Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Summer bucket list

For the last two years it seems that some of my high school students have become obsessed with the concept of the bucket list, devising senior year bucket lists and summer bucket lists like there's no tomorrow. Today marks the end of week 1 of summer vacation, and we just got back from six days at the beach. I can cross two items off my summer bucket list:

1) See wild horses.
These were spotted while driving on the beach in Carova, North Carolina. I guess that's actually two things I've never done: driven on a beach and seen wild horses.
2) Get Maxwell to swim/overcome his fear of the water.
It all started when Max was about six months old and Matt threw him into his parents' beach house pool. Since then, Max has been terrified of water, and he especially shows it when he runs around the pool, furiously panting and generally acting like a maniac. Something snapped this week, though, and Max just jumped right in and started swimming laps. He still hasn't achieved a calm attitude about water, but he is voluntarily swimming, so that's a start. For your viewing pleasure, here's an 18-second clip of Max swimming with me, complete with me weirdly cackling at the end.

This is all well and good, but to keep the organizational focus of this blog, you've probably guessed that the 20+ list of items Matt and I compiled that we plan to complete this summer really involve boring adult things, like home improvement and furniture purchasing/rearranging. I've divided our list into things we need to hire someone else to do and things we can do on our own.

Let's start with the complicated tasks real professionals will be doing for us:

1) Add lighting and mirrors to master bathroom.
Last summer's addition of nicer lighting to the upstairs hallway bathroom made us realize that we needed to upgrade the master bathroom, too. We will be using a similar style light fixture as the one we installed last summer, but this time it won't be as easy. We purchased two smaller fixtures that we plan to hang over two new mirrors we bought. The only problem is that this requires cutting holes, patching holes, and rewiring, things we cannot accomplish on our own (we can, however, paint over the holes left behind).

Additionally, the shower in our master bath is painfully dark thanks to the angle of the ceiling and placement of the one recessed light, so while the electrician is here (ideally tomorrow) he will also install a second recessed light directly above the shower.

2) Add a backyard patio.
Although the grass we planted in the fall is thriving, the space underneath our back deck is a glorified mud pit. The soil is uneven and eroding, the dirt bounces onto the house every time it rains, the dogs track all kinds of dirt into the house, and the 250 or so square feet is generally wasted space.
After getting four estimates and weighing the pros and cons of a paver patio versus a stamped concrete patio, we chose the stamped concrete patio option. Our deposit is in. Now we're just waiting on HOA approval, and we hope this task can get accomplished sometime during July.

3) Fix the toilet in the lower level.
This is one of those items that has never worked correctly the whole time we've lived in our house. One plumber looked at it; Matt and various male friends looked at it many times; we need to finally get this settled.

4) Fix wobbly ceiling fans.
There are three in our house (dining room, guest room, master bedroom) and all of them wiggle if set on anything higher than the lowest setting. This obviously defeats the purpose of a ceiling fan.

5) Get carpets cleaned throughout the house.
We've done this a few times ourselves, but we found a reputable company and a good enough deal that the cost of having someone else clean the carpet is almost the same as what it would cost us to rent a cleaner and soap ourselves. While we're at it, we'll have them clean the downstairs sofa and loveseat where Max and Doc spend about nine to ten hours each day we're at work.

Then there are the items we can handle ourselves:

1) Empty backyard shed and transfer contents to garage.
This shed we inherited from the previous owners takes up a lot of space, blocks the window in our lower level, and isn't really something we need. Once we Craiglist/throw out/consolidate items, everything we actually need will fit in a corner of our otherwise underutilized garage. We've already agreed to give the shed to the owner of the stamped concrete company that will be installing our patio. We're just happy for him to take it off our hands.

2) Buy actual bed frame for master bedroom.
Seriously people. We have been living with an el-cheapo metal backless frame for years. Time to upgrade to something with a soft headboard.

3) Buy/make dark curtains for master bedroom.
Something to match the new duvet cover would be ideal. The window treatments we have now are not blocking out that summer light (and we would like to sleep past 6 a.m.).

4) Buy smaller desk and sell old desk.
It's big. We need something smaller (and we generally don't need a big desk). Move new desk to main level.

5) Move bookcase from office to lower level.

6) Move table and chairs in living room to garage.
We never use this seating and we could use the added floor space.

7) Move contents of office closet to guest room closet.

8) Complete steps 4-7 before taking the additional steps to convert the office to the nursery.
That's right, people, we are procreating! I am happy to report that I am 13 (and a half) weeks pregnant, just having excitedly exited the first trimester. Baby Awesome-rod is growing up a storm and I am feeling great. We are absolutely thrilled by this otherwise unreal event taking shape. This is without a doubt the happiest time of our lives. We are hoping baby Awesome-rod will enter the world sometime around his/her due date of January 2, 2012. We'll find out the sex on August 15, the day before my 30th birthday.

Over the next several posts I will share pregnancy-related news before resuming the summer bucket list progress posts. I do not intend to turn this into a baby blog, but with a little addition to our family we will no doubt be making lifestyle adjustments, taking on new organizational projects, experimenting with new products and the like that I will have to report on here. I'll be back tomorrow to share what I did for an organized pre-conception.


  1. Everything about this post makes me gleefully happy for you! I was happy enough just to see Maxwell swimming and then with baby Awesome-rod's debut on the blog, love it! Congrats Mama!

  2. Congratulations on your pregnancy! I look forward to your ideas on organizing baby "stuff". I just had my second and am moving soon so I will have to keep a close eye on what you are doing!

  3. Mrs. Axelrod we all guessed this so long ago, but never got confirmation.. until now. By the way - Andrew alerted all of us to this blog post.

  4. Hey Congrats! Can't wait for the nursery posts!