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Category: Home improvement

Landscaping for slobs

I mentioned before that the people I bought my new-old house from were into landscaping that … well, could best be called chaotic (photos). While they completely neglected the house during their 15-year residence, they did a lot to the yard. And a lot. And a lot. And a lot more. And then more on top of that. They built ornamental fences and archways and hanging gardens and benches and canopies and screens. And they put in ponds and fountains and birdhouses and … well, you name it. And they built a fence and hung stuff on it and nailed…

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Sometimes ya got it, sometimes …

… ya don’t. I’ve been deadlining the past couple of weeks and have about a week and a half to go. The work is going well, but doing a number of small projects at once crowds my brain. I’m also going gangbusters on house projects in my spare time. (Ah, spring! It brings out the constructive insanity in a body.) All that’s to the good, and life is dandy fine. Don’t get me wrong. But the last few days have also brought a steady stream of itty-bitty time-wasters and irritations. Not one is of the slightest importance by itself, but…

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Friday miscellany

Stuff I’ve been collecting for you while having the living room flooring done, ripping siding off the house, and extracting rusted bicycles from the foliage.* Oh, and deadlining, too. “Neighbors confront alcoholic child abuser about his lawn.” (Don’t worry, it’s only The Onion this time.) Not that you actually needed proof that government is filled with idiots … An ISP that puts privacy first? Did you know there was a U.S. holiday called Loyalty Day? I didn’t. But it’s coming right up. Clearly we need to celebrate! “Born this way.” This article would be fascinating if it admitted the existence…

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Spring, sickness, andhome-improvement therapy

Saturday I learned that one of my dearest friends has inoperable pancreatic cancer. Even in this day of improving cancer treatments, the odds on that particular type are … well, better than the odds of winning MegaMillions, but worse than almost every other type of cancer. On the good side, she’s got a partner who loves her and is capable of taking care of her. She’s also got one of the world’s great daughters, who flew thousands of miles to be here as soon as she heard. But all things considered, that’s not much of a good side. It occurs…

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Dog politics, floor finishing, and a vast desire to lie on the beach in Tahiti

It’s not that fostering a dog is a full-time occupation — although dealing with the politics of a canine pack can be as consuming as (though much more honest and direct than) dealing with human politics. I have Robbie — normally the bully of the bunch, but this time remaining blessedly aloof. Clearly he believes introduction of a new female is a problem to be worked out solely by the girls. There’s Nadja. She’s low dog on the totem pole, but those few privileges she can claim for her own are hers, by damn. She’ll even head Robbie away from…

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I’m beginning to think I made a mistake

Loud parties all over the neighborhood yesterday. Well, it’s Carnival. One loud week a year, no problem. A Fourth of July that goes on for two weeks, no problem. But the neighborhood of my new-old house is beginning to get me down. Badly. You buy in a poor neighborhood, you expect some stuff. And hey, I’m the person who once told a real estate agent I’d rather live next to tar-paper shacks than the McMansions he insisted on showing me. But on top of the Notorious Neighbor from Hell, the quality of living here has deteriorated in the last year…

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Musings while painting a wall

Sorry for the non-posting. I’ve been taking advantage of unseasonably good weather and a break in deadlines to do a burst of late-summer projects. During breaks in yardwork and painting, I’ve watched mindlessly entertaining videos like The Human Slinky and the Bed-Sheet Cat. Occasionally even mind-activating videos like the ad for the new drug Complyacin. 🙂 Or getting my Bovard fix. He has a good take on the “effectiveness” of federal job-training programs. (I can’t believe I have friends who write for the Wall Street Journal. So respectable! And speaking of respectable, I just learned today that an old acquaintance…

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Anniversary

If this post isn’t 100 percent coherent or perfectly spelled, it’s because my friend L and I just celebrated with bloody Marys (and I didn’t make either of them as “lite” as she requested). Work this afternoon is going to be … interesting. One year ago today, at precisely this hour, I dragged my U-Haul trailer into town after a trip that was more eventful than I might have wished, but ended well with a little help from my friends. I paused at the title company long enough to sign papers. I popped into the real estate office to pick…

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Good-bye old door

Since I was five years old, I wanted a house with one of these. On the outside, it’s a door knocker, which nobody these days would ever think to use … On the inside, it’s a portal that opens to lets the person outside declare themselves friend or foe. You know: “Joe sent me” (I could run a speakeasy!) or, “The eagle flies at midnight” (I could be a spy!) … I was thrilled when my new-old house came with one in its front door. Alas, after having this brass relic for one year, less three days, my potential careers…

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Perceptions

There’s a man in this town who used to be a respected professional with a high-toned name. Now, thanks to decades of bad choices, all he has is his pride and three luxury automobiles he long ago relinquished the “privilege” of driving. And that toney name. Recently, a building he owned fell into such disrepair that the city condemned it and tore it down at his expense. My kind-hearted friend L., who mother-hens this man (and is apparently one of the only friends he has left), urged him to go in with her or let her go in with some…

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