March 10th, 2010

weed whacker


So this winter was ridiculous. We had at least three hard freezes, which almost never happens, and the "winter" didn't stop until the first week of March. This confused the shit out of all of the plants in Houston. Usually by now, the entire city is pink because the azaleas have gone insane. I have so far only seen two or three azalea flowers. My tulips, which usually are blooming in mid-february, have only just decided to pop out of the ground. They have another week or so before they even think about blooming.

And the death. Oh, the death. Everyone's yard for the last few months has just looked sad. We're not used to all the foliage just dying. Usually it doesn't get cold enough to shock the bougainvilla and hibiscus and other plants to drop leaves and go dormant until it gets warm again.

So last weekend, when we were pretty sure that the nights in the thrirties were more or less over, Graham and I had to tackle the carnage. Graham and his sawzall went after the bougainvillas. I took on the plumbego, hibiscus, split leaf philodendron, and irises with clippers. These were plants that had been dense and thick and tall, but now had to be cut back so much that I got to see parts of my yard I'd never seen in the nearly eight years I've lived in my house. The pile we generated was about ten feet tall and twenty feet wide, and the backyard now looks enormous. It's actually quite useful, because it gave us an idea of what the back yard looks like when we rip things out for the expansion. We've been watching a lot of gardening and landscape shows on DYI and HGTV lately, so we have lots of ideas of what we want to do once the expansion happens. In the meantime, we want to ensure that we have a good garden.

This weekend is the put-more-plants-in-the-ground weekend. Most of the stuff we cut back will grow back, but we need bedding plants and a few perennials to fill in gaps where my over-enthusiastic pruning may have caused problems. And we need to restart the veggies and herbs that died. Fortunately, the dog park is right next door to Home Depot, so while Graham supervises the girls at play, I'll head over there for mulch, annuals, basil, veggies if they have them. Then, the four of us will head to Buchanan's to get compost, nicer perennials, and maybe some tomatoes.
Greatest of Ease

Victory in home decor

A few years ago, my mom gave Claudia a loveseat. The loveseat more or less is the same design as the sofa in my TV room. Over the years, it's been beaten up pretty badly, mainly because a) it was white and b) Holden. Now, it's sort of a dingy grey with lots of black fur on it, and it smells exactly like a labrador retriever.

Claudia just upgraded the couches in her living room, and I asked her if I could have the loveseat. We have up to ten people at the house every other week or so for what we affectionately call "geek night" to watch Babylon 5 (we're one episode away from finishing Season 3). Currently, we end up having to schlep chairs from the dining room in, and some people end up on the floor. Another seating option in the room would be awesome. A seating option that matches the seating already in that room would be even awesome-er.

But the loveseat desperately needs to be recovered. I've been looking into reupholstering options with a little bit of fear. Most of that stems from the quote I got from the manufacturer for a new slipcover: $1,025 to $2,655, depending on fabric. I love the sofa and chair I have from these people, and I plan one day to have everything re-slipcovered, but that day is not today. (That day is after the addition goes on the house.) So what I want to do is more of a stop-gap recovering that will hold a year or two until I can really think about what I want to do with the sofa and love seat when we're moving crap around after the house is finished.

So I called the first upholsterer today, thinking that maybe buying a whole new love seat will be cheaper. His quote was recovering starts at $275, fabric and labor included. Obviously, that will depend on the fabric, but since one day this thing will be covered with a slipcover, I don't have to spend too much on the fabric. I'll go over on Saturday and see what he has and whether I like what he's done. This may turn out to be much more painless than I thought.