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September Happenings & Living Room Update

September 30th, 2020 Comments off

Ugh, I have been SO bad at blogging and for that I apologize. So much has been going on which sounds silly considering the only place I go is around the neighborhood to walk Wookie and to the store for groceries and home stuff.

In any case, here are the highlights over the past month. There will likely be separate entries to elaborate on some of these things in the near future:

Joe renovated the workout room. It looks much like the office – same flooring and paint color. Right now it has pantry backstock and the treadmill in it. We sold the elliptical and I couldn’t be happier. That thing was big, bulky, and I was tired of it. I like the treadmill much much better! I’m getting a storage cabinet delivered this weekend so I will post more about the room then.

On the 22nd, Joe tackled a project we’ve been wanting to do pretty much since moving in – replacing the ceiling fan and lighting in the living room and foyer.

The high ceilings had been stopping us. We ended up renting scaffolding, and a pickup truck to transport it, from Menards. The plan was to put up the scaffolding and move it between the foyer and living room area but it was so big Joe had to build it around the stairs in the foyer in order to reach the ceiling to swap out the chandelier. It was kinda nerve-wracking for the both of us, but it did work and he was able to install the new chandelier I got off Facebook Marketplace.

Old Chandelier

Old Chandelier

New Chandelier

New Chandelier

It’s actually the same exact light we have in the dining room and was only $25. It was disgustingly dirty and full of dead bugs before I cleaned it up though. People are so gross! Why would you sell it in that condition? I didn’t see any of that in the pictures. Plus they removed the light bulbs which is kinda false advertising, but whatever.

Joe ran into a snag once he was able to partially deconstruct the scaffolding and move it to the ceiling fan area. He was able to get the old fan down without a problem but the junction box was too small to accommodate the new fan. He didn’t feel comfortable trying to replace the box, so he packed everything up, returned it to Menards, and contacted an electrician we found via Facebook when I previously asked for recommendations for someone who could do the work (before Joe decided to try doing it himself).

The electrician’s inability to give us a time, or at least a window, for when he’d be over that Friday was a bit annoying, but overall we liked him. Not only did he replace the ceiling fan, he swapped the ugly mismatched recessed lights (which I referred to as boobies) over the fireplace with much nicer ones (he told us exactly which kind to buy). I mean just look at those fugly things; they aren’t even the same color. Lazy builders!

Old Recessed Lights

Old Recessed Lights

But oh how nice do the crisp white matching lights look! Too bad the entire ceiling cold use a cleaning/repainting. When Joe was up on the scaffolding he was able to remove some of the cobwebs where the ceiling and walls met at least.

New Recessed Lights

New Recessed Lights

We were originally quoted $450 for a two-hour job but it actually only took 45 minutes, probably because Joe had the ceiling fan already wired and put together. We asked if it would still be the original amount but the guy said no and charged us $300 instead.

How nice does the new fan look? Joe later admitted he wasn’t sure about the color of blades when we originally picked it out but after seeing it up he really likes it. I’m going to pat myself on the back and say I have pretty good taste.

Ceiling Fan - Before

Ceiling Fan – Before

Ceiling Fan - After

Ceiling Fan – After

The only downside, which wasn’t the electrician’s fault, was that the old fan had a built-in remote that was controlled by a switch on the wall and the new one does not (which we didn’t even consider). He had an on/off switch in his van, though, so he swapped that and set the fan on medium speed (which is what we use most of the time anyway) so it can still be turned on and off via the wall switch. We just can’t change the speed unless we get on a ladder to reach the chain.

On the plus side we should no longer run into issues with the fan turning on every time there’s a storm. The electrician explained it was interference triggering the remote in the fan. He said if it does it now he’d be concerned we have ghosts, lol. I guess we’ll find out. He was a very nice guy and I liked how he and his assistant both wore facemasks and booties without being asked. We’d definitely hire him again if we ever need work done. Bonus – he told me he’s friends with Julian Jumpin Perez. If you grew up in Chicago and listened to B96 you’ll know.

Good riddance to the ugly gold fixtures. Whomever decided gold was a good look is insane. One of these days we need to replace the gold handles on all the doors in here too.

Oh, and after all was said and done the entire project cost us just under $600. That includes fixtures, rentals, supplies, and the electrician. Not too shabby!

Ok, so what else happened this month? We celebrated Wookie’s birthday on the 21st by buying her presents from Petsmart and taking her on a long walk at the park.

We ended up returning to the same park later the same week to try out the drones we had purchased.

Yes, that is plural. Basically we have three, although only two of them work. The first one went haywire when Joe turned it on and it crashed into the living room blinds and stopped working. We contacted the manufacturer who sent us replacement motors but that didn’t fix it, so they sent us a replacement drone. In the meantime they went on sale so we bought another one so we could try it while waiting the month or longer it was going to take to get the new one from the manufacturer. Well, life got in the way and we never got around to flying either of them so they just sat in the closet for almost three months.

Anyway, it was only slightly breezy the morning we took them out but that was enough to prevent us from controlling the drone very well. Honestly, I’m glad they were inexpensive because they aren’t as fun as I thought they would be. I don’t know, maybe a better model would be, or if we could find a calm day with absolutely no wind. I’m just glad we didn’t spend a lot on them.

Categories: Fun & Games, House & Home, Pets Tags:

Office Renovation & More Plans

August 21st, 2020 Comments off

In late July we decided to tackle a project we’ve been wanting to work on for awhile – updating K’s old bedroom and making it into a proper office / game room. Joe already got a new desk and moved the tv stand in there but the girly wall color and ugly blue carpet from when we moved in had to go. Even though he ran into an issue with some water damage to the subfloor, he was able to repair it and still got everything done in about two weeks time. Considering how many months it took when we renovated the kids’ bathroom that was super quick! And I love how it came out. The space is so much more inviting now.

New Office

Final cost: $500 for materials (paint & flooring) and decor (chair mat, rugs, bookcase, floor lamp, and futon). We came across the futon at Walmart (it was right by the entrance) right after he finished the room. It was $89 and while it isn’t comfy enough to sleep on (unless you’re Wookie), it’s comfortable enough for sitting while gaming.

Here’s a before photo for comparison.

Old Bedroom

We forgot to get a before photo with the furniture (including the old white bed frame because it sold quickly when we listed it on Offer Up).

We bought enough flooring and paint to redo the workout room in the same manner. That’s currently in progress and should take about the same time since there’s no subfloor damage. However, Joe worked on the office the week of his birthday which he had taken off from work. So he has less time to work on the next room.

I recently sold the big Critter Nation cage that used to be in the workout room to a teenage girl who wanted it for her rats. I sold the single-level one last year. I decided even if I have rats again it won’t be anytime soon. Wookie’s prey drive is too high so there was no point in hanging onto all that unused stuff taking up space. In fact, I no longer have any cages at all. I sold the old aquariums last year, as well as the cage I got with Templeton and Nutterbutter (our first rats). This year I got rid of the purple cage Winston came in and the other small purple cage we purchased when we got Peanut (our first pet, a hamster), eons ago. I also included supplies with each cage so I literally have nothing for any small critters. I even donated my old 2 gallon fish tank and sold the reptile equipment I had for Mrs. Toad. If/when I decide to get any other pets I will need to buy all new supplies. But honestly, I can’t see that happening in the next decade because I want to keep my focus on Wookie anyway. I don’t like the idea of dividing my attention between her and any other pets. But I digress…

We also sold the old elliptical machine for $50 because neither one of us was using it anymore. It’s so big and bulky, not to mention over twenty years old! I much prefer the inexpensive treadmill Joe purchased for me earlier this year to help me get exercise when I was too sick to do much else. Once the workout room is done it will only contain the treadmill, Joe’s weight bench, and a shelving unit for our overflow pantry, plus a few overflow items we don’t have room for elsewhere. I’m hoping I can reorganize the closet in there similar to how I did in the office to maximize the storage space. I feel like we still have too many things, but we’re running out of things to purge, although the kids’ old bedding and an old wooden toy box is going to be donated this weekend.

Home Improvement Shopping Adventures

July 14th, 2020 Comments off

Saturday 06/27 we did a little shopping out in Geneva. Our first stop was At Home to look for patio furniture. We arrived as soon as they opened and while they didn’t have anything we liked, all was not lost – we found a shower curtain, rings, and placemats.

At Home Purchases

Unfortunately the white shower curtain makes the master bathroom tub look dirty (because it’s off-white), so we ended up getting a grey/cream striped shower curtain from Target instead, and moved the white one to the guest bathroom.

Target Shower Curtain

Tuesday 06/30 we made a quick run out to the Walmart in Elk Grove Village to buy this awesome patio rug that I saw online only to learn their website lies and there were none left in stock.

Walmart Patio Rug

I could order it from Amazon if I was willing to pay $62, but I’m just not. I wish you could order it from Walmart to be shipped but it’s not an option. I keep looking elsewhere for rugs but am not having any luck. Maybe I’ll get lucky and it will drop in price on Amazon. Or we’ll find something even better. I feel like (most) things happen for a reason.

We did come across this adorable welcome mat while at Walmart.

Welcome Mat

I’ve been keeping my eye out for a hefty welcome mat for years and this one is not going to be blowing away, I will tell you that! Only $12.

Friday 07/03 we decided to visit IKEA. Since they didn’t open until 10 am, we stopped at Dollar Tree first. The one we visited (in Villa Park) is the biggest DT we’ve ever been to which make social distancing easy. They were listed as having an expanded craft section but it didn’t really feel that much larger than the DT’s near the house. I did appreciate the wider/shorter aisles to avoid other people, though.

IKEA ended up being a bust. There was a line around the corner from the entrance and they were just letting everyone in at once (unlike Trader Joe’s when we visited – they would stagger people entering the store). We left without even going inside. Our fault for not realizing that just like Joe, many people were off work for the 4th of July holiday. Couple that with their late opening (10 am) and it’s not too surprising how busy they were.

Thursday 07/09 we went to Goodwill to look for a mantel clock and a container to keep the dishwand in by the sink. Struck out on those things, but found this beautiful white vase for $3.

White Vase from Goodwill

We also went to Dollar Tree and I got this woof sign that I used command picture-hanging strips to put above the wall decals that were already there.

Woof Sign

We ended up going back yesterday (07/14) and it was much less crowded. Ironically enough, we didn’t get the main item we were there to get because it was out of stock (despite saying otherwise on the website). I did get this cute planter for my succulent, though, so all was not lost.

In addition, we got a new light for the dining room.

IKEA Light

We have been wanting to replace our foyer light since we moved in (16 years ago) but have put it off because it requires obtaining scaffolding to reach the ridiculously high ceilings. We decided we’re going to do it very soon, however. The problem is we haven’t been able to find a light we liked. The other night it occurred to me that we could find an inexpensive light for the dining room and move the light that’s there now to the foyer.

Current dining room light (to be replaced by the IKEA light discussed above)

Dining Room Chandelier

We just need to buy a longer chain. We rarely use the dining room light anyway because we dislike over-head lighting. Not only does making the switch make sense, it saved us money. We’re also planning on replacing the ceiling fan in the living room so we bought a new one from Lowes yesterday for $95 (they sent me a $5 off coupon).

Hunter Fan (Lowes)

I’ll include photos of the entire before and after once the work is complete.

Landscaping & Associations

July 3rd, 2020 Comments off

We ventured out to Home Depot and Menards a few weeks ago in an attempt to spruce up our patio. We bought Salvia for the patio planter at Home Depot in hopes that it will attract hummingbirds and butterflies. I also picked up this cute succulent at Menards for only $2.50.

Succulent

It’s a Echeveria pulidonis. I named him Mr. Cuddles.

Approximately a week later we also bought a bunch of mulch from Menards and river rock from Lowes since the landscapers have not been doing a great job of keeping the area nice. Hopefully we won’t get in trouble for adding the rock to the areas near where the gutters drain and where there was previously just dirt by the air conditioner.

River Rock

It’s bad enough we had to buy our own gutter extensions to keep rain water away from the building.

I bought some sunflowers from Meijer too but in less than a week the squirrels ate them all so I never got a good photo of them. Lesson learned – don’t buy sunflowers and don’t feed the squirrels so they aren’t encouraged to visit.

Luckily the petunias in the hanging baskets we got 2/$10 at Lowes are thriving. Now I understand why my grandmother always planted them – they are hardy and animals seem to leave them alone.

Multicolored Petunias

Purple Petunias

The seeds from Dollar Tree are sprouting too, so we have a pretty nice looking patio.

Flower Seeds

Planter

The small box ones went into pots in the front of our unit but there’s not a bunch of growth on those yet.

Now, if only we could find a decent table and chair set that won’t break the bank. No one seems to have what we’re looking for and it’s frustrating. I’m not spending $500 on our small patio. I found a really cute 5×7 outdoor rug at Walmart for only $35 but it’s sold out everywhere, including the store where they claimed there were two left, so that was disappointing. Not that we can sit outside very often lately with how hot it’s been. Maybe by the time it cools off we’ll have found something suitable.

A few weeks ago before we did anything with the mulch and rock I emailed the association to ask about the landscaping rules because I’m not very fond of the rose bush out back. They said we needed to fill out some request form which includes descriptions of work, the company hired to do said work, etc. I was merely asking about removing a bush, not asking to build a gazebo! Suspiciously enough, 10 days later we got a violation for having a security sign in front of our home. Never mind the fact that it’s been there ten years (no exaggeration). From talking to another neighbor, people seem to be issued violations after requesting things of the association. Real nice, huh? I mentioned this to another neighbor who also had a security sign out front and he took his down even though he wasn’t sent a violation. There’s one a block away, though, so clearly we were targeted or they would have asked everyone with signs to take them down. I removed ours but requested a discussion at the next board meeting because I think an exception should be made for security signs (the rules state no signs at all are permitted).

Categories: House & Home, Neighborhood Tags:

Completed Projects (05/25-06/07)

June 10th, 2020 Comments off

Reorganized the freezer and pantry. I am especially pleased with the freezer because I’ve wanted to make it easier to find and remove things forever but the narrow shelves made that next to impossible. Thanks to TikTok, though, I found the perfectly sized containers at none other than The Container Store.

Organized Freezer

Now I’m just working on finding the best labeling process for the bins. As you can see in the photo, I’m testing a few options.

Label Option 1 Label Option 2

For the bins with several items, I can’t see using a general label as much, as I want to know exactly what’s inside. For the bins that are all chicken or beef, though, I can use the new Dollar Tree sticky labels I found. I think I will use my label maker, however, so they look nicer since I don’t have the best penmanship.

Sorted through and categorized all our paper manuals so everything is easy to find.

Reorganized closet in the former rat room, now Joe’s office.

A month or so ago I used the Discover cash back to buy Groupon bucks and ordered a couple of cabinet shelves as well as a sink organizer. I hate the latter. It is so annoying!

Groupon Sink Organizer

I ended up boxing it up and plan to give it to my step-daughter if she wants it. I am now using this set up instead and prefer it because either way water collects at the bottom of any container I use and it’s easier to pour out of the pot vs. the organizer that has a piece that slides out if you don’t hold it the correct way.

Sink Organization

Plus I prefer the look of the planter better anyway. I would love for Savers to re-open so I could find another planter since I like using this one for fake flowers in the house.

I was cleaning the cold air return in the dining room one day when I realized that while, yes, it was dirty, the paint was also yellowed, so no matter how clean it was it still wouldn’t look like it. I bought a can of white spray paint and quickly remedied that issue. Now it looks brand new. Of course there’s no before photo because I always forget to take one!

The garage in general is more organized that ever, although we still have a lot of stuff. We did free up a couple of “under the bed” organizers that never actually fit under our bed, so were in the garage. I used two of them to store my fake flowers and one to hold party supplies. Because they are so lightweight I can store them at the top of the shelf by the door and not kill myself trying to get them down.

I went through my Cure memorabilia and put all the LPs in the special vinyl box I ordered from The Container Store.

Vinyl Storage

I went through the magazines and clippings and put them in clear plastic pockets in a binder, and moved the t-shirts and cassette tapes elsewhere, thus freeing up a storage tote I can use in the garage for other things. I also came across Cure posters, as well as other posters, in the garage.

Robert Smith Poster The Cure Poster

Yin Yang PosterGlow Poster

I took them out of the tubes they were in and combined them all in one very wide tube that I also put my Cure calendars in.


Cure Calendar (1993)

Cure Calendar (1995)

Cure Calendar (2009)

Because of all the organizing, we are now up to six large boxes in the garage waiting for Savers to open so we can donate them.

Pending Donations

If they don’t open soon we will either donate them to Goodwill or post them on a free site.

Categories: House & Home, Media, Music, Photos Tags: