Update!   

Hey guys!   So, you’re probably wondering why I fell off the face of the planet… At least here on the blog anyways.   I thought I’d pop in to give y’all a quick update as to what’s been going on.

I guess the lull started shortly after I published my last post.   I was tweaking the guestroom and went to shift a piece of furniture (with my back not my legs…. DUMB) when felt something pop in my lower back.   I experienced instantaneous nausea and thought “well, that’s not good”.  Then, I promptly decided to forget about it and pretend that nothing had happened. (That works, right? 😉 )  I swallowed a few ibuprofen and went about my business.  Two days later, I carried a heavy case of Boost to my car to bring to another clinic (I’m an oncology dietitian for my day job) and I felt that same area in my back scream in resistance.   I knew I’d injured it for sure, yet instead of being smart and, ya know, resting or getting it checked out, I made another poor decision …

I went for a 5-mile run.

(I can totally hear that guys voice from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade in my head right now “You chose poooahly!” (Sigh…) Tell me about it…)

See, my mom was keeping Lucas that night, so I figured that I may as well make the most of my free time and get some exercise in.  And I reasoned that my back would “loosen up” as I ran.   **coughcoughDUMB!!**.  About 1/2 mile from the finish I felt these crazy shooting pains down my leg and it was all over from there.  No sleep for days.  Crazy pain, both in my back and leg.  Really, really dumb.  I knew better every step of the way.   After two weeks of being nearly incapacitated by pain, I finally got checked out… Turns out I have herniated a disc.

Awesome.

So, I’ve been unable to do much since then, which has been extremely difficult for me.    I’m one of those people who doesn’t stop moving and I’m very self-sufficient, so it’s been challenging/annoying having to constantly ask people to do things for me.  And I still haven’t gotten used to “overdoing it” with just simple chores around the house.    I’m 34 years old but feel 90 right now.   Such a bummer.  I’m currently doing physical therapy and just finished a round of oral steroids.   The next step is likely an injection if there isn’t decent improvement soon.  Ugh.  I refuse to consider surgery as a possibility at this point.  NO.  Just, no.

One thing that I can say for sure is that I couldn’t have hurt my back at a worse time.   It happened just a few weeks before an amazing benefit that my family organized in memory of my brother, Alex.   It was the 1st Annual SSG Alex Viola Memorial Car Show.


My brother loved cars and actually rebuilt a 1968 Chevelle with my dad when he was younger.  This seemed like the perfect fundraising event to honor him.  And it was so, so great.   Many of my brothers Green Beret teammates came into town to act as judges of the car show and they awarded these awesome trophies to the winners.

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We had over 180 cars register and a over twenty others that showed up after registration closed.  We’re still waiting on a few things (contributions and expenses) to be finalized before we have an exact number for how much we raised (and can make an official announcement, so consider this unofficial) …. but at this point, we think it’s somewhere in the neighborhood of $20K.  These funds will be distributed to the Green Beret Foundation and Special Operations Warrior Foundation once everything is finalized.  Not too shabby for our first go at it.    We’re already stoked for next year.

And we were so incredibly honored by the support that we received from local businesses, car enthusiasts, and the general public.    We’ll be posting pictures of the car show on the SSG Alex Viola Foundation website once they’re available, so check back there if you’re interested.

After the car show, things haven’t slowed down much.   The weekend immediately after was Thanksgiving (fun, family, and a LOT of food) and this coming week we’re hosting a Christmas party for my book club, followed by Lucas’s birthday the next week.  All of these things are great fun and stuff we’re totally looking forward to, but it’s definitely busy (and somehow doing it all with a herniated disc makes it seem way busier).

Oh, and did I mention that a week after I injured my back our computer finally died??  Like, stick a fork in him.  Done. We knew it was a matter of time, but still…  We’ve been so busy since then that we haven’t had time to even shop for a new one.  So until that happens, I have no way of uploading pics from my camera.  Obviously, this has been a huge blogging barrier.   Hopefully, soon we’ll have a replacement.   Hopefully.

Then, there’s the house.    I feel like I’m such a downer lately in this area.  Don’t get me wrong, we love our home but we’ve had so much go wrong over the past year that it’s become a bit exhausting.    I posted this explanation of stuff back a few months ago when I took a “discouragement-induced” break due to the expensive, boring things that have wreaked havoc on our humble abode.   Well, here’s another… Two weeks ago we discovered a roof leak in our dining area which caused this damage (in addition to more, not shown) as well as an influx of water to enter our home through the wall.

Ugh.   We’re waiting now for our roofer to come and patch it, but to be honest, we’re to the point where we just want to replace the whole roof and get it done right.   This is about the 4th issue we’ve had with roof leaks since we moved in.   So, our kitchen renovation may be postponed… again.    (Ugly cry)

With everything that’s going on, I’ve decided to continue my break until the holidays are over.     Not that I have a choice until we replace our computer, anyways. 😉    I am, however, continuing to add home decor updates on Instagram.     I do wish that I had better pictures from my camera, but my phone will have to suffice until I have a way to upload camera pics.   It’s been okay so far, so I’m just gonna stick with what works and continue the Insta-fun.   (see the Instagram icon link in my sidebar to follow) 

So, that’s where I’ve been.   And I’ll be back.    No worries about that.      I love blogging too much to quit entirely.  So, stay tuned.  And thanks for understanding.  🙂

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Money-pit what?

Hey ya’ll! Sorry for the radio silence lately. Things have been a little, um… washy-washy on the design front lately. And here’s why…

In short, I’m having a “we bought a money pit” kind of month.

Allow me to explain… Since moving into our house we’ve had quite a few hiccups. For example, things that were hidden from our inspector, like a leaky roof that was covered up but never actually fixed, mold under the covered porch that was painted over, plus a bunch of other little things that were, for lack of a better word, half-assed.  Then, there were straight-up surprises like when we discovered that our HVAC system ducts were completely riddled with mold or that our back wall was rotting. This was on top of the stuff that we knew about, like the insulation in the attic being bad, the windows and carpeting that needed to be replaced, the exterior that needed to be painted and the pool that needed to be resurfaced.   We knew a lot of what we were getting into when we bought the house, but between the pricier issues that we were aware of and the surprises that we didn’t, it’s been kind of an exhausting year. We know that with old houses things like this should be expected, but that doesn’t make them any more fun to deal with.

We’re pretty good at saving money and budgeting and we’d been saving towards a renovation budget for a long time before purchasing this house because we always wanted a house like this. But, holy moly. When you buy a house that had been neglected for as long as this one (and/or practically pieced back together with scotch tape like ours was), you can expect to spend way more than you were planning. So, where am I going with this?.   Well, allow me to explain….

Last we left off here on the ole blog, we’d extended our fence and swapped out a ceiling fan. Next stops were supposed to have been buying a new shed (and, thus, clearing out our garage in preparation for the start of our kitchen makeover) and then purchasing new appliances to kick off the kitchen happenings.

You guys.  We were there.  We were SO there.   I could practically feel that smooth, shiny, functioning new range beneath my fingertips. The glorious, counter-depth fridge. The dishwasher… Oh! The dishwasher! If you’re new to the blog, know that our appliances have not worked well EVER.   Our stove works intermittently and will turn off in the middle of cooking something.  The burners are so uneven that I’ve had boiling water slide off the burner and into the middle of the stove just from the vibration of the water.    I’ve tried replacing the burners, but the openings are an irregular size, so replacing them just made the problem worse.   The dishwasher stops working upon occasion as well and leaks sometimes and the microwave doesn’t stay shut unless we slam it.   We’ve been trying to save for new appliances for about a year, but every time we think we’re ready, something else goes wrong that we have to spend the money on.   So, ya’ll …  We were THERE.   The plan was that we were gonna jump on the Labor Day sales and order our new beloved appliances then.

But, about a month before this happened…

Our second mature pine tree since May went to the giant forest in the sky.

We called out an arborist who inspected and told us that the deaths of our trees were being caused by wood boring beetles. They’d nested in the trees about a year before when the previous owners stopped watering due to a busted sprinkler system. The trees were in a weakened state, so the beetles took advantage. They’d laid their larvae inside the trees and when they hatched, they’d fed on the trees’ nutrient layer rendering them dead.

And we were at risk for losing the other 4 mature pines on our property if they were also infested. So, we had them treated. Which wasn’t cheap. But we needed to do it. A large part of why we fell in love with the property was the foliage. We had to try.

 
We saved some money by taking down the tree ourselves.

 
Well, Joey did it. I got home and he was standing atop the flattened tree all king-of-the-mountain style boasting a grin of triumph.

So, with that done, we worked to replenish our savings and began again researching appliances to get going on the kitchen makeover.

And I was ridiculously excited about it.

My mistake was telling people a that “as long as nothing goes wrong”, we were buying new appliances.

I can’t BELIEVE I said that.

I kid you not, the very NEXT DAY we walked into our backyard and it was covered in carpenter ants. Not joking. They were everywhere. So, we called out a pest control company. During the pest guy’s inspection, he found not only carpenter ants inside our house, but with one swift glance into our attic immediately exclaimed that we also had rats “and big ones by the size of their burrows”. Double ugh. He showed me the tunnels that they’d created in our freshly blown, brand new insulation and a few fresh droppings. Awesome.

So, obviously (after speaking with Joey) we agreed to treat that, like, IMMEDIATLY. So, the pest control guy set about doing his thing. And just when I thought everything was cool, he walked back inside and started talking to me about termite treatments. Why?? Because he’d found termites in our trees while he was spraying for carpenter ants.

This was the part where I gazed at him with a turbo death-stare and stated “You’ve gotta be friggin’ kidding me.”

TERMITES!!!!!! He showed me the tree and the mud tunnels. He broke one apart, and there they were. Live flipping termites. Ugly maggot-looking nasty things. 15 feet from our house. And given that our house was built in 1975, before code required that stucco be a certain distance from the ground, our stucco was actually IN the ground, thus, we could actually HAVE termites in our home and have no outward signs until it’s way too late.

Greatness. So, our $200 bill for carpenter ant treatment climbed to an almost $2000 bill to treat carpenter ants, rats and termites. And this was not counting the tree treatments from a few weeks back. Between this and our rotted wall from a few months ago, it’s like the House Gods were up there twiddling their fingers, deciding on the most boring ways they could possibly make us spend money. Ugh.

As for our house’s decor, I feel like I’ve reached the point where I’ve exhausted all of the items I already own. And it’s time to work on finishing the spaces with new stuff. This house is larger than our previous homes and has more wall space due to the closed-concept layout, thus, we still have a LOT of blank walls and areas that aren’t “right” yet.  Because the rooms are bigger, they still feel a bit empty to me in person (namely Lucas’s room and ours).   And my taste has changed subtlety to where I feel like I need to freshen things up with updated elements. But, that takes money. And our money has been spent on many boring things that cannot be seen. Ughughugh. Thus, my motivation to blog lately has gone down. Hence, the break.  I’ve worked on a few new things that I want to eventually cover (I’ve alluded to these in previous posts), but they aren’t right yet either. That’s the issue for me with working with mainly my old stuff and/or a few cheapo thrifted things…. My taste has evolved so nothing feels “right” within those constraints. Even with a DIYed twist or two.

So, really…. What I’m trying to say is that in the two years that I’ve been doing this, the one thing I’ve learned is that blogging (for me) can’t be forced.  I love to write. I love to decorate. I love having a record of my progress to look back on. And I LOVE it when you guys take the time to chime in.  But I HAVE to have good content that comes naturally. Otherwise it just ain’t real. And I’m not okay with that.   For the past two years this has never been an issue for me… Which is why I recently passed my 200th (!!!) post mark.   But, if I occasionally have small breaks in the future due to issues like the ones described here, I hope ya’ll will be patient with me.  Having an old, previously-neglected home is a new thing for us and we’re trying to field the punches as they come.

So, cross your fingers that our home stays healthy and intact for a while, so that we can get back to the fun stuff and I can gain a little momentum. I’ll be hopefully blogging more regularly again soon. Thanks for being awesome.