Monday, January 30, 2012

The Dryer Works: A Tale of Procrastination

A few months ago I had to fill out a Pre-Evaluation Worksheet at my place of employment.  Those things are awful.  I fill one out, my boss fills one out, and we hope our answers meet somewhere in the middle.  It's chock-full of uncomfortable questions. ("What can your chain of command do to assist you more effectively?"  Right.  I'm gonna criticize my superiors, in writing, in a document that stays in my personnel file for 5 years.)  There's also a horrible fill-in-the-blank section.  One of the sentences there is:  "I am better than anyone else at ____________________."  My first impulse was to fill in the blank with the word "procrastination".  Honest, but probably not conducive to a raise.  In support of the assertion that I am better (actually, worse) than anyone else at procrastination, I offer this:

My dryer stopped heating about 20 months ago.  It stopped working altogether about 16 months ago.  Today it was finally repaired.  I did nothing whatsoever towards that end--it was Charlie who called the repairman on Friday.

Twenty months.  Almost two years.  It took the repairman less than an hour to fix the dryer.  First he put an electrical thingy (a voltimeter?) on the dryer and determined it was getting only 110 current, not the 220 it needed to work.  We ventured into the basement and discovered that half the breaker for the dryer was tripped.  I felt sorta stupid for not noticing this myself, but the repairman said that the switch was only a wee bit away from the ON position, so it wasn't obvious.  He reset the breaker and the dryer came on, but it still wouldn't heat.  The thermal fuse was blown.  He replaced that, turned on the dryer, and it worked beautifully.  In celebration, I put my jammies in the dryer to heat 'em up and then ran and jumped into bed before they cooled off.  (After the repairman left, of course.)  It was quite lovely.  Even though, since it was almost 50 degrees this morning, that wasn't really necessary.

The first step towards recovery is admitting that you have a problem.

"Hi, my name's Jaynie, and I am a procrastinator."

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Good Days, Indeed

It's been a good couple of days.

Charlie got in town from work early on Thursday and moved all the furniture out of the front parlor, fixed the low water pressure and the leak in the kitchen faucet, took up the rest of the tack strip in the front parlor, and put one coat of paint on the parlor window trim.  I hung two more strips of wallpaper.

Then on Friday, he got back in town really early.  By "really early" I mean that I was buried under the covers and a pillow fort when he called me and said, "What're you doin, sleepin?"  I wiped the drool off my face and said, "Well, yeah.  Doesn't everybody take a nap after they go to Lowe's at 7:30 in the morning to buy a ShopVac?"  Charlie considered this a moment, "Ummm, not really.  Let me in."  I panicked.  "You're here?  Like, at my house, here?"  My voice may have squeaked a tiny bit on that last part.  This man cannot see me in my dorky Hello Kitty flannel jammies with bed-head and without concealer to cover the big zit on my forehead.  I leaped out of bed, yanked on a pair of yoga pants, put my hair in a ponytail, tried to pull my bangs over the zit, tossed on the first shirt I laid hands on, and went to open the door.  At that moment I realized the shirt I was wearing was the hoodie I borrowed from him a couple nights before.  Hell's bells. 

Charlie noticed.  Of course he did.  "Were you sleepin in my shirt?"

"No, of course not," I said.  "I didn't wanna answer the door in my jammies and so--"

He looked at me critically.  "What the hell happened to your head?"

I may have died a little on the inside then.  But I think I made a good recovery.  "So, uh, anyway, I bought a ShopVac."

"So you told me on the phone."  He kicked the box.  "And right here it is."

Now would be a good time for the basement trapdoor to finally fail, so I can just fall through it.

I cleared my throat. I tried to be business-like. "So.  I'm sure you didn't come over here just to chat."

He grinned.  "Maybe I did."

What an evil man.

And then he proved that he did not, in fact, come over just to chat because he patched the stovepipe hole in the front parlor, re-hung the piece of kitchen backsplash that fell off months ago, went to two rental places to find out how much a drum sander costs to rent, called one of his friends and asked him to come over Monday and fix my dryer (which hasn't heated in a year), and--saving the best for last--he took the sash locks off all five windows in the front parlor so that I could cook the paint off of them in the CrockPot.  He was highly skeptical of that paint removal method until he himself fished a sash lock out of the hot water and the paint slid right off.

It was a good couple of days.  A very good couple of days, indeed.   

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

And He Said...

So Tuesday night Charles got into town from work early and we talked floors.  Again.  We talk about floors a lot, but we make no progress.  This is due almost entirely to the fact that he works days and I work nights and we don't have the same days off.  Two weeks ago he said he'd start on the floors as soon as he got laid off, which since the weatherman was calling for snow, we thought would be imminent.  Charles does concrete work for a living.  It's unheard of to still be pouring concrete, in Missouri, outside, in January.  But here we are, and it doesn't look like he's going to be laid off anytime soon.  We were talking about something then, something like working whenever we wanted, when I said, like an idiot:

"That reminds me of the scene in that movie Sweet Home Alabama when she says, 'What do you wanna marry me for, anyway?' and he says--"

Charles interrupted me with a grin, "And he says, 'So I can kiss you any time I want'."

And right about then the protective coating of ice around my heart cracked off and my heart fell out of my body and bounced across the floor like a cat toy before I hurriedly scooped it up and shoved it way, way back down into my chest, I mean wayyyy down in there, and covered it back up with caution and skepticism, because there will be none of this falling-in-love schidt occurring here anytime soon.  Nope.  None.  Not even if he is 6'2" and built like an MLB pitcher and knows that scene from a movie and especially not just because he said he'd refinish my floors for almost nothing.  Not.  Gonna.  Happen. 

So after I stuffed my little black and bruised heart back into my chest and recovered (sorta) from that near-disaster, I asked him how he knew those lines from that movie.  He said, "Because I've seen that movie about a thousand times...but don't tell nobody, okay?"

I promised not to.  But I had my fingers crossed at the time because even then, thirty seconds after it happened, I was thinking, I gotta blog about this....y'all can keep a secret, right?

Sunday, January 22, 2012


By now, I thought I'd have most of the front parlor papered, the china cabinet packed up, and the furniture moved out of the dining room.  That was the plan as of Thursday afternoon.

But you know what happens with best-laid plans...

First, as I was getting ready to hang more wallpaper Thursday afternoon, I noticed that the trim around the big window in the front parlor looked a little scroungy.  Then I realized that's because it's still white.  White.  Not Lyndhurst Estate Cream like the rest of the trim in the parlor.  Somehow, way back when, I completely missed painting that window trim. 

Then, Charles worked a 15-hour day on Thursday, which put him back in town after 11 pm....a little late to ask a normal person to help me move furniture. (Note that I, not being a normal person, would and often do begin a project after 11 pm...)  So, we rescheduled the furniture-moving and floor-prepping for Friday.  And then Charles got sick with this icky upper respiratory stuff that's going around.

Still, I have plenty to do even without the dining room floor, right?  So I got up Friday morning(ish), intending to paint that window trim.  After about an hour of walking around my house freezing and shivering and coughing my head off, I realized that no work on the house was gonna happen. 

I spent Friday and most of Saturday tucked into bed with my Nook, the kitties, my flannel jammies, and copious amounts of NyQuil and hot apple cider.  I'm feeling much better now.

Just in time to go back to work for three nights. 

Thursday, January 19, 2012


Finally, the front parlor alcove is completely papered.  I'm almost embarrassed to tell you how many hours this 3.5'x7' space took me to paper.  But I'll tell you anyway, in the hopes it might get me some sympathy:  twelve hours.  Sheesh.  Just as I was putting up the last strip, Journey's "Don't Stop Believin" came on Pandora.  Thank you, Steve Perry, but I could've used that motivation earlier in this project.  Not only did I finish the alcove today, but I put another two strips of paper on the wall to the right of the alcove.  That wall's just 4 feet wide, and all but about 5 inches of it is papered.  I still have two 15' walls to go, but one of them has a window in the middle of it and the other has a fireplace, so someone (Karen Anne??) who can do maths might be able to figure out what percentage of this project I still have left.  Later tonight I'll put up some more of the trellis paper that goes above the picture rail.  (That's what that is hanging down in the top of the photo.)  The trellis pattern repeats every inch, so it's an easy match.  Unlike those blasted flowers and vines in the main paper....

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


Remember that movie about Selena a few years back that starred Jennifer Lopez?  Of course you do.  Go ahead, admit it.  I won't tell anybody.  I watched it too.  Like ten times.  Poor Selena.  Anyhow, in one of the scenes, Selena's crooning about dreaming of someone and staring off into the distance all doe-eyed.  That's pretty much how I've been this week.

Picture rail...refinished floors...wallpaper...picture rail...refinished floors...wallpaper...

Yep, dreaming.

I haven't heard back from the lumberyard yet about a price per foot for picture rail, so tomorrow I'll call them and check.  I'm hoping it's not too pricey, because I need a lot of it.  The front parlor's 15' by 15' with one window and two doors.  (There won't be picture rail in the alcove.)  I also need to ask WTB if he has sawhorses I can borrow, because I need to paint the picture rail before we hang it.

Tuesday afternoon Charlie and I talked about the floors again and decided we'll start in the dining room first.  (Charlie is The Dude Formerly Known As Chas, who told me a couple of days ago that he actually doesn't mind my using his real name, so henceforth Charlie or Charles he shall be.)  That means that on my days off, I'll be packing away everything in my great-grandmother's china cabinet so that we can move the china cabinet.  And the buffet.  And the dining room table, four chairs, two buffet lamps, two side chairs, and a small table.  And we'll have to roll up the 8'x10' rug in there too.  Hopefully all that will fit into the two parlors. 

And finally, there's the wallpaper.  I started in on it again on Monday and hung one strip above a window in the alcove before realizing, hey..this is Monday...I work on Mondays now.  Duh.  Two more pieces of wallpaper (one below a window and the other next to it) and the alcove will be done.  Based on how long it took me to hang those two strips on the opposite side of the alcove, that'll take about three hours.  From then on, it should go quickly.  I'm hoping that I can get most of the wallpaper hung during my days off later this week.

Further tales to follow, and with photos if anything interesting occurs.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Say What?

White Trash Bob doesn't text.  He thinks he does.  He even sends texts sometimes.  But those texts are so random and cryptic that they almost always necessitate a phone call, so I stand by my original pronouncement:  White Trash Bob doesn't text.  As proof, I offer the following.

WTB:  Drain pipe in yard?

Me:  Yes.  Do you need it?

WTB:  No I could not find where it fell off your hour

Me:  What?

WTB:  House not hour.

Me:  It didn't.  Floyd gave it to me.

No answer.  From this conversation I gather that WTB was wandering either through the alley or through my yard, saw the drain pipe, and thought something needed fixing.  What makes this funny to me is the reason Floyd (my next-door neighbor) gave me the drain pipe in the first place:

because last summer WTB said my downspouts needed to be re-routed.

So when Floyd and Gwen had their gutters and downspouts replaced, they gave me a long piece of drain pipe to use in WTB's downspout re-routing project.  A project he's apparently forgotten about. 

That's okay though.  Between the front parlor picture rail, the floor refinishing, and the long-delayed bathroom remodel (which will happen later this year, although not as I'd originally envisioned it) I'm sure we'll be seeing a lot of WTB. 

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Gonna Get Good

Yesterday Chas called me on his way home from work to ask when I wanted to start on my floors.  At the time, I was standing in the lumberyard talking to a guy about picture rail for the front parlor.  This strikes me as very funny. 

Anyhow, it should surprise absolutely no one that my answer to his question was, "Tonight."  Chas makes this little noise, sort of a cross between a grunt and an "uh-huh", when he's stalling the conversation.  He made that noise.  I backtracked.  "I mean, you could come look at 'em tonight.  I don't expect you to actually start on 'em after you worked a 10-hour day pourin' concrete." 

So last night he came over and looked at the floors, cursed the people who glued carpet to them, speculated (as did Mare a couple of years ago) that they might not be the original flooring, kicked at the tack strip still left here and there, pulled out a couple of staples, and then gave his verdict:  "Let's get goin' on 'em."

I, of course, took that to mean right this very minute and was ready to push the furniture out of the dining room and into the mostly-empty front parlor.  Then, in a rare moment of practical thinking, I actually said, "I probably oughta finish papering the front parlor first, and maybe even hang that picture rail."  And he replied, "Well, I can help you with that too."  I resisted the urge to jump up and down while clapping my hands.  (At least until after he left.)

Stay tuned.  This is gonna get good.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Mean What You Say

Me:  Don't say that unless you mean it.

Chas:  I mean it.

Me:  No, really.  You don't just throw that out there carelessly.

Chas:  I didn't throw it out there.  I really mean it.

Me:  Because if you say that to me, and I start to believe it, and then it turns out that you didn't really mean it--Well, that would be bad.

Chas:  I really mean it.

Me:  Say it again.

Chas:  I'll help you refinish your floors.