Sunday, October 26, 2014

Whole Lotta Paintin' Goin' On

I said if it ever quit raining, I'd make up for lost time.

I said if it stopped raining and it was warmer than 50 degrees, I'd paint and paint and paint.

And I did.

First I finished scraping, caulking and priming the east side of the house.  

Then I painted the spandrel on the front porch.

After that, I painted that big huge wall on the east side of the house, and the spandrel on the side porch, and the eaves of the side porch (note the pale blue), and the window frames and sashes of the three windows on that side of the house.  I did not, however, remember to paint that strip next to the side porch that's still yellow and green.  Gah.  Next week.

Please note that I also installed some steps for the side porch.  Ahem.  Marion is a carpenter; I am an unfolder-of-stepladder.

Thursday, October 23, 2014


I got a job, y'all!!

I'm working in the dispatch center of a police department that's in the same city as the fire department I worked for until our, um, separation.  This is good for many reasons:  I already knew several of the dispatchers and officers so I kinda fit in already, my commute is only about five minutes longer than it was before, and it gets me back into police dispatching, which I've missed. 

I have only one tiny complaint:  they put me on day shift for training.  Day shift, y'all.  As in, be at work at six in the morning.  That's just a couple hours past my usual bedtime.  Ugh.  So the last two weeks I've become a daywalker.  (For those of you not comic book geeks like me, that's a vampire who has developed some immunity to the sun.)  I made an impassioned plea to the captain to allow me to train on nights, but he remained unmoved.  Amused, but unmoved.  He did tell me, however, that if I worked very hard to learn that he'd let me move to nights sooner rather than later. I met that challenge and I'll be starting on night shift on Sunday.  Hooray for not having to wake up at 4:30 a.m.!!  Maybe he let me move just so he wouldn't have to hear my whining any longer, but I like to think it's because I'm wicked smart, so we'll go with that.

Twelve hour shifts again, so I'll still have three or four days off every week to work on the house. That's a very good thing, because winter is closing in fast and I'm determined to get the outside of the house done this year. I'm cautiously optimistic.

Friday, October 10, 2014

A Frog On Stilts

Wednesday was a very good day.  A most excellent day, in fact, because this happened:

Marion built half the spandrel and put it up.  

I was over on the east side of the house painting when Mare walked around the corner of the house with a huge grin on his face.  "Come look," he said.  I had my usual reaction to the front porch, which is to say breathlessly, "'s beautiful..." and then get all teary-eyed and blame it on corn dust in the air.  So I was having my little emotional moment and I said to Mare, "It looks sooo beautiful.  Even better than I imagined.  That spandrel makes all the difference."

And Mare replied, "Sure does.  Without it, the porch looked like a frog on stilts."

Trust Marion to snap me right out of my mini-meltdown.

Here's a much closer look at the spandrel:

For those of you interested in such things, that's a 1x6 on the top covering the gap between the header joists, the top and bottom rail of the spandrel are 1x4s, and the bottom is a 2x4 set on edge.  Mare added a piece of cove moulding to the top of the spandrel and a piece of base cap moulding to the bottom to pretty it up.  There's also a little piece of flat moulding at the very top to cover the seam between the spandrel and the header joists, and he'll continue that little piece of trim across the seam where the porch posts meet the header joists too.  

Here's a better photo of the porch, taken at the end of the day after I'd primed half the spandrel.

Four things of note in this photo:

See that icky unpainted bit just below the dark gray soffit and just above the spandrel?  That will be filled in with a piece of crown moulding next time Mare comes back.

There's another icky bit just under the bottom edge of the roof. It shows up as a white line, if you look really close. That's a piece of roof edge (or something) that's metal and it, too, will be covered up with moulding.  That piece of moulding will most likely get painted teal.

Check out the corner posts with the spindle in between them.  That makes my heart go pitter-pat. Mare and I talked about doing that but hadn't made a definite decision before I had to run to the lumberyard for something; when I got back, it was done.  I love it.  It's just the kind of little detail that the porch would have had originally.  (So are those little pieces of moulding he added, for that matter.)

And lastly, note that there is no spandrel down the side of the porch.  Alas, our math skills fail us again.  I got confused when trying to figure out in my head how many spindles I needed and so I asked for help from my favorite math teacher at Wentworth.  She gave me an equation (which still baffled me) and eventually told me that I needed 75 spindles, which would give me a few left over in case of breakage or eventual repair.  Seventy-five spindles seemed like a whole lot.  Mare looked at the 1947 photo of the porch and counted ten spindles in between each post, so I ordered 40 spindles. After building the front two sections of spandrel, we had 6 spindles left. He used 34 spindles.  Um. Ahem. Candy Daniel, you were right. What we failed to consider (but Candy thought of) is that these spindles are much narrower than the original ones must have been. She was calculating using actual dimensions of both the porch and the spindles; we were calculating using kindergarten math. 

And now the rain has moved in again and shows no signs of leaving us for the next several days, so we can't get any outside work done. Frustrating.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Eleventy Billion

This is the last big part of the house that still needs to be scraped and painted.

(I'm asking myself again why, WHY, did I leave this huge part for last??)  

I think about a lot of things while I'm out there scraping paint:  baseball (Royals in the postseason for the first time since 1985!), what's for supper, trying to remember whether Louis Cat is inside or outside...but lately I've been thinking about how many times I've run the scraper along the clapboards of this house.  I don't mean how many days I've done it; I mean, how many times have I made that scythe motion back and forth, back and forth?

Eleventy billion, I reckon.  More or less.  Almost there.