We’re Still Here … Are You??

I honestly don’t know where to begin. First, I had to remember my password to log in to the blog. Second, I had to weed through SO MANY spam comments. Third, I had to figure out where we left off – the condo we bought – almost a year ago. So much has happened since then, so let’s go!

We started replacing sections of the old, rotting, leaning fence as soon as we moved in, which was literally propped up and tied to trees in places, with posts broken off in the ground, and the whole process took us about a year:





The Boy, his father, and The Dog figured out how to move the shed out from the fence using a car jack and 6″ PVC pipes so we could build the fence on that side of the yard.




Which is when we discovered a friend living in the backyard:


After much cajoling, he (she?) finally left without incident.


There was some pretty intense stump removal as well …


before the fence building could commence.


After all that, we made the tough decision to get rid of the shed, and brought in reinforcements to help with demolition …



What child labor laws?

We had no idea that children could be taught to use tools, work for hours without breaks, and fit into small inconvenient spaces. In light of this new information, we decided to take matters into our own hands.


Coming soon, The Kid!

Knock Knock

Who’s there?


Knock knock.

Who’s there?


Knock knock.

Who’s there?


Orange you glad I’m finding a new home?


Our retro conical dust-gathering “conversation piece” (once visitors got over the live tree) has been put out to pasture. Actually, it found a new home with The Boy’s mother, who lives in Gainesville, FL (Go Gators!) and was happy to take this orange beauty home. It now has a loving home on a farm, with space to run, and couldn’t be happier. If you don’t believe me, here’s proof:

Fireplace1 Fireplace2

Greener Oranger pastures.



Burnin’ Ring of Fire

We are still in the “house tweaking” phase of the new house, awaiting construction to begin on the new peaked roof. It is delayed for several reasons, but mostly because FEMA is bananas. It is the federal government, so not very surprising. Architectural plans are being redrawn and new trusses designed, and I am sincerely hoping construction begins in a few weeks. Until then, we shall focus on the exterior.

Fire pit

This funny shaped area (picture a wonky egg with corners) between the house and the pool had bushes in it, and as you can see, two sprinkler heads. The bushes obstructed the view from the pool of the TV we bring outside on weekends. An awful problem to have, I know. I took the bushes out one afternoon, and we had the epic idea to turn this area into a fire pit. A FIRE PIT! (<— this is not doing justice to my enthusiasm!)

First, we had to cap off these sprinklers, which was pretty simple.  We dug around to uncover the source pipe, cut it off, and capped it.

Fire Pit Fire Pit Fire Pit Fire Pit

The nail polish remover was used to clean the pipe before applying the glue (which is actually a chemical solvent that melts the two plastics together). Be sure to use nail polish remover containing acetone.

Boom!  Fire pit building time!

Fire Pit

We decided to recess it into the ground a little bit so we didn’t end up removing TV-obstructing bushes and replacing them with a TV-obstructing fire pit. That’s when it happened.

Fire PitThere are two problems in this picture.  First, we discovered ANOTHER pipe, that we didn’t know about, which feeds the circulatory system of the pool (I’m sure that is not the correct term, but I don’t know what the correct term is, and this is why we pay a pool guy). Our brainstorming ideas included (1) off setting the fire pit to one side to avoid contact with the pipe (hideous!); (2) putting down a thermal barrier of some sort (eh); or (3) giving up (nope!). Finally, the Boy had a great idea. Pavers!


The second problem with the picture above is that the stones we bought have these raised lips on them (right side of the picture), so no matter how we stacked them, they didn’t sit flat. We later learned that this is because they are actually made for retaining walls, to be stacked with the lip down catching the back edge of the stone below it, and therefore able to withstand the pressure of earth pushing against it. We remedied this issue by getting a chisel, hammer, and whacking the lip off of every single stone. It was a bit time consuming, but fairly easy, and worked great.



We left a few inches of dirt on top of the pipe, put the pavers down, which helped making leveling easier, as well as providing a barrier, and then built the fire pit on top of it. It is important to note that this was the FOURTH time we laid out the stones, and these suckers are heavy. We placed them once before discovering the pipe, once off to the side in a strange shape, and twice in the location you see now. It was exhausting, but we are loving the fire pit just in time for the weather to get chilly (60ish degrees at night = chilly for a Floridian).

With the addition of rocks around the pit, as well as in it for a little extra distance between the fire and the pipe, we called it a day. Well, a night.


I have no idea whose toe that is.