Staying Home – The Summary

A while back I wrote about the beginning of our “Stay at Home” period – here is the link if you want to start there Staying Home – The New Normal – and I talked about how we are going to keep ourselves busy.  Well, no matter how you look at it, time still managed to pass by and here we are mid-June already.

What a crazy strange couple of months it has been though!  With everything that has been going on with the Covid-19 pandemic, it felt a bit insensitive to keep on posting about our little DIY projects and ever-changing to-do list.  Maybe it still is (insensitive, I mean), but our small projects really kept us focused and helped us cope here in our little corner of the world.  So I thought I will share what we have been doing since the end of March.

Keeping Busy

Our new normal included having the whole family together again.  I love having Pieter back here in Georgia and I know he loves being back here with us too.  Having him home meant we could take care of more items on the ever-expanding to-do list – the big ones and the small ones.

Mini Flood Damage

First on our list was fixing up the wall and ceiling that got damaged when our fridge sprung a leak.  It happened on the morning we were supposed to leave for Italy, so a little bit of good luck with the bad.  We were home and while I believe it started leaking the previous evening, the water only actively gushed out from under the fridge for about an hour before I could shut off the valve.  We have a full basement that is carpeted (right under the kitchen), and I only thought about checking for damage down there a bit later in the day.  Found about 9 ruined ceiling tiles (we have a drop ceiling) and two areas where the carpet got really wet.  No water on any of our furniture or electronics.

Basement - Mini Flood Damage

As part of cleanup, we removed all the soaked and damaged ceiling tiles and used the carpet washer to remove as much water from the carpet as possible.  We added some damp rid containers and had a couple of fans running with the ceiling open.  The wall on the right side of our television wasn’t damaged at first, but we noticed a big water bubble halfway through cleaning on the first day.  I ended up piercing it and that caused another mini flood down the wall.  Pieter came to the rescue and directed the water into a trashcan, and so we were able to keep the damage to a minimum.

We still had time to dust off our Wii Tennis skills while we waited for everything to dry out.

Basement - During

Fixing the damage when the wall was finally dry was quick and painless.  Pieter patched and sanded the wall where it was damaged, and we took a piece of the painted drywall to the store to have the paint color matched.  The amazing people at Home Depot was able to give us an exact match even though all we were going to buy was a little sample size bottle of paint to cover the newly patched wall.  We had some ceiling tiles in storage, but they were the wrong type or rather, meant for a different area of our basement, so we got a couple of boxes of tiles at Home Depot as well.  They just popped in where the empty openings were.  The basement needed a good cleaning and I spent one evening doing just that – cleaning it from top to bottom.

Basement - After

Smaller Projects

Next on my list was a brass colored ceiling light fixture that I couldn’t ignore anymore.  I didn’t feel like spending money on a new one so I decided on a coat of black spray-paint.  I removed the light fixture and taped all the glass pieces.  A couple of quick coats and back up it went.  A quick update for zero dollars – my favorite type of update!

Brass Light Fixture Refresh

This ceiling light is also close to the doorbell mechanics.  The original beige plastic cover started to discolor and it was very noticeable after we had the hallway repainted.  I had some leftover grey spray paint and gave it two quick coats.  Now it blends in with the wall.  Another quick, easy and free update!

The Garden

By this point, we were seeing some warmer weather and it was time for outside projects.  Cleaning up the yard required all household members to get involved and we had a lovely Saturday trimming bushes and small trees, removing branches, weeding and cleaning up the edges around our flower beds.  Pieter got a truckload of mulch and again everyone helped to unload, spread and clean up.  Of course, you never know what you are going to find out in the garden.  This baby snake surprised as all!

Garden - Before and After

Pieter and Simon brought out the power washer and over a couple of days, cleaned up the driveway, the walkway, front and back patios.  Pieter also used it to wash the back of the house where we were getting some green mossy growths.

Another quick update we made outside was to paint the mailbox post white.  Again, we used the supplies we had on hand.  The area around the mailbox also needed new plants.  I bought quite a few plants for this area over the last couple of seasons but always seem to lose them to the hungry deer in our area.  And yes, I did buy deer-resistant plants.  This time around I just transplanted some Lamb’s Ears from another flower bed.  Our deer definitely do not like them for dinner.  Money spent on this mini-project – zero!

Garden - After Powerwashing

Vegetable Garden

Part of cleanup day was spent in our small vegetable garden getting rid of all the weeds and getting the soil ready for new plants.  We attempted to grow too many different vegetables last year so we wanted to be a bit more deliberate with our plantings this year.  We were planning on only growing some tomatoes and green peppers, but was surprised by baby lettuce plants between all the weeds.  I dug those up and replanted them closer to the front fence.  While I did start some tomato seedlings in the house a couple of weeks before, the plants were just too small to be planted outside.  We opted for larger plants from the nursery instead.  Pieter also picked up two Jalapeno pepper plants that went into pots on the back deck.

Staring at the growing plants in our vegetable garden is a favorite pastime now.  We have harvested some lettuce for salads and sandwiches already and are keeping a close eye on all the tomatoes.  I am sure we will have some red ones within the next two weeks.  We picked our first Jalapeno this week and have about six more that will be ready this coming week.

Vegetable Garden - Before and Now

I couldn’t get myself to get rid of my grown-from-seed tomato plants so we took the strongest ones and also put them in large pots on the back deck.  Yes, the deck is a bit crowded at the moment, but besides the fenced-in vegetable garden, it is the only other spot for little plants that are safe from hungry deer.  These plants started flowering this week so soon they will also have some baby tomatoes.

By now you must be tired from reading about all our projects and work around the house, so I will give you a little break and continue the story another day.  Not tired yet?  Well, keep on going and read all about the Conclusion to Staying Home.

Stay safe everyone!

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