Monday, June 29, 2009

Whoo Hoo!

Whoo hoo! First full day of house-painting since late May! Here's the dining room bay (looking north) as of 10 a.m. Monday morning:

And the same part of the house, looking south:

(Please note the abundance of white paint and gray primer.)

And....the dining room bay as of about 6:30 p.m. Monday evening:

And the southern exposure:

Please note the abundance, now, of yellow paint and green trim and (barely noticeable in the photos) gutters painted cream instead of white.
By the time these last two photos were taken, I was hot, sweaty, bug-bitten, speckled with paint, exhausted and...

Monday, June 22, 2009

Slogging Through

Work...and more work...and none of it work on the house.

This is the long-awaited (and dreaded) Training Month at work. Six days off for the entire month. The usual 12-hour night shifts, then a day off, then 8-hour day shifts. I am not a morning person. But I am not complaining—at least I have a job. In this economy, there are plenty of folks who don't. So I won't complain about the job, but...Allow me to vent just a bit.

I am slogging through this month wishing for it to be over so that I can get some work done on the house. Between the crazy work schedule and the rain, I last put paint on it nearly four weeks ago. It's been almost two weeks since I put up a strip of wallpaper in the kitchen. Two of the cats ran from me yesterday when I got home, I think because they didn't recognize me at first. Only once since we built the porch have I been able to sit out there. Peaches just appeared in the local farmer's markets and I haven't yet eaten a single one. I bought a new medicine cabinet and light bar for my bathroom (after the old light bar detached from the wall somehow and now doesn't work) and they're still in their boxes. Sigh....

Eight more days....just eight more days....

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


It had to happen sooner or later. The big breakout from the cat jail (aka the screened-in front porch) took place while I was in the side yard. I walked around the corner of the house to find this:
And the biggest of the cats (whose big paws must've torn the screen loose) was wandering through the front yard with a mystified look on his wide kitty face. (" I got out...but now what the heck do I do??")The medium-sized cat and the little cat were still inside the pen. Sigh....I'd been wanting to replace that black PetScreen with nicer aluminum screen to match the rest of the porch...just not today. So I took the handle off the screen door and then took the door off its hinges and laid it flat on the porch floor.
I pulled the spline loose from the channel and put it aside. Since it's fairly new and still flexible, I can re-use it.

Then I pulled the old screen off the door and threw it away, and rolled out shiny new screen across the door. I cut it a bit larger than the door with my trusty Stanley utility knife. Yes, the same one that so neatly sliced off the edge of my thumb a few days ago—and remembering that, I put gloves on before cutting the screen. I found my spline roller (the little thing with the wooden handle in the photo below) and weighted down the end of the screen with a tube of caulk I just happened to have laying around.

Spline rollers have two ends, an "out-tie" end that looks kinda like a very dull pizza cutter, and an "in-nie" one with a groove in it for the spline. (If I'd thought of it, I'd have taken a better photo of it.) Using the out-tie end, I pushed the screen down into the spline channel on the door, being careful to push just enough to get the screen down into the channel nice and tight but not so hard that the spline roller tears the screen. After I finished that, I used the "in-nie" end to push the rubber spline down into the channel to hold the screen in place.

And then the battery went dead on my camera.
But I persevered, and you'll have to trust me on the rest of the story without photographic evidence.
I did the long left side of the door first, then pulled the screen taut and did the right side, then the bottom edge, and finally the top. When the spline was all rolled into place, I trimmed the screen neatly (well, as neatly as I can) with the utility knife. Now, if you live in a normal household (i.e., one without jailbreaking cats) the next steps would be to re-hang the door, put the door handle back on, and sit back admiring your handiwork while drinking the cold beverage of your choice. But my household is not a normal one....and so my next steps were to go to the lumberyard, buy a piece of Plexi-Glass slightly less than the width of the door and about 13" high, drill holes in all four corners and the top middle and bottom middle edge, and then screw the piece of Plexi-Glass to the inside of the screen door.
Pretty? No.
Cat-proof? We'll see....

Friday, June 5, 2009

I Don't Know Why She Swallowed The Fly

I have six days off for the entire month of June. Six. For the entire month. This is not something I am particularly happy about, but since I can't do anything about it....Lord grant me the patience to.... Yeah. You know the rest.

Two of those days off are Saturday and Sunday, and I was speculating about plans for those days off with Bleu. "I think you oughta get them cedar shakes off the back of the house," he said. The rear wall of my house is still completely clad in ugly, dried out, circa 1971 cedar shake shingles, for very good reasons which I am about to explain.

"Um, okay, you saw that giant metal shed that backs up to the house, right?" I asked. Some idiot of a previous owner put a 9'x9' metal shed smack up against the back of the house, right under the bathroom window so that the window trim can't be accessed for repair or weather-stripping or paint. And whoever put it together didn't follow the assembly instructions that they left sticking in the ceiling, because there's a row of holes along the roof ridge that probably ought to have bolts or something in them to hold the roof together. And whoever owned the house since the shed was put there has used it as a dumping ground for all kinds of crap—boxes of half-hinges, insecticide, mole poison, screens that don't fit any window on the house, paint, tomato cages—to which, of course, I've added my own crap in the past three years.

"Well, yeah, but we can tear that thing down in no time," he said. He's probably right about that.

But then I thought of all the rest that needs to be done first....

"Okay, but before the shingles are ripped off the shed's gonna have to be torn down, and before it can be torn down it has to be cleaned out, and a lot of that stuff can't be thrown away in the regular trash so it'll have to wait for County HazMat Day, and before it's cleaned out I really oughta get a new shed, and before someone builds a new shed we have to tear down the carport like you said you'd help me with, cause that's where the new shed will go, and before we tear down the carport we need to see if there's really enough room in the alley for angle parking..." I took a breath and then said, "It's kinda like that old song about the lady who swallowed a fly and then a spider and then somethin else after that..."

"But I don't know why, she swallowed that fly," he sang.

"Exactly," I said.

"So forget I said anything," he laughed.

I'll be painting the house on my days off, I think.

Thursday, June 4, 2009


The story you are about to hear is real. The names have not been changed to protect the innocent....because there's no one innocent in this story.

(And, it's utterly and completely unrelated to house renovation, so be forewarned.)

Tuesday morning, on a whim, I decided to stop by and visit a friend at work. Michelle is the dispatch supervisor at a police department, a usually small fact that figures large in the telling of this tale. We laughed together, hugged over some sad news, I showed wedding pics and she showed soccer pics, and then she walked me to my car. My brand-new car, bought three weeks ago in a fit of number-crunching and darnit-I-deserve-it justification. (Incidentally, it's a Kia Soul and this story is not particularly a good advertisement for it.) But when I shifted the car into reverse, nothing happened. Or, I should say, almost nothing happened. The car revved, but it would not move. Not good. I called Kia Roadside Assistance (provided free for the first 5 years or 60,000 miles, by the way) and made arrangements to have my car towed to the dealership. Then I said goodbye to Michelle, who had a doctor's appointment, popped the hatch on the car, and settled down on the bumper to eat a rice crispie treat she'd given me while waiting for the tow truck.

The tow truck arrived shortly and the driver (who was very handsome, if you must know) and I talked over the situation. As we were talking, a police officer strolled up and this conversation took place:

Cop: Ma'am, do you have any ID on you?
Me: Yeah...but why? [As I handed it over.]
Cop: Dispatch, I'd like to run a subject....
Dispatch: Your subject has a parking violation warrant out of Kansas City PD, $50 bond...
Me: What?!
Cop: Ma'am, I'm sorry, but you seem to have a warrant.
Me. No way! I haven't had a parking ticket in years! I paid the last one I got and I--
Cop: [firmly] Ma'am, you have a warrant. Bond's fifty bucks, can you post?
Me: Ummmm....[looking through my pockets]....I don't have any cash. Can you take me to an ATM?
Cop: Well, no. [To other cop who's just walked up.] Can you go tell dispatch to call KCPD and ask em if they'll come get her? She doesn't have bond money.
Tow Guy: I might have fifty bucks I can spot ya. Hang on...[looking in his wallet]...Nope, I only got $40. Sorry.
Me: Are you seriously gonna arrest me on a parking violation warrant while my car's bein towed?! Seriously?!
Cop: Ma'am, I hate to handcuff you right here in the parking lot in front of everybody but it's our policy.
Me: [sticking out my little hands in front of me] Seriously?! For fifty bucks?! While I'm bein towed?!
Cop: Hey, do you know Michelle who works here?
Me: Well, yeah, I do. Why, is that gonna help me in some way?!
Cop: Yeah, it will. She's the one who put me up to this.
Me: Oooohhh, I am gonna kill her!

And the car? When we got it to the dealership, the service guy put it in reverse, backed it up, and pulled into the service bay. An event which caused both Tow Guy and myself to simultaneously shout, "What the hell?!"

Yeah, just another day in my life....