Tag Archives: Adventures in Homeownership

Vickers vs the Chipmunks

I had heard many stories of people battling some type of rodent or furry creature that was destroying their yard (and I remember a particularly epic war from my childhood between my dad and some moles), but I don’t think I really got how intensely frustrating these creatures can be until this first summer as a homeowner.

We are currently losing the fight for our yard to chipmunks. And we don’t just have 2-3. We have an entire chipmunk community living in both our front and back yards, and they have built an insanely intricate network of tunnels and holes all over the place. They are living in wood piles, under our deck, in the crevices of our patio, and under our shed. And they are inviting ALL of their friends to come join them.

I always thought chipmunks were cute before, but let me tell you, their charm has worn off quickly. They are taunting and teasing and torturing our dogs– making Georgia and Gunner believe that they can be caught before darting down into one of their holes, causing those naughty-ass dogs to try and dig after them, creating bigger holes and muddy paws and noses that have to constantly be cleaned off. OOOOF.

In an effort to take back our yard, we have started capturing the little guys in a trap by luring them with almonds and then taking them to some woods across the highway for release. So far, we’ve caught 4 but I swear I have not noticed a decrease. Vickers 4, Chipmunks 20.

List accomplishments as of last post:

  • I checked off a few summer bucket list items over the course of the last week, and one of them was hosting brunch. I made these sparkling negronis for my weekly recipe. Take one of my favorite cocktails and make it brunch-friendly by adding bubbles? Yes, please.
  • I started book #8: Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson. Very funny!
  • Tim and I both had a weekly date and a day trip on Saturday when we went to Indy for a little fun and shopping.
  • As has been extensively documented here, our yard is a serious work-in-progress. We have a lot of weeds to kill, trees to cut down, and grass seed to plant before we can plant much of a garden…BUT we did buy some cute pots at Lowe’s and planted some calla lilies and hydrangeas that we surrounded with a few annuals to pretty up our front porch. My hope is to not kill the hydrangeas and lilies so that we can plant them in the yard next year.
  • I’ve kept up on writing and taking photos. Below is a picture of our new plants:

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Intro to Landscaping

In the ever-growing learning curve of being first-time homeowners, Tim and I are now entering into the uncharted territories of lawn maintenance and landscaping. Don’t get me wrong, Tim has already done his fair share of mowing and weedeating at the lawn’s of rental houses past, and we’ve planted a few flowers here and there. But our new and wooded acre of a yard takes it to a whole new level.

The folks that owned the house before us grew old there, which I absolutely love, but it also means that the yard wasn’t really properly cared for in the past few years and it’s looking a little neglected and overgrown. There are several trees that need to come down, seemingly trillions upon trillions of dead leaves that need to be raked, and barely-there grass that definitely needs to be reseeded. There is also no cosmetic landscaping to speak of, and ivy growing up the house/up trees/over rocks/EVERYWHERE.

This is all on top of still needing to fence the yard for the dogs, which can’t come any sooner. The dogs are finally starting to be curious outside of the confines of their yard, even full on disappearing once, which led to me desperately trying to track them down while being convinced they would get hit by a car. I even called Tim in tears and frantically told him just that, only to find them about 30 seconds later. Let’s just say, it’s time for a fence.

I know this yard will be worth it in the end, and it has so much potential, but right now it feels like we are facing a serious uphill (and expensive!) battle to get this thing in shape. Hopefully in the process I develop a green thumb?

List accomplishments as of last post:

  • I made some Italian braised chicken thighs, which I served over roasted spaghetti squash for my weekly recipe. So delicious!
  • Tim and I had a great date night in Friday night, watching March Madness, and enjoying Mexican takeout.
  • I’m still keeping up with writing in my journal and taking photos.

The Quiet

We’ve been living in our new house a little over a week now, but it took only about a day to notice just how quiet it is there. Our neighborhood is a little off the beaten path, and our house is set back into the woods a bit– with no one behind us, and with both neighbors spaced pretty nicely away from our house. A lot of the noises I’ve become very accustomed to throughout most of my life have been replaced with stillness and quiet. There is no road noise, no loud announcements or bells or athletic games (our last two places were both near schools), and I’ve yet to hear a single siren. It is so fantastically peaceful.

Adding to the quiet is that we still haven’t set our cable up yet– mostly because we just haven’t had the time to schedule it. I totally figured this would bother me, but it’s actually been a really great break from over-stimulation.

I don’t know about the rest of you, but a normal day for me typically involves a LOT of screen time. It’s sad to admit, but I usually look at my phone first thing in the morning after I wake up (for missed texts, emails), eat breakfast while watching Good Morning, America and check my phone again (for email again, weather, and also by this time my first Facebook/Instagram check), then I sit in front of a computer for a lot of my work day, and then at home at night Tim and I often watch TV while simultaneously looking at our phones for God-knows-what (Pinterest, social media checks yet AGAIN, Googling random things) without really spending quality time together. I am often so stimulated with technology that it has taken the break like I’ve had to even recognize it.

It would seem that the lack of cable would make me more dependent on my phone, but it’s actually had the opposite effect– I’ve been way less reliant. And I don’t know if it’s this lack of technology or the peacefulness of our surroundings, but I have found myself mentally slowed down. I feel free from all the distractions that usually dominate my home life. Instead of zombie-ing out in front of the TV, Tim and I are spending our evenings eating dinner without the interference and are actually engaged in quality conversation. We are going to bed earlier and therefore waking up earlier, but feeling so much more well-rested. I’ve also been sharp and focused. Without the distractions, I’ve been reading a lot more, writing in my journal like crazy, staying on top of keeping the house clean and organized, cooking and even prepping for future meals, and taking my dogs out for a daily walk through through the woods. And when I do want a little noise, I’ve been listening to music– like really listening to it, which sounds so simple, but it’s something I have always loved and  honestly there for a long time chose TV or Netflix over it just out of habit.

I’m sure here in the next week or so, cable will be set up again and, of course, we will continue to watch TV and screen time will always be a part of our daily lives. But I do hope that we don’t just fall back into old habits and get lost into the distractions again. I’d like to use this as a fresh start, to really commit to living a little more simply, and to focus on my priorities. And at least for the time being, it’s been a very welcomed break.

List accomplishments as of last post:

  • I made Nancy’s Chopped Salad for my weekly recipe, and it’s so freakin’ good!
  • I finished book #5, Mindy Kaling’s Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns).  Absolutely hilarious, just as I had expected. I also started book #6 already, Men We Reaped by Jesmyn Ward. It’s a gorgeously written account of losing 5 dearly loved men in 4 years. It makes you feel ALL the feelings.
  • Tim and I had a date night Saturday night to Restaurant Tallent, just the two of us. We hadn’t done that in forever and it was so wonderful!
  • I’ve been on a roll with writing in my journal and photos this past week!

Don’t Call It a Comeback

…..I’ve been here for years, rockin’ my peers and puttin’ suckas in fear.

Just a little LL Cool J to set your week right.

The last two weeks were a blur of painting, renovations, packing, and moving, but we are now living in the new house! We officially moved in on Valentine’s Day… I know, leave it to Tim and me to serve you some old married people realness. It sounds really lame, but it was actually super sweet to spend that day unpacking and settling our lives into our first home. We celebrated with pizza and bubbles in front of a fire, and it felt like the best way to enjoy the fruits of our labor.

But then something happened. We woke up early Sunday to continue unpacking and setting things up before a much-needed grocery store trip and Target run for a few necessities and some impulse throw pillow purchases, and then we made plans to host our best friends for the inaugural dinner party. We came back home to clean and prepare to show off the house to our friends, and I was going around cleaning our bathrooms. When I went to clean and then flush our downstairs toilet, things suddenly got REAL.

I’ll spare you the details, but the floor drain in our basement suddenly began to flood, and I just froze in panicked fear. Irrational thoughts raced through my head like, “two days in and our house is broken!” ” and “should we just go ahead and move out?” We ended up having to call a plumber to come out on a Sunday night– can you say overtime rates?– and 2 hours and $300 later, our issue was finally resolved. It was really stressful at the time, and it sucked to have to unexpectedly spend that money, but it makes for a pretty funny story. Our friends still ended up coming over, the night was salvaged, and we survived our first fiasco, but man do I feel like we dove head first into this whole homeownership business.

It’s a good thing we are totally in love with the new place, and when we woke up to our beautiful backyard covered in snow and I got to take my dogs for a fun walk in it– it all seemed pretty worth it.

List accomplishments as of last post:

  • As I mentioned last post, I pretty much took the last two weeks off to focus on finishing up renovating the house, packing, and moving, but I did manage to still cook my weekly new recipe. Two weeks ago I made this cobb salad sandwich, and last week I made this pepperoni pizza grilled cheese. We were eating on the go a lot, so sandwiches were our best option. Both were good!
  • I just picked Mindy Kaling’s book back up and hope to finish it soon.
  • I did a poor job staying on top of writing in my journal, but I started it up again, as well as taking my daily photos. Here are a few from over the last few weeks.
Painting upper cabinets

Painting upper cabinets

Painting lower cabinets

Painting lower cabinets

Finished product

Finished product

Valentine's/Move-In Day Dinner

Valentine’s/Move-In Day Dinner

Sunrise in the field behind our house

Sunrise in the field behind our house

Let’s Take a Break

Between a work trip over the weekend, spending our evenings working on our new house, and just trying to stay afloat with the general busyness of every day life, I’ve totally run myself ragged. You know that feeling where you aren’t quite sick but you don’t feel well at all and you’re desperately exhausted? That’s me. I’d love to have a day to just run away, avoid all the responsibility, and do nothing but relax, but there’s just too much to do and not enough time.

To combat this, I’m trying to do my best at getting enough sleep at night and making sure we are eating somewhat healthfully, but both of those aren’t so easy to achieve with all we have going on. I feel like the best I can do is just take it day by day and cut myself some slack when I need it. Right now, that means taking it a little light on my 29 Before 30 until we get settled into the new house– meaning, you may be hearing a little less from me over the next few weeks. Until then!

List accomplishments as of last post:

 

Beginning Homeowner’s Lessons

We’ve only owned our house for 12 days, but we’ve been hard at work from the get-go doing some small renovations and preparing it to be move-in ready. I’ve already learned so many valuable lessons in these early days, and I’ll share some of that wisdom here so that any of you who find yourselves owning a home in the future will know what to expect:

1- Think of all the times you’ve been to Lowe’s over the past year. Multiply this number by 2. This is how many times you can now plan to be at Lowe’s WEEKLY. Sometimes 2 or 3 times in one day.

2- Choosing paint colors in rentals used to be so fun. Now, choosing paint colors is stressful! Nothing seems right, and there’s a huge amount of self-induced pressure to get it perfect the first time around.

3- You start doing things you would never before do, such as Youtubing videos on “how to scrape plaster ceilings” and “how to paint over wood paneling.”

4- Nothing is ever as easy as it seems, and hours in the day pass by at warp speed whenever you are working on your new house. Meaning, whatever estimate you’ve made on the time it will take you to complete a project, add at least 3 hours.

5- You eat really random and weird things for meals while standing up in your kitchen at your current house so that a) you can quickly get over to the new house to work, and because b) you are scrimping and saving for the new house.

6- Finding the random things that the old owners have left behind is sometimes sweet, sometimes funny, and sometimes leaves you puzzled and wondering, “but…why?!?”

7- Priming is the worst. Bottom line.

8- Shopping for new furniture and decor is the best. Can’t stop, won’t stop.

9- You alternate between states of sheer excitement and awe that WE OWN THIS!! and sheer panic and worry because we…ownnnnnn…this.

10- Your project and to-do list grows with each passing day.

11- But, your house feels more like home with each passing day.

All in all, it’s been a really fun first week and a half. We’ve already put in a lot of sweat equity, and there’s so much more to go, but it’s already proving to be rewarding!

List accomplishments as of last post:

  • I made this marinated flank steak on Friday and ending up using it in two different dinners this weekend, as a main with broccolini and sweet potatoes and in an Asian stir-fry. Very tasty.
  • I finished book #4 Barrel Fever. So funny!
  • I watched 1992’s Best Picture winner, Unforgiven. I’d seen it once a long time ago, so I wanted to rewatch it and it did not disappoint. I love anything directed by Clint Eastwood.
  • I watched a sunrise! Like, really watched it. Last Saturday morning, I got up when Tim did for work, and I caught the most amazing sunrise through our kitchen window. I went out in the backyard with our dogs and soaked it up. Below is a photo, cameo by Gunner.
  • Continued writing and snapping photos daily.
Golden hour.

Golden hour.