Bluebird Down

The pursuit of domestic bliss, one glorious debacle at a time.

Extreme Makeover: Backyard Edition August 1, 2011

Dank. Dark. Pretty freakin’ scary – even in the daylight. That was our garage. Then one lucky day in April a ginormous tree fell on our rat den. From the proverbial ashes, my vision of a Backyard BBQ Palace has risen.


We were so happy the day we closed on our first house that we didn't care that the previous owner left 40 years worth of junk in the detached garage.



Happiness turned to disbelief as it took us an entire weekend to rip out the makeshift work benches and haul the dilapidated wood out to the curb. The neighbors were thrilled it took the city three weeks to pick it up.



After the clean-up. We thought it would be a good idea to leave at least one work bench. Not that smart. It was so rotten and covered with decaying bug bodies that no one went near it.



A message left from a past resident. I suspect they mean "Daddy" rather than "Dade," but I could be wrong. Either way, the kid can't spell.



Told you a ginormous tree fell on our garage. This was before it really settled in.



It took 10 days of men working from early morning to late afternoon to replace the roof. It's probably the best roof ever built.



The swanky new roof covering a cavernous wasteland inside.



Let the painting commence! I probably don't deserve a husband that not only tolerates, but participates, in my harebrained schemes.



Three buckets of paint and four trips to Home Depot later, the walls are nice and white. Floor ready to be primed and painted.



Fully painted garage. Yes, that is a blue floor. Thanks for asking. I was trying to decide if the wall tapestry we brought back from St. Lucia would work with our new digs or if it just makes us look like a backyard militia. If it does, we'd be the only militia representing with hand painted linen.



Z put the flying pig welcome sign above the garage door. That's love.


Eating Pasta on an Ark while looking out of the window June 22, 2011

Filed under: Cooking,Interior Design — Teri @ 8:20 pm

I thought for sure we were going to need an ark to survive last night. Five inches of rain between 6 o’clock and midnight makes for an uneasy night. Mix in a little hail and a whole lot of thunder and lightening and that makes for a sleepless night.

It took all day, but thanks to Z’s intervention, I defeated the contractor in the Battle of the Windows for the garage restoration. I think Z tossed a coin between intervening and bailing me out of jail. The debate went from two windows to one window to no windows and all the way back around again. Two windows, it is! All the crew has to do tomorrow is install the windows (two!) and shingle the roof. Then Z and I can get back to arguing over the landscaping.

I made this for dinner to repent for the hot dog and potato chip dinner last night:

Baked Ziti and Summer Vegetables from the July 2011 Cooking Light
4 oz of uncooked ziti (I couldn’t find ziti, so I used penne. I used whole wheat instead of white. And I went way over 4 oz, so I had to double the recipe. How in the world do you measure pasta?!)
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups of chopped yellow squash
1 cup chopped zucchini (I used eggplant.)
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 cups chopped tomato
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup shredded, part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano
3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/4 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
1 large egg, lightly beaten
Cooking spray

Cook pasta. Preheat oven to 400. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil. Add squash, zucchini and onion, saute 5 minutes. Add tomato and garlic, saute 3 more minutes. Remove from heat, stir in pasta, 1/2 cup mozzarella, herbs, 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper. Combine ricotta, remaining salt and egg. Stir into pasta mixture. Spoon into 8″ baking dish coated in cooking spray. Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella. Bake for 15 minutes. Serving size is 1 1/2 cups.

Now I think I’ll go dive into a big bowl of blackberries.


The Good, The Bad & The Ugly June 21, 2011

Today was one of the really good days that gets mixed with a little bit of unpleasantness. Can you still call it a really good day if that’s the case? I guess it’s all about perspective. According to Buddha, “Our life is a creation of our mind.” So in the spirit of the moment, a list of the good and the not so good about my day:

GOOD: The restoration of our garage is finally underway. It took so long because Z and I kept forgetting to email the contractor

And the walls came tumbling down... and the walls came tumbling, tumbling... The roof, really, but there aren't any songs about roofs.


BAD: Z and the contractor made me cry. OK, I was being a bit of a baby. At least I didn’t cry until I was alone. I was trying to explain my Vision (with a capital V, thankyouverymuch) for the garage, but they both cut me off with a snap. They shouldn’t have snapped at me, but I shouldn’t have cried either. And Z apologized. I can’t deny it, he’s a good guy.

GOOD: We dropped off a huge load of donations at Salvation Army. The donations were boxed up since our last move and a bit crusty. We dropped them at the back dock and made a run for it. Then we swung by Bell’s Seed for more ferns. Somehow I killed two shade plants by putting them in the shade. The lady at Bell’s was puzzled, but happy to sell me more.

GOOD: We started laying out new mulch in the front yard while the construction guys were demoing the garage. I know I sound like a dork, but I’m deliriously happy about the new mulch. I think the front yard greenery is too. Our plants actually look more green because of it.

GOOD: In honor of the First Day of Summer, I had a most excellent tomato sandwich for lunch.

BAD: The contractor is not digging my Vision for the garage. I want it to look like this. I will deal with him tomorrow.

End of Day 1. Hopefully Pete! won't chew the remaining sections of roof.

GOOD/BAD/UGLY: I had my annual skin cancer screening back in May. The doctor suggested removing several spots of sun damage and moles from my cheeks, forehead and neck — but mostly my cheeks. I had the procedure last week and had the stitches taken out by the nurse this afternoon. I was almost out of the office door when they called me back in to talk to the doctor. One of the spots has suspicious cells. I need another biopsy to determine if my cells were just having a bad day or if it’s something to deal with. I’m not going to lie, this makes me anxious on multiple levels. I already have four knicks in my face and my vanity is offended by having a bigger swatch cut from my cheek. When I made the comment about Frankenstein Face, it was supposed to be a joke, not a request. But as I heard someone say one time, “We don’t cross bridges until we come to them.” And that’s the way I’m going to handle it. [Moral of the Story: Get an annual skin cancer screening. Make an appointment today.]

GOOD: After the doctor’s appointment, I had an appointment for a pedicure. OPI Cha-ching Cherries, y’all.

GOOD: Sitting on the porch, waiting for it to rain, with Z sitting beside me. He’s waiting for the coals to be ready for our Happy-First-Day-of-Summer Hot Dog Dinner: Grilled hot dogs, BBQ potato chips, cold beer and chilled watermelon. Not healthy, but that’s what tomorrows are for.

Happy Summer Solstice!