Some Fool on the Titanic

The maiden voyage of the Titanic was of course an utter disaster and sad tragedy, however I can’t stop imagining that there was probably some fool trying to order a plate of caviar and cheese while mayhem was escalating. The fool, wearing a mask of complete denial.

Yea, that’s me.

We’ve accomplished, tackled and purchased a great amount in the 4+ weeks we’ve been in the house, but our list is still very long. We need to purchase driveway trees, a washer/dryer, plants for the front entry, plants for the patio, actually plants for everywhere, a new furnace/ac unit, roof, exterior paint, revamp the guest cottage… I think I’ve made my point.  So with this giant and daunting list, somewhere along the way I thought it was an absolute necessity to have this faux plaster deer head for the bathroom.

Like I said. Mask of denial.


p.s. As I unpacked it tonight, Mike asked if I was going to give it a name. I said it’s already named Denial the Deer.  He paused with instant regret and that tell-tale look I know so well; the look of “I wish I could retract that question because I don’t want to know now.”  I said, there’s a blog post coming out in a few minutes that will explain it all.


It was uneventful. Mostly…

The dumpster is full and the garage is empty!


The dumpster is not listing. Just the camera tilted.

Mike and I loaded the dumpster today and I’m happy to report that we didn’t see any (r.a.t.s. – I can’t actually say the word just in case Susan is reading this) and we got through it injury free (there were hundreds of nails involved).

As we were winding down, I was sweeping up a little pile of debris in the shed and something small that had caught my eye earlier was there again in the pile. As I leaned down to get a closer look, it scampered out of the pile. This is the part where it gets gross and also the part that Mike might refute but this is how it happened. I screamed with alarm and then started screaming again and again repeating over and over, “It’s a scorpion, it’s a scorpion, oh my God it’s a scorpion!!!” I instantly started making attempts at bashing it with my metal dust pan, while screaming. One big whack and I got it! Almost. I only chopped off its head and pincers. Oh my heaven it was awful! The scorpion continued to make disoriented scampering loops, like I can only imagine a headless chicken would make.

As it looped, I turned back to Mike, (who was calmly dismantling an old cabinet and I will give him credit that he was dealing with his own little bit of hell with an old rats nest) and gave him that look of, “I could use a little something over here. Didn’t you hear me scream that it’s a scorpion!?”  Some reinforcement, you know? Perhaps a cool saunter and a “Step aside little lady, I’ll get that for you”.  Or at the very least, “Oh that looked awful, good thing you’re so quick on your feet with that dustpan.” Instead he gave me a shrug and kept at his task. I gave the unwelcomed guest one last smack and it was dead. I turned back to Mike and said, “Really?! That was traumatic, can I at least get a little something!?” He pointed out that I stay up late watching zombie movies and killing one little bug couldn’t be anywhere as awful as my shows. Humph.

$500… in the trash.

I grew up in the country, long before there was a luxurious weekly garbage service and fancy cans. The row of dented metal cans sat alongside the back of the house, filling up until the lids would teeter at the bulging capacity. My dad would back up his little pickup truck and we’d load cans and all.

I don’t know where or why my enthusiasm started, but it was like the highlight of my weekend. I’d sit on the front seat all excited. I’m not sure if we even had seatbelts. We’d drive down through Pocket Canyon in Forestville, winding our way through the redwoods and about half way to Guerneville we’d make a right turn up a hill to the dump. That’s what it was called. Now it’s like refuse center or something. I like dump.

My dad would back up the truck to a cavernous pit and stop just before his back tire would hit that wimpy little concrete stop. I always feared he’d misjudge and we’d go sailing into the abyss. The tailgate would drop down and we’d start tossing. Everything went in. There was no such thing as recycling or restrictions. The tires would bounce down the hill and the fluorescent tubes would explode on impact. My challenge was to see how far I could throw. And I’d stare at those giant loud yellow tractors moving about and wonder why the seagulls were there rather than at a pretty coastal beach. Stupid seagulls, don’t you know better?

So my love of discarding has never faded and if a trip to the dump makes me happy, this new dumpster down-right makes me euphoric. I mean seriously… I was grinning ear to ear as I watched it slide off the truck this morning. I think I told the driver “thank you” about 5 times.

Oh I have so many plans for it and can’t wait for the trash in the garage to be gone this weekend!!


p.s. The title of today’s post… This dumpster cost us a whopping $500. Ouch. But let the progress continue.

Progress every day!

We are just a few days shy of our one month anniversary here at the Highway House and things are coming along! Never as fast as we want, but we still step back every now and then and admire how far we’ve come in just a few short weeks. Mike was recently asked how things are progressing and I liked his answer… “Every day we check something off our list.” Yep.

Here are just a few projects that have come together lately. Exciting, but still not quite finished. We’ll get there.

1) We now have a bathroom door to accompany our new toilet and I no longer have to shout “I’m peeing” when I hear Mike walking towards the open room.


2) I borrowed my dad’s truck a couple weeks ago and happily took a load of trash to the dump and returned from the local landscaping yard with a load of dirt that I spread in between the back patio pavers. I first pulled the weeds which only took about an hour, and then I did 4 shovel scoops of dirt into a bucket and spread the dirt and then compacted with water. The dirt ended up costing me about $7 total and the whole project was pretty easy. The dirt makes a big difference in the patio’s appearance and helps greatly to level out the unevenness.  Next up, hopefully this weekend, will be ground cover in-between the pavers. Note: the paver photo is before I pulled the weeds. I’ll share a pic of after once the ground cover goes in.patio

3) We no longer have rickety, ankle-twisting chunks of stacked concrete as our back step. We are getting fancy now with actual concrete steps!

4) And one of the most exciting additions is our custom trellis that my day lovingly made as a gift to us!  It’s massive and he said it took over 800 welds to complete, and it’s going to do an amazing job in camouflaging all of those ridiculous electrical panels on the side of the house. Mike and I picked up a couple vines yesterday and plan to add some hop vines to it as well soon. If you see me outside at night with a flashlight, it’s me singing and talking to the vines so they’ll grow even faster. Grow baby grow!

step trellis

The Bathroom

Our bathroom. Have I mentioned it’s by far the nicest room in the house? Well it is. Here are a few recent updates.

We have a working toilet and shower!

Our vanity and sink are set.

Drawers are lined with over-priced paper but totally worth it.

The mirror is set (the wood blocks are only temporary until the glue dries.

My beloved pendant. Ahhh…. It’s on a dimmer and will likely always be on. I love it that much.

And it all looks better in person, rather than my quick iPhone snapshots.

bath1 bath2

And then I almost caught the house on fire.

Our house needs love. Lots of love, including the outdated and jenky wiring in some places.

So to keep this story short, I was blow drying my hair this morning out in the guest room. As I was happily celebrating the fact that I could actually shower at my own home and that my hair was finally clean again after 3 days I casually glanced at the opposing outlet as my dryer ran and I saw smoke. Fun!  Dryer off and unplugged – check. A couple of “oh shit scuffles of my feet” trying to figure out what to do next and yea. I needed Wikipedia or Google really fast to tell me what to do and I needed a fire extinguisher. Damnit!! Why didn’t I buy one last week like I promised myself!?

I waited about 45 seconds to make sure I didn’t actually see flames, and then dashed into the house (yes I was in the guest room which now means no one will ever want to stay with us), grabbed a wet towel, my sack of flour from the freezer (good for weevil management) and ran back in and waited with my hand clutching my phone ready to dial 911.

a) If you don’t have a fire extinguisher, then get one. Like today.

b) I later learned that flour can be combustible. Great! They recommend baking powder. Yea, I’ll be right there with my miniscule box to… Pooof… toss a little on that fire.

c) Have you purchased your extinguisher yet?

d) Nothing ever caught and all is good now. Just don’t use the outlet next to the extinguisher.

Keeping it real.

Our bathroom is coming together, and today I splurged on very pretty wrapping paper sheets that will become the drawer liners in the vanity! I’m about to get working on that tonight and when I’m done, I plan to share pretty update photos of the bathroom so you can see the progress. But as I was thinking about sharing the pretty, I thought it would be wise to keep it real so you don’t think it’s all peaches and cream over here. It’s not.

My photographer friend Jessamyn stopped by the other day for a quick visit and she remarked on how relieved she was to see me in comfy clothes rather than my put together persona she sees at meetings and events.  I laughed when she mentioned that, but it really got me thinking. I replied that I have 2 looks… and so does our house. Pretty and put together and weary in shambles.  Yes, Mike and I work quickly and yes we tackle projects ambitiously, but the house has so much more so don’t think we’ve conquered the world in 17 days.

We still have boxes and boxes, a laundry room that holds ladders and still no actual laundry appliances, desperately chipping paint on the exterior, weeds, dust, overflowing garbage cans, I now have a cold and did I mention dust?


At the very least, I’m thinking of having a weed pulling/paint party this weekend?  Pulling weeds in the front of the house and just painting the back of the house so we can lounge on the patio and just pretend. You up for the challenge? I’ll take any willing volunteers.