Tag Archives: House and Garden

On My List

On My List

Besides painting. Vacuum. Sew. Apply Frontline to cats. Only four cats. Thinking about that still makes me sad. Write a check for band shoes. These shoes are cheap – maybe I’ll make the kids wear them all the time. I can’t think about much else, because I’m tired and headachey and it’s still raining, and now my ear is hurting sharply again. My tooth, ear, and neck have never stopped being a bother since. . .what, December? Maybe November. It’s been a long time, anyway. It’s just that now there’s pain, not just discomfort or ache. I’m going to campaign for the doctor to send me in for an MRI or a CAT scan, whatever will see inside my head the best.

It’s my birthday today. I didn’t remember until hubby wished me a happy birthday when he called to let me know he’d gotten to the office in one piece. Funny how they mean less and less as time goes on. Maybe I’ll get excited and throw a big party in three years when I hit 50. It’s been so long since I’ve thrown a big party, and I used to be the hostess with the mostest. I’ll practice by starting to plan hubby’s 50th – if I can pull that off, then maybe there’s hope for me again. Heh. My milestones, though, are based more on the kids’ milestones, or other happenings in life. For the girls, there are changes, significant events, new things in their lives each year. Presents and parties and such make sense. Presents don’t make sense for someone who doesn’t need to wait for something she/he needs or wants (except waiting to be able to afford it, of course). Parties for the sake of socializing, parties to mark an event that everyone can celebrate instead of making one person the guest of honor, those seem more appealing to me. I might need to bring back the annual housewarming party. If we ever get a friggin’ mason to actually come through, we can have a new walkway party, the way we had a new driveway party at the old house, but minus the chalk and tricycles, I suppose.

I’m not really as depressed or down as I sound here, just weatherbeaten. Since the systems that bring rain or snow wreak such havoc on my sinuses and give me headaches and affect my sleep (which gives me body aches, too) I just feel icky overall. When I feel like this, I look at clutter, unfinished projects, and even things I actually want to do as oppressive – and feel like running away from them rather than doing anything about them. Once I get started, I’ll be much better. I should probably blog after I get something done, rather than before I get motivated to do it, ya think?

It’s Hard to Get Started Today.

It’s Hard to Get Started Today.

There’s nothing to stop me from working on the studio except, well, lack of motivation. Once I actually start, it’ll be fine. It’s a nasty rainy day again, and that always messes with my sinuses, making me tired and headachey. Plus, even though I’m making progress, there’s still enough clutter and disarray (and since we’re waiting for flooring, having things this close to being done but not quite is a nagging little mental irritation) to make me want to run away and hide, not do something to take care of it. I’ll do some other little things to get myself started. Empty the dishwasher. Make the bed. Fold some laundry. Stuff like that. *sigh*

There’s More Paint A-Waitin’

There’s More Paint A-Waitin’

So. . .I can’t do much more in the bedroom until the new floor comes in, and we decide what kind of fabrics and area rugs will work with the new paint and the new floor. However, our new enclosed garage needs to get started in order to begin its new life as an art studio. Rather than make it such a huge project that we’ll start it and then get overwhelmed and not do anything for months, I’m going to paint the walls that have been drywalled and taped and patched, put up the shelves and work surfaces, get that part organized, and we’ll work our way around the room bit by bit.

This isn’t as demanding as a regular room – for one thing, it’s not public, so we can fudge a bit. For another, we’re going to live with it for a year or so and then decide what changes we want to make as far as climate control, wiring and lighting, whether we want to rip out the existing drywall and have it redone the right way with insulation and a good ceiling. . .all that kind of stuff. It’s a tester room. A work in progress.

Because of that, I thought that before going out and spending money on paint, we should see what kind of color we’d get if we mixed the stuff the previous owners had left us, since we’re mostly done with changing all the colors. The family room, all the bedrooms, and the hall are all painted differently, I just have to decide what to do with the bathrooms and the living/office/kitchen area, which all kind of flow into each other. So all that old paint was up for grabs.

Oh, dear.
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No, we didn’t just dump it all together. We really did try to change the color a bit at a time. In spots, you can see where we tried to see if a faux finish technique would lessen the awfulness of this color. Clearly, it didn’t. So now, everything had to get poured back into buckets, to be left open until dry enough to throw away.

Oh, dear, again.
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This is going to take a long, long time. I’d put these outdoors, but it’s pouring rain and looks like it’ll continue to be pouring rain for another day or so. Well, at least we know what color we don’t like.

It’s DONE!!!

It’s DONE!!!

Ah, finally. Now we can move some of the furniture back and see if we like the new layout before we move everything around again to put down a floor. It looks so lovely and cheerful!

It’s nice to see, too, that I haven’t lost my touch, it was just the paint. Using the stuff from Lowe’s, in the hallway, I couldn’t get a crisp, straight line between the wall and trim colors. This time I used Sherwin-Williams, and it looks markedly better. My friend Gayle has suggested this might be the case. . .

I Hate HGTV Right Now.

I Hate HGTV Right Now.

Had to call hubby to figure out why half the electric in the bedroom cut out – it was because I painted close to an outlet that wasn’t attached to its box, which tripped the GFCI in the other room that kept working but shut off everything else without tripping a circuit breaker. Yeah, our electrician couldn’t figure it out, either.

So I’m thinking about these shows that are ticking me off while I’m painting. The “House Hunters” where the buyers manage to find three houses that are bigger than ours, newer than ours, and half the price. The remodeling shows where they agonize whether, with a budget of only $75 thousand, they’ll be able to get the room that fits their needs AND their budget!!!!! Worse still, “If Walls Could Talk”, in which people have to tear things down to find out what the house was like before.

We knew that we’d end up having to fix things no matter what we bought, but we had never expected so many things to go wrong right from the get-go. We might not be wondering how to do a lot of the things we’re now putting off if we hadn’t had so many surprises. Now, we’ve seen only one “House Hunters” that was in NJ, and I bet everyone else who lives here knows why. . .the buyers’ budget was about $400,000, and they wanted to move into Bergen County. BWAHAHAHA!!! That doesn’t make real good television. “They decided on the one-bedroom, 1 bath handyman special with the 25 by 50 foot yard!” And yet. . .we decided to stay in NJ. Oh, well.

So we come to fixing some of the stuff on the inside, now that we’ve blown so much money on the outside. In addition to the paint, we want to get rid of the wall to wall carpet, which is ugly, and has a particular smell that multiple shampooings hasn’t managed to get out completely. We’d like to put in laminate – and when we start figuring prices, we start wondering how realistic it would be to put it in ourselves. OMG. Don’t even go there. We don’t want carpet, but it’s a third the price. And now something really has to be done, because the walls are nice and fresh and bright and orange, and the carpet is shades of dirty dirt-beige and navy.

And finally, we have a fair idea of what the house might have looked like at some point, partly because the neighborhood is a development, with four styles of house, all variations on a theme. Plus, you can look and see where a lot of the remodeling was done. Here in the ceiling – look, this used to be part of another room! You can tell because rather than fixing the ceiling, they put more of that popcorn stuff where the wall used to be! Here’s where one outside door used to be, because they left the concrete stoop sticking out a little and hid it with a bush! And in the room I’m painting, well, one wall is covered with paneling, and there are a couple of mooshy parts that are just the right size for another door and window that were, well, left as holes with paneling slapped up over them. There are no mysteries to be found during remodeling, because all the previous remodeling was done crappily. Some doors were replaced, and some door hardware was replaced, but not all new doors got new hardware or vice versa.

*sigh* As I said, this kind of stuff doesn’t make good television. I wish it did, though, because I’d even let the Design on a Dime people come in at this point. . .

Please Let it be Over!

Please Let it be Over!

Last night we moved more furniture out of the way so I could finish painting. I have nailed, caulked, spackled, taped, primed (except for the spackled parts) and scraped and vacuumed, and soon I’ll sand the spackle and prime it, then start cutting in. I’m so tired. And sore. This is just paint, too. When it’s done, we need to get the stinky carpet up once we figure out what else we can do with the floor. Plus decide on curtains and bedding. Which I’ll have to hang and hem. There are definitely times I’m not happy that I know how to do all this stuff myself.

Much More Than Priming!

Much More Than Priming!

I was on a roll yesterday. I primed the trim on the 2 1/2 walls that don’t have furniture against them, and since hubby did the driving for our saxophone chick, I did the first coat on those walls, too. It is really, really orange. I like it! I’m getting a slow start today, because I had to wake S.C. up for band camp, then head out to Walgreens and the deli for the things she forgot to tell me she needed all weekend long. I’m finishing another cup of coffee, then I have to set up all the paint and dropcloths and put on coat number two. A mason is supposedly coming this afternoon to look at the house for an estimate, but I’m not planning to drop everything and clean up before his scheduled appointment, given the mason reliability situation so far.

By the time I get all the way around with the wall paint, I should be able to break out the trim color. Lighter orange. It’s going to look so nice. . .

Today I Will Prime.

Today I Will Prime.

Yesterday, hubby and I tackled the bedroom, moving enough stuff out so two walls are clear to paint, nailing in the mouldings, pulling out picture nails and hangers, and spackling and caulking. Today I’ll tape the rug by the trim, sand the spackle, and prime the trim and patches. That’s it. Tomorrow I’ll paint the two walls.

Doing it bit by bit will prolong the agony of having a bedroom in disarray, but it’s more realistic and will give me time for other things that aren’t painting. That’s a good thing.

I have to avoid messing up the horrible wall-to-wall any more than it already is, because we figured out how much it will cost to put in laminate flooring. Ouch. Before we do that, I need to find a reliable paving person. So far, we’ve had one mason who scheduled and broke two appointments and never called again, one who’s supposed to be doing work for the next-door neighbors who hasn’t shown up for them, another who cancelled and rescheduled, then didn’t show up for the second appointment and didn’t call, and a landscaper who rescheduled three times before he stopped returning our phone calls. This is nuts. At this rate, I’d better learn how to pour concrete myself. Before we get a new bedroom floor, we really need a safe front walkway. Getting a reliable masonry person around here, though, is harder than getting anything else we’ve tried so far.

It Starts off Small

It Starts off Small

Everything does. Nothing is easy when it comes to home fixups, reorganization, you know the drill.

As I’ve said before, the house we’re in now was “fixed” by the previous owners. It is clear to us that much of the work was done quickly to help sell the house, and that in addition to that, they weren’t exactly experienced handymen. However, that was the case in the old house, too. Since this one is a hundred years younger, there hasn’t been as much opportunity to really mess things up, and most of the repairs can be tackled with a trip to Lowe’s instead of a search for an expensive restoration expert.

Our exterior work is done, and since we had to move all the furniture so the new window could be installed in our bedroom, hubby and I decided we might as well paint now. I love to paint, I really do, but I hate the prep. Boy, is there a lot of prep. the previous owners installed the bathroom door, the sliding glass door, and all the mouldings themselves. We knew is was poorly done, but put up a window treatment without giving much attention, figuring we weren’t ready to tackle the room quite yet. Now that it has to happen, lookie here what I found!
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Yeah, they put the doors in, but didn’t make sure they were flush with the wall. The door mouldings are, therefore, nailed into the wall, but have gaps at the door edge that range from almost touching to 3/4″ apart. It looks like when they got to the slider, they figured what the heck, let’s just hang the curtains, and it was suspended from one nail at the top. It took an entire tube of caulk to fill the gaps on one of the slider uprights and the bathroom door uprights. At least the guy who put the main door in for us did it right, but I have three walls of mouldings that need to be nailed, caulked, and primed.

So, ready to make a change, filled with optimism and energy, I dove into work yesterday.

I switched the furniture between the living room and the family room. I emptied the china out of the breakfront, moved it, and refilled it. I went through the family room closet and discarded the junk, set aside the stuff to save, and made one collection of stuff to donate, and a pile to assemble into a gift basket to auction for a Marching Band fundraiser. I dismantled the wire shelves, measured that closet and the girls’ closets for additional shelving, and made a list for shopping. I got the kids to go through the stuff in the old toybox, and sort out keepers and tossers, cleaned out the box, and called someone who might want it. I did laundry, and took out old towels to bring to the animal shelter.

I did not nail. I did not caulk. I did not paint.

But I did get a lot of stuff done.

Now, today I do have to get those shelves, and maybe while someone else puts them up and two other someone elses put things away on them, I’ll do some prep. We’ll have to see. Because, of course, nothing’s that simple. In addition to going out to get the shelves and dropping off the towels, I need to go to two animal shelters and put up signs around the neighborhood, because Rhonda’s gone missing. After I watched TV for a bit last night with the family, I spent over an hour looking for pictures of her on the computer so I could make a missing poster. She’s been using the dog door to go into the back yard for a while, but she learned how to climb the fence. She did it once, and we found her relaxing by the front door, waiting to be let back in. Then she did it again, and we haven’t seen her since. It’s been long enough that if she were going to be brought in to a shelter, she’ll be there. We’ve taken walks and have found no sign of her, dead or alive, within blocks. If we don’t find her, we can hope that she was taken in by someone who doesn’t have one of those canine creatures that pissed her off so much. We’ll see.
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So now it’s noon. I slept really late this morning. I’ll get myself started and we’ll see how much actually gets accomplished. I’m indulging my inner compulsive tasker this weekend.