Friday, September 29, 2006

The Fence Is Done!

Yay! We have a fence! This morning, the fence crew finished up their work. Frederick Fence Company did a fantastic job! This is the side opposite the privacy fence:

The idea was to have this side match the style of the exising fence in the rear of the property. Now the pets have room to run free (note Max's fluffy tail in this pic):

We still have to put in the wire mesh for the back fence, and Max apparently is smarter than he looks.....his first test this afternoon was to see if he would go under the back fence. He did. Right over to the farmer's yard and to the alpaca & chicken pen. Good thing those things are fenced in.

So Joe met the neighbor farmer lady when he had to go get Max....and learned an interesting fact! She said that alpacas kill foxes, and often mistake small dogs for foxes! They almost lost their dog a few weeks ago when they put it in the alpaca pen, not knowing this. The alpacas tried to stomp it to death! So it's a good thing Max didn't find his way in there.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Stormy Weather

We had some fast-moving storms pass through this evening, and reports of tornadoes over by Baltimore - less than an hour away! This massive moving cloud passed on by and brought a nice cool front with it.

The good news is that the torrential rains held off till late afternoon, which means the fence folks got the rest of the fence posts in, and should be finished tomorow - yay!

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Fence Progress

So when I left for work this morning, we had a bunch of big posts in the gound. I actually took pictures of them, but accidentally deleted them before transferring them. Oops!

When I came home this evening, this is what I found!
We went with this type of privacy fence on the side with our neighbors, in the hopes that the less Max sees, the less he will bark. The fence on the opposite side of the yard will be a paddock fence, similar to the one in the back yard, pictured here at the end of the privacy fence.

It's amazing how easy they make it look, what with all their right-tools-for-the-job and power equipment.....I don't think we ever could have taken this on ourselves, just for the time alone that it would take to put in all the posts. I think all in all there will be at least 50. Try digging that with a thanks!

Monday, September 25, 2006

Fill 'Er Up!

Time to start moving things into the new pantry. Here's s sneak peak:

It didn't take long to fill it up! Now we just need to get the new kitchen cabinets delivered and installed, and we should finally have some room for everything.

Meantime, I found a much more friendly insect crawling up the side of the house. I haven't seen one of these in years:
Tomorrow the fence company comes out to start work on the fence. Just in time - Joe tells me Max had a visitor this morning - a big black puppy dog sitting on our deck!!

Sunday, September 24, 2006

One Pantry, Over Easy....

Well! I think we will call this...A success! Today we hung the shelving in the new pantry area, and are pleased with how this turned out:
The finished pantry area is 5 feet wide, 8 feet tall and 2 feet deep. Right now, we have 5 shelves, and depending on how Joe organizes the stuff we may consider adding another one or two. Thus the beauty of going the adjustable shelving route - I can already see the benefits of that.

The lower 2 shelves are full-length, with the bottom one being 20-inches deep, and the 2nd-from-the-bottom one being 16 inches deep. The top 3 shelves are 4 feet wide and 12 inches deep, and staggered to allow for higher things on the sides. I think this will be a great start!

The only thing left to do is finish the doors. My plan is to install a sliding by-pass door system, with 2 doors that can slide to one side or the other. I think this makes more sense than actually having a door that you have to open, or bi-fold doors, that would open up into the hallway.

While I'd like to get this done before the kitchen project starts, I'm not too concerned if it takes a few weekends longer to actually get to.

This coming week should be packed with things happening - the fence people are supposed to come out on Tuesday morning to start work on a joint fence project with our neighbors, and the new kitchen cabinets are supposed to be delivered on Friday. Weee!

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Pantry Project - Home Stretch!

Despite turning a year older (anyone who asks how old will get a dead fish mailed to them ><) , we managed to fit in some pantry work in between birthday cake and festivities. Today, we did a little more spackling, another round of sanding (my gawd, the dust...THE DUST!) and, most exciting, got a coat of paint on the walls! Wow, what a difference. It looks...CLEAN!Today was also the day to get the shelving, and we spent a good deal of time trying to decide what to get - shelving that would have to be permanently mounted in place, or an organizer system that could hang and be totally adjustable. Solid shelves might look nicer, and would probably cost less; an adjustable system would really give us lots of flexibility and allow us to change and add things as time goes by, and it's easier to see things.

In the end, we decided on an adjustable system from ClosetMaid. Dang, those pieces are expensive. Let's hope we like it!

The plan is to get another coat of paint on (hopefully yet tonight), and get the shelving system mounted tomorrow, so we can get our pantry back.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

2 Great Things In 1 Day!

September 19 is Talk Like A Pirate Day!

So.... ARRRRRRR! Swab the deck!!! ARRRRRR!

In honor of TLPD, I'm posting these pictures from Baltimore last Friday. This ship is docked at the Inner Harbor. There are lots of canons too. I would love to own a canon.And as luck would have it, we saw a pirate and a wench!
Not sure why, but they were wandering around the Inner Harbor area talking like...well...pirates! Maybe they were starting to celebrate TLPD early.

September 19 is also my birthday! Happy Birthday, Me! ARRRR!

My birthday celebration started a little early this year, thanks to Joe. He's really amazing and can plan the best days.He caught me completely off-guard on Friday morning by springing on me that I needed to get ready, as we were leaving! And he wouldn't tell me anything more! So off we went in the car, heading east towards Baltimore. I tried to guess, I tried to weasel info...nothing!

Our first stop was for lunch, at one of my favorite (though certainly not the healthiest!) fast-food places - Long John Silvers!! OOoo, how I love their Chicken Planks! ARRRR! If I were a chicken, my goal would be to become a Long John Silvers Chicken Plank.

From there, we headed to Baltimore's Inner Harbor, where we walked around and checked out the many shops and specialty stores.Then Big Surprise #2 - he ordered tickets to Ride the Ducks! Ha! An hour tour through the streets of Baltimore, and then an hour around the harbor. How cool! Captain Al was our fearless duck-driver: And we got duck noisemakers! I was worse than thet 8-year old behind us. Hee hee.

Note: The best bad pun Captain Al made: while going over some potholes in the street, he said "Sorry for the bumpy ride. Just remember - it's not the Duck's's the Asphalt." Bwuahahaha! Captain Al also plays alot of polka music.

Note #2: If you look closely, in the mirror behind Captain Al....that's Joe! :)

After the Ducks, Joe "claimed" to have to alter plans a bit, since it was starting to rain. Back in car, with no hints or clues as to where we were going. We arrived at a place call Arrundel Mills, which is a really nice outlet mall. His story was we needed to kill a few hours before heading back to Baltimore. What a snow job.....

The mall itslef was super nice. There was an Egyptian movie theatre unlike anything I'd seen before:And a Bass Pro Shop, which is a lot like Cabella's, if you've ever been there:And then we passed the place called Medieval Times. I couldn't figure out what it was, but it looked neat. I wanted to go over and take a closer look, but Joe told me we could come back to it later, if we had time. I'm such a sucker.

So after 2 trips around the mall, and still no clue what we were doing, we start to head back to where we came from. And as we passed this Medieval Times place, he suddenly went over to the ticket counter and asked for the tickets he reserved.What a sneak-head! Turns out to be a medievil dinner theater/jousting show - with real live horsies, a king's feast (and eating with just your hands - woo!), and yes, jousting! And Joe got us front-row seats :) I'm spoiled rotten.....

Totally, totally cool. We had a great time, and this makes for a great memory of our first adventures in Maryland!

If that's not bad enough, check out Joe's blog for my birthday dinner and birthday cake :) Man, oh man....

Monday, September 18, 2006

Power Dog

No, this isn't me. Though I feel like a Power Dog with all the pantry progress!

We found this guy at the Inner Harbor in Baltimore. What we were doing in Baltimore will be the subject of tomorrow's post! How's that for a tease?

Meanwhile, with another day off from work, we got the 2nd round of joint compound on the drywall seams, and fixed all the holes.

I think tomorrow will be a day of rest.....

Today we also spent a nice chunk of the morning at the Motor Vehicle Administration. This time, to get both the cars registered and titled. Waiting at the MVA reminds me of Bingo. You get a number assigned at the information desk (ours today was E39!), and wait. Wait wait wait for your number! B15! A8! D24. D25. D26. What the hell is with all the D's?? Call an E!!

When we got there, they were on E25. That's not a good thing. E26 took forever. In the end, it took about an hour and a half to get to E-39. When I retire, I am going to go to the MVA a few days a week, get numbers, come back an hour or 2 later, and scalp them.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Pantry Project Update

Much to my surprise, I'm making progress on the Pantry Project! This week, we went to work on the other side. But first, I had to relocate all the pantry items throughout the house. Now Joe has to play a little game of hide-and-seek to find where I put everything :)

Note Max in the background - smart enough to keep his distance, but fearful of missing crazy antics, especially ones that might involve maiming and/or hospital visits.

After I got everything happily relocated to new homes throughout the house, I took out the shelves. This was not very difficult. Still, I managed to make several new holes in the pantry walls that will now need to be fixed.

Then I tackled the drywall, and we have breakthrough!

These pesky little 2x4s were next on my list - who needs 'em? This proved to be a great opportunity to use my hammer and circular saw. And with that, we get the fist glimpse of the soon-to-be Super Pantry!

The good news it that so far, the roof hasn't caved in. I'm fairly confident it won't, but will sleep with one eye open tonight.

I hope to do some minor re-framing, drywalling, and painting by the end of the weekend. I suppose I should come up with a design plan for the interior to make the most of the space.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Weekend Warrior

Enough about bugs! On to something much more fun - DEMOLITION!

As we wait for the kitchen cabinets to arrive in a few weeks, I've decided that one project I need to tackle is expanding the pantry. I've watched Flip That House, Flip This House, Weekend Warrior, Property Ladder, and just about everything else on HGTV & TLC, so I am an expert on all things house-related.

The Pantry Project is pretty simple. In theory. We have a closet/pantry off the kitchen in the hall hallway. Next to it is a linen closet. Who needs that? Linens are for sissies. So, I am going to take out the wall in between the exisitng pantry and linen closest, and make a Super Pantry!

This is my canvas!The first thing I did was poke a few holes in the wall to make sure there's nothing major to worry about - pipes, wires, bodies....

Success! That cleared the way for Stage 2:

I decided this was a great stopping point for the weekend. Especially since Joe said something like "You sure that's not a load-bearing wall?"

I've heard of those - are they important? Let me Google that and get back to you next weekend....

So I cleaned up and decided I need to think about this for a few days.

The big question - how long will this take me? I was hoping to have it done before the rest of the kitchen remodel begins, which should be the first week of October. Wager responsibly.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Don't Count on Me...

So! With all these bugs, I decided to take matters into my own hands, and personally train Miss Kitty to KILL! ATTACK! GRRR!

Lesson 1: KITTY! BUG AT 3:00! ATTACK!!!!

...Kitty? Hellooo....?

Ok. Time to work on a Plan B.....

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Ok, I Don't Like Bugs....

So! After yesterday's harrowing experience with the Black Widow, I decided to move outside, where it's safer!!

That's where I encountered THIS!!!

Note: The fun thing about me and discovering new insects that I've never seen before, is that I immediately run to find the camera. I drop everything. I come running inside, Joe looks at me like I'm crazy, Max starts barking his head off, and back outside I go. I know, I'm weird. I like to think of it as one of my (many) endearing qualities.

So back to the bug. After much research (3 minutes with Google), I found out this is a Wheel Bug, Assassin of the Bug World! And lookie - he is eating his little prey!

That little red pointy thing is his assassin head/nose. It uses that to suck out the insides of whatever it kills (I think this used to be a caterpillar), liquifying it with its venon.

I also learned that if this thing bites you, it hurts. Luckily, I learned that through reading, and not experience. I am guessing had it not been feeding, it never would have let me get this close for pictures.

So! What's next? Or should I not ask.....!

Monday, September 04, 2006

I Don't Like Spiders and Snakes....

We lived in Phoenix for 2 1/2 years, and *everyone* warned us about scorpions! You'll see lots of scorpions!! OOooOOoOoooo!

Well, we never saw a single one, which was somewhat disappointing, in theory. Fact is, I hate spiders. And snakes. They give me the creeps.

BONUS QUESTION: Who can name the artist who sang that little ditty titled "I Don't Like Spiders and Snakes"?

So, while I was out in the garage this morning moving stuff around, I found THIS!

By my feet! GAH!! It was big and ugly. I grabbed a broom and was turning it around because it seemed like the thing to do, and then discovered THIS!!!!:

I'm not good with identifying insects, but something told me a spider with a big red marking is, well, special.

So I put it in a glass (remind me never to use this glass again) and took it upstairs to show Joe:

He immediately said "That's a black widow...."


I'm sorry. It almost sounded like you said "That's a black widow". As in, killer spider.

Excuse me....


OMG! A black widow spider! Holy crap! I told him we're moving.....

Now I really won't sleep tonight thinking this little thing has an egg sac somewhere that I did not find, and all her little black widow spiderling things will come find me in the middle of the night.

I think I need to take up drinking...

Now I'm wondering if this is what bit Spike a few weeks ago. The symptoms I've found online for humans seem to match up pretty well with the symptoms he had. Any spider experts out there have any suggestions for making our house black widow proof? My first suggestion was to call the Governor's office and suggest they declare a state of emergency, call out the national guard and spray a small area, oh, about the size of the whole State.