Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Community Activism, aka Bureaucracy

I went to my first community meeting for our neighboorhood association tonight, the Canton Community Association (CCA). Let me backtrack as to why I was there.

Parking on our street has gotten worse since I've moved here. With a tanking economy properties can't sit vacant, paying taxes and mortgages, while potentially losing value at the same time. This has brought renters or caused folks to sell. Both of these causes increased our population density enough to effect parking in the area.

I filled out an online application for angle parking to help increase our parking. Adding angle parking has the ability to increase the number of spots by up to 50%. In an area where garages are rare, and the primary means of parking is on the street, this is a big deal. The request said the city would come out and measure my street, and if it is wide enough (more than 38' wide), it is eligible for street parking. A month or so later we got a letter saying that our street was wide enough, and to contact the CCA. We contacted them recently and were invited to their meeting tonight, which was focused on parking. The city discussed angle parking, garages, permits, and other ways to alleviate the parking issues. Sure there were squabbles and whining about the best way to make parking happen, but I won't focus on that.

Overall it was a good meeting, and I met a lot of folks that will be helpful with this process. Adjacent neighborhoods were at the meeting, including Patterson Park and Fells Prospect. Both communities touting their approval of the angle parking and offering their assistance. It is one thing to deal with bureaucracy to improve your own parking, but offering to help other communities is pretty incredible.

I left the meeting 3 hours later, feeling pretty encouraged and energized. This will be a long process with many battles to come, but I'm glad to see there is some support within the neighborhood and an excellent support network in adjacent communities willing to help. I appreciated seeing neighbors in a room together discussing a common issue. While we may not all agree upon a common solution I appreciate folks willingness to come out and try to change things.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Lounging Around

The Queen and I talked about the backyard and what kind of furniture we should get. Since most stores haven't come out with this year's line we are eagerly awaiting their unveiling. With that in mind, we are leaning toward a backyard lounge and away from a large table. I can imagine something like this.

It is all from cb2. While I like it, the costs would be at least $1500 for the chairs and cushions. That's not happening. Hopefully ikea has something similar to this or their arholma line (below) that is a bit more budget friendly.

Sunday, March 14, 2010


The days are brighter and the temperatures are getting warmer. We deserve spring after this year's winter. While we deserve some warmth I am totally unprepared for it. Last year we enclosed the backyard and spruced things up a bit. It still needs work though. Here are a few things I'm currently thinking about.

1. Figure out what to do with the left wall


The left side of the yard is kind of blah - it is just a big hulking concrete wall. I want to spice it up. I am contemplating cutting out a 6" by 8' section out of the concrete and planting something like bamboo to help add some texture and height to the area. Another thought is to build a neato looking planter, like this:

I've even thought about using this vertical space for vegetable plantings, but the planters would have to be pretty thin and would probably require constant watering. A budget option is to use gutters, but I think this has a high probability of looking like crap.

2. Get new furniture

While we appreciate the donated furni from the Queen's parents, it doesn't really match our style. I kind of like something like this (which they say will also work outside).

cb2 table

It is modern, and the glass top while tough to keep clean will help keep the space feeling open and airy. We are also keeping out eye out on other outdoor furni - hopefully the stores start carrying this year's design soon. Since the cb2 table isn't a true outdoor table we'd still like an umbrella for shade.

I'm thinking something like this, and fabricate some custom clamp against the wall so we wouldn't need a hulking base for it.

3. Grow veggies & herbs

I want fresh veggies and herbs, especially basil, at my disposal. I also want the veggie garden to look pretty. I'm thinking I'll just do a bunch of pots. Is there a good source for inexpensive, modern looking pots? I've found cool looking rectangular mod pots that look great, but they are big $.

4. Finish the back of the raised bed

I need to get some sod, and redo the ivy that I planted to climb up the back wall. I planted english ivy last year, but after rethinking it is too invasive and just isn't climbing quickly. I think I'm going to go with boston ivy.

I'm also considering adding some plants with height to the back of the bed, but I don't want to take too much space from Wally's restroom.

5. Actually finish the plumbing for the outdoor spigots

Yeah, that has been on the to do list for almost forever. After checking out some new rehabbers I'm starting to get a small spark of motivation. Gotta get'r'done.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Life Goes by and the House Stays the Same

I should be full of stories of completed work on the house. But I'm not. Little things have been done. Even less has been documented.

At this point, we are in wedding prep mode. Or rather, the Queen is in wedding prep mode. In less than 3 months we'll be hitched and swooping off to Guana Island followed by a nice jaunt around the islands. Life is good. We even made time for the annual theme party. This year's theme was the Jersey shore. As usual it was a blast.


If you care to see more carnage, check out the slideshow. All this and landscaping needs to be finished in the back, crown molding to be hung, and a ton of other miscellaneous other tasks requiring attention. Life has switched gears for now but I'll soon be back in the swing of renovations.

P.S. I think I finally have the formatting fixed. I'm glad to finally have all my links back. :-)