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.