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  • June 13th, 2008 | 10:58 PM
Friday Five - the home improvement edition

There is still a little bit of Friday left so here's a little bit of what has been going on around my house.

1 -  We got bids on replacing/upgrading our furnace and AC systems.  We have two separate systems, one for upstairs and one for downstairs. This house is an odd assortment of things so we expected surprises. I didn't expect it to be quite so much money but, like I said, we have two systems and need two systems because there's no way to tie the ductwork from one to the other. The last guy was very good and even came up with a way we could add another vent to my office (down the road.) Right now the two AC units sit on the seldom used sideyard. I thought that was a good thing because I didn't have to design the landscape around them. Turns out they are too close to the fence to pass code. Gee, what a big surprise. Now they have to go in the tiny backyard and I have to design the landscape around them. Plus that means all the electrical and plumbing needs to be rerun correctly under the house and out the other side. Sigh. And if we're going to the trouble and expense of all of that, well we might as well replace the ductwork which most likely has asbestos that will require special handling. Sigh. And we have to try and figure out how long we will be without AC here in the midst of summer - hopefully only a couple of days but the whole job is going to be more like 7 days.

2 - We got bids on replacing the roof. Sheesh. We had people who told us the roof was fine and we just needed to pressure wash the shakes and all would be good for another 10 years. We had someone only pushing composite. We had someone only pushing metal. Everyone did agree however that our funky additions in the library and my office makes the roofing/insulation a must do.

3 - We got bids on removing concrete (of which there is much) and replacing the driveway with pavers. We had one guy price it so high that he must not have needed the business. Actually so high that I figured we wouldn't be able to do it at all. We finally found someone more reasonable and that looks like it's a go in the near future. Which is a good thing since the furnace/AC guy would have needed to break up some of the concrete on the sideyard anyway and if we do this in the right order, it will be helpful to him. He is also going to redo the courtyard patio in pavers so everything matches which means now is the time to have that trenched in places so we can run the downspouts into the planting area rather than letting it just wash across the courtyard.

4 - I have been working on the design of the front yard. It's hard for me to picture it with the aggregate gone and the one remaining tree taken out.  We will be taking out the lawn which means I need to decide what to do with the sod when we take it up. I think I can use most of it in the backyard where I will let it compost in place for a long time. There's no way we'll get the entire yard in this fall so I can have a lasagna compost pile and plant wildflowers on the top of it until it breaks down.

5 - I have been working on the design for the backyard. I'm trying to figure out the best combination of plants to bring the most amount of birds and butterflies to the yard. I'm debating whether it makes a difference if I have a swing or a glider under the arbor. I'm trying to decide if I want an actual patio area or just pockets of places with benches. The yard is very small but has the potential to be something nice. At least the way I see it in my head.

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There are so many stories only you can tell.Tell them, please.


( 8 comments — Leave comment )
June 14th, 2008 07:18 am (UTC)
It's going to be lovely and wonderful when you're done, even though I know we can never be "done."
June 14th, 2008 05:29 pm (UTC)
I'm overwhelmed at just trying to start and trying to think of all the things that I need to think about before we can start and, oh yeah, working at the same time.

But getting the hardscape in the yard will be a huge and lovely change.
(Deleted comment)
June 14th, 2008 05:32 pm (UTC)
Thanks. You're so right - so much money and so much all at once. (I swear, once we get through this stuff paying to rip out the ugly tile and put in hardwood floors will be a breeze.)

We have a local store here that has a glider and a matching bench that I am considering. The arbor will have our native grape on it and I saw a house that had that and had a swing. I keep wondering about the "romantic" look of a swing but for some reason a glider feels more practicle. I don't know.
June 14th, 2008 03:48 pm (UTC)
My goodness. I am speechless. Girl, you gots troubles of the massive sort. lol
June 14th, 2008 05:32 pm (UTC)
Don't I though?
June 14th, 2008 05:10 pm (UTC)
Your list of things-to-do is enough to exhaust anyone. But they all sound like things that'll improve your home and yard, and the results will be beautiful!
June 14th, 2008 05:34 pm (UTC)
Thanks, Dori. It feels a little overwhelming to do it all at once but we're also not getting any younger and I want to be on the road to enjoying the yard/house more. :-)
( 8 comments — Leave comment )

Who am I?I was born on the Cancer/Leo cusp and share a birthday with Ernest Hemingway and Robin Williams. The similarities don't stop there as I can go from depressed to ecstatic without ever passing go. I feel scared most of the time though my friends call me brave and I find it easier to believe in my friends than to believe in my own abilities to make what I want out of my life.

Who am I? A wife, a mother, a daughter, and even, gulp, a grandmother.

Who am I? A writer who never gets tired of playing with words, even when the words are hard to find. A writer of books for children and articles for grown-ups and many things in-between.

Who am I? A motivational speaker, writing instructor, workshop leader and full-time follower of dreams.

Who am I? Read and find out.

Susan Taylor Brown

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