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So I think I mentioned that we bought a fish tank, or made a 10 gallon goldfish tank into a tropical fish tank, and proceeded to kill every fish that we put in it. That was almost all as of this morning, I went home for lunch and found the last surviving fish dead. I feel horrible.

So Corrine and I are excited to get the tank 'livable' so we can have some fish in it that don't die. So much so that we've been debating buying a larger tank for the living room. I dunno, so we can kill 50 fish instead of just 10. I almost bought one on Mother's Day but figured $200-$300 could be better spent elsewhere.

Sad, because I wanted a 50 gallon tank, I went on craigslist to look and see what was there. A dude 5 miles from me is selling one for $100, and a dude about a half hour from me is selling one for $75. Dude 5 miles from me stopped emailing me for some reason. Dude 20 minutes from me scares me.

Why does he scare me?

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So big trash pick-up was a few weeks ago, and Chris decided we needed new patio furniture so he threw ours out. Well, he brought it to the curb and someone took it home with them.

Anyway, we had the chair cushions piled up in the corner and as he went to throw them away he noticed a bird had built a nest between them and there were baby birds in there. For the last two weeks we've seen Mama bird feeding her babies and they opened their eyes and they tweet a lot. So last night and today its been rainy, cold and WINDY. I went home for lunch and noticed the wind had shifted the cushion the nest was on and it was precariously placed on the chair. I put the cushion back and tied a cat-carrier top to the chair to protect the nest from the rain and wind, which leaves plenty of space for Mama to get in there to feed her chicks.

I saw her fly in there before I came back to lunch with a worm or something, so she seems ok with my nest renovations. I just hope I didn't inadvertently mess something up and make Mama mad.
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Fence Pictures

Yay Fence!
So we have two sections of the fence up. The back and attached side will come later. I have to measure for the gates and order them from the fence company.

Craig mowed his lawn yesterday, and I was curious because he had always complained he wouldnt be able to get his lawnmower into the back yard on the other side because he has some privacy lattice thing up over there. Well low and behold he made it back there and mowed his back yard without any problems. He doesn't seem very friendly lately, but I really don't care. He wanted the fence too and he really couldn't have thought I was going to give him 3' of my property just because he doesn't know how to read a survey.

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Yard Work

I took some pictures of the new planting bed we made in the back yard. I think it really makes the back yard look nice. We're probably going to buy a swing to put between them so we have somewhere nice to sit in the shade and drink our coffee in the summer.

I took some photos of the fence today, but i brought the wrong USB cable with me so I'll have to post them later.

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Good fences make good neighbors

So Saturday the fence company called letting us know they would be out Monday. They took all day Monday and about 4 hours on Tuesday to finally put up the fence. In true Roosevelt fashion one person's project becomes everyone's project, so while they were at the house 5 people stopped to ask them about putting up fences in thier yards.

Now my neighbor came home while 6 of us were standing around in the yard yesterday and waved, but he didn't say anything about the fence. Seriously, what could he say? I even gave him an extra inch or two by changing the angle of the fence so I only cut one of his plants in half. He was stupid to plant that thing there last year anyway, he knew that it was close to or on the properly line.. turns out it's 3/4 on my side, so now I have half a bush.

Lucy is so funny, she stands on the inside of the post and rail which has no gates on it and won't come to the other side unless you call her. It's crazy that she understands the point of the fence without it actually being enclosed yet. Sammy on the other hand, well, he's Sammy.

On the wedding front, we got the quote from the caterer and we're already thinking of making changes. For some reason we had stuffed cabbage on there, which is really a winter food. So is roasted potatoes but Chris insists they need to be on the menu, I think there should be something more "summery" as a starch, not roasted potatoes.

We are meeting at the venue with the wedding planner and the caterer on Tuesday.

I will post pictures of the fence as soon as I take some. I took some before photos too, so I'll probably post them in my yard photos library. The yard is coming along quite nicely, the fence really makes a huge difference. We do still have to do the back and attached side with split-rail, so that will be a project for later this spring.
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The Flags are up!!

When we got the fence contract it said "We will call the utility companies to come flag the property, a week after the flags are posted the construction will begin." I went home for lunch today and the flags are up, so that means we're getting our fence soon! Yay.

Of course it's not the whole fence, just one side of it, possibly two. We were going split rail around the whole thing until the altercation with the neighbor in which he informed us he wanted a privacy fence and planned on putting one up regardless of what we put up, and how it would look stupid to have two different fences butted up against each other... So I compromised and said I would put up privacy fence along our mutual property line if he paid half.. so only the privacy fence is going up hopefully next week. Since the fence guys are friends of a friend, we're hoping they'll put up the front portion of the split rail as well since we already have the materials at the house.

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Weddings suck

Wow it's been a month since Ive posted.

Hmm.. Mother's day sucked, I had to go to a Baptism as did my daughter, so I didn't get to see my daughter or my mom on Mother's day so needless to say I was a nudge all day.

We've made a decision on the relationship front. We are starting to plan the wedding. What we are going to do is to figure out exactly what we want, the wheres, the whens, the whos, etc. and come up with a preliminary budget of what it would cost. Then we will begin to save towards that total. Once we reach the half-way point of having the money, we will start to really plan it, pick a date and put down deposits.

So we are trying to decide what we want.. Good thing we have a year or two to decide because it's not the easiest thing in the world.

We know we don't want fancy or fluffy or anything. We want esentially one step up from a family BBQ. Outside, tents, buffet style, casual, lots of kids running around. A friend of ours went to a wedding in a park, and they had an ice cream truck and the people were playing football in thier nice clothes in the field and thats pretty much what we want. Fun and casual.

So I looked at parks and made some calls. It seems most parks don't allow alcohol, which puts a big damper on things. So I was looking at ourdoor wedding venues in the area and I found the Manor Lakes House in Princeton. It's really nice, we snuck out of work yesterday to go take a look because its like 4 miles from the office. Here are some photos of the place, Mitzi and I loved it!! You get the house and the grounds for the day for a very reasonable price.. Well, there was a price on one wedding site, so I have to call today to confirm. We're also going this weekend to Silver Decoy Winery to check out thier site too.

There are so many stupid things to consider.. We really want outside, but the weather thing makes me nervous, so we're kinda hoping for a place with a plan b, which is why I like the Manor House.

As it sits now we can't seem to even get below 150 people. I was at 130, but now we're up past 160 and we haven't even mentioned it to his family yet. This is why I want to run away. Screw having a wedding. Grr.
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ARG stupid weather

What did you do with your Sunday afternoon? We hung with various neighbors and lamented over our drainage problems. We have a lake in our back yard, well now it's just a mud-pie, as do Bill & Gabi, and Danny has 3" of water in his basement.. HAHA sucker, we don't have a basement. Ok, but we have a leaking roof.

Saturday though we did continue with some momentum in the back yard. We cleaned out the drainage ditch that runs along the back yard. It's really deep on the left side of the property and gets shallower as it run across, eventually to a almost non-existant bump on the right side. We had started to throw all the tree debris in the ditch, and then it got out of hand when they were just dumping whole trees in there and it looked like a tree graveyard. So I made up my mind to clean out the debris and drag it back behind the property line. We got all of the deep part of the ditch cleaned out, but unfotunately on the shallower side, Chris had used a backhoe to move some of the stuff into the ditch, so its branches and trees tangled together and covered with dirt, making it impossible to move some of the stuff out without bringing in the backhoe again. We did get a lot accomplished back there though. I then raked up all the leaves and sticks and pricky balls (aka: monkey balls). I burned a good portion of them, and put some of them into the deep part of the ditch. I figured leaves would just turn to dirt eventually anyway or get washed away.. Unlike whole trees.

Here's a version of the survey that I did in visio.. We still need to cut down a few more trees to put the fence in.

Now if only it would stop being too cold or wet to paint, we can finally finish up another phase on the garage.. ARGH.
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Must maintain momentum

So, the plan for this weekend was to begin on our list. Paint the garage was #1 on the list of things to do.

Danny called and said he wanted to come over and chop up our graveyard of fallen trees which we cut down last summer. If memory serves me, there were 9, many of which we dragged into the woods and left there. Chris had to go help his dad move stuff out of Grandma's house, which left me home by myself with Danny coming over. We Dan brought the wife and kids, wife who I don't always get along with, and kids she just assumed for some reason that I'd watch.

Now Lucy doesn't like little kids, she doesn't understand them and they aren't bright enough to catch on that if you run away, she thinks you want to play and therefore chases you and smacks you into the dirt. She also growls and occasionally nips at them. This means that the dogs have to be locked up in the crate on a beautiful day because her kids were running around my backyard all day. Very stressful for me. But anyway.. Danny not only cut up about 6 trees in the back, but he cut down an additional 5 trees for me. The two dead ones that I see from my bedroom window every morning when I wake up, which I hate. As well as a grouping of 3 smaller ones. Why the people that lived here 40 years ago didn't say "Hey, we should cut these small trees down while they are small to prevent them from strangling the surrounding mature trees and destroying our roof and lawns" so we didn't have to cut down monsters in 2007 was beyond me.

Here's a Gallery of my yard's progress for anyone that cares to see...

We found so much trash back there it's unbelievable.. A bed frame, a TV antennae, shoes, belts, enough Christmas lights to recreate National Lampoons Christmas Vacation. Not to mention just regular garbage like bottles and cans, etc. The last owners must have been using the woods as a dump. Lovely.

So that took from 9am to about 4pm. Then we went to home depot to get the paint for the garage, at $103.00 per 5 gallon pail plus $15.00 for the non-mold additive. We got some Behr Basement & Masonry Waterproofing Paint, the equivalent to Drylock Waterproofer. The guy at Home Depot said the Behr was better and he had complaints of the Drylock peeling after a while. I take that with a grain of salt since Behr is like a Home Depot product.

So very early Sunday morning we went outside and painted the garage. I still can't seem to drive home the point that it has to go on THICK and cover all the cracks and crevices and pinholes in the concrete block. You really have to slop that stuff up on the wall to get a good coating. Luckily he decided to cut in the one wall so I actually managed to get a good application on that wall. Then we gave a second coat to the shared wall, then we took a break. It was pulling teeth to get him motivated again, but we did manage to get out there and get the back wall done and a second coat on the interior wall. We were done by like 1ish, so we took a trip to home depot to look at a new door and windows for the garage. Then we drove by Billy's, because he had rented a Man Lift as he was cutting down MONSTROUS trees. So we helped there for a while as he took down two huge trees that were right next to his house. They had to go to a family function, so they said they would drive the lift down the road for us to use for the rest of the night. Chris wasn't nearly as thrilled as I was by this. So Billy drove it down the road, which was a sight to see, I was cackling the whole way home. So Chris got in it and using Andy's borrowed pole-saw cut off some branches on the two huge trees in the middle of our yard.

Later that night Danny came back over and helped us measure out the rough openings for our new door and window, so we'll be headed back to home depot to order them.

Next on the list to complete, paint the ceiling with our sealer paint and re-route the dryer vent.

Oh, I took some pictures of the garage when only one wall was painted and nothing else was done yet. This way I can have some before and after pics for the garage.
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I got a nudge!

Ok so I haven't been posting.. Posted in January, so that gives me two months to summarize?

God I don't even know what I did in the last two months..

The prodigal son is returning for a visit at the end of this month, so we may get drunk and burn things in the back yard on the 31st, which should be fun, with or without him.

We got a puppy, a beagle mix named Samson. He's getting the housetraining thing down pretty good after a week, he actually scratched at the kitchen door twice to go outside and do his thing, which I think is a great sign. Lucy loves him too, they play very nice together.

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Because of the snow, our outside list of things to do went back on hold. Instead this weekend I went tearing through the spare room again (after he trashed it for the second time) and organized it all yet again. I did managed to get rid of 4 huge cardboard boxes worth of garbage. Then I had to pack up all the hunting stuff for the summer, so I washed it all in that "deer happy scent free" soap that I bought at Harry's, and while doing so I pondered the existance of hunter friendly dryer sheets. So after I started the laundry we went to the evil store and bought some of the vaccuum bags that you suck the air out of. We got enough for all the hunting stuff plus some blankets and comforters, which of course inspired me to organize our linen closet, which looks very neat now. I then went online and found these...

"This really smells like fresh dirt from the forest floor..." says one reviewer!

Wow, dryer sheets that smell just like dirt. Who knew! (I'm being a bit saracastic here in case you couldn't tell.) So of course I ordered them so I can pack one in each of the vaccuum bags over the summer and have some for the washing of the hunting clothes next spring.

So I managed to be productive despite the nasty weather. I still need to clean out our bedroom closet, Corrine's room needs to be purged, and the den really needs to be organized better. It's very cluttered in there and I hate it. Once the spare bedroom is turned into a sun-room of sorts, I plan on putting the dog crates in there, hense the doggie door.

I know there are other things on the list that I didn't remember from the list we sat down and wrote out, and some of the other projects may have to wait until next summer too. BUT we have a plan now, so I feel good about accomplishing things this spring/summer. Now if you could only give us back our 70 degree weather please I can finish drylocking the garage.

On the work front, I love my job. I code HTML all day for rich emails, maintain the email list, and get to do some light design work too, its right up my alley and I love it. They are already discussing making me full time by the end of April so they can send me to San Fransico for a convention. Full time would be the icing on the cake at this point. They are talking about putting me in charge of the global web project, which means lots of international travel in the first year or so, which would be cool. I would rather go for fun with Chris & Corrine, but if someone wants to foot the bill to Germany for me for 4 days, who am I to argue that?

Things are good on the relationship front, he cooks dinner every night and takes out the garbage, we have a joint checking account now for household bills.

Oh ya know we went on a cruise in January, and I totally glossed over that. We had a lot of fun, don't know if I'd cruise again though, but I'd defintely vacation with the two couples we went with. They really were what made the trip a good time. Here's some pictures from our cruise .. We had some professional ones done while onboard too. One day I'll get around to scanning them because my mom is hounding me for them.

I guess that's the story for now. I'll try to post some pictures of the garage in it's current state so I have a record of the progress going forward.
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