It has been a rough past month for me in terms of getting things done on the house. Unfortunately my grandmother passed recently. She was in her nineties and her health had been declining for some time. She had lived a long and full life; she raised a family of seven, watched her grandchildren grow up, and even got to meet many great-grandchildren. She had a career as a nurse caring for the elderly and later volunteered with hospice. She even found love after the passing of her first husband, my grandpa, and married again at 83. While it is sad that she is gone, she enjoyed the long full life, complete with its struggles, that many of us hope for.
With the funeral we had a lot of family in from out of town and even the pleasure of hosting some cousins at our place for a couple days. This meant at least three days of furiously cleaning the house, which I had been neglecting for some time. Thank goodness my mom came out and helped because, otherwise, I am not sure I would have been able to get it all done. Despite the circumstances, it was really wonderful to see everyone. We had a great time catching up and seeing some folks we hadn't seen in ages. The following week things calmed down a bit, but as an introvert, I was left feeling entirely depleted. Then, sure enough, I came down with a sinus infection, which has morphed into a cold, and now here I am a boogery, feeling sorry for myself, mess.
While I haven't been feeling up to par and have thus done jack-shit on the Sheridan house, J was able to start a pretty big phase of the project.
It has been two months now since we closed on the Sheridan house. Our biggest priorities at the beginning were to secure the property, clear the lot, get the power turned on, get heat, get running water, install a security system, and complete a majority of the required demolition. We are still working on getting water, but, all things considered I think we are doing alright. The holiday season was a bit of a distraction, we both (like everyone else I hear) were sick for a bit, and working in the bitter cold has been rather demoralizing. With January more than half way through the worst should be behind us though, right?
It is hard to believe that J and I have had our home here in Detroit for over four years now. While we have been slowly chipping away at things I definitely wish things could go a bit more quickly. With J's work and school schedule it has been hard to apply the required time and money to a space that we are also currently residing in. I am hesitant to start a lot of things because it will disrupt the spaces we are living in and I often end up waiting on J to finish certain things before I can continue with a project. I have been craving something that I can go all in on and not be held back by constraints that are beyond my control.
In addition to looking for a full time project, we are also looking to further invest in our area. We weren't necessarily looking to land in this specific part of town when we first decided to move to the city. Fate took us here in the end. Since then I have grown to love this side of town and have been watching with excitement as new businesses come in, the city invests in infrastructure, and resident fix up their properties. Things have been moving in a positive direction and we wanted to continue to be a part of that.
Something I really wanted for the patio this season was to bring in more plants and greenery. While I had been working on the landscaping in the adjacent bed for a bit, the patio itself needed a splash of life. I remembered seeing a product called Woolly Pocket some time ago. It is a really neat product made from recycled plastic bottles that is meant to be hung on the wall and used as a planter. They come in several different sizes ranging in price from $18 for a mini to $150 for on that is 112″ and five pockets long. You can even buy an irrigation system for it. Unfortunately, for the scale that I wanted, they just were not in the budget. I decided to get resourceful and figure out how I could make something similar for I price I could handle.
With spring here and warm dry weather hopefully around the corner I have had the patio on my mind. Every year I like to make it just a bit better of a place to hangout and this year will be no different. I have a substantial list this year that includes planting installations, painting the awning frame, and creating custom cushions for the new patio chairs. The chairs we had been using the past couple years were starting to look rather hit, and to be honest, they were never really that comfortable anyway. Last November, on one of my thrifting excursions, I found a set of four wrought iron patio chairs that were just perfect. They were in great condition and just needed a little cleaning and paint.
Whenever we show someone around that has never been to our house before their favorite room always seems to be the guest bedroom up on the 3rd floor. I totally get it, you go up the back stairs and at the top are greeted by the sunlight pouring in through the skylight on the landing and then turn into the door to find this cozy little hideaway of a room. The ceiling is low and, part of the room being inside a dormer, not much of it is even flat. The two side-by-side windows peek out into the tree tops. It is the kind of room that makes you look forward to rainy days so you can cozy up and get into a good book while listening to the rain tapping on the skylight.
We assume that the room was originally for a live-in maid or servant of some sort. I feel bad for whoever had to live up there before window AC units were invented though because, boy, does it get hot up there in the summer. In the winter it is cold but is still usable with the assistance of a space heater and heated mattress pad. Despite the rooms shortcomings, however, it is still absolutely charming.
Our most recent housemate moved out rather suddenly recently. It wasn’t because anything bad happened. He had stumbled across an opportunity that was just too good to pass up so we sent him off with our well wishes. With the room newly vacated I decided it was a good opportunity to restore the windows in there. This wasn’t originally on my to-do list for the spring, but, once we fill the room again I don’t know when I will get another chance.
I haven’t really been working on anything too big recently, but I have been chipping away at several small projects focused mainly in the den. I am REALLY trying to get at least one room done. I need a room where I can go and not have to look at all the things that I want to do. Someplace where my brain can take a rest. While I realize that in reality this will never happen because I am indecisive and my tastes are always changing, I at least want to get as close as I can for now.
I had been saving up for a bit and it was finally time. This past weekend J, A, and I put on our comfy shoes, dressed in appropriate layers, piled into the Danger Ranger and made the trek to our local Ikea. It isn’t really that far (just half an hour away) but going to Ikea always feels like embarking on a journey of self discipline. There are many victories but you always end up regretting a couple of things that make it into your cart. It is shocking how much you can end up spending there. We were not, however, going just to go. We were going to get the sofa-bed for the den that I had been wanting.
We had always been unhappy with the furniture situation in the den. We had one long sofa in there and a couple lounge chairs (one of them is heated and has vibrating massage, it is pretty sweet). J and I would have a hard time being comfortable on the sofa together; J had this habit of expanding like those long skinny balloons that they make the animals out of until I was pushed into the corner with my knees up against my chest. There was also no practical way that more than three people could watch a movie or show in there together. The solution that I saw to this issue was getting us a nice sectional with a chaise. They had the perfect one at Ikea.
I had been having trouble getting motivated to work on the house recently. It was feeling like a futile effort. None of the rooms in this place were feeling done (well, at least done enough). I would look at each room and think, "Someday". Someday we will get the right furniture for this space. Someday we will fix the ceiling in this room. Someday we will get around to refinishing these floors. Someday we will get this bathroom working. I could go on and on. But I needed a room that I could feel good about NOW.
One of the rooms that was really getting me down was our bedroom. It felt like I had randomly just thrown things in there because that is what we had, not because it was what I wanted. I didn't like where the bed was, the artwork felt out of place, I couldn't tolerate the curtains, and overall nothing tied together in any cohesive way. I had to do something about it.
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