I’ve been joking around occasionally how despite all the time on my hands these last several months I’ve still successfully avoided a lot of big home projects – cleaning out the garage, for example.  There are several lists on the fridge with notes, scritch scratching – oh and I see my latest version is from sometime in 2008?  “You never stop paying for your house.”  Just a few of my grandfather’s many, many wise words of wisdom.

As I’ve probably rambled about before, I tend to focus on home details and decorating accessories and don’t necessarily “see” the big items that need attention.  I find some wonderful Italian ceramic figurines in a catalogue or online that would be great for the fireplace hearth – but then remember the hearth itself needs updating badly.  I’ve successfully done a halfassed paint job on an accent wall in one of my bathrooms –  a deep grapey purple (don’t laugh just yet – one more coat and it’ll be pretty cool).  I got a wild hair one night and thought it would be fun to use up a quart sample of paint from a few years ago when I was searching for a color for the inside front door…and once that bathroom wall is painted it’ll make the puke-y original yellow and brown swirly-colored formica sink countertop even more ready for a sledgehammer and the dumpster, but ahh I digress.  The bathroom floor screams for tile, not the yellow-y beigey vinyl.  The showers wanna be slate, not fiberglass. The vinyl in the kitchen should get swapped out for laminate flooring.  And on and on and on.  Don’t get me started on the popcorn ceilings.  And remember my post from a couple months back about falling sheet rock?  Case in point.

Yep, my townhouse complex turns the big 3-0 this year.  We’re spacious with great floor plans but dated.  Those who are trying to sell their units here have stiff competition from the newer homes in the area, even those here who have done fabulous remodels.  On the other hand, we’ve got huge, 2-car garages – rare for townhouses and condos these days.

A couple days ago, Karma and my garage gave me a good poke in the ribs.

It was Friday afternoon and I decided to go run some errands – getting a list of things to do in this soon to be last week of “freedom” before I go back to work again.  I headed downstairs and pressed the garage door opener button as I’d done so many thousands of times before.  This time the door got about a third of the way open, stopped and started making a horrific grinding sound.  What the hell?  I pressed the button again to close the door.  Tried again – same thing.

So, being the resourceful type (but definitely not super mechanical or technical), I picked up a pushbroom and started brushing the metal tracks and roller wheels on each side of the door.  Lord knows there’s a crapload of leaves, dirt and debris in the corners of the garage floor so maybe something got stuck and was blocking one of the tracks.

No such luck. And the sound of the motor grinding was painful.  I pulled the manual release latch, got a stepstool from the kitchen and attempted to hoist the door open manually.  I had a sinking feeling this was not going to work, because I had to do this once before during a freak neighborhood-wide power outage and could not get the door to stay open pushing it up manually.  Well, I could get it to “sort of” appear to stay fully open and holding but I didn’t want to risk damaging the door or the top of my car backing it out that way.  I’ve got a steep driveway right out of the garage and I’m visually challenged with all those angles! 

I tried to stay positive here – at least the door opens – and smoothly, right?  Thankfully I was able to get a hold of a neighbor to stop by and hold the door open while I backed my car out.  Too funny!  But so nice to have nice people around to help in a jam.

Something tells me the opener motor crapped out.  And if it’s the original one from when the house was built as I suspect, well, 30 years is a good run.  I have someone coming out to fix/replace it later this week, but you know with everything else going on it’s nice not to stress about this.  What if this had happened the morning I was heading out to a job interview or had some emergency?  Obviously I would have called a cab, but it would have definitely been more stress than I needed on a morning like that.

So, as you can see, the garage is now whining for attention.  Maybe I will take my friend T up on borrowing her power washer after all.  I’ve got heaps of flattened cardboard boxes ready to go to the dump, college textbooks, bins of god-knows-what and far too many leaves, cobwebs and debris in the corners.  Hmm, maybe a nuclear bomb might be in order!

Meanwhile, I avoided the garage cleanout even more by spending the entire weekend in a state of relaxed joyfulness – so many reasons to celebrate with great friends!  The people who carry you through the tough times are the ones who can turn around and raise a glass with good cheer and a congratulatory hug.  Love that.

Saturday was lunch at the Bravern with three friends and time to laugh, catch up and drool over amazing shoes, bags and play with makeup at Neiman Marcus. And I loved it when the money’d older lady dripping in jewelry poked her head over my shoulder at Mariposa (the restaurant in Neiman Marcus), asking if my salad had seered tuna in it.  Too funny!  Oh, to have the disposable income again to go crazy in a shopping complex like this!  Luckily it doesn’t cost anything to look.  I tagged along with my friend K later as she tried on a few Cartier watches and got majorly distracted by a lady carrying an enormous Hermes Birkin bag.  One so big you could probably carry an infant in it.  I can’t even imagine what kinds of five figures are required to tote around something like that.  Hoo doggy.

We stopped in the Hermes boutique to look at scarves, agendas, scarf holders and all.  I even tried on a wonderful necklace made of beautifully polished horn on a thin leather cord.   I admired the workmanship and all, but I just can’t fathom spending the $$ required, especially not right now on these items.  But the dashing man purchasing a tie nearby was some good yummy eye candy.

Saturday night was more giggling, food and wine at T’s Pampered Chef party.  Good thing she prepped the consultant that we were gonna be like herding cats because that’s exactly what happened.  And we had a cheese sampler to DIE for before our amazing penne pasta dinner with tomatoes, garlic and fresh basil – thanks, T!

I had a wonderful dinner tonight with P and her parents plus a bunch of new and old friends.  The restaurant offered to donate 20% of our tab to P’s and her Mom’s fundraising efforts as they’re doing the 3-Day walk to benefit breast cancer research later this year…for the 2nd year in a row!  How incredible is this?  My budget has been extremely tight but I truly believe in…well…continuing to give/donate wherever you normally do, but just in smaller amounts. 

Every little bit helps!