Saturday, March 8, 2008

Daylight (Savings Time)

Just a reminder from the Bravest, the Fire Department of the City of New York.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Just Like Heaven

Remember my rant about Home Depot? How I said my last trip there would be, well, my last trip there? I gave them another chance. Because I'm that kind of girl. You know the kind I mean--the long-suffering girl who keeps reconciling with a guy all wrong for her out of habit, or a misguided sense of need, or lack of other opportunity. (Not that I would know anything at all about that in real life.) Actually, I left one Home Depot for another, kind of like leaving a guy for his brother. After my last trip to the soul-sucking and joyless Blue Springs HD, I traveled farther west along the Santa Fe Trail (no kidding) to the Independence HD. This is what prompted me to do that:

That was the back storm door to my house. Note the large gap between door and frame that allowed Arctic air into my house. (This part of the house is devoid of HVAC, so doing laundry back there was miserable.) Note the ugly water damage to the lower left corner. Note that this door opened the opposite way of the other back door, which really irritated me.
So, as I was saying, I went to the Independence HD store to buy a new storm door. I really like this store. I mean, like-like. I could fall in love with this store. This store might be The One. This store pays attention to my needs, answers my questions, explains things to me and even has a sense of humor. (Really. I found a floor-evener-outer-thingy that I needed for the bump between the kitchen and dining room floors, but it was 36" and I needed it to be 34". An employee there sawed an inch off of each end for me even though he's "not supposed to" and he "might be arrested by the Lumber Police". It doesn't take much to impress me.)

And yesterday, a really nice installer-man came over and did this:

It's a nice, shiny new door! It opens the same way as the other door! does now, but it didn't at first. See, the nice installer-man came over when I'd had only two hours of sleep and when he said, Do you want the door to go the same way as the other door? I thought he meant, the same way as the other-other door, the 1920s door with the plexiglass replacement window and the doorknob that doesn't work. So I said yes and fixed myself some oatmeal. Then I walked out to the back porch (we still call it that even though it hasn't been a porch for 50 years) to see how things were going and saw hinges on the right side when I wanted hinges on the left side. Um, I said, I think we misunderstood each other.... I meant, the same way as the other door, not the door you threw away. And he said, Crap. And I said, Can you switch it over? And he said, Maybe, but I already cut the trim pieces so I don't know if it'll work. And then I said, Crap and thought I might cry. (Hey, two hours of sleep after working six nights in a row would make you teary-eyed, too!) And he took pity on me and did the door all over again so it opened the way I wanted it to. And it closes the way I want it to, too, nice and tight. No Arctic air gets in. Except....there's just this one little, teeny thing. Here it is: See that little, narrow piece of brand-new wood up against the door? He said he had to do that because there's something weird about the threshold and it doesn't have any meat to it. I never knew thresholds should be meaty. Should it look like that? Here's another shot of my apparently vegetarian threshold so you can maybe see what he means:

Can you see how the little piece of wood is right on the edge of the threshold? (Can you see how I need to sweep away the leaves outside? Can you see how I need to rip out the phone lines dangling dangerously across my stoop?) The nice installer-man said I really need a wider piece of wood, but that's all he had in his truck. I'm thinking he might've mentioned this to me before he did it and I could've gone over to Ye Olde Lumber Yarde and bought him a wider piece of wood. But I don't want to criticize the man after the whole misunderstanding over the term "other door". But this maybe his fiendish way of getting back at me over that? Do I really need a wider piece of wood? How much wider? And what's the purpose of that piece of wood? These are the questions that almost kept me awake this morning. I could use some help over here. Please and thank you.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

An American Haunting

Isn't it funny how reading someone else's post can make you remember things you haven't thought about in years? This morning, reading Jennifer's post at Tiny Old House about her great Craigslist swap made me remember a swap and a ghost story.

Several years ago I dated a guy who was (and probably still is) one of the most skilled handymen I've ever known. Woodworking, minor electrical, plaster, plumbing--he could do it all and do it well. As a result of, um, periodic involuntary unemployment he frequently was without money and soon became the Sultan of Swap. (Apologies to Babe Ruth.) The best of his swaps was this: We had a friend who was owed a tidy sum of back child support by her ex-husband who was also, um, underemployed. Ex-husband gave Friend an antique baby grand piano as a trade for said back child support. Swap. Then my guy did a substantial amount of remodeling work for Friend, who told him after he finished the job that she could not pay him. "I'll take the piano," said he. Swap, swap. So we came into possession of a fabulous-looking piano that neither of us knew how to play, but it looked really good in the front parlor of his house.

This house, I should mention, was at one time a School for Young Ladies and is the oldest frame house in my hometown. (The front frame portion of was built in 1839 and the brick ell added some ten years later. For years it's been known as the Todhunter House, but over here it's called the Burstert House, after the current owner.) In the course of doing restoration work on the house, we'd often find old-style black metal bobby pins. Sometimes where you might expect to find them, like behind a mantel or between layers of flooring, but sometimes in more unusual places like stuck in the butter in the fridge or clipped to the bedsheets. We'd say it was "the ladies" playing jokes on us.

One morning I was cleaning up the house while my son, who was about 8 at the time, was composing a little tune on the swap-swap piano. Move, honey, I said, so I can dust the keys. He raised his little hands and spun around on the piano stool with his back to the piano. I brushed off the keys and the top of the piano with a feather duster and moved on to a nearby table. My son twirled back around to face the piano and yelled, Maaaamaaaa!!!

Scattered across the piano keys were a dozen or so bobby pins.

We live down the street now. No bobby pins here, but we do have Esther and the Whistling Man.

Monday, March 3, 2008

The Net

Oh, joyous day! We have high-speed internet now! In honor of the occasion, I mangled some lyrics from "The Wizard of Oz":

Ding-dong! the dial-up's dead!
With its odd glitch
The wicked hitch
Ding dong! the dial-up's really dead!

That song, by the way, is not nearly so cool a song as "So Fast" , which I've had stuck in my head for three days and which you can read all about over on Rechelle's blog. But I digress.

Imagine, if you will, me marching through the house in a sort of Munchkin Parade manner loudly singing that song as I merrily rip out the no-longer-needed phone cords--you all know how I love to rip out things!--and you'll have some idea of why the dogs barked and my son threw a shoe at me. I mean, you'll have some idea of how happy I am.

And it's not only merely dead, it's really most sincerely dead!
Then this is a day of Independence
For the Dainty Digs blogger and her descendants!
(Sorry, I just couldn't resist one more Oz reference.)