Saturday, June 29, 2013


Two deer are standing on the south side of the road.  This is the conversation I imagine them having.

Beulah:  Hey, you think I can make it across the road before that car gets here?

Bertha:  Sure!  She's driving pretty slow and looking at our friends on the other side of the road.

Beulah:  I don't's kinda dangerous.

Bertha:  Go for it!  What's the worst that could happen??


Please click photo to embiggen.

Monday, June 24, 2013

One Thing Leads To Another

Remember what the front porch looked like when I bought the house?  Yeah, it was hideous.
And then Mare and I went to war with it and now I have a much prettier porch that's also a lot more "correct" for the house than the old one.  When we did that, I had this pie-in-the-sky dream of someday restoring the porch to the way it looked originally, with porch spandrel and railing and three posts on the corner and a hipped roof and everything.  Here's a photo of my mom's friend Teresa and her husband Clarence standing in front of my house in 1946. It's the best photo of the original porch that I have. 


It's beautiful.  And not a bit of it exists anymore.  That angers and saddens me.  I'd still like to rebuild that original porch someday, but I've run the numbers on it and it's just not practical at this point.  I can't justify spending the money on it when, in the not-too-distant future, I'm going to need a new roof and a new refrigerator.  (And yesterday the air conditioner quit working, so there's that, in the very near future.)  Besides the money, there's the mental health aspect of it.  (See, Laura, I told you I seek therapy!)  Thinking about all the stuff left to do on the house can really overwhelm me.  That's a terrible feeling that I try to avoid whenever possible. Reminding myself of the difference between "want" and "need", keeping to a budget, and avoiding debt are great coping strategies.  

So, I decided to keep the porch I have.  

And I decided that since I'd already put a lot of paint on the house in the preceding three days, I should continue that trend by painting some of the front porch. 

And a porch post and a couple of brackets.

WTB said I should "go crazy" with paint and put color on all the small parts of the porch posts, so I used all the colors for the house on the post and brackets.  (I need to get a smaller brush and touch up some spots.)

He has really good ideas. Just in case anyone's wondering what the colors are:  the white is Gilded Linen, the lightest gray is Montpelier Ashlar Gray, the medium gray is Mountain Smoke, and the dark gray is English Tea Party.  It's all Valspar.

What do y'all think of it so far?

Friday, June 21, 2013

Holy Crow

Well, I did it.  I painted over the yellow paint on the west side of the house.

Before I did it, I told The Ghost of Mr. Kelly that I knew it isn't really the right thing to do but that I didn't see any way around it.  (So far he hasn't haunted me about it.)  There's a whole host of reasons for that decision, but they all boil down to these two things:

1.  That paint ain't comin' off the house without using power tools to grind it off, and I'm loathe to do that because it damages the clapboards.  This I know from using WTB's Metabo paint stripper last year and tearing up clapboards and window trim.  Yikes.

2.  I'd rather add to the many, many layers of paint now and take a chance (and it's a pretty good likelihood) that it'll all curl up like dry leaves in three years or so.  If it does--or, when it does--I can get the paint off with a pull scraper and not tear up the house.

That sounds like I'm justifying my decision, and I guess I am.  This was a decision I struggled with, probably more than I should have.  I thought I might feel bad about it, but then just before supper I stepped back from the house to text back WTB, looked up, and realized that now the whole west side of the house is gray.

Holy crow.

That's a great feeling.  One whole side of the house. And a long side, too.  (My house is a lot longer front-to-back than it is side-to-side.)  Then it occurred to me that I have about a half day's work left and all the painting on the west side of the house will be done.  That's given me a huge mental boost and motivation towards the rest of the house.

Which is good, because everything else I've gotten done over the past two days doesn't look like much in a photo.  Weird how the house looks almost exactly the same after the second coat of paint as it did with only one coat of paint...Holy crow, indeed.  Invisible progress.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Wherever I Land

It's almost my bedtime this Wednesday morning but I wanted to tell y'all where things stand with the house before I settle in for a nap.  There has to be a "before" to compare the "after" to, you know.

This part of the house (on the east side) needs a second coat of paint.

 This part of the house (on the west side) needs to be gray instead of yellow.  That yellow paint won't budge so I'm about to commit the mortal sin of painting over it.  It'll either work or--more likely--the paint will start to peel off in big curls in a couple years.  Hey, at least it'll be easier to scrape off then.

 This part of the house (the front) needs a lot more scraping, a little repair, and some primer and paint.

I'm home for the next four days.  We'll see where I land.

Oh, and I was listening to this song while I was writing this and it occurred to me that it makes a pretty good soundtrack.  Take a listen.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Danger, Will Robinson!

Just a lil reminder that in about three weeks, Google Reader will self-destruct.

This means that if you use Google Reader to follow this blog and others, you'll lose all those blogs.  I have a real bad feeling about Google Friend Connect too.  Since joining a site with Google Friend Connect adds that site to your Google Reader list, and Google Reader's gonna implode, then I wonder if Google Friend Connect will disappear?  Horrors.

Fortunately, there's an easy fix.  Just click on this link to move all the blogs you love from Google Reader to Bloglovin.

I'm worried that I'll lose some of you when the Big Bang happens.  I would miss y'all if you didn't read my ramblings any more.  You can click right here to follow The Kelly House on Bloglovin.  You can also follow me on Bloglovin by clicking on the RSS symbol in the sidebar on this blog.

Don't get Lost In Space.  Click on over to Bloglovin.  Please and thank you.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

A Matter Of Opinion

That's what I got done on the house Saturday afternoon.  I scraped some paint, took the downspout off the house, and caulked a little bit.

Two weeks ago, there was a plan. But then things happened:  rainy weather, unexpected overtime at The Job, and--worst of all--WTB sustained an injury. So I'm a week behind on that plan by my reckoning.  WTB, however, says that I'm kickin butt on the house.  I like his opinion better.

(By the way, WTB is all healed up now, and he took his stitches out himself.  He would want me to tell you that he did that because he's tough.  Ahem.)

Friday, June 7, 2013

I Am Wonder Woman

Nothing's ever simple around here.  Which, actually, is kinda the joy of it.

I mean, if I set out to do something and it just went along all smooth like a millpond, what would be the fun in that, right?

Thursday was really good painting weather and I should've been out there putting in an eight-hour day on the house, but I didn't feel like it.  Since my pal Brandon declared the other night, "Who cares what others think?! If you wanna be Wonder Woman, dammit, effin' be Wonder Woman!!" I have decided that I am, in fact, Wonder Woman and I shall act accordingly.  I'm also my own contractor on this gig, so I get to decide what jobs to work on that day.

And I decided to hang that light I told y'all about a couple posts ago.  I like it and I really, really wanted to see what it looks like lit up.  So there.

But first, I had to take down the last three or four metal pieces from the dropped ceiling.  They were screwed into the ceiling joists with some kind of evil, extraordinarily long screw that has a slot on the end of it instead of a head for a drill driver, so I had to twist 'em out of there with channel locks.

(But that's okay, because I am Wonder Woman.  Dammit.)

The outlet box was tied into the metal pieces, like this:
 Because there's no ceiling in the back bedroom (yet) and because that basket chandelier is kinda heavy, I decided to buy one of these:
 That brace is designed to hold up really heavy fixtures and ceiling fans, so it was probably a little overkill, but it's also the easiest way to rig up a light fixture that I know.  (If you have access to the ceiling joists, that is, which I do, having ripped down three layers of ceiling to get there.)  You just stick it in between the joists and pull it apart until it's flush against the sides of the joists, screw it in, thread the wires through the outlet box, connect your fixture, and you're done.

 In theory, anyway.

In this house, it didn't exactly go like that.

I knew I had 16" centers on my ceiling joists, so when the box said the brace goes down to 14 1/8" wide, I thought it was good to go.  I failed to consider that 1910-or-so lumber is full width, unlike modern lumber, so I really only had 13 11/16" between the joists.  So I took the brace over to WTB's garage and used a hacksaw to cut it down a bit.

Another thing I knew going in is that the basket chandelier attaches to the ceiling with a threaded rod and a nut.  I had a decorative nut, but no threaded rod, so I went out to the hardware store and bought some threaded rod.  Then it occurred to me that the outlet box doesn't have anything to attach that threaded rod to, so I had to go back and buy a crossbar kit as well.

Then I put the whole thing together--attach outlet box to brace, attach crossbar to outlet box, attach threaded rod to crossbar--like this:
 And I sliced my thumb open when, like an idiot, I stuck my thumb down between the very sharp rails of the brace to slide the outlet box to the center of the brace.  While I was putting a bandage on my thumb, I realized that another problem had presented itself.  The threaded rod was about 6" long.  The bottom of the outlet box is flush with the underside of the ceiling joists.  Even if I screwed the threaded rod all the way in until it touched the top of the outlet box, and even considering that the ceiling planks are 5/8" thick, the rod was still way too long for the fixture to be flush against the ceiling.  (I thought at first I might be able to use the center knockout in the top of the outlet box for the rod to extend through, but of course it didn't line up.)

So I went over to WTB's garage again, and he cut the rod shorter with a hacksaw.

Then I went back to my house again and attached the brace to the ceiling joists, a process that might've gone quicker if my drill driver was charged up, but since it wasn't I had to attach the brace with a manual screwdriver.  Not so much fun.

At long last, I attached the chandelier to the threaded rod and put in three CFL chandelier bulbs.  After that, a bit of wiring.  Black wire to black wire, white wire to white wire, ground wire to green screw, wire nuts to keep it all together, and I was done.  (I should've mentioned that I cut the power to the back bedroom hours before, when I took down the last bits of dropped ceiling.  You definitely don't want to go messing around with electricity when the wires are live.  Ouch.)  I turned the breaker back on, ran up the crooked basement steps and through the bathroom to the back bedroom for the Moment of Truth.

That moment when you flip the switch and pray the light comes on and nothing catches fire.

No fire.  
And then there was light.
I am Wonder Woman, dammit.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Taming The Sprawl

Every once in awhile, something turns out even better than expected.

Like when I decided to tie my big rosebushes instead of 
letting them sprawl all over the yard.

This one, on the east side of the house, 
looks much prettier growing on my picket fence.

 I wove it in and out of the pickets hoping for a cottage garden look.

 It delivered.

The one on the front porch looks better now, too.

I strung wires along the porch and wove the rose canes along them.  
Now that the canes have leafed out, the wires are mostly hidden.  
Part of the rose is tied to the corner porch post, too.

Eventually I plan to have roses all around the house just like Mrs. Kelly did.

Monday, June 3, 2013

A-Tisket, A-Tasket

When Mare handed me this...

...and told me it was a small basket chandelier that would look perfect someplace in my house and that all the pieces were there, I had two thoughts:

1.  Ick.

2.  There is no way that thing is complete.

(Even Gracie Cat seems skeptical, doesn't she?)

Stuck in the house the other day because of pouring rain, I decided to take it apart and clean it.  I had my doubts that it would ever be clean because it had been stored in a barn for 20 years, according to Mare.  I cleaned one strand, just to see.
That was pretty promising.

So I washed the rest of the strands and pieces of strands.  
Quite the improvement, huh?

I didn't realize there were so many, or that it would take over an hour to wash them very carefully, piece by piece, in warm soapy water.  After they air-dried and I found my needle-nose pliers, I went to work reassembling the chandelier.  The glass pieces are held together by little brass pins that are looped at one end.  (You can kinda see them in the second photo if you bigify it.)  Of course, I didn't take any photos of the reassembly process because that would've been a logical thing to do.  I put the chandelier upside down on the kitchen table (like it is in the first photo) and hooked all the strands to the top of it, then put the broken strands back together, then hooked each little strand to the bottom of the light.  That was pretty tedious, let me tell you.  By some kind of miracle, all the pieces are there.  Only two of them are chipped and one's been broken and glued back together.

I still didn't know what the thing looked like right-side-up.  I really didn't want to wait until the ceiling's finished in the back bedroom to find out--you can see by the next photo that I have a long way to go with that still--so I rigged up something temporary with a threaded rod that I stuck through the middle of the existing light fixture.

This is a horrible photo but my rigged-up hanger was really unstable and I was afraid the whole thing would crash to the floor, so I snapped one quick photo and called it good.
(Lordy, that really is a bad photo.  It makes the chandelier look like something in the wreck of the Titanic, but you kinda get the idea.)   It's not very big.  The plate at the top is maybe 14" or so, and it's about as tall as it is wide.  I can't decide if I like it enough to use it in the back bedroom or not.  For now, the chandelier's in the second parlor with the strands all splayed out, waiting for me to decide if it belongs in the back bedroom after I finish that ceiling.  Which may be sooner rather than later, if it keeps on raining.