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Things I Want To Do This Year

January 3, 2011

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Don’t get me wrong! I’m not making New Year’s resolutions! Several years ago, I resolved not to make them, and I don’t want to break my winning streak! But now that it’s January and soon February will be nipping at us, my mind turns to projects to be done for this year. I don’t always get them all done, but some I do. Late winter is the perfect time to assess the projects, because I generally have nothing else to work on!

Clean up the vegetable garden.
We totally let the gardens go last summer. The renovation consumed all our energy, and therefore the gardens were a mess by autumn. I never tilled them, either. We have a lot of work to do back there this summer.

weedly2

Finish the kitchen projects.
My window seat/bench is still unfinished.

It requires a lot of piddly, meticulous sawing, so I have put it off for the winter. It’s TOO cold to work in the garage. The area is a disaster, because the family really has no place to store boots, coats, etc in an organized area. But it must wait.

Get new clothes.
The teens have worn out their clothes. That, and they wore a lot of different outfits during the renovation (which were consequently ruined, GRRR). So while they have several pairs of work clothes now, the good clothing has depleted. Good thing the kids like their t-shirts. And they aren’t too proud to wear fun or goofy shirts. One of my readers sent me a hilarious Chuck Norris t-shirt, after reading that we loved these kinds of shirts. Haha!!!

Pay off the renovation debt.
I incurred several thousand dollars of debt for the renovation. I want to pay it all off this year. Yes, it’s a big goal, but if I am careful, I may be able to do it. We’ll see. I have hope of renovating the upstairs (not insulated, and it feels it!), getting new windows, creating a family room from the attached garage, and getting central heat…. but all that must wait until I pay off the debt. So I’m very motivated!

Start an herb garden.
We’re going to make our own teas and grow medicinal herbs this year. I have assigned a daughter to do some research, and I will bankroll the project. The kids drink a lot of tea, and it’s so expensive. Here’s hoping we can create our own tasty teas this year.

I think that’s enough for now. I don’t want to bite off more than I can chew, or I will grow discouraged. What projects do you have in mind to do this year?

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I’ve Been Boring…

December 27, 2010

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… I haven’t had much of anything exciting around here, have I? Sorry! šŸ™ But in all truth, it has BEEN pretty boring around here.

livvyondryer

Just hanging around...

I haven’t done any projects in a long time. The window seat/bench remains unfinished. The dining room closet still has no pole for the hanging of coats. No window trim for the siding around the kitchen window, nothing. We’ve been puttering around with tiny projects, such as setting up the phone station (and trying to get a computer that works). And I did *finally* clean the living room, organize my desk, and get all the business papers in order. That took a week!

The kids have been on winter vacation, and we’ve been lounging.

Livvyindeskchair

Just lounging...

Unfortunately, some of them got serious bouts of the flu/strep throat. So we’ve been out of sync here. My kids are rarely sick; this is a shocking anomaly.

I have no fun or interesting stories. No yarns or tales of historical tidbits. I’ve run dry right now. Perhaps after a time of rejuvenation, I’ll do better.

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Winter Solstice Lunar Eclipse

December 21, 2010

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Did you hear about the lunar eclipse last night? It was a unique event, because it occurred on the winter solstice (the shortest day of the year). Unfortunately, I missed it (I actually do try to see these astronomical events, I think they are amazing!), but someone made a very cool video of it! I’m glad some folks broke out their super cameras– this video is so clear it’s almost like you are there, watching it with your own eyes. The video is best played in full screen mode– SO impressive!

After watching an eclipse I have to wonder if people really did believe in the “Flat Earth” theory. I mean, all you have to do is watch an eclipse to see that this isn’t so. I don’t know where the idea came from, I’ve only heard insinuations that folks back in the Dark Ages believed it, just like they believed that maggots sprang from meat left on the butcher’s butcher block table, or that scientists could turn lead into gold. :S

Anyway, eclipses are cool. I hope you liked the video!

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Simplify, Simplify, Simplify

November 24, 2010

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Wellll…. I still haven’t gotten “a round tuit” with some of the leftover projects after the renovation. Honestly, I have been having a bit of a hard time adjusting to the new kitchen. The dining room isn’t much of a big deal– I designed it to have the same colors and etc as the old one– but the kitchen is a shock. It is SO different. I have found it rather hard to adjust. I’m kind of ashamed. It’s totally, totally new, and I was so used to banging around in the old one. Now I have to be careful what I do on the counters– NO knifes! NO food stains! NO standing water! And the floors– are the planks staying together OK? Hey, you with the muddy shoes! And it goes on and on. I’m still walking on eggshells. The new room is a bit of a shock. I wanted it SO much, and now that it’s here, I’m stunned that it’s actually here. It’s like moving into a new house without going anywhere. I must be getting old or something…

Anyway, I still haven’t built my bench for the shoe area, nor have I constructed shelves for the phone area. Both areas are in the kitchen, so the half-completed construction looks out of place with the finished sections of the kitchen. The phone area is important right now. It’s the “dumping” area for my husband’s work paraphernalia. It’s important that he has everything neat and organized, so that he doesn’t forget anything when he goes to work. And I dislike the mess of it all, too.

I have been on a bit of a hunt for ways to organize the area. One thing I can do is make a small charging station for all the cell phones and mp3 players. I saw this and love it! It’s a Charging Cradle, very affordable at $25 with shipping. It keeps all the electronic doodads in ONE location, charging them while they sit. I could hug the guy who invented this thing! Charging stations come in a billion shapes and styles, but this is nice to me because it’s so simple.

This is a great time to get anything. Buy.com has a ton of stuff right now. They are gearing up for the Black Friday sale… but their prices are usually so low anyway. The customer service and speedy shipping just amazes me– I bought some software on their last sale, and the package arrived– priority shipping– in TWO days. And the shipping was free!

So I’m slowly, very very slowly, trying to chip away at all the leftover projects around here. Buy.com is a big help. šŸ˜‰

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Welcome to My Little Home on the Net

November 20, 2010

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Hello, Blog Jog Day visitors!Blog Jog

New York Renovator is my little home on the Internet. I blog about our adventures as we *try* to fix up our 1855 home in Upstate New York. We’ve been here 10 years, but have really only recently begun to update. We’d been running on 1920s knob-and-tube wiring, a 1940s heating system, and 1950s plumbing for TOO LONG. Just a few months ago, we gutted and renovated our kitchen. By ourselves. Yes, I’m exhausted. lol. But not so much that I can’t blog about it. And I can’t believe WE DID IT!!!! Yay!

You can read about our story here. And read about the history of this house and how we got it, here. Or, you can just read about this year’s project, the kitchen and dining room. Or, if you’re looking just to have fun, you can check out my Find the Kitty Friday posts here. My Tabby Point Siamese cat, Livvy, is the star of that show.

Thanks for visiting!

LivvyStripes

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Does Anyone Still Visit Blogs?

November 15, 2010

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Blogging has been at a lull lately, it seems. I got out of the routine during the renovation, but I’ve been slowly getting back into it. I’ve been in a rut, only going to the same blogs every day (and the blogs I visit are terrific), but I’m wanting a change of scenery, too. I’ve been thinking about renovating the website here, wanting to spruce up the place and do a little fixing around the blog. As much as I adore my WooThemes template here, it’s never really “fit” the blog. This blog should be a little more colorful and should display more content from the past, I believe. So I’ve been shopping around for new themes. It’s been difficult! I can’t seem to find one that matches.

So it seems that people aren’t visiting blogs as much right now. My comments across all blogs have gone way down. Odd thing is, my blogs probably got the most comments during my renovation over the summer! Now that I can blog again, comments have been light. Weird.

How about you? Are you looking to spruce up your design? Have you spent less time surfing blogs, or the same amount?

If you have a blog and I don’t know about it, leave your link in the comments so I can visit. I’m trying to expand my RSS feed reader by including more blogs.

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Once Upon a Time…

November 13, 2010

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Just one of the many tintypes I inherited. Gazing at them is like going back in time.

We’re still unpacking. UGH. Little by little. Before we started the house renovation, we’d placed a lot of stuff in storage. The mountain of boxes reached almost the the ceiling of the garage! I didn’t know I had so many books, hee hee. I also have a lot of inherited stuff– old Bibles, photos, vintage toys, and a hefty amount of photo albums (some with very old tin types!). The photo albums appeal to me. Whoever my relative was who compiled the old photo albums, she didn’t label ANYTHING. So I have no idea who these ancient people were. How do they relate to me? What was their story? What happened to them?? No answers. There’s even a photo, taken sometime during the Civil War (based on the fashion), and the woman in the photo looks strikingly like ME. I flipped when I saw it! WHO was she?? What happened to her? Did I ever know about her? Is she a descendant or just looks like me? So many unanswered questions.

It makes me want to take the time and label all of my photos, in case posterity demands the same questions. I’ve never been fond of photo albums (they are rather cheesy, and because they are plastic, they tear over time). But while browsing Buy.com today, I spotted a section devoted to the hobby of scrapbooking. I’d never thought of it before!

I don’t know when scrapbooking became all the rage. I get a lot of hits on my hodge-podge technology blog for people searching for “scrapbooking” (the blog is Mrs. Mecomber’s Scrapbook and has nothing to do with scrapbooking!). A LOT of people do it, apparently. Some folks have entire blogs devoted to it. I’ve always admired the beautiful designs, but never gave it much thought until now. What a great idea- making scrapbooks of all our old photos and paper keepsakes! Buy.com is having a sale on scrapbook products and accessories. This lovely scrapbook album caught my eye. Isn’t it pretty? It looks so old fashioned, it’s perfect for a theme on genealogy or ancestry. There’s stuff based on Legos, babies, weddings, sports events, everything. Wow, no wonder it’s such a popular hobby. Everything is so pretty! You can see more for yourself at Buy.com. But beware! Prices are so low– especially on other items such as electronics and toys– that you may be shopping for a while! As for me, back to the unpacking…

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The Coolest Mailboxes EVAH

November 5, 2010

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Maybe it’s because my Hubs is a mailman. Or maybe because I am so attentive to curb appeal and architecture of homes. But I think these knoblochmailboxes.com are so cool! (And maybe it’s because “Knobloch” sounds somewhat Scottish, of which I am and love everything related to).

Tell me that isn’t cool. They are popular in Europe, and just starting to catch on here in the United States. But I like them because they are quirky, so different from the boring basic post boxes that have been around for centuries here. I like a good, quirky mailbox. And there’s nothing like one of these wild ones to throw your postman in a tizzy (mailmen are notorious for loving the status quo). I mean, HOW do you USE the thing?? Isn’t that cool– you don’t even know how to use it at first glance! It’s a puzzle!

Actually, its not too hard. With this model, there’s a slot where the mailman pops in the post. You unlock the door and it swings open. It’s made of metal so its durable, and can hold a lot of mail. I think it’s neat. There are other styles, including some of the more traditional styles we recognize, but this one appeals to me because it’s so avant garde.

What do you think? Do you like the box? Do you think your mailman would like it?

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VERY Displeased with Retail Stores Lately…

October 11, 2010

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WARNING: Rant ahead. If you only like to read happy flowery post, please skip this post and read my others! LOL

You’d think that will ALLLLL the heavy competition steeped against retail (local) stores these days, they’d be willing to bend over backwards to offer quality products and good service. Nope! I have had a very bad week with several of my local retailers, enough to sour me something serious. I do a lot of online shopping, so I guess I am spoiled. The online stores treat me well, offer deals and discounts, and ship the stuff (most of the time) extremely fast. AND they also send the CORRECT products!

We got a new washer this past week. New York State has this great rebate program going on right now (on a first come/first serve basis). Our old washer was 17 years old, and had sprung an oil leak while in the basement. I didn’t want to have oil all over my new kitchen flooring…. and rather then pay an appliance guy to labor over a very old model, we just decided to get a new one. And with the rebate, we got a phenomenal deal! But time is of the essence with these things, ya know? We have to submit the rebate information before the time/money is out.

So we had the washer delivered. Well, KIND OF. They called at SEVEN O’CLOCK IN THE MORNING, said they’d be here at 9am, and showed up at 8am. šŸ˜ Then, they delivered the wrong model!!! They delivered the store display model!! It had dents and dings and no manual and NO rebate information.

So I had them send it back. I wanted my new washer. It took them all day to get their act together, and finally arrived at the end of the day (I do wonder if they installed my washer at someone else’s house and had to make a switch before coming to my house… hmm…) …

So they finally delivered the new washer… it was not in the original box… but on a dolly, uh huh…. but it came WITHOUT the manual and warranty and REBATE INFORMATION!

šŸ™ Yeah, you can tell where this is going.

So the delivery guys promised me they would have the information for me first thing in the morning– they’d place it in my mailbox.

Never came.

OK, so maybe they are busy delivering wrong appliances to everyone and are so very, very busy. I waited til the next morning.

Never came.

:S Hello, we have to get that rebate info in! And I want my manual!

Well, I called the store, and basically got the run around. The guy in the appliance department said that he had checked the washer before sending it on to the delivery guys, and he had included the manual with the washer, it must be there. And then he said I don’t need any more rebate information, because the store receipt will do. Yadda yadda. He *basically* called me a liar because he said he included the manual with the new washer and I must be wrong…. and *basically* called me dumb because he says I don’t need rebate information when I said I did (he later changed his mind when he remembered that we need the paperwork because they hauled the old washer away).

It’s really a shame. I spent upwards of $5000 at this store this summer, renovating the kitchen. I won’t directly name the store, but they are a national home improvement center that isn’t very High’s in my opinion… :-p I’m sure they must be busy with lots of sales due to the state rebate opportunity, but I would LIKE to have my purchased, proper appliance delivered AND I’d LIKE to have all my paperwork!! What the heck am I paying them so much money for?!?!

I think I love online shopping more and more…

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Treat Your Mailman

October 9, 2010

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The Hubs delivers mail from time to time. I never knew how difficult delivering the mail can be. I guess I never really appreciated the mail service much before, never even thought of it before this. Delivering the mail is HARD! It is repetitive motion: push gas pedal, steer to side of road, push brake pedal, open mailbox, stuff mail in, close mailbox, push gas pedal…. on some routes, the mailman has to do this 500 or more times, all within a few hours… and then there’s doing it in the snow, up the hills, and in the dark!

All that mailbox opening and closing is tough on the hands. The mailman can’t wear gloves because he needs to be able to handle endless stacks of junk mail all day as well as open and close boxes. The Hubs says the cheapo metal boxes are the toughest, because the clasp is just a curved tab, and the closing mechanism wears out quickly. By the end of the day, his finger is raw from opening and closing all the boxes. So when someone installs a nice, new mailbox, especially a pretty, roomy one that opens and closes easily, it brings great joy to the mailman.

We have a cheapo metal mailbox. šŸ˜ Oops.

Gonna fix that, now that I know what a tough job the poor mailman has. Amco has a lot of mailbox selections and styles, in all sorts of colors. The amcomailboxes.com is lovely, perfect for a city setting. You can browse the mailboxes and see for yourself how pretty they are. They are constructed of aluminum, and won’t rust. They are all ornate, loaded with character!

So do your hard-working mailman a favor: keep the mailbox free of bees, hornets, and ants. Keep your mailbox in good repair. Maybe even leave a cookie or an apple for the guy. And definitely get a nice box that is easy on the mailman’s hands. He will appreciate it so much. šŸ˜€

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