For the last few months, I’ll look outside my kitchen window and look into my backyard, I see this….


More importantly, I see and think this:


Autumn is going to be here in a couple of months, and I have absolutely no desire to endure the raking-of-leaves ordeal that I went through last year! So I hired a good friend, Pat, who runs a handyman business on the side, and we got down to business. We marked out the 4 trees I wanted gone. We removed some fence sections in the back and on the sides. He used a ladder to cut off some lower branches. Tied a rope to the top, which I yanked on as he cut through the trunk, so that the tree would fall into my yard. Let me tell you – every time a tree fell, I held my breath since I was terrified that it would fall the wrong way and smash either my neighbor’s shed or my fencing – but no casualties occurred!

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Then his wife, another good friend of mine and I started to pull all the leafy branches and tops out to the curb for the town to come pick it up. That was quite a bit of laborious work, but we got it done! We ended up cutting down 5 trees in total, and the result? A much happier me knowing that I have that many less leaves to rake! (Trust me, I’m not naive enough to think I’ll have no leaves to rake….I just hope it will be significantly less!)


It’s ironic, because growing up: I was a pretty big tree-hugger. I would give anyone who merely thought about cutting trees down the death stare. I judged people as evil for killing these wonderous living things. Even cutting branches off? I equated that to cutting off human arms! (So phone and power companies were never well-respected in my book… they cut trees to save their silly wires!) The horror! ….. But today? *ahem* After one fall’s worth of raking leaves? CHOP THEM ALL DOWN. Less is more! It’s sorta sad how growing up changes you.


As of right now, Pat needs to come back with his smaller chain saw to cut the pile of wood (that’s in the middle of the lawn currently) into logs. I’m debating on leaving that back section of the fencing off for a longer period of time, since I’m enjoying that big boulder and the extra space there is beyond the fence. (in case you wanted to know, my property actually extends beyond that – if you can spy a tree with a pink tie wrapped around it, in the back-left by the chain link fence – that’s the marker of the edge of my property.

The tops of each tree were all put to the curb, but the trunks – I saved. I have them stacked up in the back, and will let them dry out and then use them next year for a FIRE PIT that I want to add!


But look at that… all that space! Please ignore the lovely pile of junk that is in the middle there. The previous house owners used this area as a garbage dump. I’ve started clearing out all the rotting wood and trash (plastic wrappers, old garden containers, rusted chains, ropes, old fencing material, etc) that is in there. But I can salvage some of the junk, such as these concrete pavers (you can see them in the middle of the above pic, covered in sawdust) to use as flooring in my shed.


Gutter go boom.

Two days before I headed back home to DC for the holidays, I wake up to see that one of my gutters fell off the house.

Yep. Completely off the house. In the back, sitting not-so-pretty on my deck.

Granted, in my favor, it was not a roofline gutter, but a downspout one that hugged the house’s walls. Still, this happened in the middle of a wet winter. On that particular day, it was raining with forecasts of more rain, which meant any real fixes (as in = using sealant) was out of the question. And of course, add in the fact that I was going to be out of town – I didn’t want to just let water run onto my deck – possibly damaging the deck, and then there’s that whole water near the foundation issue. Water + foundation = not good.

I did suspect something was wrong with that particular gutter, because before that point in time – there was a HUGE ice dam building up off of it. It was pretty to see, but man, dangerously lethal if one were to try to walk under it and it fell. Thankfully it was not in a location where a person would normally walk under it. I knew I would need to be replacing all the gutters in the spring (which was something I already had in mind after replacing the one gutter in the fall). I just didn’t think this would happen!

Joys of home ownership, I know, I know. Yay.

So with 8 hours of daylight left, I called on a friend who has handyman skills and he came over to help me pick up my poor gutter carcass and put in a temporary fix. Something that was going to allow the water run out and AWAY from the house. Instead of having it drain the water back into the other downspout gutter, which was where it was connected to before (we couldn’t put it back because you need to seal the connecting gutters together, which the wet weather prevented us from doing), he flipped it around and set it up so that it would drain out towards my backyard. Thanks Pat!

Since this still let water run all over my deck, I needed to go out and get some more gutters in order to direct the water to the yard, so off I went to Home Depot. I decided to get some flexible gutters, since I was planning on getting some in the spring for the front of my house. Because I’ll end up permanently using these flexi-spouts in two different areas out in the front, I grabbed one in brown (where it’ll end up in a mulch area) and one in green (going in a grassy area). Came back home, connected those to the metal gutter. It wouldn’t hold by itself, so I scrounged up some screws and drilled them into the connecting part so that it would hold. This required 4 hands – two to hold it in place, and two to do the drilling/screwing, so I asked my next-door neighbor to come over to help me out. So standing out in the rain, she held the flexi-spouts in place for me while I attached them all together with the screws.


There! Temporary fix done, I hope it holds out till Spring! So far so good….

It’s sooooo classy looking (sarcastic). Half painted gutter, brown spout, green spout, in the middle of my deck, where I can see it everyday from my kitchen.
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New Rug!

The living room (family room? tv room? great room? entertaining room? I don’t what I’ll really call it yet) has all hardwood floors in there, and because of that, I want to get an area rug to put down in the room. Preferably by the time I move in, so that I won’t have to deal with moving furniture around at a later time.

Here’s the pic of the room again:


So I called on girlfriend’s help (thanks zlie!) and between her and I, we threw together a quickie diagram of what the living room would be in measurements:
Red = 8×10′ rug. Yellow = 6 x 9′ rug.
Blue and Green = current furniture.

Another one of my friends just bought a bunch of stuff from Overstock.com and they really followed through for her. She now has a dining room that is magazine-spread worthy! One of the items she bought was a rug, which I absolutely love, so I hauled butt over to the site and started checking it out.

Problem: There were WAY too many choices for me.
One thing about me is that when I am presented with too many options, I will shut down.
And leave.
And then regret that I left.

Thankfully, Zlie prompted me to pick whatever rugs that appealed to me, send her the whole batch of choices and she would help me narrow it down from there.

Well, starting out with 23 initial choices, she whittled down the pool to a much more palatable number of 5. I asked a few more friends for their opinions, and then walked away for about half a day so that I can “take a step back” and be able to look at the choices again with fresher eyes.

That proved to be VERY helpful, as I was able to almost immediately narrow it down to just 2 choices. It boiled down to color versus neutrals.
I am now one rug richer! Sabrina Soto would be proud!


Photo Tour


Pic below: View from front door. You see the entrance to the detached garage.

Pic below: A peek inside the garage.

First floor:

Powder room on first floor (sorry, I didn’t take a full room picture here!):


Living Room:

The Kitchen:





Dining Room, which leads right off from the kitchen (this view is from upstairs, where you can see the sliding glass doors that lead out to the deck and backyard):

The Deck and Backyard: (take a wild guess where the dogs preferred to do their business)
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There’s many broken window trims – apparently it’s a really cheap and easy fix called “j-channels” that need to be replaced.

Upstairs Hallway:

Master Bedroom (I love the vaulted wooden ceilings and high window here!):


The Vanity/Full Bathroom that’s a part of the Master Bedroom (“en-suite”):
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Full Bathroom on Second Floor:
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Second bedroom:

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This is the entry to the attic crawl space, which is located in the second bedroom’s closet.

The Basement: