Projects: A summary of several months.

And on we chug.  Sat it in and processed my recent diagnoses for a couple months.  Backed off social media, got quiet.   And that was what was needed.  Quiet and just time. 

So, I’m back to life.  Just doing what one does!   This one, does many doctor appts, and VACCINATIONS!  I’ve had both my covid vaccines and am fully vaccinated. I chose Moderna and had little reaction to both shots. My arm was sore – more so after the second shot – and I was extra tired for a couple days. So, absolutely, totally, worth it.

I went to the store!  I double masked (n-95 and surgical), and socially distanced.  Didn’t linger except outside garden centers of hardware stores, but it felt so good to feel pretty safe and not break out into cold sweats. I guess, I really only went to garden/hardware stores. LOL.  I should have a line budget called, “SPRING.”   OH, and Costco.  On a Tuesday at 11am.  Still, so many people.  Didn’t linger there, but to feel a bit of normal life?  Was glorious. 

Back to hunker down and putting all that good home improvement/garden stuff to work!  I’ve been living outside last few weeks doing nothing but yard work, garden work, and projects! 

Oh, projects.  I finished my large garden box that I built out of leftover t1-11 from the office, and old Ikea bed frame parts (hey, wood is wood).  Plus I snagged these cute decorative elements for $2 at Habitat Restore.  Inside the garden box,  I took used 5 gallon paint buckets, drilled holes in the bottom, and filled with potting soil, dahlia bulbs, and topped with mulch. The plants are peaking up, but not much to look at yet. I will share photos in the future. (The best place to see what I’m up to more frequently is Instagram.)

I lined the back wall of the office building with old huge Rubbermaid totes that were cracked and damaged – rescued from the trash.  Drilled holes in the bottom, filled with potting soil (Shout out Costco for best value) Dahlias, gladiolas and…something else? (ALSO COSTCO) and topped with mulch.   I picked up acrylic paint for $5 and painted bright colorful flowers on the totes too. I was gifted some random vinyl picket fence pieces leftover from a friend’s fence build, and between that and scrap crib pieces I made a ramshackle fence around it. I thought it would make it look more put together, but it really hides all the painted flowers, and most of the plants (as they aren’t much more than a foot tall). I’m considering taking down the fence and putting panels behind, or in the back of, the totes. More decorative, like a trellis.

A member in my buy nothing group posted retaining wall blocks, so I snagged those.  They just bought the house, and are working to make it their own. While I was there, she mentioned she was getting rid of her one year old deck, because she wanted a concrete patio instead – “Me!  ME!”  It took over a week, but I got it broke down.  The first day, I unscrewed so many deck screws that I had to ask her to put my drill in her freezer, LOL.  By the end, I could barely hold the drill and my hand was cramping like mad.  Next day, I worked on the frame, but only got one section separated, and the stairs. 

Got those home (I SHOULD NOT HAVE CARRIED THAT SECTION, EVEN WITH A DOLLY).  Took a day off, because I was zonked.  The framing is all nails, and I was not safe to hold a reciprocating saw.  NOPE.  I recruited my friend, and my dad’s trailer, to snag the last pieces.  It took two more days.

Why did I snag these you may ask?  HAVE YOU LOOKED AT LUMBER PRICES LATELY?  Dear god.  They have DOUBLED, sometimes TRIPLED.  A 2x6x12 is $30!  A 2×4 was $2.59 last year, and it’s $7.25 now!

HAHA, an aside: I stopped in the middle of a local road, put on my flashers, and scooped up a pressure treated 4×4 out of the ditch.  Um, that’s $24, TYVM.

So, project this summer, is to finish my deck.  I have an existing deck that just sits out in the yard.  It’s not connected by stairs or anything to the house.  It’s from the dog pool project of 2016.  When the pool was removed, It left a large hole in the deck which I eventually filled in, but the pressure of the pool sides, also made the entire thing cockeyed and out of square.  So it’s really kind of a mess. 

The goal is to square it back out (Yes, I literally have to remove every god damn board) and build a “landing” of sorts to bridge the 4ft gap between the house and the existing deck, maybe one smaller landing (I think it’s only 2 steps to house level) and turn the dining room window into a small sliding door.   

So, I should have all the wood I need now from this buy nothing snag, and only need a large bucket of stain/water protector, and a sliding door.  This will afford me some privacy.  My front yard is on a main road, my back yard is exposed to all neighbors.  But the side of the property has a bit of privacy.  I’ll be able to step out onto the deck in my jammies with my coffee and listen to birds and THAT IS THE FANTASY FOLKS.  And if this past year has taught me anything: indulge in the fantasies. Especially when they are so reasonable.

Since I’ve managed to source a lot of stuff, it shouldn’t cost much to do other than stain and slider.  I have 2×4 for sliding framing left from when my brother snagged those 100 2×4’s at a work site that were going to be tossed.  (WHAT IS WRONG WITH PEOPLE?)   I might have to snag some trim boards, or maybe not, because the deck I just snagged was 1×4’s.  Maybe enough leftover to cut to size. 

Anyway, that is my summer long goal.  I fervently wish I could finally have a usable deck (it’s been there for 3 plus years, and I’ve never been able to use it because that’s where all the materials end up stored because it’s covered), but I think it won’t be done until the end of the season since I’ll be doing most of the labor, and my brother will swing by on occasion to do his bits, and leave me with lists that I slowly work on.

Another project that MIGHT happen: My brother is super excited to add a bump out in my laundry room.  When you walk in my back door, there is a hallway that is 5ft long, and that’s the laundry room.  The laundry machine sticks out 6-8inches into the 30inch wide hallway.  It’s pretty narrow and squashy there.  If we bump it out 3 ft, it’ll open that up, allow us to add a window (it’s dark AF in there – thinking wide, but narrow, like above shower type window?)  and when my 20+ year old GE spacemaker finally kicks it, replace it with full size machines.  That GE SPACEMAKER – I tell you.  I’ve had it for 7 years I think.  I’ve repaired it 3 or 4 times.  To the tune of about $350 now I think?  And it just keeps going.  I’ve learned a lot on this.  My brother did some of the repairs, but I’ve challenged myself to learn the “easier” things.  I’m not mechanically inclined, things don’t just makes sense to me, like they do to him, but I replaced the drive belt, and blower wheel, but had to call in help, because I could not hold the door on, and lift the drum at the same time. LOL   

I also had to do some car repair recently, and insisted on learning how to do it instead of just letting my dad do it.  So I now know how to replace brake pads, rotors, and calipers.  But boy, do I not have the tools for that.  I realize now – these particular things are not hard to do, but without the right/good tools, it will cost you hours and hours of time. 

Anyway, back to the laundry room.  I have 2x4s, and 2×6’s to sister the floor beams, I have plywood leftovers, might have to buy one or two of them.  I got roof shingles off Buy Nothing.  I will need to buy cedar shingles to match the rest of the house, and flooring.  Small amount of insulation.  Will keep trying to source these things for free/cheap.  And I can do that now that I can go into public more and am not beholden to pay big box prices! 

I’m going to nail the brother down, while I can do deck, I cannot do the bump out work so much.  See how committed he really is and see if we can do these things for a reasonable amount of funds. 

I’ve drank coffee today, so here IS ALL THE THINGS. LOL. 

My health goes in cycles, and I’ve had a really good 2 weeks.  I’ve woken up, even when I am sleeping poorly, and still have energy for the day.  I’ve been working slowly, consistently for the most part – except this deck project.  I’m hoping it lasts a while longer before we get back to 2-3 good days, 4-7 bad days again.  These 2-3 week good spells average 2-4 times a year, and they are GLORIOUS. 

I’m also doing other small projects.  I’ll take pictures and share.  I’ve never tiled before, and I snagged grout, mastic and tile to do bathroom backsplash for $20 at Habitat Restore.  So I’ll learn more on that.  I still need to finish repairing bathroom ceiling after leak.  The drywall has been replaced, but I have to seam the new to the old, (it’s a big square), tape and mud, sand, and texture, and paint.  I recently did that for the first time on a wall in the living room when I removed an old cadet heater that is redundant because I have a ductless heat pump. I’m going to leave the bathroom ceiling to my brother, because tipping my head back for that long will trigger all day long dizziness and nausea.

I’m feeling very moved to learning right now.  Being uncomfortable and stretching self.  Maybe it’s…well, I guess I feel we’re most alive in those moments.  Let’s do it! 

In terms of finances:
Unemployment continues.  With the passing of the stimulus package, it is set through Sept, I believe.

Cell phone: My phone bill was usually $14 ($12 for 1gb plus tax) maybe 2-3 times a year $24+ tax.  Found out LIFELINE (low income program) is now not just for landlines, but for cell phones. Something in the stimulus bill made it so.  I signed up for it and now my cell phone is free!  Unlimited DATA, minutes, and texts.  Uses tmobile +sprint towers, coverage so far is better than my previous Verizon coverage (which I did not expect).  I have to recertify once a year, but that’s it!  Saved $200 for, possibly, EVER

I applied for the FCC EBB grant for $50 internet subsidy.  They’ve had the funds forever, but it took months to implement the program. It just opened for applications. I applied in five minutes, was notified of acceptance in 24hrs, and a credit posted to my internet account within a minute of that notice! YES. 6 months or more of free internet!

Healthcare is squared away through September.

Guys, it really is a miracle what just having a small amount of savings can do.  I had $400 in car repairs?  Handled, no big deal.  $125 in dryer repair? Whatevs.  I’ve never in my life not had to struggle to figure out how to pay for something that sneaks up like this, and it’s just AMAZING how much chronic stress is removed when this kind of stuff is no big deal.  Just incredible.  I’m going to have to replace my tires this year, and again: cool.  No big deal.  I’ll still price compare and get the best deal – I won’t waste money – but to not have to go into debt or sell things to cover it?  JUST AMAZING. 

Best wishes friends.  I’m handling my stuff, and throwing myself into life, clearly, with gusto.  I will do what I can, while I can, as well as I can, for as long as I can.

Much love,

PS: Thanks go out to Dmitri for the podcast/recording suggestion. Thanks to Anchor/Spotify for making it so darn easy! I will start working my way back through the blog posts.



  1. Stellar to hear you upbeat again! I love living vicariously through your projects, because my good days are good for about 20 minutes of activity before I’m done. I was proud of myself for youtubing how to fix a refilling problem in my toilet tank and e even though I had to get a plumber in because I couldn’t physically twist it, it was still gratifying to have figured out what the solution was!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. That’s amazing – It’s just enough to know how sometimes, even when one can’t physically do. BUT I COULD IF I COULD! Thanks for the comment and good vibes.

    If you want to HEAR upbeat. Take a listen to me reading this. I’m very um, chipper, and I laugh a lot 🙂


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