Operation: Fix This House!

Operation: Fix This House!
Our adventures in fixing up a fixer-upper

Confessions of an Antibride

Confessions of an Antibride
Snarky Commentary on Wedding Planning

Pink Dog Cooks

Pink Dog Cooks
Sort of.


And other Crafting Goodness

Of Mice and Customer Service

Monday, September 14, 2009

Because sometimes even the most well-intended plans fall apart.

A most miraculous thing happened at our house. We saved a little money. Holy crap!! I know!! I told you it was a miracle. So we started to take stock of some things that were dead, or headed that way, because Heaven forbid we should have money sitting around for too long.

On the top of the list were the windows in our bedroom. You can read more about that adventure here. We had been reminiscing about winters past, and decided this year we would not suffer through another winter feeling the rain and wind blast through our bedroom. We have replaced all of the windows in our upstairs except our bedroom. Windows are fairly inexpensive in the grand scheme of remodeling so we thought that would be a good next project.

The night we had agreed on the windows I was making dinner and noticed that it was taking FOREVER for our oven to heat up, and it just didn't seem to be heating up as hot as it should have been. I stuck a thermometer in there, and sure enough, "375" apparently means "310-ish" in our Oven-Land. Which was fabulous. Because ovens are not as cheap as windows. Especially when one is replacing one's appliances with stainless steel. And we're trying to save money.

We realized last night that we have been matching our kitchen appliances to our dishwasher that we bought a few years ago. It makes me think of that Kohler commercial where that woman meets with her architect in a fancy office and in a very dramatic fashion pulls a faucet out of her purse and says, "Design a house around this." Apparently that's precisely what we're doing. We're designing a house around our dishwasher. That's not weird, right?

One Friday while I'm at work MacGyver tells me he is headed to Portland for some errands and he was going to pick up windows for our bedroom. He said he was going to look at ovens and if he found a good one for a decent price he might pick it up. Even though I REALLY wanted a shiny new stove, I figured that I had fly's chance in a frog pond of actually getting one. Because we're SAVING OUR MONEY, remember?

So I come home from work and there is a brand spanking new stove sitting in the middle of my kitchen floor!!! He had hoped to have it all set up and installed by the time I got home. So there is the stove, and there is MacGyver. Super pissed. I can tell the difference between irritated and I'm-going-to-tear-the-face-off-anyone-who-looks-at-me-sideways, and he was pissed. Okay maybe not quite that mad. But he was pretty mad.

So I ask him what could possibly be wrong with him, since he just bought the most beautiful appliance I have ever seen since our new refrigerator!! He says nothing, and points to the stove. Now no one has ever accused me of being the most observant person in the world, but I really couldn't see the problem. It looked fine. Did I mention BEAUTIFUL? I told him I didn't get it, and he jabbed his finger at the sides of the stove where the knobs are. The back part that sits on top that has the oven display and everything? It has been horribly bent. It looks like the Incredible Hulk, or maybe Hulk Hogan, take your pick, has taken it and bent it forward so that the metal holding it onto the stove are buckled. More likely, it was dropped en route to the store. Now that it was pointed out to me, I understood his fury. We live in Tillamook. The store (which will remain unnamed for fear of future defamation lawsuits) is in Hillsboro. An hour away.

We agreed that I would call and speak to them about remedying this situation. So I called and spoke to Bob (name changed - refer to above feared defamation lawsuit). Bob assured me that he would exchange the oven no problem. We just had to bring it back to the store. Oh wait, no he doesn't have any more left in stock. Of course not. He would happily give us the floor model - that EVERYONE HAS TOUCHED. Would there be a discount? Oh, no of course not, it's not damaged. Nevermind this store sold a broken product that you drove it 62 miles home, and have to bring it 62 miles back. Fine. Whatever.

We drove back to the store and found Bob. He found us a manager to arrange the switch. The manager turns to these two stoners standing around probably contemplating how many bags of Cheetos their paychecks could collectively purchase, and tells them to go get a dolly to pick up the broken range and bring the new one out. We go to customer service and make the trade on paper. And then we wait. And wait. And wait. For 25 minutes. At which time Stoner 1 and Stoner 2 come out with a freezer. FOR ANOTHER CUSTOMER.

I should take this opportunity to point out that this freezer has a HUGE gash in the bottom of it. When the customer points this out, Stoner 2 says, "oh it's fine it's just a scratch." No discount for him either. I'm thinking this particular store should change their motto to "we sell busted stuff for regular prices!!"

When the store manager sees that we are STILL waiting, he asks Stoner 1 what they have been doing. Stoner 1 replies, "getting the freezer...ohhhh I didn't know what you wanted me to do with the stove", as he looks at us. Yeah, great buddy. Go smoke another bowl.

We've now been at the store for almost an hour. Stoner 1 tells us he's going to come help us as soon as he's done with the freezer. Whatever. We go out to the car and wait. Next thing we know, Stoner 2 strolls out of the store without his little apron thing. ON BREAK. He glances up and says, "Uhhh oh he'll be out in just a sec." Are you kidding me?

A few minutes later Stoner 1 comes out with Bob and switches out the stove. 248 miles, 5 hours and an extreme amount of tantrum throwing later, we have a new oven range!

It is wonderful. Our food cooks evenly! When it says it's heating up to 375, it's as truthful as a Boy Scout!! And the best part?

It matches the dishwasher.

An open letter to the traffic on our street:

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Specifically those who choose to remove the mufflers from your vehicles. I'm talking to you.

You're very proud of the noise you generate. I can tell, because you step on the gas every time you pass our house. This causes our walls to shake, and our windows to rattle, giving the overall impression that our house is about to implode upon itself. It is not an enjoyable experience.

Actually, as I'm writing this, I realize that I should like to extend this letter to emergency response vehicles as well. I won't argue that your use of sirens is necessary. Though I find it very interesting that you have an uncanny knack for blasting your sirens past our house, and then TURNING THEM OFF two houses down. Because apparently it is very important for us to hear that you are on your way to an emergency. Really, it's just weird.

Storms make the situation worse. I realize that the noise coming from your vehicles doesn't necessarily get louder during a storm, but couple that with rain gushing in through old, poorly fitted aluminum windows, and wind threatening to huff and puff and blow our house down, it really does seem worse.

Yes, un-muffled exhaust-laden vehicles, you have proven to be worthy adversaries these last few years. But we have finally won a round with you. Oh yes.

Please allow me to introduce new addition installed into the front of our house, and the inside of our bedroom: NEW WINDOWS!

That's right boys and girls. Brand new, double paned, vinyl shiny goodness from Jeld-Wen. TWO OF THEM!! Do you know what this means? In case you've skimmed the rest of the letter to get to the pictures, I'll tell you. It means that when I am laying in bed at 11:00 at night trying to sleep, and one of you Speedracers goes blasting down our street in all your un-muffled glory, I CAN'T HEAR YOU. Nope. Not anymore. And when those sirens are screaming past our house on their way to an emergency, I DON'T HAVE TO KNOW ABOUT IT!!!

It also means that I will not have to layer my windowsill with paper towels during the winter to soak up all the water that leaks through. And I won't have to watch our windows bend and bow in the wind when it is stormy.

Score one point for our team. Actually, there are two new windows so I think that allows us two points. TWO POINTS for our team!

Plus, we can have the air conditioner in our room now!! It used to be in the spare room across the hall with a strategic series of fans and open doors to cool off our bedroom. Because we're sensitive flowers and do not enjoy the heat. Yes, I'm well aware of how ghetto it may make the front of our house look. And no, I don't care. But thank you for that opinion.

In conclusion, to all the loud, un-muffled, siren-equipped vehicles in Tillamook, if you should so desire to stage a parade past our house at 1:00 in the morning, I say BRING IT!!! Because I won't hear you.



A special thanks to my father for coming out to our house when he had hoped to be out fishing to help MacGyver install those windows, and even taking one for the team when one of the old windows decided to explode on him. By the way Dad, Snoopy Band-aids are definitely your style! :) Because let's face it, I talk a good talk, but I'm pretty useless when it comes to helping with a lot of this stuff! :) Thanks again!!!

There's no turning back now.

Friday, June 12, 2009

As if we would have ever considered that!

I worked a half day today and then went to Portland. My dermatologist was able to fit me in a week early. I had a bit of freckle removed. For those of you who care, it went smashingly.

Whilst I was gone, MacGyver was home making quick work of tearing the rest of the garage down!

See? All gone!! And we met one of our neighbors who (as we discovered today) has lived in the house for about 50 years. Nothing like waiting 2 1/2 years to meet the neighbors. He is a super nice guy too. Almost makes up for his dog who likes to wander over and poo in our yard. He came over to chat while we were outside. Probably wondering what the hell we've been doing the last few days! We're making quite a mess back there.

Now comes the icky clean up work. I've been given strict instructions by the doc not to lift more than 5 pounds for a week. Pity too. I could be out there helping...


Thursday, June 11, 2009

I created a panoramic photo-collage-type image using Windows Live. Brilliant download, by the way.

This is my way of making a tribute to this mammoth tree I have both learned to love and loathe.

And this, boys and girls, is how we do it

I came home from work today and found MacGyver working on truckload number three of garage debris. Looks like I made it in time for the exciting parts!

I like the way the tree looks looking up through the roof of the garage.

MacGyver busted out the sawzall to cut the sides of the garage so the front could come off.

This next part is the truly exhilarating bit. I took a video for full effect.

Pretty awesome, huh? Yeah, I thought so too.

Yeah, still cool.

MacGyver is cutting back the sides little by little so the whole thing doesn't implode on itself. (Yes, Bryan, that's the definition of implode.)

Now the garage is a much smaller, narrower version of its former self. More to come! If we're lucky the garage will be down by tomorrow night!

Back at it

After El Stinko blew up last week, demo on the garage was temporarily postponed. We were not so easily thwarted. El Stinko was back up and running yesterday and Garage Removal 2009 was back on track.

By the time I came home for lunch, MacGyver had already been to the dump once and was working on removing the rest of the roof

I think this is a nice shot of the bigger picture here. MacGyver perched precariously on what is left of the roof of the (very unsafe) garage, with the reason we're tearing it down looming over the top of him.

I didn't take a video of this part, but this picture was taken while MacGyver was demonstrating how many feet he could sway the whole structure back and forth, while sitting on top of it. He thought it was hilarious. I just kept thinking, "you do not have Aflac!!!"

This is a nice view from inside what is left of the basement. As evil as that tree is, I'll admit it is beautiful. And I'm going to miss it.

For emphasis

Thursday, June 4, 2009

This is a video I took a few years ago during a windstorm.

I assure you it's much more dramatic than it appears in the video.

Demolition Day...sort of

Today MacGyver planned to dismantle the garage/lean-to/health hazard/outbuilding that actually decreased the value of our home during the last appraisal.

He spent about 2 hours busting out the roof of the garage and loaded up El Stinko (our old '72 Dodge Truck) to go to the dump. Apparently El Stinko had other plans and decided to blow up at precisely that moment.

Okay "blow up" might be a bit of an exaggeration, but it won't start. Which means no dump run. Which means the garage is not coming down. Which means the tree can't come down. And if the tree doesn't come down, there will most certainly be some sort of coup de etat launched by our Walnut Tree, which is unceremoniously trying to take us out. So you see, it is absolutely imperative that this tree comes down. Like yesterday.

Here is a picture of the demolition so far.

Here is a photo of El Stinko, currently comatose in the middle of the driveway.

The Beginning

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

This will be the first of many (not too many, I hope) posts about our impending backyard transformation.

Those of you who have been to our house (or have been within a sixty five mile radius of Tillamook) have seen the absolutely enormous Black Walnut tree growing in our absolutely not enormous backyard.

Here are a few pictures of this voluminous deciduous.

And one more, compliments of Google Maps.

I should preface the following with this disclaimer: I heart this tree. It was one of my favorite attributes to this house when we were looking at buying it. It's just too big. It needs to be in the middle of a giant field somewhere with wildflowers all around and squirrels taking up residence. If I could make that happen I truly would.

That having been said, this is no ordinary walnut tree. This particular tree undergoes an interesting metamorphosis every year around the end of fall, and becomes a giant, walnut-missile launching machine. These walnuts are extremely hazardous! They leave dents in the cars where they land. I'm not even going to begin to describe the agony that is caused by getting nailed on the head with one of these suckers. Seriously, the government should look into this for future warfare weaponry. They could classify it as Green Weapons of Mass Destruction. They could probably get a nice tax write off for it.

The other issue, besides the lethal walnut-chucking behavior of this tree, is that it is extremely windy in Tillamook. A few years ago we had a windstorm that broke the wind-o-meter at 124mph. This type of gusty wind breaks the branches of the tree (branches, mind you, that span over four properties on our block, and hang over the wires that deliver cable and power to all those properties, threatening nightmarish conditions every time a breeze passes through.) One year, a fallen branch took out the passenger side of MacGyver's car. Another time I came out to walk the dogs and found a 10 foot branch resting on the back of my car. Miraculously it missed it enough not to cause any damage.

I'm starting to think this tree wants to kill us.

After getting some helpful information from my parents, and doing some of our own research we discovered black walnut trees are coveted for the beautiful wood they produce. I'm all about recycling and planting trees, even serial killer ones. So I'd rather the wood was used for something useful rather than being burned or going to a landfill. We started calling around asking tree cutting people if anyone wanted to come take a look at our murderous beast.

We found a great company, JX3Hardwoods, right here in town that harvests high quality hardwood trees and makes wonderful things out of the wood. Here's the best part: are you ready? They are going to pay us to remove our tree. So they're removing our tree, taking the wood away, and paying us to do it. Yes, this is for real. No, we didn't tell them the tree is secretly plotting our demise as we speak.

Due to our ever booming economy, things have moved rather slowly (we made the original agreement in October); however, I'm happy to report that this potential assassin of a walnut tree will fire it's last missile sometime in July (fingers, toes, and eyes crossed anyway).

And to all you Tree-Hugging Hippies out there, yes, we plan to plant a new tree in its place. Something smaller. That does not bear round, smallish, concrete ammunition and require the property's occupants to carry extra health insurance. Maybe a nice soft lilac bush. Or a marshmallow plant...

It's BBQ time!!!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Is it wrong to buy someone a birthday present that also somehow benefits you?

Personally, I think those are the best kind of presents. I look at them as investments. Eventually I too will reap the spoils of my efforts! Meet our new BBQ.

It was an early birthday present for 
MacGyver. They were having a great sale that I couldn't pass up. And yeah, it's chained to the house. That's right. Just try and steal it. I dare you.

No really, don't. I will cry.

An Open Letter to Termites

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Dear Termites,

Please go away.

Wikipedia informs me that you are a social creatures that work closely together to sustain your colonies. You are considered eusocial (according to the ever-knowing Wikipedia), indicating that you have a system of dividing up labor responsibilities amongst yourselves, you have overlapping generations, and cooperative care of your young. I see we have some things in common, humans and termites. Yes, Termites, I have done my homework.

I could embrace our similarities and forge an unprecedented relationship with your insect family. Offer squatting rights, if you will. But I am not going to do that. Why, you ask? Namely, because I don't want to. I find your slimy, albino, leggy bodies vile and disgusting, and your behavior absolutely inexcusable. You're eating our house. And I need you to stop. Today.

Your occupancy has created a bit of an issue with the integrity of the posterior of our house. The door doesn't close properly anymore, and body-slamming the doors in my house is not a recommended contact sport. It is not even recognized by the IOC.

Eventually, the entire floor had to be ripped out and replaced. You remember that day, I'm sure. That was the day we poked at you with sticks and dug up everything you had worked so hard to build. I am generally a nonviolent person, and am willing to forgive mistakes. I understand a first time offense. Perhaps the initial Insect/Varmint/Pest removal completed before we moved in (compliments of Dan the Bug Man - thank you kind Sir), and two and a half years of residency have not been sufficient enough to indicate we live here now. When we discovered your existence, we asked you to leave, and made what we thought was a fair settlement with your Termite lawyers. Apparently you did not take that seriously.

Now we are declaring war. We are prepared to unleash the worst from every level of Mr. Alighieri's Inferno to eradicate your presence from our property. There are no squatter's rights in Tillamook. I've checked. And we pay taxes. Therefore, consider this to be your eviction notice, effective immediately. We will launch the nukes at dawn.

DISCLAIMER TO THE INTERNET: I understand I may have put a few words in this letter that have most likely flagged me on every government Anti-Terrorist Task Force list. I would like to plainly state my disclaimer that I have no intention of causing harm to anything living or dead on this Earth, apart from the odius insects holding court under my back porch. I do not possess WMDs or have access to unrefined uranium. Please do not tell the termites about this.

Testing photo uploading capabilities

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

I'm providing a gratuitous photo of Linus and Mojo for testing purposes. For those of you who are not acquainted with the schnauzers that share in our remodeling endeavors, Linus is the one on the left. I know he looks ugly. Don't make fun of him, he's sensitive. And it's rude. Mojo is on the right. You can make fun of him. He deserves it.

Joker's wild

It was just brought to my attention from my friend (thank you, Zack) that the Congress Brand playing card we found in the walls is apparently an old manufacturer of playing cards that used very unique pictures on their faces. I did some Internet sleuthing and found out that a deck in nice condition is worth a little bit of money online. Go figure! I think we'll keep our humble little joker wall-card.

New Bathroom!!!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

This is by far the most exciting (and necessary) project we've completed on our house to date. I did a fairly good job of chronicling the processes this time so the pictures are all here. I suppose that's what happens when you don't slack off on the blogging...

Let's start by taking a stroll down memory lane to visit our old bathroom. Here it is folks. All 17 1/2 sq. inches of it. The shower stall was the size of a phone booth (Superman most certainly would have had a time of it trying to do his little changeroo in that confined space!!). The floor was squishy in several places and the toilet rocked back and forth a few inches to each side. Everything was rotting out and needed to be replaced. And we were more than happy to make that happen!!

First step, rip out that old shower stall! Yes, folks, that's where we showered for 2 long years.

The next step always seems to involve an enormous mess.

The plumbing was a bit tricky, but God Bless those nice people at the local hardware store. They set us all up with the right tools to do what we needed!!

MacGyver framed in the wall for the new bathtub area.

Then the new subfloor was installed!

First of the sheet rock goes up!

The bathtub does not belong on the bed...

It goes in the bathroom!!

Break time...

Tiling begins!!

Now for the upper part of the bathtub enclosure.

Last piece!!

Cue the violins and chorus...........

All done with the bathtub!!

and here is the spout...

Before this, our only bathroom fan was when the wind blew. Now we have a real one!! Our new ceiling fan!!

Texturing, texturing, texturing...

Finally some paint!

Painted walls by the tile.

Our new can light fixtures!

Now for a new toilet the only requires one flush and doesn't double as a theme park ride!!

Out with the old...


Installing the new subfloor. We pulled out the old linoleum and found such severe atrocities I chose not to document them. Suffice to say things were much worse than we had anticipated and all of the bad things are now long gone!!

In with the new!!!

Tiling of the floor begins!! It is the same slate as the bathtub surround.

Just a few more...

Ready for grout!

Sooooo pretty!!!

A few pictures of the finished product!

I created a panoramic view of the bathtub/shower area using Windows Live.

I like that the bathtub enclosure goes above our heads like a bat cave! :) I love our new bathroom. 


2009 ·Pink Dog Blog by TNB