Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Home Improvements


Before:




The metal railings that surrounded the front porch on the house, and bordered the stairs going to our front door, had rusted through pretty darn well. The stair railings, in particular, were wobbly enough to be dangerous. The railings on the border of the patio actually WERE dangerous, and we worked hard on not letting the kids lean on them, even accidentally. So, something had to be done.

We had already signed contracts to get the retaining walls redone for next spring. We have a lot of retaining wall: both sides of the entire length of the driveway, and bordering the back yard. We also have a wooden retaining wall up in the garden which is going to need attention sooner than later, but that is a discussion for another day. We needed something that was going to hold up, if you excuse the pun, at least until we sell the house in thirty years or so, when we're too old to do the steps.

Pittsburgh is one of the towns that, being comprised mostly of steep hills, has a large chunk of its architecture built directly into the side of hills. Our house is three quarters built into the hillside, which means that everything is vertical. The nice part about that is that the basement is also cool and insulated. Th bad part is, everything requires steps and everything below ground level is damp and needs a dehumidifier running always.

So, lots of retaining walls, lots of moisture, lots of stairs, and therefore, new railings. Since the railings guys get things done faster - and we less weather dependent than the wall guys - they got done. Of course, it was a week and a half after we did the Christmas lights outside, but what are you going to do?

Spring: new walls. Also, a new set of grass in the backyard, judging from the mud pit after the boys have discovered football.

After:



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Little Bear went with me tonight to pick up clearance Christmas lights for next year's display. This year's highlights: Yoda in a Santa outfit, and Spider Man sitting on a chimney. He was great to talk with and to walk with - just an engaging fellow. Very patient when we had to wait for fifteen minutes for the people at the register who were trying to buy $100 of items with a $60 gift card.

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Tomorrow night is our New Year's party. Should be fun. I'm looking forward to hanging out with our friends. My quarter is at three separate gatherings, which is a bit disappointing; I miss my friends. Cie la vie. I'm singing Thursday night, and I'm off on Friday, so all is not lost.


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