Halloween came early—We’re back from the dead!

Well, hi! It’s good to see you back here in College Station, we are doing great!

We’ve been dedicating a significant amount of fixing-up time to the outside, front and back, and have been making great strides in improving different areas. We’ll cover the backyard and then mosey on over to the front.

The Back

Bloomingdales

Just recently we had our crape myrtles sprayed for infectious aphids, but they are looking much better, and have been blooming nicely (two in the back, two in the front). We are also treating our lawn for brown patches and chinch bugs, but this is going to take a little more time to correct. We are hopeful though!

Bricks be gone!

The previous owner had a cache of bricks stored in one of the corners of the backyard that had to go. What to do with a ton of bricks…hmm. Let’s build a temporary fire pit for those brisk winter nights!

Let it burn!

Opposite Angle

We didn’t use mortar, so don’t bump into it! Poured two bags of pea gravel for a nice base for some logs and presto! We can’t wait for the temps to drop. This was a $10 project (for the gravel, the bricks were free!) so it felt good to have a cost-effective solution to an old pile of bricks. We still have some left over and will offload these within the coming weeks.

Penny’s in the lime light!

To add to our trifecta of pots (our first pot has succulents), we have installed a crafty, little lime tree in the second installation. We have been nursing it to life, and are expecting many fruit babies!

Please lettuce grow!

Izzie wanted to have a plant project of her own, so yes, that is a pot and potting soil! But beneath the surface lies organic spring mix that we can put to good use in all our kitchen greenery.

Flowerbed One

Flowerbed Two

Our flowerbeds in the backyard are works in progress, but we trimmed them down for now. On the left side there are a few rosebushes (which will come out later, we’re just not liking the rose bushes at all anymore), and on the right are a few generic shrubs looking quite confused. We want more color in all the flowerbeds, maybe some bright yellow bulbous mums.

Hose it!

The hose in the back was like a snake in the flowerbed. So we bought a hose stand to get it off the ground. Not very glamorous but does a fantastic job!

The good stuff!

Inspired by our favorite current show, Breaking Bad, we got with the program and went with that Red Stuff. The hummingbirds are craving this soo bad! Our neighbor directly opposite from us in the backyard has about three or four of these with the wimpy white stuff, but we moved into her territory and took all her customers. WE WIN.

The Front

We freakin’ did it!

Opposite Angle

We finally got a good layer of garden soil into one of our front flowerbeds. After pulling out the weeds, we put down a layer of newspaper (Izzie saw this on Pinterest, a cost-effective alternative to weed mat), got that wet, and then put twelve bags of garden soil on top of that. Once we figure out our plant schematics, we’ll just dig a hole, insert and then finish it off with some mulch on top. We are going to be working on the second flowerbed in the front, so by the end of the week we can put more garden soil on that bad boy!

That’s pretty much the front. In about a week and a half we will actually be installing 80% solar screens on the front facade of the house to help with the light and heat coming through. It gets a little warm in the office area and also in the guest room, since these rooms are the most exposed to morning/midday sunlight. We opted to leave the back windows in the living room open and also the kitchen windows, just because we like the view of the backyard so much, and there’s not a crazy amount of sunlight coming through (only when the sun sets, but it’s not bad). We will do Phase Two of Operation Solar Screen, which involves a couple side windows here and there, about a month from now. We did get some nice sheer white curtains for the office, and once we have those solar screen windows installed, you won’t be able to see in so easily during the day or night (we don’t want anyone jacking our iMac!).

Sheer Be Comin’ ‘Round the Mountain..

That’s it for now, enjoy your Sunday and we will see you soon!

Kiss From a Rose…RIP

We are still concentrating on the front outside and have moved to the rosebush. Many people like roses, us included. But we would like to admire them off of our property. This particular rosebush was a beast of a bush, needed extensive pruning and just wasn’t doing it for us. We called an emergency family meeting and issued an immediate excavation.

Pulverized!

You shall not GROW!!! (notice our one new window)

Look at those chompers!

After carefully tiptoeing through the removal process (the picture tells it all!), we set out to remove the stumps still left in the ground. Well, everything was going as planned until maybe the sixth stump out of ten or so. Matt hit this really tough root! So he proceeded to repeatedly stab the root many times with the shovel, thinking that it would break any second now! After the shovel method proved unsuccessful, the fail-proof option was to saw it off with a handsaw. A closer look revealed that it was not a white root—it was a PVC pipe!

Oops!!

Fast forward to the repair, Matt dented one of the sprinkler PVC pipes, which had a small leak and since we didn’t want that dent to cause any pressure issues because of flow restriction, we decided it was best to just replace it. We consulted with our neighbor and Austin, and they let us know the best way to approach it. We sawed out the dented piece, grabbed two joints and new pipe, along with PVC primer and cement, and put in a fresh new piece.

Removed the dented pipe with a leak

Bridges of Madison County (that root is below the pipe)

Much better!

It was getting dark by the time we finished the repair so we decided to let it cure for the night and we’ll test it sometime later today. For the remainder of the stumps we will use extra, extra caution in making sure that there are no innocent bystanders nearby!

On another note, we had our lawn checked out by some lawn people, and we have chinch bugs, weeds, and need some help! So we are going to sign on with them (locally-owned) and revive our lawn. It’s going to take some time!

Happy Nesting!

Knock Knock!

My, oh my, where has the time gone! It looks like July 3 was our last post, so we have been gone for more than a month! That has to be some kind of record. Well, as the dinosaurs clearly state, we are definitely back in action on the blogosphere. We’ve been here and there, doing this and that, so we are going to give an update on what’s been going on on our end.

One of the biggest distractions upon moving in was the paint color that was applied to the entirety of the interior walls. It was a brown, a sad brown and not the most inspiring of choices, especially a twenty-something married couple looking to spice things up! Here’s a reminder if you need reminding of what the paint color used to be in the common area:

We wanted to go with something lighter, so we initially went with a paint-and-primer-in-one from Olympic, Thin Ice!

Fortunately our good friends Kenn and Jenn from Houston were in town that weekend, and Kenn offered to lend a hand in putting the paint to the wall. We also borrowed a 6-foot step ladder from Austin, so thank you, Austin (don’t worry, we will return it)! Izzie was definitely a little hesitant when we did a test spot, but for good reason: it was a looking a little blue! We chose to keep painting and did as much as we could until the weekend ended. When the work week started up again, we resumed painting and finished what we set out to paint: the living room, office area, and hallways. So then it was decision time. Since we were going to have to put a second coat on anyways (since one coat wasn’t enough to cover up that darker brown color), we had the option of refining our color choice if need be. Well…it need be. This was a slightly different method than selecting the kitchen color, but we were in mutual agreement that with this current paint color, we really were…(wait for it) on thin ice.

So we went back to Lowe’s and decided to go with a different color that  1.) was slightly darker and 2.) had less blue in it and more of a gray tone. We’re happy to report that after application, we are quite pleased with the outcome of this color and will not be flirting with a third coat! HA

So many fit Olympians mmm…

Temporary!

For now we have Lala’s very colorful painting on the mantle right now, as we still have to unpack our elusive peacock painting that we bought on our anniversary cruise. It’s bigger so it’ll fit the space quite nicely. We were planning on painting the mantle a nice bright white, but we have changed directions and want to keep the black as it is. We’d like to add some gloss to it though, since the walls are a softer satin finish (as opposed to a semi-gloss, which was way too shiny). And also the tile isn’t very attractive and will be replaced with a nice mosaic tile down the road.

Don’t look at me, I’m hideous

We had to take down the blinds on the two windows in the front of the office area and the two windows that lead to the backyard, and had a bit of a revelation in doing so. We decided not to put them back up. For security reasons we don’t feel comfortable not having anything there, so we tacked up a bed sheet to hide our cache of techno-paraphernalia. This weekend we will be in Houston and plan on stopping by Ikea and picking up some nice sheer curtains to put up. Couple that with some solar screens and there is no looking in! But this will have to do for this week.

We also managed to score a nice iron patio table and four chairs from Craigslist for under $100. It was a really worn black color, so we bought some Rustoleum spray paint (Hammered black) and refreshed it. You can’t really tell in this shot, but it turned out well. We will get some seat cushions, but that’s lower priority for now.

See?

Hey little friend!

Obligatory Creeper shot featuring Izzie

And finally, we were experiencing some less than stellar pressure from our shower head (did you think of that Seinfeld episode? I did.) so we decided to channel the skies and the clouds from above and bring a rain shower right into our master bath.

Rain rain on my face. It hasn’t stopped, rainin’ for days..

We used the existing elbow hardware so all we had to do was whip out the elbow grease and attach the new one. Presto change-o! We were bathing in delight.

Well, that’s it for tonight. We are definitely not professional bloggers, but will make a more vigilant effort to maintain the consistency of our posts. Bear with us and…

Happy Nesting!

Wash Me, Dry Me, Say That You’ll Buy Me

The time has come, nesters and nesterettes. We have been using our local business to do the dirty laundry for a couple of weeks now, but we must part ways. It is time to welcome a washer and dryer into the utility room, come this Saturday.

We had a two prerequisites in place for the washer: (1)top-loading and (2)no agitator. For the dryer, we wanted it to be gas, instead of electric. The gas dryer would be a little more up front (in our case, $100 more than the electric of the same dryer), but we figured that over the long run of owning the dryer, we would surely be getting a return in operating savings of more than $100 over the course of xx amount of years, come on! We’ve been utilizing natural gas already with the gas stove and gas water heater, so we said, let’s ‘go gas’ with the dryer as well! There are definitely pro’s and con’s in the great debate of gas/electric, but as always, to each their own with their spreadsheets! We have to look out for The Nest!

Home Depot got our business due to some ridiculously low prices on the units (Maytag Bravos X set) that satisfied our requirements. Even with our coveted ‘10% off’ Lowe’s coupons it was still in the Depot’s favor.

We have the set scheduled to be delivered for this Saturday morning, so we are good to go! We will probably have to make one last trip to the laundromat for a few loads, but it will be a trip of remembrance.

Happy Nesting!

William Perry Has Entered The Building

Good evening and hello to you, wherever you are, whoever you are!

This will be a mini-update of The Nest, and we apologize for the lack of photos to accompany our progress. We have been progressing, and we guarantee you, the train has left the station and is well on its way, full steam ahead.

Last Friday was a good day because we finally got our fridge delivered to the house! And boy, is she a cutie.

Tell me, have you ever seen a moonwalking refrigerator delivery man?

Ah, this feels good!

Izzie had the pleasure of being home for the delivery and made sure to take some really fantastic pics of the drop-off. The delivery man did report a small leak at the water line valve, so we will have to follow up with that and replace the valve. From what we have researched though, it shouldn’t be too difficult to perform. But the ice is cold and everything seems to be running properly. It’s not loud at all and, with about 18.2 cubic feet of storage, will suit our needs just fine. The stainless steel comes through as being fingerprint-resistant and we can vouch for that claim after a myriad of sweaty, oily fingertips have graced its surface with nary a print left behind. If you didn’t know, the house did not come with a refrigerator, so we had to purchase one. There really wasn’t much going on in used appliances on Craigslist in College Station, so we made a trip to Lowe’s and purchased one that suited our needs and made us happy. And we can definitely say that we are happy with it. It sticks out a few inches from the door frame, but we are both skinny so it works out just fine. Today we managed to transport all of our food in our old refrigerator to the new one, but still have a lot of the dry goods in the pantry to bring over.

Lowe’s has become our new favorite place, and we honestly go there almost every day to pick up odds and ends. Luckily we live right by one and usually takes about 6-7 minutes to get there. And with all the change of address business that we’ve been doing, we have been hoarding three 10% off Lowe’s coupons perfect for when the other major appliances enter the arena. For right now we are keeping an eye out on our house budget and will be waiting a month or two before contemplating our next major purchase (we have a few options: stove, microwave, washer/dryer, etc.).

It’s amazing what you find going down the aisles of Lowe’s. What we are learning is that there is definitely a healthy assortment of “things” that make certain tasks easier/more efficient. We bought these great Painter’s Pyramids that allow you to prop up your cabinets for easier painting on the sides, not to mention not sticking to the paper we laid out (we had an annoying problem with the paper sticking to the wet cabinets on the sides, and probably should have went with a fabric if we were to do it again without the Pyramids). There was a very big difference in how we approached painting the cabinets after we got these bad boys set up!

Penny approves of the Painter’s Pyramids

Tonight we went on a painting frenzy in the kitchen and got the first coat of paint up on the walls. Nadia came by again also to help out with that (thank you!) while the American Idol finals were on in the background. We are actually pleasantly surprised with the color and can’t wait to get the second coat on tomorrow night to see what it looks like. And we are happy because our method for picking the paint swatch for the kitchen literally took less than thirty seconds between the both of us, going back a few times between choices, saying “Done” and walking to the counter. We are taking comfort in knowing that some things in life are better when there is less thought involved. Obviously this cannot be prescribed to all situations (that would be carelessness!), but for things like paint colors in a house, if it turns out bad or not quite what we had in mind, we would live with it and love it and laugh because it really is paint, and paint is paint.

Over the past few days we’ve also managed to pick up some much needed lawn equipment (why does grass grow so fast?). If you have seen the movie The Avengers, go back to the theater where you saw it and ask for your money back, because you ain’t NEVER seen superheroes like this!

Everyone’s here…

We ran some numbers and the benefit of maintaining your own lawn as opposed to paying someone else to do it for you was the way to go. We purchased the least expensive self-propelled mower under the assumption that both husband and wife could take the reins if need be (we will revisit this assumption…) ($275), a corded edger ($84), and a cordless trimmer and blower ($130 bundled together). Matt took time to do the works on the front yard and back yard on Monday, and the results are astounding. Astounding. We will have more outdoor posts in the future, but trust us when we say it makes a huge difference to have the yard edged properly. We are still working at eradicating the dozen or so condos the fire ants have invested in on our property, but such eviction takes time, persistance, and many granules of death and destruction bestowed upon their rabid colonies.

So we will finish up painting the kitchen tomorrow. We are still working on the cabinet doors, and will get to those on Thursday and Friday. We took off on Friday and Tuesday (we have Monday off like a lot of folks), so we have a lofty five-day weekend ahead of us to do our packing, moving, unpacking and everything else in between. We will make up for the lack of pictures in the next post…believe it!

Happy Nesting

Plenty of Sanding, Life’s Still a Beach

This kitchen does not want to get primed! We spent a good three hours tonight at The Nest expecting to get through more tasks, but as it turns out the work has been taking longer than usual. Which is totally fine, and better for us to realize now just how much time is needed to do these things!

We bought a dolly today at lunch to transport some very hefty boxes to and from residences, and it has definitely proven tonight to be a big help. Our backs have thanked us many times already. We managed to bring over four big boxes in the CR-V along with some odds and ends, just to ease the big move with a big truck and big furniture. And why wouldn’t we, if we are traveling ten or so minutes with an empty car? For right now we are putting everything in the center of the living room, just because this area will receive the least amount of action throughout the whole painting and moving process.

We initially planned on stopping by the post office during our lunch break, but found out that we could submit our Change of Address info online for $1 each. And in return, we received a very useful Lowe’s “homeowner” coupon that’ll give us 10% of our purchase up to $5000. This will definitely come in handy when we are ready to pull the trigger on the rest of our major kitchen appliances and washer/dryer. We also got a Budget 15% and 20% off coupon, which we will also excitedly take advantage of come major moving day.

Priming was put on hold, as we had to tend to tasks on the cabinet doors/cabinets and kitchen cabinet shell. We picked up some Fine/Extra Fine grit sandpaper blocks and went to town on everything, so that when the primer and paint do hit the wood, it’ll take better and have a smoother finish.

Sandwoman

And of course, Sandman

After sanding the doors/drawers, we did a quick moistened wipe-down to remove the excess dust particles and set those aside to dry. Then we did a rinse and repeat cycle on the kitchen cabinet shell as there were a lot of places that were splintering and needed to be leveled out.

Señor Frog Tape

We heard good things about this particular brand of painter’s tape and the green color was, in the end, irresistible. And as with possessing two circular objects that could resemble so many wonderful things in life, we took a five-minute breather to reenact the stirring performance of The Frog Prince:

Thespian One

Thespian Two

Cut that out! After a bag of popcorn and Sweet Leaf tea, we decided to resume working, finishing taping off the rest of the kitchen cabinet shell.

Look at that form!

Izzie did not know she was actually doing a very popular Cambodian sitting stance…

The Cambodian Squat

So it’s nearing 9:00 PM, and Izzie decides to go into meltdown mode. Observe:

I’VE HAD IT!!!

“Can we go hommmeee…” *zombie voice*

This is the coveted refrigerator space that we are making sure is all done up by the time the doorbell rings.

Cool it, bro

We have already talked about the game plan for tomorrow night and we will, will have primed everything that needs to be primed. You have been forewarned—the blog title for tomorrow will be called…Optimus Prime

Happy Nesting