Stairway of the Damned: Progress!

On Monday night, Shayne and I had a little sanding party. The treads of the bottom 10 steps (we have 16 total) are sanded. He bought a pad sander last night to get the vertical parts, since the 5" disc is too big to fit, and the little mouse sander takes FOREVER. I don't have any pics, since as soon as we finished sanding, we covered the stairs with a dropcloth to protect them. I'm disproportionately pleased with myself for making some kind of progress... :) We'll be going on vacation soon, but I think the bottom portion of the stairway will be completely finished within a month.

When we sanded this time, I rigged up a plastic dropcloth to keep the dust out of the nearly-finished living room area. I'd been eyeing a ZipWall, but I think they're overpriced at $110 for 2 poles. While perusing Amazon, I found these 3rd Hand poles. The 3rd Hand poles aren't as light, and they sound like they're a little fussier to use, but at $70 for a 2 pack, I don't really mind. Plus, they can be used to hold up shelves, molding, or cabinets. Each pole can support up to 150 lbs! I used them to pin my plastic sheeting to the ceiling without any trouble. It did a great job of containing the dust, and I wish I'd have invested in them a lot sooner. Like when we were sanding the drywall compound skimcoat... All I need now is one of those nifty zippers that you attach to a slit in the plastic so that I don't have to take my barrier down to get through it.


Motivated - in all the wrong directions

Now that the office is pretty much prepped and waiting for skimcoating, I've been anxious to start on something new. The stairway still needs to be finished, but I'd honestly rather do anything but sand stair treads, even though the hard part (the spindles and railing) is finished. As I wandered through the house yesterday, I contemplated tearing down the paneling in the dining room. Or ripping up the laminate floor. The POs said that pine floor underneath is in good shape, but needs to be patched where some old, large heat registers used to be. I get so tired of looking at the laminate... And then I remembered that two rooms torn up is Shayne's limit, and in the interest of preserving our marriage, I left the dining room alone. For now.

I went outside and took out some of my pent-up aggression on the "veggie garden". It was honestly more of a crabgrass jungle. Two hours later it was weed-free and ready to be turned into a patio. Of course a couple of coworkers saw me outside working and stopped by to say hi. Why doesn't anyone ever come over when I've just stepped out of the shower? Instead, I was unshowered, sweaty, probably smelly, and covered in dirt from my elbows and knees down. Sigh.

In my defense, I did finally do some work onthe stairs. And this morning, I got up and covered the little cove molding pieces in Citristrip. The rest Shayne and I can just sand. If I don't find something else to distract me first...


Another small feat of organization

Today I tackled the "back porch". Somehow, we can't seem to call it anything else, even though it's been enclosed for years, possibly originally. It's a small utility room that was tacked onto the back of the house. It has minimal insulation, no foundation, and the last bit of carpet in the whole house. It's home to a half bath, the washer and dryer, and quite a few storage cabinets. All of this in a 7' by 9' space. Sometime in the future we plan on knocking it down and rebuilding a new addition across the back of the house. This is in the 10 year (at least!) plan.

I didn't do much purging, but I did organize all of the cabinets out there, plus the one under the kitchen sink. The back porch cabinets have become something of a catch-all. Whatever project we're currently working on, the supplies seem to end up there. It's also home to cleaning supplies, pet items, and cases of soda. At least now everything is accessible, clean, and organized. And I moved the small toolbox up there so I don't have to run to the basement every time I need a screwdriver or hammer. No huge accomplishment, but it'll make life easier.



I seem have caught a case of house bulemia recently. All of the clutter and chaos is just driving me mad. I've been going into too many exceptionally disgusting homes at work lately, and it's actually made me feel worse about ours. Kind of backwards, I know. After looking at rooms with aisles through the clutter and kitchens overflowing with dirty dishes, you'd think I'd feel pretty damn good about our slight organizational impairment. After all, we still have a sanitary home!

I think my nesting instict is coming into play here also. When (if??) I do get pregnant, I want to have a clean, finished home by the time our child is old enough to start remembering it. I want to spend my days off playing, not working on house projects. I know not everything will be done in 3 years, like the back porch addition, but I'd like for the main rooms to be clean, safe, and at least 90% finished.

Yesterday I cleaned out my closet in preparation for its walling off and relocation. I sorted through my clothes and organized everything in a way that makes sense. When I move into the new closet, I absoloutely have to get something to organize my shoes. I probably have less than half as many pairs as the average woman, and 2 pairs are for hiking and 2 are work boots, but I still have enough that they seem to be taking over the closet floor.

Today I got rid of 2 boxes of books. That may not seem like a hige accomplishment, but for me, it is. I love books. LOVE books. If it's a series or book I really enjoy, I'll read it over and over. My favorite series, I've just about read into pieces. So the fact that I managed to give some of my precious books away is real progress. I still have a Rubbermaid container full of books sitting on the dining room floor, waiting until the day (soon??) that we put a bookshelf in the finished office. But the rest of them are on shelves and look pretty decent. For my next trick, I need to clear off the tall particleboard-and-laminate bookshelf in the dining room. When the books move into the office, I want a real wood shelf, even if it's from Target instead of Stickley.


Hours of puppy entertainment

Ares likes to play with water from the hose, so obviously the sprinkler is even more fun! And in case you're wondering, the spare wheel and tire was found in our woods, was handily located near the garage near the sprinkler, and was the perfect height to allow the water spray to reach where I needed it. Trashy? Yes, but useful. :)


Is it fall yet?

Summer is one of the hardest times for me to work on the house.  When the weather is nice, i just want to be outside, so I work on the yard.  The yard does need work, of course, but I end up feeling like I'm slacking on house projects.  And when it's hot, the air conditioning is on, and I don't want to do anything to create a lot of dust (sanding), fumes (paint stripping with chemicals, shellacking, or painting), or heat (paint stripping with heat gun).  And so, over the past 3 weeks I've done a whole lot of nothing with the office, stairway, or living room floor.  Go me!

In the meantime, I have been going crazy in the kitchen.  This week's trip to the farmers market yielded 1 small chicken, a dozen ears of corn, a pound of green beans, and 2 lbs of broccoli.  All of those are now safely in the freezer, preserved for the winter months.  I also got some plums, peaches, and cheese to eat now.  I'm thinking of freezing or canning some peaches next week, since I'm off on Saturday and Sunday.  That should be a fun adventure.

I had an opportunity to try some of the corn I froze last week when some dorn that had been gifted to us was shriveled and dry.  After a week in the freezer, the corn tasted as fresh as if I'd just cooked it that day.  It was lightyears better than stor-bought canned.  Lets hope it still tastes as good in 3 months!

One of my days off was spent in Chicago, looking for bathtubs at salvage yards.  We went to 4 places, but none of the tubs fit Shayne.  Plus, they were all hideously expensive ($2200 for a refinished tub?  I think not!).  On the way out of town, we stopped at a plumbing outlet, and Shayne hopped in some new tubs for a test drive.  One thing is now painfully clear: this guy needs a big tub!  The clawfoot fantasy is officially over  :(



Shayne was reading on of my pregnancy books and has decided that I'm "nesting". Kind of funny, since I'm not even pregnant yet, but it's probably true. In the past few months, my focus has shifted to providing an ideal envoronment for the baby we'll be creating. Mostly, that means me. I want to be as chemical-free and natural as I can be to provide a safe growing environment for our child. I've also been doing a lot of thinking about what type of world and home I want to raise a child in. Some days I almost feel like I've gone off the deep end... :)

I've also been feeling pressure to get the upstairs of the house finished. I know that once I'm pregnant, I shouldn't work on anything that might involve lead paint or strange fumes, which means about 9 months off of house work... If I can get the office walls skimcoated and the upstairs floors refinished before cold weather sets in, I'll be thrilled. I might even jump ahead of myself and refinish the nursery floors before the others, just so that they're done and the room has a chance to air out well before baby arrives.

Now, if I could just find a decent drywaller to skimcoat the walls for me! I'm actually considering doing it myself out of a lack of options...