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A Mixed Bag

Fun fact about me: Every spring I get really excited about shopping for outdoor furniture.

Every spring I am convinced that this is the year I am finally going to get the outdoor sofa, chairs, table combo to create a comfortable conversation area.


Or two.


Every spring I spend a week or two (sometimes even a month) combing websites, checking ALL the local for sale apps and sites, and window shopping my favorite stores.


And EVERY SPRING I come to the same conclusion.


Outdoor furniture is ridiculously overpriced and I don’t know how anyone justifies it. Decent lounge chairs run $200 - $300 each! I’ve heard even the really, really expensive stuff has a short shelf life.


Why? Why does it cost so much and last for just a couple of years? Often outdoor furniture is more expensive than the furniture I have in my house. I get that by virtue of being outdoors and exposed to the elements the longevity issue is to be expected but then why isn’t it more affordable?


Some of you may remember a few years ago I thought I finally was getting it (PS I looked it up so I could snag the picture – it was April 1, 2018). I found a loveseat, 2 chairs, and 2 footstools at a garage sale. I think I paid $40 for the set? They were in rough but sturdy condition with beaten up, mismatched cushions. But I knew I could take care of the frames and they have cushions at At Home – they’d be easy to replace.


I was excite about a project and even more so at the thought of saving money.


So I scrubbed them with a wire brush to get the rust off. And I primed them. And I painted them my favorite shade of apple green. And they looked great. At this point including paint supplies I am in for maybe $75 total.

I was patting myself on the back all the way to At Home.


In case you are unaware, At Home has an impressive selection of outdoor cushions in all shapes and sizes and colors and patterns.


Except the sizes I needed.


I was so upset when I realized that the “universal” cushion sizes available at At Home in NO WAY matched any of the new pieces I had. I tried piecing together something that *might* work but it just couldn’t be done.


Even if it had, I would have spent another couple hundred on the cushions. At which point I figured I was halfway to buying a decent set off Wayfair.


Look. As silly as it seems, and believe me, I am aware of how silly it was, I did cry a little bit over the whole debacle. I was so excited about my new conversation area. It was going to be in the corner between the hot tub and the palm tree. It was going to add some much needed color to the back.


And I had worked so hard on those pieces. And I tried so hard to save money. I did at least sell the set for a profit but that was a small consolation.

Can you imagine how cute this would have been? #soclose

But ultimately, it wasn’t meant to be.


I mean really ultimately since less than a year later I had lost everything.


And here it is, Spring 2021 and I once again find myself wistfully searching for the perfect outdoor seating at the perfect price.


Will I NEVER learn?


Spoiler alert: NO. Because I am once again trolling every possible source in search of the elusive perfect combo. The ridiculousness of which is compounded by the fact that I have absolutely no business trying to spend MORE money this year.


And speaking of spending money…


Prior to the horrifying expense of replacing the pipes, we had our attic stairs replaced. It wasn’t a big expense and although I am loathe to use the attic space, there are times when we need to get up there and the existing ones were a deathtrap.


It was a manageable expense.


We hired the same guy that had put in the pocket door and wall for us in the bathroom. Unfortunately this particular job was not completed to our satisfaction. In fact, although technically the doors are installed, I think we can agree this job is not completed – see pic below of the one inside, I don’t care as much about the one in the garage but it looks similar.

I mean seriously, does that look done to you?

We have been trying for over a month to get him to come out and finish the job. He schedules a time, no shows, reschedules.


Lather. Rinse. Repeat.


Allegedly, he is coming tomorrow to finish that job and install a doggie door for Mister Manfred.


I wouldn’t hold my breath if I were you.


And yes, we have “hired” him to do the doggie door in spite of the aforementioned incompleteness and unreliability. Partly because he is a friend of several mutual friends and he did do a great job on the wall and pocket door.

But also because frankly I hoped that the lure of an additional project – and therefore money – would get him here and then I could make sure he completed everything before moving on. We thought he was supposed to come yesterday but he no showed and then wouldn’t even answer my texts. But when I texted him this morning asking if I should just hire someone else he said he had us on his calendar for tomorrow so stay tuned to see how that goes.

Speaking of tomorrow…


...Tomorrow I am getting my root canal redone. As you may remember from my last post, my dental anxiety is so bad my blood pressure shot up alarmingly high on my last visit and all they did was take x-rays.


I was trying so hard to be zen about it too.


So they decided I should be sedated for the procedure and I’m not sad about that.


What I am less happy about is the $1800 out of pocket cost for this. And I have dental insurance.


WTF?


But really. I know dental insurance doesn’t cost a lot but if it’s only going to cover little stuff then what is the actual point?


I understand the need for medical insurance. And the vision cost is negligible and seems to cover a decent amount. But I wouldn’t hold out hope for any major expense to be covered.


Long story short, I have come to the conclusion that insurance is one of the biggest scams in history. We have to have it, and I am thankful for the reduction in out of pocket expenses, but holy cow it would be nice if they actually paid when you need them too.


Since, you know, that’s what you think you have insurance for.


And BTW – I can’t eat or drink after midnight tonight and my appointment is at 1:00 tomorrow. I apologize in advance for how hangry I will be tomorrow Rob.


And speaking of Mister Manfred…


…I know we weren’t speaking about him but I changed the subject twice now with the speaking of and besides we are talking about him now aren’t we?


I adore him more every day. I know I am an obnoxious new mom about it but he’s just so stinking cute! And he’s such a good boy.


We are still working on leash walking but potty training seems to be going well. If only we could get those blasted doggie doors installed. I think we have been accident free for at least two weeks. Obviously we have to be hyper aware of where he is at all times because if he is sitting by the door, you better take him.


I think him having access via the bedroom window all day has been a big help but the problem is the flies. They weren’t so bad at first but I currently have two rather large ones buzzing the window in front of me.


Also why can they fly in so easily but can’t seem to EVER fly out?


Back to Manfred.


He’s learning sit pretty well and we are working on lay down. I’m trying to remember what I can from when we took Trixie to obedience classes back in the day.


We do allow him on the furniture but we are working to teach him no playing on the furniture.

Last week at Doggie Day at the Pub, he was a little less timid. He was still slower to warm up but he did well. And by the time we were saying our goodbyes he was playing with another dog.


His favorite pastime continues to be bringing in sticks from the yard and eating them. I try telling him no sticks inside but he is just so happy.


He has also discovered his reflection – he stared at himself for a good 5 minutes today.


Can you blame him?


He also frequently tries – and is successful more than not – to have 2 toys in his mouth at the same time. Even though he’s grown so much, it’s still pretty hilarious to see a small pup walking around with two toys hanging out his mouth.


He always looks so proud.


We also heard about a video guaranteed to make your dog howl so we had to give it a shot and OMG it worked. He was the cutest. Tilting his head back and forth at first, then a couple little barks and then full on howl.


I cannot get enough of that and will 100% regret it someday but right now? So stinking cute.

Manfred tackled Rob - while holding his toy basket in his mouth. #hesaweirdo

And speaking of cats…


…they may not be living here with us much longer. For the record, I am NOT kicking them out. I adore his cats 90% of the time – just not when they pee on my brand new couch or scratch up my living room rug. I do not believe pets are disposable and I would NEVER get rid of them because of Manfred.


But Rob’s son Duncan has been talking about taking them ever since we moved in together.

He loves them and misses them and he doesn’t have carpet in his new place. And since they are his cats too, it looks like they will be moving soon.


To be honest, I have mixed feelings about it.


I definitely am going on the record as hating the peeing and destruction. And sure, Shadow’s incessant meowing can be annoying and ill-timed. But they are sweet cats and I still had hopes they would warm up to me more. And I still think given time they would warm up to Manfred.


I like a house with both cats and dogs. I grew up with that… inconsistently but still. So them moving in with Duncan is not my idea.


But I didn’t exactly argue against it either.


I think Duncan can benefit from having the cats around. And my furniture and rug will certainly benefit. Not to mention I might get a better night sleep without the random caterwauling.


But make no mistake. I will miss them. This is the only way I would consider getting rid of them but I do think it will be for the best. I believe the plan is to move them by Sunday.


I’m looking forward to the weekend. I have plans with Magan and Michele (separately), Doggie Day at the Pub, and I hope to start on a project in the backyard. I hope to white wash the table and benches that Caleb built us last year. I’m pretty excited about it. I have some other small projects but that’s the next big one.


And I just remembered Kara and Randy are coming to uproot and take away those big plants in the back (I think).


The weekend is never long enough is it?


We are still waiting to schedule our 2nd dose of the vaccine and I can hardly wait. I know it is soon – kind of has to be. I’ll just feel so much better once we are fully vaccinated.


Speaking of vaccinated…


…our summer trip to Maine is fully in the books (vaccinated…vacation…it’s almost the same thing). Flight is booked, days off are approved. I’m still not super thrilled about what I am sure is going to be a fantastic trip because I want warm sand beneath my toes but I am getting more and more excited about traveling. I have missed that.


OK – so that was a lot for today. I hope this finds you all well. I look forward to see you soon!


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