2023 was an eventful year. Good eventful, and bad eventful. Seems like the bad eventful portion landed in the back half of the year, which is why I haven't spent much time at the keyboard lately.
When the years end and I take a break from house stuff to deal with holidays, cold weather, work, etc., I never feel like I got enough accomplished. But going back through the pics of the different projects I took on kinda refutes that, or at least reminds me that I did about as much as I could.
I got the basement cleaned up (although it's a wreck, again) and built an outfeed/assembly table, which I'll need for a critical 2024 project.
I removed one of the interior panels underneath a window in the front of the house to get some dimensions from the masonry behind it, and rebuilt/repointed the brick while I was there.
I repointed a bunch of interior basement limestone, always good fallback work when I feel like doin' something but only have a day or two to get anything done.
I got the garden constructed, but ultimately discovered that my gardening skills are a lot like a golfer that drives the green in 2...and then 5 putts. Everything grew pretty well, not much turned into edible fruits or vegetables. Tornado-style winds we had every other day for about 6 weeks in the spring and summer didn't help.
I got the cistern cap demo'd. Left the rest of 'er in the ground because the cap brick - the easiest to get to and tear out - required an absurd amount of effort. Demo'ing the cistern walls, which reach depths of 6+ ft below ground, would have been a complete nightmare.
I took care of the neighbor's dog, Molly, Freckle's buddy, for a day. I don't remember getting a whole lot done that day, but fun was had by all.
I repointed the brick under the two bedroom windows.
I completely replaced the rotten wood fence between the house and the garage. The 4 ft diameter oak tree bisecting the property line made things a little challenging.
I installed some drain tile in the cistern area of the yard.
I dropped 6 yds of dirt, with an assist from dad, on top of the drain tile and cistern so I could get the right grade to keep water from running towards the house.
I had to do some seasonal storm cleanup. The cast iron fence and my neighbor's car were both pretty lucky to (mostly) get missed by the beefy maple tree limb that came down.
I poured a little concrete pad for my (immeasurably undersized) rain barrel to sit on. I think the pad turned out pretty well, considering it was the first time I'd ever finished concrete.
I laid down some sod to finish up the 2023 work in the cistern section of the yard.
I had a lot of fun in the yard with Freckles, and made a lot of fires.
Freckles got to visit a lot of parks; we wound up at Forest Park more than usual, and Freckles wound in the water exactly as usual.
I got the lattice painted and installed under the porch. I don't love it but it's good enough and I'm just happy to be done with it.
I rebuilt the upper sections of wall on 2 of the 3 sides of the bay at the back of the house. This project definitely took some time, but I'm super happy with how it turned out. Anytime I can button up walls or roof and permanently stop water from getting in, as it's done for who knows how long, that's a victory.
The exterior masonry work was the last noteworthy house accomplishment in 2023. Looking back on it, I guess I got a few things knocked out. No "big" sexy projects, but several smaller jobs that really needed to be done.
I lost some steam towards the end of the year; some of it was due to burnout, most of it was due to loss.
In late June, my last living grandparent - Grandpa Martinez - passed away.
On September 22nd, after 14.5 years together, I had to say goodbye to my best buddy Roscoe.
After letting the sting of that loss subside a little bit, on December 17th I adopted a puppy and named him Fargo.
He was a tiny little guy, just like my other dogs when I adopted them. Unfortunately, Fargo had been exposed to parvo - unbeknownst to me - right before I brought him home. He got sick pretty soon thereafter and by the time I got him to an animal hospital it was too late. Little Fargo passed away on December 22nd. That one stung, somehow, just as much as losing Roscoe.
But...in the final days of 2023, I adopted another dog and named him Farley.
All signs point to him being a big, big boy someday but right now he's a little velcro pup.
And last but certainly not least, some of the lack of progress on the house could be attributed to the weekend time I spent adventuring with the dogs, which I wouldn't trade for the world. With Roscoe's condition and Freckles being more of an athlete than a hiker, we didn't get out as much as we have in prior years but we still got out a fair amount.
That was 2023. Up next -- the plans for 2024. They're probably a little too ambitious, but I don't know any other way to do it...