Deuce Cities Henhouse

Steel Tank Lurking Behind my Bedroom Wall
What up dudes? After a few long months of enjoying the summer weather and fully giving into the gardening bug I finally got the fire to start a new indoor house project.

Let me start at the beginning. In our entire adult lives Jeff and I have never had an adult-put-together bedroom. We have never had an actual bed, we only use a rickety bed frame and a pile books to hold up our mattress. We have a hodgepodge of furniture, much of it we have been carting around since we left our parents houses. After setting up the boys with super cool digs last fall I realized that they have a sweet bedroom, and we do not. Something was wrong with that picture.

I painted the bedroom back in 2012 – it’s a nice bright white space. The far back wall is made up of cheap paneling, I painted it black to help disguise it by absorbing the light and down playing it’s vertical grooves. I always knew the paneling was hiding something, why else would it be there? The paneling covers the back wall and then angles out in one corner. I’ve been curious to discover what is hidden behind that panel ever since we moved in. I knew it had to be trouble. After pounding on the walls I could hear a metal reverberation behind them. Since we don’t have duct work I had no idea as to what it could possibly be. I was hoping hard for some sort of sweet time capsule.

Last Friday morning I decided to solve the mystery. After feeding the kids some breakfast, something magical took over my body. I was possessed. I have a bad habit of starting projects by putting myself in do or die situations. I ran down to the basement, grabbed a crow bar, a hammer and a blade and headed back up to our bedroom to finally reveal the secrets of the corner wall. I got the panelling down in no time, discovered drywall beneath, and within minutes I was sitting face-to-face with a large steel, yellow, riveted tank, connected to what appeared to be the radiator system. The can of worms was opened, you guys. I was secretly kind of excited about it. My husband, who had no idea what I was up to, was not.

I had a visit from the radiator guy yesterday – he was hopeful that he could get my tank out that day, but after poking around a bit we discovered that the boiler system would have to be drained first before we could move the tank. Plus I’d have to remove some of the floor so he could access a connection joint to cap the pipe off. The good news is we can remove it! IT, is an old radiator pressure tank – in case you were wondering, and he’s never seen one hidden in a corner or on a second floor of a house before.

So how did it get there? From what I can deduce, that corner used to be part of a closet. I believe there was a closet on either side of the room, just like in the boys room. Someone removed the closet to make the bedroom bigger, and in doing so they had to figure out a way to cover up this tank, thus the angled corner.

Removing this tank and repairing the plaster walls, ceiling and moldings is going to be step uno in a two step process. Before I can move on to decorating our bedroom I need to be able to start at square one with a clean slate. In order to get there I will have to make my way through a giant to-do list.


REMOVE HARDWOOD FLOOR : I’m a little uneasy about doing this but it’s the best way to access the radiator pipe connection that needs to be capped off. The other option would be to access it from the dining room ceiling, which is covered in the hated popcorn texture. It would be too much trouble to patch the opening if we accessed it through the dining room.

REMOVE SUBFLOOR : I’ll have to remove the subfloor making sure I’m not chopping through any wires.

REMOVE TANK : This will involve having my radiator buddy come back to remove the tank. Hopefully no more worms will be opened during this process and all will go smoothly.

RE-INSTALL SUB FLOOR AND HARDWOOD : Hopefully I will be able to put everything back the way I found it.

SKIM COAT PLATER WALLS : Between the plaster hidden in the corner and the plaster in the rest of our room, there is a raised edge created by years of paint layers. I’ll have to do some research and figure out the best way to skim coat the corner and level this gap out.

DETERMINE WHETHER OR NOT I SHOULD REMOVE THE POPCORN CEILING OR PATCH THE CORNER : This item is a big IF. Yes, I’d love to remove the popcorn ceiling or even drywall over it, but I’m afraid that it might be out of the cards. We are trying to work within a budget. I am worried that the popcorn ceiling contains asbestos, and in that case our only option would be to drywall over it. I want to do this at some point, and when that happens I’d like to do all the ceilings at once. Even though I hate the popcorn ceiling, the best option for right now might just be to patch it.

REPLACE CROWN & BASE BOARD MOLDING : There is only a shadow of the molding that existed at one time in this corner of the room. I am hopeful that I will find the same molding at a local salvage center, and paint it to match the rest of the room.

I’ve got my work cut out for me – big time. I’ll have to try and save a good chunk of this project for the fall and winter months even though I want to dive in now. I’ll be back later this week to share a “mood board” for the room – I need to have a prize to focus on. Wish me luck you guys, and if anyone has tips on removing hardwood floor, skim coating walls or opening large cans of giant worms, leave yer pal a comment :)

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in Around the House, Bedroom

Finn’s 6th Birthday

Guys, I may have been a little MIA this week. We’ve been busy celebrating the birthday of our young man, Finn. He’s six now you guys, that’s super old.

If you’ve been coming around this blog for awhile now you probably already know that Finn shares a birthday with his good buddy, Elsa, who turned 5 yesterday (also super old). Elsa and Finn have grown up together, they are the oldest kids of all our friends and thankfully they enjoy each others company because their parents hang out together all of the times. I babysat Elsa (daily) for a couple years, and she has practically become a member of our family. Anyways, Elsa totally skipped school yesterday and spent the day with Finn (so badass at 5). It was pretty awesome.

The kids started the day in a sweet royal-blanket-play-fort that somebody’s mom (a-hem) set up for them in the backyard. Pretend coffee and raisins anyone? These kids really know how to party.

We followed it up by a trip to the MOA (aka the mall of ‘merica) for Burger King and rides, because there is an indoor theme park inside of the mall! You guys, two words, “Mirror Maze”. It’s not part of Nickelodeon Universe, only the true heads know where to find it. Look for it the next time you are at the mall, you won’t regret it.

Later in the afternoon we made ice cream, set up a chill party scene in the backyard, lost a few balloons (don’t ask) and got prepared for a majorly awesome party by stuffing ourselves with the best frozen pizza in town, heggies. Super tyte.

Then there was the party, which all the neighborhood kids attended (ages 1-13). There were Doritoz given as presents (Grandma knows what her kids like), buck-wild lightsaber battles, more balloons and really intense and highly illegal Wisconsin-style sparklers.

It was an awesome birthday. I’m glad those kids let me be apart of it. Now to get ready for Gus’ b-day, T-minus 12 days.

Easy Cake Decorating - Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Frosting and Chocolate Chips!

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in Elsa, Finn, Kids, My Life

Gardening Basics : Dividing Perennials

Yo, Friends! Did you know that you can divide perennials? It actually often helps to keep your perennials healthy and has the added benefit of making new plants! I recently went through my garden and split off a chunk of my perennials for my good pal Nicole (aka Colz). She recently dug up a section of her yard to make a sunny perennial border garden – she needed some plants to help fill it in. I told her to come on over! I had some perennials that were getting big and in need of a good splittin’.

I have to tell you that I am not some all knower of everything garden, but I know a bit. I’ve split my perennials quite a few times, to fill in garden beds. Most of my my perennials have been divided from my mom’s garden and in the last few years I have done lots of splitting to help fill in my flower beds.

When I divide plants I begin by digging out the clump I want to divide. You don’t want to start right at the base of the plant, dig out from the base a good 8-12″. I use my big garden shovel and slowly begin to cut down through the soil and the pry upwards loosening the root system. Continue digging and prying around the circumference of the plant. The method is about 50% digging and 50% actual prying. I broke my shovel last week on an insanely oversized hosta. It takes a bit of muscle depending on the root system of the plant. Before you know it the plant will gently pop out of the ground.

Divide your plants on a cooler gray day to avoid undue stress from the heat and the sun.


Once you have the clump out of the soil, remove it from the garden. I usually have a small drop cloth that I move around the yard with me just to keep the lawn tidy and whatnot. I set the plant on the drop cloth and begin to divide the plant by looking for naturally grown sections. Check out the photo above. You can see how this heuchera has three naturally occurring sections. All of these can be divided to make new plants. I didn’t literally divide the plant in half either. I took a small section from the back and then divided that. This way I still had a decent sized plant to place back in my garden.

Sometimes you’ll run into a stubborn root system, it’s not always easy to separate those bad boys. You really need to put some muscle into it. Like all your muscles, especially when diving hostas. I have a tool that has a sharp edge (it’s like a knife shovel) I use it when I run into really tricky root systems.

Prepare your divisions for replanting by putting them in a container and packing them in fresh soil, this is especially important if you aren’t able to get to planting them the same day. Keep them well watered. When replanting make sure to amend the soil with compost and plant them to the same depth that they were in before.

There are some perennial ground covers like lamium and stonecrop that have very shallow root systems. In this case you don’t need to dig the entire thing out, just pop a chunk out of the ground and replant.

Perennials such as peony and iris like to be planted and divided in the fall, but most things can be divided as long as the plant appears to be healthy and strong. Do a bit of research before diving right in.

Better Homes and Gardens put a nice list together of how often you can divide certain perennials – you can see it below. Check out this great article for even more tips!

Leave These Be:
Bleeding heart (Dicentra)
Butterfly weed (Asclepias)
Christmas rose (Helleborus)
Gas plant (Dictamnus)
Lavender (Lavandula)
Oriental poppy (Papaver orientale)
Peony (Paeonia)


Divide Only Every 3-4 Years
Bee balm (Monarda)
Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia)
Daylily (Hemerocallis)
Purple coneflower (Echinacea)
Siberian iris (Iris sibirica)


Divide Only Every 2-3 Years
Blanket flower (Gaillardia)
Clustered bellflowers (Campanula glomerata)
Lamb’s ears (Stachys)
Yarrow (Achillea)
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in gardening, Outdoor

Summer Living Room

Dark Teal Living Room with Black and White Accents
What up people? Not much around here. I’ve been chatting about gardens for a solid three months now, I think I finally got it out of my system. I mean, I’m still going to be outside whenever I can during the summer, but for the first time in months I’m finally becoming able to focus on what’s happening inside.

I’ve really been digging the look of my living room lately. In the summertime we get to enjoy this lush backdrop of grape vines through the windows that are growing on my neighbors house. It’s so pretty, and I miss it so much when it gets all dumb and decides to not be green in the winter. Besides the changing of the seasons and what not, there has been one big change in the living room that I was too embarrassed to share with you earlier. I’m still not actually sharing photos of it because it was ugly and gross, just take my word for it.

During Christmas we moved the furniture around so that we could place the tree in front of the window. The TV got moved to the opposite wall, and after the tree came down the boys voted for the TV to stay in it’s new place. They said it made everything seem “roomier.” I was never a big fan of the new arrangement, when you entered the room you came face-to-face with our TV. Whatever, I decided to be a team player and live with it for a bit, and a bit turned into six months.

After ignoring the new arrangement for months I couldn’t take it’s uncoolness any longer. We recently got cable after being perfectly happy with our chromecast and antenna combo because my husband has a new-weird-side-job writing about sports for Rolling Stone (fer real, you should read it – it’s funny). He needed to get the cable to have access to the ESPN and stuff. Anyway, that meant that I got to move the furniture back last week so that the TV could be close to the cable outlet, and now I like my living room again. I can’t believe I lived with it that way for so long, but there were so many other distractions like finishing the makeover in the upstair sunroom, gardening and fixing up the outside that I just forgot about it. Never again.

Dark Teal Living Room with Black and White Accents

Dark Teal Living Room with Black and White Accents

Dark Teal Living Room with Black and White Accents

Dark Teal Living Room with Black and White Accents

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Puddle Stompin’

Oh man! It downpoured for 15 minutes late yesterday afternoon, and as soon as the rain was over the kids went out to splash in some puddles. Typically they like to truck through the puddles at a million miles an hour trying to make as much sweet spray as they can. They like me to take videos of them so they can see how cool it/they look(s).

So I obliged, I ran inside to get my phone because that’s how I take videos (duh). I used to use my camera to capture moments, but now I use my always-at-the-ready phone. Isn’t that so lame? I mean it’s good in a pinch, but I’ve really come to rely on it.

Sitting on my desk was my phone and my camera, guess which one I grabbed – I bet you can already tell by these pics. I used my camera! I love all these photos I took of them puddle stompin’ – I realized I would really like to try and get my camera out in the action a bit more.

Aren’t these kids getting so big? They are going to be six and three this month and I wish I would have taken the time to document more of the last year on my real camera.

It’s on. I’m going to do better!

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in Finn, Gus, My Life