Friday, August 31, 2007

Vintage Homes Tour

Every year since....oh, I don't know when exactly.....since before I was born, at least....my little hometown has had a tour of historic homes. We call it the Vintage Homes Tour. This year there are five homes to walk through, ooh and ahh at, and be inspired by. And they're an eclectic bunch: a Greek Revival that's the oldest frame house in Lexington, a turn-of-the-century Romanesque, a Shingle Victorian (my pick of the litter), a brick Italianate, and an "I" house dating from 1847. The tours will be given the weekend of September 8th and 9th. For more information, including ticket prices, just click here. And no, dear readers, my house is not on the tour. We have miles to go before that happens. Miles and miles. But, if you get hungry for some great home-made salads and sandwiches after tromping through the houses, stop by Trinity United Church of Christ at the corner of 15th and Franklin. (Full disclosure: that's my church.) We're serving both days of the tour, at the usual lunch time. Hope to see you there.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Arachnaphobia

After my last post, I found this. Wow. Those things look like they could actually be responsible for the creepy noises in my house. Oh, wait, maybe the photos are bigger than life-size. Let's hope so. But still....

Friday, August 10, 2007

Along Came a Spider

I live in a National Register Historic Neighborhood chock-full of old houses. Old houses have creepy noises. Creepy noises lead some people to think that they might be sharing their house with other-worldly guests. Some people try vainly to convince themselves otherwise and look to their friends to give them reasonable explanations for the creepy noises. So one night when we were listening to that infernal knocking, tapping noise for hours on end a dear friend offered up this explanation: "Maybe it's spiders." Spiders who knock?! Are you kidding me?!

I'll claim it was fear of the dreaded knocking spider that kept me rooted to my spot on the sofa in my brightly-lit living room until my son came home, at which point I handed him a flashlight and a stepladder and told him to go into the attic and look for anything that might be knocking. In truth, I'm scared to go in either the attic or the basement alone. The attic's accessible (and I use that term loosely) through a tiny scuttle-hole in the ceiling of my son's bedroom closet. Once through the scuttle-hole, you're in a three-sided box-like plaster-and-lath structure that butts up to the houses's central chimney and opens on one side into the rest of the attic. (Or so I am told.) I was standing there thinking how cool it would be if my son found the porch spandrels and the original trim from the house's exterior stacked in the corner up there when he yelled down, "Hey, I think I found something! It looks like...like a letter with a stamp on it." It was at the other end of the attic, of course, so he had to scoot along the joists carefully while I cautioned him every 30 seconds or so not to fall through the plaster ceiling. Finally he inched back across to the scuttle hole and threw the paper down to me.

What is it? A Victorian-era love letter? A piece of the original wallpaper?

Nope. Instructions for the installing of attic insulation, dated May 1957.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Outbreak

Sunday night I called in sick to work, which is something that I hardly ever do, and went straight back to bed to sleep off whatever had made me suddenly, violently ill. My son came in to ask why I wasn't uniformed-up and heading out the door, and when I told him he off-handedly commented that I'd been sick a lot lately. Which got me thinking: have I been sick a lot lately? In between working two jobs, fixing up my house, taking care of a dog and two cats, and my meager social life, I don't have a lot of time to ponder my general welfare. Yeah....yeah, he's right. Like once every seven to ten days, for the past six weeks or so. I hadn't noticed because my illnesses had fallen on my days off. When I'm usually working on the house. Hmmmm..... My symptoms: stomach cramps, headache, chills but not fever, vomiting, lethargy--all lasting about 24 hours. My projects: ripping up the carpet from the entryway, tearing off decades-old wallpaper that was painted over in the 1980s, re-painting my bathroom, and removing outdoor carpet from my front porch. You know, the usual undoing of deeds done by sucky previous owners. So, is it just coincidence?? Is my house making me sick?? What the Sam Hill's going on here??
Late update (09/01/07): Pancreatitis? No. Diverticulitis? Negative. Still no definite diagnosis, but it doesn't seem to be house-related. And, knock on wood, it hasn't occurred in a couple of weeks.