Bungalow Done-galow

Once upon a time, there was a small bungalow in a beachside town on the prettiest stretch of Highway One. It had a for-sale sign and promise. Perhaps we were the only ones who saw the potential, and perhaps we took on a bit more than was wise. But with the last bit of flooring in the laundry room, our bungalow became a finished product.

Stanley's Labor
Stanley’s Labor

We hadn’t thought our new home would change that much. A new door here, a new floor there, a lot of cleaning. But as we grew to love this little place, we decided it deserved better. And so began a year of one better thing after another. After another…

I picked one shot to sum it all up. We started with this:

won't open, can't close
won’t open, can’t close

and ended up with that:

same view, new everything else
same view, new everything else

…and here we are, happily ever after.

Floor Me 2

Laminate, tile, hardwood, carpet, vinyl. I’ve lived on top of it all. In the bungalow, I’ve lived on top of plywood for a good long time. No one heard complaints, much, because even the plywood was a great improvement over the moist cold air coming up from the crawl space beneath.

But it was time for decisions about what to put on top of that plywood, and I’m not talking about the throw-rugs I put down to pretend we were done completely with the renovation. Since I had declared the bungalow a grout-free zone, tile was out. We had a store-house full of laminate, but Stanley vetoed that in the bathroom, just in case I splash three times a day crawling out from those long baths. Moisture-resistant, water-repelling, easy-to-clean. I started looking into vinyl.

Turns out it is also easy to install.

so easy even Marsha can do it
so easy even Marsha can do it

Run, Sadie, Run #2

not her usual pose
not her usual pose

Life for me is not my dogs’ lives. I like to sit and watch, blend in, observe without much hullabaloo. But I am doomed to cavort with noticeable dogs.

First: Reina, the almost-collie. So beautiful people would cross the street in the Texas Hill Country just to be closer to her multi-colored fluff. Then they would look at her face and notice she had but one eye.

Then Patch, who stuck to my heel like that lousy piece of discarded gum on a hot summer day. Misunderstood and determined to let you know it, she would growl and let her ridgeline hair stand straight, all the while with her soft warm nose attached to the skin above my tennies.

Ace, the noble full-bred pointer, came running at me from the SPCA and never let up the pace. Except when he spied a bird, or rabbit, or critter. Then he would stay stark still -pointing – until every inch of him was a-quiver. He would drag me on our very long walks and people would comment, “Who’s walking who?” until he spotted a creature and the show would begin. On one walk, I counted six people stopped, watching his virtual hunt of a prey he would only once in his life claim.

Sadie follows this lengthy tradition. Ruler of the house and yard and dinner table and seemingly our life in general, she has opinions on everything. She is not allowed inside during meals, so she finds a way to look at us from every window in the house. She is a camouflage dog: coat like a cheetah or leopard, reminding people of that “wild dog, the Australian dog, the African dog, that Dingo.” People can’t help themselves. She elicits comments like the finale of a fireworks show – oohs and ahhs. She gives more love and requires more attention than all my former dogs put together and multiplied by ten.

Sadie has been running ceaselessly from one side of the yard to the other, scaring the workers who come to renew the bungalow. First, we closed her off from the back of the compound, where the workers gathered nail guns and dry wall. Then, we chained her, hoping that would remind her of her manners. Sadie appears to love all this activity. Nothing discourages her enthusiastic romp, or loud comments. Me, Marsha, I’m ready for some quiet time.

The walls have eyes

Every day brings an improvement in ye old chicken coop. Today we have a tub. And a toilet. Hard to imagine gratitude for those two common household items. It probably gives an indication of the really trying nature of all this home renovating to confess that this viewmy new bathroom

refreshes me at the end of the day.

PS – just because I mentioned a tub and a toilet, doesn’t mean they came with walls.

Let the Sun Shine

And so the garden begins. I took a quick run to Miner’s Ace Hardware, which is a celebrating kind of spot on the weekends, and took a walk through the spectacular nursery. I came away with my first coastal garden plant.

Branches, blossoms, new leaves come quickly to the few transferred pots I brought from the valley. The new coastal plants, to me, appear brilliant in color, spiny in design. I love the new decor.

I found a great sale on ocean grasses. They are now potted, placed on the deck, and adding their sway to the afternoon breezes. Everything looks so fresh. Even after working for several hours in the coolness, I’m energized.

Sadie, though, is looking tired, and soon will sleep.

Necessary Mess

New word: Messessary; that essential period in time after home renovation begins but looooong before it is completed. Here is a photo tour (glide your mouse over the photos):

I think it will take three moves at least before this gravel finds it’s best location.
Now, the trench is gone, but we will never forget the pipes that lay beneath.
Excavation has never been so productive. Only my back is complaining.
Our new patio… someday.

…and its ten buckets of poo… is gone. And, already forgotten, except when I look at this photo.

It’s all very messessary.