Friday, August 15, 2014

Stuff I've Learned From Rich People's Houses.

Last year was my first Parade of Homes experience.  I was a parade newb.  And I loved it so.

 This was in last year's parade, and it is still the home of my dreams.

None of the houses this year beat this house.  Not even close.  But I'll let you know if I find a winner in the future.
Allow me to discuss my findings on rich people's homes, won't you?  I've taken the liberty of dividing my notes into three categories:
1.  Trends I see
2.  Unique stuff
3.  Things Mandi must absolutely have one day
Let us begin.
Did you know that rich people have at least 3 washer and dryers?
I believe I counted four different washer sets in the biggest house I visited this time around.  Do you see that this one is tucked into the master closet?!?!  HELLO.  That is. . . that is amazingly lazy.  I love it.
Butler pantries.  Oh.My.Stars. I want a butler pantry.  I don't mean to be all Captain Obvious! on y'all,
but an extra fridge in the pantry?  I die.
Kids' playrooms.  Usually in awkward spaces.  I saw a lot a that.
This awesome house had a boys' playroom,
and a girls' playroom.  Side by side.
This one even had a door inside it that led to the little girl's bedroom.  Get my smelling salts.
Also?  Jack and Jill bathrooms.  Almost every single house had one.
Brick.  I love brick.  This brick is on the ceiling.   That's fairly unique I'd say.
Most unique wall treatment I saw:
Don't like it at all.  But props for creativity.
Check out this bathroom:
Love the wainscoting, and that's a tile mosaic in between the moulding pieces.  Interesting, n'est pas?
Mmkay.  So this is a pantry.  See the Oompa Loompa door?
It leads to the garage so you can easily slide your groceries directly in.  Coolness, right?  I can only begin to imagine the kind of sick and twisted games my kids would pull with that little door if it were in our house.
If I were to build, and I never would, because I know the second I decided on something, I'd change my mind, but ANYWHO--
if I were to build, my shower would absolutely have to be doorless.  And it would have to have 2 showerheads.  Two people showering together.  That's so kinky.
This isn't particularly something I MUST HAVE, it's just more something I believe should be a hard-set decorating rule--
all small spaces and nooks should have built in window seats no one ever really sits in.  They just should.  It's not the law, but it might as well be.
And last, but certainly not least--
I neglected to take a picture of nothing more than this beautiful tub, but just know, that I consider to be thee lap of luxury, and having "made it" in life, is the presence of a TV just for the master bathtub.
I've always wanted a TV near my tub. . . sigh.  Hey Jeffro!  Your wife is calling!  She wants a TV she'll only use 2 times or so a year near the tub!
Thanks for taking this tour with me.  I'd like to thank the Daddy-o and my great friend Rochelle for getting lost with me all around town looking for homes because I'm the last human alive without a smart phone.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

A Woman's Garage Is Her Own Business.

I believe if you were to ask a neighbor what my garages looked like as they drove past, they'd describe it something along the lines of,
"Sawdust.  Lots and lots of sawdust.  Wood, like everywhere.  Cars can barely fit in there-- just. . . massive explosion of crap."
Tough. But fair.

Hubs used to refer to parking the cars as, "threading the needle."  It was that tight.
Dudes, I got on my horse, and I cleaned this thing.  Again.  (Is this my 3rd declaration of a garage cleanse?  I believe so.)
But you know what's different this time? 
I know where every.single.thing is.  I organized the crap out of the entire area.  And it took me forever, but it was so satisfying.
Hot tub stuff? 
Gathered from the four corners of the earth.
Seeds.  Contained.
Spray paint.  Banned from future purchases.
Tape.  Any type.  I got it.
Hammers.  I had no idea we had this many hammers.  Hey Jeffro, we can stop buying hammers now.
Oh, oh!  This is one of my favorites:
I complain that I spend half my working time searching for the proper tools.  Main items constantly disappearing? 
1.  A tape measurer
2.  A pencil
3.  Eye/ear protection
Boom.  One container.  It's all it takes.

Can we all see how not knowing where stuff is just leads to buying it over and over and over???
I have a wall of levels and squares now.  Hee.
Holy hardware.

I told the hubster not to go anywhere near the hardware aisle without consulting "the drawers" first.

Going through mounds and mounds of hardware took me the longest by far, but it was sooo worth it.  It's like a miracle.  I can walk straight to anything I need now--

plumbing crap?  There's a crate for that.  Electrical, too.  Glue, yard chemicals, outdoor toys, balls, you name it--

I can find it.  I'm so happy I could cry.

Notice I'm not showing you the bigger picture.  To the layman's eyes, it's still cats and dogs living together in here, mass hysteria.

But we know better, don't we?  And if I can't display old license plates out in the garage, where can one display their plates? 

Hey.  If you have an old license plate lying around, could I talk you into sending it to me?  I'd love to collect some.  I don't want to put you out, though.  I don't want it to cost a lot or anything.

So I love it in my "new" garage.  It's so refreshing. 

But just know that the lumber pile is still completely out of control.  I'm working on it.

Do me a favor and ask me if I have what you need before you go to the lumber yard, okey dokey?

Monday, July 28, 2014

I Don't Wanna Talk About It. And Yet, Here We Are Talking About It.

I'm not one to be picky.  One look at my house will prove I'm not picky.  I've never sent a plate back at a restaurant, and I'm definitely not one to correct and criticize,
but the addition to my backyard?  I am not happy.  NOT.HAPPY. 
This is my fault-- Jeffro didn't even want what I talked him into.  And I should have been out there making decisions and ensuring that what got done out there met my approval, but I am just not one to bust people's chops.  I trust too much. 
Here's my new patio.  I love my rocking chairs.  I like what I planted behind the retaining wall.  
We are purposely taking a look-see from afar.  Because it is a Monet.  From far away, it's OK, but up close, it's a big old mess.
PLEASE please, if you weighed in on my patio decisions, and I didn't follow your expert advice, then I do deserve a big ole "I TOLE YOU SO!", but can I just talk you into only a small neener neener?  Because I'm pretty bugged about this whole thing--
I'm not saying I'm crying myself to sleep in my big pillow at night, but I'm seriously bugged about the whole fiasco.  It wasn't cheap, I don't even know what he squared the patio on, the dude did a crappy job-- the color is like?  I don't even know.  It's like terra cotta pot out there--
Just go easy on me, okay?  I made a big, expensive, hard to fix, BAD choice.  Why don't you just give me a paper cut and pour lemon juice on it, okay? 
And you know, it's one thing if I go out there and screw up my own dang yard-- but it's another that I paid good money for it to be all effed up.
I need to calm down.  Cleansing breaths.  Deep, cleansing breaths.
Here.   A better picture.  My yard, overall, is sooo much less trashy.  The flowers have filled out--
I love it at night out there--
in the meantime, I'm going to try to fix the color out there this week, and perhaps add some flagstone to the firepit.  Or maybe I'll just throw up my hands and accept it as it is.  I don't know.  Go easy on me.  I've already beat myself up over it enough as is.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

In Which Mandi Gets A Wild Hair. Again.

My kids have a "playroom".  It's the pit of despair.  Don't even think of trying to escape.
Seriously it was just scary.  There will be a "before" shot over my dead body.  All my friends and neighbors who've seen this room are going,
"Yeah.  I've seen it.  It should be condemned."
It should've.  I hope that's descriptive enough of a "before".
as things go, I gave away a massive piece of furniture in that room, and I could suddenly see what the room could be.  What it should be.   And I had an idea.
These were the rules.
"The rules are there ain't no rules."
Sorry.  I love Grease.  There were rules:
1.  Spend zero money.  Every piece of lumber must come out of the garage.
2.  Get it done right away, get it cleaned up, and make it usable.
This is what we were working with:
this wall.
Now, normally, I don't approve of such moulding hate crimes,
but when you're making something more, then and only then is it okay for moulding removal. 
You know what this playroom closet needs?  A window.

And. . .. I certainly didn't expect a non-outer wall to have insulation in it.  That was a surprise.  All my kids one by one were like,
"Why is there cotton candy in there?"
"Hey, this looks like cotton candy in the wall!"
Don't eat the cotton candy, children.  It's "scratchy" flavored.
Regard that I also found the electrical wiring.  I'm getting really good at doing that lately.  I just pushed it to the side and moved on.
So, the window alone turned the dank, dark toy closet into something better.  Something new.
Don't worry.  The inside of the closet got a makeover, too.  Just shush.
So we need some siding, like a house, ya know?
and a roof.
And some paint, and some shingles, and a cute little sign to call it home.
I have a friend who actually free-handed that house sign.  She's awesome. I chose "Penny Lane" just so I could sing the song every time I saw it.  Because after all, it is in my ears, and in my eyes.  There beneath the blue suburban skies.    ( The house number is my daughter's b-day.)
The inside got a little makeover too, which totally isn't worth looking at.  It's just a fun little dress up spot I threw together.
I should have done this ages ago.   Instead of creepy, it's this fun, CLEAN, little hideaway, and so far, it's a hit.
Don't worry-- I didn't leave out my boys.  They got their own wall of awesome on the other side.  I'm just too lazy to clean it up for a decent picture.  I'll show ya as soon as I can talk someone else into cleaning it.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

A Deck In A Day. It's The Family Way.

I have been working my Ay Ess Ess off the last little bit--
indoor projects, outdoor projects, other people's projects--

I'm tired, and apparently have been too busy to actually talk about them.  Well, now.  I wanna talk.  Let's talk.
I coerced the Daddy-o into allowing us all to help in getting his deck at the Lakehouse done. 
We were all gonna be there-- 8 able bodied adults--
and as we all know, many hands make light work.  N'est pas?
This was hard for the Daddy-o, as he is always a one-man show.  He does things all by himself, and he never asks for assistance.  He'll just figure out how to get it done on his own. 
His house?  Built it all by hisself.  With the exception of asking his father and father-in-law to help pull up the walls when they were ready to go.  It's his way.  It is the way of our people.
I'm proud of you, Daddy-o, for taking this huge step.
it wasn't really a deck in a day, as one of our trips to the lakehouse consisted only of digging and pouring the cement footings, BUT,
all the actual lumber and trex work was a 24 hour process.
So, um, do you need help getting your deck done?
'Cause at this point Jeffro and I are going semi-pro at it.  More Jeffro than me, really.  We all laid that trex until we couldn't see anymore.  And then we used flashlights to finish up the last few pieces. Oh yes, we dit-id.
You can see the deck is not actually connected to the lakehouse.  It's set up on the hill.  This is so you can watch people zipline past,
gaze up at the stars, and personally, what I've always wanted to do. . .
launch water balloons into the RV park down below.  Heh.  Heheheh.  Also, my mother took this picture, and I'm pretty sure that's her arm on the right. 
I'm in my jammies back there.  That's so hot. 
Hey Jeffro, I think you have definitely indicated your college allegiance, there.  But I guess we could get you a hat and some matching socks and shoes too.  Just to make it completely clear.
And. . .
 it was everything I ever hoped for.  The water balloon part, that is.
Except for the fact that they don't quite make it into the RV park.  But that's good since I don't feel like getting sued right now.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Gardening. Not Just For Old Ladies.

First of all,
if we've been friends for any length of time, then you know I have this odd obsession with summer.  I love it.  I see summer as the best of life, and winter is punishment for what you did during summer.
'S how I see it.
And every year, I do this nerdy thing, where I pick a summer theme song.  Yep, I do that.  I love how listening to a song over and over will forever associate it with the occasion.  Meld it to your brain.
two summers ago, it was this song.  I have to put it on here 'cause it's so freaking awesome.

Last summer?  This one.  Relatively unknown last year, but possibly a little overdone this summer. 

And this year, (dun dun dun)

I love this song.  Just listen to the chorus, at least.  It's calm, it's chill--it makes me want to sit on my bench swing that can barely hold up my weight, sip a cold drink, and watch my kids play and beat the crap out of each other out in the yard, and then do nothing about it.  Because I'm feeling calm.  Chill.

Man I love summer.


to the matter at hand--

I have a lot of questions for you, by the way.  Questions that need answers.


Gardening.  People.  As a kid, it seemed like pure torture.  Weeding was as fun as a dentist trip. 

When I get to heaven, I'm going to apologize to my grandparents when they took me on a grand tour of their pride and joy garden, and I didn't appreciate their hard work.  So ashamed.

As an adult?  This shiz is addicting, man.

I can't get enough of digging in the dirt and planting.  I love being outside, I love seeing stuff grow--I love this crap. 

First question--
(plants for my porch)

can one have too many potted plants?  Is that possible?   Because I'm just putting them anywhere.

(another random pot 'cause why not)

Can it be like a whole crazy cat lady thing?  Like, could I become the crazy pot lady?

(this isn't my place, but I'd definitely take it.)

That didn't come out right.

(Urns for the front of the garage.  I bought the geraniums on clearance nearly dead and think theyr'e starting to perk up nicely)
So, basically, if it'll hold soil, I believe that it should be planted in.  This is true, right?


I took these dollar pots, and the daughter and I got all fun 'n crazy with 'em,

and then we planted 10 cent packets of zinnia and teddy bear sunflower seeds in them,

and miraculously, 10 cent packets do indeed grow!  Hurray.  And obvs, I stuck them outside by my garden because I'm still under the impression that I can have as many flowers and pots and crap out here as I want until someone tells me differently.

Oh, Oh!  Other sidenote!

I also planted trumpet honeysuckle to climb my arbor in the garden and am ridiculously excited about that, AND. . .

everyone's all, "I like your flowers!" and I'm like, "Those are hydrangeas, and they're gonna be like 5 feet tall and they're going to be amazing I swear just wait!"

Please don't die, hydrangeas.

Kay.  Second question:

every dang time I ask someone what I could plant next year in my planters that would be perennials next time (since it cost me so dang much to plant these annuals this time),

I get the same response:

"Oh, anything would be fine in there."

Um, no.  Not all perennials would just look amazing in here.  Help a girl out.  Something not too tall?  Not too wide?  And please don't mention how I need to edge my grass?

Kay.  On with the next question.

I know, I'm beating a dead horse here--

But with thee change of scenery back here with the deck 'n all, just like I said over and over, it's snowballed.  We wanna make it better back here.

And I cannot stop dreaming of a firepit area.

Something like this.  Something hardscaped.  Something nifty.  I'm serious about this.  Seriously serious.

Serious enough to call and get estimates and start digging up the lawn, and I'm this close to having the work started like now-- yesternow--

but help me. 


Stamped concrete?


Stamped concrete?

Slate, stamp, slate, stamp,

slatestampslatestampslatestamp. . . ?? 

If the price is basically the same, what do I do?  Does it even matter?  Am I always this indecisive?  I have no idea?  Help, I think?