Saturday, May 16, 2015


Let's talk about the dishwasher in the House of Wonders. To say it's gross is a HUGE understatement. When I first opened it I was nearly knocked over by the stench. It desperately needed cleaning so I ran the hottest, longest sanitizing cycle it had with a big glass measuring cup of vinegar and tea tree oil. The smell was better (not great but better), however, when I flipped down the little trays on the top I cringed. Again when I looked at the bottom. Well, let me just show you...

See what I mean? That stuff is moldy-nasty-won't-come-off-vileness. And that's AFTER it has been cleaned. I honestly can't even begin to understand what one does to a dishwasher to get to this point. I think I'd rather not know. Clearly we won't be using this thing so we had to buy a new dishwasher.

We waited for 2 1/2 weeks for it to be delivered (apparently we chose the same model that everyone else likes as well). The delivery truck came, the guy looked at our old dishwasher and said it's hardwired and that's against code (this happens a lot in Colorado apparently) so they have to send an electrician back to install it. They put the dishwasher in the box in the garage.

Annoying but whatever, we can deal with it. Yesterday I took half the day off work so I could be here for the install. All the while I was so excited that I'd be able to have super clean dishes in my very own, brand new, clean and working dishwasher. I was practically singing. 

And then it began. "Miss Carrie? Can you come in here?"


"Come stand right here.  You see the tile that's over this dishwasher [the old one]? It's cut to overlap so we can't get this one out very well and we definitely can't get the new one in."

It's that way on both sides. Of course it is. Oh, and it's not cut straight to begin with.

Oh! I don't think I've posted pictures of the kitchen yet. Well, it's covered in tile. Awful, ugly, huge floor tile. There you have a glimpse of it. The best part is that they didn't just stick with the countertop - oh no, they put it all down the sides of the counter and up the wall for a back splash.

But I digress...  You'll get to see all that later.  Back to the dishwasher. 

I said, "Don't you worry - we can just break those tiles right off!"

Electrician, "I can't touch anything but you can break off whatever you like."

Me, with a huge smile, "Let me just grab a hammer!"

In the meantime he kept working....  "Miss Carrie?"


"How are you?  You in a good mood today?"

Uh oh!  That's a portent of bad news for sure.  "Yes.  But I imagine something not so good has happened..."

Electrician, "You need a new shut off valve. I turned the knob to shut the water off under the sink and it popped right off. But the best part is that someone has glued this so it's obviously happened before! Glue! I can't imagine why they would use glue."

Ah, well, welcome to the House of Wonders.  We'll add this to the ever-growing list of things we wonder about. Seriously? They glued the flippin shut off valve back on after it broke????? I don't know if that was the previous owners or the renters but whoever it was is an idiot. (I'm trying to be nice. Is it working?)

Electrician, "I know this stinks but in a way it's better to find out like this than to find out because your house has a major flood in a few days when it broke on it's own."

Excellent point and I agree completely. And yet, what this means is that I don't get my dishwasher today, I don't get to wash dishes in it today and now I have to call a plumber to fix that valve and then call the electrician to come back again and install the dishwasher. Which is now out of the box in the garage. Sad. And so annoying.  

We were silly enough to think it would be simple - take out the old dishwasher and put in a new one - yeah that's easy! Something that will work right and it wasn't such a big deal. Scratch that. It, of course, is a big deal but I have faith that someday we will have a working dishwasher. In this house. This year.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Welcome to The House of Wonders

Dave and I just bought our first home together!  The market in Denver is ridiculous right now for buying or renting so our choices were limited.  I only explain that because once you read the rest of this post you'll be wondering what the heck we were thinking.

We have dubbed this house The House of Wonders!  It won't take long to understand why - you'll see the pictures and wonder what we were thinking.  Everyone who steps foot in this house to repair something wonders who messed it up so badly.  In fact, everywhere you turn you can't help but wonder "what were they thinking??" 

We thought it would be fun to blog our adventure so you can sigh and laugh and cry along with us.  And hopefully, at the end you'll smile with us too!

Welcome to The House of Wonders

The light in the picture isn't great but that's an orange wall.  This upstairs bathroom is probably one of the best rooms in the house.  So we'll start with that and then move on to the rest.  :)

This is the dining room.  You can't see carpet detail in this picture but it's got holes and it stinks and, as an added bonus, it's greasy!  So gross.  The wall (again hard to get the full glory of the place in these pictures) the wall is actually a burnt orange and it goes all the way into the living room.  The rest of the walls are a light brown.  

The previous owners added some curved stairs.  Why, you wonder? Well...we do too.  You'll notice that they covered part of the heat vent when they added the stairs.  That's probably the most competent thing they did in all of their "renovations" here.


The house is a split entry. You'll notice this wall has a piece of tile at the top. Just one random, lonely piece of tile. At the bottom it might have had a tile companion but whatever was there disappeared long ago. Probably about the same time that the dog chewed up the stair (bottom left). The carpet on these stairs has holes and is greasy and filthy.

This is one of our favorite features to point out because it's so unique. This is the Shoe Wonder. Well, it doesn't really fit adult size shoes but it fits kid shoes really well. Along the stud in the middle of it runs a main electrical line. That was painted to blend in. Um, when you cut out this little gem and noticed that there was a main electrical line...did it cause you to pause and rethink? Apparently not. Just paint it and it'll be fine. Right.

I'm sorry to tell you that you're going getting a little peak at the Jail Cell Bathroom because the rest of the pictures seem to have disappeared. I'll keep looking for them because you really must see the whole thing. But, this will at least give you an idea. At the back of this picture you can see wood bars screwed to the wall. This was done to 2 whole walls - thus the name "Jail Cell Bathroom". What were they thinking??? The floor was dark outdoor slate tiles (NOT meant for indoors), the countertop has the same lovely floor tile as the kitchen. Oh yes, you haven't seen the kitchen yet - well it's covered in this same hideous floor tile.

We've gutted this bathroom and redone it from top to bottom and since I can't find the pictures for this post I'll include more in our next post.

Blogger keeps losing everything I add to this post (grrr!) and I can't find all of our pictures at the moment but this will at least give you an idea of our House of Wonders. We'll post more "before" pictures later as well as updates as renovations are finished.

And, even in the midst of all the chaos we're very glad to be here and to have a home to call our own.  It will take lots and lots of work to bring this place up to par but it's an adventure we're up for.  At least we think we are... 

Friday, October 24, 2014

SA Conference 2014

Dave and I committed to help put on the regional Single Adult conference this summer - one last time. Here are some of the decorations we put together with help from Becky and some of our committee members:

Building the jail - we used fencing pieces and secured PVC pipes on as bars. We spray painted the pipes black. And we decided that the fencing wasn't really strong enough so for future reference, if you're going to build a jail don't use fencing. 

We attached plywood boards to the bottom and the sides. Our biggest concern was stability and safety. The little money bags you see at the bottom were filled with sand to help stabilize it.  This worked for one night but we all decided that we could have benefitted from a much better design from the get to. But hey, not bad for a design off the cuff.  :)

We even stapled old fashion looking fabric to the inside of the doors and put wood-look paper on the lower outside. 

We had mustaches and a hat to pose for pictures: 

Next we made a watering hole. I love the way it turned out but this project was my first and last pallet project! I do not see the appeal. Seriously they're a pain in the rear to work with. Just my opinion...

We made a "kissing booth" where people could guess how many kisses were in the jar. Then we decided we could also have them guess lemon drops and root beer barrels.  I think the idea was good but we were out of time and energy to make the booth as well as we did the other things so I didn't love the way this one turned out.

We made big sandwich board signs out of plywood. They were heavy so they wouldn't blow over or get knocked down easily. We stapled our signs and cowboy silhouettes to them - don't they look cool? Love 'em!


Speaking of signs, we also made Wanted signs for each speaker to post by the classroom doors:

We used gold and brown plastic tablecloths (I couldn't face washing cloth ones this time) and put red and blue bandana, mason jars with a burlap & lace warp filled with real babies breath and little gem-like rocks scattered on the bandanas as the table centerpieces.

For the buffet tables we put burlap down the center with some cow print fabric for color and variety. We used the same gem like rocks as well as "gold" nuggets to scatter on the table. Again, mason jars with a burlap & lace wrap and wildflowers. 

Along the walls we did rosettes in two sizes - huge ones and then a big bunch. These took pretty much forever to make. I think we had 4 people spend about 3 or 4 hours making all the rosettes.

For the small ones that were all bunched together we made all the rosettes and then used floral wire to secure them to a sheet of grid wire sort of like chicken wire but with smaller holes.  Gloves were required as it's sharp and it was trick getting them all secured on tightly and close together.

We always forget how BIG those walls are and how much you need to really make an impact. We were glad we had the big rosettes.

We had a torn fabric garland and hung a sign that said Howdy Ya'll at the entrance. (It's hard to read the sign here but it was sure cute!)

We strung lights across the gym (you have to have lights!) Here's a fun story about the lights....  We had bought the lights we needed but moved in the middle of all this. The day before the conference we were house sitting (really, too much going on at once) and came home to make sure everything was together to haul over to the church the next day. This is when we discovered that the lights were missing. They're somewhere in our storage unit (!!) so we had to buy new lights and now we are the proud owners of several boxes of lights. I hope our new house has a pergola or patio or something. If it doesn't maybe Dave will just have to build us one...  ;)

We hung up our moon on the stage for a good background there and hung black paper behind it to camouflage the stage.

And then the fun began...

We couldn't have done it without Becky, our committee and the stakes who signed up to help us set up all the decorations. I was mostly pleased with the way it turned out and I hope the conference attendees enjoyed it.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Manitou Springs

In September we went to Manitou Springs for the day. There's really lots to do in that area so we'll have to go back again. Oh bummer! ;)

I wanted to surprise Dave (this will also surprise all of you) so our first stop was the World Famous Penny Arcade. You probably need some proof so here's photographic evidence that I went into an arcade:

It was interesting (but not surprising) to see what we both gravitated to - I wanted to play the old games like pinball and skeeball while Dave wanted to play all the modern games like Mortal Kombat. I did play Ms. Pacman and Dave even talked me into one game of Mortal Kombat.

Just for the record, I'm not too bad at skeeball... but I really sucked it up on everything else. One observation from this little foray into the world of video games - it was obvious that these games have been made for men since the very beginning - even the really old ones were full of scantily clad, overly busty women no matter what the game was and most of them are violent. Yuck. Just sayin'.

We took a tour of the Cave of the Winds. Have you ever seen the darkness of a cave? At one point they turned off the lights so you could see what total darkness is really like when you literally cannot even see your hand right in front of your face. It was DARK! It only gets that dark two places in the world - in caves and at the bottom of the ocean.

Manitou Springs has 7 natural springs where the water is naturally carbonated. We tried it. Gross. That's all.

Jodee recommended Heart of Jerusalem as a good place to eat so we tried it out. We liked dinner but the best part was the Baklava - oh! my! word! Incredible. We split a piece. I told Dave he has to get his own piece next time because I want my own piece.

A couple observations about Manitou Springs... 1) There are lots of hippies there but what was unique about that was how many old hippies were there. Tons. 2) There are some serious hills there! So, we'll avoid it in the winter and visit in the summer. 3) There's lots to see and do in this area and we only had one day. Georgetown is still our favorite but we'll be back to Manitou as well.

Oh, and one last note - 

There's a Mata shop there - mata is the preferred drink in Argentina where Dave served his mission and he's always wishing he could have it here.  Needless to say, Dave was so excited to see the shop and then so sad to see that it was closed because we were there on a Saturday and the shop's owners are Jewish so it's closed on their sabbath. Guess that just means we'll have to take a long weekend and stay down there sometime so Dave can have Mata.  Ok, twist my arm.  

Friday, September 19, 2014

Grand Lake

We went to Grand Lake in August.  We decided it was a little farther than we want to travel for our mountain days since they're just day trips but it's definitely a place we'd like to go back to for a long weekend sometime.

We went on a short little hike (more like walk) to this river:

Gorgeous!!  I'm such a sucker for rivers and lakes!  (It's just outside of town but I can't remember the name of it...)

Then we had our picnic lunch at the lake (Grand Lake - I do remember that!).

We had Pan Bagnat (which is a fancy French name for really good tuna sandwiches) - I'll blog that recipe later.  Super yummy!

While we were eating the storm clouds rolled in and it got really windy and chilly - this seems to be a trend with us.  Maybe we should just eat in the car... The takeaway is that if you see us getting lunch out it's time to pack up and head out because the storm will be there soon.  ;)

After lunch we went to stroll through town and look who else decided to stroll through town and take a little break right in the park:

It was really cool to see him so close - he was huge!  I texted J a picture of him but he apparently wasn't so impressed. I guess you had to be there. 
But really seeing a moose so close made him seem very majestic. 

One more shot in front of the lake - getting colder and starting to rain:

My hubby is such a good sport! I saw a pull out next to the river and I wanted to get out and walk around a little on our way home and he pulled over and let me take all the time I wanted. 
I'm a lucky girl!

We enjoyed Grand Lake and saw lots of camping spots on our way up there - making plenty of notes as we went so we can go back and explore the area even more some day. Very pretty.

Things I learned on this trip - all our pictures together are selfies so we need to ask people to take a picture of us now and then.  And I really need to stay on top of these blogs since I'm already forgetting details!