“The best laid schemes o’ Mice an’ Men, / Gang aft agley” – Robert Burns (translation: the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry)
Well we thought that we would be able to handle some smaller projects shortly after moving into the house, but as things often go, money and time have gotten in the way.
So an update on the 5+ week front door project: The trim around the window is made of plastic. Plastic does not like paint. When we took the painters tape off of the glass, the paint peeled right off the plastic, as well. We went back to Home Depot, and their suggestion was to spray paint the plastic. We didn’t like that the red wouldn’t be an exact match, so Derek had the brilliant idea of spray painting the trim, then painting it (the Home Depot lady also thought this was brilliant). We peeled all of our hard work off, taped wrapping paper around the door, so it wouldn’t get sprayed. Then Derek used gray spray paint, so we could see what had gotten sprayed. When taking the painters tape off, we used a box cutter, which seemed to help but our new solution doesn’t really seem perfect. We still had some peeling and wondered if we should have just used the box cutter with our original paint job and skipped the spray paint method.
As there has not been a post about the refinished hardwood floors, you might have guessed that they haven’t gotten done. We were able to remove the drywall and plaster from the doorway we wanted to open, before all the furniture was moved in. However, there was not enough time to refinish the floors, as well. Part of the hold up was waiting for a refinisher to come out and tell us which part of the floors couldn’t be salvaged (just sand them down and then we can come back and look) and waiting for a contractor to come out and tell us if the wall we were opening up was load bearing (probably). This process was a bit frustrating, as both people made appointments with us and then cancelled when they had other things come up.
- Removed plaster and drywall from doorway we are opening up
- Bought a self-propelled push lawnmower and mowed the grass
- Bought and installed an in ground fence for the dogs (Nala has chased cars into the street and rabbits into other yards)
Indefinite Timeline To Do List:
- run a gas line to the dryer
- finish the opening doorway project
- refinish floors
We decided to put in an in ground dog fence because a wooden fence would be too expensive and time consuming to install, we didn’t like the look of chain link fences, and Nala kept running out of the yard to chase cars into the streets and rabbits into neighboring yards.
After looking at options, I decided to go with PetSafe. Originally, we were hoping to install a wireless fence, as the installation is much less time consuming. However, the unit can only be programed to create a circle with the transmitter at the center. This would have meant that based on our front and side yard boundaries, the dogs would not have been able to use much of our yard. What is the point of having over an acre, if the dogs can’t use it?! We ultimately went with an in ground wired fence from the same company.
We laid out the wire around our yard, starting and ending in our garage. We bought an extra wire and flag pack because we didn’t think the 500 feet of boundary wire would be enough. We only used a little bit of the 2nd spool, but we will have extra in case we have a wire break in the future. Next, we plugged in the line to test that the loop was complete and all was good to go. The directions weren’t great as they were not specific to the fence we bought, but after some cursing, internet searching and fiddling, we figured it out.
Our wire loop was testing as complete, so Derek began using a hand edger to create a trench for the wire. Even though the wire only had to be 1-3 inches deep, after completing 20 feet, Derek realized how long this would take. Michelle quickly called Home Depot and found that they had a gas powered edger (see the image above!). While the machine proved to be quite helpful, it was not perfect. Maybe the machine was old or just hadn’t been run in a while, but it would often quit or not want to dig through our rocky soil and thick grass. We ended up using the machine to break the ground, then going back and using the hand edger to create a deeper trench. Michelle followed behind pushing the wire into the trench with a plastic knife because she didn’t want to get her fingernails dirty and the trench really wasn’t wide enough for her fingers to push the wire deep enough. All told we spent 5 hours laying the wire.
After placing the flags 10 feet apart, we leashed up the dogs and walked them around the fence. The collars were only set to tone and not static correction. They didn’t seem to care about the tone and weren’t making the connection to the flags. As we were in a bit of a hurry to be able to leave our dogs outside alone, we didn’t follow the directions at all… We changed the collars to correction mode and let the dogs off their leashes. Both quickly learned that they would get a zap if they ventured to the edge of the property. They also began learning that the tone was a warning that they were getting too close and would receive a zap soon. Derek could’t believe how effective this was! After a few hours in they yard, the dogs still seem a little unsure of where exactly their boundaries are (because they don’t seem to be associating the flags with the boundary), but we are confident that they will quickly pick this up! Now the question is when will we trust them enough to leave them outside while we are gone?
Even in t-shirts, the baby bump is now visible! The babies are the size of avocados (4-5 inches in length) and weigh three to five ounces. They should be able to start hearing noises, and I should be able to start feeling them kick this month!
On March 22, I had a 45 minute ultrasound at the fetal medicine clinic as part of the first trimester screening. They will do the second part, blood tests, at my next doctor visit. I was waiting to post until I heard anything, but I got tired of waiting. The screening evaluates the risk for chromosomal abnormalities, specifically Down Syndrome (trisomal 21) and extra sequences of chromosome 18 (trisomal 18). At the ultrasound, the tech took pictures of the heart, facial bone structure, neck, and brain.
Twin B was putting on a show, actively waving and kicking and even squishing Twin A! Twin A was very comfortable laying as if in a hammock, which made it a little harder to measure the nuchal translucency (the amount of fluid in the neck). They both looked like they may have been sucking their thumbs, and it was adorable to see them laying as if they were in bunk beds. I guess we know a little bit about our Twins’ personalities already!