Tag Archives: Annoyances

A Bounty of Acorns and a Lack of Sleep

One night last week, I heard a strange noise while working in the kitchen. It sounded kind of like someone was knocking.

Since then, approximately 17,000 acorns have fallen from my neighbors’ giant oak trees. Each one makes a thwacking noise as it slams into the ground, one of their cars, or one of our houses. In my five summers in this house, I had never heard such a thing, but apparently we’re in luck: it’s a bumper crop.

Mostly, I hear the acorns thwacking while in the kitchen or living room. But on windy nights, I hear them dropping off the limb over my bedroom. Better yet, when they fall from that limb, a mere 2 or 3 feet above my roof, they hit exceptionally hard, and then roll down the roof. It sounds like someone slamming a door and then taking off running.

Last night was really bad. It was windy with a threat of storms, so all night, dozens of acorns were falling. It never rained water, but it certainly rained acorns. I’d also made the mistake of having a giant iced coffee about 4 PM so I was still wired and twitchy. Every time an acorn hit the roof, I would jump a bit. I tossed and turned, until finally about 2 AM, after the last Metra pulled through, I gave up and slept on the couch where the acorns weren’t as loud.

So if you see any hungry squirrels, send them my way, please.



Whoever invented cheap white laminate cabinets never actually cooked or used them for their intended purposes. Or he wore gloves at all times.

They show fingerprints so damn quickly, and get dirty around the corners just from daily use. We won’t even realize we spilled something until a long, streaky, greasy stain appears and won’t.go.away.

Plus, the cheap laminate chips away.

I’ve only been in this house three years and am pretty gentle with my cabinets – heck, we don’t have kids – and they look worse for the wear. I can’t IMAGINE what kids would do to them.

And don’t get me started on the cheap handles. We’ve bought a least a dozen tubes of superglue just to replace the ugly ceramic “decorations.”

Happy Housiversary to Me!

I’ve been very negligent lately. I don’t really have an excuse, but let’s get back to it.

Today is my third housiversary! I bought this wonderful piece of property three years ago today. That morning, I did my final walkthrough with my realtor to make sure all the issues arising from the inspection had been fixed. We ran through the checklist – toilet properly bolted down, ceiling fan balanced and, most importantly, asbestos wrapped – and headed off to the title company for the closing.

Less than two hours later, I returned, keys in hand, and let myself in. I slowly paced from room to room, marveling in the moment. It had rained earlier that morning, but the sun was breaking out through the clouds. For the first time in all my visits at the house – two looks, writing the offer, the inspection and walkthrough – I could see how sunshine flowed through the windows.

The sunlight illuminated the mess of cobwebs filling every corner and closet. Most of the light fixtures were just naked bulbs. A lightswitch had stopped working sometime between inspection and closing. I noticed that the tiny downstairs bathroom was horribly misaligned – the light fixture, mirror and sink were completely out of sync. And what about the piece of missing trim between the kitchen and bathroom?

All these little things hit me as I realized that I was stepping beyond the stressful-yet-exhilarating homebuying process, into the much more mundane and unknown world of home ownership. Suddenly, it was all my problem. And unlike leases measured in months, there was no time limit on the problems, nor anyone else holding my security deposit dollars to motivate me into action.

I immediately tackled the cobwebs and dust that had accumulated during the year the house sat vacant. The baseball wallpaper in the bedroom was next on the list. But three years later, some of these problems persist.The downstairs bathroom still bugs me every time I’m in there, but not enough to act when other projects are more pressing. The lightswitch was replaced right away, and I’ve only got one bare bulb left. But new projects always spring up with their own costs – in both time and money – and precedence. Obviously I’m going to take care of the geyser in the basement wall before I worry about a crooked mirror.

But in the past three years, I’ve realized that if I take them as them come, I can stay on top of everything, or at least ensure everything’s still functioning and the house stays warm and dry. Rather than trying to do everything at once, slow and steady is indeed winning the race.

I hope the same can be true with this blog. Rather than trying to write for a book or The Great American Novel, if I stick to steady, shorter posts, maybe I’ll make some progress.

It’s worth a try.

Who names these things? How do we stop them?

My lawnmower sharpening kit came with a great set of instructions that made the job pretty simple. Heck, each step was spelled out in three languages, and the diagrams actually made sense and mirrored my mower!

I also learned a couple new words. Anyone know what this sentence means?

“Carefully remove the pinion gear, being extremely careful not to allow the pawl to fall out of the slot in the reel shaft.”


Fortunately, the diagrams helped clarify the goal. But what is a pinion gear, and how does it relate to a pawl? Who named these parts? And where do the names come from?

Wiki comes to the rescue with a couple helpful definitions.

A pinion is usually the smallest gear in a gear drive train. In many cases, such as remote controlled toys, the pinion is also the drive gear.

A pawl is even less descriptive:

Pawl may refer to:

  • A common component of a ratchet
  • A part of the adjustable height locking mechanism of an extension ladder
  • Pawl (constructor), a former racing car constructor
  • A part of a table saw splitter, a safety mechanism designed to prevent kickback

But still – how to stop the madness of naming little bitty parts?

Four (more) bottles of beer on the lawn

Yep, I ventured into the backyard yesterday to try to get rid of the four new empty beer bottles littering the snow. It appears the morons next door have switched to MGD from Modelo. Nice.

I threw two back over the fence. The other two are firmly frozen into place against the garage, where melting snow fell off the roof and then refroze. I wonder what other surprises the thaw will yield.

I’m still struggling with the thought process of the beer swiggers next door. In what universe is it okay to throw trash into your neighbor’s yard? I’m especially befuddled because there are eight trash/recycling cans in their parking area (two per unit; it’s a huge old house that’s been carved up into four one-bedroom apartments). Do they throw the bottles over their cans for fun? Does hitting my garage get them extra points? Sheesh.

Lift me to the Lights!

The nine foot ceilings on the main floor of my house were listed as a feature when I first saw the listing. I agreed they were nice, making the rooms feel bigger and more spacious.

But since moving in, the nine foot ceilings have proved a bit challenging. For example, some genius decided that the perfect place for the ground floor smoke detector is about six feet from the stove. When it goes off, I can’t quite reach the detector to stop the insane beeping, even standing on a chair. I’ve learned that a mop handle does the trick and stops the alarm and also the cat’s harmonious cries.

The high ceilings are even more of a hurdle when combined with stairs – especially the uneven, concrete stairs leading to my basement. And of course, directly above this mess, is one of the most-used light fixtures in my house. Since this fixture lights up the back hallway, foyer, closets and steps to the basement, it gets flipped on and off numerous times a day, making a CFL bulb not practical, since those take a solid 40-60 seconds to warm up and provide full light.

Last night, I got home and discovered the bulb had burned out. It’s always a bit precarious climbing up to it, since the best way is to set the stepladder at the top of the curving stairs and lean over the abyss while stretching with all your might to the fixture. I got everything set up and climbed up, but found my still-not-quite-right ankle couldn’t handle the requisite tippy toes. I reluctantly turned the task over to Don.

Maybe there should be a height requirement for home ownership.

Beer Bottles: An Endangered Species

From the Onion: Empty Beer Bottle Released Into Wild

Aha! So my beer bottle problem was really just a conservation project. Good to know.

(And no, I have seen nary a rogue beer bottle since tossing the four across the fence nearly a month ago!)