Wednesday, January 30, 2008

My favorite home improvement tool....

Whiskey in a wine glass. Or scotch in an enamel mug.

We are currently accepting proposals from people who would like to donate a hot tub to our sore muscles.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Things MacGyver Never Mentioned

Have you ever been surrounded by such pervasive insanity that you begin to wonder if you are the one that is actually crazy?

I's so...I can't...

I mean, there are not supposed to be nail holes in my heat ducts right? Heat leaks out of holes. Heat that should be going to my bedroom and keeping frost off my windows. And masking tape the appropriate tool for this job??

It's not glamorous, but we spent a lot of time in our basement cleaning out lady bugs and removing corroded duct tape (which, ironically, turns to a powdery, ineffective mess after about 20 minutes on heat ducts).

We replaced it and covered all the holes, cuts and gaps in the warm air ducts with way fun space ship tape, then enclosed the whole shebang in bubbly-wrap insulation goodness - recommended by Bob Vila! (WWBVD).

Yay for (moderate) efficiency.

We also found this on our basement floor:

Tom 11
Bert 7

The furnace on top of the cement was put there in 1996, so we are hoping Tom and Bert were from 1899. Must do some research!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Bedroom in progress


We're not going to use the curtains...anyone interested in taking them? Don't all speak up at once.

This is how the room looked Sunday afternoon...

Ripped up the carpet and removed the scary nail bars holding it down (yay for crowbars!)

The various layers of floor paint is fairly artistic.

Stripped some paint!

More photos to come...

Monday, January 21, 2008

Humility woodworking??

Whoever built my staircase was the most insanely talented woodworking wizard west of Seneca Falls. Like most of the wood structures in my house, it is put together with some mystical round peg system:

(Between the arrows is a SINGLE PIECE OF WOOD!)

All these little pieces were cut so that the design could continue around the curves.

It's all just crazy shit.

So after all the time, effort and precise measurements needed to create this giant work of art....what is up with this??

This disjointed piece is what you see, front and center, as you walk down the stairs. Could this possibly be an unintentional mistake? I suppose our woodworking wizard could have gotten lazy or bored, or their spouse became sick of the project and started nagging for completion. But that is just not romantic enough for me.

In quilting lore, there is talk of a "humility block" - a part of the quilt where the colors are reversed, or a block is turned sideways as an intentional error. The reasons for humility blocks range from superstitious to religious, but the point is a reminder that we aren't perfect.

Unfortunately, the idea of humility blocks is newer than my house...but this is the story I'm going with: an wicked cool, self-confident woodworking master passing along a useful nugget of intelligence - relax, have fun, don't take yourself too seriously.

Any other ideas??

(You can see the disconnect on the second loop from the left)

Friday, January 18, 2008

Goals for the weekend...

1) A functioning toilet (high priority)
2) ensuring the shower drains through pipes rather than raining down on the basement floor
3) learn to use a crowbar
4) destroy and dispose of bedroom carpet using said crowbar
5) insulate heating ducts so bedroom can be at least as warm as basement
6) prepare bedroom walls for Tiger Stripe orange paint (and maybe apply paint!)
7) retain all fingers and toes

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Why?? Just....why???

It all started with the removal of this nail:

All night, this nail was staring at me -- my poor, lovely old mantle, whimpering at me like Aesop's lion with a thorn in his paw. So, in my first act of this-is-my-home-now-bitches heroics, I plucked out the nail...leaving, of course, a neat little hole in my 151 year-old wood.

I then noticed the 27 other nail holes pockmarking the face of my mantle.

Why?? Why, why why???

Why - when there are billions of non-invasive stocking holders out there looking for a home - would you do this? Did you feel a little pang of guilt as you swung the hammer? How many people were in the room, consenting to this ghastly wood-disrespecting event?

Is it awful to hope Santa filled those Christmas stockings with nothing but photos of dead bunnies?

This one simple question led to so many more (and this is when the reality of signing and initialing all those papers at closing starts to sink in). Why would you paint my guest room bright pink and install Cookie Monster Blue carpet?

Why is there more paint on my window panes than on the wood?

Why is my bathroom (10 foot walls and ceiling) encrusted with this wall paper?


Tuesday, January 15, 2008

In the optimistic afterglow

Somehow, we have purchased ourselves an insanely cool, 151-year old brick farm house. I've been expecting one of the billions of people we worked with to buy this house to pat us on the head, tell us we seemed like sweet kids but were in no way prepared or qualified to own such a building and why don't we look for a nice condo downtown - perhaps a loft with monument views?

But they didn't - and now that we've got the keys, we won't give them back!

Our closing was yesterday, so we spent last night camping in our living room with a nice fire and a bottle of wine. No ghosts yet, but we woke up this morning to a nice dusting of snow on a peaceful road.

More photos online here.

In my excited chatter about this house, I have confidently proclaimed a few things that people with actual home-owning experience have suggested I write down. I can't imagine why. ;)
  • Home Depot is an exciting, magical place.
  • I like scraping paint.
  • This is a long term commitment - not a starter home.
  • No cable. No satellite tv. No problem.
  • Its ok that all our weekends are booked until 2038.
  • Callouses, cuts and sore muscles are signs of hard work and not a cause for (too much) whining.
  • Our new hometown (population 1,562 - no stop lights) is big enough.