In the meantime

Spring is well underway without me.

The garden is far more behind than I wanted it to be (the late blizzard snowed in my very early plans), but last autumn’s late spinach that didn’t do much then, came back in green glory, so I’m quite pleased about that. The garlic is doing its thing and the rhubarb, gooseberry, asparagus, and blueberries all have leaves, blossoms (where applicable), and new growth. I need to look into more of these sorts of perennial edibles – I love establish and maintain gardening more than plant and re-plant and tear out at the end of the season gardening… not too much of a veg option though? But more fruit and herby things at least.

(The poor magnolia has its glorious blossoms frozen off, so sadly we didn’t get a show this year.)

The seeds that started indoors did disappoint somewhat – the peppers and tomatoes likely just didn’t have enough/right kind of light (or attention), but the squash are robust and will hopefully be the strong beasts they need to be to fight the beetles and borers. Other veg and herbs are puttering along, and I’ll try some more herbs and flowers next.

Sprouting (a couple of weeks ago). Autumn's spinach in garden now. #organicgardening #seedstarting #growyourown

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I’d like to get rid of at least 40% of our lawn – the priorities being the most annoying places to mow or whack, and first up is a little hill on the west side of the house. I’ve been ridding it of Chinese wisteria, and left a bit in one place to train and braid (and it has started to grow together) but it still wants total domination, so it will go, and hopefully the little hill will accept a couple of fig trees and a mess of woody herbs that the deer won’t touch.

N finished breaking up all of the front sidewalks to nowhere and dug some expanded beds. Those now have a mess of perennials we somehow managed to finally plant, and in a few weeks or so we’ll be able to dig up all of the bulbs (mostly hyacinth – achoo!) that have clumped together and on top of one another and re-distribute them better and throughout the yard.

And the bathroom?

We’re finally on the other side – the plumber is here now for his (fingers crossed) final visit and I’ve got a mess of grout sealing and paint touch-ups to do later today.

(And I’ll probably get some new towels and a rug since our “nice” ones don’t really look it anymore, and some others may have gotten encrusted with mortar and caulk schmears…)

It's still not finished… #renomadness #tiling #hex #whenwillitbeover #bathroom #floor #diyfatigue

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I was a bit cocky about the floor – I thought it would be easier than the walls, and in some ways it is, but there are some seriously wrong joints despite a meticulous layout. And I was tired, and I’d had an aural migraine, and I just wanted to get it done, but for something basically permanent in your house, you need to take care and have a better attitude…

And of course I’d finished the grouting before noticing a defect on one of the tiles – a black hex in the wrong row – I was going to leave it for character, but it was in a prominent spot for viewing while on the john, so I pried it up and re-set it.

The whole room has enough “character” as it is…

 

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Still in the bathroom

Another day, another day without plumbing…

(And of course I’ve got to pee – I thought this plumbing visit was going to be just a couple of hours, but it’s another all-day affair).

The bathroom saga is finally well underway, and long, and tiresome, and not yet done…

Sometimes I think I wouldn’t mind having a cabin way off the grid and without most plumbing. You’d be prepared for it, and most of the time the weather would be warm enough for an alfresco splash down, and composting toilets aren’t that bad if not shared by too many. But not having a fully functional bath/shower in your everyday home sets my nose out of joint. I’m one who must shower every morning to wake up, open my sinuses, de-creak my body and to get clean at an even rate. For most of the four years I worked from home, I tried every variation of less-often hair-washing, no-‘poo, some ‘poo, conditioner without ‘poo, cooler water, etc., etc., but in the end, I could never get used to feeling unevenly clean.

So today I’ve had the last shower I’ll get for the next week (hopefully), or two (likely).

We de-almonded the room first with joy and abandon I later regretted (from pain, not fondness), repaired the rotten subfloor – opening it up brought forth such an intense stench – thankfully like a rich, deeply composted forest floor rather than an excrement-soaked one, but mildly gag-inducing just the same, and after the plumber puts in the new tub, we’ll be tits deep in the most difficult tiling job I’ve done. I’m sorta kinda looking forward to doing the floor – hex tile is easy to work with – but the shower walls have got to line up, and straight lines aren’t in my playbook.

The paint ended up being the dull pink “champagne glee” to be exact, and yes, the name partially sold me on the color the first time around. We loved the mint, it is perfect in the kitchen, but it was too intense (as was the yellow) in this small dark room.

*****

It is now a week later and I’ve got the sink bath down to an art as well as a science, and neither of us smells too much, though maybe we’re nose blind.

And yes, the plumber is here again!

But I won’t blather on about my bladder again.

Tits deep in tiling… #tiling #bathroom #subwaytile #iwannabeinthistubnow

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The tub/shower is tiled and grouted and has fixtures – the grout is still curing though, so no shower for a few more days…

There is wonkiness of lines, of course, but less than I’d feared – the ceiling is nearly 2 inches higher on the one side than the other, so it is what it is.

Next up more wall repair and painting – not in love with the color yet – it’s leaning a bit beige (NO NO NO!!!!) but not enough is on yet to tell.

This weekend will be for tiling the floor.

Hopefully my fingers will be healed in time…

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So long shitpipe

I’m waiting for the plumber and his helper, and of course my body is wanting to rid itself of all daily and monthly excretions even though it’s only been 5 minutes since the last time…

Our sewer pipe started leaking the day after we paid the plumber’s deposit on the upcoming bath reno.

(The pipe is above grade in the basement since the house is built into a hill.)

The good part was that we caught the leak before it leaked on anything important (our newly started seeds were in the vicinity and thankfully they’re not poop plants).

The bad, is of course, the bucks.

And I’m home all day psyching myself out that I really don’t need to pee, etc., for the next 6 or so hours, and my mouth is foul cotton from pee-prevention self-imposed dehydration.

They’re here now, and I can hear their chatter about the greatness of Soundgarden, some pleasant teaching murmurs and reassurances, the recent oft-repeated statement about how we just finally had a month of winter after spring was here in February and now it’s spring again and it’s really nice, and the occasional PG-rated expletive that makes me duck and cover my head for fear of shitsplosion, though I’m on the floor above.

And our former shit pipe is lying shattered in the yard while they replace it with PVC. The old pipe ended up cleaner than expected – I was terrified since the last owners had children and an excessive amount of “flushable wipes” that absolutely aren’t, stacked on each commode.

The dog is being a trooper – sometimes a bit scared at the biggest bangs, but mostly head-tilting at the floor – lately we’ve had success in managing some outbursts with cheap shaky cheese.

Cast iron is called “the 100 year pipe.”

Ours only lasted 64 years.

In our last nearly 100-year-old house, the cast iron was still fine – as was the lead water pipe – I hear our old city is now dealing with some Flint-ish issues – the plumber there told us it’s fine, just let the water run for a minute before drinking it – but I was still dubious…

I regret having a bagel for lunch as I can’t lube it down as much as I’d like, and I’m getting grumpy from not having the coffee I’d like/sorta rely on again. The plumbers are back from their lunch and their public bathrooms (though they’ve got to have some sort of bottle john in their vans too, right?) and I wish they’d just hurry up.

Some dentists will knock you out for a cleaning if you’ve got the dentine-manipulation phobia, but I wish there were a similar service for home repair workers – lack of functioning plumbing anxiety is a very real thing, dammit – or at least offer a speedy done-before-you’ll-have-to-pee-next service – I’d pay a little more for that.

Yesterday I slapped a fresh coat of paint on one of the basement walls.

It needs another or two coats, along with the longer wall, but it feels cleaner already. I’m not too squeamish about unfinished/creepy/spider-infested basements, but I like the laundry area to feel like a slight oasis – not a give me a fruity drink and a scented breeze, but I come to you with muddy stinky duds and you take the stank away and if I drop a sock on the way to the drier, I’m thankful if I don’t have to re-wash it, kind of thing – more of a temple perhaps? I have yet to try the newly yellowed rug in there, but I’ve another waiting if it doesn’t work – one that the dog has peed on more than once (but I’ve washed) so I don’t trust it in the main unsupervised areas of the house.

The basement utility room re-freshening has been on my to-do list, but way down toward the end – once I get more stuff out of the house and the storage areas re-configured. We put the shitty, but not that old, former kitchen cabinets down there and I’d like to paint them either white or something outlandish. Well, maybe a jadeite green, not that outlandish. But now I want to bump it up the list – once the bathroom is done, it will be glaringly not up to snuff with the rest of the house.

And the boiler has begun to shart the bed, so that business will need to be replaced (or repaired) by next winter…

The plumber is doing quite well by us this year.

And they’re done.

And the dog just peed in front of the washing machine.

(Luckily there wasn’t a rug down yet.)

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Dyeing for a new bathtub

The days of our shitty acrylic almond bathtub are limited.

And I remembered just in time that I had a pound or so of dye to yellowize an old rag rug.

Last Saturday N was out, all current and terrible big house projects were waiting for the plumber first, the dog was deep snoozing, and it wasn’t raining.

I could tell a story about the rug, but it probably wouldn’t be very interesting. But the short version is I got it in 1996 after moving to my former city and setting up an apartment with a few new things from Ikea when all I had before was used – some good used, some pathetic – and it was my first adult-looking space (I later regressed). The rug was originally very peach – in the store it was pale orange, and in my sunny apartment, it was very peach. It was too close to the ’80s and I didn’t want a peach rug, but the room was warmed up for it and I wasn’t going to return it – and – it quickly began to fade.

It was in another apartment, then a house, then in storage, and back to a house – since the first house, it was in my workrooms or places where dripping things on it didn’t really matter. I had been eyeing it for the basement lounge area, but we managed to find a few others new and used and besides, by then it had faded to beige or beige-ish and I had it folded up for a dog bed, but then the dog got furniture privileges and didn’t need it.

It has been washed many times in the big machines at the laundromat, and was still mostly clean, but it still bled a tinge of peach when I tossed it in the tub. (When wet, it was a nice color again…) I thought I had iDye for cotton in a mustardy/saffrony/ochre color, but I think it’s “sun yellow” – not a lemon, but not an ochre.

I didn’t measure the dye, just dumped 3/4 of it in, and I didn’t measure the salt, but it definitely wasn’t enough – maybe just a bit more than a cup, and the water was far from simmering, just tap hot which is almost tolerable to the skin.

It looked like a very terrible chemical spill.

And I muscled it around once in awhile and left it in for a few hours.

I liked the school bus yellow-orange of the water, but knew that could be a bit deceiving.

Then a sloppy cold wash with a little detergent, and likely not enough of a rinse, but that shit was heavy – the water was running a pale lemon though, so it was mostly washed out.

And lugged it out to hang dry off of the high stoop stairs (it’s going to take days to dry).

It turned out both darker and brighter (more intense) than I expected, and it likely could bleed more, but it will most likely end up on the basement laundry floor so that doesn’t matter (but what might matter is that it’s probably too big – 5′ x 7′ in more of a 4′ x 6′ space…)

And since it’s in the basement, it doesn’t really matter that it is a revived yellow instead of just faded beige/peach, but whatever, it will turn any area sunshiney.

(And the tub was actually a bit cleaner in the end, not yellow, but I wouldn’t risk my luck with dyeing in the new bright white tub…)

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Addendum to the end of March…

I’m still waiting for the tiles to come in – I got the call that they came in, but when I went to pick them up, they had cancelled the order instead…

Not sure what happened there, but hopefully there’s still a bit of a time buffer…

Which is good because I can’t decide on the paint color.

This was the “temporary” fix – grey and pink – but the grey is much too pale for the soon to be mostly white with a bit o’black (bye bye almond!) tile and fixtures.

The three colors in the top pic are already in the house – I like repeating things for some degree of continuity – but these are all love it or hate it kind of colors.

Well, every color is really I guess…

The mint is in the kitchen.

It was our first, first choice, but the bath is pretty dim, so I’m afraid of it falling a bit dull – it didn’t work when we tried it with the almond fixtures.

The yellow is in the living room.

It’s been my current leaning-to color.

And the dull pink is in the guest room (doesn’t photo well, but it’s pink enough to not be band-aid, but it’s on the earthier side).

This was our choice for a good bit of time, partly because it’s already in there a bit and I could keep the curtain.

Which is another choice…

There’s just the right amount left of this vintage fabric that could work if the tree-like things were on their sides instead of upright – that might drive me nuts, but it works for all colors…

Opinions?

(I should have saved peach for it, but it’s already in the bedroom and half bath…)

 

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End of March

Things are still busy and will be for the next few weeks, month, some period of time that will perhaps never let up.

The premature spring followed by the belated winter has messed with my head, but the extended daylight makes things a bit more correct again.

First day of Spring brought out the yard wrecking crew. #thosearentdogs #deer #snow #yard #youwontletmehaveniceflowers

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A small herd of deer has taken a fancy to the yard.

The dog absolutely does not fancy them.

He starts a new class for complicated dogs next week – fingers crossed he’ll soon learn to cope with other four-legged, or rather, all, creatures soon.

Fiber-wise, I’m still finishing up several things and resisting the temptation to start anything new.

I’ve started the garden seeds, and N has started to break up the concrete walks to nowhere in the yard.

Blooming and busting (concrete)… #moregarden #garden #yardwork #breakingrocks #hyacinth

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It’s sucky work, but he’s an ace with a sledgehammer and we’re saving a good chunk of money on the deconstruction.

We need a helluva lot of plants – ones not delectable to deer – but I’m happy to reduce the lawn as much as possible.

The bathroom reno is finally starting, well, scheduled.

After looking at hundreds of tiles, various solid shower wall options, and green resilient flooring, we settled in our comfort zone – all tile, tiles we’ve used before, ones that are very affordable, and fit into the vintage cottage vibe going on in the house already.

First we have a bit of an emergency with  having to replace the basement sewer line though… a rather shitty situation.

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Ahoy, more scraps!

These days are busy.

The blizzard (was that just last week?) got things off track a bit.

I’ve been selling off a lot of my old stuff online – both vintage old and cool – and my old still-usable discards. It’s kind of a drag, but more is leaving the house than is coming in, and I’ve got a little more cash. It’s weird though, the more recent stuff is selling better than the vintage things – kinda sad.

Another thing that is slightly sad is the craft supply thrift store place in my town closed down – I learned just a day after they’d had the last weekend clear-out sale too. I certainly didn’t help keep them in business – I think I spent $18 there once, but mostly it was about $6 every couple of months on a wad of fabric scraps and old sewing notions.

I didn’t get this there, but it was the kind of thing I’d find – a bag full of someone’s potential quilt pieces, or quilt scraps.

I found this at one of our regular antique mall in the sticks haunts – a gallon sized bag of a decent stack of pieces/scraps.

The fabric could date to WWII, or maybe a bit later, but probably not much into the ’60s? I’m not sure, but it “feels” ’40s to me.

Some days I think they’re the negative space pieces cut away from something else.

Some days I think the two curved pieces are an undersized sail and jib for the striped boat.

Some days I think about selling them.

What little swelling of patriotism I’ve ever had is utterly deflated now, so the mere juxtaposition of red, white, and blue makes me shudder.

But I “feel” that they’re older and their other pieces were lovingly made to comfort someone going away, or being welcomed home, or for a baby who might never meet its father (or less possibly, mother). Or maybe these are the pieces and the project was futile – the person never came home?

Perhaps the next step is to search for WWII era patchwork patterns and see if something makes sense.

Or just sell them.

Probably for a least a little more than $2.50.

 

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