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The old, sad mailbox. It had a white strip of tape with one number on it, crossed out, and a different handwritten number in felt pen beneath.

The old, sad mailbox. It had a white strip of tape with one number on it, crossed out, and a different handwritten number in felt pen beneath.

Not that the old mailbox was completely unusable, but it was rusted, a bit mossy, and bent. Mail arrived as expected. Tara and I still felt compelled to replace it with a new one. Something with character, that shows we are new around here and we take pride in our place.

I don’t know whose idea it was, but we loved the idea of painting it with old, clumped and gummy nail polish. Looks terrible on nails, but it could look great on a mailbox. We’ve been collecting nail polish for years. A lot of years. Some of it was gross. But perfect for this project.

Tara found strips of tape and taped the outside into a random pattern, taking care to stick it very well to the white enameled mailbox. They spent a couple of sunny days out on the deck, choosing the oldest polish in the worst shape and painting it on. (We also used up polish that was in good shape, but awful colour. Just why did we purchase that hideous peach one? Must have been a gift.)

Partially painted mailbox with a collection of nail polish handy.

Partially painted mailbox with a collection of nail polish handy.

Tara worked away at this project. At first I meant to add my touches and make it a team effort, but it turned out so beautifully I couldn't bring myself to interfere.

Tara worked away at this project. At first I meant to add my touches and make it a team effort, but it turned out so beautifully I couldn’t bring myself to interfere.

Tape removal day, while we ate some delish fish & chips at a place we found not too far away.

Tape removal day, while we ate some delish fish & chips at a place we found not too far away.

We found both the box and the reflective numbers at The Home Depot in Longview, Washington (just across the Lewis & Clark Bridge). After the polish was dry, Tara removed the tape, then applied the numbers: nice and bright so people trying to find us will now be easily able to use the mailbox (the house numbers are hard to see).

My step-father came for a visit for a couple days  down from Moyie Springs, Idaho. He was restless looking for projects, and asked if we wanted the mailbox mounted. Yes we did! While I was working at the computer, my step-father removed the old box and got the new one ready, then called Tara and me to see if we wanted to witness the installation. Yes we did!

Finished! Isn't it gorgeous?!

Finished! Isn’t it gorgeous?!

Close-up so you can see how amazingly beautiful the colours are. Sadly, nail polish does not seem designed to withstand sunlight, and there are signs of fading already. I'll check in after a year or so, and let you see how it holds up.

Close-up so you can see how amazingly beautiful the colours are. Sadly, nail polish does not seem designed to withstand sunlight, and there are signs of fading already. I’ll check in after a year or so, and let you see how it holds up.

Ready for mounting, in the back of my step-father's pickup.

Ready for mounting, in the back of my step-father’s pickup.

Woo hoo! Our new functional work of art is in its new home.

Woo hoo! Our new functional work of art is in its new home.

We've made our mark in the neighborhood. It's a shady street at all times, so hopefully sun damage will be slow.

We’ve made our mark in the neighborhood. It’s a shady street at all times, so hopefully sun damage will be slow.

My pretty little pond.

My pretty little pond.

It’s been a great week for people working their butts off for me. I only hope that I am worthy. In return, I’ve exchanged a big, wide-open door policy: you are all always invited. Plus, there will have to be some kind of official house-warming party. Tara and I are thinking maybe the 22nd of August. We will fit you in between J & T’s wedding, and Kumoricon.

It would be great if we are done scrubbing by then, or even done with primer painting. We certainly won’t be unpacked yet, but you will forgive us. 🙂

This is what the TV room looked like a week ago, and what it still looks like now. Well, except for the mattress on the floor. We have the beds set up now.

This is what the TV room looked like a week ago, and what it still looks like now. Well, except for the mattress on the floor. We have the beds set up now.

The person I bought the house from is not as clean as I am. He lived here for four years and I am pretty sure there are things he never did in four years, like clean the refrigerator or mop the wood floors. He also smoked inside the house, so the place reeked. Tara and I opened the windows and doors on our first day of occupancy, and they have not closed since. The place still stinks, but it doesn’t reek.

Obviously, Tara and I were in full agreement that we didn’t want to unpack our clean things into the filthy house. So we still have nearly everything in boxes, and we are scrubbing.

My friends who heard the story volunteered to come scrub with us – yay!

N mows the enormous lawn past our new adorable chicken coop.

N mows the enormous lawn past our new adorable chicken coop.

Our new babies have most of their feathers now, and are getting to know their new home. We have room for only four, but four eggs a day should be enough. :)

Our new babies have most of their feathers now, and are getting to know their new home. We have room for only four, but four eggs a day should be enough. 🙂

Racecar helps from the deck, in the way that cats do.

Racecar helps from the deck, in the way that cats do.

Last Sunday co-workers and spouses showed up. We all took on a different task, turned up the stereo, and worked hard. N soon found out that I had purchased a used riding lawnmower, and hinted until I realized she wanted to mow. Off she went and didn’t come back for about two hours. She is awesome! K didn’t want to clean but noticed how there were piles of trash at the base of several of the trees on the property. He put on gloves and began hauling old tires and rusted metal and rotting wood up the hill to the shed on the side of the house. G had lots of experience with scrubbing hospitals and felt most at ease scouring a bathroom, and went to work. Really? She wanted to clean my bathroom? I am humbled. B showed up with wife T and they brought a new chicken coop and got that set up for me.

Tara cleaned up another bathroom, and I continued the extended project of scrubbing the kitchen. The refrigerator took 3 hours earlier in the week, and this day I was washing cabinets. I found a melted KitKat bar on the top shelf above the sink. It took lots of water and a knife to gouge it out of there. “How did you know it was a KitKat?” Tara asked. “Because when I can get a large enough piece of the wrapper up, I can read it.” Eeew.

The following Wednesday, Marlene Herself, from the blog Insearchofitall, and son Tech Support came over. TS had moved wrong and hurt his back, so his name switched to Moral Support for the day. He brought his good camera, and the tripod was up on the back deck in about 5 minutes while Marlene and I made a plan of action.

I suggested that Marlene sweep the cobwebs off the front of the house and porch. The kitchen still wasn’t done, and that’s what Marlene felt comfortable with. She even insisted on washing our dishes from the day before. “I was going to wash those up real quick,” I said. “No, I will do them,” was the response. Marlene is not a woman to be trifled with.

So there was yet another friend, up to her elbows in Mr. Clean, washing out cabinets, the microwave, and ending by mopping the floor on her knees (I felt so bad about that and tried not to let her do it, but again I found it is very hard to tell Marlene what to do.) I went out to the front with a broom over my head, and cleared cobwebs, and spiders, and about 40 of those little white egg sacs (shudddderrrr) that were all over the front of the house and draping down from the porch roof. Then I swept it up and cleared away broken tiles and cigarette butts.

The end of the day was time to rest and enjoy the land.

The end of the day was time to rest and enjoy the land.

The tip of this Foxglove is still blooming. There are only two left on the property and I'm glad I get to see them before their season ends.

The tip of this Foxglove is still blooming. There are only two left on the property and I’m glad I get to see them before their season ends.

A glass of wine, a flat rock in the shade, and the gurgles of a creek are the right combination for restoring my soul.

A glass of wine, a flat rock in the shade, and the gurgles of a creek are the right combination for restoring my soul.

The kitchen is clean now so I have begun unpacking dishes and utensils and food – a priority! The bathrooms are clean now so we actually feel clean when we are done using them – another priority!

There is no way we could be this far along without the generosity of my friends. How amazing it is to let people help you. I have not asked for help for most of my life, but in the last couple of years have been practicing how to let my friends help me when I need it. I thought it would be humiliating to admit that I can’t handle everything myself. But I find instead that the greater result is that I am flattered over and over when people actually seem to like helping. And the friendships grow closer.

Standing beside the back deck, looking out toward the Back Forty.

Looking out toward the Back Forty. You can see Beaver Creek on the right.

I tucked my camera in among the boxes on our first run out to the house yesterday. We arrived at 1:30 pm, so the sun was bright and direct. In different light, I’m sure I’ll be able to show the property better, but in the meantime, here is a first look.

I haven’t much to say about the house itself. It’s nice. It’s bigger than I need. It’s a long Ranch in the shape of a rectangle with a small kitchen and small bathrooms, considering the size of the large bedrooms and two living rooms. But enough about the house. I bought this place for the land.

I am standing beside the road that runs past the house. Creek on my right, and the Jeep on my right, backed up to the door for unloading.

I am standing beside the road that runs past the house. Creek on my right, and the Jeep on my left, backed up to the door for unloading.

A year-round creek has trout and crawdads.

A year-round creek has trout and crawdads.

The pond hosts a painted turtle who likes to sun himself on the tiny island.

The pond hosts a painted turtle who likes to sun himself on the tiny island. It’s also stocked with Perch, Bluegill, and Smallmouthed Bass. The man who sold the place to me said he only fished with his grandsons and they caught and released. I plan to eat what I catch! Yummy!

This is behind the pond, a park-like area that holds a few Wood Duck boxes on the trees.

This is behind the pond, a park-like area that holds a few Wood Duck boxes on the trees.

Standing beside the pond, looking up at the house on the hill.

Standing beside the pond, looking up at the house on the hill.

The back of the house, with the long deck. I expect to spend many days on that deck. Don't you think it needs a couple of trees?

The back of the house, with the long deck. I expect to spend many days on that deck. Don’t you think it needs a couple of trees?

One of my many guises

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