Monday, November 20, 2006

Dark as a Dungeon

I worked on several things Sunday. Pete and I cut the boards we will use for trim in the first floor bathroom. I’ll post about that when we install them. We also moved the neighbor’s swing set across the street and into our backyard. Thanks to my nephews for the muscle. I then spent the rest of the afternoon and evening clearing and cleaning up my basement workroom.

I built the shelves out of ones that were along the west basement wall that we took down when we put in the deadmen. I mitered them to use my corner space efficiently. There were about 100 (I am not exaggerating) apple boxes in the house, we kept about 30, Lisa’s sister got a dozen, and the rest were sold at the estate sale.

I now have all the paint together in one place, and even labeled it all. I also consolidated my painting tools and junk. I finally located all my tack cloths and have them together. Same for painting tape.

Now that there is enough room to get in the place I can actually WORK in there. I started painting my last 2nd floor storms last night

I strategically didn't take pictures of the messy half of the room, but how hard could it be to organize the rest? Having a whole bunch of drawers, from a house we salvaged from last year, meant that I could have all eight of my hammers together. It's great to have a whole drawer full of saws too. I'm also thinking that the boxes of Coors pottery that are packed away under the the workbenches won't stay there after we finish the dining room, right? I won't be messy again in three months, will it?

I forgot to get pictures of Thanksgiving on Saturday night, but we all had a great time. Everyone was very happy to be able to use a first floor toilet.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

It COULD Have Been Fatal

I haven't had any really serious house related injuries since the Wild Parsnip incident, so I guess I was due.

While working on Sunday I got a tube of silicone caulk to seal around the first floor shower. I put it in the gun, cut off the tip, and went to get a skewer from the kitchen to pierce the seal. It bounced right off and poked me in the finger. Not content to admit defeat I went out to the garage to get a piece of wire thinking that the smaller diameter would do the trick. Of course it didn't and not only did it not work I forced it so hard that it bounced out and REALLY poked me in the finger. It drew blood and hurt quite a bit, so I went in and put a bandaid on it and worked the rest of the day. When I finished working outside and took my gloves off I noticed it had swelled, but wasn't concerned.

That night I got my fiddle out to play along with my daughter's practice and I couldn't move my finger at all and it was quite warm. Now I'm right handed and this was my left index finger, but as a musician I would give up a right hand digit before I'd ever want to lose one on my left hand. We were supposed to concentrate on a duet that we will play for her receital next month, but I couldn't do my harmony part. I knew I'd better call the doc first thing Monday morning.

She looked at it and and said time for a new tetanus even though my last one hadn't expired yet. She also prescribed big time antibiotics and said that if the red moved farther down my finger to call her and we'd visit the hand surgeon! Here's what it looked like Monday night when I got home. I've dislocated this one a few times in the past and that big bump at the knuckle is not usually there. The puncture wound is barely noticeable down and to the right of the knuckle.

I managed to get through the banjo lesson I had scheduled with one of my students Monday night, it's easier for me to substitute on banjo than fiddle. Last night I had much more movement and got through Rowan's practice and went off and had a rehearsal with my band, so I'm on the road to recovery.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Just Add Water

I finished painting bathroom trim over the weekend. I carried the salvaged pedestal sink up from the basement as well as the new toilet and put them in to place:

Now I wait for the plumber to come and hook them up.

I do have a few more things to finish yet. I took the door and the cupboard door down into the basement yesterday and began painting them:

As you can see from the first picture I also still need to paint the medicine cabinet door and the laundry chute door. Also when the wallpaper comes I'll hang it then install the trim piece for the top of the beadboard. That seems like a lot yet to do, but having the luxury of a first floor bath again after 6 months, I'll overlook the remaining details.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Too Much Mustard

When I was a kid my parents bought an Edison cylinder phonograph player. One of my favorites was the Europe Society Ocrchestra’s “Too Much Mustard,” a classic early jazz standard

Too Much Mustard is what I always thought of when we walked into our first floor bathroom:

I finished trimming the bathroom Wednesday night. I was working after the girls went to bed so I turned off the air compressor knowing I had few nails to shoot and could do it without worrying about the compressor kicking in. The other thing I did was drag out my old hand mitre box to cut boards.

Using the hand mitre really brought back memories. This is the third bathroom I’m covering over the fake tile plaster with beadboard. The other bathrooms were at our old house. I cut all the trim for those bathrooms with my hand box. I didn’t have to cut much with it on Wednesday. You have to hand cut the copes anyway, I really only used it to cut to length.

I will be finished painting everything by Sunday and the plumber will come Monday to set the sink and stool.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

A Poem as Lovely as a Tree?

It's dark, but this is our neighbor's enormous oak tree. People tell us all the time that that tree must be at least 150 years old, but Mike next door and I laugh because we have a photo of the two houses in 1929 with no tree there! When the new subdivision Foxcroft is in was platted in 1926 the land was all pasture. The realtors planted at least two fruit trees in the back of every lot and gave owners a choice of elm, white pine, or catalpa for the front. Only some of the pines are still left, but there are lots of BIG trees in our neighborhood.

Here is that photo:

And here is how our two houses looked from the same spot in May 2006:

Today is our last leaf vacuuming day, so we've spent even more time than usual raking.

We have four large walnuts. The story is that Bess brought these as seedling from the family farm when they moved to Foxcroft in 1928. I am tired of walnuts. I know I should be collecting and shelling them, but after a wheelbarrow load full in early October, I've been dumping them in the back ravine. I've put 7 wheelbarrow loads down there. This year they all lost their leaves in nearly a single night. Here are two in the front yard

Here is the really big one next to the garage:

This is a look at our side yard with our crabapple, and our neighbors giant oak and maple:

This is a look toward the far yard, we have another walnut, a black cherry, some hackberry, and then the neighbors pines:

Here is the oak across the street, it must be a pin oak since it still has all its leaves:

And with all these trees we then get a 3 foot high wall of leaves when we rake them to the street:

And here's a pile of walnut leaves and hosta debris:

This is what the street looked like when we left this morning, tonight they will all be gone:

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Take a Look at This!

I worked Friday night and Saturday and painted the first floor bathroom ceiling and I must say it looks great:

Now for those that are a little underwhelmed by this you must know that the old ceiling was quite bad and I resorted to drywalling over it. Here is a shot with a little bit of context:

We started on this bathroom way back last spring, but haven't done anything until the last two weeks. Longtime readers (all three of you) may even remember all this but here's a quick recap:

May 2006

July 2006

So two weeks ago I got 1x8 boards and Pete and I put them down for our baseboard

I spent the last week heat gunning the old paint off the casing for the door, cupboard, medicine cabinet and laundary chute. After that I painted the ceiling as noted above.

On Sunday Pete and I started installing pine wainscoting to cover the badly cracked fake tile plaster.

We worked together for about 2 hours and got the short laundary chute wall and the long wall with the medicine cabinet finished

After Pete left I started on the window wall and got it started. I probably could have finished it Sunday night but I went with my neighbor Mike downtown to hear Illinois senator Barak Obama speak at a Democratic rally.

I came home from work Monday night and finished the window wall

Then I went back and put 1/2 inch base shoe on top of the baseboard and put 3/4 inch quarter round at the bottom of the the base.

I then went down and brought up the primer so I could put that on the wall where the plumbing is, my thought is the sooner I can him back to install the toilet and sink.

I finished about midnight last night

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Who You Gonna Call?

The phone rang last night about 9:00 PM. Lisa answered and said hello then said, "Oh no! Oh my God! Yes, he has stuff for that, I'll send him over!"

It turns that Ben, our neighbor behind us, had gone into the bathroom at their place (a rental) and shut the door. He went to leave, but found that the latch bolt in the lock was stuck and he couldn't get out. He managed to pull the hinge pins, but with the door in the jamb that doesn't really help. Amy, his wife, called Lisa.

I went over with my wonderbar (big flat pry bar) and my pussyfoot (smaller trim pry bar) to offer assistance. I asked Ben if there was a set screw on the door knob on his side of the door (There was) so I passed a butter knife under the door to take the set screw out. When we got the knob and spindle off, it was apparent the spring in the latch bolt had failed. I then pried off the stops on either side of the door (in hindsight I only needed to do the lock side) and with the stops off I could see the latch bolt. Ben slid the butter knife through and pushed and I went from the other side with a putty knife and we got the latch pushed back so Ben could open the door.

He was embarrassed and grateful, Amy was happy she hadn't been the one locked inside as she said she would have hyperventilated after about 10 minutes. Ben said from when he discovered he was stuck until we got him out was only an hour.

In talking to my colleages at work today the comment was made:

What would have happened if Ben had been alone or lived by himself?

The answer of course was that he wouldn't have bothered to shut the door.