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Category: Home improvement

A simple, quiet, sunshiny day

Is that boring, or what? Isn’t it funny that the parts of life that are the best often make the dullest reading? Boy and girl meet and never have a moment’s discord. Who wants to read that? Towering couple screaming at each other as if they were actors in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Couple being pulled separately through the gates of hell. That’s what we like. Even oil-and-water rom-com cuties finding their way through dating mishaps to True Love. The good stuff is boooooooring. War stories. Murder mysteries. Tragic or violent family sagas. That’s what we really like. But…

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My Mrs. Winchester gene

Six months after my family moved into the first brand-new house my parents ever bought, Mom started directing my father to remove or move walls and change various other things. This was a perfectly ordinary three-bedroom tract house in a blue-collar neighborhood. It was laid out in a fairly obvious way. There was not much you could do with it. But for the next 20 years my mother conducted a ceaseless rebuilding campaign. She joked that she was born with the Mrs. Winchester gene. I believed it. And early on it was clear I’d inherited it. Other women move furniture,…

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It is not encouraging …

… that whenever I ask The Wandering Monk, handyman extraordinaire, how to handle a house problem, his answer involves matches. And sometimes accelerants. Nevertheless — progress. I can now state that the foundation of the house is as stable, level, and rot-free as it’s ever going to get. Additions to the understructure have been done with ground-contact treated materials. Dubious portions of the periphery that couldn’t be fully corrected with new wood have been bug sprayed and preservative treated to the max. Whew. There’s still more to do on the current phase of The Great Foundation and Screen Porch Project.…

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Oy, such a day

The Great Foundation and Screen Porch Project, Phase II, commenced yesterday. Somehow I wasn’t expecting The Wandering Monk to need to tear off all the siding off the east wall on that part of the house. Good thing he did, though, as it was the classic good news/bad news case. The siding came off completely intact and both it and the upper walls were in fine shape. A pleasant surprise. The lower walls suffered rot, of course (no surprise at all). And we found termites. But we found them in a place it would have been surprising not to find…

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The joys of goofing off

I sometimes do nothing useful. I rarely ever goof off. The perils of being self-employed and working at home. With nothing to distinguish on-duty hours from off-duty, work becomes a preoccupation even (and sometimes especially) when I’m not doing it. Thursday I mentioned a project I had been Not Doing but thinking about. A lot. It’s a portrait of a black dog. I don’t know of anything harder to portray than black fur, especially when using an inherently matte and thin medium like colored pencil. Thursday afternoon and Friday, I finally sat down to do it. As so often happens,…

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Weather, work, rest, and the damned dog

Ninety-seven degrees yesterday. We go from January-in-June to too darned hot. I reminded myself Joel had it worse. I could at least keep the inside temps down (and I see that as of today, Joel has some hope for that, too; yay, Joel). Not until after 8:00 last night did it cool to pleasantness. I hauled the computer outside and completed a long and overdue pair of emails to a friend. That felt good. It was already 75 at 6:00 this morning, and 80 on our morning dog walk. But that’s where the day decided to settle. Low 80s with…

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Summertime and the projects are rollin’

Finally. Summer made it. After January returned last Thursday, after a solid week of downpour that held up projects in May, after chilly, overcast weeks between, Summer decided to show up today. Reportedly it’s even going to stick around. I spent the day outdoors, trimming brush and burning a heap of construction rubble (only one of several, but it sure felt good). The wood was so rain-saturated it took an hour to get the fire going, but once it caught, the whole neighborhood knew it. As you can imagine from the way the early stages of the Great Foundation and…

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Done for now (and a question for you tool guys)

First we were halted by rot beyond measure. Then by a week of rain. Then by The Wandering Monk machete-chopping his shin. But after all that, we reached our first goal on The Great Foundation and Screen Porch Project. We are finished for the time being. We started May 1 and wrapped up May 31. There’s obviously a lot still to be done, but I’m delighted. The porch was a good piece of improvisation once we discovered how bad the back end of the house was. The bedroom is now small, but the “flow” from room to porch to outdoors…

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Ruminations

Yesterday I woke early, intending to blog about my peaceful, happy Memorial Day weekend. Before I could sit down to it, I got word from a friend that another friend was racing to the scene of a family tragedy. One person was dead. Another’s life would be irreparably altered, not for the better. Torn between my personal contentment and my friend’s catastrophe, what could I write? Nothing at that moment and even now nothing more than some cliched observation on life’s vicissitudes. Even the phrase “life’s vicissitudes” seems gratingly pat and bromidic. I don’t know the circumstances of the tragedy…

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A room with a view, take 2

Today we worked nine hours, by far our longest day on the Great Foundation and Screen Porch Project. When I say “we” I really mean we. The Wandering Monk got very serious about utilizing my minion services. I got very little rest and no blogging time. But the Room with a View is now becoming a room that has a view despite having (almost) a complete wall on it. From the outside, looking in through the future screen porch: From the inside as the Monk packs up for the day: Isn’t that door a beauty? I’ve had it for nearly…

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