Friday, April 25, 2008

Fargo


This one's for Nate. Several months ago (I refuse to look up the date of that post, because finding out exactly how long it's been will just depress me) when I was tearing out the entryway carpet, I discovered that a sucky previous owner had leveled out the floors between the entryway and my bedroom by making a ramp of QuikRete. At the time, Nate and I wondered just what the Sam Hill these people were thinking. He asked for pictures, but I'd already chipped away the stuff. Well.....lucky for Nate, the SPOs also poured a similar ramp between the dining room floor and my bedroom. I know not why. For some reason, the floor in my bedroom was originally built about half an inch higher than the rest of the floors, but because that was back when someone actually cared about this house and bothered to do things right instead of cheap (oh, sorry, my bitterness is showing) there's a nicely finished edge between the two. Which apparently wasn't good enough for whoever glued and stapled yellow, brown and green mottled carpet to the original hardwood floors back sometime in....oh, probably the 1970s. No, it wasn't enough to desecrate the house with that hideous carpet. They had to pour QuikRete on the original flooring, too.
So that's what it looks like, Nate. (And everybody.) Horrid, isn't it? And that red stuff there in the lower right corner? That would be carpet padding which is stapled to the floor with big copper staples. Under that is the icky flat carpet glued to the floor. And it's stapled too, mostly around the edges, but here and there unexpectedly in the middle as well, just so I can step on one or two with bare feet. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go chip away that QuikRete.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The Killing Floor

Okay, I'm gonna do better about keeping this blog up-to-date. Really. I am. See? I'm already trying. But where to begin?? Hmmm....the beginning, I guess.

Some weeks ago, after a particularly unproductive argument with That Other Guy I used to be seeing, I tore out part of the dining room carpet in a fit of rage and frustration. Yep, just part of it. And it stayed that way for about three weeks while I worked a lot of overtime and then spent a few blessedly recharging days with my sister. (We made Waldorf salad every day. Every. Single. Day. This is just one of the many reasons I love my sister.) Anyway, I finally got around to tearing up the rest of the carpet and dragging it outside for the trash man, with whom I had a 7 a.m. discussion about what is meant by "one large item" being allowed on regular trash day. (I won, by the way.) So then I worked some more overtime, and then I met the Inky Guy, and more because of him than the OT, the dining room floor was sort of forgotten. Except when I was actually walking across it and the old carpet pad that turned to clay crunched under my feet and I trailed black dust through my kitchen. And then today I stepped on a copper staple pointing straight up out of the hardwood floor. With my bare foot. Nothing like personal injury to spur me to action. So I scraped off the rest of the yucky carpet pad with a 4-inch putty knife and started levering up the tack strip. Then the floor-length drapes got in the way, so I hauled the ladder out of the entryway (where it's been patiently waiting for me to climb back up it and chip away the rest of the paint-covered wallpaper in there) and took them down. Which took longer than I thought it would--of course!--because the curtain rods were attached to the wall with nails and two different kinds of screws. Taking down the curtain rods went like this: hammer, Phillips-head screwdriver, hammer, hammer, flat-head screwdriver, Phillips-head screwdriver, and so on. Three windows worth.

When I got back down, I noticed that without three layers of carpet, the electrical outlets are poking up out of the floor. So I texted Inky Guy (who's at work) and said:

Me: Will I kill myself if I push the outlets down into the floor?
IG: Um, maybe.
Me: Well, one of em looks kinda weird and I'm not even gonna touch it. The one by the duct I think's just held up by the tack strip. Whaddya think?
IG: I think you should be careful, ok?
Me: I'm gonna try it.
IG: Just wait til I can help.
Me: Cause if somethin goes wrong, you know CPR, right?
IG: Yes, but just wait.

So....I am. I'm waiting until he gets off work to even touch the electrical outlet, just in case. And in the meantime, I'm catching up on my long, long overdue houseblogging.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Proof of Life

So when I read Christine's comment ("Okay, I'm getting worried that you broke all your fingers while changing the battery in your smoke detectors. Where are you?") I thought I'd better post something right away as proof that I am, indeed, alive and well. Alive and well and working lots and lots of overtime. And....I met someone, but that's a story for another blog. And since there's nothing going on with the house except that loathsome scraping of paint-covered wallpaper which makes me horribly cranky, I'll write about something else.

First, a confession: I did not break my fingers while changing the batteries in my smoke detectors. Because I don't have smoke detectorS, plural. I have only one smoke detector in my whole entire house. It's in the kitchen. Yes, I work for a fire department and don't have adequate smoke detectors in my house. Shame on me. Because I don't have hallways, I should have at least 9 of them, I figure. Actually, I didn't even figure that out. Captain Pickrell at the fire department told me that. About a year ago. And if he knew I still didn't have them....

Moving on to another topic. If you haven't read Christine's blog, you ought to. Go do it right now. And then come back, because I have my own chicken story to tell. Back already? Here it is, my best and only chicken story:

Around here, every kindergarten class hatches chicks in the spring and then the class keeps and tends them until just before they pass the fluffy yellow adorable stage and head into their less-cute chicken tweens. At that time, one or more of the kiddies takes the little fellers home where they live out the rest of their lives as family pets. (At least, that's what I told my son when he was a kindergartner.) Anyway, a few years ago when my friends' daughter Shelby was in kindergarten, she told her teacher that Mommy and Daddy said she could bring the whole batch of chickens home. So Shelby did just that. On the school bus. In a big cardboard box. And Mommy and Daddy were very surprised when they opened that box and found 20-some peeping chicks inside. And funny as that is, it's not the best part of the story. Of course since they never expected to have chickens, they did not have a chicken coop, and so they backed the cars out of their garage and kept the chicks in there. (Still not the funniest part.) The chicks grew and grew, and one day some weeks later my friend Brett and I were at the house visiting Shelby's flock. And the best part of this story, my one and only chicken story, is this conversation that Brett and Shelby had as the tween chickens pecked and scratched at their chicken chow on the garage floor:

Brett: Shelby, them chickens are gettin' big.
Shelby: They're almost grown up, aren't they?
Brett: Yep, they're about big enough to eat.
Shelby: Look at 'em, silly! They are eating!

Brett was speechless. I fell on the floor laughing.