout. Ha!

We’ve met quite a few of our neighbors. We’ve yet to hang out with any of them, but we always have nice conversations when we run in to each other. One couple described our street as everyone being really nice, but mostly keeping to themselves, and that’s perfect for us. We also have some fur neighbors too, like Denali above. A lot of our neighbors have horses and we’ve seen plenty of interesting wild life in our backyard.

Again, so happy we hired movers.

We love having guests stay over, however, our house is actually the same square footage (plus a basement, woo hoo) as our townhome. So, we only have one guest bedroom! We plan to be here for a long time, and hope we can expand someday.

Move-day project – cutting closet rods so we can hang up our clothes and feel like we really live here!

But I love how the house is set up now. I like how the entire first floor has one big circulation loop. It feels spacious. And I like that the kitchen is NOT next to the living room. And that the living room has two story ceilings (that seemed like a waste when it was an option at the townhome, but I just love it here). And I love my huge soaking bath. And all the gorgeous windows. And I could go on and on…

“I’ve had enough.” The end of a long move day!

So yeah… you guys already know we love our home! Thanks for reading about it over the past year! There is definitely more to come – we still have so much we want to do!


By , December 23, 2016 6:14 pm

It warmed up, yay! But watch out… because the snow is sliding off of our tile roof in BIG (dangerous!) sheets!


No snow on that part of the roof because it’s all here:


We can hear it inside the house when the snow starts to slide off the roof. We race off to watch it fall and go everywhere. Data is not a fan of it. This afternoon a huge sheet came off by where he was sleeping and he was freaked out!

This seems really dangerous for someone walking by. Luckily, no one is. Otherwise we’d have to put up signs like they do in the city:


I seriously saw a gigantor piece of ice fly off of a high rise in Chicago and land on the roof of a car that was driving down the street a few years ago. Those signs are serious!

Owning this home continues to be full of surprises! I wonder what is next?!

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