Yesterday afternoon when I couldn't sit at the computer any longer, I went out and resumed collecting leaves for the sheet mulch in the front yard. This is not a small mulch bed...
I can't believe we have lived in our house in Emporia for more than two months now! Work is going well. I am already being challenged to plan for next semester when I am still trying to stay on top of this one! I had to pick out textbooks for the two classes I will be teaching in the Spring and will soon have to learn to be an academic adviser for Freshman and Sophomores campus wide (meaning I have to know every program on campus and their requirements...that'll be exciting!).
Towards the end of August, Jessie and I decided to make our first strike against the lawn. I had already mowed the grass twice, and found that the back fence was nearly impossible to trim without a weed eater, and I didn't want to buy a weed eater. The fence also didn't serve any purpose -- it had been part of a dog pen, but the front part was long since taken down, so it didn't actually enclose anything; and also it was several feet outside the property line.
It's really amazing how much damage four men and a backhoe can do in a day, even if that's not their intent.
We had expected that the new sewer line would be put in by Ditch Witch, but no, it was so deep (7-9 feet) that a man had to fit fully down in the trench, which meant a full-size backhoe had to maneuver in our back yard. The clay -- and our subsoil is nothing but 100% clay -- was piled all over the yard and sidewalk, and then the rain started, and now there is slippery, sticky mud on everything.
Jessie's cat, Warren, was strictly an indoor cat until he joined our household. When he lived in an apartment building with Jessie in grad school, she would let him out into the hall sometimes, and he would get spooked and "knock" on the nearest door, seemingly not caring that it was the wrong door. When he lived with her parents in Manley, he didn't get more than a few feet from the door before getting spooked and wanting back in.
The cleaner came yesterday and sanitized the basement from floor to windows with steam and microbicide. Then he brought in a small army of dehumidifiers and fans -- enough to make the electric meter spin faster than I'd ever seen it -- and in a matter of hours the humidity was down to 50% again, where our own dehumidifier could take over. Now the basement smells fresh and clean. We have to resist the urge to put all kinds of stuff down there -- the floor will still get wet during heavy rains. But it's a big step, and very satisfying, and our insurance paid for it! :-)
The plumbing is fixed after just over 24 hours of water and sewer shut off, 2.5 days of plumbers working, and a big hole in our back porch...
My green networking here in Emporia, KS took a big stride forward yesterday when I had lunch with Bill Hanlon, author of Outside the Box.
So we have been here a month. As Ben has said there have been many bumps but we have managed all of them well. Largely thanks to Ben working from home and just having a head for the things that go with owning a house that I don't seem to have yet!
Work is going well. I have now taught a week and a half worth of class. My students are eager to learn and that makes teaching much easier!
I knew I'd have to buy a bunch of appliances shortly after moving into the house, so I subscribed to Consumer Reports' online edition. Although it's been better than nothing, it was not as helpful as I had hoped. Here are my experiences so far.