Month: March 2007

One down…

Y’all are too young to remember Joe Btfsplk, from Li’l Abner the comic strip. I’ve insisted from time to time that the little black cloud, filled with thunder and lightning, that perched perpetually over his head has passed on to me. I have more proof.

Astute readers will recall that I have become too short to have gotten the final two screws of the shelf standards, in the upper left and upper right corners, into the closet wall and had to rely on the kindness of others, if not strangers. Dave made me feel better because even with extra inches, he couldn’t get them in, so I figured maybe I wasn’t quite as incompetent as I felt; Rob managed to muscle them in by dint of being both Taller and Larger.

Then Saturday, after Grandma asked for special food and then stood me up (another whole story), I stopped by Lowe’s to have the shelves, which I had carefully measured, checked, and re-checked no fewer than FIVE TIMES for proper size, cut. After the cutting lady’d cut four shelves, I thought they looked a bit narrower than 20″ ought to look. Sure enough, she’d been cutting 16″ shelves. Great. So she started over. And eventually got them cut.

After I finished work today, I started putting in the brackets to hold the New Closet Shelves. Great excitement! Finally, I can start putting away some of the piled-to-the-ceiling-in-the-bathtub-and-corners stuff!

They went in fine.

I took the first shelf, managaggled myself with it onto the ladder, expecting to drop it neatly into place. I shall skip over the comedy show that was I trying to lift and maneuver the shelf. But once placed, it wouldn’t go in. Tried several other ways. No go. Zip. Nada. Impasse. Wound up having to take all but one bracket out, shove and hammer and swear (emphasis on the efficacy of swearing) the shelf into place, then put the other brackets beneath it. Needless to say, but I shall anyway, this whole process gouged and scarred the walls I had so painstakingly repaired and textured. Pretty significantly. (And of course, I’d used the whole gallon of mud I’d bought, thinking I’d use half of it at most, so if I repair the gouges I have to buy more mud.) Had to do the same thing with the second shelf. It became obvious that Something Was Wrong.

What was it?

Not my measuring. For once, hallelujah, it was NOT MY MEASURING.

Are you ready for this? THE WALLS ARE NOT VERTICAL. The closet is narrower at the top than at the bottom. Like some idiot was building a cattle chute, and it got thrown into my house. The two shelves that went in the four-foot area in which I could reach to measure fit just fine.

However, thanks to persistence, a good rubber hammer, and a limitless vocabulary of swear words, the shelves are all in now. Except that I need another three tiny standards put in at the bottom so I can get the last shelf at the right height. And the shortest, 1′ standards are now too long because the baseboard comes up 5 1/2″. (The standards came in 7′ maximum lengths and the back wall is 9’6″, so even strategic placement wouldn’t make it stretch far enough.) And I am sick to death of the whole thing. This project would have taken anyone else one afternoon, tops, excluding the wall reconstruction, because you can’t hurry mud drying too much, and it’s been going on for weeks now.

I shudder to think what the second closet will require. Except that I’m not tearing anything out. Except probably more hair.

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Brief freedom

Finally, finally, all the construction people are GONE and they shouldn’t be coming back, unless I invite them. The three-day Baseboard Project wound up at, of course, six days, although the price didn’t go up. Baseboard Dude was a very nice man and did beautiful work, but three weeks of having somebody bomb in every morning has tattered what shreds of sanity I held clutched in my trembling fingers.

So today I tacked up the final corner on the closet and got the last coat of mud on (I will not do any more of that, I won’t), took down the shelves in my office (the books are now piled all over my couch, so there’s no place to sit but my chair or the floor), and filled screw holes. I wasn’t intending to paint, but there were so many holes to fill and big blue splotches where the plumb line went and bits of paint that pulled off with various sets of shelves that I’m thinking I might as well.

Once somebody gets the final two top screws in the shelf standards (which friend Dave said he could do on his way past tomorrow), I can put the shelves up. Although I should. . . well, never mind. I have to get texture on the closet bits and get that primed and painted first. Then the shelves. And then I have to paint the file cabinet and bring Grandma’s over and paint it. Which means I should probably measure and buy shelving on the way to Grandma’s, or back, this even.

It’s been raining like mad for three solid days. I moved my bed over to the southeast corner of the room, and discovered that I can lie there and look up at rain falling down, which is kind of interesting since you see the drops coming down at you instead of down in front of you. Blue has a free window to look out of in the living room, so she’s happi. . . er. I wish I could spin a quarter on a brick, turn around three times, and have it all finished and put away. Gads. And I wish the damned bunnies or whatever would stop eating my crocuses and daffodils. I’d like to see at least one bloom out of them!!

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The biggest small town

I’ve said for years that North Dakota is the biggest small town in the world. So I wasn’t surprised last week when I met a young man from Minot; he’s an administrator for the international student program at the community college. We chatted about this, that and the other, and within a very few minutes had found a common acquaintance: a family from Hazen. It never fails. Usually, it takes about five minutes; sometimes as many as 10 or 12. But it always happens.

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Digging out from under

Finally, yon floor has gone from being The Neverending Floor Project to being The Anticipated Baseboard Project, which will take yet another three days (sigh) and cost (are you sitting down? Do you know the answer yet? Can you guess? If you do, you get a prize!) … *trumpet fanfare, red carpet rolling out*

ONE THOUSAND DOLLARS and change. */fanfare, /carpet*

I swear, EVERYTHING costs at least a grand anymore. Oh, and when I put in new door trim, I’ll do it myself. I’m slow, but I’m cheap.

I do very much like the floor; it looks like cork, feels good underfoot, and doesn’t have the shiny appearance that vinyl does. More a matte or satin finish. Blue does not like it; she can’t get traction on it, and if she jumps from bed to floor or vice versa, she sometimes falls on her can. And looks embarrassed and mortified. Which is very funny.

But there’s some good news:

* While the movers turned my computer into a wild snarl of wires, it took me 7+ hours to untangle them, figure out what went where, label everything, and put it all back together. Why is that good news? Because it worked when I got through (except for the speakers, and yes, Snaotheus, I did check the connections).

* Putting the bed and dresser in different places in my bedroom made for a whole lot of new space (without the bookshelves, anyway), in which my sewing stuff is likely to go.

* The new floor doesn’t show dirt very badly, except for the dog hair that Blue produces like a maple tree produces fallen leaves in autumn. I can vacuum twice a day, and there’ll still be little rolls of dog hair skimming across the floor. The gooder news is that they’re really easy to pick up. It’s supposed to have some sort of anti-static-cling effect, and it seems to do just that.

* The furniture is pretty uniformly easy to move, just sliding across the floor. I’ve got felty thingies on the bottom of several pieces and should put them on others.

* I got the standards for the office-closet shelves in yesterday, and they are both level and straight. I am extremely pleased with myself, even though I miscounted and mismeasured a little bit, as is my wont. I mean, it’s like a tradition now, and it’d be out of character to get it all right the first time. I still need to get the shelves and get them cut to size. Oh, that little project—shelves in the closet—is costing almost $500. Yes.

* Getting close to the end of the re-drywalling, mudding and texturing on the part of the closet wall that Snaotheus, Rob and I took out. (Mostly Snaotheus.) It’s not going to be perfect, but it looks pretty good, and I’ll have probably twice the shelf space and the file cabinets will be in there, too.

* Blue doesn’t get wet food, so I don’t have to worry about the big dog-food-recall scandal.

On the bad news side, Grandma saw the dentist today. Finally. Actually, just seeing the dentist is good news, so maybe this one’s 50-50; I’ve been trying to get her to go for months, because her teeth kept breaking and she’d gotten so she couldn’t chew anything but pudding. Repairs will cost a few grand (as opposed to a measly one grand), and today they pulled six of her teeth. At once. Poor honey. You might want to give her a call and sympathize, maybe tomorrow. She’s miserable tonight. She can’t remember what they’re going to do to her, dentures or what. 🙂

I need to get some pickchers of things, but I can’t find the camera. Seems like everything I need has disappeared, buried under many, many piles of objects. Another three days before I can really start to put things away… ugh!

Need to get some shots of some of the several knitting projects I’ve finished/almost finished, too. That’s gotten way behind, and since it’s the reason I started this silly thing, I oughtn’t to let it slide. See “can’t find camera” above.

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Floor preview

Wheeeeeee! I admit to getting a little impatient and wasn’t expecting to actually see floor on the floor today, since things are not going as quickly as Floor Dude thought they would, but he left some of it lying on the floor when he left. I think I like it! It has a cork layer and looks just like cork. Dog has christened it with her presence. Can’t wait to see the rest of it.


Baseboard Dude suggested the tallest baseboard that’s up against the little wall. I’m not sure about that, but the short plain ones are definitely out, too. Whatcha think? Any suggestions?

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Blue and I have survived the first day of the Floor Adventure. The Mover Dudes came in early early this a.m. and she did not like them. Not one bit. Usually, she warms up quickly to people, but one of these guys was scared of her and she wanted to disembowel him. I was a little surprised, but I guess it’s nice to know she’ll sound that nasty when she thinks it’s warranted. She scared the heck out of Dave the other day, too, when he hauled the futon to Goodwill for me. One of the movers really liked the cat paint job on that little dresser in the spare room.

They shoved all my furniture over to the right half of the house, and Blue and I spent the day in my office, where I was earning my pittance. Later, Willy the Floor Dude came in and started ripping out carpet and junk. I haven’t yet been tempted to say, “Willy!” as it would rhyme with “Timmy!”, or to do a bad Willy the Groundskeeper imitation. He’s too nice. 🙂 He found that the old vinyl hadn’t even been glued down—just laid down, held in place by the walls—so he had to rip that out, too. Now, it’s covered with fresh-wood-smelling underlayment. Outgassing be damned. He does excellent seams. Tomorrow I guess he puts the first flooring down and I’ll get a clue what it will look like. Now, Blue is lying at the intersection of carpet and underlayment, glaring at the underlayment.

The Baseboard Dude came by, too, with a few samples. I’d initially intended to go basic and simple, but that looks really drab next to a couple of the others he brought, so I may go for something a bit bigger and more retro. The more I look at it, the better I like the bigger one, anyway, and I can have the door trims replaced later to go with the baseboard better if I want to.

Grandma had big excitement on Saturday. Now I know the whole story. A car ran into a main power pole and knocked out power to a 300-house area that included Mom’s complex and the hospital. Most of the residents were downstairs after dinner, and the generator would power only one elevator, so they had to go up in one-elevator groups. Took a couple of hours, and since it was the only interruption in Life at Orchard Park in years, everyone was bubbly and excited about it. The nurses said later that some folks were yelling at them to turn the lights on. 🙂 Grandma called and twice, one right after the other, told me the whole story top to bottom. I could practically see her eyes wide like saucers. And I managed not to laugh at her. To her face. 😀

Rob and I had intended to go see a movie that evening, but both the movies we wanted to see were sold out for that showing so we rented “Running with Scissors.” Missed some excitement at the theater, too, because apparently three cop cars showed up for an alleged attempted rape in the parking lot. R with S takes the prize as one of the three most BIZARRE movies I have ever seen, and I can’t presently think what the other two might be. It makes Fellini look ordinary. It was pretty amazing to pull a sort-of-happy ending out of it, too. Annette Bening and Jill Clayburgh did phenomenal jobs. Watching “The Great Train Robbery” the next day made me happier, and I have the Baron Munchausen one to watch tonight. I can still see the TV, so better do it while I can. I rented a Spanish one, too, “La Virgen de la Lujuria” or something. No clue yet.

R with S explains why I’ll never have a best-seller. As weird as I thought my childhood was, it appears to have been devastatingly normal.

Let’s see. I’m about three-quarters through a Paco Ignacio Taibo book, Leonardo’s Bicycle. I’ve got a copy in Spanish somewhere, too, and intended to read them together, but with all my books piled madly up to the ceiling, I have no clue where the Spanish one is. I saw Taibo lecture in Vancouver once and he was really funny. I’d read one or two of his books before that, but have enjoyed them more since. He’s … well, largely nuts. 🙂 Very Mexican.

I got the Moebius scarf to work finally, after surrendering and looking up instructions. It’s exceedingly cool and has an infinite stripe. If I can find the camera, I’ll take a shot of it for posterity. Also a surprise for Chris. I can’t find the rest of the yarn I need for something else I’ve been working on, and just the thought of digging through 12-foot stacks of boxes to look for yarn makes me tired. Especially since I had to empty bathtub #2 this a.m. because Willy wanted to store the toilet in it while he cut floor. Thank goodness it only had light stuff in it and not a huge amount.

Speaking of, if I had to keep the house at 70 deg. for the entire two weeks this will be going on, I would die. I got maybe three hours’ sleep last night because it was so bleeding hot. But evidently, I don’t have to have the temp that high except when Willy’s actually putting the floor in. Thank goodness! Back to 60 it went!

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