Archive for August, 2007

Hannah’s Day at the House

August 26, 2007

Hannah had a grand day at the house today – her first visit since it’s become an actual house. We brought over our last load of books and worked on organizing our library, and we went outside to work again on cutting down the multitude of dead limbs on our backyard oaks.

A caveat: Hannah is an elderly dog with a nervous disposition. That being the case, not only did we put her little shoes on her when she was inside the house, but we also brought along her diaper, just in case of accidents. We don’t have paper towels out at the house yet, and didn’t want to deal with a bamboo incident on her first visit. Today was in the nature of a trial run, to show her where she was going to be living, and to see how she did in the house and yard. So Hannah will look like a doofus, all shoed and diapered in the in-house photos:

The big reason why we had bahia grass put into part of our yard was to give Hannah a lawn, since she is a lawn lover. Nothing makes Hannah happier than rolling around on her back in a nice, wet patch of grass:

And here she is having a good time in her new yard:

Hannah tried to dig her way out of the fenced yard at one point. Give the girl a 1/2 acre of fenced yard, and she behaves like a prisoner trying to escape torture. Then she met our neighbor’s two boxers Kenya and Gouda. Kenya is the silver boxer, and Gouda, the brown boxer, did not like Hannah at all. The fence on this side of our yard belongs to our neighbors, and the wire they used was big enough to enable Gouda to stick his head entirely through and try to bite Hannah! She isn’t extremely interested in other dogs, though, so we are thinking that once she gets used to them, she will just carry on as usual, safely out of biting range.

After a full morning of running, romping, and trying to escape from our yard, Hannah was exhausted:

We are back at the apartment now, and she is still sleeping soundly!


In a pup-ready state

August 25, 2007

Our house is now in a pup-ready state.  By which I mean that the fence is in.  Except for the gate, but that’s okay; we are going to block that opening tomorrow and bring in Little Miss Hannah for her first-ever romp in her first-ever yard.  For those not in the know about our Hannah, she is a 10 year old beagle/lab mix.  We adopted her when she was 9 years old, and she spent her first 9 years sitting in a cage by herself in some guy’s yard.  She occasionally managed to get herself pregnant several times, so possibly she got loose occasionally, and she also managed to catch a nice case of heartworms.  But now Hannah is with us, and will have her very own house and yard.  Yay for Hannah!
We’ve bought her a cute pair of little blue shoes (Bark ‘n Boots Grip Trex) for use indoors, so she doesn’t scuff our bamboo floors. We’ll also be able to use these at the beach over Thanksgiving break. Hannah gets sore paws at the beach, and tends to walk until she’s sore, then sit down and refuse to go a step further, at which point we have to coax and cajole her all the way back to the beach house.

Here is a photo of our backyard with the 4-rail fence.  Our HOA ostensibly only allows 4-rail fences, though from the fact that there are chain-link and white metal fences in our community, they seem to be very inconsistent in their enforcement.  Ah, well, we are rules-followers, so here is our fence:

We didn’t fence the entire backyard; we came in a bit on the eastern side of our property, because there is a drainage easement and we didn’t want to bury the poles in wet ground.  For that same reason, we came up a bit in the backyard, as well.  Our two acres of forested conservation land are in the background, behind our fence, and it really is a lovely yard, if I do say so myself!  It needs a bit of cleaning up, but we want to keep as natural a look as possible.

Yet another preparation for Hannah’s advent was the installation of a dog septic system, near our own human septic system.  Andy went out today and dug a 4-foot hole for the Doggie Dooley.  Because our ground is sandy, we had to fill the hole with a PVC drainage pipe, as well as drainage gravel.  Here is the finished product:

Our builder, Woody, has been hard at work installing the closet systems.  He’s finished the systems for the guest bedroom:

And its mate for the library:

Our master bedroom closet system isn’t quite finished yet:

Because it’s a walk-in closet, this one is wide enough for us each to have our own side of the closet, with our own closet systems.

Our water is kind of stinky (smells like sulfurous eggs), and our neighbors have a water softener, so we purchased a GE GXSF30H water softener which was delivered today.  It’s not installed yet, but we asked Woody whether he could get the plumber to install this, and he said it wouldn’t be a problem.

Next steps:  We are still waiting for the tank of our Toto Aquia for the downstairs bathroom to be delivered.  It was broken when the toilet came in, so the plumber had to re-order the tank.  We can’t convert our construction loan to an actual mortgage until the house is completely finished, so even though the C.O. is ready, we still haven’t changed over our loan.

Woody will finish the closet systems, and the fence installers will install the 5-foot gate this coming week.  We’ve also ordered our 18kW generator which will be arriving in two weeks or so.

And the big news is that we’re moving in this coming weekend!  Since we have new furniture at our house (our first new furniture ever!), we are going to donate most of the large items at our apartment to a charity.  Which means that we don’t have to deal with moving them, huzzah!  A few large items, notably the aquarium and the bed, will be coming with us, but things like the futon, washer, and dryer will be donated.

A spider on my face!!!

August 19, 2007

We have tons of large-ish (3-4″ long, including legs) garden spiders in our clumps of oaks & palmettos.  I’m as careful as I can be, but sometimes it’s difficult to see them, even when they’re right in front of me.  They remind me of those pictures where you have to focus your eyes differently to see the hidden image.

Anyway, I was sawing off dead branches from several of our small live oaks today, when a HUGE (to me!) spider jumped right onto my face.  It ran down my face, then down my neck, and it’s little legs felt so weird that I couldn’t tell if I was being bitten or was getting little electric shocks.  Turns out the correct answer was neither!  I guess I’m just not used to big spider legs on my skin.

Here is a photo of another of these garden spiders, one I saw in time so did not disturb.  This one was about the same size as the one who jumped on me, around 3-4 inches long:


But it won’t deter us from cleaning up the yard; I will probably just take better care next time and wear a long-sleeved shirt.  And possibly a welding mask 🙂

Our Blue Heaven

August 19, 2007

Here it is! The front porch is painted, and I think that the white roof looks just gorgeous against the blue, blue sky. Here it is from the front:

And from the side, so you can see our oaks just to the right of the house:

So we got some of our new furniture today. The chest of drawers is still on backorder, and the table top that the drivers brought was cracked, so they had to bring it back to American Signature Furniture. But the sofa, chair, ottoman and cocktail table arrived for the living room:

The sofa is incredibly soft and luscious; I can’t wait to sink into it and read a good book.

The refrigerator had come earlier this week, to complete our kitchen. My advice to anyone ordering an LG appliance that’s not in stock at the store? Order it at least four months in advance of the date that you actually want the refrigerator delivered. Ours was purchased back in mid-April.

We really wanted this model, though (the LFD25860) for a few reasons: 1. It is energy efficient (only 499 kWh/year). 2. It is available in titanium, so no Stainless Steel finish smudges. 3. It has a water-only dispenser, not water and ice, which saves energy and I think ice is gross anyway. Somehow icemakers always get bugs in them, no matter what. 4. It has a tilt-out freezer. And, last but not least, 5. It has French doors. This was the only model that met all of our criteria, so we waited patiently from April to August for this refrigerator to arrive at the Appliance Direct.

Now, our master bedroom furniture caused problems. The master bedroom is upstairs, and our armoire is apparently incredibly heavy. So the two movers, doing their best with the armoire, still made two bangs in the wall:

One of the two movers was a weak link, and we were thankful to get away with just these dents. He literally almost dropped the entire armoire down the stairs, which would have smashed our stairs, our floor, our banister, and, last but not least, his moving partner. I just don’t think this guy was cut out for moving. He was a large-ish sized man, but he just didn’t have the strength to match his appearance.

On his way upstairs with the footboard of our bed (come on – a footboard? That shouldn’t be too heavy), he gave us this lovely gift:

Thankfully, Woody is still part of our lives, so we can beg and plead with him to do a nice patch job for us. We’re not sure how we are going to be able to bear to part with Woody and are thinking about keeping him on retainer, just so we have someone to whom we can cry, “Help!” when anything goes wrong.

Here is the infamous armoire, or drywall-smashing repute:

And here is the rest of our bedroom set, sans chest of drawers, obviously. I think that we did a very nice job matching the sconces to our furniture:

Moving back downstairs, we have the six chairs for our dining table, just in case we ever decide to abandon our lives as recluses and become social butterflies:

And here is our dining table itself, proving that half a table is, indeed, no better than no table:

Last but not least, Andy took another photo of our downstairs bath, of which we are oh-so-proud:

If cheerful and soothing were a house, they would be our house. I love it! And we are lucky enough to have our apartment until mid-September, so, unlike past moves, we can make slow, leisurely progress. We’ve already moved over some of our books, and our next big project is to install a mailbox! Oh, and a water softener (so’s we don’t smell like rotten eggs after our showers there) and a generator (so’s we don’t lose all power during hurricanes).

House, house, house, house!

So close!

August 12, 2007

We have a yard! With actual, factual sod: Bahia grass in part. We just sodded the small area in front of the house and in the backyard area behind the house. We’re leaving the clumps of oaks & palmettos, and have big plans for the backyard area that is farther back: a future vegetable garden and butterfly garden.

Here is the backyard with the sod:

And here is the front yard area:

We have the front of the house surrounded by a layer of pebbles, than have a layer of pine needles between the pebbles and the sod:

Our plants are mostly natives, with one glaring exception: my indulgence, the gardenia. I love their smell, so we planted a gardenia bush next to our back porch. I’m hoping that it will fluorish, so that we will enjoy those heavenly breezes as we sit out on our porch. Ah…

The painters were hard at work today. They stained the library bookshelves:

And painted the wainscoting in the downstairs bathroom:

The kitchen installers had come in and finished up. They attached our door knobs and pulls, and they also installed the onion & potato baskets:

Then we got to work, installing the backsplash. We’re actually quite proud of this. Our back splash is the ACP thermosplastic panels, which look an awful lot like real stainless steel. They were very easy to install; we were able to do them in about 5 1/2 hours. Here is a photo of me hard at work measuring:

And here is the finished product: huzzah!

We’re very proud of ourselves 🙂

Our LG dishwasher from Appliance Direct came in on Monday, though it’s not very photogenic:

And we got a delightful new toy: Roomba! He is such a good boy; he vacuums our upstairs bedroom for us with very few complaints. Occasionally, he gets caught in the deep pile, or else he gets a plastic thread from the new carpet cuttings tangled in his bristles. When that happens, he calls for help, very pitifully, then shuts himself down and waits for us to heed his cries. I can only scratch my head in bemusement: why didn’t we get one of these before? I am a mediocre housekeeper at best, so Roomba is going to save me a good deal of work.

Since the carpet is new, there was a lot of loose yarn, so we had to come to Roomba and empty his bin several times today. When he got tired, he returned to his docking station for a recharge. Hooray for Roomba!

Now, back to the house. The fencing people will be coming out early next week (not this coming week, but the one after). We are getting a 4-rail fence on 3 sides, and are sharing our fourth side of fence with our neighbors, who are amenable to that idea.

We’ve passed all health and code inspections, so we are ready for our Certificate of Occupancy. There are just a few hoops that our builder, Woody Dortch of Classic Structures, Inc. has to jump through, and then we are done. Our furniture will arrive on Saturday, August 18: a red letter day for us. It will be our first set of matching furniture, not mishmashed giveaways.