Let there be light

October 2, 2012

So in addition to a bit of deferred maintenance, there were also some highly questionable design choices throughout the house. The porch light was one of them.

Porch light: before

Yeah. So that’s nice. Even no porch light appears to be an improvement from the current edition.

Improvement, no?

So in one of my many adventures to Home Depot, I procured a new porch light.

I found one I liked on sale for $40. I was ready to pull the trigger. But they didn’t have any in stock. So the HD guy asked if I wanted the display. Then decided he couldn’t sell it to me in its current condition, sans box/hardware, so instead, he grabbed a new package of hardware, stuffed it in and wrote up a new ticket for $5!! The light I was prepared to pay $40+ for I got for $5. WIN!

My $5 Home Depot win

Oh, and it looks pretty good to.

Also, it’s awesome being a female in Home Depot.



License to kill

August 16, 2012

Georgia’s license plate design got yet another facelift, and it ain’t pretty.

2012 tag design

This continues the inexplicable obsession to make the tags more ostentatious than an H3. FAIL.

The only worse design that comes to mind is Kentucky’s awful ‘it’s that friendly’ plate:

No, this is not a joke, it’s that AWFUL.

Seriously, I think I would move to another state than put that plate on my car. Evidently Kentuckians would rather have Mr. Sunshine rather than this?

The silver lining, is that there is a ‘standard alternate’ Georgia plate that you can get without paying any specialty tag fees.


Since I have lived in Atlanta (2003), I believe this is the FIFTH redesign that they’ve had. Not sure why the need to change plates like underwear, but at least it keeps everyone on their toes.

On the flip side, in Massachusetts, people CLING to their old license plates, probably in large part because the state never changes them. There’s even a lottery for the low-digit plates since apparently people need to make a competition out of completely meaningless things.

The current Mass tag has been around since 1987:


People ’round these parts don’t seem to care for vanity plates, and the special interest ones are few and far between too (the offerings aren’t that robust, either). The ‘Spirit of America’ plates are required front and back, and due to this, people would rather you take their first born child than take away their old green tag, which is just one tag for the back.


Personally, aside from not needing a tag in the front, I don’t care for these, as the plates are 20+ years old and New England weather hasn’t been kind to the metal. But again, since everything here is a competition, you would have to pry these tags away from their cold, dead Massholey hands.

From a design standpoint, I equate this to a PowerPoint presentation.. LESS IS MORE. Seriously, there’s no need to gum up a plate with a bunch of crap. Since when should a plate be the focal point of a car? I also believe that there should only be 2 colorways, max (including white/black). Otherwise, you are more susceptible to clashing with, oh everything.

Apropos to @someecards for this blog post: http://t.co/AR6Lup9K

And here’s the best license plate I’ve witness in person:


And here’s a good one, albeit not seen in person: click.

The Great Outdoors

August 10, 2012

So the previous owners of the house didn’t care much for upkeep, or maintenance of any kind. So you can imagine what happens when bushes don’t get trimmed, and the lawn doesn’t get mowed, I could go on… That’s my house.

First, the bushes:

BEFORE: Front bushes

Talk about curb appeal! I guess I have to thank the bushes for their contribution for why this house sat on the market for 6 months. We brought in an arborist, who very politely hid any sign of his horror, and identified the bush on the far right as a hydrangea, and the far left is a Rose of Sharon. He knew the middle one too but I’ve promptly forgotten it because it doesn’t have any flowers. He then got down to business and trimmed them to the proper shape.

AFTER: Front bushes

AFTER: Front bushes

Viola! Who knew bushes were supposed to be that shape? And how much better the place looks with a little weeding? The only bummer is that the bushes were still blooming, so those got cut back a bit. But we’ll enjoy them in all their glory next year. And hey, maybe I’ll actually live there by then! (That is another blog chapter in itself).

Anyway, moving on. The great part about this lot is that the house is next door to a chunk of town conservation land. Which means no neighbors on one side, which is a great for my naked omelet making. Kidding!

BEFORE: Conservation land/retaining wall

We had to call in a mason to deal with the basement, and turns out he does landscaping and patio work too. So he did a lot of clearing on our behalf. Which is great considering how much poison ivy there was along the retaining wall.

BEFORE: Retaining wall

AFTER: conservation land/driveway

Another curb appeal feature has to be the backyard. I use the term ‘yard’ loosely, as 2/3 of it is asphalt. I suppose one way that you can avoid getting poison ivy in your yard is just to have an Italian driveway?

BEFORE: Italian driveway/backyard. Yes, this is the backyard.

The mason had some fun with jackhammers, took out the excess pavement and regraded the whole thing! (Grass will be seeded shortly).

AFTER: backyard/driveway

AFTER: Backyard — Italian driveway gone and whole area regraded.

Speaking of grass, we have some! A lot, if you consider that it never got mowed!

BEFORE: side yard (from backyard)

Thank goodness for our savior, the mason. And I haven’t even gotten to the basement project, which was the real reason why he was there.

AFTER: side yard (from front)

TA-DA! Who knew that all you needed was a good old fashioned lawn mowing? Thanks, unsightly yard, for yet another reason why this house was so unsightly/unsellable for very minor cosmetic reasons!

And yes, I see it too. That bench sitting there will be another project. Looks like it needs some new wood and some paint.

Next up: basement project with the mason, front and back porch fixes, and bathroom gut job. And at some point in Sept, moving in. Hooray!

Adventures in home improvement

July 18, 2012

Officially a home owner, we now embark on the never ending money zapping adventure called home improvement. And with an income property, it’s double the fun (but at half the mortgage!)

I figured this might be a good opportunity to fire up the blog again. Thanks to Shannon, who has trailblazed the home improvement front and documented it all so well!

First project worth blogging about: the front doors.

Front door before

Sticker unit numbers, really?! The 2nd unit’s door has an ugly doorbell in the center, that will be destroyed shortly. The 1st floor’s door got tended to first, since there are tenants still in the 2nd unit, and I don’t feel like making arrangements to keep the door open for 4 hours to let the paint sufficiently dry (slumlording, here I come!)

Front door after

The sticker numbers were so heinous I had to do something immediately. A quick internet search will tell you that you can make this numbers thing very complicated, and very expensive. Matching mailboxes, door kickers, etc. At some point I would like to put in a kickplate, and figure out if those mailslots are actually brass (probably not), but in the meantime, I got some numbers from Home Depot for a couple bucks each. I actually really love the font and am bummed that they are only sticker-backed (i.e. I can’t use them for the house numbers, which are exposed to the weather on the porch).

Once we get some more paint on (the porch and the 2nd unit’s door), I’ll have another update with the doors and address numbers.

In the meantime, I need to figure out how to sufficiently stalk the Property Brothers and get them to come to Boston.

sphinxy. substitute.

August 11, 2011

While I’m too busy not blogging about my myself, it’s a good thing someone else IS!

Announcing my debut on NPR’s featured Tacky Tourist Photos blog!

Also to be mentioned, I’ll be appearing on the Pongr advertising blog thanks to my fascination of American brands in foreign countries. Will link when ready.

dark. days.

May 23, 2011

[Post also seen on Pedal Power Training’s blog]

It’s happened.

I’m not sure who I am anymore.

The die hard roadie just got herself a mountain bike??

Oh, but it sure is PRETTY.

Lord Kegasus

Meet Lord Kegasus, my new (to me) 2010 Trek Top Fuel 9.8. I’m still not sure what exactly I’ll be doing with it (probably riding/falling/crashing/flailing more than racing or showing any signs of competence), but hey maybe I’ll acquire some much desired steering skillz that have eluded me riding exclusively on the road.

Thanks to Uri for letting me borrow his extra Fisher for the last year and helping me commit to yet another financially zapping hobby.. disposable income is overrated, anyway.

And to all my mtb friends.. you may regret offering to teach me the ways of the dirt. It’s a good thing I have so many of you to burn through.

youtube. magic.

December 12, 2010

First, watch this news report. Yes, it’s real.

If that’s not hard enough to believe.. now it’s a music video. And it’s DAMN CATCHY!