Bathtub Epiphanies

All it took was lukewarm water to cement the idea in my head.

Well, that and a stolen wheelbarrow.

I’ll explain.

On Saturday, the weather was fantastic, and I was eager to get back out in the yard and get to work. I had already raked most of the leaves from the front and east side yard. I had disposed of trash, mounded the leaves into a nice hump at the base of our curved front porch, and even stomped them down. They will create a lovely nitrogen-rich base for planting after I add some soil to the top of them, put in the plants, and then mulch on top.

That was Thursday’s work.

On Saturday I was determined to continue clear dead brush, fallen branches from the trees, and any additional leaves. The sticks and brush would go in the burn pile, the leaves into the garden for additional mulch.

The wheelbarrow, however, was nowhere to be found.

This is a direct result of our trusting natures. We assume that folks will not come onto our property and steal from us. For the most part, that’s true. We have honestly had very good luck with that, despite there being no fence (other than the one enclosing the dog yard).

And we have put off putting a fence in because we did not own a contiguous line of property until November. Now we can enclose it, and started to work on the fence late last year, just in time for the cold weather to set in.

As I settled into the bathtub, the hot water fully open and the cold water fully closed, the water was warm enough, for a while. By the time the tub was filled, it was only lukewarm water coming from the tap.

Our water heater is from 1983 and has been on a death watch for the past four years.

This, combined with the theft of our wheelbarrow, made me realize that we needed to rearrange our priorities this year. Instead of focusing on The Cottage, we need to address some real issues here at our house. Here is the list I came up with:

  • Finish installing back fence
  • Order storm doors and have them installed
  • Buy new water heater
  • Finish tuckpointing foundation inside and outside (get it DONE this year!)
  • Install front fence and enclose entire property (put locks on all of the gates)
  • Replace attic stair treads
  • Take down Thing 3 (a cottonwood that causes Dave and the kiddo no end of allergy misery each year), trim the old tree nearest to The Cottage, and remove the maple inside of the dog yard (this tree is too close to the house, has a very shallow root system and could seriously damage the house if it were felled in a storm.

The Cottage needs a few more fixes to be stabilized, though. Those include:

  • Install burglar alarm (this weekend)
  • Back wall siding (contract this out)
  • Fix hole on west side (contract this out)
  • Re-attach drain pipe (this weekend)
  • Clear front yard (I’ll handle during the week)
  • Cut down tree (contract this out)
  • Clear brush in back, along with tarps, spread grass seed (2/25 & 2/26)
  • Re-install steps to back door (2/25 & 2/26)
  • Plant hill with more perennials (I’ll handle during this week)

The Cottage, once it has these fixes, will be stable. It has a new roof, new windows, and it will be protected from any possible break-ins until we can resume work on it next year. We are on track to pay off all of the debts incurred with the fixes so far by April 2019 and still have a budget for future fixes/work.

Meanwhile, we can direct some of our funds towards the much-needed repairs and fixes on our property, which will make it safer and no longer be a pass-through free supply store for miscreants to easily access.

Bathtub epiphanies are quite productive!

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