Thursday, December 31, 2009
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
And I'm tickled to death that I got the switchplate cover to match the wallpaper pattern on the very first try.
Monday, December 28, 2009
Me: Hey, we're not gonna be able to move that back door to where it originally was after all.
Mare: Why not? It wouldn't be that hard. You've got the doors, I've got a saw.
Me: Yeah, but where the door originally was is now my bathroom. The door opening would be directly across from the shower.
Mare: Well now...that'd be an interesting feature, wouldn't it?
Saturday, December 26, 2009
First a bit of background: the second parlor is the only room in the house that still has carpet, which I refer to as "pee-pee carpet" because this is the room my little blind dog lived in before he went to his new home in Iowa. (Where, by the way, he peed on a leg of the coffee table within ten minutes of his arrival. "Hey, thanks for adopting me—mind if I pee in your living room?") You may be able to surmise a big part of the reason why the dog now lives in Iowa. And why the carpet needs to be removed. Actually, the carpet was already destined for the trash bin before the dog started using it as one giant potty pad. But I digress. The top layer of carpet was installed 20-some years ago over a thick padding, which was stapled to some Berber-like carpet of probably 1970s vintage, which was glued to the hardwood floor. Y'all have heard me gripe and complain aplenty about the black glue residue that's covering the hardwood floors in the rest of the house. Did you catch that? I said, the rest of the house. There is no carpet in the rest of the house because it's already been ripped up and taken out to the trash over the past two years. Keep that in mind. Remember also that every room in my house is about 15' by 15', except for the entryway, which is about 6' by 9'. My son ripped out the carpet in the front parlor in two giant pieces. We ripped out the carpet in the dining room in two or three big pieces. I removed the carpet in the little entryway in one big swath. Got all that? Okay, then hang on for the rant.
Three, or maybe four weeks ago I started tearing out the carpet in the second parlor. I decided that since I'm all by myself here, I'd better tear it out in strips I can handle. Fifteen by fifteen room...yeah, three big pieces oughta do it. I tore up the first layer of carpet, rolled it up, and wrapped duct tape around it to hold it together. I tore up the padding and put it in trash bags. I tore up the bottom layer of carpet, rolled it up, and wrapped duct tape around it. Then I carried the whole shebang out to the trash. The bags went in the bin and the two pieces of rolled-up carpet went in the alley next to the trash bin. Three (or maybe four) weeks later I noted that one roll of carpet was still out in the alley. I called the trash company to complain. This conversation took place:
Trash Lady: How long is the carpet?
Me: I don't know, it's all rolled up. Like 15 feet.
TL: No, I mean, how long is it?
Me: You mean, how wide is it? I'd say 5 feet or so.
TL: Oh. Then that's why they didn't pick it up. It's too long. It has to be 4 feet long or less.
Me: What?! Why?
TL: It's just the rules. You should've gotten a list of the rules when you moved.
Me: Well, I didn't. I just have the joy of finding these things out as I go along.
TL: Yeah, cut it shorter and we'll pick it up. And it must be tied with string or tape. Otherwise you can rent a dumpster.
Me: I don't want to rent a dumpster. I want you to pick up my carpet the way you always have for the past two years without all this hassle.
TL: Well, if they picked it up before they shouldn't have.
And that was the end of that. No amount of explanation swayed her. She was utterly unconvinced that a roll of carpet exceeding 4 feet in width had ever been picked up at my house or at anyone else's house. She did not believe me when I told her that I'd dragged it out to the alley without so much as an inch of tape or string on it and it had been picked up. She scoffed when I told her that one bright morning the trash haulers had picked up at least six rolls of carpet from my house. Impossible, she said. Only one roll at a time. Cut the roll to four feet or less, she said. Make sure you tape or tie it. Apparently the trash company does not negotiate. So I went outside, hopping mad, in the rain mind you, to measure the roll of carpet. Four feet five inches. Rats! I folded it in half. And as I was wrestling the duct tape around the folded-in-half roll of carpet, I saw it. The other roll of carpet. The carpet I'd just told her had been picked up by the trash man last week. There it was, tucked neatly between my neighbor's garage and another neighbor's fence. What the Sam Hill?! How did it get there? Surely the neighbors don't intend to use it. Did the neighbors put it there? Did the trash man hide it? Was it dragged there by coyotes?
Now folks, I am not good at math, but I figure the remaining carpet in the second parlor is about 12 feet wide. That means I'll have to cut it into at least three strips to meet the trash company's criteria. There are two layers of carpet. That would be 6 rolls of carpet if I roll them separately, or 3 rolls if I manage to roll the two layers of carpet together somehow. If they pick up only one roll a week....well, y'all can figure out that it will take some time to get rid of all the carpet from my second parlor. I think this is some scheme to make people rent a dumpster. There's no place for a dumpster on my property. If I put it out in the alley, my neighbor won't be able to park his truck behind his house. Not to mention that I'm cheap and I don't want to spend the money for a dumpster. Darnit.
In a snit, I called White Trash Bob. He listened to me rant and when I paused for breath, he said, "I find that if I put a six-pack of beer out there on top of the trash, they'll pick up anything." Hey, it's worth a try...
Re-roof the carport. Well....no. But I do have a plan. I'm gonna strip off what's left of the rotted roof and put up fiberglass panels. Here's hoping the ceiling joists of the carport are in good shape. That project will have to wait until spring.
Tear up the rest of the carpet in the house. Does almost count? Only the pee-pee carpet remains, and a third of that is gone. Why only a third of it is gone is a rant for another post...
Scrape the rest of the painted-over wallpaper off the entryway and front parlor walls. Another no. It's a tedious job that I pick at here and there but can't stick with long enough to get finished.
Paper the dining room. Um, no again. This is the Next Big Thing to be done.
So, half the things on my list were completed this year. But half the things were not completed. Oh. Fifty percent is an F, isn't it? But the two biggest projects on the list did get finished. That ought to count for something. A greater weight in the grade, you know. And a bunch of other stuff got done too: the kitchen, which wasn't even on the list; WTB and I did a small landscaping project, (which I just realized I never took pictures of), there are no more holes in the outside of the house...
But let's get back to the purpose of The List in the first place. It was supposed to keep me focused. Eyes on the prize and all that. Did it? Nah. I ran amok and did whatever I darn well wanted all year, just like every year. And that's not all bad. I accomplished a heckuva lot this year. I will next year, too. But next year, there will be no list.
Thursday, December 24, 2009
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Part One: I have this hare-brained idea that I could get the paint off the transom window hardware if I put it in my bathtub (which is nasty and will be replaced within the next calendar year...I think) and pour boiling water over it. My tub gets the most use as a wallpaper trough and a place for the kitties to nap, and only rarely for its intended purpose. Do y'all think this will work?
Part Two: How in the Sam Hill do I get the transom window hardware off the window? Or any other hardware, for that matter? It just occurred to me that I'd like to strip the window latches and the thumb lifts on the other windows in the house, too. There's so much paint blobbed on it that it's almost impossible to see the screws. I tried stripper, which worked okay but not well enough to be able to remove the hardware. I tried a heat gun, which bubbled up the paint on the trim but did nothing else—except make me worry all night that a dust bunnie behind the trim was smoldering and my house was gonna catch fire.
Part Two really ought to be Part One, now that I think about it...Oh well. And thanks in advance, because I just know someone will know the answers to these questions!
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Monday, December 21, 2009
"You cut your hair off!" I said when he walked through the door.
"No I didn't," he replied.
"You had a ponytail last time I saw you," I insisted.
"Yeah," he grinned, "but I didn't cut it off. I paid someone else to do it."
We took the other half of the door (gosh, I hate saying that) off the frame, Mare took the hinges off both halves, and we carried the door(s) halfway out to his car before something occurred to us: That door will be twice as wide when it makes its return trip. It won't fit in the car. "One whole door might fit," Mare speculated, "but more than one door won't. That's a lot of trips between here and Warsaw to fix seven doors." We carried the door halves back into the dining room and decided that he'll put the doors together at my house. Mare thinks he has enough clamps to do at least two, maybe three, at a time. With the furniture pushed back against the walls in the front parlor, we'll have plenty of room. (This time, though, I'm rolling up the area rug in there—remember when he cut my kitchen countertops on the parlor rug instead of taking them outside?)
And you know it wouldn't be a day with Mare if we didn't have at least one of those Tracy-Hepburn conversations that makes me smack my forehead and groan.
Me: "So what's your plan to fix 'em?"
Mare: "I'm gonna biscuit the hell out of 'em!"
Me: "Do you have a biscuit cutter?"
Mare: "Sure, it belonged to my grandma."
Me: "What? Why would your grandma have—"
Mare: [laughing] "Ohhhhh...you mean that kind of a biscuit cutter! Yeah, I got one of those, too."
He's coming back in a couple of weeks with his biscuit cutter (presumably not his grandma's), some clamps and some glue. This oughta be fun.
And those hinges we took off the doors? They've been boiling in the crockpot all afternoon. Stay tuned.
Sunday, December 20, 2009
"What thing?" I asked. "You mean the Crock Pot?" Now, y'all know what I was thinkin....
"Yes! It's got that stupid metal rim at the top of it and I burn myself on it every time."
"You really don't want it anymore? Seriously?" The wheels were turnin in my little head but I had to be sure it really was destined for the yard sale before I appropriated it. My mom ranted about how it was pretty but not worth a darn because it got too hot. Yep, yard sale bound.
"But what do you want it for?" she asked. "You already have a nice Crock Pot."
"Well actually..." I grinned. "If you wanna know the truth I was gonna use it to boil the paint off them steeple hinges on my doors."
She laughed. "Oh Lordy! Well take it then."
I already have one half-door out on the dining room floor with stripper on the hinges so I can get em off the door.
Friday, December 18, 2009
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
A text message from my daughter in law that says, "Thank you for the pretty Christmas card. It looks just like the one G-ma sent me." A call to my mom confirmed that, yes, we had each (separately) bought Sarah exactly the same Hallmark card.
You may have read this story in my comments, but it's so funny I have to share it here. My friend Troy came home the other night to a kitchen that smelled like chicken soup...but nothing was cooking. A short investigation discovered that one of his cats had broken into the cupboard and sunk its teeth into a box of chicken stock, which leaked out slowly all over the pantry. He figured out which cat it was when the culprit sidled up to him to be petted and he smelled chicken broth on its fur. It's only funny cause it didn't happen to me.
The cutest Caesar I've ever seen! My friend Michelle's son portrayed the great ruler in a school play, but only after asking his teacher gravely, "He's not the king that killed the babies, right? Cause if he is, I don't wanna be him." Assured that the baby-killing king was Herod, Ben went on with the show.
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Monday, December 14, 2009
The big box of wallpaper is sitting in the middle of the dining room floor like an obelisk. Waiting. Why is the wallpaper waiting? Because one of my friends pointed out to me that it sure would be easier to paint the trim in the dining room before I put up the paper. Oh. Good idea. So I spent almost an hour at Lowe's picking out a shade of cream paint that goes with the wallpaper. Lyndhurst Estate Cream, which also goes with the color I'm painting the second parlor, and will eventually, someday, go with whatever paint or wallpaper I pick out for the entryway and the front parlor. Then I came home and washed down the trim in the dining room. (Mrs. Kelly, immaculate housekeeper that she was, would not be happy that this is only the second time I've done that since I moved in.) And now, I'm gonna go paint me some trim. Photos to follow.
Saturday, December 12, 2009
Friday, December 11, 2009
This afternoon I briefly turned into Scarlett O'Hara. When I stepped out of the hot shower and into my cold bathroom a Scarlett-ness came over me. I lost it a little bit. I pounded my fists against the bathroom wall and shouted, "As God as my witness, I'll never be cold again!" I think I scared the cats.
My bathroom is unheated. So it's cold. Really cold. Miserably cold. Cold as in, no HVAC whatsoever. Well...that's not completely true. There is a wall heater the size of a fridge which uses natural gas. I've been advised by a house inspector and an HVAC guy not to use it. The thing scares me. So I don't use it. And the bathroom is cold. Did I mention that?
It was less cold last winter. That was before I cut a cat door in the kitchen door and left the kitchen door shut all the time. Now the rest of the house is warmer, but the bathroom and the back porch are colder. And I can't take it anymore. I don't know what I'm gonna do, but "As God as my witness, I'll never be cold again!"
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Okay, I feel better.
The wallpaper will take a little while to get here, since I chose free ground shipping instead of three-day shipping for $127. (Made the right decision there, huh?) In the meantime, I decided to eradicate the pee-pee carpet in the second parlor. So far I've stripped a five-foot-wide swath of the junk off the floor, ripped up the pad underneath, torn up the glued-down carpet under that, and scraped the carpet backing off the floor. I am very sorry to say that the floor in the second parlor looks black and icky like the floors in the rest of the house. This is the last room in the house that still has carpet, so the end is in sight. Only two more five-foot-wide swaths to tear up. (Every room in my house is about 15' x 15'. Those Victorians and their love of symmetry.) To motivate me to keep ripping away at the carpet, I bought paint for the second parlor. It's Valspar's Praline Cake, and if you've ever eaten a praline (the candy, I didn't even know it could be cake) it's exactly that color. My idea is to make the second parlor sort of manly. I have photos of my Uncle Walter from World War I and my dad from World War II, a shadow box of the ribbons and insignia from my dad's Army uniform, and a couple of reproduction maps and posters that I think will all go together nicely. I also have a little desk and some bookshelves to put in there. Now all I need are a couple of big, overstuffed chairs, like the ones they have at Barnes & Noble, and a chunky table to go between 'em. Better hit the Salvation Army for those. Someday. In the meantime, I'll be right here ripping up carpet and painting and waiting on the gigantic wallpaper order to get here.
Saturday, December 5, 2009
"Let's go over to the Catholic Church and light a candle for Frankie," I said.
"We're not Catholic, though," she said, "but Frankie is. Let's go."
So I picked her up and us two Protestants tiptoed into the Catholic Church. I had this idea that we'd go in there, light a candle for him, say a quick prayer, and be gone. But God and Father Hansen had other plans for us. We didn't notice until we were in the door that the priest was sitting alone in the back of the church.
"Um, hi," I said. "We have a friend who is, um, dying and we thought we might light a candle for him. Is that okay? We're not Catholic and I don't really know what the rules are."
He smiled kindly. "There are no 'rules' against a Protestant lighting a candle for a friend. Come down to the front of the church and I'll help you." His long black robes made a soft shushing sound as he walked us to the front of the church. "Is there truly no hope?" he asked. Sharon explained sadly that there was not, and then he said the Prayer of Saint Joseph for us, explaining that Joseph is the saint of a happy death. As we repeated "Pray for him" after each of the Father's intonations, I saw some of the worry and fear go out of Sharon's face. "Thank you very much for that, Father," she said. On the way out of the church, Father Hansen paused us at the door. "Do you know what the Last Rites are?" he asked. We did not. He beckoned us back into the Church and explained them to us, reading a part of them as he did so. Again, Sharon and I thanked him. He assured us we could come again whenever we wanted to pray with him.
We walked out to my car and, out of habit, checked our cell phones. Both of us had the same text message from a friend: "Frankie passed at 6:36 p.m. tonight," it read. Our eyes met. At 6:36 p.m. we were saying the Prayer of St. Joseph with the priest. Sharon said softly, "God puts us where we need to be." That He does, indeed.
Friday, December 4, 2009
Saturday, November 28, 2009
The other day he called me ten minutes before my alarm clock went off (he has a knack for doing that) and said in his usual irrepressible way, "Oh good, you're up. Come to your front door. I have something for you." Thinking it was probably futile to explain to him that I wasn't really up, I shuffled to the front door in my jammies. There stood WTB on the front porch, holding something behind his back. I held out my hand for it and he presented me with....my very own WonderBar! Now I don't have to keep borrowing his, or using a hammer or my little prybar when a WonderBar works so much better!
Other girls can have their flowers and candy and sparkly things. I'm happy with my WonderBar.
Friday, November 27, 2009
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
So, once I get up the nerve to go down there, then I have to wrangle the three cats into the bathroom (the only room in the house with a door that shuts tightly), move my laundry room table to the other side of the room, and roll up the area rug that covers the trap door. Then I have to yank the trap door up, catch the ring on it with the hook in the wall, and hope it doesn't slam shut and imprison me down there. After all that, then I have to drag four boxes of Christmas decorations up the basement steps. Make that five boxes—I forgot I bought another Christmas tree at one of the after-Christmas gigantic sales last year.
And the weird basement did not disappoint. After I dragged everything up the steps, I went downstairs one more time to make sure I hadn't forgotten anything. "Meow," Louis said from on top one of the furnace ducts. "You're supposed to be locked in the bathroom!" I said as I pulled him off there and carried him upstairs. "How did you get the door open?" When we walked around the corner, I heard the other two cats scrabbling to get out of the bathroom. The door was still closed. Hmmmm....
Monday, November 23, 2009
As the more astute among you might've guessed from the title of the post, I find myself single again. I truly have no idea why. For the past several days he hasn't returned my phone calls or texts. Maybe he didn't like the lasagna, cause that's the last time I saw him. Since he's completely silent on the issue, I'm left to guess as to what went wrong. That irritates and frustrates me no end. Have the common decency to call me and say something like "It's just not working out" or "I met someone else" or any one of a hundred stock phrases that folks call on in this situation. If it's one thing I can't stand, it's a man with no spine.
But what irritates and frustrates me even more than that is the attitude of some of my family. I told one of my cousins, who is like a brother to me, what happened. He said, "Face it, honey, you just cain't keep a man." This is a little Southern-attitude town we live in, and my family tends to have a very traditional view of gender roles. To say that a woman "cain't" keep a man can cover a lot of ground (she's most usually either a bad cook or a bad housekeeper) but it always, always means she has some glaring character flaw and it's all her fault that the relationship went sour. A woman who can't keep a man is destined to be single forever, and in my family a single woman over the age of about 30 is viewed with equal parts suspicion and pity. This I have known for years, so I should've known better than to go ranting to my mom about the situation. "Well when you run into [Reed] in the future, I want you to be nice to him," she said. Why should I be nice to someone who can't give me a five-minute polite brush-off? Because he's from a good family? Because women are supposed to know their place? Because in my family, but for a few notable exceptions, women put up with all manner of bad behavior just to stay married and eat crow once a week for supper? Well, I'm sorry, but hell no.
Looking back on my short relationship with Reed I can recall several things that irritated him: that my hands have calluses and a couple of scars, that I'm quick to speak my mind, that the sound of a fire engine's siren is usually followed my the sound of my phone ringing and one of the guys telling me what happened, that I have more tools than he does and am more handy, that most days I don't wear makeup, that I sleep til noon more often than not... But all those things are who I am. I can't change that—and more importantly, I don't want to. It's my life and I love it. I am blessed with a beautiful house and the ability to work on it myself, an unconventional job that I really like, a quick mind, and friends who love me just the way I am. Someday maybe I'll find that one guy who loves me just the way I am. Or maybe that's not what God has in store for me. Either way, I'm still me. Faults and talents and all, I'm still me. And if being true to myself means that I can't keep a man, then I'm alright with that.
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
It's hard (at least for me) to take pictures of a room that really shows you what it looks like. I guess if I was good with computers, I'd figure out some way to splice these photos together into one big panoramic photo. But I'm not, so this is the best I can do. These were taken in a clockwise direction around the kitchen.
Looking in from the dining room, and to the left. New backsplash, new cutting board end of countertop, new countertops, new cabinet pulls, new sink and faucet, new wallpaper, and new plates with chickens on 'em. (I decided on the plates instead of the vintage ads; I think they "go" better.) New bread machine, which is not usually out on the counter like that, but I was baking bread when I took these photos. Oh yeah, and a new can of pineapple next to the sink. I'm just keepin' it real here, folks.
Sunday, November 15, 2009
Then the cats and I snuggled up in my flannel sheets, I donned my little sleep mask (the one that has GO AWAY in big letters on it), put in my ear plugs (hey, the neighbors are noisy) and fell fast asleep. Without setting an alarm. Louis Cat woke me up at 4:40. Oops. I took the quickest shower ever, threw on some clothes, and ran out of the house carrying a big foil-wrapped pan of lasagna before me and holding my cell phone between ear and shoulder. Reed lives next street over—down the alley, around the corner, cross the street, and you're there—which is mighty convenient when you're running almost an hour late and the lasagna's still unbaked. I arrived on the front porch of his house, a little breathless, and full of apology.
"I'm so sorry. I know I said four, and you probably packed up early at work and everything for me and now we're gonna have to rush to eat before I leave and I can't believe I forgot to set my alarm so it's a good thing Louis woke me up, and I forgot the salad at the store too so this is all there is, and did you turn the oven on?"
"It's alright," Reed grinned. "I'm just glad you got your sleep on."
Friday, November 13, 2009
Things I am thankful for:
Having my own child, who is the only blood relative I've known all of his life
My beautiful daughter-in-law Sarah, who loves my son so much
Being adopted by parents who did their very best to give me a loving, safe, happy home
Having the chance to meet my birth brother, probable birth father, and to learn more about my birth family
Being able to hold the hand of my father as he died
My cousins in Illinois who made my childhood so wonderful
Having my grandmother with me until I was 19, and all the things I learned from her
My 1887 or so Queen Anne cottage and the ability to restore it mostly on my own
Living in a National Register Historic District
Having beautiful houses around me to look at when I go for walks
My Kia Soul with the houndstooth seats
The antique furniture my mom gave me
My grandmother's pearl ring
Having two friends (Jill & Travis) who really "get" me
People I've known since I was a child
My friend Michelle and her two boys, who always make me laugh
Stacy, who is the sister I never had
My boyfriend, who is always supportive and kind
Three cats: Marie, Christopher & Louie
Bob, who helps me on my house when I get in over my head
Milah, who convinced me to give church another try and gave me the phrase "spiritually fed"
Having a job with great pay and good benefits that allows me to afford my house, my bills, and still have some money left over for fun
A few co-workers who make me grateful that they aren't like the majority of the people there
A consistent schedule, which is rare in emergency services
The added projects that the Division Chief has given me
Finding not just one, but two, churches that spiritually feed me
UCC Prayer Chapel, so I can go to church online (when I remember)
Having a job that can save someone's life
A son who is a police officer and truly believes in the adage "protect and serve"
Working for preservation of historic structures in my hometown
Discovering that Sean's sudden & unexpected death taught me lessons about love & loss and may be the most terrible and important thing that's ever happened to me
The poetry of Sylvia Plath
Old House Journal
Any book about the Trans-Mississippi front during the Civil War, women during the Westward movement,
Jesse James, or the period of history from about 1850 to about 1890.
Taking a long drive to nowhere
Browsing antique stores
Laughing with John
Netflix Watch Instantly
Walking around town in the middle of the night
Playing with the cats
Debates with Dylan
Games on King.com
Front porch sitting
The ability to restore the exterior of my house without seriously injuring myself
My recovery from the illness (still undiagnosed) that made me sick for 14 months
The tat on my left wrist that reminds me of Sean
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
This means that the kitchen, after almost eight months, is very nearly done. I just need to put on four more cabinet pulls, fix the piece of backsplash that one of the cats worked loose, paint both sides of the door white, and hang up the cool vintage (1940s-1960s) ads I bought yesterday. Oh, and take photos of the finished kitchen since it's the one room in the house that is just the way I want it.
Next up? I seriously need to deal with that pee-pee carpet...
Monday, November 9, 2009
Now it's off to my mom's for supper.
Here's where I am right now with the kitchen wallpaper:
Thursday, November 5, 2009
1. People who have a sense of humor. When I say I'm a fire and EMS dispatcher, I think what leaps to most people's minds is those terrifying, life-and-death calls you hear on the news sometimes. We do get those every once in a while, but the majority of our calls are what we call "bread and butter"—ordinary medical calls like difficulty breathing, general illness, and chest pain. Tonight a quite elderly man called 911 and when I said, "Sir, I'll just stay on the phone with you until the paramedics arrive," he replied calmly and politely, "Oh, that's not necessary. Surely I'll live at least until they get here." I love my job.
2. The superhero that is Reed. If y'all can stand just one more mention of the boyfriend....Last week I learned I might possibly have a chance to bid day shift at work. I've worked nights for almost four years, but the possibility of working "normal" hours is tempting, so I debated the pros and cons with myself for a few days before telling Reed I was thinking about it. He works days, but we haven't been together that long and I was unsure what he'd think of my even counting him among the reasons to turn my work schedule upside-down. So, I laid it all out to him over supper. He thought for a few minutes and said, "Of course I'd love to see you more, but the truth is that you have to do what's best for you." Of course. And now I know I'll have his support no matter what shift I bid. I call him a superhero for good reason.
3. My mom's inability to keep really good Christmas presents a secret until Christmas. For years and years, my mother has started her Christmas shopping about mid-August. When she finds something really good, she can't just stow it away until Christmas, try as she might. Yesterday it was my turn for the early present. I cut the tape on the box she hadn't even wrapped yet and inside...a Breadman bread maker! Hooray! I baked a loaf of bread as soon as I got it home.
4. Baby Chase. My daughter-in-law's sister had a baby girl two months ago, and one of my son's best friends had a baby boy just a few days later. Dylan and Sarah have been baby-sitting a lot lately, and along with that has come a certain amount of baby fever. I admit not being immune to it, either. (Babies are just so cute and cuddly and sweet, aren't they?) Monday night Dylan called me and asked me to come over. When I got to his house, there sat he and his wife on the sofa, looking exhausted and a little shell-shocked. "Um," I said, "I hear a baby crying." Sarah looked at me a little tearfully. "I know," she said, "and no matter what we do he won't stop crying." I picked up Baby Chase and rocked him (it's amazing how these skills come right back to you) so Sarah and Dylan could eat supper. As Sarah grabbed a second slice of pizza she remarked, "At least we can give him back in a couple hours when his mama gets here." And Dylan said, "We are so not ready for kids of our own." Lil Chase, I'm sorry you had such a bad tummy-ache, but thank you.
5. Netflix Watch Instantly and FeedFliks. I got a Netflix account because I am completely unable to return a video on time and the monthly fee for Netflix is cheaper than my late fees at the video store. However, I'm unable to return a Netflix DVD right after I watch it, either. It lays around my house for days, sometimes weeks, before I remember to mail it back. It became questionable whether the Netflix account was really saving me money. Then along came Watch Instantly, and I started watching movies on my laptop during down times at work and when there's nothing on tv at home. Last week I learned about FeedFliks.com, a website that calculates your per-movie cost with Netflix. Thanks to Watch Instantly, mine is down to 58 cents a movie. Can't beat that!
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
And there hasn't been any progress because I have been diagnosed with something called Peripheral Vertigo.
I went to the doctor because, three weeks after recovering from a cold, I'm still dizzy quite often. Sometimes it's mild; sometimes the room spins around me like a Tilt-A-Whirl and I have to hang on to something—a table, a nearby superhero, a chair—to keep from falling over. The doc says it's usually caused from an inner ear injury or an untreated ear infection. And sorry, but medicines don't seem to help much. And, oh yeah, it's permanent. What?! I have to be this way forever?! Unsatisfied with that prognosis, I googled it...and didn't find much. Anyone know anything about this stuff?
So anyway, the past couple of days have been Tilt-A-Whirl days. Not conducive to standing on a ladder to hang kitchen wallpaper, which by the way is what I've decided to do first. After reading everyone's comments, it seems to make the most sense to start with the smallest unfinished project. And I will...when I can stand on the ladder without feeling like I'm in the eye of a hurricane.
Saturday, October 31, 2009
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Glue-encrusted floors. Under the baby blue wool carpet that was pee-scented and stained, I found a thick rotted foam pad. And under that, a 1970s-era carpet of gold, avocado green and brown. Ick. And it was stapled to the floor. Under that, I found a pad that had turned to black clay and had to be removed with a putty knife. And under that, I found...the glue-encrusted floors. The floors in the entryway, front parlor, and dining room look like this. Yuck. I'm thinking this is not a DIY project. My Christmas bonus at work will go towards getting rid of all this yuck.
Saturday, October 24, 2009
"The display says 'White Trash Bob'," he said.
So I answered it and had a brief conversation with WTB, who'd just come home from 17 hours on the road and was taking a walk around the neighborhood, about how cute those darn cardboard mice in my front windows are. (I know, I know, I need to post a pic.)
When I got off the phone, Reed asked me, "Who's White Trash Bob?"
"He's Bob who lives across the street from me in that brick house he calls the Coal Miner's Despair. You know, the guy who does all the Civil War stuff around here." And then I made my mistake: "Everyone I'm close to has a nickname in my phone." Oops.
"Oh, really?" Reed asked. "So who am I?"
I tried to right myself and grab the phone back from the ottoman where I'd tossed it. Reed was quicker. "I just called you right before he did, so if I look in your phone log...Let's see...Reed Richards?" He grinned. "I'm Reed Richards in your phone?"
I should mention that when I'm embarrassed or nervous my ears get warm and turn bright red. Seriously, they're like Rudolph's nose. I had my hair in a ponytail. My ears did not escape his attention. "I am Reed Richards in your phone! You think I'm like the guy who's the leader of the Fantastic Four? Oh, because he's a scientist and I'm a biologist. I get it. But he's a superhero...Oh." He grinned again.
I think he likes his nickname. I also think he just might be a keeper.
Thursday, October 22, 2009
I explained to Reed (and now to y'all) that I had a feeling that the existing back door might not be in the same location it was when the back porch was originally closed in, because the back walkway goes straight up to the wall, and the existing back door is about three feet to the right of that walkway. But I naively hoped that the previous back door opening, if it existed, would've been patched in neatly like the kitchen window was. No such luck. And I think I know now what that piece of wood to the left of the existing back door is. I think when they moved the back door they cut into the wall and then said, "Oops!" Realizing they made the cut too low, they just moved the door opening over a couple of inches, cut again, and filled in the gap with a piece of broken lumber. That's my theory anyway. But finding all that kinda took the wind out of my sails. More than that, I'm fed up with the whole shingle-pulling thing at the moment.
So here's what I'm gonna do: I am abandoning the back wall of the house until Spring. Yesterday I filled in all the cracks and nail holes I'd exposed, tossed all those shingles and strips of tar paper into a trash bag, and put my hammer, my scraper and my caulk gun away for the year. Come Spring, I will take the rest of the shingles off that wall. Hopefully, after a four- or five-month hiatus from this particular project, I will take in stride whatever other misfortune I might uncover. Then, I'll take Karen Anne's advice and carefully pry off the clapboards that are patching the old door opening, line them up with the edges of the other clapboards, and nail them back in. Some of them are only a teeny bit too short, and I'll use some Wood Bond to fill in those gaps. I still have a few pieces of the 1870s siding that WTB salvaged a few years ago, and I'll use that to replace any clapboards I break or that are way too short for the opening. If I uncover some other awful thing under the shingles that requires more clapboards than what I have, I'll go salvage some more from the falling-down house out in the country. I have all winter to figure out who owns it and convince them to let me salvage the siding. I know I could do all of that now, but I just don't want to. I have developed a strong loathing for the back wall of the house and I just can't deal with it anymore.
So after I wound down from that long-winded explanation, Reed grinned and said, "I already guessed that...I meant, what's your next project on the house?" Oh. Whoops. I thought for a moment and said, "I am gonna finish taking that stupid painted-over wallpaper off the entryway and the front parlor walls. I think. Or maybe I'm gonna put up the new wallpaper in the dining room. Or both." You heard it here first. The Kelly House projects have moved indoors for the winter.
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
If the person who decided to fill in the old doorway without bothering to line up the edges of the clapboards or cut them in such a way so as not to leave big gaps in the siding of the house suddenly, as he or she was committing this act of stupidity, broke out in boils or a terrible rash or, appropriately, shingles, then perhaps they would've reconsidered doing such a crappy patching job. Or maybe not.
Either way, I do believe I've had just about enough of dealing with the back wall of the house for this year. I've encountered more things that need to be fixed in this six- or seven-foot span of wall than on the entire rest of the house. Tomorrow I will fill in the nail holes I opened up today, caulk the heck out of those gaps in the siding, pick up the shingles scattered all over the patio, and be done with the thing until Spring. Unless I can locate the owner of the falling-down house out in the country that just happens to have lots and lots of intact clapboards still on it...and said owner is willing to let me have those clapboards...