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Patio in Progress

One of these days, I’ll remember to take before pictures. In this case, it would have shown an uneven pit of clay, dirt and rotting leaves languishing next to our hot tub. So picture that as the starting point. With the help of my very motivated MIL, we’ve taken some big steps towards my vision for that mud pit:

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This is post raking, covering with weed barrier and filling with 30 bags (150 cubic feet) of paver base. We went extra thick with it so it could also level the ground w/o the need for digging. As you can see, there’s some work to go—more pavers needed and then we’ll fill in between with pea gravel. The now firepit will receive a coat of hammered copper paint and find new life as a garden/focal point. The bar at the end will remain a bar, of course. :) Here’s a closer look:

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Looking forward to wrapping this up, as it’s my one big yard project for the season. Ok, that and the stone fire circle, but that’s already checked off the list: 

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It’s like we get to camp in our own backyard, except instead of crawling into a tent when we leave the fire, we curl up in pillow-top, king size goodness. With no bugs. 

Day 1 - Unsubscribe.

Or day 4? Or the count hasn’t even started yet? It all depends on how you look at it. Friday felt like my first day joining the ranks of the unemployed. After a speech full of terms like “budget constraints,” “position elimination” and “valued service,” I was sent home with legal documents and instructions to read and think it all over. Oh, but I could come back and work a few days next week and wrap things up.

I’m technically employed through the end of our fiscal year (cool, I still have a job…?), an office appearance is the professional equivalent of a walk of shame. With my phone email access and remote login cut off, I can take a hint. Let’s go with Day 4. 

I am trying very hard to heed a good friend’s advice to do and think as little as possible for a few weeks. Stayed very social all weekend, got some editing for my side job—now, only job—wrapped up. But want to set some type of goal for each day. Finally, I can go to that 9 am Zumba class with all the retirees and stay at home moms. Whew.

Of the many things small and large that will make for my unemployed to-do list is: Unsubscribe. To at least five email lists each day. Until, in theory, I am mostly only getting emails I want and need. 

This is both an exercise in efficiency and of restraint. No job = no need to be tempted by SALE, DISCOUNT, HOT STYLES and MUST HAVES all the dang time. Just did the 1st 5; breaking it up into a small daily number will hopefully help me to whittle away at it and not become overwhelmed. 

On to the next item on the list—write the list. 

Sometimes instead of just wandering Pinterest and drooling, I actually make cool stuff. Or, in this case, asked my husband to make it and I stained. At any rate, super happy with how the homemade picture rails came out! Looks so much nicer than when the pics were scattered all over the wall.  
Zoom Info
Camera
iPhone 4
ISO
125
Aperture
f/2.8
Exposure
1/15th
Focal Length
3mm

Sometimes instead of just wandering Pinterest and drooling, I actually make cool stuff. Or, in this case, asked my husband to make it and I stained. At any rate, super happy with how the homemade picture rails came out! Looks so much nicer than when the pics were scattered all over the wall.  

Hoosier Mama?

Finally! The hoosier that moved into our garage, patiently waiting for a face lift, before we moved into this house, now has it’s rightful place in our kitchen:

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My baking corner! And my wine corner. Given my lack of baking affinity, it is best to keep these close together. I almost gave up on those original  handles, they were caked with decades of kitchen grease and grime. I’m so glad I decided they were worth some elbow grease and TLC. 

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So, why did it take SO long to put this cabinet in its rightful place? One, the garage was a disaster zone long after we’d settled into the rest of the house. I simply couldn’t get to the hoosier to start my project.

Two, it involved more than a coat of paint. Originally, the doors had a center panel that had a PA dutch style tulip stencil. But not in a good way. There was also scalloped edging under the cabinet doors, way to country kitchen for me. Here’s some pics between before and after (I neglected to take pics early on):

Luckily, organizing the garage motivated my husband to bust out his tools, so he happily jigsawed off the unwanted elements of the hoosier. From there, all it needed was primer, chicken wire, custom paint (me mixing random colors in an old yogurt container), a staple gun, shelf liner…ok, a lot went into this. And we are so happy with the end result!   Extra storage, a vintage meets modern feel and a piece that we can both look at as a labor of love. It’s amazing what we can accomplish in a year and a half when we work as a team. ;-)  

Who Needs a Middle Man?

For years, I’ve been a fan of peer-to-peer investing, being an early adopter on Prosper and later Lending Club.  Not just because I got a decent return on investment (which I did) or because it’s simplicity appeals to my inability to follow the markets (which it does).  There’s something almost revolutionary about it.  Why can’t I make the money, while taking the risk, of a bank?  Why can’t borrowers skip over some of the red tape, get a lower rate and color outside of the lines?  Why can’t I finance somebody’s divorce, or home addition or business venture?  Pretty powerful stuff.

Now, I’ve tiptoed into another P2P segment: car rental.  Short version of the story is I prematurely purchased a new car, thinking I’d sell my old car quickly, not realizing the market is awash with Pacificas.  After several months of eating the cost of insurance and lowball offers, I heard about Relay Rides and Get Around.  Only RR is available in my community (I learned AFTER going through their registration process, *grumble*).  Anyway, being that I listed my third-row, AWD vehicle right before the holidays, timing was right for a family here visiting for the holidays.  So, just got my first rental under my belt. 

Experience was positive.  Car came back in same condition, full tank of gas.  In exchange, I earned some cash and got my car out of the driveway for a few days. And, helped a family get the transportation they needed more affordably and with less hassle than traditional rentals.  

Of course, in these scenarios, a middle man remains in the terms of a gatekeeper protecting the parties for a fee.  I’m ok with that, and willing to pay for somebody to connect the “peers,” test credit worthiness or provide insurance, as the case may be.  Evolution, innovation & capitalism, all rolled into one internet-age package.  Power to the people.  And the new, improved middle man.    

Gym!

I took my work out to a new location today, an actual gym.  When a certificate for a 6-month gym membership didn’t get purchased during a fundraiser my organization held, I was offered the chance to buy it for $50.  AND it comes with two training sessions.  If all I did was those, I’d get my money’s worth.

However, last night I realized my friend is a member there, so we committed to a morning yoga class.  Was great to get everything all stretched out and feel centered, if only for a little while.  Did some quick cardio on the home elliptical later in the day.

While I am far off from making up for the liquid calorie intake from Friday night’s party, I did get in a few short workouts today.  AM was a short yoga for back pain, it was probably too low key to burn anything off, but I needed it!!  

Later, did the two workouts above.  With my back not cooperating right now, found the low impact cardio great for breaking a light sweat with adding to badly to my aches and the stretching made for a good cool down.  Now just need to do about 20 lbs worth of workouts more and all will be good.  Will save that for my resolution next week. :)

Tonight’s work out.  Not so intense that you want to pass out at the end, but you definitely feel like you are accomplishing something the whole time.   Plus, dig the Aussie accent and beautiful beach location.  I know I haven’t posted about exercise in awhile.  Don’t let the lack of posts fool you, I’ve been working out.  Um, except not every day.  Or even every week, for a little while.  But I’m back on the fitness wagon as of late last week.  If I don’t get back in shape now, afraid I will get past the point of no return.  

Each winter for the past 4 years, have gone up a pants size.  So, 4 sizes in 3 years.  While the starting size was small enough that before my heart condition was diagnosed, a generally unpleasant ER doctor tried to pin my chest pains on not eating, add 4 to that, and I’ve reached my limit.  

PS I eat.  So often that people tease me.  Which, in my teens and 20’s made me seem like I had a tapeworm, didn’t gain an ounce.  Now, not so much.  I miss my old (young) metabolism. :(  

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