bunchofgrapes: (Emma - tongue)
Since I wasn’t around LJ much in the second half of 2012, I will give you all a year in review.

2012 – The Year of Home Improvements...and Honey Boo Boo )
bunchofgrapes: (Moon)
My neighborhood is almost 40 years old. That's fairly young for inside the beltway but I'm outside the beltway and in my area, it's one of the older, more established neighborhoods. That means we have a lot of rentals mixed in with homeowners. We have people who take very good care of their house and their property and some who don't.

I've lived here for almost 19 years. I've seem a lot of transitions, some bad but mostly good. Because this is an older area surrounded by newer townhomes and single family homes, you get all the amenities, including excellent schools, without the higher rent/mortgage. That means houses don't stay on the market for a very long time. It also means that rentals are snatched up quickly.

I am an end unit townhouse. I love my townhouse because it's two level, not three or four like the newer ones, it has a large balcony off the master bedroom, good size bedrooms (master bedroom is huge), and the living room walks out to a nice little fenced backyard. I'm not a fan of having a big deck off the living room and then the walkout down below. Because it's an established neighborhood, we have mature trees. Lots of them. My yard alone has a huge willow tree in the front yard, a maple on the back corner and a Bradford Pear right behind my fence. I planted the willow and the pear. The maple came with the house. Having so many trees means there are a whole lot of leaves to rake in the Fall. For probably the last 18 years, I've been one of maybe two or three houses on my street to rake leaves but one thing I noticed the year, and especially today, is the way everyone is out, raking leaves, bagging the leaves (usually, if they do actually rake them, they just leave them in a big pile so they can blow everywhere), and generally cleaning up their yards. Like I said, this neighborhood has gone through a lot of transitions and from what I'm seeing, this is a good one. And it's these good ones that make me continue to love my house and my neighborhood.

Oh, and for the record I like raking leaves. I really like it when the air is crisp and smells of chimney smoke but I'll take sunny and 68.
bunchofgrapes: (Paul G - competitive)
I have made two discoveries lately: Chobani Greek yogurt and Glaceau Vitamin Water. The Chobani pineapple and mango flavors are my favorites. Fage is another favorite but I think I like Chobani a little better. The Vitamin water has taken the place of soda for me. I stick to the ones with truvia (no sugar) and the orange and lemonade flavors are my favorites. No caffeine but I drink a lot of iced tea too so I'm happy. Plus, I needed to cut down on the caffeine anyway.

I found an excellent electrician named Kenny. He's been out twice now and so far he's replaced all the light switches with the flat switches (I like them better than the regular switches), replaced the round dimmer switch and ceiling fan switches with sliders, installed a slider for the ceiling fan upstairs (before I had to use the chain to turn it on and off). He also fixed the wiring in the outside outlet so now I can put up Xmas lights and plug in a water fountain over the summer, installed new outside lights in the front and the back of the house. My front door is on the side of the townhouse and previously, the front had no light so that really is nice. No more pitch black when the neighbors don't have their porch light on. The best thing he's done so far though is install two 4inch recessed lights over my desk in the 8x8 nook off the master bedroom. The change the lighting makes in the room is just amazing! It's like a whole new room. Wednesday he'll come out and install recessed lighting in the kitchen. This will replace the horrible, horrible fluorescent lights currently in the kitchen. The lights now have these 4 long fluorescent light sticks and two of them have been dying for several months now so it's like a lightning storm in my kitchen. But I knew I was going to replace the lights so I've not changed them. I will probably cry when I come home Wednesday night. I'll still need to get drywall done but just having the lights replaced will be wonderful.

Heading to the Caps game tonight with my friend, T. Hoping the intermittent rains and all around nastiness today will curb some of the tourist traffic around the cherry blossoms because my drive in goes right by the Tidal Basin. Went to the game last Tuesday, peak cherry blossom day, and traffic wasn't bad but stupid tourists who crossed against lights and stepped into oncoming traffic were.
bunchofgrapes: (O)
Came home tonight to see what the cleaning fairies left for me. The first thing I noticed was that the porch light was not on. It comes on at dusk and stays dim until someone walks up, then it lights up. Tonight it was off. I thought maybe the bulb had burnt out.

The second thing I noticed, even before I put the key in the lock, was the fresh smell. Now I was excited. I'd spent a good portion of the day wondering if they really did come and then thinking something probably went wrong. I'm a pessimist by nature. So this fresh smell was very encouraging. I unlocked the door and checked the porch light. Light was in the on position. Checked the entry light. It was also off and so was the living room light that's on a timer. Realized they tripped the circuit and probably didn't know where the fuse box was (it's outside in the storage shed that's attached to the house). The light to the stairs did work so I got my first look. The carpets, even in the dim light, were amazing. I had to walk over them to get to the patio and the shed so I tiptoed the entire way. Once I got the lights back on and walked inside, I felt like I was in a different house. Again, the carpets looked amazing. My carpets are at least 17 years old. I have a steam cleaner so I clean them regularly but whatever they did beats the hell out of my cleaner. They look at least 10 years younger. They even got the carpets in the back room, the cheap builders grade carpets, to look fluffy. I don't know how that did it but I want more of it.

There was one place in my upstairs bathroom that I was sure they would miss. It was one side of a cart that was against a wall. I noticed the other day there was a lot of dust on it. Sure enough, they cleaned that too. They cleaned everything! And when they were done, they emptied all my trash and took out the trash. Now I'm really glad I left them a tip in addition to the payment. I'm sure after how dirty this place was, she was rethinking her fee.

And for the record the place doesn't smell like Pine-Sol. Too much of that stuff makes me gag. It just smells...fresh and clean. This might become addictive.
bunchofgrapes: (Brass - Tilt)
Now that it's hockey season CSI gets bumped in favor of Caps' games. Thursday night I kind of wish I'd watched CSI over the Caps because they choked against Boston. Luckily, they found their game last night against Atlanta.

House of Hoarders and other stuff )
bunchofgrapes: (Moon)
I really can't wait for summer to end. I hate this season with a passion. The only redeeming thing about the season is farmer's markets (I have perfected my ability to choose a good watermelon) and all the fresh fruits and veggies. Other than that, I hate the heat, the humidity, the gnats and mosquitoes, and the annoying neighborhood children. Today I was outside putting some fresh mulch over the places that the work crew destroyed and suddenly the smell of wood smoke wafted my way. I love this smell. Despite that it was hot and very humid today, this smell is Fall to me. It takes me back to certain memories of my childhood: hay rides with my Camp Fire girl troop (my mom couldn't afford Girl Scouts), camping at the lake, a trip to Mountainburg, Arkansas to visit my stepmother's family in the Ozarks. I hate wishing for days to pass quickly because I'm older now and each day is, well, another day closer to the grave. But damn, I really can't wait for those cool, damp, fall days and the smell of wood smoke hanging in the air.

All the less sentimental stuff is under the cut. )
bunchofgrapes: (Brass/Catherine - searching)
Wow, I haven't done an LJ update since May 23rd? Say what?! This is definitely going to be a lot of catching up. It's funny because the other day I was thinking how many on my f'list seem to have disappeared (they aren't really gone; they just don't post any more) and here I'm guilty of the same thing. That made me wonder what changed? Were we all a lot less busy in previous years? Did we have more to say? Has the popularity of blogging declined? Has Twitter changed the way we communicate? No one has to tell me that priorities change but I do miss the days when LJ was popular and posting was prolific.

Since I haven't done an update in a while, this is going to be long but I'm going to do some fic pimping above the cut so even people who don't read behind the cut will see it. There aren't a lot of Brass fics out there and some of them quite frankly are dreadful. There are a couple though that I have to put in a good word for because they are excellent:

By Design by Sorsha711. I've pimped this one before and I'm at it again. It's an all hands on board casefile (serial killer) that is incredibly detailed and it's Brass and a very well-written OFC who stays nicely in the background and lets Jim be the heroic man. If you're looking for something to read over what's left of the long, hot summer, give it a shot. And if you're so inclined, leave her a review. It's pretty sad when fics not written nearly as well garner a lot more reviews. Oh, and while this hasn't been updated in a couple of months, I do know that she has every intention of updating. She had a little computer set back but once that's resolved, she'll be back at it.

Next up for fic rec's is an awesome Brass ficlet by [livejournal.com profile] scullyseviltwin. A while back she was looking for prompts, I tossed out Brass and hockey and she came up with this gem The Blue Line. It's short but packed full of amazing Brass goodness. Check it out.

Now on to all the other stuff.

Click here )
bunchofgrapes: (Brass - Tell me again)
Can I just say that I have a hard enough time thinking up fic titles. Subject lines aren't any easier.

Cut for long post about nothing )
bunchofgrapes: (Brass - Peace Baby)
Tonight I have accomplished something I have never done before. I installed a light fixture. And it works. No snap, no crackle no pop and a puff of smoke (so far). I've replaced toilet guts, including the water line from the tank to the wall, I've tiled and grouted, I've installed a couple of sinks and a couple of vanities. But before now, I've never done anything electrical other than changing out a light switch. I'm confident now. I only wish I had three hands.

This was not an easy fixture to install. I was one of those vanity lights with four frosted glass shades. Over the weekend I painted the downstairs bathroom, installed a new toilet paper holder thingy and a new towel bar. The light fixture was a bigger project because I had to cut the power and then of course there's the whole working with wires and connectors. Like I said, I wish I had three hands but after an hour of cussing at getting those stupid wires into that connector, I got it all done and the light looks great.

But next time I'm calling an electrician.

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