Category: House

The house guest who doesn’t know when to leave

By , January 1, 2018 9:17 am

Steven and I had a productive New Year’s Eve planned out – exercise, house projects, put away Christmas decorations, and work. Then we were going to treat ourselves out to dinner!

But our dinner plans went awry! We had a visitor over mid afternoon and THEY NEVER LEFT. And they didn’t want to go out to dinner with us, sigh. So we stayed in.

Ha ha ha. That guest was Snow.

I brought Snow in around 2:00 pm so Steven could work on insulating the sliding glass door around Snow’s house. Snow was doing okay, sitting with me and being petted, but then he started to get antsy about going back outside. But Steven had to close the door to Snow’s house to work on it, and we didn’t want Snow out there, unable to go inside his house, so we kept him in.

Snow, Khali, and Data watching Steven work

Snow waited by the door to go out (rather patiently, actually), but eventually tired of that and went upstairs to hide under our bed.

When Snow’s house was ready for him to go back outside, we called for Snow and he didn’t come. So we shook the dry food container, and Data and Khali came running downstairs immediately. Snow slowly came out of the bedroom, came downstairs, and walked right by where Steven was holding the door open for him to go outside… then turned around and ran back up the stairs. He’s usually super eager to go back outside!

I think Snow may be done with winter! And done with his surprise visitors outside.

Photo from Christmas Eve. We were all watching a movie inside when Andrew saw this coyote running around in our yard! I took this photo of him right by the patio that Snow’s house is on.

Snow then camped out under the bed, FOR THE REST OF THE NIGHT! At first I thought he was scared, but then I realized he’d let me pet him and get all purry, he’d eat food, and he played with a mouse I put under there for him.

Yeah, totally done with winter.

He picked a good time to spend the night – it’s -8°F outside as I write this (the first floor of his house is 40°F, second floor is 75°F).

We don’t mind if he’s inside, but we would like to be inside when he is (to monitor what he’s up to), since he’s not fixed, doesn’t have shots, and has all his claws (we’d never remove them – just mentioning that because he could hurt Data or Khali during play, accidentally). So… we may be home for a while. But again, it is -8°F out!

In other news, I stayed up until midnight! Woo hoo! We watched a movie until 9:30, then Steven worked, and I did some computer stuff, then tidied up and cleaned to stay up. Ha!

And one last cute cat pic from the day:

Random Thoughts Thursday 159 (on Friday!)

By , December 15, 2017 6:39 am
  • For a while we’ve thought it would be nice to have a small table in the foyer, and we got one this month, as a holiday gift for each other. Steven said we’re really adulting now, since we bought a piece of furniture for a room we don’t spend any time in (other than coming and going)! Ha!

  • Wednesday’s quote of the day was a classic! And one I will be thinking of often as I get dressed for cold weather runs. Note: the fleece leggings I got from Amazon have been working well!

  • It’s crass to discuss but I am going to say it – I am grateful for work bonuses in helping me pay off holiday gifts!
  • Sigh. When I tell you I am sick, please don’t go straight to “Did you get a flu shot?” Pretend to have some sympathy first, before you go in to your flu shot lecture! (And what is the point of the lecture if I don’t have the flu?! Also, I generally keep being sick to myself and am NOT looking for sympathy, but sometimes you do have to tell people – like at work. And I do mention it in my training recaps, and life recaps, here.)
  • I can’t believe Steven’s dad and brother will be here in a week! AHH!!! We have all the presents purchased (just need to wrap them), except stocking stuffers. We still need to grocery shop and clean the house. And decide if we are going to put up more holiday decorations – we kept it low-key this year.

Link to Random Thoughts Thursday 158

What a turd

By , November 25, 2017 2:07 pm


Last year, we bought a lovely tree skirt. It was kind of expensive, but we figured we’d use it for years to come.

Last year’s tree and skirt

Data had other plans for it.

For whatever reason, he was drawn to it when he needed to throw up, or go number two. We kept cleaning up the spots, but it was of no use – the spots were horrible and wouldn’t come out. And the skirt couldn’t be put in the washer or dry cleaned. So when we recycled the tree at the end of the year, we got rid of the tree skirt too.

Grr. I was so mad.

We bought two tree skirts on sale after Christmas, liking neither as much as the first, but not wanting to make an investment at the peak of the season again, just to have it ruined.

The strange thing is, Data doesn’t do stuff like that anymore. Sure, he has throw up accidents, but he doesn’t do hate turds around the house. Ever since Khali moved in, he’s been on his best behavior!

So maybe there is hope for the new tree skirt?!


We’ll see when we put it out!

But I am sure Data (and Khali!) will find some other way to get in to trouble!

Cat house upgrade!

By , November 20, 2017 6:23 am

Snow gets in to his house through this “sliding glass door” that is left open all the time:

Which is fine in the warmer months, but not in the colder ones! Too much cold air is getting in, and too much of the heated air is getting out.

So we temporarily hung a towel over the enclosure to try to block some of the air exchange. Classy. But you know Steven had something better planned!

Steven used flashing and bent it to the shape of the flashing over Snow’s entryway.

Then tested it to make sure it fit.

After it did, he added copper snaps.

Then cut up a moving blanket and added the snaps to it as well:

Then attached the blanket to the flashing and slid it on top of the door (it only covers half the glass so we can still see if Snow is in there)!

Snow approves!

And thankfully, he figured out how to get in and out (I always worry he’ll think we’re blocking him out).

Snow likes to come in our house for cuddles from time to time, but he very much wants to go back outside when he’s had enough! So we want to make sure he’s comfortable outside!

A few mice

By , October 23, 2017 6:21 am

Although it felt warm out to me this weekend, it must have felt cold to this guy, because we had to evict him from the garage attic three times.

We have movement sensors* on the humane mousetraps* that we use in our attic spaces, and Steven got a notification late Saturday night that there was movement. So we got that guy out and released him.

Then again early Sunday morning.

Then again late Sunday morning. Ha. That time, I walked way farther away from the house to release him.

And he hasn’t been back. Yet.

(Ha ha ha, I wrote that too soon – I drafted this, then told Steven I was going to blog about it, and he showed me all the notifications on his phone – the mouse has been back since 2:00 am today.)

Also on Saturday, while doing yard work, a mother mouse and a bunch of baby mice ran out of the generator while Steven was leaf blowing. She ran all around with her babies attached to her, freaked the hell out. Sigh.

She finally ran up a tree, dropping a few of the babies as she went up!

I collected them all, and put them in a box for her to see. Then when she got in there, I relocated them, too.

I bet they are already back in the generator.

Snow really isn’t doing his job outside, is he?! (It’s funny I say that – because while I would be completely fine with the cats killing mice, I sure as hell won’t do it!)

*As usual, this is not sponsored – we’ve bought all these things ourselves. If you have interest in the systems we’re using, let me know in the comments and I can give details/product links.

Random Thoughts Thursday 149

By , September 28, 2017 12:32 pm
  • I forgot to mention in the post about my family visit that Snow was being a complete lovebug around my dad, which made me so happy! Data hates my parents, and Khali hides under the bed when they (everyone) visit(s), so it’s nice to have one cat be social and sweet.

  • Besides expecting to find the MBP bracelet when my mom visits, she always leaves little notes for us to find too. I love it!

  • Since we moved a year and a half ago, we only had two of our nice knives out of storage (and a block of steak/random knives). Last week we got the rest of our knives out and hung the magnetic rack up. I am thrilled to have those two knives off the counter (where they lived while they waited for the magnetic rack to arrive), and the rest of them out to use! Hurrah!

  • I started a new position at work this week and had to get a mega laptop to run all the programs I’m using. It’s so much bigger than my old one that I have to move my watch way down my arm so it stops hitting the keyboard. Ha ha! Data had to check it out right away (and wasn’t impressed):

  • As a result of starting a new position, I am completely brain-dead and exhausted from learning so much this week!

Link to Random Thoughts Thursday 148

Family visit & trenching

By , September 25, 2017 12:36 pm

What a quick weekend (said everyone, after every weekend, ever)! We were on the go from the moment my parents and maternal grandmother arrived Friday night.

We started with dinner at El Famous (a must!!!),

Everyone loves El Famous!

then did the indoor portion of the house tour for Grandma when we came back.

Dad checking out our Smith Machine

We had divided activities planned for Saturday, which is pretty common for my parents’ visits. Steven usually has a project planned for himself and my dad to work on, and my mom and I do our own thing (sometimes something productive, sometimes not, ha!).

This weekend’s featured project was burying the sump pump and gutter drain pipe. Awhile ago, Steven connected them and installed a corrugated pipe to get the water away from the house and toward the pond.


Connected pipes

Headed toward the pond

The plan for this weekend was to install a new pipe and bury it. We upgraded to a rigid, smoother pipe so it’ll be easier to snake it if something gets stuck in there.

Steven and Dad started their day early – they left to rent a trencher and pick up a few more parts for the project. While they were doing that, I gave Grandma the outdoor part of the house tour. Then Grandma, Mom, and I headed out to check out some garage sales and passed Steven and Dad on their way back to the house.

When we came back for lunch, they’d gotten so much done!

They had a lot of the trench dug, and the catch basin installed (not pictured). They took a break to eat with us, then got back to work. And we continued our adventures – on to the Jelly Belly Warehouse Tour, and to check out Lake Michigan.

Then we stopped home again, to change for church. Steven and Dad were starting to wrap things up at this point, and had to go get a few last pieces and return the trencher.

When we returned from church they were basically done for the day – they’d covered most of the pipe up, and built a little wall at the end to hold back the earth around the end of the pipe. We still have to cover that part, and take care of some extra dirt in the yard. But it’s nice to have that pipe buried and out of the way! It was a bit of an annoyance, and definitely an eyesore.

Everyone was tired Saturday night, especially Steven and Dad! It was a hard day for them, and hot out (in the 90s). We ate dinner, played a couple of rounds of cards and called it a night.

Dad and I went on a bike ride Sunday morning (yay!). When I came back, I made pancakes for everyone, and we hung out and played a few more rounds of cards before it was time for them to take off!

It felt like such a quick visit. I think packed days do that to me! Hopefully we can have a bit more downtime the next time they visit. And I definitely need to make sure I take a nap anytime I have guests arriving on a Friday (I wake up at 3:45 am on Fridays and staying up past 10:00 pm without a nap just ruins me for Saturday).

It was nice to have my Grandma see our house for the first time. Even though I was joking around about “Grandma Level Cleaning” I really do enjoy cleaning our home and have a great amount of pride about it. Steven and I both do. We love our little cottage in the woods, and we love having visitors!

There’s something there…

By , September 19, 2017 6:16 am

Ahh, adventures in Grandma Level Cleaning.

The last time I cleaned the outside and inside of the house windows, I spent all day working on it, and was really proud of my effort… until the sun shone through the windows the next day and I saw streaks. Everywhere. WAH.

So this time, I googled how to prevent that, and the tips on this site worked great – I used their 1:1 hot water to vinegar ratio, and wiped the squeegee after each use (duh, Kim, why didn’t you think of that before?). I also made sure to adjust the squeegee handle length depending on clearance around the bottom of the windows (so I could pull it all the way down continuously and not hit anything). I spent a long time working on it, and again, was proud of my efforts.

Until yesterday.

I was working in the office when I heard a loud thud and immediately knew what it was. Khali ran from the office toward the noise.

Snow rushed out of his house to see what was up.

Data used this opportunity to finish Khali’s breakfast (that’s not different from any other day though, ha).

Yep, a bird hit the window.

This actually happened several times last week, before I cleaned the windows, but this was the first time the bird stunned itself and I saw where it landed. And how convenient that it landed on Snow’s porch. Not.

I immediately took Snow inside, then made a little box for the bird to recuperate in. I read that after they hit a window, they need a safe, dark, warm space to chillax and let their heart rate come down.

So I put the bird in the box, let Snow back outside, and put the box in the bathroom and closed the door. After an hour, I took the box outside and opened the lid. The bird was breathing, but didn’t fly away.

I was trying to be calm, but I was worried the bird was seriously hurt (broken wing?) and I was going to have to find a way to put him out of his misery. Then spend the rest of the day crying in bed.

Luckily it didn’t come to that. Another hour later, I took him back out, opened the lid again, and lifted the towel he was on a bit, and off he went! Phew!

I was so relieved!

I’m hoping this doesn’t happen again, but it probably will since our windows are so damn clean. My snister was telling me about stickers you could put on your windows so the birds can see them better, but… I don’t want stickers on my windows. I’ll have to look in to another solution.

Random Thoughts Thursday 146

By , September 7, 2017 12:47 pm
  • Last weekend, Steven worked on clearing out more brush by the pond (not sure if I ever finished posting about the area we cleared last year, but we planted grass over it and it looks really nice now). I can’t believe how fast Steven cleared all that – he got it all done in about two and a half hours while I was out running errands. We have lots of ideas for what we’d like to do with the entire pond area, over the years!

  • We attempted to take Snow to the vet last week for a checkup. It didn’t happen. Sigh. He freaked the hell out each time we tried to put him in the carrier. Blood was drawn (Steven’s). It made me feel foolish – like I don’t know what the hell I’m doing. I may look for a vet that makes house calls. I want to make sure Snow’s healthy. And get him neutered (that obviously would not happen at home, ha!).

Bonus – he ran to the fireplace to hide and was so scared he peed all over

  • We celebrated our anniversary with dinner out in Milwaukee on Friday, and a boat ride on the Red Witch, followed by ice cream, in Kenosha on Saturday. We had fun, and I’d like to ride the Red Witch again when I don’t have a cold (and it’s not stormy, ha!).

  • I am so pumped about my favorite coworker returning to work from maternity leave next week. So. So. Pumped. (Which is probably the opposite of how she feels.) We already reserved seats next to each other for our office day next week! Yay!
  • Ha, speaking of our new office space, my boss is making little “name tags” for our lockers and asked (it wasn’t mandatory) for photos of ourselves. I sent her this one:

Link to Random Thoughts Thursday 145

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!!!!!

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