What I have been up to lately: painting, cleaning upstairs windows, chasing children, de-frogging the pool, drinking coffee, and my new true love – power washing. What I have not been doing: sleeping, blogging, and my hair. It’s been a crazy few weeks. Good crazy though. The weather here in TN has been perfection in my opinion. Lots of summer thunderstorms, warm evenings, and I haven’t had to wear a hoodie in months. I’m perfectly ok with all of that. But the really great part of the past couple weeks has been that after not seeing family (or friends) in many months, several of my siblings were in the area and my only complaint was that all the visits were too short.
Despite the rain and family, work at the Varghese house has been full steam ahead. The biggest problem we have over here is that we are incredibly scattered with what we are working on. Needing to tackle certain “emergency” projects before we can have this or that done, while juggling the girls, is making for a lot of half-finished endeavors. So here’s what’s been going on over here..none of which is finished!
We had a new drywall team finish the upstairs and they did a great job. We have ordered doors for all bedrooms and bathrooms up there and should have them in about a month. Next step is paint and then flooring. Several days ago, Ronny texted me a reminder to contact our flooring agent and get a date set for bedroom carpet install. We had already picked out and ordered a light tan for the bedrooms, resistant to liquid so that when our kids inevitably spill something, hopefully all is not lost (please please let it not be a sharpie..). So I called to set an install date. “Oh it’s getting installed this week, let me check the date…comes tomorrow!” she says. Ummm…apparently in my foggy state I already set a date and didn’t put it in my calendar. Good times. The bedrooms were full of construction tools and scrap pieces, dust everywhere, and they were not yet painted, and we had…about 16 hours till the install team arrived. Now I think that if we didn’t have any children and Ronny didn’t have a job, that we actually could have handled it. Obviously that’s not the case. But we are getting incredibly good at setting ridiculously lofty project goals that are not humanly achievable so that we can consistently crash at night leaving the checklist…rather unchecked. So, I called Ronny and told him that he needed to come home asap. 3 bedrooms are getting carpet but only 2 of them were being installed the next morning. The plan was simple; empty and clean both of the rooms, prime both rooms, let the primer dry, paint and detail the girl’s room light pink, go to home depot to pick out the neutral shade for Saylor’s nursery, fully paint her room, and detail the floor trim. In 16 hours. Into the night. With three small children. Seriously I don’t know what’s wrong with me.
Fast forward 4 hours. Our paint sprayer was malfunctioning and was temporarily out of commission. The kids needed to be put to bed. One room was almost primed. Ok time to downgrade the plan…and then again several more times. Finally at 10pm that night, we resolved to just prime both rooms and deal with the rest later, over the new carpet.
I have done a good bit of painting in my life and I have never had such a difficult time priming, due to how dark that lovely brown shade is. It is taking 2 coats of primer just to mask it. So given that the entire house was painted brown, we are going to need to order several vats of primer. And obviously get that paint sprayer functioning asap! But wait it gets better. The carpet team arrived at 8am the next morning and did a fast and on point job installing the two bedrooms. I went to check it out late morning and it looked great, although I didn’t go too deep with my inspection cause all the kids were going nuts at the moment. A couple hours later I went back up to walk around on it and the foot feel just didn’t feel as soft or as thick as I thought it would be. I grabbed my swatch sample and started comparing the two, convinced that what was installed was not identical to my swatch. When Ronny got home, he went upstairs to humor me and declared that yes, his wife is nuts and the two carpets were the same thing. Thankfully my family was over so I had more people to cast votes, and hopefully establish my sanity. I had my sister, brother, and brother-in-law all stroke and poke both pieces and they unanimously declared that I WAS NOT crazy. The next day the manager came over and verified that I am correct. A lower grade carpet was installed. I felt very vindicated.
Nuggets of wisdom: Put your damn appointments in your calendar. Do a thorough inspection and comparison of carpet prior to installation.
If I’m perfectly honest, all I really want to do these days is powerwash. It might be the most rewarding thing I have done in 2020. Before you judge me for sounding so shallow, hear me out. I love my girls more than anything. But if you have small kids, you know the feeling of daily entropy. You go around and clean and feed and feed and clean and you can’t keep anyone fed or anything clean. It’s hard to check anything off the list because just about the time the laundry is actually done, the hampers have filled again. I love a clean house and a checked off to-do list. And after each kid, I have needed to lower my requirements for what cleanliness and productivity will look like for me. But power washing has given me a chance to truly clean things that my kids can’t immediately mess up and it feels SO GOOD.
Now I’m gonna start with the disclaimer that if you take up power washing, which I highly recommend, (perk: it’s also social distancing friendly!) it likely won’t be as rewarding for you as it is for me. And that is because there is a direct correlation between the reward you get from power washing and how dirty your stuff is to begin with. But even if your stuff is medium/normal dirty and you are a type A person, you will likely still enjoy it.
At the moment, we are pretty much collecting power washers. We have 4 in the garage currently. First, Ronny bought a used Greenworks machine with 1800 PSI. We had only used it for a few minutes on the brick exterior of the house before we realized it kind of sucked, both from a power output standpoint and surface area covered. Ronny was convinced that we needed a machine with more PSI. So he ordered a Powerhouse International with 3100 PSI. In the meantime, I borrowed my neighbor’s machine, an older, gas powered honda. It worked great. While the green one felt like a spray toy, the Honda felt like a tractor. I was sold on gas but Ronny still wanted electrical. The Powerhouse finally came and despite the increase in PSI, it really didn’t get the job done any better than our first purchase. Next we ordered a gas-powered DeWalt with 3400 PSI. This thing is legit. I consider myself a decently strong woman and there has been several times when I pushed the nozzle before really getting a solid footing and seriously almost fell over. The thing has some power. Also I’m a big fan of not having a power cord. You will still be tethered by the water hose obviously, but the hose plus electrical cord/extension cords…it was a tangled mess.
Nugget of wisdom: If you plan on a serious power washing future and have really dirty stuff, or plan on washing your entire home exterior, buy a gas-powered machine.
We have a very old, circa 1980, vinyl liner pool. If you don’t know anything about vinyl liner pools, it’s pretty much a plastic kiddy pool put into the ground. It looks awful, has a horrible lifespan, and is difficult to keep clean. My kids think it’s paradise and have never been so excited about anything we have ever had as a family.
Turns out that after a small patch job, it still holds water and the pump runs, so we decided to get it functional for the summer so they could enjoy it and hopefully squeeze a few more years out of it knowing that the entire thing really needs to be rebuilt properly at some point (as soon as we find some buried pots of gold in the backyard). I’ll share more on the pool project later, but this week a lot of my attention has gone to…frogs. The pool has not been used in the past two years and it was pretty much a pond in which many generations of frogs had established solid roots.
I’ve never seen such huge frogs. Disturbingly big. Some of our neighbors didn’t even know that the backyard had a pool because it is completely hidden in a ring of huge bushy trees but they did, however, enjoy the sound of the frogs at night. I agree that frogs are a lovely sound, if you’re camping or maybe have a creek in your backyard. But when you have a pool, not so much.
When chemicals, chlorine and fresh water entered the pool, I stopped hearing the frogs. Then thunderstorms came this past week and sure enough the frogs started their raucous again. One morning, I noticed there was foamy bubbles all over the surface. When I got out there to look closer, I realized that there had apparently been a frog orgy the previous night and somewhere around a million eggs had been laid in the pool. After half an hour of skimming, I had removed all visible evidence of frog procreation. Then I googled what to do if this happens and I was educated on how to skim gently, place the delicate eggs in a bucket of water, and relocate the future frog generation to a nearby creek or pond. Not a lot about what I should do for the wellbeing of me, my children and my pool…just the frogs. As it turns out, transferring frog spawn to a new habitat was not on my itinerary for the week. I just want my kids to enjoy some salmonella- free water fun. I mean I hadn’t envisioned an amphibian massacre either, and have speared zero frogs to date, but I guess I was going for something in between creating a frog sanctuary and a scene from Game of Thrones. Pool shock has been added, running the pump nonstop at the moment, and I’m spraying vinegar around the pool edge to deter the froggies. I don’t do pets or animals and so I really hope frog mating season wraps up soon.
Nugget of wisdom: Frogs are not cute. If you think they are, come on over and adopt them all.