One Opportunity Missed, One Opportunity Seized

And now for some “never thought we’d type that in our entire lives” news before we dive into today’s post. Remember when we Instagrammed this (well, I guess technically we Regrammed it) back in May? It was from our day of shooting a little segment with the OWN crew (as in Oprah’s crew). #ahhhhhh #more screaming

Well, that “short film” is airing this Sunday! It’ll be on towards the end of their Super Soul Sunday season premiere (info here) and we’re practically ready to faint at the possibility of Oprah saying our names out loud. Seriously, somebody get me a fan, a ruffled dress, and a chaise lounge so I can dramatically swoon.

But now back to the opportunities that we seized and missed. First the one that we missed (I’m a “tell me the bad news first” kinda girl). A few blocks away from us we noticed that a neighbor was mid-renovation (the sizable dumpster in their driveway was our first clue). One day we spotted a bunch of outdoor furniture peeking out over its top edge. Was that some chunky wicker Restoration-Hardware-ish stuff? And some iron chairs and a table? Why was it in the dumpster? It looked to be in good condition. Could this be our new sunroom furniture?

Our brains started fantasizing a trash-to-treasure rescue story. Maybe a little cleaning or rust-removing spray paint was all they needed? But then again, maybe they were in the trash pile for good reason. And would it be super awkward to knock on a stranger’s door and ask to raid their dumpster? Oh, but it would suck for salvageable stuff to go to waste…

We spent a couple of days trying to decide if our idea was genius or crazy. Would the neighbors think we were thoughtful or out of our minds? Finally I decided we should just satisfy our curiosity and ask. No sooner had I mustered the courage did John burst my bubble: “I meant to tell you, I noticed on the way back from preschool that the dumpster had been emptied.” $herdog = sad clown. I know it could have just been old broken furniture anyway, but now I’ll never know. I guess I’ll have to find another dumpster to dive into…

But in other “hey-what-are-the-neighbors-up-to?” news (here comes the good part) the family two doors down is in the midst of some major landscaping work involving all sorts of awesome things like an outdoor fireplace and a stone patio. We love them and Burger is even on decent terms with their dog which is a small animal miracle because Burger only likes cats. Anyway, we don’t have anything major that needs to be done (yet) but it did give us one of those “since you’re in the neighborhood” ideas. The tree work that we had done a few months back left us with some high spots, some low spots, and some grass-won’t-grow-on-that-pile-of-ground-tree-stump spots. Photos don’t do the ankle-breaking-potential justice. At their worst there were some areas that were about 15″ off (either too high or too low) so don’t let what look like small piles fool you. We’re talking about 30 wheelbarrows full o’ mulch in that mound on the right.

We had been meaning to slowly-but-surely wheelbarrow out the piles ourselves, but we eventually came to the conclusion that this was a job for some heavier duty equipment. We considered renting some sort of mini earthmoving dozer (um, John would be in heaven) but even the smallest dozer rental was $425 a day from local rental places like this. So we thought it couldn’t hurt to ask the guys pushing dirt around just two doors down, right?

I strolled down there one afternoon, found someone who appeared to be in charge, and asked if they had an opening in their schedule to roll up the street and roll around on our yard a little. We figured it’d be easier (i.e. cheaper) than calling another company who would have to lug their equipment all the way over just for us, and hopefully they’d like the idea of earning some extra cash whenever they had a spare moment to stop by. They were very friendly and, more importantly, totally game. They said we’d have to get Miss Utility to mark our yard first (so they didn’t hit any pipes or wires in the process) so I dialed 8-1-1 and just a couple of days later the yard was marked and, fortunately, nothing was in the path of our piles.

With our yard all flagged up, we checked back in with the landscaping crew and before we knew it we had front row seats. Clara was in awe of her own personal “digger show.”

The crazy thing is that what we guessed would take a few hours, literally only took the guy about thirty minutes. He was a total PRO. And John was only a little jealous.

He even scooped all of the too-acidic-to-allow-grass-to-grow-on-it mulch and rolled it into our wooded side yard before meticulously spreading it out for us in there. Can’t even tell it’s there, right?

After his 30 minute flattening spree he said “how about $60 for that?” and we were elated! Sure beats the time and money we would’ve spent renting something. Dude, our front yard is sooo much better. Okay, maybe it’s still kinda brown and weedy, but at least it’s flat. And flat means it’s ready for grass seed!

Speaking of grass seed, we may actually get a quote from the landscaping guys (the neighbor’s project still has a few weeks to go) to see how much they’d charge to drop off some top soil for us before we seed. It’s not a must-have, but a fresh layer of topsoil certainly wouldn’t hurt our first season of grass-growing. Plus, they mentioned we might be able to piggyback on a delivery they’re bringing to the other house. Is that efficiency I smell?

So there’s one moment missed and one moment grabbed and squeezed like a lemon in my sweet tea. Sidenote: How much do the end of our railings look like hamburgers? I’m tempted to paint them like this. You know, in honor of Burger.

What have you guys been noticing around the neighborhood? Now that it’s getting cooler and kids are back in school it seems like a lot of people are getting house stuff done – which of course we LOVE to watch. There have been some pretty amazing new fences going up and a whole lot of house-painting. Tis the season!


  1. says

    For a second I thought that was what your banisters actually looked like and I was kind of taken aback. You could do a much better job than the Photoshop rendering by hand. Imagine little sesame seeds…
    It would be hilariously whimsical.

  2. Sheri says

    Your kind of freaking me out with this. Seems like every week you are doing the same projects we are to our two story red brick house…LOL.

    Seriously we just had three truck loads of dirt delivered (For FREE by the city) and smoothed with a bull dozer (got great deal too!!!). We also just laid 5 pallets of sod. Got lucky and and scored free delivery because they were in the area.

  3. says

    when we moved in last year, we did a lot of work including ripping out grunge-y carpet, put up a fence, and other little things. people were in and out of our house for a good 2-3 weeks. our neighbors would s-l-o-w-l-y drive by to try and figure out what we were doing over here.

  4. says

    I’ve missed curbside items… In our neighborhood a lot of people put out furniture on trash day and on several occasions I have wanted to stop and throw a chair or stool into the car but I have passed it by only to regret it later. Maybe I’ll just do it next time!

    As for fall projects – we’re making huge progress on our kitchen!

    A question – when do you start putting out fall/Halloween stuff??

  5. Ashley says

    I noticed in the pic above, do all the houses on your street look alike? Wonder if they have similar floor plans!?! That would be neat!

    • says

      There’s a nice mix! There are plenty that are similar-ish to ours (although many have dormer windows on the room above the garage since theirs have all been finished, and ours is the only one that’s still in need of drywall and flooring) but there are also cute cottages and gorgeous tudors and even some dutch colonials. I love the variety! Some people on our street have the most gorgeous window boxes and pretty ivy growing around their porches. I love that look so much!


  6. Richelle says

    Excellent idea to piggyback! I was thinking about doing the same thing with our new nextdoor neighbors when we have a tree taken out (too close to the house and too big now to move. boo.), since they have one in a similar position. Why not conserve resources and save some cash money, right?

  7. Jo says

    Omg, I thought you’d totally lost your mind and decided to paint the tops of your railings that colour! So glad I just freaked out for no reason after all.

    Will you be putting a link to the Oprah thingy after its aired? I don’t think we get that live here Down Under.

  8. Diane says

    Can’t stand Oprah, but will DVR the program just to watch you guys. Does Burger make an appearance?

    The things I do for love!

    • says

      We have no idea what the footage will include (they filmed for a whole day but the video will just be a few minutes long)! I would imagine there will be some Clara cuteness and at least one amazing Burger cameo! He’s definitely in our behind the scenes photos, which we’ll be sharing after it airs and we finally get the see what the heck they filmed! Ahh!


  9. Karen Little says

    One thing we learned when we lived in the Richmond area is the importance of topsoil when trying to grow grass. Good idea to do it! You’ll never regret it as it’ll give those little seeds more of a chance of life. :) This whole area of the beautiful state of Virginia just needs that extra boost. Can’t wait to see you on TV! EEEK (for you) !!

    • says

      I worried about that too Allison! It rained on and off while we were getting our house painted but the guys were awesome about waiting to be sure things were dry before going back in the finish stuff.


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