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A lotta ins, lotta outs, lotta what-have-you's......

Another addition to the family!

I'm a little late posting this, we have had Cora for about a month and half now. Janette thought that Lola needed a companion and somehow she felt that since I bought the Jeep that I have been wanting for a while, we also needed another dog......I guess it is working out, Lola hasn't been bugging us as much, when she wants to play Cora is right there to play with her. Cora definitely doesn't seem as bold as Lola was when she was a puppy, maybe thats a good thing for us......

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The Guest Bathroom

This will probably be the only significant home improvement project this year, but it was sorely needed.

The Old: Pink flowery wallpaper laid over 1/4 inch wood paneling, pink floor tile, builder grade vanity and top, and circa 1980's mirrors covering an entire wall. The wood paneling was used in place of drywall, so it needed to go.

The New: Semi-custom vanity, solid surface vanity top with undermount sink, recessed lights, new mirror and storage cabinets, new lighting and relocated exhaust fan, 12x12 polished marble, 4x4 and 2x2 quartzite tiles on the floor.

We wanted to save some money so we left the tub and show tile, since they were in fairly good shape, we will probably just have them refinished at some point in time and painted white. Even without replacing the tub and tile surround we went a bit over budget on all of the nickle and dime bullshit (mud, tape, screws, hardware, thinset, grout, sealant, paint, etc.) All that crap adds up pretty quick......oh well, at least it is done.......

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Finally some landscaping

Two of my aunts' Linda and Allyne and Grandma Mary gave us a few bucks as a housewarming gift. Just in time since we just dumped $2700 on Janette's car and are about $1300 bucks into the new dog between the adoption fees, toys, crate, food, vet bills and other misc crap. So the money to work on the house is just about gone. Their contribution was just enough to finish of a project that has cost me several hours worth of sweat and turned me a few shades darker brown. We finished off turning our good neighbor fence into a good neighbor fence on one side and a real fence on our side. Along with some stain to match the fence I built on the other side of the yard, some cap stones on top of my block wall and some plants, I think I can call that small section of yard finished......almost. I have some mini sprinklers that I need to install but other than that, finished.

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The Great Walls of San Carlos

So....the backyard was in need of some attention to provide some additional security for our new dog as well as some functional and asthetic appeal....so here it goes....

As you saw in a previous post, there was a god aweful yucca plant that needed to be removed as well as some original (cerca 1960) planter box type of retaining wall holding up the small hillside where the yucca plant was. It all needed to go, in favor of the nicer looking albeit somewhat played out concrete block. 2 palates of block, 90 blocks total, 56 pounds each for a total of 5040 pounds of concreate block that needed to be carried from my driveway to the back yard and then subsequently set in place. Oh, don't forget the 1.5 cubic yards of crushed rock that also needed to be moved to the back yard to support and backfill the blocks, probably another 1000 pounds at least. It might sound like a lot, but was put in check by my stepfather who had 12 palates of some simliar block and couple of hundred feet of wall that he erected by himself....My wall turned out pretty good, not as perfectly straight as I would have liked, but shit it was my first wall and I did it in 1 day.

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So then on to the steel fencing....There is a 4 ft high block wall running across the back of the yard, not quite high enough to keep anyone/anything in or out of the yard. Some of the neighbors put in plain old cost effective chain link running up the hillside to enclose all of their property, others did a standard wood fence that would have been pretty pricy as it would have been about 130 ft of fencing. I decided I wanted to just go with some steel or iron fencing right on top of the block wall (which I will later stucco to make it look a little more appealing). I got an off the top of head quote from Bear fencing that threw out 30 bucks per linear foot without installation (I needed 65 linear feet of fencing). I got a more solid quote from someone chris hooked me up with that included installation and came in at $2850.00. I just couldn't stomach that much money. So I checked out Lowes, they had some 3 ft X 8ft pre-fab steel panels that were just what I was looking for, about $650.00 for all the materials I needed. Piece of cake, one day job, or so I thought. Of course I needed to buy a hammer drill after learning that the one I borrowed from a buddy wasn't going to work for me, then there was the learning curve on drilling holes for the concrete anchors and getting the posts mounted, then there was a little problem in my measuring skills that sent me back to Lowes for some additional fencing that I needed to finish off the end of the fence. After 2 days I was done, ended up costing about $800.00 including the drill I needed.......I'm happy with it, only time will tell how good of a product that steel pre-fab fencing is......The pictures don't really do it justice, looks better in person

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And finally, the thing that was in most need of repair, the fence on the west side of the house. Who knows how long it had been there, might have been original but I think that the only thing holding it up was the trees planted on the other side of it. I had initially planned to have someone come in and dig out the concrete from the old fence posts and then set some new steel fence posts in concrete and I would do all of the wood work. The quotes I got were from $700-$1000 just for the digging and setting, then I would need another $300-$400 for the wood and materials to finish the fence.....Once again I decided, screw it, I'll do it myself. As with anything it took slightly longer than expected but wasn't as hugh of a pain in the ass as I thought. One day to tear down the old fence and dig out the old posts, next day set the new posts in concreate and finsh staining/sealing the fence boards (which I had started earlier in the week), then one last day to screw everything in place, build a new gate next to the house, and re-attach part of the neighbors fence to mine. I think it turned out pretty good......cost me about $750

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It's me against the stump

So I've got this huge yucca plant in my backyard that is also a huge eyesore. Why in the hell anyone would plant one of these things is beyond me. It had to go, but it wouldn't do so without a fight. After the easy part, which was cutting all of the branches off I had to dig out the stump. Ended up having to cut the stump into 4 pieces weighing over 100 pounds each and dig them out one at a time.......son of a bitch!

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The Newest Family Member

We had been talking about getting a dog for a while and finally just decided to get started. Since janette will be working from home for the foreseeable future, now was a good time especially if it was going to be a puppy. We didn't want to go to a pet store or a breeder, we really wanted to rescue a dog. Luckily we found Labrador Rescue of San Diego and fortunately they had a litter of puppies that were ready to be adopted. From what I hear most rescue groups don't always have puppies available, so the timing just must have been right. She is 8 weeks old, we picked her up last wednesday evening......her name is Lola

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