Posts Tagged ‘loose ends’

This week, time ran through my fingers like sand – the tighter I tried to hold onto it, the faster it went.  The remainder of our summer vacation is now measured in days, not weeks.

Swimmer Girl was home for a week between church camp and a mission campaign trip.  She heads out tomorrow with steel-toed work shoes, bug spray and sun screen, Ibuprofen and lots of scrunchies (because it’s going to be hot and messy and showers will be few and far between), and a confirmation that her tetanus booster is up-to-date.

We celebrated middle child’s birthday a day late on Thursday night and we’ll celebrate my mother-in-law’s birthday and oldest child’s birthday with a combined cookout meal tonight.  (Two more cakes, coming up!)

Not many (okay, none, nada, not any) loose ends were actually tied off this week. But look what came in the mail on Thursday.

The fabric for the chair cushions!  Fabric.com is awesome – they were less than half the price of everybody else for this fabric, and I got free shipping. 

No more excuses – I have the new foam cushions and the fabric and I’m pretty sure the staple gun works just like it always has.  Now to find an hour or two to rip off the old fabric and padding, and re-do them. 

Happy Saturday!

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Try saying THAT three times fast.  (And I don’t mean “that, that, that.”)

Last weekend was a long one, so we used it to stain our new picket fence. Whew.  Before we began this project, I estimated it would take a five-gallon bucket of clear sealer and two gallons of stain (I always cut the stain with clear sealer because I think it’s too opaque otherwise) to do the deck AND the fence.

This is why I should not go into the painting business, or become an estimator.  

Sing with me: “16 gallons of stain and sealer on the fence, 16 gallons of stain and sealer…”

All-told, it took twice what I originally bought, plus two more gallons of sealer.   That’s my tower of empties to prove it and I could really use another quart for touch-ups.

R.I.P, old sprayer!

This project also took two paint sprayers.  The trusty old sprayer (on top) was purchased when we painted the outside of our first house way back in 1987.

In the 24 years since, it has painted a lot of walls and siding and ceilings and trim in several homes, so we weren’t too surprised when it conked out halfway through this job.

The new replacement sprayer (in the box on the bottom) looks and sounds almost identical to the old one, but Mr. Official said it worked better.  He would know, since he was the man holding it all weekend.  Hopefully, normal sensation will return to his right hand and fingers in the next few days. 

The final casualty of our  weekend project was this 3-inch brush brandished by yours truly.  This brush was in pretty good shape until I used it to stain between the deck planks.  It went downhill from there.  By the time I had slathered on the last bit of stain, I felt like this poor brush looked: frayed, frazzled and permanently stained redwood color, although I’m sure the spots on my toes and hands will come off sooner or later.  

And now we can put this to-do in the ta-done category, at least for another year or two – hooray!  (Note to self:  when it comes time to stain again, we should definitely aim to tackle it in April or May, or September or October. Definitely not in June, July or August.) Here are the results:  front and side yard views.  I already showed off the deck a couple of weeks ago.

At least the other loose ends are indoor or shady spot projects.

Happy lasso-ing your loose ends!

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Okay, it’s hanging by more than a thread; picture hooks and picture wire are holding everything up.

This week was jam-packed full of activities and precious few loose ends got tied off.  But one memorable ending is now hanging in our bedroom.

Last winter, I was scheduled for a painting night at Faithful Strokes when a heavy snow canceled our class.  So I waited and watched their calendar for the right class to come along.  Call me fickle, but it wasn’t until last Thursday that my schedule and their class schedule were in sync. I finally got to paint “Brown Eyed Girl” and “she” is now hung in our bedroom.

I also framed a trio of photos: one from each of our trips to South Carolina and one of the St. Aloysius church ruins at Morley,  near where I grew up.  (Note to my mom.  Yes, that is the 1986 print you gave me how-many-years ago, finally framed and hung.  Yes, I found it while moving.  Amazing what one finds when one moves one’s uhhh, “assets” from one abode to another.)  Note the blank spot beneath the photos. Wouldn’t a dresser fit perfectly in that spot?  I’m determined to make that happen in the next 30 days.

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I moved more (yes, more) plants this week. I can now say this is truly “my” garden. In addition to the irises and Shasta daisies and peonies and gladioli that were here, this area now has clumps of my favorite daylilies and coneflowers, bellflowers I grew from seed, a tickseed Coreopsis that has survived years of neglect, my Verbena bonariensis, which is supposedly not hardy to this zone (ha!), a lone Dahlia survivor (harsh winters and a weed-warrior neighbor did the rest in over the past few years), the one-and-only lily I have ever bought (a red ‘Garp’), some blue Echinops, a Kniphofia and my precious ornamental Alliums. They join some new plants I set out a month ago: Guaras, Amsonias, some ornamental grass, and the Dahlias and Acidanthera bulbs I planted a few days ago. It’s the best of all worlds – old, new and inherited. Hopefully next spring will show a melding of colors and textures (and not a shouting match.)

I brought some ‘Herrenhausen’ oregano and my rosemary over to start a kitchen herb garden next to the house. (My car now smells of rosemary – mmmmmmmm.)  And I brought other plants, too – variegated ‘Illumination’ vinca and native Pachysandra are going in the ground today.

One new loose end got tied off promptly this week: thank-you notes for the wonderful (and completely unexpected) gifts we received during our first housewarming party go out in today’s mail. Friends have a way of knowing EXACTLY what to surprise us with, and I am humbled beyond words.  Y’all rock. 

The final loose end for the week: summer swim practice and meets are officially over for swimmer girl. For the past eight years, this occasion has been accompanied by a thundering rendition of the Hallelujah! chorus.  (There are 23 stoplights between our house and the pool.  Ask me how I know.  Ask me how many times I stop at each of them while taking swimmer girl to practice 4 nights a week.  Go on…ask, I dare ya.)

But the celebration is muted this year; there’s only one more summer swim season left on our mother/daughter dance card, and she’ll be driving herself next year. Sniff. Can someone please, please make time slow down for the next two years? Because I don’t want to miss one. single. minute. She’s our baby bird, and she’s swiftly growing a beautiful pair of strong and capable wings that will send her sailing into her future.

This week should prove interesting: a long holiday weekend launches it (and we ARE taking some time off from projects), and another gathering of friends is slated to cap it off next Saturday. Wonder what I can tie off between now and then?

Happy tying,

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Loose Ends, Week 5.

In between hosting Bunco on Monday night and opening our house for a house-warming last night, I managed to tie up a few loose ends this week.

The warm-up act was Monday night’s bunco party. Around 20 women and children (yes, we start ’em young) gathered for baked potatoes, salad, laughter and yes…putting out money and rolling dice. Don’t call the vice squad – the proceeds will buy a bicycle for a preacher in India to be able to get from town to town faster and easier.)

It was fun, but I just want to let those who toured my home know that my vacuum does NOT hang out in the middle of my bathroom all the time. Thank you for politely overlooking it, but really – you’re my friends. One of you could have said SOMETHING! I had to laugh when I walked in there later that night and there it sat.  It was one of those things.  I started to vacuum and then I saw some laundry that needed to be started, and when I got to the laundry room I realized I had a basket of assorted odds-and-ends that needed to be put away… And before long, I forgot all about vacuuming.

After Monday the countdown clock began ticking toward Friday.  Last night at 6:30, a steady stream of friends began showing up, and the last family pulled away a little after 10.  Swimmer girl and middle son took advantage of the still-flaming bonfire to make a few more S’mores while I tidied up and Mr. Official helped Little Dog and Big Dog do their business for the night.  (We have a weekend guest in the form of 35 pounds of energy and fur, also known as Sadie-the-grandpuppy.)

Where was I?  Oh yes,loose ends.

Although much of the week was spent on other things, I did tie up a few loose ends.

For starters, I moved a gob of plants from old house to new house last weekend – all my Louisiana irises, variegated Irises, Japanese purple irises, and several hostas.  To even things out, I shovel-pruned two clematis in the new house’s beds. I like clematis as much as anybody, but you gotta know your varieties, and “sweet autumn” clematis is NOT a dainty little vine to plant in your formal garden beds. It’s a thug. A sweet smelling thug, but a thug. They were smothering the roses on either side of them, so in the final analysis, it was the clematis that had to go.  Their departure left room for one of my birdbaths.

The deck rails and spindles are now  all stained.  They could use a second coat, but even if they don’t get it for a few months, they are sealed and ready to withstand the summer sun beating down on them. So we went from this:

to this:

 and this:

I also hung curtains in the two upstairs bedrooms. Fortunately, hanging them did NOT involve a rodent-sighting.

And I hung some pictures in our master bathroom and painted over my drywall repair job. The entire bathroom needs a painting – but at least it doesn’t have white spots here and there until I can completely tie up that loose end.  So that one is only half-tied.

I made a list of all known loose ends and wound up with two dozen projects, big and small.  All I can say is it’s going to be a very busy summer.

Happy tying!

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This fourth week marks four notable endings to some loose ends.

First is an extremely satisfying (if messy) chore now on the “ta-DONE” list.  The new deck was power washed, stained and sealed (had a rain-out on the railings, but another few hours next week and they’ll be finished.)   The old deck was cleared off and the few scuff marks created since last July’s staining job will be touched up today.  The new house’s deck has plenty of time to cure before the parties begin.

Second is a VERY old loose end.  I’m sure it doesn’t qualify as the world’s oldest loose end, but it might qualify as my oldest one.  We’ve all heard stories of people getting a letter decades late, right?  Well, this one is close to that, but it was not the fault of the USPS.  As we were moving Christmas stuff, I came across a box that looked vaguely familiar.  I opened it and sure enough, it was a gift to a longtime friend.  It was supposed to be sent to her several (7? 8? not sure!) years ago.  Mea culpa to the max.  It’s now on its way with a note of humble apology.

This week also marks a third ginormous “tied up with a big honkin’ ribbon” loose end closure to the remaining stuff out of the old house.

You’ve heard of “Five S” organization method, right?  Five Japanese words, all start with “S” that describe how work should be done – sorting, straightening, sweeping, standardizing, self-discipline, safe, security, satisfaction.  (Hey, that’s more than 5.  Oh well…)


This is a little more cut-and-dried:  Just three S’s:  sort, straighten, and sell.  What doesn’t sell is going to charity or the trashcan. Hmmm.  Guess that’s a fourth “S”.  And we could throw in a fifth “S,” for satisfaction when it’s all said and done. No matter how many “S’s” you want to count, I count it as success because we will manage to seriously shed some old baggage. On a Saturday. Six S’s anyone?

A fourth loose end was a little bittersweet.  I went through my blogroll and cleaned out some blogs that have gone by the wayside since I added them.  One asked me to drop them (that’s a first.)  See, I told you I was a blog killer...

Happy Saturday!

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The more I look around, the more loose ends I find.  I think this is going to be a very busy summer.

Saturday afternoon, we tied up some ends, but in the process created a new loose end.  We took down my greenhouse and hauled the pieces to the new house, where they are now stowed in the shed – thus creating a merely relocated loose end.  I’m going to need a few replacement pieces in order to reconstruct it, but I have set a deadline for us:  UT has a bye week September 23.  That sounds like the perfect date to rebuild the greenhouse, just in time for fall and winter. So I just need to get those parts ordered BEFORE that date.  And I need to figure out WHICH parts to order before THAT.  We’ll see.

Monday I tied up some tangled ends:  I pulled four charger cords from my car, and tossed all by the one for TomTom – the rest were leftovers from cell phones that have been replaced – not all were mine, though.

Tuesday, I finally cleaned off my kitchen/office desk and restored it to its pre-move status.  (Now that the initial tsunami-size wave of SBV stuff has ebbed away I don’t need to use the upstairs office.)  Bad timing – I also made cookies that day. It is beyond my ability to sit within arm’s reach of fresh-baked cookies and not eat one.  Or two. Or more.

I also finally updated our TomTom – it was only a couple years out of date.  Maybe the next trip to Florida will not involve “Tom” wigging out and thinking we’re driving on the beach for a 30-mile stretch of new(er) highway.  As much as I enjoy irking “Tom,” the novelty of that prank has worn off. 

Since I was on a roll, I cleaned up the three bar stools that had been stored for the past decade-plus, and tucked them along the eating bar on our kitchen island – it was like they were made to fit there. 

Thursday morning saw middle child and I traipsing off to the old house bright and early, and hauling back the recyclable pots and flats out of the now-dismantled greenhouse.  I saved a few to keep, and the rest are now on their way to wherever recyclable plastics go.  At least it’s not to a landfill.

Friday I mailed out 70-some invites to a get-together we’re planning for later this month.  Yes, that ties up a loose end – the invitations have been sitting here since we moved in.  It was high time to get them in the mail so people can hopefully make it to the party!

Several more loose ends are now on my radar screen.  Some of them involve the drill, a pencil and a level.  Others involve heavy-duty gloves and a big brush. Stay tuned…

Happy tying,

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After my success at hanging a blind (it’s the little things that mean a lot, isn’t it?) I decided I would shoot for tying up at least a couple if not several loose ends every week – ideally one a day, but some of these “ends” are going to take longer than a day and some weeks have other stuff crowding the schedule. (I’m pretty sure there are enough undone and almost-done things around here to keep me busy every day all summer long.)

During the past week, I managed to finish the following tasks:

.  I scraped the ceiling in the old house’s laundry room. It was only ten years overdue. Okay, we’ll cut me some slack and call it four years overdue since that’s when I scraped the bonus room and it was the next-to-last room to be scraped, and promised I’d move onto the laundry room next.

It took me under two hours, start to finish. Honestly, in the last four years, I couldn’t spare two hours to scrape the blasted ceiling and a couple more hours to paint it??? I have made myself a promise that I will focus on the success and I won’t beat myself up over these loose ends, but that was definitely a hall-of-shame project. It’s done, and the new owners – whoever they might be – can enjoy the house popcorn-free.

Bonus:  Also on Saturday I rearranged an alcove in the new garage so I can use my wire shelves from the old house and store my canning supplies and other stuff that’s coming out of the attic.  As I swept and tidied, guess what I found behind the water heater? The missing wand to the wood blind we just hung. So now to replace the replacement with the original, and take the other wand back to the old house.  Confused yet? Me, too.

Monday.  I can’t take full credit for this one, but I did help. A little.  My brave menfolk – all three of them – took turns climbing into the fiery furnace (aka attic) and handing down boxes and tubs.  No one could stay up there long – it was simply too hot.  Sidenote:  Two attics are NOT double the fun.  The Christmas and other seasonal stuff is now tucked away in the new walk-in attic (God bless the genius architect who first designed a house with an attic you can WALK into instead of climb into.)  The canning jars are now on their new shelves in the garage, along with the ice cream freezer and even our turkey fryer/low country boiling pot.  (Forgot we even had it!)

Unfortunately, the rest of the stuff is now one ginormous loose end.  The old house’s garage looks like a scene from “The Hoarders” with six piles o’ stuff:  one for each member of our family, plus one designated for a garage sale.  The next step in the process is for the individual piles to begin shrinking as everyone culls through their stuff and moves things to the garage sale pile, or to the trash.  But when theory meets reality, they are often complete strangers, unknown to each other.  Sigh. I’m sure the piles will eventually go away.

Tuesday.  I patched all the nail holes and did a final clean sweep of the old house before the painters arrived.  I can finally say the house is really and truly ready to be painted.

The rest of the week was spent on getting several work-related tasks and volunteer loose ends pushed to the finish line, in between playing swim taxi to and from practice.  I’m hoping next week I’ll have a little more time to tie up a few more loose ends, because I do believe I am on a roll.

Happy end-tying!

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