Projects, Points, Pedicures…Oh My!

Disclaimer: There is no pedicure. I just couldn’t think of anything else that started with “P.” I hope I didn’t get anyone’s hopes up…

So  my plan was to write this great post about the Bathroom Project, complete with amusing pictures. The light fixture in the hall bath that the kid use has been dying for some time, but apparently died an ultimate death sometime last week. When? We’re not sure as it took the kids several days to share with us that they were showering in the dark. Our temporary solution? Put a lamp in the bathroom. An honest-t0-goodness lamp that you need to turn on by hand. Hopefully a dry hand. We may have mentioned that to the kids. Maybe. Possibly not. Anyway, we assumed that the fixtutre would need to be replaced, complete with search for fixture, installation, and repainting of the bathroom because of course the new mount wouldn’t match the paint lines from the old mount. This was going to result in, I was sure, many funny stories. But, as it turns out, Himself was able to re-wire the fixture, replace the bulbs and basically fix the problem with $20 worth of parts and one trip to the hardware store. And as much as I wanted to be irritated that he ruined what was sure to be a hysterical blog-post, I really wasn’t all that disappointed to NOT be painting more walls in my house. As Painting Walls in My House is a post that will be written another time, but which I can assure you will start with, “Chapter One – The Rainbow Doesn’t Have Enough Colors.”

So, that’s not what we’ll talk about today. Instead, we’ll talk about Spring Cleaning and the Patio.

So, let me show you a few before pictures from the patio:

Dead plants? Why yes, but only a few. I'm on a diet.

I could claim it's dormant, but only if by "dormant" we mean "stone cold dead."

This is not the environment in which we optimally enjoy pursuing new states of drunken-ness sampling new vintages. So this weekend, with the Mother-in-Law coming and all, we decided to make some improvements.

So, first, allow me to show you this:

It's not a traffic cone. You can tell because it's not orange.

Ok, here’s the script for this next bit of dialogue. Read carefully.

You: “Ummm….Lori…What the hell is that?”

Me: (proudly) “It’s a fountain!”

You: “Lori, dear, you have really bad taste.”

Me: “No, there’s an explanation!”

You: “Is it going Trick-or-Treating?”

Me: “Is it October already?”

So, here’s the explanation, and I promise if you read slowly it’ll make sense. We have a fountain that sits on the patio. Since we put up all the birdfeeders last fall there have been a ton of finches in the yard and they drink from the fountain. The fountain turned fourteen shades of manky (possibly because finches are drinking from it?) and really needed to be cleaned. With bleach. But I didn’t want finches possibly drinking from it with bleach running through it, so I moved it to the side of the house. But then, worried about the generally large population of birds that frequent the yards with Backyard Neighbor and I both putting out the equivalent of Sizzler’s All You Can Eat BBQ Ribs for Birds on a daily basis, I was concerned that just moving the bleach-filled fountain wouldn’t be enough, so I put a cover over it. But in order to make sure that the cover rested over the water instead of in it, I put a step-stool on top of it, and then covered it with a sheet. With a leaf pattern, because, you know, it’s spring and all.

See how much sense that makes when I put it that way?

After letting the fountain run bleach through it for it for an hour we scrubbed, rinsed, scrubbed some more, put clean water in it and put it back. We also ripped out dead plants, planted new plants, put root-bound trees in the ground and planted a tomato seedling (more on that in a minute.) And the net result was this:

You can tell it's better, because in the reflection in the window I'm now wearing a hat.

This is what the fountain looks like when it's NOT wearing a step-ladder and sheet.

Wherein I PROVE that I can tell the difference between live and dead plants.

The perfect end to the day...

And trust me, after all this? There was an epic nap. We just can’t plant the crops the way we used to.

But about that tomato seedling…

I love fresh tomatoes, I covet fresh tomatoes, I exert HUGE amounts of restraint to keep myself from foraging in the neighbors’ yards in search of fresh tomatoes. But my own yard is not hugely “fresh tomato” friendly. So…

Well…

Because of all that, you know…

We did this:

It's not like we got color choices, you know.

The tomato plant is not as traumatized as it looks. I actually lied down (laid down? lay down? I HATE this one!) on the ground to stare up at it and assess the relative perki-ness of the leaves. They’re pretty perky. It doesn’t seem to mind its current habitat.

Himself wanted to be sure I mentioned that we selected a strategic location where you really can’t see the planter from anywhere else in the yard.

You really get a good sense of our bowling-alley shaped yard with this shot.

Although claiming that aesthetics are important to us at this stage of the game feels a little empty.

So between the Spring Cleaning and the Gettin’ Back to Nature, this was how we spent the weekend.

And now to the question you’ve all been waiting for…What’s the Current Points Score?

The previous score: +19 points

  • Store-bought cake to celebrate my mother’s 64th birthday: -10 points (yes, this was a biggie.)
  • Major Spring Cleaning in anticipation of my mother-in-law: +12 points
  • Needing a visit from my mother-in-law to get me off my arse to clean: -8 points
  • Not finding any food actually liquified in the refrigerator vegetable bin: +4 points
  • Discovering new species of plants in the vegetable bin: -3 points
  • Semi-sentient laundry: -5 points
  • Not notifying SETI about the semi-sentient laundry: -3 points (they’re practically defunct anyway)
  • Spiffy new patio plantings: +4 points
  • Convincing the children that frozen French Fries counts as a vegetable: -2 points
  • Convincing the children that garlic on the frozen French Fries increases the nutritional value: -2 points
  • Finding ourselves out of toothpaste after feeding the family garlic fries: -5 points
  • Tomato plant – +2 points for deciding to try and grow our own tomatoes, -5 points for horrific hanging tomato planter, but with a +1 point credit for strategic placement of said horrific planter for a net tomato score of: -2 points

For a new total of: -1 points

AAAAAAAaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrrgggggghhhhh!!!! And with my mother-in-law coming!!!

Let’s just step back and savor the irony for a moment – I haven’t been in negative points since March. And two days before my mother-in-law flies into town I totally blow it with tacky tomato planters and garlic fries.

It’s the little things, you know?

This post happily (and somewhat embarrassingly) linked to “Metamorphosis Monday” at Between Naps on the Porch and The Before and After Party at Thrifty Decor Chick!

 

24 comments

  1. You should have given yourself some points for cleaning the water feature yourself in a way that protects the birds/going through all that just to save the birds. That’s very wildlife/environmentally conscious of you which Martha would appreciate. Also, give yourself at least one point for using a sheet with leaves “for spring.” That’s priceless.
    Beautiful transformation!

    1. It’s just so much nicer to sit somewhere with a glass of wine and not have a dead plant shedding leaves on your shoulder, don’t you think?

      And I thought about giving myself points for the very careful cleaning of the fountain, then though awarding myself points for NOT killing wildlife was just reaching a bit too far?

  2. Oooh mega points for being fancy in the yard. MEGA. That’s above and beyond, sista friend. I love what you did! Come do that over here, umkay?

  3. I think you should give yourself +16 points for remembering not to kill finches. I’m not sure I would have remembered and that would have been….ugly….

    1. LOL…see reply to Gina. It’s sort of like giving myself points for remembering to feed the children. Some things just have to happen without incentives.

  4. Ahhhh… so sorry you did not get the Upsy-Downsy ( yes that is what the box said!).
    1- it’s cheaper- I mean less expensive- than the one you got
    and
    2- it is MUCH MORE ATTRACTIVE!

    How do I know this?
    I got one for my mom for her mother’s day/b-day present. I also planted the tomatoes, gave them fertilizer and hung it up for her in her yard.
    The beefsteak or romas or whichever large type you want come out of the bottom of what appears to be a NORMAL hanging planter- but it’s not- while the cherry or grape tomatoes grow out of the TOP of the planter like , well, regular plants to. Then you hang it like a REGULAR hanging planter and water often to keep the maters happy.
    I planted 3 from the bottom and 3 in the top for me and 2 each for Mom’s… there’s only 2 people in that house so they don’t really need 100’s of tomatoes, right?
    I’ll be posting photos of my garden and tomatoes once they get to the fruiting stage… next week, maybe? But first I have to pressure wash the house so it doesn’t look like we live in a sod-house!

    1. I would have been thrilled with something less ugly. Ah well!

      And you’re the second person to talk about fruiting tomatoes. I live in CALIFORNIA and nothing is even NEAR fruiting yet! Poo!

      And I laughed at sod house. Ours looks that way sometimes. But, on the inside.

  5. I had to laugh out loud at the “Sizzler’s All You Can Eat BBQ Ribs for Birds” – and have you noticed the squirrel that comes by on a regular basis?
    I actually went outside to look at that hanging tomato thingey – and couldn’t see it! That’s worth at least another +5 points !

    1. That squirrel was on my deck this morning! Scared the heck out of me – I thought it was a giant rat.

      And I’m REALLY glad you can’t see that monstrosity from your yard. I would have felt REALLY bad!

  6. Your humanitarian/bird-itarian efforts deserves some kind of credit! And the after shots of the boxes and patio are quite lovely.

    1. Everyone seems to want me to take credit for not murdering things!

      I don’t know about what this says about all us moms…”Moms- So desperate for validation that they celebrate a day without homicide!”

      Hmmm…that could actually be a bumper sticker.

  7. You had me laughing out loud with the Sizzler for Birds phrase! That describes our back yard cafeteria to the tee!

    So the bleach didn’t kill the finches? Hmm, maybe I should try that. Be a lot cheaper than buying a brand new bird bath—and finches are a dime a dozen around these parts. JUST KIDDING!! : )

    1. To be fair to the finches, they would probably not be tempted to drink the water with the bleach – it would probably smell bad. I just didn’t to take any chances.

      However, I am noticing today that the fountain is a little sudsy, and no birds have come anywhere near it. It is possible I did not rinse it as well as I thought.

  8. You should get points for putting a hat on! :)

    I totally thought you had a full size statue of a cherub peeing under that sheet! LMAO Points for CREATIVITY in hiding it, rather than not murdering wildlife. How bout that?

    This was a really great post; thanks for the laughs!

    (Try “hotel” water for MIL: slice strawberries & lemon in your water pitcher. YUMM!)

  9. Oh wow, I am so jealous! Your patio space is amazing. It looks so gorgeous. Thanks for sharing this. Now I need to go outdoors and work on mine.
    :-)

  10. Your before plants look like what I came home to after a few days away last summer with my husband home left to care for them. Plant murder I called it. Loved the fountain story, and love that fountain too. Not so into the Roman God type ones. And your finished deck?! WOW. What a transformation. Must feel great to have that done. And looks like I have another blog to follow now too ;).

    1. LOL @ “plant murder.”

      And it was only winter that did all those guys in. I am happy to limit my own culpability. Which I don’t really get to do that often, so I should take it where I can!

      Usually I’m the guilty party.

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