Quarantine Diary 8: DIY Edition

DIY 13
Valley Wood Home for the Aged

It’s been a quiet year here at the Valley Wood Home for the Aged. At least since my 70th birthday party in February. Then again, it’s always pretty quiet around here. We’re retired and husband likes his solitude uninterrupted unless it’s by our kids and granddaughter.

We moved into this twenty-year-old house in 2015 to be closer to the aforementioned family. Since then we (or the professionals we’ve enlisted to help) have redone nearly every square inch. Big items included floors, a roof, and both interior and exterior paint. Medium-sized projects involved replacing countertops, ceiling fans, light fixtures, toilets, and installing plantation shutters and pull-out pantry shelves in the kitchen. Then there were the smaller, more tedious jobs of changing out all the switch-plates and doorknobs.

We’re no strangers to home improvement projects. I’m grateful my darling husband (DH) is able and (mostly) willing, even if he swears each project is the last thing he’ll do. And swears while doing them as well.


Nonetheless, as we spent more time looking at our four walls during the quarantine, we started noticing a few more things that needed attention. And after I crouched my seventy-year-old body awkwardly on the kitchen floor to retrieve an item from the back of a bottom shelf, he agreed that another set of pull-outs would probably be wise. Much cursing ensued during installation. He pledged these were the last ones. Ever.

With warmer weather, we looked to the outside. One of the reasons I liked this house for us at this point in our lives was its mature, low-maintenance yard. No grass to mow, huge trees and shrubs, a large deck with a small covered patio, and lots of decorative rock. Last year we had the deck repainted, added a sunshade over the patio table, and lattice screening which the Virginia creeper is covering nicely. Done, right? Not quite.

There was still an awkward step between deck levels which we can negotiate now, but may trip us up as we get even older. DH added a step and railing, then solar lights. Just in case we ever stay up past dark.

Then an empty corner of the deck started to gnaw at me. With my COVID-enhanced online shopping skills fully engaged, I ordered a loveseat glider—some assembly required. Sadly, once it was set up it seemed too sunny a location for sitting during most of the day. Could we add shade to that area? Should we? How big and where to attach it? Maybe an arbor or a pergola? Once again online shopping resulted in so many options, including this adorable kit, delivered right to our door. DH built it with much cursing, then added shade cloth, party lights, more vines (hops this time) to finish it off. Seemed like a very good use of our time and resources.

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And speaking of web-based window-shopping, Zillow just happened to show me a master bath/walk-in closet combination like ours, but WAY nicer. Just like that, another brief obsession was born. Of course, it was fueled by a few visits to Pinterest. I REALLY wanted one of those custom closet re-dos but on a much smaller budget and DIY-able. The first step was to have DH remove the old door, which swung awkwardly inside the closet. And because I’m not sure I want to look at even an organized closet every time I enter the bathroom, I decided that saloon doors (ordered online) would be just right. Then I found laminated cubbies in two sizes and six fabric drawers–once again delivered to my door. Sorting the contents of the closet led to yet another round of donations dropped off to a local charity.

Now my focus has shifted to the Hoosier cabinet in the dining room where I store my collection of vintage glassware and other junk. With a few visits to Instagram and Pinterest for inspiration, I decided to let my green depression glass and a little Jadeite take center stage, which involves a bit of shall we say, editing? And another box of stuff ready to donate. I’ll shop in my own house first for items to create an eclectic display with the teensiest bit of help from eBay and Etsy. In normal times I’d be hitting yard sales, thrift stores, and antique malls. My rationale for buying even more old stuff? I’m contributing to the second-hand economy by recycling vintage items from one household to another. A win-win. Right?

This recent spate of projects reminds me of the story If you Give a Mouse a Cookie. Every decision, every project leads to the next and the next and on and on… Our daughter thinks we must be bored. But, no. Never bored. If we’re idle, it just means we’re just between projects.

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