Of Spiders and Exploding Toilets

Returning to La Casa de Tontería after more than a week away, I settled to the usual post-vacation routine: doing laundry and evicting spiders. I killed two in my bedroom, drowned one in the shower, and made plans to clear the shed* when the weather cools next week.  Michigan has only one poisonous spider – the brown recluse – but an array of house spiders and wanna-bes.

Exploding toilets are a looming threat. Continue reading

Five Planned Expenditures for 2020

In anticipation of my 2020 challenge A Year of Mindful Shopping, I put together a list of above-and-beyond expenses. I was going to estimate their cost, but I really can’t.

  • Four nights in hotels. A family reunion and a weekend trip are in the works.
  • Materials for sprucing up the powder room. Labor is free, thanks to BabyBro’s generous nature. (Honestly, I think my MacGuyvered flooring pulled at his heartstrings.)
  • Admission to at least three museums and five gardens.
  • A new water heater.
  • A new headboard for the guest room.

If your day seems bad…

… consider that it’s better than this critter’s.

It came to the worksite while the worker was still smoothing the cement slab. Hours later, at dusk, it was still roaming between the fence-line and the stack of new shed parts. Like a drunk trying to find the front door, it went in circles and nearly ran into me in its fruitless quest.


Chipmunk is very confused. This block is usually near the entrance to its home.

Good riddance

The project manager handling my shed is new.

I suspect it’s because the old manager did not survey my property nor submit a plan to the township building department. THE ENTIRE SUMMER. I suspect he has gone to work for Jerkface MacGuyver Construction.*

Yesterday the new manager surveyed and drew up plans which he will submit Monday. If fortune (or an official) smiles, the tear-down will take place Wednesday.

*For newer readers, Jerkface MacGuyver is the entity that built surface-beautiful homes with as many shortcuts as possible. In La Casa de Tontería, this led to the wallpaper backsplash, collapsing shelves, toilets with experimental hardware,  etcetera ad nauseum.

Pinching Pennies to Spend Dollars

It’s the time of year when I have to think about what projects I can get done during the summer. Recent flooding rain and rapid-growing weeds have made the choice clear: fill in low spots, fix drainage, and create some weed-free zones where water collects. (And replace the shed… hoo boy!)

Unfortunately, there are costs involved, including hiring a surveyor to figure out if my neighbor’s fence is on my property and where the new, smaller shed can go since the township has decided to enforce zoning laws.*

I am reining in discretionary spending.

One of the usual culprits is eating out. I live in a tourist area with wonderful restaurants, so I could eat out every day per month without a repeat visit. The bonus is that, with a culinary school nearby, the food tastes great and healthy options abound.  Just yesterday, Baby Bro and I enjoyed an Irish-style pub dinner.

The downside is the cost of eating out instead of dining in, which Simple Dollar explains well here.

Another surprising cost is what I call “hobby costs”: materials, tools, and classes for things I rarely do. A couple of weeks ago, I bought a new container of stripper and later found a half-full container in a cupboard. In the last few months, I’ve purchased drawing paper, new pens, and an extra ink cartridge because I couldn’t find my existing supplies.

I will spend a bit more time hunting in closet corners “from here on out,” as we say around here. I’ll also make gardening my chief hobby until it looks presentable.


*If I haven’t told the story of “Jerkface MacGuyver and the Builders Without Permits,” I will try when I’m feeling stronger. It’s like “Goldilocks and the Three Bears” but with township officials in place of the bears.

March 2018 Progress Report

pexels-photo-261735.jpegThe bullet journal is good, but needs tweaking. 

I like putting a one-line description that covers the key task of the day. Project management is a breeze.

However, I still have a hanging calendar AND a work calendar. There seems to be so much I need to remind myself, and it doesn’t fit in bullets.

“The four-month “future” section isn’t. It’s NOW. I’m loathe to create a new section every month, so maybe every other month?

The Cycle Is Vicious

I get ready to work, work, bring things home, work on them after dinner, hear the alarm telling me to go to bed, go to bed, wake to the light, get ready for work…

I don’t even have time to procrastinate! Continue reading

Blogging schedule

I will be writing posts (or post) on Sunday mornings. I’m doing this for two reasons: The Factory work is draining my intellectual capacity and my drafts folder is full of as-yet-unresolved situations. No example of the latter would be the current Son of Jerkface MacGuyver affair. (Not love affair, mind you. More like a detective case – or defective case.)

More Dastardly Deeds by My Nemesis…!

…the builder of La Casa de Tontería, aka Jerkface MacGuyver, whose greatest work was hiding his laziness and cheapness.

I knew that he didn’t put a subfloor under the bathroom tile. There is a slight step-down from the threshold. However, I had no idea that the whole bathroom had been laid out directly on the floor. That means bathtub splashes, condensation on the toilet, and any leaks went straight to the wood.

Imagine my reaction when I came home Tuesday to this:

Rotten Flooring

The jagged hole was surrounded by brittle, flaking water-damaged wood.

As an added bonus, the tub wasn’t secured to anything. After the demo crew took off the existing tile, they just pulled the tub away from the wall and picked it up.  No wonder I keep having to patch cracked grout around the edge of the tub – it was moving!

Happily I saw the damaged wood was thoroughly dry, and when the crew checked the crawl space the next day, they found no wetness under the house.  One of them even told me, “Yours is the nicest crawl space I’ve seen – not that crawl spaces are nice.”

The floor was repaired with about $55 worth of plywood, so no great overage on the project estimate.  However, I continue to be appalled by the horrible things Mr. MacGuyver did to La Casa de Tontería.