Sunday, August 30, 2009

By Popular Demand

Really, I haven't been making it up. I do live in a house, and here's some shots. I'm going to steal a friend's idea (possibly today, because it seems like it's going to be lovely day*) and take some photos of the neighborhood, too. Top to bottom: windows in my yarn room (where the birdie curtains from yesterday's post now hang), the dining room, corner of my front porch (which is HEEEyoooge, a great bonus to my 48'x54' lot), and Herself. It really is the perfect house for me.

*I know that doesn't sound very optimistic, but I live in the southern tier of New York. Just because it's nice now doesn't mean it'll last.

Saturday, August 29, 2009


Thank you to everyone who sent me kind and supportive thoughts. That's really what helps me get through days like I described last post. There are mornings where I wake up and I'm like a dog with a bone...I CAN NOT stop chewing over the same issues, over and over, until I've worked myself into a proper lather. Only then does the anxiety let go and my sense of perspective returns.

(OK, that, and a phone call to Fred asking if I should plan to shower at Mom's when school starts, or will I at least be able to use the tub, if not the shower? He assured me that the tub would be functioning...which means I start in on the tile guys next. :-)

The wisdom tooth continues to be sort of random; some days I need very little chemical support, and other days I have to beat it into submission. Tylenol-3 is wonderful stuff, but codeine makes me very giddy, so I try to avoid it until evening. Not today. Whoo hoo!!!!

After sitting and pouting about things not feeling very homey, I did get off my duff and hang some pictures. What a difference. Of course, I promptly ran out of picture hangers, but that's easy enough to fix. I had this little fantasy that I would get walls painted before I hung pictures. Well, that's obviously not happening (and I really think that bathroom mess notwithstanding, not much painting would have happened this summer because of the outrageous humidity), so there's no point in waiting, especially when it makes such a difference in my feelings towards my new home. I have a mirror to hang in my bedroom next.

Speaking of making things homey: the curtains, so far.

From top to bottom, it's my yarn room, the living room, the laundry room, and my bedroom. Hopefully as I progress around the house, my photography skills will improve.

And as a teaser, just WAIT until I show you pictures of the woodwork in progress.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

One of those mornings.

Warning: there's a fair amount of whine in this post. You may want to move along.

While I don't expect instant healing from this wisdom tooth extraction, waking up in a certain level of pain for the last three days is not what I had in mind, either. I almost wish I could wake myself up at about 2:00 AM and take another pain killer so that first thing in the morning isn't so bad. Twelve hours in between doses is just enough to make me rather unhappy when I get up, and then it takes an hour for the first dose of the day to kick in. After that, I'm fine. It's hard to start a day like this, though.

I should be grateful that I'm in my very own house, with a fine and sturdy roof over my head. But mostly I'm pissed that my whole summer has been interrupted by the bathroom debacle. Nothing about this experience is what I had hoped it would be. First I had to go through an absolute nightmare of a mortgage process, which threw my entire spring into chaos. (And if you think I'm exaggerating, try to imagine living out of a suitcase, a carry-on, and a laundry basket for the last two-read BUSIEST-months of school, not having any idea of when, or if, it would conclude.) Getting in here was supposed to be a relief. The very first night I lived here, the bathroom decided to make its appearance through the ceiling, and there went that plan. My house doesn't feel like mine yet. Three rooms are in total disorder. I've had someone else in here banging around almost every day that I've lived here (and you know how delighted I am with my plumbers...but still...). The money I had hoped to use for some little things around here (changing out the cheapass light fixtures and such), plus a considerable amount more, has gone to replace something that was supposed to be done already. It's been very difficult not to think I've been sold a bill of goods.

But the worst part is still not feeling settled. Five months of being on some sort of edge or holding pattern. This was the summer I was finally going to be able to expand, and let out the breath I've been holding for way too long, and move forward. Instead, I seem to be marking time some more.

I go back to work next week, essentially. I only have to be there for one day, but that's never enough time to prepare, so of course it means more than one day. My room at school will be more organized and tidy than my own home, and that just adds to the resentment. I wanted home to be as squared away as possible. It didn't have to be all painted the way I wanted, or landscaped, or anything like that. I wanted everything unpacked that needed to be unpacked, everything working. But no. It looks like I'll still be showering at Mom's in the morning before I go to work, adding a layer of inconvenience that I just don't need. I'll be working evenings and weekends getting things concluded that should have been finished this summer. I can't seem to fall into a routine that works, and routine, for better or for worse, is comforting. I could use some of that. I've had enough of seeing where the day will take me, because lately, it has only taken me further down an unknown path.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


If today's post rambles, I apologize in advance...I had a wisdom tooth extracted on Monday, and while I am feeling better, the Tylenol-3 makes me loopy. There's not an awful lot going on anyway.

Bathroom: I think have both hot and cold water supply up there now. This is good. They aren't hooked up to anything yet, but that would seem to be in the near future. (I hope!) Actually, Joe just said the subfloor goes down next, so that must be a good thing.

Rest of the house: I spent a good part of last week sewing, which while being fibery in a way, is not my favorite activity. It's one of those things I've learned to do quickly yet carefully. Also, having good equipment is a must. I find, like in many other areas of life, that I just can't get what I want (quality and variety-wise) for the price I want, unless I make it myself. I did four valences, two sets of cafe curtains, and five panels of sheers. I'm very pleased with the results. Still have five windows to go, but I can't do two of them until the construction is done.

Domestic: thirteen pints of pickles canned. I haven't had the space to do anything like that for two years, and being able to do it again is truly a joy. Had things settled down here earlier, I probably would have canned some peaches. They're very good this year, and home-canned peaches beat anything in the store, any day. I have a freezer full of raspberries from Dad to be processed into jam, too, as well as a lot of blackberries. I'm going to try making blackberry cordial with some of them, and probably jam with the rest.

Knitting, etc: yes, I still do. I made a little list the other night as the painkilers fought for control, which I found to be surprisingly coherent in the morning. I frogged the Uhura tank top...good pattern, I just couldn't get into it, and am using the same yarn to make Katie Himmelberg's Frock Camisole from the Spring '08 IK. It's in the round and moving along nicely. It's one of those projects where, once you get through 14" of stockinette, you're practically done. I also cast on for a hooded baby cardigan, one of my go-to baby gifts. It's a Schaefer Yarns pattern (a hooded top-down raglan jacket) in Nancy, a bulky thick and thin yarn. If I really park my butt, I can finish it in one day if needed, and it's always a hit.

The other things on the list vary from a pair of Broadripple socks, to a sock money from BMFA, to a cardigan, to the Hemlock Ring blanket. Many of the unfinished pieces were packed up for a while, so I don't feel too guilty. But I still want them to be finished. I've wanted to do Lucy Neatby's "Cables After Whisky" sweater for some time now, but just can't cast on for it with all these other things hanging around. I need to bargain with myself a little bit, so when I finish the tank and the baby jacket, I can swatch for it (and see if my modification will work like I think it will). Then, when I've finished the sock monkey, I can do a schematic for it...and so on. I don't mind having multiple projects going, but this is getting a little out-of-hand.

OK, time to stop fighting the codeine and rest my eyes for a little bit.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Safety restored.

First, to answer a question from Marcy, I've been washing up in the kitchen sink. I've never been so happy to have a sprayer before. Every couple of days (when I needs to shave me legs) I grab my basket and head over the river to Mom's for a real shower. The novelty has worn off, believe me. At least I have a half-bath in the downstairs that only had a small leak in the sink supply lines (which have been fixed), so I didn't need to call Ed's Heads for a rental.

Now, onto today's update. The floor joists have been beautifully shored up by Joe, Jeff, and Rich. They should be back before long to put down the subfloor. They had to stop when they found that Bozo the Seller had made an electrical connection for the wall fixture above the medicine chest and buried it in THE FLOOR. Without a junction box around it. And he did it by cutting into the cloth-covered original wiring (you know, knob-and-tube) and connecting it with wire nuts. So not only is that really rather dangerous, it's illegal to bury a connection like that. (I have pictures.) He also managed, after installing this wiring, to nail through it not once, not twice, but THREE times with the same damn spikes he used to nail through the drain. (I have pictures of that, too.) Miraculously, he hit the ground wire each time. If he hadn't, and if we hadn't decided to really turn this into a renovation, between the poor connection and the nailed-through wiring, there was quite possibly a fire in my near future. And given that my ol' house has lath and plaster walls with lovely old cellulose insulation blown in, it really could have been interesting.

Why yes, since you ask, I do believe that a major balancing event is due in this guy's life. He's already being sued by the realtors because he won't pay the commission, and we seem to be building a case against him as well. Right now, if the only satisfaction I can get out of it is that Code Enforcement hammers his ass with fines, that'll do. Anything beyond that would be acceptable also.

Anyway. Fred the Amazing Electrician came by after lunch and set to work improving Bozo's handiwork. I now have three different Freds working on my house at various times: Fred the Amazing Plumber, Fred the Amazing Gas Installer, and Fred the Amazing Electrician. I mean those "amazings" in complete honesty, too. They're doing the work that needs to be done, doing it well, and doing it for a very reasonable price. The guys that I mentioned above are also wonderful. I'm lucky to have them here.

OK, I wish I didn't have to have them here, it's true...but since I do, these are the guys I want.

Friday, August 14, 2009


Things you don't want to hear during a home improvement project:

(nail gun firing) "Oops!"
(broken glass tinkling) "Shit!"

or in the case of my bathroom today,
"This floor isn't safe."

Honestly, I think we're at the point where nothing else can go wrong in this bathroom, because there's nothing LEFT in this bathroom. I'm serious. Half of the subfloor was made up of about 15 scraps of plywood cobbled together, over another layer of sheet vinyl, over what remained of the original hardwood floor, which has been cut into a seemingly random assortment of leftovers. (I'd like to slap the person who did that in the first place, even if it isn't Bozo the Seller.)

Now, that in and of itself isn't necessarily unsafe, just shoddy. (And annoying to people like me who prefer things to be done neatly and correctly.) It's the floor joists. Over the past 100 years or so, they've been cut into to accommodate way too many permutations of plumbing. The guys will need to sister in 2x8s to secure their integrity before we can proceed with much more. Most humorous is the joist where Bozo hacked into it to install the drain...

..the one he nailed into, and caused this mess in the first place. Someone cue "Circle of Life," please.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Wonders never cease around here.

Fred the Amazing Plumber has let me know that I should expect the crew between 8:00 and 8:30 tomorrow morning, no later than 9:00. I hope this means there's gonna be a whole lotta plumbin' going on. They discovered the other day that Bozo the Seller's (or the guy he hired; I prefer the former) incompetence knows no end, although now it's getting downright silly. They're figuring out how to put the drain pipe back in, in a way that actually makes sense and is, how do you say...? FUNCTIONAL? Yeah, I think that's it. So the plan was to peel up the vinyl sheet, hold onto it, do what needed to be done, and stick it back down when everything was finished.

It was never stuck down in the first place. No adhesive. Gravity and inertia alone were keeping it in place. If it had legs, it could have gotten up and run away. And who could blame it? So it really makes their job easier-one less thing to wrestle with. The sheet was also cut out to fit around the World's Ugliest Vanity, which I'm replacing with a pedestal sink. Case closed.

And really, it works out well in another way too. One of these days, when I have nothing else to do (or my sister/brother-in-law/kids are here), I'll move stuff out of the mudroom, tear up the CARPET he installed in there (yeah, I said carpet), and cut the vinyl to fit in there instead. Though I wouldn't be at all surprised to find totally different (and perfectly acceptable) vinyl under said carpet at this stage of the game.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


I have a stove!!! I have a dryer!!! Words can not describe how wonderful this is.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

No great shakes

There isn't much to report right now, but I don't want to get out of the semi-habit I've established here. I use the term "established" very lightly! Nothing else has broken or started dripping unexpectedly. The really old pipes and Bozo the Seller's attempts at plumbing have been removed in preparation for the new stuff. When all is said and done, pretty much any plumbing he did will be gone, replaced with plumbing that actually works. He's proven to be about as good a plumber as I would be, which leads me to say...

Know your limits, people. That's all I ask.