Hurricane Sandy/Nor’Easter Updates!

First of all, I can’t believe it’s been almost a month since our last post! Sorry for the inactivity on here, we’ve definitely still been active around the house.

Secondly, we’ve survived Hurricane Sandy. And now we’ve woken up this morning to a sort of winter wonderland. Have these two weather events really signaled the end of our favorite season? Check out a few photos from the past month.

Fall in Blauvelt, NYAutumn, Palisades Parkway, NJ

Those two were taken in Rockland County, NY and along the Palisades Parkway in NJ, respectively.

Hurricane Sandy Tree on Car

Yes, that’s what we came home to after the storm. Yes, that is Megan’s car. Not a drop of water anywhere in the house, and not another tree down in the entire yard.

Broken Tree after Hurricane Sandy

It was a big pine, and a tree I never thought would snap like a twig.

Hurricane Sandy Tree Debris

Hurricane Sandy Yard Cleanup

And then the clean up began. Not a bad pile, it definitely wasn’t as easy as Irene.

House and Snow

Here we are just over a week after Hurricane Sandy hit, and I come home to this, a nice mix of rain and heavy, wet snow. It did, however, make for a pretty good looking, yet difficult, commute this morning. Here’s two shots from our respective commutes.

Snow on Laurel Hill, Secaucus, NJ

Snowy Road in NJ


Grills Gone Wild

Happy 4th of July WEEK. Yes – a week-long celebration of the good old USA and a reason to eat hot dogs and cheeseburgers every single day! Well, not really, but it’s definitely an excuse to take advantage of a good holiday sale!

Andrew’s friend from work passed a nice Weber Charcoal Grill down to us and we made several attempts at trying to use it. However, we’re quite pathetic and had a very hard time being patient and working to get the thing heated up properly. The first time we actually cooked something on it, we burnt some hamburgers to a crisp (and ate them anyway). The 2nd time we actually got the grill up to the right temperature and attempted to cook something, we had hot dogs that tasted like lighter fluid (didn’t eat them anyway, yuck).

Weber Charcoal GrillThat’s when I got the brilliant idea – get Andrew a grill for his birthday! His birthday isn’t until July 31, but don’t worry, I made sure to ruin the surprise well in advance 😉 I’m just terrible at giving and receiving surprises and this time, there were so many variables, I’m not sure I could have pulled it off.

The grill I had been eyeing online at Lowes was sitting in my shopping cart for a few weeks. I had this grand idea that I would bring it home and have it sitting outside and Andrew would be like, “whoa where did that grill come from?!” However, the grill went on sale this week and the sale only lasts until Sunday! The 8th is far too early to be giving the gift, so trying to get the thing at the right time was out of the question. Secondly, when would I pick the thing up, how would I get it put together, how would I conceal this from Andrew when we share the same Lowes card? Not to mention, I can’t really make this kind of decision on my own, so I decide I need Andrew to be involved.

I ruin the surprise…so we head down to Lowes where they are currently offering 18 months 0% APR financing for total purchases over $300 – score! There were a few other things we needed, so we knew it wouldn’t be a problem to reach the $300 mark. One $139 Grillmaster Grill, 1 Blue Rhino propane tank, 1 LED solar security/motion light, 6 solar path lights, and a few other odds and ends later, we got ourselves a brand new grill and we don’t have to pay for it until next January, hah! Obviously we will have it paid off well before then, but it’s just nice to be able to take your time and make small payments here and there as opposed to dropping $300 all at once (especially while you’re in the middle of some other pricier projects). Anyone new to home ownership, we definitely recommend a Lowes card!

So we have the grill, we have the tank, we bring it all home and set the grill up the next day. With an estimated assembly time of 45 minutes, we’re all done after about 2.5 hours! 8, 496 mosquito bites later, I give you – THE GRILL.

Grillmaster 3-Burner Gas GrillGrillmaster 3-Burner Gas Grill

Sure, it’s not the Rolls Royce of grills, but it’s gas and should be easy to use. It even has a side burner! It’s a practical solution for us and our budget. Now all we have to do is connect the propane tank and we’ll be making tons of burgers and dogs on 580 square inches of grill, all Summer long.

Gutter Madness! Part 2

Last week we told you about a little near disaster we had with a clogged downspout.

Leaf Guard Macro

The other problem we’ve been having stems from some sort of design flaw while installing the gutter guard that was in place when we moved in. Or maybe just lack of attention to (obvious) detail. Our kitchen was an addition built sometime in the 1960s (maybe ???) and the roof over it differs from the rest of the house. The shingles are different and the drainage system is different.

Different Roof Kitchen Addition

The gutter guards however are the same. Since there aren’t any shingles to fold over the gutter guard, anything and everything can make its way into the gutter.

Old Gutter Guard

The remedy we’ve come up with is a different style guard we got at Lowes. (Durabuilt Rain Removal Gutter Protection) It has a rubber edge that acts as a seal to keep the debris from sliding down the roof into the gutter. DUH! Here’s a side by side of the old vs new as I was doing the installation.

Side by Side Old Gutter Guard vs Durabuilt Gutter Protection

Rather than sliding under the guard and into the gutter and down the spout, the leaves stop on top or just fall over the edge. It may require a little maintenance to keep the tops clear, but its definitely less work than what needed to be done before. If you’ve ever smelled the gunk that’s collected in a gutter, you’ll understand.