Monthly Archives: September 2012

House: the toilet floor

Our builder came around yesterday and fixed the toilet floor – just under $800, all up, and he told us that both the floorboards and the bearers underneath were completely rotted. That part of the house is on a concrete slab foundation; god only knows how and when and why water was getting in, or whatever it was that makes floorboards rot, but I’m very glad it’s fixed now.

… though the new patch of sturdy floor does make the rest of the house seem very wonky in comparison.

I had a bit of a whine to my dad on the phone on Tuesday, all about how I feel like we’ve achieved NOTHING and progress is so slow and horrible and my house is crappy and WOE. WOE. He very kindly made comforting noises at me and then said we should get a pot of paint and do the fronts of the kitchen cupboards over summer if we want to make the house feel a little bit more Ours without spending too much money.

And I know intellectually that we really haven’t lived here very long at all – less than 10 months – and when I list all the things we’ve done, it’s actually quite respectable. I keep looking round the garden and thinking it’s terrible, but I’ve almost entirely forgotten how overgrown and neglected it was when we bought the place. And although we’re frankly awful at mowing the lawns, we’ve actually done a damned good job of the destructive part of gardening: the removal of the Hedge was a massive task conducted with an axe and a pair of long-handled shears, and we’ve trimmed the trees on the south lawn and removed that whole patch by the shed. As for the inside of the house: it’s been winter and cold, and while we’ve been kind of slack at home repair ourselves, we have spent about $8K on the place so far, what with all the window repairs and the toilet floor and all the little tradespeople callouts and minor improvements.

Ugh. I really want to get something concrete done over the summer; I think probably sanding and painting the sunroom windowframes (currently Zombie Snot Green) shiny white, and then rehanging the (still decent) curtains on repaired curtain rails, becuase that’s a reasonably small project that will still be a distinct improvement. IDK.

Garden: first spring push

This weekend has been the first big push on the garden since the Hedge got executed several months ago. This time round, we’ve concentrated on weeding the herb garden, planting some salad greens in old tyres (free from the local auto salvage place!), setting up the first flower bed, and Destroying All Life (and Replacing With More Attractive Life) a very boggy, shady patch by the shed.

This is the area by the shed before today’s work. Lots of scrubby trees, a million cabbage tree leaves (that thing is going to DIE someday), and not much else:

And from a different angle:

Yesterday, we weeded the little bit of garden under Field’s bedroom window, right by the front door. The winter rose and the random bulbs were there already, but we planted the 2 daisies from cuttings we took from our last place:

And this is the flower bed, the bit I’m most pleased with:

At the front, there’s lobelia, dianthus, and petunias; a carpet rose from Field’s mum’s garden, a pergonium (which I think has dark red flowers), and at the back, 3 alstromerias, which are my very favourite cut flower. A close-up of one of the alstromerias:

These are the tyres:

I can see them from my bedroom window, and at the moment they honestly look a little crap. HOWEVER, where we’ve put them is right underneath the giant pohutukawa, so the ground is hard as nails and filled with roots; I think tyres are an easy and free way of building up a bit of structure so we don’t have to dig down. And I think they’ll look charming in a couple of months, provided everything takes off. We’ve got a lavender, some mixed salad greens, and a cherry tomato plant in them:

And remember that patch from the top of this post? Here’s what it looks like now:

There’s a Chatham Island forget-me-not and a Boston fern in there, along with 3 random leafy bulbs we found by the old woodshed. Closeup of the Chatham Island forget-me-nots and the fern:

And this is where there used to be a GIANT FLAX:

We destroyed the flax because it’s in a terrible location, looked really scrappy, and we’ve got to get someone to haul all the trees from by the shed away anyway, so it was worth doing it now. We also fertilised all the fruit trees, raked various bits of lawn, and Field swept out the shed while I made lunch. Not bad for a weekend’s work!

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Repairs: The Toilet Floor

So I’m pretty sure I’ve posted before about how one of our friends stepped wrong on a bit of the loo floor while drunk a few months ago and put her foot through? And it wasn’t a big patch, and we’re broke-assed, so we just kind of left it.

NO LONGER.

This morning, more of the loo floor gave way. It’s now fucked enough that repairing it has become significantly more urgent, and Field is calling the builder tomorrow morning so we can get a quote. Hopefully, it won’t be terribly expensive: it’s only half the toilet floor (the other half was replaced before we bought the place), and that’s a very small area – perhaps half a square metre or so.

Other than that, nothing much has gone on, housewise. The roof no longer appears to be leaking, and we’re doing some gardening this weekend. I’m really looking forward to the gardening; it’s been a while since I’ve had 2 days off from work/study in a row, and I rather desperately miss having flowers around. Plus, the bit of the vege garden near the fence REALLY needs weeding, it’s gotten completely overgrown. And we need to mow the lawn.

Home ownership, in essence, is sometimes frustrating and often unexpectedly expensive, but it’s still a pleasure; and I need to keep that in mind as I leap over the hole in my toilet floor when I go to the loo in the dead of night.