Wife Home Alone = TROUBLE

Posted on August 11, 2011. Filed under: Gardening, Home, Newlywed |

Adam left me home alone a few weekends ago when he went to visit his family. I couldn’t go since I don’t have too many vacation days left this year and want to save some for the holidays. So I sent Adam on his merry way while I conjured up what to do all by myself.

So whatever did I do in a new house whilst my husband was hundreds of miles away? What any nice gal would do: I tackled some home improvement projects so I could surprise my dear, sweet guy when he came home.

1. Planting in the Planters – the previous owners left over a dozen planters of various shapes, sizes, and materials scattered throughout the yard. Some even had living plants in them. Most did not.

I took a planter inventory and went to Lowes for the goods. I got a mixture of colorful leaf plants and flowers that will stand up to the Georgia heat and my novice gardening skills.

I also got some soil too – a 64 quart bag of soil. It was heavy.The thought didn’t occur to me that I would be the one responsible for getting all that dirt where it needed to be.

On Sunday, I set up shop on the patio with the garden hose and my new nozzle – woo hoo! I gathered all my planters and staged different arrangements with all of the plants before I started digging.

all the plants waiting to be planted

figuring out what I want in each pot

my little fake froggy friend that I found and have not (miraculously) named yet

From the time I sat down on the patio to completion, it took about 90 minutes. And here is the final product!

Pretty great for only a little amount of time and money.

2. Painting and Staining a Door

Before the Makeover

The color of these steel doors in our living room was an eyesore. I think this blue-gray was the color they came in and it did not match our red pine wood paneling. I thought this would be a quick fix, but I ran into a little problem. See this annoyance here:

Yeah, goo from velcro that the previous owners used for mounting their curtains. It took about an hour to get off. Not fun. These are all the chemicals I used:

Goo gone, mineral spirits, a sponge dipped in warm water, and after 30 minutes, I went a little rogue and used a steel scourer – very gently.

I took it upon myself to buy a quart of chocolate brown satin paint when I was at Lowe’s getting the plants. It took two coats, and I had to touch up some spots that peeled away when I took the tape off. I think the paint doesn’t stick as well  to steel as it does to sheetrock. Fingers crossed that it holds up for a while.

On Sunday, I tackled the door frame around the same door. You may have noticed in the previous pictures that it was unfinished. My Dad brought over some Ipswich Pine-colored stain the week before. I used a foam brush that I could throw away when finished. I tested a small section near the floor to make sure the color was close to the wall. And it was! I applied a coat of stain to one section at a time and wiped away the excess with an old tee-shirt. If you don’t do this, your stain may be uneven and will take forever to dry. To simplify, I started on the left side of the door and stained that piece of molding, wipe. Moved to the top piece, stain and wipe. Moved to the piece on the right, stain and wipe.

 Lucky me because it was the right color with only one coat. I waited a few hours for the stain to dry and broke out the poly late Sunday afternoon. I applied one coat of poly with a new foam brush and that’s all she took. I forgot to take some final pictures, but here is one from my birthday and you can see the door in the background. Check out my new do!

I plan to make some panel curtains for these windows and the others in the room, but one step at a time, people.

3. Bathroom Space Saver – I don’t think I’ve mentioned that our master bathroom is rather small. Well, it’s quite tiny. Our house was built in the 1960s when men and women did not get ready at the same time to go to work because most women didn’t work, so bathrooms were smaller. That’s my theory. To compare though, our master bathroom is one of the largest we saw in the many houses we looked at from the mid-century. And we have another 1.5 bathrooms in case we find that it’s too close for comfort in there. There may be a bathroom expansion project down the road, but for now I wanted to make it as functional as possible. Enter the Bathroom Space Saver aka the “over the commode load abode”. That was a riff on bras. You know “over the shoulder boulder holder”? I crack myself up. Anyhoo, I went to Target for this item because they had the best options out of BBB, IKEA, and Wal-mart. So here is what I chose:

This thing was HEAV-Y. Luckily there was a nice, beefy gentleman looking at the same product and I sweet-talked him into getting it off the shelf and putting it in my cart. Thank goodness he was there. It was God that helped me get it in my trunk and out in the garage floor. I had to open it up and carry it piece by piece into the house. I really missed my man for all the heavy lifting I was doing.

I put this beast together all by myself on Sunday morning. It was my church. Don’t worry; I talked to Jesus a lot during the agonizing time it took to assemble. It took me FOUR HOURS. That’s longer than any church I’ve been to. And I’m embarrassed. At least I was smart enough to put it together in the bedroom floor so I didn’t have to move it very far once it was assembled. But it was still a pain in the rear.

Why did it take so long? Well, we just moved so all of the tools are scattered throughout the house. So once I hunted down the drill and got back to the bedroom with it, I realized I needed a hammer. And then the search for the hammer took 20 minutes… This happened for all 10 items I needed. Ugh! Also, there is hardly any space between the toilet and the vanity on the left, or the wall on the right. Wedging the legs and horizontal support in there took some creativity. I had to thread the support behind the toilet and around the pipe and take the bit out of the screwdriver to screw it in because there wasn’t enough space to use the whole screwdriver. Yeah, I was MacGyver. Later I discovered I could take the tank lid off of the toilet and carefully lift the legs out from behind. I’m smart… And the dummies that wrote the instructions have you put together the whole top and then lift it to put it on the legs. STUPID. It’s freakin’ heavy. They should have you assemble it on the legs, over the toilet, so little people like me don’t have to pick up a 50 lb. cabinet and line it up on some wood pegs and cam bolts. But victory prevailed. And it looks goooood, as do my triceps. I plan to frost the glass doors because I don’t want to worry about how the inside looks all the time.

Not huge makeovers by any means, but it is nice to get a few of those small projects finished. And it may seem like that wasn’t a whole lot of stuff, but it ate up my entire weekend, including early mornings. That’s love. Adam was very appreciative when he got home, especially when he had to help me put on the cabinet doors and bolt the shelf to the wall. I’m nothing but thorough when it comes to getting things done by myself.


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