Hurts So Good

by Samantha Prust

In my January post, I blogged about how I started my home renovation in 2002. I promised I would reveal what I found in the giant juniper bush as I hacked away at its branches. The photo on the left is the Juniper bush, or "Juniper Beast" as we called it, halfway through its demise. The photo on the right is after the Juniper Beast was defeated.

I also promised to tell you where spiders go when you chop down their living quarters. And what about those handy landscaping tips for poor people, including, ìDonít stand on top of your roommateís van to trim trees with a bow saw?" Yes, all of those answers will be revealed here in this super secret blog.

Before I started cleaning up the landscaping, I had the help of roommates and friends to fix up the interior. We painted some of the walls and removed old carpeting, which revealed wood floors underneath. I've done a lot to the interior since then with the help of my hubby, but at the time, adding some paint and ripping out carpeting was about all I could do money wise.

After doing this initial interior remodeling,† I moved the renovation outdoors. I removed overgrown foliage around the house and in the front and back yards, all to create a blank slate. The biggest foliage removal challenge was the Juniper Beast. Someone years ago planted it too close to the house; you couldn't even see the backyard from the side yard. I hacked away at that thing for a couple of months. In it, I discovered many treasures: old socks, beer bottles, various kids' toys, tennis balls and lots of trash. Anything that got too close got sucked in. I hoped the kid who owned those toys made it out okay.

I also chopped a huge lilac bush down to the crown and suddenly, you could see the front porch. Then, when I chopped down a towering evergreen bush that was hiding the wonderful picture windows in front, the neighbor from across the street came over and said, "I'm amazed. I didn't even realize there were windows there!"

So, that brings us to the answer to the question, "Where do spiders go when you chop down their living quarters? Into yours. Yep, it seemed as if every spider had relocated to the inside of my house. I put out spider traps along the walls, those little folded paper tents that smell like peanut butter. It took a few months, but, finally, the house was spider freeñas spider free as a house can be.

Because I was a new home buyer with little money, I didn't have a lot of the tools you need to own a home. That "handy landscaping tip" for poor people about not standing on top of your roommate's van to trim trees with a bow saw comes from personal experience. I didn't fall or injure myself or damage the van, but I came pretty darn close to doing all three. Let's just say that tree branches don't always fall the way you plan.

I think the best part of these experiences is that everything I did felt like a major accomplishment, no matter how mundane. Pulling out carpet staples for three hours? Yes! Give me more workñthis feels great! Ouch, my back. It hurts so good!

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