Monday, November 16, 2015

Be It Ever So Humble: Closet Makeover

It was very common back in the day for houses to not have closets. Don't quote me on this, but my understanding is that it had something to do with getting taxed for each "room", and closets were counted as rooms. Therefore, many older houses are closet-less. 

My house was built in 1924. I  have friends with similarly aged homes which have teeny tiny closets, which I have heard came from the fact that homes were taxed per square foot (and why waste it on closet space). Luckily, my closets are not too tiny and I even have a bonus hole in my hallway. However, there is not a lot of shelving in any of them.

The other day my Dad calls me up and says that he would like to come down and fix something in my house. Fortunately, I do have a self imposed Honey Do list. However, most of the things on it are pretty easy things I can do myself (not that I always want to, but I CAN). Luckily, I can think quickly on my feet, and when he requested a project AND a drawing, I quickly got to work. Here is what I came up with. 

Bedroom Closet Plan

Hall Closet Plan

Aren't my drawing skills fabulous? NOT. For the bedroom closet, I wanted a few shelves to put shoes or clothes on, as well as a rod to hang things. For the hall closet, I wanted some shelves and also a space for the broom/mop and a space to hang people's coats when they came to visit. 

So Dad came down and got to work. Here are the before and after shots. 

Bedroom Closet: The day I moved in
Bedroom Closet : Before
Bedroom Closet : After

Don't judge me. I have a lot of shoes. 

Hall Closet : Before
Hall Closet : After

I still need to paint the shelves in the bedroom closet and to figure out how I want to organize everything, which will involve a bit of shifting and time to see if things are working the way I want them to. However, overall I am quite pleased with the way everything turned out! 

Do you have enough closet space? If you could have a closet makeover, what would you change/add? 

Monday, November 9, 2015

Be It Ever So Humble: Getting Robbed

Don't freak out; this post is NOT about what you think it is.

I decided that I would post from time to time about the joys of being a homeowner. I am sure that many of you have similar stories and I would like to know how things are in your neck of the woods. Are they the same as mine? For instance, do YOU have a nosy/creepy/annoying neighbor? A loud xyz near your house? An animal that poops in your flower bed or eats your homegrown veggies? What woes do you have in your neighborhood?

My first woe is this: Alarm Systems.

When I first moved in, the "curtain twitcher" (my nosy friendly neighbor across the way) came over to introduce herself (at 8:30 p.m. and mind  you, I normally go to bed around 8:30) and to talk about the neighborhood and the goings on and the other people on our block etc. Apparently the guy behind me "might" be a drug dealer, the people at the end never leave their house and the people across the street rented to someone because they moved to Paris for work (but that is the only non-owner occupied home on the block). I learned all of this (and more!) in about 26 minutes, as the clock was slowly ticking toward 9:00.

The other thing she told me, which was interesting but not great, is that since we live on a street that is very easily accessible from the freeway (great for commuting!) sometimes thieves will get off the freeway, kick in your door, steal your TV and get right back on the freeway in a matter of minutes. Now, I am not super attached to my TV, but I am pretty attached to my life, so I decided to get an alarm system.

First of all, getting an alarm system is a pain in the butt. It's worse than getting cable. First, you sign your life away by paying up front for the install/equipment and the first month. Next, some creepy guy comes to your house and tries to suggestive sell you on $9,000 worth of equipment, which by the way, will ONLY cost you an additional $900 in install/equipment fees and another $50 per month on top of the original $40 per month you already agreed to pay. Of course, in his spiel, your area is VERY dangerous and it's IMPERATIVE that ALL windows, doors, peepholes, cracks and crevices be set up with an alarm and preferably a camera and a direct line to the CIA.

So I get the standard, the one that I ALREADY paid for and I kick the creepy guy out. Now, one of the things you also have to get, which creepy guy pretty much brushes over the details of, is a permit with the city or county. This is like a registration with the local police. However, creepy guy did mention that they would take care of it for me. I thought this was great until I got a bill in the mail from them, asking me to reimburse them for taking care of it for me.

Fast forward to three months later when I am riding my bike to work and my phone rings. I ignore it because who the heck is calling me from a 1-800 number at five in the morning; I figure it must be an east coast telemarketer. Turns out it was the alarm company, calling me because the alarm went off for no reason. The police were dispatched and they did not find any signs of a break-in. I was happy to hear that, and I thought that was the end of that. Until I received a bill last week in the mail for $84 for a "false alarm". I thought, "No problem. I have a permit. I will call them and tell them there has been a mistake".

Not so fast, little girl. I looked it up and here are the details.

General False Alarm: With permit = $84, Without permit = $154
Robbery False Alarm: With permit = $156, Without permit = $226
Genuine: With permit = Free(!), Without permit = $70

So, the only way to save money is if your alarm is genuine, aka you get robbed by a burglar. Otherwise, instead of getting robbed by a burglar, you get robbed by the city instead.

Do you have a home security system? What are the rules in your area? If you don't have an alarm, what frustrates you about one of the rules of YOUR neighborhood? 

Monday, November 2, 2015

Looking Back: October

Another October is in the books! Finally, a month with a good mix of friends, family, work, running and getting things knocked off my To Do List (which is no mean feat). I had a couple of weekends at home, which, although they weren't "quiet", did give me a chance to get some things done that I have been wanting to do for a long time (like planting that darn orange tree in the back yard)!

Running: Finally I picked up my mileage a bit, mostly because I ran the Dick Collins 50M early in the month, but also because I am trying to get back out there little by little. Running mileage was 126 miles, which I have to say I am pretty darn happy with! I also put 36 miles on the bike, hiked 14 miles and did 6 HIIT/strength/core workouts. I mentioned in the race recap that I thought the strength workouts were helping my running and I plan to keep doing them at least a couple of times each week to see if it works out better for training. Something has to give; I am still having back pain and that plus my lack of motivation have led to a lot less running that normal. However, if I can find a substitute for one or two days of running per week and it works out, this may be the solution.

Reading: I am not super excited about any of the books I read in October. I ended up reading 5 books total and they were all just "okay". They were:

Heroes Are My Weakness (2 stars)
Life After Life (3 stars)
What Alice Forgot (3 stars)
The Dinner (3 stars)
Dietland (3 stars)

Travel: I didn't stray too far away from home in October, but I did have a nice trip home to see my parents, where we went on a couple of nice hikes, spent some time with my grandma and ate the last of the fresh tomatoes. I also went to my cousin's wedding which was at a nice vineyard about an hour and a half from my house. The setting was beautiful and it was great to see family that I hadn't seen in a while and to get a bit gussied up and to dance my booty off (I did not count that as one of the strength workouts, but it WAS a workout)!

November is shaping up to be another fun (filled!) month, with a couple of visits from friends and family, some big house projects, some running events, hosting Thanksgiving at my house and a trip for work to NYC!

How was October for you? Did you go trick-or-treating or did you hand out candy? Do you know of any good strength workouts I should try?