Saturday, February 27, 2010

The Best Part is the Box

So, more about that new ladder.  When I got home Tuesday night, there it was on the front porch.  After years of borrowing tools from White Trash Bob, finally I have something I can loan him.  The Little Giant Titan Type 1 Model 22 with Wheel Kit.  He's terrified of wobbly ladders, a fact he didn't admit until after he finished painting the high parts of my house.  What a guy.  WTB would love this ladder—there's nothing wobbly about it.  In fact, because of its sturdiness and weight (39 pounds) I was worried that I might not be able to handle it alone.  In the storage position, it's taller than me.  How the heck am I, all by myself, gonna be able to turn that into a 9-foot stepladder or two trestles or a 19-foot extension ladder?  After all, as my friend Sam pointed out, I am "kinda weeny".  (He explains that's a cross between "weak" and "teeny" and not to be confused with "weenie".  Whatever.)  Well, I am here to tell you that I can change the ladder from storage position to A-frame to 90-degree ladder to staircase ladder and back to storage again with no trouble at all, and in a wrist brace to boot.  (Because I was indoors I didn't try to make it into an extension ladder.)  It's hard to explain how it works without pictures, so if you want to see how it reconfigures you should watch this.  My goal is to someday be able to switch the thing out as fast as Mr. Wing does.  I am impressed by how simple it is to change the height and position of the ladder, and how the design of it means you're never moving more than half its weight.  The hinge locks are pretty much fool-proof, so it's well nigh impossible to mistake the locked position for the unlocked, and the base of the ladder is fairly wide.  The ladder's feet are good-sized and it's easy to tell whether or not they're square on the floor.  To my mind, those things make for a safer ladder.  That's important to me after my recent fall.  I do not wish to have a repeat trip to the ER.  Now, keep in mind that I haven't had a chance to really use the ladder just yet so this is only a preliminary opinion.  By Tuesday night I should be able to tell you more than you probably ever wanted to know about a Little Giant ladder.

While I was checking out the ladder, Louis and Liberty decided that the best part of a new ladder is the box it came in.
"Hey, Louis!  Check out this big box the ladder came in!  It's so cool!"
(This is my favorite photo because it shows off Libbi's cute curly tail.)

"You're so right, Libbi.  This box is really cool!"
"Louis?  Hey, Louis, where'd you go??"
"Oh!  There you are!"
(You can just barely see Louie's face in the hole.)

"Gee, Mom, thanks for getting us such a cool box to play in!  
I like it here!"

Friday, February 26, 2010

The Week of Nothing

This has not been a good week for blogging. That's because I've accomplished absolutely nothing house-related this week.  I got back from my spur-of-the-moment road trip just in time to see the doctor, take a nap, and go back to work for the rest of the week.  The hour or so every day between waking up and leaving for work, which usually is filled by painting or wallpapering or something resembling restoration has, this week, been taken up by Liberty.  She and Louis have been getting along really well—so well that they were racing around every day in a whole-house game of either Hide-and-Seek or Tag that involved jumping on the bed, the couch, any unoccupied chair, and in and out of the bathtub.  This made it somewhat difficult for me to sleep.  More importantly, it made it difficult for Liberty's incision from her spaying to heal.  I had to take her back to the vet yesterday after noticing that her little tummy is swollen and a couple of the stitches are starting to cut into her.  We came home with a round of antibiotics and strict orders to settle down, so poor Liberty is now on house arrest, penned in a kennel for two or three hours at a time while I sleep, and locked in the bathroom when I'm gone.  I hate to do that to her, but it's only temporary until her stitches come out in 5 or 6 days.  Or maybe not...I kinda like not being stepped on by a dog and a cat when I sleep.

I hope to make up for this week of nothing on my days off.  The new ladder has arrived (more about that tomorrow) and I plan to put it to good use while I finish painting the second parlor and the dining room trim.  We'll see if I have any lingering mental trauma from the fall.  My friend Kenny says, "I ain't afraid of ladders.  I ain't afraid of heights.  I ain't even afraid of falling.  But damn, that sudden stop at the end scares me half to death."  I now know just what he means.  My doctor told me I don't have to wear the wrist brace anymore unless I start having some pain.  So far, so good.  She also forbid me to do any heavy lifting, but since the 39-pound ladder I just bought has wheels, I don't think dragging it around counts as lifting.  Right?  A phone call from Mare confirmed that he will be here on Monday for more door-gluing.  He made this prediction:  "We'll get em all done on Monday, now that we know what we're doing."  Really?  Six doors in one day?  That seems just a tad too optimistic to me.  We shall see.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Liberty Ultimatum

I caught the three cats sitting together in the kitchen.  Understand that the three of them are together, as a general rule, only when food is involved.  This must be a very important meeting of the minds.  I tiptoed around the corner where they couldn't see me and listened in.

Marie:  Thank you both for meeting with me on such short notice.  As you are aware, we have a dire situation that must be contained, and immediately.

Christopher:  Situation?  What situation?

Louis:  She means the dog that Momma brought home.

Marie:  I have repeatedly advised you, Louis, that the human is not our "momma", as you call her.  She is in fact our staff and should be treated as such.

Louis:  But she loves us.  She calls us her fur babies and buys us furry mice and treats and fake milk.

Marie:  She is merely doing that which is required of her.  Now, to the business at hand—that dog the staff calls Liberty.  We have wasted enough time already, so I shall state my position plainly:  Liberty must be eliminated.

Christopher:  Hunh?  What does that mean?

Marie:  Desperate times call for desperate measures, my simple-minded friend.  We cats rule this house.  Our hold over the heart and mind of our staff must not be diluted by the continued presence of this interloper.

Christopher:  I still don't get it.  Use little words, Marie.

Louis:  She wants to kill the dog, Chrissie!

Christopher:  Oh...that's so mean.  Momma would not like that at all, not one little bit.  She would be sad.

Louis:  Yeah, can't we all just get along?

Marie:  No!  Compromise is not an option!  We will not bow, we shall not break!  Are we cats, or are we mice?!

Christopher:  Well, I'm not really sure on that last part....

Louis:  I think Liberty is nice.  For a dog, I mean.  We should give her a chance.  Maybe we could all get together, the four of us, and share ideas on how to get along.  Momma could mediate.  I vote that we try aggressive diplomacy first, Marie.  We should really work on building peace among us and violence should be our last resort.

Marie:  Who are you, Jimmy Freakin' Carter?!

Louis:  Hey, I like him.  And I'm just sayin'...

Marie:  Liberty is the Devil!  The Devil Herself is right in this house!

Louis:  Okay, Hugo Chavez.  Whatever.

Christopher:  Liberty's kibble tastes really yummy.

Marie:  Fools!  Imbeciles!  I get nowhere with the two of you.  I must take matters into my own paws!

To Be Continued

Friday, February 19, 2010

The Big Reveal

The secret's out!  I got a dog today!  Blogfriends, meet Liberty.  The only photo I have of her was taken when she was still in doggie jail.  Oh, I tried to take photos today, but little doggie had kitties to chase, kibble to munch, a whole house to explore, and new toys to chew on.  She is waaaay too busy to stand still for photos!  (Although, I do have a nice collection of pics of her hiney and the kitchen floor as she ran off.)   The folks at the animal clinic say she's a chihuahua mix and I wonder, mixed with what?  Her face is a Chi face, but she has long legs and a curly corkscrew tail.  She weighs about 12 pounds now, but she is very thin that her little ribs are poking out.  The Animal Control Officer found her in a grocery store parking lot shivering in the snow and ice.  Poor little doggie.  Between being lost or dumped and the stress of being on death row, she's a skinny little thing.  I think once she gets settled in and starts eating better, she'll weigh 15 pounds or a bit more. 

And the cats? expected, Marie didn't exactly roll out the red carpet for Liberty.  In fact, Marie glanced at her, gave me a look that clearly said, "This means War," and then stalked off to her lair in the box springs under my bed.  When I left for work tonight, she was still in there.  No doubt she's plotting some horrible fate for Liberty while I'm gone.  She'll have to pry open the bathroom door to get at the dog.   Christopher, the big goof, walked right up to Liberty to say hello within thirty seconds of her arrival.  Then he saw the reaction of the other two cats, succumbed to peer pressure, and hissed at her.  You could tell his heart wasn't really in it, though.  In an hour or so, Liberty and Christopher were touching noses and sharing the same water bowl, and when I laid down for a nap before work, they both jumped up onto my bed.  And then there was sweet, cuddly little guy was not so sweet and cuddly today.  He jumped onto the dining room table and yowled like something out of a horror movie.  When Liberty barked at him, he fled the dining room for the box springs with Marie.  Before I went to work, I showed Louis some pictures of himself wrestling with dogs when he lived at my friend Melissa's house.  "See, Louis?" I said, "You liked dogs when you were little."  He remains unconvinced. 

So, the next few days should be interesting.  Good thing I don't have to be back to work until Wednesday night.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Guess What, Part II

My sister told me my hints earlier today were not very good.  "No one will get it from those, Sissa," she said.  Stacy-Lynn is usually right, so here are another three hints, chosen with her help.




Commence to guessin!

Guess What?

I will have a Big Reveal here in this very spot on Saturday.  I don't wanna tell you what it is yet, but I'll give you three hints:


Can you guess what it is?  Okay, more hint:  it's not house-related.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

I Am Lucky's one more week in the wrist brace for me.  The doctor says I still have too much swelling and tenderness in the tendons to go without it.  I expected this diagnosis, but that doesn't mean I like it.  I had to smile, though, when the doctor said it's better to wear it longer than take it off too early and have a setback.  Hmmm...seems I've heard that someplace maybe in the comments here.

One of the reasons I like my doctor so much is because she puts things in perspective for me.  As she looked at the giant bruise on my leg, she said. "You know, you really are lucky.  I know this thing on your leg doesn't make you feel lucky, but if it wasn't there then your wrist and arm would've taken the brunt of the fall and you'd have some broken bones.  At least you fell where you have some padding."  She gave me some anti-inflammatory medicine, which I didn't have before, to take down the swelling in that bruise and in my wrist and hopefully speed up the healing.

I could paint baseboards tonight in the dining room and the second parlor.  But instead, I think I'll sit my lucky butt on the couch with the kitties and watch the Olympics. 

Olives and Eggs

So I went to Wally at midnight (like I always do the Monday after payday) to buy groceries.  Whoever said you shouldn't buy groceries when you're hungry was right.  Walking down the canned veggie aisle, I saw a jar of green olives and was seized with a sudden craving.  By the time I carried in six bags of groceries (one-handed) I was really, really hungry for those olives. 

Did you know it's impossible to open a short, fat jar of olives while wearing a wrist brace?  I know.  I tried.  Three times.  And did you also know that the number of people who are willing to come over at 2 a.m. and open a jar of olives is, shockingly, zero?

So then I gave up and made poached eggs instead.

At least I can still crack eggs.  

This is what it's come to...blogging about olives and eggs.
Wish good news for me at the doctor's office later today.

Monday, February 15, 2010

A Decision Has Been Made

Know what you get when you combine an urgent need for a new ladder with a love of research, a little down-time due to an injury, and the desire to get the best possible price for that new ladder?  Comparison shopping that borders on obsessive, that's what.  I'll spare you the details of the past several days, but suffice it to say that everyone who knows me is greatly relieved that we can talk about something other than ladders.  A decision has been made.

And that decision is...that the very first ladder I saw really is the best ladder for me.  It's the Little Giant I told you about a few days ago.  I briefly thought that it might be too short when bent into an A-frame, but after I read the manual online I learned otherwise.  Then I blanched at the price, but after QVC offered it in four easy payments that seemed easier to take.  So I ordered it.  With an estimated delivery date of the 23rd, I'm still out of the wallpaper and painting business for a few more days, but I have to go back to the doctor Tuesday anyway to see if I can get rid of this stupid wrist brace.  Test drives without it have not been promising, so hope for the best for me.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Sliding Numbers and a Butter Knife

Remember that sliding number puzzle game we played with as kids?  I never could get the hang of it.  My cousins and my younger brother slid the pieces back and forth and up and down until all the numbers were lined up in a row.  Me, I'd get frustrated with the darn thing, pry the tiles out with a butter knife, then snap em back in the right way.  "Cheater," my brother said.  So I'd throw it at him and stalk off to read Harriet The Spy for the zillionth time. 

I bring up that game because, now that I'm all grown up, sometimes paying the bills and funding the restoration (or is it renovation?) of this house gives me the same feeling as trying to get those infernal little tiles all lined up.  If I pay a little less here...then I can pay a little more there...or dip into savings...and maybe this or that can wait til the next paycheck...Pretty soon I start grumbling.  I'm frustrated.  Impatient.  Ready to take something sharper than a butter knife to the checkbook.  Y'all know just what I'm talking about. 

What really gets me reaching for the knife block is unexpected expenses.  Like the ER bill I incurred from my spill off the ladder.  I tried to avoid the ER, I really did.  Nothing irritates me more than folks who use the Emergency Department when they could wait to go to the family doctor.  I didn't want to be one of those people.  So I waited.  Waited in my kitchen for an hour with a bag of frozen lima beans on my wrist and a frozen salmon steak on my butt.  (Doesn't that conjure up a pretty picture?)  And when things seemed to get worse instead of better, I dragged myself out to the rotted carport and fired up the Brave Little Toaster.  (My Kia Soul, so named by a friend of mine who claims it looks like a toaster on wheels.)  I'm glad I went.  Going to the ER ruled out broken bones, some of which could've moved around and poked other important stuff on my insides.  It got me a cool-looking splint, some good medication, and a note from the doctor for work that it really is medically necessary for me to sit on a big pillow from my bed with a pink flannel pillowcase on it.  (Because if you think I'm walking into a firehouse carrying a donut pillow from the ER, you got another think comin'.)

And the other unexpected expense, you'll recall from earlier this week, is a new ladder.  After enduring a chewed-up-one-side-and-down-the-other rant from an old boyfriend about the foolishness of using a ladder that's a bit too short for the job and then leaning into the corner of the dining room to boot (as well as the foolishness of working alone when my cellphone's at the other end of the house) I have made the wise decision to not cheap-out on the next ladder I buy.  Therefore, I am scrounging together money from my itty-bitty tax refund and re-allocating the money I'd saved to go to Nashville for a long weekend next month in order to buy a new ladder.  A very expensive new ladder.  The Little Giant Titan 31-in-1 Multi-Function Ladder.   It's not just a stepladder, it's five stepladders.  And a 19-foot extension ladder, so I don't have to borrow Floyd's anymore.  And two trestles, which I'm thinking could come in handy for gluing together doors.  And some 90-degree ladders, which might be good for wallpapering and painting.  And a bunch of other stuff that somehow makes it 31 ladders in one.  And it comes with a wheel kit so I can roll it around by myself.  Because, you know, I'll still be working alone, no matter what Ran says.  He better not argue with me either.  I'll take a butter knife to him. 

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Thankful Thursday

This week's three things for which to be thankful, in no particular order, and with photos, too.

1.  The music of NewFound Road.  A bluegrass band...well, wait a minute...they're bluegrass, but with a little gospel, some barn-burnin' guitar riffs, and harmonies that border on barbershop quartet.  And I mean that in a good way.  Check em out on the CMT website.  Good stuff.

2.  That in the middle of winter, with snow on the ground, I can google "cottage gardens" and find photos like this that make me dream of spring...and turning my icky backyard into something like this.

3.  And last, but not least, that I wasn't seriously injured in my fall from the ladder.  The radiology report came back negative for broken bones, with an official diagnosis of "sprained wrist, bruised coccyx, and multiple contusions to the left lower extremity (thigh), both upper extremities (hands, arms and elbows), sternum and chin".  Here's one of those contusions being examined by Dr. Louis.  (Photo's blurry because I took it with my phone.) 

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


I feel kinda like Wile E. Coyote today. Ouch.

Monday, February 8, 2010

I'm Gonna Need a New Ladder

I'm gonna need a new ladder.  See how that cross-bar is bent way out of whack?  Yeah, it did that when I was standing on the third rung from the top of the ladder.  So then the ladder fell over.

And gouged the newly-painted door and trim.

But somehow missed hitting my great-grandmother's china cabinet which is just to the right of that photo above.  

Oh, and when the ladder fell over I fell down.  Down about five feet onto the hardwood floor.  Mostly on my hiney.  I have a giant bruise on my hiney, which I will not show y'all no matter how much you beg.  Just take my word for it.

I also landed on my left wrist.  Which caused my hand to bend backwards weirdly.  Now I have to wear this.

I think it's kinda cool and cyborg-y.  But I will be very tired of it after a week, which is the minimum amount of time I have to wear it.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Hedgehog Day

Yep, I said Hedgehog Day.  Please don't argue with me.  Tuesday, as far as I'm concerned, was Hedgehog Day.  That's when Spike, the resident hedgehog at the Kansas City Zoo, emerged from his..his...wherever hedgehogs live and declared that he did not see his shadow.  I like his prediction better than that of his more famous cousin, Punxsutawney Phil.  Besides, Spike is way cuter than a groundhog. (No offense meant, Phil.)  Don't ya just love the grumpy look on the little guy's face?

Monday, February 1, 2010

No Doors, But...

No doors got glued back together today, but I did get a couple of other things done.  I painted more of the second parlor and put up the new curtains on the other window...
Why is it that at least one of my cats inserts themselves into almost every photo of the house??  And honestly, I'm not sure that itty bitty desk can really support Christopher's great big hiney, so I hope he doesn't make that his regular sitting place. 

And I painted the ceiling in there and put up a new light fixture...
As with everything in this house, it took three times as long as I thought it would.  That was mostly because whoever installed the old light fixture must've knocked a piece of ceiling plaster loose after they put in the crossbar for the fixture, so they just blobbed a big nugget of plaster over the crossbar—and the screw that I needed to get to in order to take down the old fixture.  Knocking that out of there with a screwdriver and a hammer was a lot of fun.  And I only got plaster dust in my eyes 17 or 18 times.

And then the mailman came and delivered me this beauty...

It was hard to get a good photo of it, but it's a complete mortise set with two glass doorknobs and brass backplates.  I won two matching sets of them on ebay.  (Four doorknobs in all; enough for two doors.)  I think, after I get the backplates shined up and Mare cuts the holes in the doors, that these will go on the entryway doors.  When you come in my front door, you're in a little entryway about 9' long and 6' wide and facing the doorway into the second parlor.  To the left is the doorway into the front parlor, so it would be nice to have matching doorknobs on those two doors.  I got these for a really good I just have to find four more mortises and a few more knobs.  Right now I have a box of mismatched knobs and one other mortise. 

And yes, that is a tattoo on my arm.  It's okay, my mama knows.  The first time she saw it, it was partially hidden by my shirt sleeve so that she saw only the edge of the last letter (it says "Believe") and she smacked me on the wrist.  I said sheepishly, "Oh, I guess I shoulda told you I got a tat."  And she replied, "Oh, is that all it is?  I thought you had a spider on you."