Before :: Better

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

As part of my efforts to be more organized, I've thought a lot about how I want each space in my home to function. This, I hear from the many organization books/blogs/articles I've read, should always be the first step. So I did this and came up with a plan that I've slooooooowly been working toward implementing for forever (I'm impatient with myself, have I mentioned this?). Every last closet & nook in my house has an assigned purpose and I just need to make it all happen. My living room, for instance, is broken into 3 distinct spaces: TV lounge area, reading nook, work space. I have nearly all the pieces for these spaces but I've been missing a key storage piece that was key to my ultimate vision. Until now.

My mom picked up this dresser at an auction for $1.

Yes, ONE DOLLAR. Sure, it looks a bit wrecked but it's solid construction & clean lines appealed to me. So I asked her to give me it and she sold it to me for $10. I have been looking for a similar piece for months but something was always off... wrong color wood, weird added detailing, wrong size, or insanely overpriced. But, for the price, I knew this chipped & dull dresser was something I could work with. And here it is now:

Not bad, right? I made a couple of trips to Lowes Depot & now it's my $50 dresser. Heh. Some sanding, filling, staining, polishing, and waxing can do magical things. And, the big splurge ($25), the new simple knobs, really pulled it together. It's hardly perfect (don't look too close!!), but it will serve it's purpose and it looks great in it's new home. I'm pretty happy with it and it's inspiring me to get rest of the room in order. Now that I have all the pieces, I can finally put this puzzle together.

Secret Paths

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

My neighbor, Ruby, has lived in her house for over 50 years. She's adorable and I love her. She wins those Beautification Awards from KAB, yet she's very supportive of my grand landscaping vision. Which, so far, just means that I tear up my yard / make things look worse. She makes her visiting son go outside and tell me to put on a jacket. She also tells her son things like, "You should see the things Michelle does! She's always working on something. And all this after she works all day! Women can really do anything these days." Hee! It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy and feministy. Her son also gives me the scoop on the man who lived in my house before me, what the house looked like, when he finished the basement, when he planted the shrubs that line the back yard, etc. He's a valuable resource and someday I hope to learn his name (isn't that horrible? I also don't know the name of another neighbor that I talk to all the time... after so many conversations, it's just awkward to ask). But the greatest thing he's ever told me was about a "secret" path in the neighborhood.

He remembered the path from when he was growing up here and, one day when he was visiting, decided to check it out again. It's still there, so he explored it and then let me in on the secret. OK, it's not really a secret but I've lived in the neighborhood for 3 years and driven by the spot countless times and never noticed it. So it *feels* all secret and awesome like that. It's actually just a neighborhood gateway to one of Akron's fabulous MetroParks. And I think the whole thing is quite magical. The path itself is not on any map but it's clearly a path. The entrance, on a small lot in between two houses, is marked by a chain and 3 small signs (no parking, no hunting, no dumping). I contemplated exploring it many times but kept letting it slip from my mind. But, thankfully, Ruby's son visits every weekend and kept reminding me.

Saturday I was in the mood for a hike. So I rang up (texted) my usual nature exploration partner & it was on. It was time to finally explore this secret neighborhood treasure. I was worried that it would be lame. But, holy cow!! It's more amazing than I ever could have imagined. It's a trail to the main area of the park (with more trails)!! Like, right this way, folks! Here is how you get to the park without driving. You just walk! In the woods! It's like a dream. I have always wanted to live somewhere where I could just roll out of bed and go hiking without having to drive somewhere. And I did all along (well, for 3 years).

And it's a good hike, too. It's approximately 1.5 miles to get to the main park, with a few miles of trails from there. And since that park has trails that lead to the Towpath (which leads to other parks & other trails), I can pretty much hike all day if I want! Whoa!! You cannot believe how happy I am about this discovery.

Very happy.

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