Friday, January 31, 2014

she wears snow well

The weather is finally looking up, so keep your fingers crossed that the ice releases it's evil grip off our roof and gutters soon.

We've managed to stay busy though, doing something that we finally have time to work on, the third floor! When we bought the house, there wasn't a single room up there that you couldn't see through to the outside in multiple spots, the ceilings included. After living in a sieve the first winter and spring I now have a new-found fear of rain, snow and thunderstorms. These leaks weren't bucket leaks; they were put plastic sheeting on the floors and try to direct the torrents down the stairs leaks. After restoring the slate roof and copper built-in gutters we no longer have "skylights," but there is ample daylight coming through the raccoon sized holes in the soffits and eaves, which paired with the collapsed plaster walls lets in quite the howling gale. Repairing the last 5 spaces (the landing, three bedrooms and a bathroom, the fourth bedroom is already mostly done) consists of cleaning out the rooms, removing the painted wallpaper from the walls and ceiling, repairing the eaves and plaster, and doing the floors. All of the windows are in dire shape, but that's a project for a (much) warmer day. Since my hands are killing me from scraping for the past week (5 hours a day, and one room is done!), how about I just post some before pictures?


Bear in mind these before photos were taken from strategic angles in order not to terrify our parents (yes, these are the rooms' "good sides"). I don't know why it didn't occur to me to ever take more, but maybe someday the memories will fade without the photographic evidence to remind me.

Monday, January 20, 2014

clear a path

Getting things done would be so much easier if cool stuff didn't keep getting in the way...

We haven't had a week like this in a while. A house of antique wavy glass windows (including three stained glass transoms with a single textured purple glass pane), a tramp art parlor set, some estate sale nonsense and a rather fantastic chandelier, with extra shades... Also, since we had a trailer rented, we'd be remiss if we didn't buy blueboard too. Real work posts to come soon, you know, once we clear a path through the house again...

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

the doctor will see you now

So I watched Day After tomorrow to learn how to prepare for this whole polar vortex thing - apparently survival depends on how many books you have around to burn. I guess I'll be fine.

But really Pittsburgh, -15 with -26 windchill, a bit ridiculous me thinks (as has been this whole winter in fact). Incidentally, none of the foams and caulks and adhesives I need to use to seal up the gaping holes in the third floor eaves can be used in temps below 40, so, so much for beginning to repair the plaster (i.e. my house is cold folks, really, really cold, and my gas bill? We just won't talk about that here). While I'm ranting, I tried to convince my dogs to read my Facebook feed, filled with kindhearted warnings about pets being outside, frostbite and putting booties on your furry friends. My fuzzy gremlins however made me chase them around the yard for 30 minutes in my bathrobe and slippers to get them back inside (-26 folks!), they certainly don't seem to care one iota about my frostbite - typical vain, stubborn shibas, they didn't even put booties on me...

At the moment, blogland is filled with posts about New Years resolutions and such, but I never really even made a Christmas post, so behold, my 10 foot tall Christmas tree (noble fir, like every year), and if you want to be cool like me you'll cover it in rocks and glass owls. Oh, you didn't have a grandfather who was a Navajo-style jeweler and rock-hound with thousands of sliced stones, or an Aunt who sends you stunning glass owls every year (and makes you gorgeous tree skirts)? I'm sad for you...

obligatory stealth cat shot
Fun with curly tailed dogs

As for New Years, as an awesome friend said, "we rung the shit out of it." Indeed, the schoolbell got quite a workout at midnight, as did our firepit and liquor cabinet. And in a pleasant turn of events, not only did our illegal fireworks (bought when we drove through North Carolina) not get us arrested or burn the house down, they caught the attention of some fantastic neighbors who moved in over the summer (the ones I met in my paint splattered glory up on the scaffold, ahhh summer). I suppose an evening of non-stop Christopher Walken impressions and Cards Against Humanity until 6 in the morning means we hit it off just fine!

I have started finishing the last of the kitchen cabinet painting, i.e. the operating table is fully loaded.

It was going fine until I went to reinstall the worst of the doors today. It had looked like someone switched the direction the door opened, and had patched the original screw holes badly. As it turns out, at some point in it's 80 year lifespan the door must have been broken off both directions it had been installed, leaving sheared off screws in the holes. I broke 4 of my impossible to match antique screws and my favorite drill bit before I wised up. The door's installed, but I need to extract the broken screw shafts and do some patching. So very not happy...

the offending door is on the bottom left

The cabinets should be done by the weekend, so one less thing on the kitchen to-do list, and even better will be getting all the doors out of the way and the hardware installed before it gets lost for good!