Three Years of Home Ownership: Pandemic Projects

So it’s been three years. I’m surprised I made it past the first night, honestly. You know how it’s hard to sleep when you’re in a new place? Yeah, that first night was like that. And even worse since I was all alone in the house in a neighborhood I didn’t know that well. And take into account that I’m naturally a fraidy-cat.

So I hardly slept and woke up the next morning super early and wide awake. I thought I’d just read for a while. It was very dark. Flip the lamp. No light. Cool; it probably just burned out randomly my first night. Flip the overhead light. No light. No power. I totally wigged out. There was no way I was going to walk outside of my bedroom door in the dark to see if other lights were working. I was convinced that someone had turned off all my power and this was the end. So I sat in my bed curled up with a sense of impending doom until there was just a smidgeon of light outside. I grabbed my flashlight (thankfully in my unpacking, I smartly put my emergency flashlight back on my nightstand in its normal spot). I ventured out into the darkness, found my electric panel, and flipped a few circuits. Power restored. I didn’t die.

But it wasn’t a very nice welcome to my home, haha. Luckily, things have been much more grand since then. The water heater that they said would hardly last a few more months is still going (but since I said this, I fully expect I’ll be replacing it in the next month). And many of the things they scared me with on the inspection report are actually fine. And/or I’ve never even tried to start up the gas fireplace as a result.

But that brings me to today. What pandemic projects have I been working on? Well, it won’t surprise you that most of my projects have involved destruction and destroying. And pulling out. And undoing.

And not a lot of redoing because that would have required more forethought to actually plan before I started undoing.

But the most important pandemic project was new doorbells. Yes. Very important. The house didn’t have doorbells when I moved in, so we bought the only ones available at Home Depot and set them up. I didn’t hate them at first but after 2 1/2 years I did hate the tone. Like a lot.

But why would one need a different doorbell tone in a pandemic? No one is coming to visit, right? Ah, but that is where you fail to see my greatness as a loving community member who decided to help restaurants stay alive. Plus DoorDash had a free trial. In the beginning of the pandemic days, when it was thought that this would be 15 days to a month (hahahhah…..*sigh*) I tried out a lot of fun new local places that brought food straight to my door! And once I had my new doorbell, I wasn’t annoyed by them arriving. #firstworldproblems.

Also, because I’m so hi-tech, I have different tones for my front door and side door now so that I know which door people are at, which saves up to 3-5 seconds. Time is money, folks. Change the small things.

So what else?

I tore up my front patio area. It was brick pavers and I hated how the weeds grew in between no matter how much I sprayed. Plus there was this weird little sandy area and it was just strange. So it’s all gone now and the bricks have gone to a much better place as a path in between my parents’ garden boxes (yes, I helped build them).

Front brick paver area
Beautiful new home for the brick pavers.
The moment when I wondered if I should have done what I did.

Alas, the area where I tore out the pavers is still not at all what I want it to be. I got one load of top soil in my trailer, but my trailer has holes in it so I had a tarp in there to hold it all, but apparently I hadn’t used the tarp since I got it at a garage sale, and it completely disintegrated while I was shoveling out the top soil. So I need another load, but I first have to buy a tarp. But while I’ve been lolly-gagging, I don’t even know if I like my original idea with the area.

So while I was still in the destroying phase, I also took out the very last bits of the chicken coop, which was a pretty big deal to get some bolts out. But as I was standing on it, the 4-year-old neighbor saw me and thought it was the coolest thing ever that I could look over the fence and now when he sees me he asks if we can chat over the fence again. Adorable.

But I also took down the metal gate and the posts and chicken wire that were part of the rest of the chicken run. And I have twenty ideas for that area. I haven’t done any of them.

Back chicken coop area cleaned out and ready for…something.

What did I do that wasn’t destructive? I got some sprinkler areas fixed in the yard! Wait a second, that required them digging a trench through my back lawn to set up a drip system for the garden that was separate from my lawn sprinklers. It’s still recovering. But I have automagic sprinklers in the back now!

But I destroyed more things. My park strip has been in a sorry state ever since I moved in. I tried to reseed and get the grass back but it just became mucho weedy. So I decided to tear it all out and I’m going to do a waterwise approach with some decorative rock and low-lying bushes a landscape consultant recommended. But so far? It’s just a dirt strip, now. It did take a while and 3 different groups of people/companies to get it that far (seriously finding good workers right now is kind of a joke–one group kept saying they’d come back but never did, one bid me about a 1/5 of the actual cost on accident but luckily didn’t do more work before I found out and stopped them, and another tried to cheat me by not doing the exact work I had bid out. Seriously not cool). But it’s dug out now. And someday maybe I’ll do something besides think about buying all the supplies to get it to the next step.

The park strip. Please send help.

And that is all for now. Welcome to pandemic projects where I destroy things and never rebuild just to make sure 2020 doesn’t have many redeeming qualities. Also my raspberry bushes died. And several patches of lawn. And half my garden. It’s been a rough year for my usually green thumb.

BUT, the agent I worked with most at RedFin when I bought my house did send me a little home-versary package and because there are three of us in the house and there were only two brownies, I did the right thing and ate both brownies.

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