roto-tilling the odds & ends

We’ve had two unused vehicles parked in our driveway for longer than I care to admit. One is a Nova from 1996 1986 that still runs (needs new brakes) and would, once in a while, just not start. I got it for nothing from my brother-in-law, who got it from his father, and it got me to Branford three times a week for a couple of years. By the time the odometer quit, it had more than 120,000 miles on it.

And Stanley has a van that he ran into the ground. It finally got more expensive to fix it (in terms of both time and money) than to get another decent used van. He doesn’t need anything fancy because he uses the van for work only.

We tried to donate these cars to the Kidney Foundation, but they were rejected as being too old and we were told it would cost us $35 per to “give” them to the charity. Nuts to that, Stanley said—we’ll just junk them at the junkyard. They’ll haul them away.

Only, in order for them to do that, ya hafta set it up. Time passed, we were busy, and before we knew it trees were sprouting through the rust spots. But this week, I’d finally had it with them and asked Stanley to get rid of them. Which he started to do—he used the van as a repository for the stuff that needs to go to the dump, and this week he emptied and made a couple of dump runs. We were getting so close to getting rid of them!

Today, it was so weird, but these people stopped by to ask if we were interested in selling the van and the Nova. The guy is a mechanic, and the woman has an equally old Nova hatchback, and they were interested in at least getting the vehicles for the parts. Selling them? Hah! Stanley told them, “If you haul them away, they are yours.” So, tomorrow, finally, oh please oh please, they’ll be gone. We even found the titles without much trouble. That’s a big one I can cross off my (or rather Stanley’s) to-do list.

Our lawn reclamation project from last year was a failure. We did get some more grass in the bare areas, but it look more like failed hair plugs than anything remotely resembling a lush lawn. Or even a non-lush lawn. Just a tuft here and there. We had to accept the fact that it is going to take some serious work to turn back into lawn. The ground resembles hardpan more than anything.

So Stanley asked me if I wanted a roto-tiller. Yes! So he ordered a Troy-Bilt for me. Via Amazon. And if finally shipped yesterday, though according to Fedex tracking it took a day to get from Northern Kentucky to Northern Kentucky. He says they’re walking it, which is why the estimated deliver time is between April 18 and May 4.

I’m looking forward to getting it—besides the two big patches that need to be turned and planted with grass seed, I have some ideas about where else we need some garden ...

We’re also in the middle of, well, redecorating. We have a beautiful, simple, colonial-style living room (the real colonial style, not that ersatz Ethan Allen stuff) which is currently stuff with boxes full of books, comic books, and albums—which ended up there when Stanley emptied his storage bin. We finally got around to getting more bookshelves, plus there are bookshelves upstairs where the books etc. can go. But they need painting. Stanley has been painting, one bookshelf is done and I can start filling the shelves. We’re painting the inside of the shelves and the dressers and walls Moonlit Pool, which is a very deep teal, with the shelves, drawer fronts, and cupboard fronts Moroccan Red, a deep orange-red. The crown molding, doors, doorframes, and window frames are all being painted white, a pure white from Sherwin Williams called Super White. The combination is stunning. I am so sick of white and beige, craving color, so our bedroom, part of the upstairs hallway (where two of the bookcases are built in) and probably the guest room built-ins will get this treatment (the guest room has paneled walls, a very pretty pine paneling, the real stuff and not that fake crap).

But it’s a lot of work. And Stanley has been doing most of it (I at least did some of the prep work), but it’s a slow process. Stanley is meticulous, and it takes one coat of tinted primer and two coats of paint to cover things properly and he’s doing a wonderful job. I would have done more, but I’ve had so much work to do that I’ve needed my weekends to keep my nose above water for work stuff. It’s very frustrating, because I like to paint and refinish furniture. This weekend I want to start refinishing the oak tops for the built-in dressers. I’m really looking forward to that project!

Next, we tackle the kitchen. Besides the lawn and the columns on the porch and and and ...

We’ve completed one task so far, and are wondering when we’ll be asked to do another. We’ll do just about anything except phoning people (we HATE getting calls like that, so won’t do them) or holding a house party (see above).

A couple from Stamford (CT) bought the house next door (no more jerkass living there—hurray!) and will be moving in this weekend. Stanley met the guy today. Seems nice enough—we will give them a hand if we can this weekend. I hope they like to garden; it would be nice to see something interesting in that yard. Right now, it’s just an expanse of iffy lawn. I have to track down how much the house was sold for—jerkass listed it for $650,000—maybe it went for that. That would be good. Even $550,000 would be good. We have an antique house (1826), but twice as much land, so we figure ours would be appraised at maybe $550,000 or so. Which does us no good except giving us a lot more equity in our house—we have no intention of moving at least until we finish this house.

Time to get back to the bloody bookkeeping ....

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