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Category: Home improvement

More from 1925

I intended to include this in last night’s post, but it didn’t quite fit. You won’t be surprised to learn that Mssrs. Harris, McHenry & Baker, homebuilders of 1925 disapproved of renting. Sorry, renters but aside from the full page of sentimental and financial arguments they print in the back of their plan book, they go so far as to sniff at you for not exercising your full rights of citizenship. Still, they had a point. To wit: Click to embiggenate if you can’t see the figures, but they’re showing what a household’s “rent-paying habit” (yes, that’s what they call…

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Ideals, aspirations, and advertising

I don’t indulge in the boxes of freebies the thrift store puts out; they’re usually loaded with junk. But Friday morning, a huge number of the freebies were … art books! Oldish art books, but in good shape; once obviously some painter’s cherished possession. I grabbed seven or eight, and along with them the book on the right, 101 Classic Homes of the Twenties, with floor plans and photographs. 101 Classic Homes is one of those marvelous books Dover does, where they find some quirky, usually artsy, material in the public domain and reprint it. In this case, it’s a…

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Midweek musings

I got up early this morning and the quality of the moonlight slanting in from the west was so striking it reminded me of that old barbershop quartet song. Orion appeared above the trees, fully visible for the first time this season. Through a trick of the light, it stood alone. While moonlight and mist obscured most stars, Orion was clear and strong. Even the fuzzy “stars” of his sword were visible. Although generally when it comes to the sky I couldn’t tell Cassiopeia from the Perseid meteor shower, I learned to love this constellation when I was a kid…

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Not Indian summer …

… because we’re a month or more away from our first frost. But after a rainy September we’re in the midst of mild, sunny days. Sunny days have meant only one thing to me all summer: Accomplish work on the house. We (and I) did enough of that to turn Ye Olde Wreck officially into the Mo Saoirse Hermitage, but there’s still a bit of this, bit of that. I’ve begun each dry morning with a to-do list. Yesterday I was good and did everything I planned. Today … well, I got started, though I ended up doing a different…

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The time has come …

… the Walrus said, “To talk of many things: Of shoes–and ships–and sealing-wax– Of cabbages–and kings– And why the sea is boiling hot– And whether pigs have wings.” Erm. No, actually that’s not the time that has come. My brain just flipped Lewis Carroll-ward when I wrote the subject line. An entirely different time has come. After 5 years and 4.25 months, the exterior of Ye Olde Wreck no longer reveals any wreckage. The interior, though not cosmetically complete, is entirely livable. Plumbing and electrical are upgraded and working. The roof and foundation are in good shape. The insulation is…

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Done (mostly) but disappointed

The race against the clock fall rains is over. We had pleasant showers last night and the region’s most esteemed meteorologist says that’s it: Summer is officially done and we’ll be seeing a lot more such “pleasantness.” After darned near doing myself in on Wednesday, I slowed my pace of work. As a result there’s still miscellaneous trim, touch-up, and clean-up remaining. But I did finish the gutters at 2:00 yesterday afternoon, a few hours before light rain moved in. That was the last big, important thing — the last thing that couldn’t somehow be made to fit between showers.…

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DIY lesson #237684: Being stupid despite knowing better

I could barely drag myself outside to work to work this morning. Partly that’s because today’s goal was 40 feet of continuous gutter, including two downspout drops and two outside corners and two glued connectors. I was apprehensive about doing that. It’s the longest span and it’s not a one-person task. Partly it’s just that I’m ready for The Big Break, which I can’t take until Friday when the rains come. At 10:00 a.m. I finally ran out of excuses. Out to the sunny south side I went. At first the main problem was me. I had the dropsies and…

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Starting to wear down + random links

After a drizzly start on Saturday, the holiday weekend morphed into sheer perfection. I took advantage by trimming, caulking, painting, and planning the layout of gutters. Now I’m beat. I need to spend a day paying bills, catching up on email, cleaning house, and other non-building matters. But the weather gods say we have just three days of sunny skies before five days of rain. Back outside I go. Back up and down the ladder. Back into drippy paint and ooey glue and bending those nails that don’t want to be hammered into unlikely places. Back to the twisty physical…

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Looks good. But will it last the winter? That’s the question.

So there’s the most recent addition to Ye Olde Wreck: a clear acrylic porch cover to keep the worst winter rains from blowing in under the front door. So far so good and I look forward to sitting under it when the first gentle fall rains arrive. But will it last the winter? That’s the question. The structure was designed to hold a 1/4-inch flat sheet of plexiglas that would bear up through a nuclear blast. Well, at least through the gale-force winds that sometimes clobber this very exposed corner. Substituting fragile corrugated acrylic was a risk. But I think…

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