Deck: goin’ dooooown.

It’s been one of those weeks. A slew of things came along that drove me crazy. Or rather to….

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This week, you complete me.

Why? Because my deck is driving me batty. Fortunately, I have good friends that care, and one in particular that came, saw and sawed. As in sawed apart my deck, and helped with the rotted wood behind it. Huzzah!

Because I have Photo Grid and I’m nothing if not excited by new toys, here’s a nutshell of the work he put in. (I think I passed him a level at some point.)

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Holy bleep that's a lot of work.

But today? A contractor that’s working on Red next door (and doing a darn fine job) told me he had stairs and cinderblock, and would I like to have him put up stairs? “How’s $400?”

Um, yes please?

Now, of course I wouldn’t be me without freaking out about something, so looking a gift horse in the mouth was bound to happen.

* I worry about the sewer; the opening thingy will be covered by the stairs. Even though he’s leaving a space for plumber types to access it from under the stairs? I still worry.

* I worry about the glass block window, as it’ll be covered completely by the concrete stairs. But it’s a small price, right?

I worry that it’s a good thing, and I’m not particularly used to good things. I’m gonna have to get over that though.

Right now? It looks really nice, and extremely solid. In fact, it’s kinda got a Sesame Street vibe. Me likey.

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I’ll update once the final piece is up. The other guy is off getting wood filler to cover the rim joist. And, yes, I worry that’s not good enough, like I know what’s better. But what else? Iron? Kryptonite? My friend put up temporary flashing, but that was a stopgap, not a solution (though he did a damn good job of it.)

Seriously, I’ve got to learn how to breathe.

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Oh. This can’t be good.

I did a bunch of yard work today. Pulled out a few of the cucumber plants that have called it a day (one more is still trying to send out blossoms, bless it’s heart.) Picked a peck of peppers. Planted a new mum. Went inside and celebrated my workness by popping the peppers into the fridge.

Then, as I popped out onto the deck for a final look-see…

*snap*

*pop*

But no crackle, and certainly no rice crispies. Instead, I felt like I had been lowered about an inch or two. Because I had. The deck pulled itself away from my house. Oh yeah. This is great.

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Yep. Boom goes the dynamite.

I hopped off the deck to see what was going on underneath….

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Creeeeeak. Or that's what I heard in my head.

Aaaaaaand checked out the view from a level spot.

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Awesomesauce. Not.

Sigh.

I really want to just rip the whole bugger down and get a quote on iron stairs. Hot as a bugger? Most probably. Expensive as [RADIO EDIT]? Ditto. But it wouldn’t go anywhere.

Or maybe brick. Though I’d hate to lose the window, and it’s bit of light in the swamp room.

Just when you think it’s going on an even keel….

Bright side? Peppers!

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I'm saying this is a peck. Sure.

Behold, the Midnight Crapper!

Well. It’s been a busy few weeks, and I have pulled a whole lot of lazy hours trying to recover. Which means staying in, which means getting to see Zoe at her prowliest.

First, there was the wee mousie in the ManCave. Then the one in my bedroom. Those were popped outside using the tried-and-true Arkansas Towel Scoop, perfected when I was down at Buffalo River NHP. (There’s one more mousie that seems to be under the fridge. But he has thus far eluded capture.)

Then…THE MF-ING MIDNIGHT CRAPPER Y’ALL! I was downstairs re-watching Godzilla, as you do, when I heard what I thought was Captain Howdy in a Regan suit. I rushed upstairs, because I would be the first person to die in a horror movie. But it wasn’t Pazuzu, it was my cat, poofed to 11. And emitting sounds straight out of the Amityville Horror playbook.

There was the Midnight Crapper, right on the deck! With only a thin veil of screen door between the Crapper and the cat about to crap herself. Being the kind, loving cat human, I raced back downstairs to grab my camera. Y’know, after I told Zoe she was a brave girl.

Crapper jumped down from the deck and made for the gate. But after I Crapper-proofed the fence, she (he? Dunno) was stuck. I went outside and hopped down, letting her get back to the deck. She immediately gave me the patented kitty death ray stare.

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Impressive. Yes.

After she realized I wasn’t gunning for her, she hopped up on the “stair”.

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Yep. I was pruning today. And yep, I have yet to rake it up.

Before I knew it, she was on the deck railing. She then gave me a “see, you’re making me jump over to the icky yard, and that’s a drop!” look. Then, like some sort of deranged bungee jumper, lept.

Sadly, these craptastic pics from my celly don’t do her justice. She’s larger than Zoe, but longer not fatter. (Sorry, Z.) She’s also longer of hair, that not longhaired, not shorthaired middle ground.

Can’t blame her for hopping the fence to get to my yard. It’s probably the safest spot around.

Meanwhile, Zoe, with the mice and the Crapper, has had a rough few days. I think it’s treat time for a kitten.

Flower Show

I am so proud of the bulbs I bought. They’re opening & being all pretty and perfumy. Yayz!

I can’t take any credit, as I have been so slack in garden upkeep. Watering? Check. Anything else? No check.

But see?

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Daffys. With a pinwheel, yes. Because I am 5 and love me some pinwheel.

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Groovy little grape hyacinth blooms, that aren’t grape hyacinth but I love them anyway.

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Hyacinth-hyacinth, which I have moved indoors because it smells yummy.

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INTRUDER! INTRUDER! Last year’s chives get a ZoeB beat-down. Before her tuchas got marched Right Back Inside.

Tweaking the deck from Summer clearance

Finally, a bit of color on the deck! Man I love the end of season sales…. 75% off? Yes, please!

So, I picked up a kids sized Adirondack Chair. Because it’s cute, because it doesn’t overwhelm the deck, and because my tuchas fits in it perfectly. (That it matches the table I picked up earlier in the season? Bonus.)

I’m also loving the tall umbrella, since it has so many colors, yet isn’t too busy. But it is tiny; it’s a 5′ umbrella, and it’s so tall it’s not the best as far as shade. But the 9′ size was too big…what I’d like to find is a 7′. But for $12? I can handle it for now.

I know that I’ll have to take it all down tonight, pre-Irene, but for now I just like looking at my under $50 deck design. Hooray for stores that over order! I thank you.

Spring… garden time!

I did so love my garden last year. But, if I’ma be honest, I bit off more than I could deal with. I was too busy, and my time away from home really put my plants thru the wringer.

This year? I plan on spending more time a home, with a new writing gig, two kitties (and the Wee Wars an ongoing, but now more manageable and less odiferous) and a determination to hang around Baltimore, with occasional trips back home to the DC Metro, rather than the other way around. Still, downsizing the greenery is definitely on order.

To start? More pretty, less practical! Though I will be choosing water savvy plants, and indigenous greenery whenever possible. I love the idea of tomatoes & zucchini, but they require a lot more upkeep on my baking-hot deck than I’m able to give them (and still be able to actually enjoy the summer out & about).  Peppers?  Probably.  But flowers, mos def.  Herewith, my new friend, Dianthus!