Officer Down... Again.

Right on the heels of the 1 year anniversary of Cpl. Scott Severns, South Bend Police lost another officer in a shooting incident. Cpl. Nick Polizotto was shot and killed on April 24, 2007. His partner, Ptlm. Mike Norby, was also shot, but survived.

This is happening much too frequently. Just one police officer being killed is too many, but we're averaging at least 1 line-of-duty death per year in this area. Thankfully, none have been from my or Shayne's department, but it's no less a tragedy. It affects us all, whether we knew the victim or not. It seems like so few people have any respect for the law, and even less respect those of us who have sworn to uphold it. It makes me so angry when an officer is killed. I know that we choose this career, knowing the risks, knowing we may be called upon to make that ultimate sacrifice, but it's so unfair. Our country shouldn't need to be defended from its own citizens.

My thoughts and prayers are with the family of Cpl. Polizzotto and with the South Bend Police family.


Isn't it ironic.... Don'cha think?

Instead of the predicted 2-3 week wait, the rug arrived today. The pad isn't here yet (??), but that's the least of my concerns right now. Of course, being as patient as I am, I dragged it into the house, ripped off the plastic, and spread it out on the living room floor. And, somewhat surprisingly, I like it. Even more surprising, is that it looks good with the red and gold walls that are currently in the living room. It also looks good with the gold walls upstairs. So now I'm going to have fits again over the colors.

The wall colors never show up quite right in the photos... I think it has something to do with the flash washing it out. Both colors are much richer in person, and the "hubbard squash" is more golden and less yellow. The rug in the second pic looks almost exactly like it does in real life, though. It's a little too green in the first one. Maybe tomorrow I'll try the pics with a tripod and timer instead, to see if I can get it right.

I'm really surprised that the rug doesn't look bad with the red, which is almost what I had hoped for. It would make the wall color decision much easier! I think I'm still leaning towards "hubbard squash" or a "caramel"-type color for the walls.

More to come in the morning...


Stairway progress photos

I thought I had posted these the other day, but evidently I forgot... For any interested parties, here are photos of the stairway as it stands right now.

It looks a bit nicer in the photos than in person, but progress has been made. A lot of it has been on the side of the spindles facing the wall and facing the other spindles. I'm so excited to be nearly finished. I'll definitely be working on it on my next days off.

Another thing I forgot to post about was my bargain lamp. I found it at a store than was going out of business, marked $49.99, reduced from $139.99. I offered the clerk $40, and she accepted. It might not stay in the living room, but it was a great deal!

And lastly, I ordered the rug. I received an e-mail saying we should have it in two to three weeks, which is good. By then, I should be finished sanding...


Stairway of the Damned (Part 3 of a Never-Ending Saga)

Stripping the staircase is one of those projects that I know will completely change the character of my home. Multiple layers of glossy white paint just didn't do the woodwork justice, and the molding is more complex than I had initially thought. Once it's finished, it will be the focal point of the living room. Once it's finished... Somehow, in my typically optimistic fashion, I didn't realize what a huge, tedious, chore this would be. It's also one of the most rewarding experiences I've had with the house. I'm taking something ugly and making it beautiful again.

Unfortunately, I can't work on the stairway for more than maybe 4 hours in a day. Holding the sander or scraper at the angles required is torture for my back, and I have to take frequent breaks. Should anyone out there in the blogosphere decide that the years of paint on their staircase is unbearable, I'd definitely recommend either hiring a professional or disassembling the banister and spindles. We couldn't afford a pro, and our railing doesn't wobble at all, so I was afraid that if we took it apart, it wouldn't go back together as sturdily. I'm not even sure how to take it apart. The only nails that I've seen simply hold on the inverted quarter-round under each riser. There are no nails or other fasteners visible anywhere else. Talk about good constuction...

I probably have about 12 hours of work left on it, so it's possible for me to finish before summer... I only have 3 spindles left (12 sides), the area under the railing between the spindles, and the inverted quarter-round molding under each tread (16). The flat parts of the risers and the baseboard will be much simpler.

I think I've finally settled on a color palette for the living room. Ironically, I'm using the same colors as before, just in different quantities and places. I still love the Roycroft Copper red, it's just too overwhelming to use on the walls. It will be an accent color instead. The Hubbard Squash or a golden tan (top or lower left) will most likely be the wall color. The brown will be the sofa. The green will be the secondary color, and will probably be found in the rug.

I did find a rug that matches the palette, and Shayne and I both like it. It even looks a bit Arts and Crafts-y. It's from the "Kharma" collection by Oriental Weavers Sphinx. I don't know yet if I can find it locally, but there's a store online that I can order it from and have 30 days to return it in case it doesn't work out. We'd have to pay return shipping, but Shayne has a friend that works at FedEx that can hook us up. The local place only gives 48 hours, and I'm not sure that we can make a decision that fast...

I also found a couch that would work with everything. I think we're going to go with an apartment sized sofa, since we're happy with the size and scale (if not aesthetics) of the futon we currently have in there.

So... Maybe the living room is finally going to come together. I've never decorated a room from the ground up before, and it's nowhere as easy as I anticipated. Usually I have at least one thing to match to, but we started from scratch with this one. No furniture, no wall color, no rug. I now know that if this whole law enforcement thing doesn't work out for me, I'm NOT going to go into interior design!



I have a confession to make. Today I went to Lowes and had impure thoughts about semi-custom kitchen cabinets. I oggled the cherry doors. I fondled the smooth Silestone countertops. I even went so far as to fantasize about them in my own home, replacing the old, tired '80s cabinets I'm currently chained to.

And then I noticed the gap between the doors on one of the cupboards. The sleek, too-new look of the fake beadboard. The vintage appearance that just wasn't vintage.


Nobody I know ever bought a house that needed to be redone from top to bottom. I'd read about how difficult it is, understood that it takes time. Somehow I guess I thought that that only afflicted other people, and that our house would be a wonderful, happy endeavor. Obviously I can be a little too optimistic, resulting in a temporary suspension of rational thought.

I do love our house. Really. I know it will be great when it's done, and I'll be able to look back with pride and know that we did just about everything ourselves. But all of that is a long way away. I didn't realize that I'd end up with tools and dust in every room of the house. I didn't realize that there would be days I'd wake up and absoloutely despise the house. I didn't know it would take over so much of my spare time and insinuate itself into just about every decision I make. Or that I'd get used to an office with a bare, unfinished wood floor and half-unpapered walls. I never thought I'd go over to someone's house and marvel that it is finished. And I certainly never imagined I'd be standing in the cabinet aisles of Lowes fantasizing about a prefab kitchen.

I feel dirty just remembering...


A Little Progress

I made decent amount of progress today, both inside and outside the house. I finally got some sanding done on the staircase (joy!). I can honestly say that I'm about halfway done with the railing and spindles. The treads should be much easier and less time consuming. I've been procrastinating with this project, since it's just so damned tedious. There is no good or easy way to get paint off of this type of woodwork. Paint stripping sucks to begin with, let alone on curvy, intricate woodwork that you can barely reach. I hope whoever originally painted the woodwork in this house receives his/her eternal reward in the 7th circle of home remuddler's hell...

After I got a sore back from my sanding contortions, I went outside and vented my frustrations on the blackberry bushes (aka brambles). They've been taking over the utility easement for the past 2 summers, and I just got sick of them. I ended up with 3 large bundles of cuttings, which I plan on ceremonially burning tomorrow. I even dug one huge bush out by the roots. If you've ever had to deal with these things, you can understand why. They grown insanely fast, and they can dominate an area within a couple of years. And they have thorns. We have a few bushes marking the edge of our property that I didn't even realize were there until today, since they were just about covered in blackberry branches. I'm now able to walk back into the woods from the side, which I haven't been able to do since we bought the house. My arms look like I attempted suicide using a safety pin, but at least the blackberry bushes are dead.