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Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Home Ownership=Never-ending Projects by Suzanne Rossi

Hi everyone.

I hope you all had a wonderful Easter and Passover. Now as we roll into the month of May, the temps are warming and the spirits rising, at least mine are. The trees are completely leafed out and the azaleas are spreading loads of color throughout gardens all over the South. The crepe myrtle is gearing up for its turn in a month or so, too.

But with the arrival of Spring, also come the dreaded outdoor projects we all seem to have. That includes me. Luckily, the front yard is in fairly good shape. I've got two massive oak trees and the front flower bed has boxwood and azaleas along with a couple of crepe myrtles. A little trimming, some new mulch, and I'm good to go.

The back yard, however, is another story. As I sit here, I am looking out at a huge expanse of lawn that while green, isn't green with grass. It's mostly weeds and boy, do they ever grow! And since a small portion of the area is heavily shaded, I've got moss as a ground cover. Actually, I kind of like the moss. It's pretty. The back flower bed is a mass of ground cover--periwinkle, I think--and misplaced bushes interspersed with more weeds. In a perfect world, I'd call a landscaper to tear it all out and start over. The only problem is I have the kiss of death when it comes to anything that resembles horticulture. Also along the back fence are four large trees--three red oaks and a willow. Personally, I'd like to get rid of the willow and two of the oaks, but can't afford it.

And speaking of the fence--it's old. The slats are showing more than just a little age. Offhand, I can count at least a dozen of them that need to be replaced. The pool will be uncovered within the next couple of weeks and who knows what will need to be done to that. I always expect the worst when the pool guys pull that cover off.

Our first summer in this house was spent renovating the kitchen and adding a breakfast/sun room on the back. To do so, we tore down a really ugly pergola--my husband and I both hate them, so that was a no-brainer--and ripped up a thirty-three by fifteen foot deck, most of which had rotten or warped boards. Now the topography of the land is sloping from back to front and from one side to another. When we added the room and walkway to the pool, we disturbed the natural flow of rain runoff. A drainage pipe under the walk is totally inadequate. Whenever we have a hard rain, we now also have a large lake/swamp. My plan is to take that area, put in a simple drainage system, be it underground or a slight slope in the right direction, and turn it into a patio.

The retaining wall around the pool is stacked fieldstone and while pretty, I often wonder if it's really retaining anything. I'm not sure what to do about that, but it's something for a future to-do list.

And to add to my woes, last week we contacted a person to clean the gutters and remove the storm windows. The space between the real windows and storms are a mess--lots of old cobwebs, dirt, and dead bugs. The window guy informed us that when the vinyl siding was put on the house several years ago, the contractor covered the edges of the storms thereby concealing the screws making it impossible to remove them. I mean, seriously?? Who does that? Now I've got filthy windows I can't clean. And I checked--I can't get to them from the inside because the upper part of the windows don't open. Arrrrrgh! I suppose we'll have to call a siding guy to see what can be done. But never fear, I have a solution if the answer comes back as nothing. It's called a hammer. I just hope I'm still nimble enough to dodge broken glass.

And this doesn't even cover the inside improvements--painting, new upstairs carpet, and a renovated master bath. Trust me, you don't want to know what that looks like.

My husband usually lets me do what I want regarding this kind of thing, but the other day, he simply picked up the checkbook, pointed at it, and said I could do two of the things on my wish list. I chose the fence and the patio. I also added that if there was money left over (like that ever happens) I'd like to address the window issues and back landscaping. He just looked at me and walked away shaking his head. I'll let you know how the window issue works out. LOL

Why is it these never-ending projects sound so simple to complete in January, but give me a headache when the time comes to implement them? If you come up with a good answer, let me know. I hope your outdoor projects don't have you reaching for the aspirin, too.

Have a good one and I'll see you next month.



  1. Suzanne, we just moved so I feel your pain. So far, we've replaced the heat exchanger, had the water conditioner serviced and repaired, plus had work done on the sprinklers, well pump, ditch pump, and indoor plumbing. We've yet to remodel the master bathroom and so the shower is unusable. Just neverending projects, and that doesn't even count the 1.25 acres of weeds and underbrush. Holy moly.

    1. I sometimes feel like I've bought the money pit!!!

  2. I feel your pain, Suzanne. I make lists in January too. By the time the warm weather is here, I'm too busy with other projects so the To Do becomes the Never To Do.


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