Monday, February 26, 2007

Oh Lordy! Well, it's mostly sanded now but I keep running into sticky little problems that have to be fixed - like the rotten and crumbling "kick-plate" under the counter. I removed it tonight and need to replace it tomorrow. And a few pieces of mudroom window trim with the old termite damage but since this house was hand built replacing this is going to require that I reove a couple of pieces that I would prefer not to have to remove. And I'm having one heck of a time trying to uninstall that bathroom exhaust thing. I know I can call on Ramiro for any and all of this if I get stuck but I'd rather do the creative problem solving thing and figure it out on my own. Anyway, here is the hell that is my kitchen right now:

The other thing is that I couldn't choose a paint color if my life depended on it. I do not want this thing to be white white on white with white so I'm looking at sage greens but somehow I'm not confident with that choice. No blues. I want the trim and cabinets to be clean white but I'd like to go with a green I think - kind of pull in the backyard view. SIGH.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Kitchens and On-Line Dating

The kitchen project is progressing. Ramiro and his crew of 2 cursed me with their wonderful work last week. Since then I have tried to spend a couple of hours every night sanding woodwork in prep for painting and fixing things and sanding some more and with any luck by tomorrow night I should be in a position where I can wake up Saturday and start scrubbing everything down. My goal for the weekend is to get all walls and woodwork primed at least.

Today on my lunch break I went to Lowe's and ordered the range hood. The CONtractor who flipped this house installed a bathroom exhaust above the stove and it is the most ineffective godawful greasepit you could imagine. At Christmas 2004 Mom and Dad gave me a Lowe's gift card because I told them I wanted a real range hood. Today I finally spent it. The hood should be in in 8 - 10 days which I figure will give me time to get the painting done.

I totally get flipping houses and in fact I think it would be great to try it. Of course I probably would not make a dime because I believe in trying one's best to do things right. The longer I live in the house the more I see the stupid shortcuts that were taken for the sake of a few bucks. For instance the range hood/bathroom exhaust. A cheap range hood is $30. And not taping drywall seams or taping them with masking tape which holds for about 5 years and then crumbles? We're talking what? $4.00 for a roll of seam tape? And about 10 minutes of mudding and sanding? How about painting over 50 year old termite damage instead of spending $2.00 and 10 minutes to replace a tiny piece of trim? I could choke this guy.

I'll post photos later but now I'm on the laptop.

A few weeks ago a friend kind of coerced me into joining and it has at the least provided me with some entertainment. My profile is about as honest as you could get. I posted one of the only recent existing photos of me where I am totally windblown and sweaty and showing a bit of a second chin and in my profile I say openly that I allowed myself to get out of shape and overweight in the past 5 years but I am working on it and enjoying the process of reversing it. Honestly I kind of am daring anyone to take interest in me because I think it would take a daring and understanding man to put up with me and I'm not interested in misleading someone and then meeting them only to disappoint them. I am what I am and finally I am OK with that. I say openly that "hot" doesn't mean a lot to me - we will all someday end up with our teeth in a glass at night and need help getting in and out of the bathtub and in the end it is the ability to be a friend and companion that means the most to me.

What just kills me is the guys on this site. They have user names like "thestudmuffin," "hard69," "slowneasy," and "gr8lvr." Yeah right. Give me a break here. I am not a prude by any means (seriously - NOT A PRUDE - I can get nekkid with the best of them) but what makes these guys think that is a real turn on as a user name on a dating site? Am I missing something? I read these and all I can think is "tiny limp dick." I would so much rather find this out on my own than be informed of it online before I know you! Methinks the lady doth protest too much. This is so entirely funny to me. And then there are the guys who post a photo of their 300 pound 5'7" selves and describe themselves as "average" or "fit and trim" and specify that they are only looking for a "slender" gal. Or even better the guys who feel the need to get all poetic and romantic in their profile. How could they ever live up to this and still keep a job? "I want you to walk along the banks of the river with me in autumn . . . oh yeah, and then scrub my toilets and make dinner."

I am now considering this to be an experiment in human nature and the difference between the sexes. I amuse myself by sending emails to guys and telling them I am sure we're not a match but I just had to tell you you look like Will Ferrell or I know you only want a fit and trim woman but I'm a bit fat and I think you're cute. It's interesting. What I know for sure is that some day the right man will appear or he won't. In any case I am happy. It is the journey that interests me.

I so apologize for my rather crude comments here but seriously!

Friday, February 16, 2007

I'm a wreck.

Ramiro called at 7:30 am yesterday to let me know he would be here today between 8 and 9. At 8 am (precisely) he called me to let me know he was going to get the sander at Home Depot and would be here around 9.

It's 1:12 pm. Ramiro and his crew had sanded down the ceilings of both rooms by 10:30 this morning and by 11:45 had gotten the first coat of mud on AND fixed 3 cracks in the mudroom walls without me even asking.

It's just so stupid but I'm an emotional wreck. To see this work being done has so inspired me. They left for lunch at 11:45 and after I had a good hard cry on the phone with Mom I went in and have now sanded most of the pepto-bismol pink trim in prep for painting. This is a project that realistically would have taken me years and now in one morning it is already mostly ready for the finishing (painting, etc.). My home is chaos. My bike and worm farm are in the bedroom, the portable dishwasher is beside the computer. There is drywall dust all over. But the progress that has been made in the past 5 hours astounds me. I still think it's a couple of months before it is "right" but I'm on the ball now thanks to Ramiro. This might cost $500 - $600 which for me is huge but at this point worth every penny.

Will check in again later - now back to sanding.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Ramiro, my love, my dearest, my knight in shining whatever!

Ramiro is going to save the day. He had something come up last weekend and couldn't get here to do the estimate on my kitchen and mudroom ceiling but he called today and has just left me.

Here's what he's going to do. He (with a helper) is going to rent one of those industrial sanders with a pole and a vacuum attachment and will sand it down some of the way, then put a fresh smoother coat of mud on it. Easier and cheaper than covering it all over with new sheetrock, and certainly easier and cheaper than tearing it all out and starting over. It still ain't cheap by any means but this is something I can't do myself (and after my experimentation I wouldn't want to).

He thinks this will be able to take place next Friday/Saturday but is going to call and let me know later in the week.

My job: Move everything possible into other parts of the house, remove the ceiling fan, and try to cover as much as possible with plastic. Ugh. It doesn't look like a lot but it's a lot, and this is a small house.

It really hurts to think about paying the money but this has been hanging over my head far too long and it's time to get on with it.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

I've been knitting easy stuff for several years now - baby blankets and scarves and such. Finally my baby sister gave me an easy knitting patterns book at Christmas and I decided to try a sweater. It was a very simple pattern - really a glorified sweatshirt - knit with chunky yarn on big needles. I've been working on it about 2 1/2 weeks. Tonight I came home and worked in the final loose ends and here is the result (prior to washing, which will soften a great deal):


And on a totally different note - as I was leaving work today I turned on the radio and heard the news about the death of Anna Nicole Smith. It was one of those celebriaty deaths where my first thought was it was wrong. Like Sonny Bono and John Ritter. Surely the news got it wrong. But it's true. I checked it out on the internet when I got home and the internet is never wrong.

Not that I was a fan, and not that I ever watched her reality show. But she was a character and I have a great deal of respect for anyone who is a character as a living. I think her only claim to fame was being a character. She was stupid/smart. Stupid outwardly but so ingenious in keeping herself out there soaking up media attention. She was beautiful, even without makeup. With makeup she was a tragic goddess of pseudo-beauty. In her life she certainly achieved what she wanted and for this I have great respect. My greatest respect was for the fact that she alwyas was so beautiful and her lip gloss was such perfection. When I wear lip gloss it gets gunky and god forbid I should blow my nose while wearing it - white kleenex flecks imbed themselves and I look like that monster from Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. Anna could wear lip gloss to perfection.

Her life was tragic and self-inflicted and as much a guilty pleasure for me as a one pound honey bun. Delicious. I wanted to be her but only once a year for about 2 minutes.

She was not even yet 40 but I predict she is the Marilyn of the 21st century.

RIP Anna Nicole! Ganbatte doll! You were so wonderful - I will miss the enjoyment.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Dare I mention that I am excited? Usually when I'm excited about something and I mention it it turns out to be a bust or I don't follow through. I am hoping this is not the case this time.

About 2 weeks ago I was organizing my flash drive and came across a document I put together this time last year. It went room by room in my small house and step by step of what needed to be done. When I do something in the house I want it done right so I don't just go out and buy a gallon of paint and slap it up. I do all the prep work first, and in a 100+ year old house where 3 out of the 4 rooms have wooden tongue-in-groove walls AND ceilings this is no small feat.

So anyway I was looking over my grand plans and realized I accomplished exactly 1/20th of my list last year. I got pretty depressed with myself. Of course I did have big surgery last year and major yard work to deal with after my year in Japan. And of course I did go through every closet and drawer and de-cluttered and got rid of a lot of crap that was screwing with my chi. I did purchase a beautiful unfinished wood file cabinet and sanded and finished it. And then there was the kitchen table project. So it wasn't like I sat on my ass eating bon-bons and watching the soaps, but I really did nothing to improve the value of my home.

Within 4 days of finding my list I got online and was able to cross one item off when I found and ordered a great ceiling fan for my living room (the only room in the house that has been "done" even though there are still a few things to deal with). Of course it will ship mid-February and I will have to put it up but I've put up ceiling fans before and know this will be an hour of time.

There are two things in this house that just depress me beyond belief, and I put forth effort every day to ignore them and remain in a state of denial. The first is my extra bathroom. It is partially gutted, though the sink and toilet are functional and as long as I keep the shower curtain closed no one can tell.

The second is the damned textured ceiling treatments in my kitchen and mud room. I know I've talked about this before and I've even posted photos of my work on them. The ceilings were textured by someone using (and I'm guessing here) a natural sea sponge dipped in sheetrock mud. The result is this spikey pattern which I just have an aversion to. To add insult to injury they were never primed or painted, so it's just the mud. Especially in the kitchen these little spikes collect dust and cooking dirt and cobwebs and when I try to remove them with a broom or webster it does nothing but smear the dust and dirt and webs around. Forget washing the ceiling. So I've been on a mission to get rid of the texture. I started with a wet rag and elbow grease and soon decided it would take me 100 years and cripple me. Then I decided to bite the bullet and took my random orbital sander to them. I sealed off the area with plastic sheeting and duct tape but the dust still got everywhere - it was miserable. It also didn't work very well and was extremely slow going. Then I tried using a sprayer bottle of water, saturating a small area and scraping it off. Very slow and messy, and even taking great care I still made gouge marks in the sheetrock. All of this work happened in the small mudroom. I couldn't imagine trying to do the kitchen, which is much larger and has much higher ceilings. At one point I thought I would just go ahead and get a really fluffy roller and just paint over the dirt and dust and cobwebs with a high gloss paint. But of course my main thing here is it needs to be washable and that would not have helped in the least.

Last night I was lying in bed and all of this started going through my head when it occurred to me that it would be much faster and easier to rip out the old textured sheetrock and just start fresh. This afternoon I got on and found a sheetrock guy nearby with glowing recommendations. I printed out his info. Got stuck in traffic on the way home so pulled out the cell and called him. He's going to come over tomorrow afternoon to give me an estimate. I explained the problem and what I was thinking about pulling it all out and starting over so he would know what to expect. A few minutes after we hung up he called back and told me it would be much less expensive to simply apply new sheetrock on top of the existing ceiling! COOL! I already like this guy!

So I am excited beyond belief. If I can get this done it will be only a small drop in the bucket for what really needs to happen in the kitchen but it will be a huge start and will at least allow me to have a clean ceiling in there so maybe I will be inspired to continue. Of course the mudroom ceiling is already too low so that will indeed have to be ripped out or I will have to just decide to go ahead and scrape it or I can do the demolition myself and he can just walk in and do the new sheetrock. At any rate I am making progress!

Forward motion always feels good.

PS - spellcheck doesn't like the word sheetrock! HAHAHA!