Wednesday, September 23, 2009


Today is teaser day for you all.

I have been busy but for the most part doing stuff that just isn't blog worthy. You know piddly little things that add up but seem too whoppy on their own.

However, I thought I would toss a couple picture out there. These are the lower sashes to the four windows that form the corner by the sink.

These are the ones that face the utility.

The digital camera has picked up some blotchiness that I can't see when looking at it. The stain has not been knocked down yet nor has the top coat been applied.

Here are the sashes that over look the west lawn.

These turned out real well if I do say so myself.

I have a bad feeling that SWMBO won't like them. She will probably think they are too dark.

Well, that's all you get tonight; so...

Till next time...


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Of Wood & Disappointment

Today was another day where progress was made, but one of the projects ended did not live up to expectations.

The whole morning was spent cleaning the wood floor in the powder room and the end result was disappointing.

Remember this picture taken towards the beginning of the project? There was a lot of optimism when this picture was taken. Today, it was dashed on the rocks....

This picture was snapped when I was more than 3/4s of the way done with cleaning, and scraping the floor. On the left side is the section where the linked picture was taken. On the right is the floor with the crap still on it.

Did you notice the whitish stuff on the left hand side(?) - keep this in mind.

Here's more of the surrounding area.

You can really see the whitish stuff on the left side now. Take a look towards the bottom of the picture, where the squirt bottle, blade scrapper and paper towels are. This part of the floor still looks like the part above it, but it has been cleaned.

And here is the floor completely scrubbed.

The whitish spots are all around the areas where water pipes came up through the floor and waste pipes went down through the floor.

This tells me that there had been LOTS of leaks over the years.

The water, since it is filled with chemicals such as chlorine and florid, has left mineral deposit stains behind. Around the toilet area you should probably throw urea into the mix since wax seals can leak.

So, since the damage is over 50% of the floor we have a lot to consider. Do we try to repair the floor as it is (including the holes) or do we rip it all out and replace it? I do have the wood to replace it with, but doing this will just about deplete my stash and we have the foyer floor to consider.

The first thing I'll attempt is denatured alcoholic. We'll see what happens.

Let's drop this depressing subject and go to a better one.

Even though I spent all morning working on the wood floor, the first thing I did was spray a high-gloss seal coat on the light fixture.

About two hours later I added a second coat.

The light is now installed!

However, it will come down again when we paint and I want to put better screw anchors in as well.

It doesn't look too shabby does it? It needs a more appropriate wattage bulb and bulb cover, but you get the gist of it - right?

Okay - time to come clean and tell you all about a couple of my 'numb nut' moments; unfortunately they happened back-to-back.

'Numb-nut' episode #1 - Having removed the light bulb from the old porcelain socket plate, I was holding the plate in one hand. I was about to touch the screwdriver to the screw in order to remove the wiring when it dawned on me - the electricity hasn't been turned off yet.


'Numb-nut' episode #2 - with the new wiring attached, and the sconce setting on the ladder, I tested it by turning on the juice. Luckily it came on (I always have a moment of dread before doing this). So, I turn the juice off again and went to finish installing the fixture.

After installing the light I flipped the light switch on the wall - NOTHING!!! I flipped it again, and again...still nothing. So, I'm thinking I will have to take the fixture back down to check the connections. Stepping back onto the ladder, and getting ready to put the screwdriver to the top screw, it hit me - I never turned the juice back on!!

"D'oh!!!!!!" that you've all had a good laugh...let's move on.

This is a better view.

The wiring was replaced so it's still kind of stiff; that's one reason you can see the wire above the arm. Since taking the picture it has laid down some.

And here is an even better view.

Do you see ANY chips or flaws?!

I think I did a pretty good job matching the faux tortoise shell. Anyone out there have some faux tortoise shell needing to be repaired?

Also, the part the bulb is screwed into looks a little off kilter. This is due to the new wiring as well. It will eventually hang the way it should.

Well, even though the floor turned out to be disappointment the day did end on a bright note! So, I call it a day and relax a bit.

Till next time...

Cheers ~

Monday, September 14, 2009

The Closet and Tortoise Shell

Have you ever had one of those days where you got a lot done but it doesn't look like it? Well, today is one of those days.

Actually, it has been one of those days where your thrilled one minute and bummed the next.

First off, the foyer closet is as finished as it's going to get until we start work on the foyer. This was one of those 'thrilled moments'.

Then, while making repeated trips to the wood shop, I was noticing just how much needs to be done before Winter gets here. Those were the times that 'bummed' me out.

Oh well...time stands still for no one.

Anyway, like I said, the foyer closet is as done as it's going to get for now.

That's SWMBO's cheetah fur coat, also known as the 'rug'. I threw it up there just too see how much floor clearance there was.

Towards the upper right you can sort'a see the part of the plaster that is not finished. Remember, we're not sure if we are going to remove the original plaster or not. When we start on the foyer is when we'll make that decision. I might have to remove it just to do work on the main stairs anyway (let's not go there yet).

The top shelf edging is finished (have I mentioned how cockeyed the angles are in this house?). And the new, lower, shelf is in.

You can also see that the mop board is missing.

Perhaps I should have left the light on so the floor would show up better.

Did any of you know that a vinegar/water mix will remove dry paint off of a wood floor? Seriously - it did. It removed the primer paint that got slopped on it as well as the mudding compound that glopped on the floor and dried. After spending an hour scrubbing the floor with this mix it looks great.

As pointed out, the mop board is missing. I need to either go buy a replacement pattern that mimics (as close as possible) the original or have the original duplicated. As of now, since this is just a closet, all the nice, original, trim will not be put back in. I want to keep these pieces in case a section of molding, in a more visible area, needs to be replaced/repaired.

We do have a custom mill shop on the outskirts of town, I might see if they can duplicate the molding. I need to go talk to them anyway about a counter top for the built in.

The restoration of the light for the powder room continues.

Today I did the best I could to replicate the faux tortoise shell that got chipped off. I don't think I did that bad of a job. If you look close you can see the 'patched' areas.

I really should have used colored glazes to do this (that's what your suppose to use anyway). For such a small patch, however, I couldn't justify $40 for the glaze for such a small project. I really do like faux tortoise shell so I might have to invest in the glazes just to play with at some time.

I will be applying a high-gloss coat to the fixture parts tomorrow so that should help disguise the lack of glaze.

This picture is a lot better - it's harder to see the patches.

Can you see how many there are? There's more than one.

BTW - those little fruit/flower things also needed to be restored. I think I did a decent job blending the new paint with the old.

Well, this is enough for tonight. I'm tired and still have a lot to do.

So...till next time...


Friday, September 11, 2009

9.11 - Never Forget

It has now been 8 years since that horrible day that transformed our country for ever.

I know I will never forget. I spent an entire week in bed (due to wisdom teeth surgery complications) watching the TV. To this day the images are fresh in my mind.

The World Trade Center - New York NY

The Pentagon - Washington D.C.

Shanksville PA

In Memoriam

Out of the ashes...

Recovered from Ground Zero WTC.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

A quick update

Okay, here is a quick update.

I had hoped to be further along this week than I am but I got hit, bad, by allergies this past weekend and nothing seems to help. So, I'm dragging my butt around in zombie mode yet, some stuff did get done!

The foyer closet and powder room are fully primed and ready for painting. YEAH!!

Here's a look at the main wall in the powder room.

There is a flaw on this wall that sticks out like a sore thumb in person. I'm surprised the digital camera didn't pick it up! I might have to go back and fix it - we'll see how it looks after we paint.

The back corner - nothing special.

Do you remember the light fixture we're planning to use in the powder room? If not, go here and here.

Anyway, I've started the restoration of the this light.

DANG!! Another blurry picture!!

You get the idea though; it's been dismantled and cleaned.

The finish is flaking off of the rim so I'm going to try and fix it.

Here you can see where the golden bronze area is in a rough way on the circular part part as well.

Hopefully this thing will turn out like we want it to.

Sadly, some of the faux tortoise shell on the main part has been chipped off as well. This is going to be a bugger to fix. I'll tackle it tomorrow.

Sorry, but I didn't get a picture of the inside of the foyer closet, however, I got a couple of weird ones for you!

For some reason, the previous owner stuck several name tabs on the inside part of the closet door. It was as if, while taking off his coat/jacket, he would just slap it up hear like a trophy. There were dozens of them!

Over the years we have picked a few off, but haven't gotten them all.

Today, I decided to get the rest.

It turned out to be a royal mess and not all of 'em came off.

Tomorrow I will try something else...a blow torch comes to mind.

I will leave you with this final picture.

It is another project I've started.

You'll just have to wait and see what it will be used for.

Well, that's enough for tonight. I think I'll go take some allergy drugs and go to bed.

Till next time...

Cheers ~

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Blast from the Past #6

Well, since one 'Blast from the Past' post got done today I might as well do another one.

This time I'll do the roof. This was the first major thing we did to the house itself that was noticeable. We had a steady stream of looky-lous drive by the entire time.

The roof's shingles were replaced in early Spring of 2005.

Here all the shingles on the porch rook are gone and the new tar-paper has been laid. The roofers have also stated to remove shingles from the main roof.

This was the end of day 1.

I was trying to get a better picture of the main roof. I don't think it came out too well.

Day 2.

All the shingles are off of the south half of the roof and the original shake shingles have been exposed.

We had the option to replace these and put down a new deck, but the shake shingles were still in great shape and they are better, from an insulation view point, than a new deck. one point the roofers did start removing the shakes. They had removed an entire section from the north east side before the foreman caught it. They replaced them.

Now, you might be wondering why the foreman wasn't there when it happened. Simple - he was at our little Victorian cottage supervising that crew as well. I'll talk about that later.

Just another view of the same spot.

On day 3 they started to do the shingles on the north side.

This was at lunch time on the 3rd day.

There are just a small amount of shingles left on the west side and a tiny amount on the north east side.

By the beginning of the 4th day they had reached this point.

This is how far they had gotten on the 4th day.

As you can see there is just a little lift on the west facing dormer and, IIRC, about half the wraparound porch was left.

On the fifth day they completed the house and completed the garage.

Okay, now let's get back to the our little Victorian cottage as I pull out my soap box.

The roof on the little house was started the same day as the big house. The roof on the little house was smaller than the big one, but the roof was a bit more complicated.

The work crew on the big house was composed of nothing but Hispanic guys. I really have no problem with this, but I did wonder if they were all 'legal' even though the company assured us all their workers were 'legal'. Also, the leader of the crew was the only one who could speak English enough that we could understand each other.

The crew on the little house were all white.

Now keep all of this in mind.

During the entire time the crew was working on the big house they were humping their rumbs and constantly busy. Due to the way the house sits, as well as the trees around it, they were not able to use a shingle lift to get the bundles up there. They had to move each shingle bundle up by hand.

They were also VERY polite and courteous. At the end of the day they made sure the yard around the house was cleaned up and they also made sure all the plants around the house were not harmed - no small feat when roofing. They bent over backwards to be perfect workers!!!

However, over at the little house the entire white crew loafed around and never seemed to get anything done. Every time I drove by they were just sitting there like a bunch of monkeys in a tree!! We also had damage to several plants around the house. On top of this the foreman was always having to go on them to make sure they were working. As for being polite and courteous...well, let's just say they looked like the rejects from the local prison. I would NOT have let SWMBO go over there by herself.

It really said something in that during two of the 5 days the big house was getting worked on the foreman didn't even bother to come by. Get this, the little house took three days longer to finish!

Now - don't get me wrong, I'm not praising illegal emigrant workers (especially since we were told they were legal) but I will give the Hispanic guys credit, they worked their butts off!

Well, till next time...

Larry ~

Blast from the Past #5

With all the talk, in the previous post, about the foundation wall of the old outbuilding I though I'd do another 'Blast from the Past' post. This one will be about that nasty outbuilding.

I don't even know were, or how, to begin to describe this building. Have you ever seen the movie 'Ghost Ship' or 'Raise the Titanic'? You know how the interiors were on these ships (?) - filled with rotting crap and the whole thing was wet and gooey? Well, that's what it was like in the building. There were also cobwebs everywhere.

No one wanted to go inside. Even during the auction people just sort of looked in the door (you could barely open it) and backed away.

You wouldn't believe the junk stored in this thing. Mounds and mounds of rotting, gooey, crap stacked to the rafters. To give you an idea there were dozens and dozens of those Styrofoam mashed-potato containers from KFC. There were also dozens of bags (large dog food type) of corn cobs (just the cobs). There was no rhyme or reason fo keep any of this.

Now, in order to get rid of the building, everything that could not be burned had to be removed. This took about a week to do. We had to were masks, gloves, old clothes and such just to keep from getting the gooey slime off of us. When we were finished we even burned the stuff we wore.

With all this done the building could finally come down.

BTW - the pictures were taken May 25th 2001.

This is the back of the building. See the mold growing up the side?!

Right now the backhoe is moving some cast iron door parts to get them out of the way. We have no idea where these cast iron lentils and columns came from but think they might have come from an old building in town that blew up in the 40s.

The guy who tore it down for us is an old family friend. The skinny guy is his youngest kid.

If you look right behind me you can see the beginnings of our current burn pit. At this time we had a larger one about 30' to the rear of where the camera was to get this pic.

These are the two top lintels.

Look at the left end of the one on the ground. That black smudgy area is the edge of the old burn pit.

To get the party started, the building was whacked.

This was done to test how stable the building wasn't.

The walls were nothing but chicken-wire with adobe plaster on one side and tar-paper on the other.

The east end of the building caved in.

There was a large, meat-locker type door here on rollers. I guess this is where the large stuff was brought in. The door itself is the slab you can see at the base of the tree. It's about 3" thick and covered in metal.

The part that is still standing, to the left of the picture, is the greenhouse type porch added to the front of the building. I'm still kicking myself for not getting pictures of it.

2/3rds of the building is now smashed. The part that's left is the west end.

Okay, this picture should have been before the previous one. This is the halfway point.

Here's an 'okay' shot of the greenhouse porch that was on the front.

The organ on the trailer is a Halloween prop I was getting ready to move out of the way.'d think I could have organized these pictures better!

After the building was down, and most of it gone, Lacey (our 1st Papillon dog) and Spartacus the cat, were going nuts around this little pile of debris.

We had no clue what they were all excited over, but after about 30 minutes or so I went over to check it out.

They seemed really interested in the slab of adobe plaster (at the 45 degree angle in the picture). So I decided to help them out and flipped it over for them.

Here is what we found.

Do you see it?!

It's the only living one we have found since living here.

BTW - the slab it's next to is the meat-locker door.

Well, till next time...

Larry ~