Sunday, March 24, 2013

Slow and steady wins the sanity

Yesterday was a big day. Our front yard is tiny and adjacent to a busy street. It has been neglected for decades and continued to be neglected since our arrival. The interior of our house simply needed too much work to make it livable. So our yard has languished while we pecked away at indoor projects. That all changed yesterday. It all began a few weeks ago when we bought a mission olive tree for Valentines day. It needed a home and the front yard is it.

We ripped out those filthy juniper bushes. I have always hated juniper bushes they smell like cat pee to me.

Here you can see the years worth of trash that has collected under them. Over the course of the next week or so we will need to dig a trench and install a french drain from along that with fence out to the sidewalk.

My work truck and a chain proved instrumental in pulling those big bushes.

After cleaning the trash and debris we made our plans and I cut the concrete walkway a little to make way for the new bed.

My worm drive saw, not really a concrete saw but it will do in a pinch.

I had some scrap aluminum that I made the corner stakes from. I used my infinitely useful metal saw to sharpen them as easily as I could a wooden stake. I had three saws going during the day, concrete, metal and wood. I also needed a hammer drill to cleanly finish out the inside corner.

Toly and Rome were big helpers while I built the box.

Now it just needs some dirt.

Other progress has been the upstairs saga. Work has continued we painted the main room and kassi's room. I finished out the doors to the future eave closets.

I had to replace all of the electrical outlets and switches since most of the were broken or cracked and filty. 

This is the new "SUN" light for the boys room. Ikea has wonderful and inexpensive stuff for kids.

Here is Kassi's closet shelves after being trimmed but before the final coat of paint.

All the upstairs progress happened two weeks ago. Last weekend I worked on the stairs. They need to be completely re-built. I tore them appart and rebuilt the first few stairs up to the landing. They were in the worst shape. I still need to finish the upper flight but I need a long weekend before I tie into that.

The kids live up there now:) and need continual access. After I rebuild them I will install the new oak treads. We plan to paint the risers ROY-G-BIV


Rixa Freeze said...

I always love your home renovation updates (from someone who's followed your family since years back when I interviewed your wife about her births, and from someone who loves power tools and DIY and building/fixing stuff). Plus it's fun to see how "real" people make it in California. I've always lived in relatively inexpensive areas and wonder how normal families can live in exotic, pricey East/West coast areas.

karl said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pablo said...

When do you get to rest, Karl? I continue to be impressed by your work, your work load, your devotion to your work, and that sweet, sweet work truck you have.

When are you coming back to Missouri?

karl said...


Living here is expensive. I make tons more per year. in-fact there were years in Missouri where I made less than my monthly income here. Quality food is expensive. Wherein we raised most of our own food in Missouri. Sadly is seems like we have less disposable income here. Purchases are even more heavily weighted and considered.

Having a house here is LUCK--by the grace of God. We can barely afford it but the benefits vastly outweigh the deficits here in the metropolitan area. I would like to claim that we would have a rich life no matter where we lived. But, I say this wearing the lens of grace and luck--living here in the US and having the ability to do work that affords us a rich life.

karl said...


Thanks, it is getting harder to find time to get things done. Life keeps getting in the way. Yeah that is a pretty sweet truck. I couldn't do everything that I need to get done without the loan of my work equipment.


spuddybuddy said...

That is wonderful Karl. I hope to visit your new home soon.

woodysrockyridge said...

Looking good Karl. The soil doesn't appear to have the Ozarks fine stone quality/quantity to it.

karl o'melay said...

Yes, we would love love a visit. We miss you guys.

Woody, the soil is amazing here. I am going to pick up some free compost from the city of berkeley this weekend to amend things a bit more and fill that planter box.

adkmilkmaid said...

Karl, good for you for ripping out the juniper if you've never liked it. (Boxwood smells like cat pee to ME.) I love to wander over from time to time and see what you and your family are up to. Glad to see you all seem to be thriving.

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