Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Some Pictures Of Our House

So here are some pictures I took of our house yesterday. They are mostly from outside, I want to wait until we get rid of more boxes and clean up more to take more pictures from the inside. The paint lines and flags in the yard are utility markings (call before you dig). I also need to get close up pictures of mt flowers, you can't see the detail of the petals in the pictures. Natalie will tell you, I'm a picky person about my flowers. It's not just the color, I'm picky about the way the petals look. These flowers have some cool looking petals which is why I selected them.

Our house from the front. The Jasmine Sambac is to the left of the door and the purple/blue flowers I planted are to the right of the door next to the bench. As you can see our house is all brick with barrel tile room so the wolf can huff and puff but this house isn't going to blow in. It stood up to a direct hit from Wilma (Cat3 hurricane).

Palm Tree & Orchids. This palm tree has 8 orchids in it, only one is in bloom right now.

Palm trees and butterfly garden

Backyard view from my pool deck. I'm considering removing the child fence until the baby is big enough to get out. Doesn't make much sense having it now.

From the patio to the northeast

My papaya tree

Southeast side of my yard. This is where my baby naval tree, lemon tree, coconut palm, and banana trees are.

My veggie garden on the north side of the house.

South side of the house. I am going to tear out the grass against the house and do a veggie garden here like I have on the north side.

My house viewed from the yard. You can't really see it here but we have five sliding doors and 6 windows that open to the pool. This is the reason we insisted on a one story house. We like the way the house kind of wraps around the pool. I can cut through the pool area to get to both fars ends of the house quicker. Our patio is behind the columns but you can't really see it because it's dark but it's a nice place to eat by the pool. We also have a bar to the far right of the patio that has three windows that open to the kitchen. The shutters close the whole patio so we dont have to shutter those windows and doors individually. The palm tree has six pineapple plants in a circle around it. I planted those last week. I also put a couple in my butterfly garden and a couple on the property line with the neighbors.

Like I said in previous post. The aquarium and the safe were a perfect fit. A hair bigger and they wouldnt fit. The closet door actually closes, barely, so I can close it and no one knows it's there.

And that concludes my tour, for today. I still have to take pictures of the living room, kitching, dining room, and whatever the other living room is called. Maybe I'll post those tomorrow.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Busy Week

Well it's been another busy week.

Thursday I had a half day at work so I got home early and started working around the house. The cable guy had dug a trench the day before and he tried to cover up his destruction. So when I turned on my sprinklers for the front lawn and nothing happened I walked to the side of the house where I had a geyser shooting up. The idiot had cut my sprinkler line and instead of fixing it he tried to just cover it with dirt like I wouldn't notice. So I called the cable company and they said someone would call me back on Christmas. Right.... I called them again yesterday and I was expecting a call back today that never came so I had to call and leave a voicemail with threats of disconnecting service and legal action if they don't fix my damaged property immediately. I could fix it, but I won't. I already fixed the line I cut myself last week and I'm not going to fix something that some moron broke and tried to cover up. That is just bad business.

Anyways other than that the week was good. Our neighbor brought us cookies Thursday :)

Thursday I was also able to get over to the pool store and get some chemicals and get an education on pools. When I got home I figured out why my barracuda wasn't working. This guy didn't ever do anything himself on his house. He paid a pool guy 50bucks a month to do his pool. Normal is about 90 so people have been telling me that he's probably not doing a good job. So I went to the filter and pulled out the cartridge and there was two inches of sand in the bottom. I washed out the filter cartridge and all this milky white and orange stuff was coming out. After cleaning that up my barracuda is running fine my pool is looking a lot better.

Thursday night we went to Natalie's Aunt's house for Christmas. The Dominican way of doing things is to open presents at midnight. Well all us younger people wanted to go home so I tried to convince the older adults that we should do it at 11 because 11here is midnight in Santo Domingo. They tried to lie to me and tell me that they don't celebrate Christmas in Dominican Republic. How can all the Dominicans have the midnight tradition if they don't celebrate it in the DR? On top of that at midnight they all started singing Jingle Bells in Spanish. I told them how can they have Jingle Bells in Spanish if they don't celebrate Christmas. Suegrita tried to tell me it's because Jingle Bells is there song and we stole it. But Jingle Bells is a Christmas song so that argument made no sense. So basically they all got caught with their hands in the cookie jar!

So we finally got home around 2am and Natalie wanted to open her present. I got her a PS3. While Jahiri and I were setting it up Natalie fell asleep on the couch (two minutes to setup). So Jahiri and I played PS3 until 4:30. I got up around 9ish and decided it was time for some yard work. Suegrita got me a Sambac Jasmine for Christmas and I have a bunch of flowers coming in the mail that Natalie got me as well. So I ripped out the bush by the front door and put my Jasmine there. Then I planted a bunch of flowers that we had purchased the day before. I put in a bunch of flowers in the front in my butterfly garden and realized that we have hundreds of caterpillars on one of our bushes, they look like Monarch butterfly caterpillars. Then I took out all the white rocks by our bench in the front and put in purple and blue flowers there. The previous owner had someone do all his yard work and it shows. It's simple and it needed a makeover. There just wasn't enough color. I also did some work on my veggie garden. So far my red bell peppers, yellow bell peppers, cucumbers, roma tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, watermelon, and summer squash have sprouted. I'm still waiting on my green bell peppers, jalepenos, cantelope, and kiwis.

So I spent until 2:30 Christmas afternoon working on the yard. After that we went to a neighbor's Christmas party for a bit. We found out that the neighbor is a delivery nurse at the hospital Natalie wants to have the baby at. These people had an atrium in between their dining room and their living room with big palm trees in it, I thought that was pretty cool.

Saturday.... Another trip to the pool store and Home Depot. Did more flowers, cleaned my garage, cut back some over grown plants, fixed the kitchen sink, and started a vine to cover my bathroom window. The bathroom window in the master bathroom can be seen from the side of the house. It's blurry but you can still see through. So I got a bunch of bamboo stakes and bought two jasmine plants to run up it. In a couple weeks that should cover my window. I also bought a lychee tree which I planted in the back yard next to the navel orange tree I bought last week. The kitchen sink was a lot of fun. This guy knew the sink was leaking at least since inspection but he didn't fix it. Of course since he doesn't do anything himself, he would have had to hire someone. I tried to just change the gaskets and the nut but it was still leaking. Then I cut my hand pretty bad when I slipped working on it. So I got some more supplies and changed the strainer. Another check off the to do list. I also cleaned up my pool/patio area and pulled all the weeds out of the cracks and siliconed them so more weeds won't grow. Weeds = pushed up dirt and dirty pool.

Natalie and Jahiri managed to unpack nearly the whole house. Now I just gotta get everything out to the curb tonight so they can pick it up tomorrow. Still a lot to do never enough time to do it all. I still haven't connected my home pc! I have more flowers coming this week and a house full of people for New Years Eve so it's gonna be a busy week. Still haven't uploaded pictures, coming soon...

So yeah, I had a busy week.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Not In The Hood Anymore

Well yesterday, after just living in this house a few days, two more of our neighbors came over to introduce themselves and invite us over on Christmas for their party. Wow, we aren't in the hood anymore. In three years in Miramar I talked to one neighbor, only because I was giving him a jump. It feels good to live in such a great neighborhood.

Yesterday I took the day off. I finally got everything out of the apartment, finished the cleaning, and turned in the keys. I'm now officially done with that place. The funny thing is I noticed that after three years of me complaining about the trash situation there they finally put up signs that say "please put your trash in the compactor and help keep your neighborhood clean." Not like those people can read or would even care if they could, but I found that pretty funny that they have to put a sign up to tell people to put their trash inside the compactor instead of throwing it in the parking lot. Anyways, back on topic, I got rid of most of the trash and boxes from moving and had a huge list of things to do but only accomplished close to half of them.

When I got home I had the Dominican crew over setting up Christmas decorations. Dominican crew = Natalie's aunts, sisters, & mom. I wasn't expecting to have Christmas decorations this year but they showed up with lights and other decorations and got to work. Most of the boxes inside the house got unpacked too. All we have left is the master suite, the garage, and setting up my gym room.

I was also able to plant 9 of my pineapples yesterday. I put three in the front yard around my mound where the 5 palm trees grow and I put the other six around my palm tree behind the pool. I planted my plumeria, cut the dead leaves of my banana trees with my machete, and put some bromeliads and airplants in my palm tree and my gumbo limbo tree. Climbing the gumbo limbo tree was a lot of fun. It's a big tree and there are already lots of airplants growing in it so I decided to add to that. I planted my prayer plants by my pond because they create a nice wet environment that is frog friendly and I already have a lot of frogs by my pond and would like to keep it that way. I found out that I have 8 orchids in the palm next to the pond as well, only one is in bloom right now.

I also got people out to mark all the utilities and sewage and stuff so I can do landscaping. I got the cable internet hooked up and at the end of the day managed to take a really quick swim.

Even though I didn't get everything done I wanted to I think it was a pretty productive day. I was pretty burned out last night and needless to say I've been sleeping like a champ.

Today I'm going to go to Home Depot and get more supplies. I'm hoping to get started on my veggie/fruit garden tonight, starting with my tomatoes first. Then I also have a variety of bell peppers, jalapenos, some other pepper I don't know the name of, summer squash, water melon, cucumbers, cantaloupe, and kiwi.

I have more fruit trees and plants that I'm going to add later, maybe closer to summertime like jakfruit, lychee, miracle fruit, another mango tree, black berries, raspberries, strawberries, etc...

As of now I have several banana trees, a papaya tree, mango tree, coconut tree, and my pineapples. And my banana trees aren't just any bananas. They are the best kind, Manzanas. Manzana, also known as lady finger, or apple banana, are the little bananas from Colombia and they are the best ones. Another cool thing I just learned about bananas is that before the flower turns into a banana you can eat it like an artichoke and it's suppose to taste similar. Interesting, I think I'll try it.

Well, that's all for now. Still haven't had a chance to take pictures, I'll get to that this weekend once everything is cleaned up.

Monday, December 21, 2009

The New House

So this weekend we finally moved! I'm so exhausted right now. I haven't posted pictures yet, I'll try to do that on my next post later this week. The house is amazing, so is the neighborhood. We've already met a few of the neighbors that came over to say hi.It's a complete 180 change from Miramar.

We started the move on Friday. It wasn't the best day for a move. I took a half day and got out of work early and it was pouring down rain. We got three times the normal December rainfall between Wednesday night and Friday afternoon. Normally it's dry and sunny this time of year but not last week. Anyways we loaded up my truck and Suegrita's suv and headed up to the new house.

I had a couple of projects I needed to work on. First off I reprogrammed my garage door. Then I needed to change the locks on the side garage door and the front door. This required two trips to Home Depot with monkey (Jahiri). The first trip we got me a nice Honda lawn mower, a Ryobi weedwacker that takes attachments for other products including the hedger I bought for it and the leaf blower I'll probably get later, and the locks. We ran into some problems though. First off we tried to remove the thumb handle on the front door and put a normal door knob. This didn't work because the hole it left below was so big so I had to get a new thumb handle. On top of that problem I encountered another problem with my side garage door which still hasn't been fixed. It appears whoever put the door there didn't do it right. The hole that the dead bolt is suppose to fit in is too small for a standard size deadbolt, or any door handle. So while we were back at Home Depot monkey found a deadbolt drill clamp set. Basically you clamp on this set that has the holes on both sides and it comes with the proper drill. So I tried to drill my own hole but the clamp wouldn't hold tight. I finally figured out why once I got some better light set up. It appears there is a think layer of metal on both sides of the door. So I think I'm going to just install a whole new door and frame. Ugh. The good news is that I did get the front door finished and I got the deadbolt where I can program a bunch of codes for everyone for keyless entry. That is a really cool feature. Once removing the locks I could see that they were old and rusty and it's definitely a good thing I replaced them.

I got so busy on Friday night that I completely forgot to pick up the u-haul until it was too late. Once I remembered they were already closed. So Saturday I got up really early and loaded up my truck for round two. I dropped off a load of stuff at the new house, set up the lawn mower, and finished up some other projects. Then I was going to go to u-haul but I found out they cancelled my reservation. So I decided to pick up a truck in Pembroke Pines instead. So I made a reservation while driving down to Pines and when I do get there, well I went to the wrong one. I finally got the truck and got back to the house at just before 11. I got the 26 footer even though Tio Jose tried to tell me I don't need one that big. My decision to go overkill was a good one though. First off I had all my plants that can't be stacked, and second, I didn't want to waste time trying to make stuff fit. So I went with what is easy and I'm glad I did.

I was able to back the truck up so close that I got the ramp all the way to my front door. It doesn't get easier than that. I had one friend show up, Kevin, and Natalie had four of her uncles, her sisters, and two of her aunts. I was nervous about moving the 550 pound safe but after taking the 150 pound door off we were able to get it done. Then the other hard part. The aquariums. We managed to get those as well though. When all was said and done it was a good thing I got the 26 footer because I still ended up leaving enough stuff to fill up my Ranger twice. I did go back for one of those loads yesterday and tomorrow I'll get what's left when I go to clean up the apartment.

Driving up to the new house in the truck I almost killed some moron. I have a rule and it's a good one. If someone cuts me off I am not going to flip the vehicle I'm in trying to dodge them, nor will I end up hitting some other incident person trying to avoid them. Well I'm in the middle lane of I-75 and some moron missed their exit. Instead of taking the next exit they did the stupidest thing they could have possibly done. They stopped right in the middle lane of I-75 with their blinker on and tried to push their way over into a stopped line of traffic exiting the freeway. Now I was in a truck probably weight a good 20,000-25,000 pounds fully loaded. They don't stop quick. Needless to say I stopped just inches from this idiot's back bumper. I was pretty pissed off about that. Anyways, everyone knows I can't write a blog without mentioning South Florida stupidity.

So we got to the house and unloaded the truck. We got really lucky with my guest bedroom. There are two closets on one wall with a cubby hole in between by the window. I wanted to put my aquarium by the window so it's easy to clean. Hose in and hose out. Well my aquarium is a perfect fit in the cubby hole. So perfect and tight I cannot open the top without rubbing the walls and really pushing hard. So my solution is to access the aquarium from outside through the window. Then the safe. The safe happens to be the exact size of the closets. So my safe was a really tight fit. No space at all to move it around so it was a challenge getting it put back in and getting the door in but we got it done. I'll take some pictures later and put on my next blog but that room is just too perfect. Now I can close the closet and no one will know my safe is there.

After unpacking we lit up the bbq so we could get everyone fed. Yes, I make the world's most awesome bbq chicken. No joke either, everyone loved it. I had to eat it cold though because I set up an appointment for ADT to come out so we can get an alarm on the house. I didn't know it would take 2 hours for us to do the walk through. The guy kept making jokes about the size of our house. He said "what is this, room 16?" He was really honest about what we should purchase. I told him the alarm is more for when we are away then when we are there. I want to come home at night and not have to check the entire house before going to bed. I want to know it's protected when I'm on vacation. As far as noise for opening doors and stuff he told me a lot of that I can do myself cheaper by going to Home Depot. I already knew this though because I looked into it online and I had a lot of that stuff at my apartment. But anyways, I can always upgrade my alarm as time goes by.

So we purchased an alarm and will have that setup next week. All wireless motion detectors that use cell technology since I don't have a landline. So if someone tries to cut my phone line it's not going to do them any good. I got extra protection for the guest room and the baby's future room. I didn't tell the guy why I wanted the guest room extra protected I just told him to make sure we got that one locked down. Of course when I mentioned to him "let someone try to cut the phone line" Natalie assumed that I was talking about shooting people and didn't realize that I was just referring to the cell technology. I don't let strangers know about my arsenal though so he had no clue what she was talking about and she said "o, you didn't tell him". Fortunately I was able to change the subject.

After we finished that deal I finally got around to eating my dinner. Everyone was enjoying themselves outside. We have a great view and the weather was good. I even decided to take a swim. I had to be the first one in my pool and all the brown people thought I'm crazy but that's just because they don't understand that South Florida is not cold. After everyone else left my cuñadas and I spent until midnight unpacking. Jasmine got the kitchen all setup and monkey and I did the guest room, and other stuff. Natalie was down for the count with a sore back.

Sunday I made another trip to the apartment and got some cleaning done. I have one more trip to do tomorrow and then I'm turning in the keys. We have a lot of trash so I think I'm going to dump it all at the apartment since I'm still paying for trash and everything else until January.

Yesterday I stained one of my many shelves in the garage. I also got two of my Jasmines planted. I took out the vine that the previous owner had growing above my frog pond and put my pink Jasmine there. I put my Confederate Jasmine on the North West side of the house and I hit a pipe doing it. Not only did I hit a pipe, but I hit it in a space that had a t-connection and a coupling where it had already been patched. So that required a trip to Home Depot, actually two trips, good thing it's less than a mile away, and set me a good 90 minutes behind. Finally after I got that done I retired from the night. I am so burned out. I haven't been this tired in years.

I am taking tomorrow off. After I get out of the apartment I am going to try to finish up my garage, plant my pineapples in the back yard under the palm tree, and do some cleanup inside. We'll see how far I get. The garage is the one room that really needs some work. The walls need painting, the shelves all need to be painted, and the floor needs to be refinished. I'm going to go with epoxy shield on my floor and make that garage look majorly awesome. Also on that list for the garage is my side door of course and we are having alarms installed in there as I already mentioned. After that I'm done. The ADT guy showed me that when I go on vacation I can bolt my garage door shut but said that with these hurricane coded garage doors people don't break in that way anyways. I'll have to take pictures to show all my West Coasters what a hurricane code garage door is, but basically my house is built like a fort.

I still haven't setup my office yet. I'll try to do that today. That is going to probably be our first in house project is getting rid of the wood walls and painting the office and redoing the ceiling and lighting. My other projects are landscaping, putting three ceiling fans on the patio, screens on windows, a salt system on my pool instead of chlorine, and a firepit. The landscaping looks good but I want more fragrant flowers, more trees, more fruit trees, and a vegetable garden. I get free water from the canal so this should save me a lot of money.

So that's it. I'll try to keep updating as I go, and like I said I should have some pictures up this week.

Also a big thank you to my parents, the Dominican family, and Kevin for all their help. Natalie and I would have had our move delayed until spring if not for my parent's loaning us some money that we'll be repaying with the stimulus. So we got an earlier move than expected and got out of that hell hole without having to sign another lease. And the move wouldn't have been possible without all the help from the Dominican family.