Monday, June 16, 2008

The Good, The Bad, The Ugly....

It seems like any project undertaken around here drags on for an eternity... I have still not finished painting the inside of the house ( it was "supposed" to be done before we moved in) but the thought of dragging out the drop cloth and paint cans gives me hives. It also doesn't help that the trim waiting for its second coat is in our TV /Guest room which is home to a antique shop assortment of furniture, only some of which is actually serving a purpose. On the drawing board is a glorious wall of bookshelves/ work desk for the end wall which would actually give us a place to properly store our collection of books and other assorted stuff, but its down the list. Way Down. At least until I can't stand it anymore and actually get the thing designed and built..

The other eternal project around here ( other than my rants) is the #@$^&!! sprinkler system. Being blessed with a corner lot (with a front row seat to the endless array of near collisions) and a really Long parkway strip between the street and the sidewalk which needs to be sprinkled so I have nice green grass and shady trees rather than dirt rocks and weeds. With the lousy ground I am cursed with here (calling it soil or dirt is being too nice) I can only trench about 15 feet a night after work and install a single sprinkler head. I have two more to go one one side and then I get to move to the front of the house where I have 4 tree stumps to get rid of and then trench and run pipe... After that I can actually do the front yard itself, by which time it should be November ( I will NOT say what year) .

The Good. The bright spot is that I do have one of the flowerbeds along the side of the house done, and with the roses, foxgloves and delphiniums planted and the whole thing mulched , it actually looks nice. One needs to have a finished area, no matter how small to feel better about where it is headed.

The Bad.... (Those are the rocks I have dug up so far)

The Ugly. The sad, sad, backyard. I always wanted a backyard, I just hadn't planned on the piles of scrap metal, piles of concrete and waist high weeds) The view in the photo is the future home of a nice brick patio for martini hour... Seeing this picture makes me want a martini NOW...
Well, we have to get the before pictures from somewhere right? Its just nicer when you can blame the before on the Previous Owners, although in the case of this place they left us lots of really interesting surprises.....

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Somtimes, you should listen to the little voices in your head.

Tonight was one of those nights where everything that could go wrong with a project did... an spectacularly so. I managed to burn my hands, my arm hair, and buy a tool I already had.
This project actually is a result of my ongoing sprinkler installation, and happened because I located the main waterline with the pick ax last week. Who knew that the #%##^#^ that installed the new waterline would put it three inches below the surface where I would mistake it for a rock, that was until the "rock" started trickling water. since I just dented it where the pipe goes into an elbow, and it was a very small leak, I decided to ignore it and continue my sprinkler line and get to it later or I secretly hoped it would plug itself up. Well, I decided that today was the day I was going to fix the bugger, and on the way home, something told me to put it off another day. I ignored that thought and went to Home Depot, got my copper fittings, came home, turned off the water , dug up the line and set to work heating the joint so I could pop off the solder..and so 20 minutes later the solder still had not popped and so I resorted to cutting the pipe on one end thinking I could heat the joint and wiggle it off. after another 20 minutes the elbow actually deformed and started to soften from the heat, but it was firmly attached to the other line, which could not be cut because it runs under the sidewalk. I was using another piece of copper pipe slipped into the cut off side, but it heated up and burned my hand. Finally, the cut off side Fell off because of the heat and used a pair of pliers to wrench the ^%^^&$^$ elbow off, and finally, after all that it came off a twisted and contorted mess. So, it now being 7:15pm, I cut the new section, prepped the surfaces for soldering, and slipped them onto the pipes in the ground. I had incorrectly measured a bit, so it all came off, got re-cut and went back on, ready to be soldered. I fire up the torch, and as I tip it to touch the fittings, a FIREBALL comes up and singes my arm hair. No matter how may times I take the head of the torch off, blow it out, etc it shoot out flames. Thinking I am maybe running out of gas, I get another canister from the basement and encounter the same issue. At this point is almost 8PM and with no water so in a panic, I got back to Home Depot, buy a new torch, get back, and the new one does the same thing. I try a variety of positions and it finally starts working normally, all though the flame is not as consistent and keeps blowing out. I solder the four joints, and then turn on the water - now the trickle is a dribble in a different spot and I am DONE for the night since its slightly better than before.. I think I will try again next week.....In the meantime, back to digging trenches for sprinklers and pulling up more rocks.....

Sunday, June 8, 2008


Well, I am both very excited and little guilty at the same time for my latest purchase. I have been focus on the sprinkler and landscaping project, and this week I finished the first flowerbed along the side of the house. I got five roses planted along with several foxgloves and delphiniums and put in a nice border of blue lobeila, which will grow in to big masses of brilliant blue flowers. The mulch is down, so I won't have to worry about the soil drying out or weeds, so it should prove to be both beautiful and low maitenece
The naughty purchase was a result of a trip to our local salvage yard to get materials for Steve's latest purchase - a 1926 bungalow with river rock columns that will be rented out.
Out of the deal I am ending up with the houses claw foot tub, sans the claw feet. By 1926, Claw feet were very old fashioned and so a resourceful builder boxed in the tub and tiled it in, which was redone in the 1960's with neat mosaic tile but had suffered terrible water damage. In any case, the as much as we love the old tubs, the hardware is non standard and they are harder to maintain, so we have decided to remove the tub and replace it with a standard tub/shower unit. The claw foot will be installed here at some point, as I want to restore the bath back to 1910. For now, we will store it until I am ready to redo the bath.

In any case, as I am innocently looking at replacement bedroom doors for his house, I spotted the PERFECT front door for this house - It was exactly what I had envisioned and lovely. So I measured it, convinced it would not fit, and came home only to find IT was a perfect fit. So although we are on a tight budget & front door replacement projects are way down on the list, I dreamed about the door all week and so we went down today and I bought it....So now, I just have to repair the lock holes ( someone drilled a hole for a deadbolt) and replace the front door frame ( As is the case with ever other door frame in the house, it has been massacred) But its fabulous. We got it home, and before we hiked it down to the basement for repairs, I set it in its new home and wow do I love it....