Category: House

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!!!!!

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!'»

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