Triumph over fear. This week.

One of the things I looked forward to most when getting my backyard fenced was the ability to keep a trash can for more than a week. It’s the little things, y’all.

So last night, after coming home from my usual Tuesday evening movie, I decided to give in to temptation and put my trash can out – gasp! – at night. Why I’d be so fearful of losing a twenty buck can is beyond me; maybe it’s more the hope that like when I lived in the ‘burbs, I could whip the cans out in the evening without a second thought. Plus, I hate getting up at 6am to drag (myself) the cans out.

Anyway, this morning? 6-ish, I hear the trash folks beepbeepbeeping in the alley. And lo, my eyes beheld…my trashcan! Popped over my fence (forgot to leave the gate unlocked) and none the worse for spending the night in the alley.

Sigh of relief. Yeah I know, this ain’t the ‘burbs, but little things like getting a trashcan back makes me feel a bit more…homey.


Storm door…achieved!

Hooray – today is my first official day of being a homeowner. A homeowner with a storm door, that is ! Obviously I am excited. But peep THIS.


Beautiful! It even makes my unpainted door look better. Painting that door is next on the agenda, btw.

Totally worth it to have someone come in and install it. Believe me, it’s probably easy for the average human, but me (a Bear of Little Brain)? It would have been chaos. Entertaining for the neighborhood, but otherwise a real bugger. The “e glass” that makes the storm door energy efficient is really rather heavy. (It came with a screen door/replacement thing, but I may never use it. Plus, the screen insert has a metal support bar smack dab in the middle of the screen! Can you say ugly? Yes, yes I can.)

Zoe seems to like her new “window”, though she doesn’t trust it unless I’m close by.


That’s right baby. Fear the outside. Good kitty.

Pinterest. Or how I kill time nowadays, when I should paint the front door.

Pinterest.  You likey, you pin-ey.  And everyone and their mother can check it out.

I’ve been kinda active.  And I’ve decided to start using this as a way to gather my very, very random design ideas.  Along with my geeky loves, my jewelry obsession and other thangs.

Meanwhile, I’ve been trying to get off it and paint my front door.  But lo & behold; it needs to be caulked!  Seriously.  Bighuge gap down in the left-hand corner.  Egads.  I wouldn’t have even noticed if it hadn’t been for a guy walking down my street who was kind enough to stop and chat with me about all things doors.  (Why I love my neighborhood, Reason #423.)

Peep this:

Just say no to crack. And bird poo, but one thing at a time.

I know, right?  Apparently for large cracks/gaps, I need to stuff “void filler” into the cracks first.  (And a super big thank you to Minnesota for that tip!)  Perhaps this is why I keep feeling the cold waft in in the winter.  And maybe even why it’s super-duper humid in the summer.  (One can only hope a good caulking would help.)

So, here goes:

1) Stuff cracks.

2) Caulk those puppies.

3) Trim it out; I’m diggin’ white high-gloss.

4) Put up storm door.  Read: have someone put up storm door.  I want a “bronze” door.  Not a shiny-shiny bronze, just a brownish-bronze storm door, so it’ll match the front door light fixture that I love.

5) Prime *entire* door, lazybones.  The test spot worked, enough waiting.

6) Paint the front door a groovy blue-grey.

New picture, new look for the wall.


Yeah, it’s straight from the Droid.  Nothing but the very best for this blog, yessir.

I do like how it brings the “cinema” look a bit closer to what I’d envisioned.  I hesitate to say theme, because really.  That would make it sound as if I actually have a plan, instead of what’s really going on.  Which goes a little something like this:

Hmm.  That downstairs area has a shelfy-thing.  I could put a tv on it.  And then put some shelves up and call it a built-in-ish thing.  So, with a tv…why not try for a movie/tv look?  Because having a entertainment center that has movie and tv themed stuff is so original!  Yeah, that’d work.  Hey look; cinema-looking things!  Hmm.  Maybe I should buy a thesaurus, otherwise every single word I use will be “thing”, and that probably isn’t a good idea.  PONY!

Is it any wonder that I pat myself on the back when I do the most mundane, simplistic task?  It’s a madhouse in there, I tell you. 

And now that I have things pretty well settled, it’s time.  Time to start wondering what Chez Cochon would look like if it looked…different.  A different color in the kitchen, maybe different cabinets & even a subway-tile backsplash.  A new sink for the upstairs postage-stamp bathroom.  Whacking down the slowly-eroding deck (thanks for not using treated wood, construction people) and putting in stairs instead….

Ah, home design.  Just when you think it’s all over?  THEY SUCK YOU BACK IN.

New Year, new things.

Wow.  Two years here in Chez Cochon?  Did 2011 zip by or is it just me?

Anywho, time to make a list of things I’d like to accomplish, house-wise, for the year.  Y’know, until the apocalypse puts this list on low priority.

Chez Cochon 2012 List O’ Goodness

1) FENCE THE BACKYARD.  Dammit.  Even though it’ll cost about $500 bucks just to have some City dork come out and put flags down to tell me what the property line is.  It’ll be worth it for peace of mind, or so I keep telling myself.  But I really, really want a fenced-in backyard.  It’s a quality-of-life (and a wanna-keep-a-trashcan) thang.  I may even — gasp! — finance it.  But it has to be done.  HAS TO.

2) Fix the $&#*@ spot of carpet that I ripped up, post Lilycat.  But first…

3) Put up a storm door.  Because it’s more energy efficient that way.  Plus, I can decorate my front door all pretty-like and not worry about rain muffing the wrapping paper I’ll put up for the holidays.  But also so I can…

4) Paint the damn front door already.  Seriously y’all.  It has to be done.  Because according to people much, much more intelligent and put-together than I am, your front door says something about you (and btw, the second picture down?  That’s the color I want; gorgeous.)  Right now mine says “I can’t be arsed”.  But I want it to say “wheee, pretty!”

5) End the cluster-bleep that is the current state of my closet and put in drawers.  I want a long buncha drawers in my master bedroom closet.  That way I can finally ditch the oh-so-attractive tuppers & old IKEA storage crap I’ve crammed in there.  Mmmmm.  And I could do it too; all I’d need to do is trim up the current rods/shelves-things and insert drawers.  (Hooray for storage systems!)

6) Hang up my house number.  Which also means I need to get over my Fear Of Drilling Into Brick and just do it already.

7) Seal the windows and front door.  Or rather, pay someone to do it.

8) Lastly (for now), put up pretty windowboxes in front of the upper front windows.  I’d love a sinple, Arts & Crafts-like iron windowbox cage, but who knows what I’ll end up with?  Mmm, windowboxes.

Please, fence me in!

(All apologies to Cole Porter.)

But seriously.  If there’s one thing I wish had come with this house, it’s a fenced backyard.  Ex, shmecks; I realize my ex-bf had my best interests at heart, which included the ability to have parking in the back of my rowhouse so I didn’t have to rely on on-street parking.  But this wide-open space?  Here in the city?  Not cool.  I’m a homebody, and even if I’m living in the city, I want to be surrounded.  By safety.  Or safety-ish.  It’s a word.

So now, it’s time to figure out how to get that done.  And yeah, money?  Not so much with the availability of funds.  But y’know, since I have no other debt ‘cept my mortgage?  (Oh, and a few thou’ for the siding I’m still paying off?)  I figure if I can swing a sweet deal with a fence like I did with the siding (read: 6% interest or so), as much as I fear debt like a scary thing to be feared?  It’s time to, as Larry The Cable Guy so eloquently put it, git ‘er done.  Or at least lay the groundwork and see what this would cost me.

First things first: get an accurate picture of my property lines.  Why?  Because my HVAC fan/outside motor thingy looks like it creeps over onto Red’s land.  Even though my Survey Map that I got for settlement shows that it’s juuuuuuust on the property line between the two homes, I’d like to be absolutely sure.  Also, a few fencing contractors I asked late last year all said something to the effect of “well, we can fence AROUND the HVAC…so there’d be a hole for it.”  Uh, what?  And, uh, no.  The whole idea of fencing my yard is to keep people from easy access to my yard!  (Okay, and to make it all pretty.)  Not so someone can push the HVAC in/out and crawl right into my yard?  Don’t think so.  If someone busts down the fence/fence door?  Hey, props for wanting to wander into my yard…if someone wants in that bad, then have at it.  But for the most part, a good fence makes good neighbors.  Or at least that’s what Bob’s always said.

And I really want to pretty up my backyard!  Okay, and finally buy a trashcan that lasts more than three weeks without getting stolen/having the bottom drop out/cracking in half.  And fencing the backyard would = being able to keep the trashcan on the ground, so no drops from deck-height.  And I could put in raised flowerbeds, and a few pieces of backyard furniture.  I lust after Pier 1’s hanging chair thingy.  Awesome, no?  Yes.  (Though it’s pretty dang expensive, with the chair, pads & stand)

In order to get all this done, gotta get a land survey done.  Did I want to get this done before I settled on the house?  Yes, yes I did.  But did my half-baked real estate agent (motto: “I sell you a house and then drop off the face of the earth”) do what I asked?  No, no she didn’t.

Unfortunately, trying to figure out how much a land survey costs is a tricky proposition.  Mostly because there are so many variables, like size of the land, stuff on said land, and exactly what you need to know.  The Land Surveyor Web Site has a good description of why they can’t just throw numbers at you when you ask about a land survey.  I’m hoping that it’ll cost less than $400 bucks.  (Okay, I’m really, really, really hoping it’ll cost less than $200.  Keepin’ hope alive here peoples.)

I sent a request to a local land survey company, and they should call me to give me a free quote.  That’ll be one step toward figuring out how much fencing the rest of my yard will cost.

Next?  Getting a few more estimates (I have two so far, neither of which allow for payment plans.  So back to the drawing board.)  Should be less than 2k for a fence that matches up with the fence that my neighbor has, which is a pretty awesome fence.  No gaps to speak of, and a 2×4 “topping” that classes it up a bit.  I’d want a door on the back as well, and I think that was included on both estimates.

Finally, once I get an idea of the survey & fencing cost?  Making sure I don’t need a permit, or if I do that the fence company handles it…if not, I’ll have to figure that out too.  But I’m hoping that’ll be a built-in on the cost of my fence.  She said hopefully.

Phew.  Any wonder why I’ve been so focused on the inside of my house?  Because this is a pain in the tuchas!

Next house?  Fenced.  Fo’ sho’.

Homeownership goes butch! (Or, installing a dish-detergent dispenser)

I’ve always feared almost every kind of DIY activity that doesn’t entail simply nailing something somewhere.  But, after I realized that my kitchen sink has a hole in it, and the plug that covers said hole lets water drip down ’cause it’s not sealed?  Figured I’d have to correct that situation soon.  Mostly because I am a huge slob and I like to splash water everywhere.

I decided to put in one of those dishwasher detergent dispensers, and even before I walked into a hardware store I needed a paper bag to breathe into for the fear I was drumming up inside myself.  Because I know I’m not exactly the most on-task person in the world, and my love of the lazy usually ends up with something crashing down.  But since this is the Year Of No Fear, I sidled up to the store, picked up a dispenser and some plumbers putty (thank you for the mini-lesson on how to use this stuff, contractor guy who came last year and fixed my kitchen sink!)

Now?  All done!  I feel so accomplished (badass), tough (macho), and proud (self-satisfied) that I can’t stand myself.  But in all honesty, it was so embarrassingly easy a 2-year-old chimp could do it, and probably better. Let me just say the feeling I got when I was waist-deep under my kitchen sink cabinet?  Total Tool Time.  And that’s way cool.

But why talk when I can take the lazy way out and show you?

Again, this was so super-easy I finished everything in about 20 minutes.  And that’s because I wanted to put the kettle on for some tea, because I’m nothing if not a multi-taskin’ demon.

Total cost?

Kit: under $13.00 (I had a 10% off total purchase coupon, this kit is usually a bit over $13; you can get more expensive ones if you like, but I decided to just grab what they had at the store)

Putty: under $2.00 (And I still have tons of the stuff left over)

Labor: Uh, less than 20 minutes of my time is probably worth…well, let’s just round that to zero for the sake of argument, shall we?

Hooray — a pretty, useful item put in for under fifteen bucks.  Score!

I’m loving that I was able to get that done, but the fear is creeping back, even stronger than vefore.  Why?  Because I also picked up a tip-tray install kit.  Hinges to install?  Me?  Gotta repeat to myself; The Year Of No Fear.  The Year Of No Fear.  The Year Of NO Fear.

Hey, it’ll be easier than putting in the lighted “rocker switch” I also picked up today, in the hopes that swapping the basement stair light switch with a lighted one I can just jab at (rather than flick up & down) would make life easier….