Tuesday, September 29, 2009


Here's the beautiful ceiling! Like the Sistene Chapel, except out of beadboard, right? I was totally right--it's taking forever to paint. This is just primer, too. 

Here's another shot of the dormer. Eric built that platform, and we found some nice laminate flooring for it. He's going to put his drafting table up there. 

I realized that I never posted a picture of the "finished" half bathroom. We still need to hang the mirror, but it somehow lost a hook. Excuses, excuses...

Finally, here is the Yog-man with his new haircut. He's feeling very confident. Is that a handsome puppers or what?!

It's going to look SO good, but...

We are finally FINALLY painting the man-cave/finished attic. Eric did an amazing job with all of the trim and finishing work, and has ensured that the Menards on 96th St. remains in the black through the end of the fiscal year.

Digression: I've spent enough time in the big box home improvement stores over the last 18 months to fall in and out of love several times with each of them. In one post, and another post, I vowed that never again would I go to Lowes. I have broken this vow many many times over, mainly because Lowes is the closest to downtown. Each time we go, I am disappointed, but that never seems to trump the time I have to spend getting to either of the other places. The Depot is like one of those hot-and-cold boyfriends--one date, things are perfect. You're wined and dined and you leave feeling like it's the start of a beautiful relationship. And then the next date, he shows up wearing a mesh t-shirt and a confederate flag handkerchief around his head, and you're like, what the hell just happened? Menards is okay. It's a nicer looking store, and I like that they have candy prominently displayed throughout. However, their selection really isn't that great, and I haven't noticed that their prices are any better than the others. Still, it's the store of choice for the crew at #2021, at least until they do something to piss us off. Which they will.

Anyway, the story is really about beadboard. As you may remember, we decided back in, ummmm, January I think that rather than re-drywalling the ceiling of the attic after the fam helped Eric totally destroy it. We thought that, given the weight of drywall, the height of the attic ceiling, and the fact that ERic would largely be doing this work on his own, that we'd just aviod the hassle and do a beadboard ceiling. Well... We went out and purchased a small forest worth of beadboard, and Eric started putting it up. Then we discovered that none of the rafters were plumb, so Eric went out and bought another small forest worth of furring strips, and then did something with string that I really didn't understand. He made everything line up just right, and then decided to just go ahead and put up the drywall anyway, and then put the beadboard on top of the drywall. This is the story of my life. We think we're landing on a cost- and time-conscious decision, and then end up doing the work required both for that time-conscious decision AND the decision we originally rejected because it either cost too much or took too long.

You may also remember from my descriptions, or know from personal experience, that Eric is not the type to just "get the job done" (I say this with love, as I am totally the type to just get the job done--as I say, together we make up a whole regular brain) He is borderline OCD when it comes to planning, and full-on crazy when it comes to executing his plan (except when we're about 90% done--then he seems to lose interest). The new beadboard ceiling and trimwork in the attic is something to behold. It's amazing. My Big Sweetie has turned into quite a little carpenter.

The point: the beadboard ceiling and trim are spectacular, and may almost be worth the 9 months we've spent messing with this project. It's going to look SO good, but... it's going to take a heck of a long time to paint.

Pictures forthcoming...

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

A Possum Next Door

At times, I feel very much like I am living in a dream world. Not that things aren't great. They totally are. But too often, situations arise that make me want to pinch myself. And not in a good way.

I have blogged in the past about our somewhat antagonistic relationship with our neighbors. I wish them no ill will, and I understand that a "transitional" neighborhood, by definition, will include homes that are in some state of disrepair (or, let's be honest, should be condemned). Our neighbor to the north is approximately 174 years old, appears to survive on soda, cigarettes and pot, and lives alone, though her daughter visits daily, and they have daily arguments about any variety of issues. These arguments invariably take place on the front porch. Neighbor spends the rest of her time picking up leaves, helicopter seeds, and blades of grass from her lawn--individually. While bent over at the waist and wearing a house coat. You can see the danger this poses on a windy day. The yard is so picked clean, it can grow no grass. Ahh, the irony.

Anyway, she's old, almost certainly has dementia, and in general, leaves us alone, except for the half dozen or so times she's accused us of stealing her broom or rake or porch furniture. We can handle it.

However, last week, Eric was out on the deck doing whatever he does, and heard a scratching noise. Neighbor's soffits are hanging by a thread--literally. They're vinyl, which I'm sure is a violation of the Historical Preservation Commission (one of my colleagues at work calls it the Historical Persecution Commission--ha). Eric stops what he's doing and takes a look around, and sees a possum--a huge possum--emerging from the soffit.

It's my understanding the possums are nocturnal animals. If this possum was so bold as to come out in the middle of the day while someone was making noise nearby, I can't imagine what else is brewing up there in her attic. We've seen birds, dozens of squirrels, and mice making their homes in her house. I draw the line at a possum.

So, Eric and another neighbor put out some humane traps to catch this guy. Of course, nutty neighbor to the north stole the traps. We've spoken to the daughter, who, by all accounts, should be made a saint, except for the fact that she lets her old, dementia-afflicted mother live by herself in a 4,000 square foot home that is literally falling apart. She had a concerned look on her face, but a blank look in her eyes. I doubt this will bring about any change.

My issue is whether to be an understanding neighbor, or to do what I really want to do and call the city and force them to make the fixes. I take no joy in being "that person"--anyone who lives in a historic district knows at least one person who has way too much time on his or her hands and goes around reporting people for minor issues. But in this case, I'm just going to do it.

In other news, and I know I've said this before, Eric is nearly finished with the attic. We should be able to start painting tomorrow. We're going to paint all the beadboard and trim white, and will probably do a nice sage green for the walls. Then, it's nursery time. As I mentioned our progress, or lack thereof to my mom the other day, she said, "Eric doesn't have a timebomb ticking away in his tummy." No, he doesn't, but as more and more of our time is spent either at the doctors office, on the way to the doctors office, or doing some other form of preparation for this child, I think it's starting to hit him that we don't have a lot of time to get things done. We're kicking it into high gear.

We're also taking the dogs to get groomed this week. At this point, it's an expense I really don't want to make, but it became glaringly obvious this morning as Eric hugged Yogi and came away with half a dozen clumps of hair stuck to his shirt that something has got to give. We've attempted to preserve Yogi's fragile male ego while grooming in the past and just stuck to trimming his feathers. No more. Dude is getting SHAVED. I don't care if he looks stupid.

Note: I'm entering a contest. Check it out: http://www.oldhouseweb.com/blog/announcing-old-house-blogger-contest/
"Love writing about home renovations as much as doing actual home renovations? Got a home improvement-related blog post or story you’re especially proud of? Enter it in the Old House Web Blogger Contest for a chance to win a $250 Lowe’s gift certificate and the opportunity to be a paid contributor to the Old House Blog.

Five finalists will be selected by our judging panel and a synopsis of their posts will be published on the OldHouseWeb blog (with links to original posts). Visitors to the OldHouseWeb.com will be able to rate and comment on the finalists. The judging panel will then select a winner based on the highest ratings and the above the criteria. The winner will be awarded $250 and an opportunity to become a paid contributing blogger on OldHouseWeb.com.“

If you like my blog and feel so inclined, go to the link above and leave a comment "voting" for me. We could use a Lowes gift card (new nursery ceiling!!!), and we certainly have enough houseblog material to last a lifetime...

Thanks to everyone!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Still lame...

But trying hard not to be.

We are finally starting to make some progress again. The downstairs half-bath is finished! New pedestal sink is installed, thanks to some hard work by Big Sweetie. We anticipated a pretty easy installation, but instead (of course) had to do a bunch of plumbing, including installing a p-curve (is that what it's called?)--that thing that traps water in a curve so gas doesn't come up out of the sink? Yeah, anyway, our old sink didn't have that, which explains why every once in a while it would smell kind of funny in the bathroom. I just figured, when that happened, that I'd followed one of Eric's visits too quickly. Anyway, it looks great. We just need to hang the mirror, and maybe find a small rug for the floor.

Eric is still working hard on the attic ceiling, and despite claims that he needs yet more wood (we could build a whole new house with the amount of wood he's already used up there), I think he'll be done relatively quickly. He was even talking about painting and installing a stair rail. And fixing the steps (which are held together by the carpet and are a source of irritation for my mom--I don't blame her). Once the attic walls and ceilings are done, we're renting a dumpster and doing some major demo, including a couple ceilings, all of the grossness that is our current carpet, and all the other crap we've managed to accumulate over the last year. Then new ceilings and new carpet.

Since the "big goal" in my mind has been to get to the new carpet phase of my life, I haven't thought too far ahead in terms of what comes next. Obviously, kitchen is the elephant in the room, but we need to do some major saving for that, and it doesn't make a lot of sense to me to hold off on doing anything until we save enough for the kitchen, because it'll be a long time. So, there are a couple other options:
  • Finish the dining room. As you may know, this room was completely and totally gutted during our initial demo because of some water damage. We have brand new walls and a ceiling that was unfortunately sponged against our wishes, but we wanted the contractor out of our house so badly that we just dealt with it. I have since painted it a pumpkin-y color that I absolutely hate, and even worse, I did it in a semi-gloss. With our neighbor's red house reflecting light into that room, it's like freaking Kenny Roger's Roasters in there (remember from Seinfeld?). The plan is to do some alternating paint and fabric panels, separated by trim. VERY simple trim. Eric gets carried away with trim very easily. I've got something in my head for the fabric/wallpaper, but I'm not sure it exists in real life. That is one of the many reasons I'm thankful for my parents, who not only have great taste, but do this sort of thing for a living.
  • Refinish the floors. This would have a bigger impact on our house than nearly anything else we could do, seeing as we have wood floors throughout, except the bedrooms, and they aren't looking great at all right now. However, I'm not sure I want to do this until we're sure we're done painting for a while. And until we're sure we're not going to be moving a bunch of heavy things through the house. I suppose my choice is pretty clear huh?

Anyway, in other news, baby is doing well. I can feel him or her kicking around in there every once in a while, mainly after dinner, and especially if I've eaten something not particularly good for me, like a meatball sub. S/he went NUTS after one of those last week. I felt a very small kick on the outside last night, but Eric hasn't caught one yet, and I think he's growing dejected. It's still a bit early, so I suppose he can just wait it out. I am officially, as of tomorrow, halfway through. That is nothing short of weird for me. I feel like I just found out myself. Now, all of a sudden, I'm massive, fully into maternity clothes (except for empire waist dresses and some skirts--thank goodness for the Bella Band) and January doesn't seem so far away anymore...

Heading up north this weekend to visit the fam, and Abby is throwing me a shower, which should be great. I always look forward to being in Roscommon. I wish someone would invent a teleportation device so I could LIVE there and WORK here. That would be awesome. Teleportation would totally be my superpower if I could pick one.