Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Gray Water Ahead

You know you've worked really hard and gotten really filthy when the water going down the shower drain is gray.  I predict that, just a few minutes after I hit the "Publish Post" button, gray water will be swirling in my shower. 

Why?  Because today, I dug up some ginormous hostas on the west side of the house and divided them into less-ginormous hostas, then did the same with some ginormous daylilies, then hammered in 14 ft of edging, then planted the hostas and the daylilies in the front flower bed, then bought five coral bells and planted them, then yanked hundreds of weeds out of that bed and spread mulch there.  Now it looks like this:

The porch would look nicer without that orange extension cord....
This is the former site of the dratted vinca.  In two years it's gone from a huge bed of vinca (some of it's still growing there under the rose), to a big ugly muddy mess, to a bed of newspaper weighted down with bricks (to smother the stubborn vinca), to a weedy mess, to this.  I'm looking forward to seeing those daylilies bloom because, although they came from my mom's yard a couple of years ago, neither of us can remember what color they are.

And then, because I wasn't quite filthy and tired enough, I hammered in another 6 ft of edging around the other front flower bed, weeded it, and put some leftover mulch on it.  (I didn't quite have enough, as you can see.)
Please ignore the bare back corner.

And now, I think I'll stand in the shower until the water no longer swirls gray and I've used up all the hot water, and then I'll sit on the front porch with a big glass of lemonade and eat some of the raspberries Gwen picked out of her garden for me this morning.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Water Over Road

More signs are popping up along 224 Highway (an east/west route that runs along the Missouri River) that warn "Water Over Road".  In the little river towns, that's a common thing every spring.  We usually drive around the roadblocks to see for ourselves.  That's what I did Monday morning on my way home from work.

Taken looking WB from the Sni Mini Mart parking lot.
The bridge at Wellington didn't have any water over it, so I parked my car in the Mini Mart parking lot to see how high Sni-A-Bar Creek is.  Pretty darn high. 

And then I walked across the bridge to get a closer look at the water over the highway. 
Yikes.  No way am I driving through all that.
So I got back in the Brave Little Toaster (the nickname the guys at work have given my Kia Soul) to find another way home.  With 24 Highway (the other main east/west route through Lafayette County besides the interstate) closed for bridge replacement just east of Wellington, getting from here to there is...interesting.  I backtracked just a little ways on 224 to get back to Route 131, which runs north/south from Wellington.  I took 131 to FF Highway, then took FF to a gravel road called Flournoy School Road, then drove along the gravel road until I could get back on 24 Highway east of where it's closed.  And when I finally got to Lexington, I decided to drive over to 224 again to see how bad it is from the east end of the flooding.
Not looking so good here either.
That was taken at about the same location where my son took a photo back on June 4th.  It sure doesn't look like 224 will be open for traffic anytime soon.  So far, that's my biggest inconvenience.  The town's water plant has been sandbagged for about three weeks and the river hasn't topped the sandbags yet.  Let's hope it stays that way.  I feel sorry for all the people upriver who have been evacuated and are losing their homes and belongings.

Friday, June 24, 2011



Greg told me, in the interest of fairness and accuracy, that I should've added the word "someday" to the first sentence of my last post.  As in, "Someday I'm gonna knock out this wall right here to get rid of this stupid little bathroom and make one nice-sized bathroom, and then someday that tub you're givin me will go about right there where that sink is now."  Not tomorrow.  Not next month.  Maybe not even til next year.  But someday.  Someday, by God, I'll have that bathroom.  Someday when I have the money saved up (although Greg generously giving me a clawfoot tub will save me a chunk of money) and when I have the courage worked up to tear out a wall, a shower stall, two sinks, two toilets and the ceiling from three rooms.  Then I'll have that bathroom.  Someday.

Someday soon, I need to move that clawfoot tub of Greg's from the hardware store parking lot to my back porch.  And someday even sooner than that, I need to put one more coat of paint on the door between the foyer and the second parlor. 

Monday, June 20, 2011

Yep, It's Drywall

Me:  So I'm gonna knock out this wall right here to get rid of this stupid little bathroom and make one nice-sized bathroom, and then that tub you're givin me will go about right there where that sink is now.

Greg:  Wait a minute, are you sure that's not an original wall?

Me:  I'm sure.  Welllll....now that you say that...

Greg:  I'm not sure, hon.  It makes sense that this might've been a little room off the back porch originally, like a 19th-century version of a mudroom.

I get a hammer.  WHACK!!

We peer at the hole I've just knocked in the bathroom wall.

Greg:  Yep, it's drywall.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Foyer Rug

I found a rug for the foyer.  But now that it's in there, I think it might look a little blah...I don't know...What do y'all think?  I really like the rug, I'm just not sure I like it in the foyer.  It's a jute and cotton blend, so it feels pretty soft underfoot.  I can see it becoming a favorite kitty scratching place, so between the rug and the table-window-Depression glass combo that Jan pointed out (thanks, I hadn't thought of that!) the kitties will not be allowed in here except under close adult supervision.
At least it covers most of the yucky floor

Possibly blah rug notwithstanding, the foyer looks a darn sight better than it did four years ago...
And that photo was taken after I pulled up wall-to-wall carpeting the same color as the walls and chipped away a QuikRete ramp between the foyer and the second parlor.  (Still can't figure out the reasoning behind that one!)  When I moved in, the window was covered by rickety wooden shutters and a voluminous tan balloon shade.  Please note the "kitties are IN" sign on the front door.  Classy, no?  Back when the front porch was enclosed and boxed-in the front door, the cats spent a lot of time on the front porch.  I did not.  Now that the porch walls are knocked down and only half of it is screened, the tables are turned--I spend a lot of time out on the front porch and the kitties spend a lot of time in the second parlor meowing at me through the window. 

When I finish painting the door between the second parlor and the foyer, then this room will be done!  Foyer, front porch, house exterior, kitchen, dining room:  done.  Front parlor, second parlor, back porch (laundry room), two bathrooms, and two bedrooms:  still to do.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Foyer Progress

Antique bench, thrift store mirror
Remember how I said I was going to stick to one thing until I finished it?  And that one thing was the foyer, right?  Well....I sorta got distracted.  I know that comes as a shock to....ummm....no one.  Sunday was declared the Day of Sleep (because I worked 60 hours last week) and then Monday and Tuesday were taken up with shopping, visiting with my son and his wife, and planting a little garden in my back yard.  (Which I hope to have pictures of for the next post.) 

Anyway, the foyer's not finished, but I did make some progress.  It's neat and tidy now, for starters.  I hung up a mirror I bought at the thrift store (which may be temporary if I find something I like better), moved the bench from my mom's house to the foyer with my son's help, hung up the two bird prints, set a little half-round table in there that my mom and I found at an antique shop, and patched the holes and the center seam in the door. 

Taken from front porch
That poor door.  It must have been one of the last ones that Mare and I did, because towards the end we were running low on wood glue and so, even though I've patched the seam on the front of the door, if you stand on the other side you can still see light shining through it.  With the other doors, the seam's pretty well filled up with wood glue.  I'll have to be extra careful not to slam this door, remembering Mare's admonition that if I slam the doors, they just might crack in half again.  That would not be good.

The bench is one that my mom's had since I was little, and she bought it from an estate sale.  The story of the bench is that it came with a family who moved here from Kentucky in the mid to late 1800s.  There's storage under the seat, which comes in handy.  My mom replaced the cushion on it years ago, and it just so happens that the upholstery goes with my wallpaper pretty well.  The bench needs something else...maybe a couple of throw pillows.
Bird prints & little table.
(Taken from the parlor.)
The front door's open.
The little half-round table we found at the Brass Armadillo on Monday.  Originally I planned to paint it, because it looked pretty bad in the store.  But after I got it home and cleaned it up, I think I like the look of the dark wood legs against the cream baseboard.  My mom gave me the Depression glass dish that's on the table, and I need a little tray or something to go there, too.  Something that looks like it could be used to hold mail or keys, but not too big.

I haven't found an area rug I like yet.  With all that pattern in there, I'm thinking maybe a jute or seagrass rug would look nice.  Something that looks good and adds a little texture without adding any more busy-ness (is that a word??) to the room.  What do y'all think?

Monday, June 13, 2011

The Great Karen Anne

I owe y'all a HUGE apology.  I am almost wholly ignorant of how the interwebs works and I mistakenly thought that changing my URL was no big deal.  I thought that somehow everyone would magically come along with me....yeah, not so much.  What I really thought, in sorta technical terms, was that the old URL might automatically redirect you here.  I totally did not expect that typing in the old address would result in a Blogger message saying the blog had ceased to exist.  So I panicked a little, and then I didn't know what to do, so I just took a nap, and when I woke up I read Karen Anne's comment: "If you still have access to the old url, you might post the new url there..."  Which is much kinder than saying, "Hey, dummy!", which is what I deserve.

This reminds me of the time, years and years ago, when I was renting half of a duplex and my dirtbag neighbor moved out of the other half in the middle of the night without telling anybody.  She also didn't throw away any of the food she had setting out all over her kitchen, which resulted in a cockroach infestation the likes of which I hope never to experience again.  That's how we found out she moved, a couple of weeks later when the roaches ran out of food over there and migrated, en masse, to my half of the house.  Seriously, it was like the invasion of Normandy. 

What was I saying?  Oh yeah.  My changing the blog's address was pretty much like my dirtbag neighbor's move.  Only without cockroaches.  So if you found your way here, it's only because Karen Anne gently nudged me in the right direction.  All hail The Great Karen Anne!

Sunday, June 12, 2011


The URL (address) for my blog has changed.

It's now


I hope y'all can still find me...this is worrisome.  Looks like I kept my followers, but I don't know how all this stuff works.  Somebody please comment so I know I'm not alone in the blog wilderness, k?

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Shame, Shame

Because Christine said she's a visual learner, and because Karen Anne asked "yucky floor?", and because I have no shame, here's what the entryway looks like:

There's the schoolhouse desk, which belongs in the second parlor (through that doorway behind the desk), the scraps of wallpaper, the can of paint in the corner and the bird prints.  In the corner opposite the can of paint you can see a narrow cardboard box--that's the wallpaper for the front parlor.  If you look closely, you can see a Can of Hope atop the desk.  White Trash Bob gave me that.  I have no idea why my wrecker bar is in here.  Nothing needs wrecking.  And look, Karen Anne, there's the yucky floor.  I got a little bit lucky with this room and when I yanked up the glued-on carpet, some of the glue came with it, mostly around the edges of the room.  My temporary fix for that (until I hand over my life savings to Joey the Floor Man) is to cover the center of the room with an area rug.

I estimate that straightening up this room will take me three hours, including the drying time for the paint on the door and the trip to and from my mom's house for the bench.  Shame on me for putting this off for five months.

This might've been a better photo had I stood on the front porch to take it, but I was in my flying piggy jammies at the time.  So maybe I do have a lil bit of shame...

Friday, June 10, 2011

On A Roll Again

Before the, um, recent unpleasantness in my personal life, I was on a roll at the Kelly House.  I'd committed to working on only one room at a time and actually stuck to that commitment.  I had plans for the other rooms of the house, but I fiercely resisted the temptation to start on another thing before the first thing was finished.  For the first time in...well....ever, I had both mental goals and written goals, in some cases complete with projected budget for said goals.

And then I completely and totally lost my cotton-pickin' mind and nearly married a man who doesn't even like old houses.  What.  The.  Sam.  Hill.

It's taken me a bit to recover from that.  (Truth be told, I'm not completely recovered just yet, but I sure am working on it.)  Ever since the fur-babies and I came back to the Kelly House full-time, I've flitted from one thing to another and accomplished not much besides making the house look like an even bigger disaster than it was.  Trim partially painted here, one strip of wallpaper there, furniture pushed out into the middle of the rooms, pieces of carpet being yanked off the floor.  It's time to get on a roll again.

So I settled down to one goal for the next week:  finish up the entryway.  Months ago I stripped off the old yucky paper, painted the trim in there, hung that fabulous chocolate wallpaper and put up a new wall sconce.  Then I stopped.  There's a box of wallpaper scraps in the corner, my big orange EMS box/toolbox is smack in the middle of the floor, the schoolhouse desk from the second parlor is blocking the door, and the cool bird prints I bought are on the floor propped against the wall.  This week I'll straighten all that up, hang the pictures, paint at least the entryway side of the door between the entryway and the second parlor, try to find an area rug to cover up the yucky floor, and retrieve the antique bench from my mom's house that belongs in there.  Getting one thing done always motivates me to get the next thing done, and then the next thing, and then the thing after that.  In theory, anyway....

Sunday, June 5, 2011



Photo courtesy of my son, who snapped this with his phone about 4 pm Saturday.

That's 224 Highway in Lafayette County, Missouri, just 2 or 3 miles west of Lexington's city limits.  Between the trees on the left and the railroad tracks on the right, there's supposed to be a road.  All the rainfall we've had lately has made the Mighty Mo overflow her banks.  That's a common occurrence around here, although it's a bit late in the spring for that much flooding.  We got word last week that it will only get worse.  The Corps of Engineers is opening the Gavin's Point Dam near Yankton, South Dakota a little bit at a time.  (Note that in this case, "little bit" is a relative term.)  That creates a slow and terrible domino effect of flooding for everything in the Missouri River basin down river from Yankton.  The Corps tells us that a slow release of water is better than a huge rush of water if the levees break.  That's probably true, but to me it sounds like the difference between being slapped around several times versus taking one hard punch to the face--either way, it's gonna hurt.  Lexington is situated on a bluff above the river, so the town itself won't flood.  Lafayette County is mostly farmland (the whole county has a population of less than 34,000) and those farmers are listening to the local radio reports and worrying that this might be the Flood of 1993 all over again.  I hope they're wrong, but the National Weather Service's flood warning for the county sounds grim:  "Record upstream reservoir releases have begun and will likely continue for the rest of the summer."  That tells me this won't be the last time I write about flooding. 

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Dear SPOs

Dear Sucky Previous Owners,

I'm not sure I believe in Hell, but if there is one, then I am sure there's a special place there for y'all.  I don't know for sure who committed what sin against this house, so I'm lumping you all together in this post.  All of you, every last one of you, deserves beachfront property at the Lake of Fire.  And when you get to Hell, I hope the house you have to live in has three layers of wall-to-wall carpet that's stapled and glued to hardwood floors and I sincerely hope that Satan makes you tear it all out by hand with only a dull box cutter and a pair of broken pliers to help you.  I hope you get real warm while you're tearing out that carpet and try to open a window, only to find that every stinkin' window in the house has been painted shut.  May your house in Hell have a cute lil side porch that you can't get to from the parlor because some fool sheet-rocked over the door and put in a closet--a closet so shallow that the hangers are crooked in it, with cheap sliding doors that run off the tracks all the time.  I hope one of the times that you're wrangling with the closet doors that you look up in the top of the closet and see a tiny patch of beautiful wallpaper (which may or may not be original to your 1887 house) with a grayish-tan background and lilies of the valley on it and that you realize that paper's been obliterated under several layers of paint. 

That's what I hope, because then you'll know how I felt yesterday when it took me almost two hours to tear out the last bit of nasty carpet (a swath slightly less than 4 ft. wide and about 11 ft. long) from the second parlor and its stupid, useless closet. 

One last thing:  I hope you try to roast marshmallows over the flames from the Lake of Fire and that just when they reach ooey-gooey perfection and you're about to plop 'em onto your graham cracker and piece of chocolate, the marshmallow drops off the stick and falls into the fire.  I hope that happens over and over and over and you never get to eat that 'smore.  Cause that would be Hell, as far as I'm concerned.

Your pal,