Tag Archives: basement

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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Perhaps this one is one too many…

The last time I got a mid century chair on the cheap we actually needed it despite my slight chair collecting issue, but I stated that any more after that would be unnecessary.

I now have an unnecessary chair – though it isn’t quite, it’s more of an aspirational piece – meant to go in a corner of my workroom that is currently the home of a tall stack of quilt batting, large cuts for quilt backs, upholstery fabric, a couple of old quilts and bedspreads, and this still unfinished quilt.

(When arranged neatly, this stack can serve as a sort of chair in its own right, but things encased in plastic storage bags tend to squirt out of the middle.)

The chair can’t go there until there is another space freed for the aforementioned pile which means a small closet or several tubs of supplies needs to be emptied/disposed of/made into something/sold first.

But a few months ago this chair caught my eye – it was only $10 – but with newfound minimalist resolve, I passed it by…

another-chair-restore

But then it was still there weeks later, and half off, and in my hands without a thought.

(That glorious and giant coral formica table was still there too, but too big for my hands, and finally gone by the time our last visit.)

I liked the bright plaid cover – it was something I’d probably have chosen in the late 60s? too, but it was threadbare in parts and a bit too acrylic. So I went digging for the original cover knowing I’d likely need to reupholster anyway.

another chair-worn cover

And the original cloth was revealed to be a pleasant nubby tan/gold – it was in decent condition but a bit stained, and I decided to re-cover it rather than try to clean it.

another chair-old & new cover

I still had that lovely large sample piece of grey and yellow linen (or linen and silk? blend) that I considered for the last chair, and I decided to use it on this one – I think it looks pretty damn period appropriate if I do say so myself – and depending on the light, it looks green too.

I added another layer of cotton batting on top first to make it slightly more comfortable and protect the original fabric.

another chair-rocco roll

And discovered that my plan to be able to lay out large quilts for basting on the wide open basement floor will be foiled/spoiled by the dog – he loves to roll on anything new. It’s likely an undesirable behavior – perhaps marking to claim as his, but it’s cute and I’ll take any time he seems to be having fun rather than expressing rage.

(And all the more reason I regret not getting the giant coral table…)

I always get very mildly grossed out when seeing images of people’s pets lying on their fresh knitting/sewing/projects – thinking about hair, poop paws, ticks, burs, poison ivy oils – being deposited even on microscopic levels, but like with babies (I’d imagine) it’s less gross when they’re yours, right?

(But if this was something I was making to sell, I would keep him away from it – he’s banned from my tiny upstairs work/stash room, mostly for his own safety.)

another chair-bottom

I left the old peeking out from the new, and in less than 20 minutes, I had a freshly re-covered but currently purposeless chair.

another chair-done

But there’s still room in the basement for it, right?

another chair-in basement

(Actually, this new chair ended up where the last chair was and the last chair is now in this spot in the basement and looks good – like it belongs – so I suppose I haven’t quite filled my chair quota yet, right?)

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Catch-up, but no ketchup…

Going on vacation is great, but the aftermath is a bit of a struggle…

I’ve been doubling up on work-work to make up some hours and the house-work doubled, tripled on its own.

catch-up tomatoes

We’ve canned even more tomatoes – certainly enough to get us through to the season next year – I think. Some of the heirlooms didn’t produce much, but I’ve been especially fond of the green stripey ones this year for eating fresh. The green beans exploded and have been eaten in all cooking methods liked by us as well as frozen and pickled – I put in another crop in early July, and I don’t want to say I regret that, because it’s one of the few veggies not being attacked by something or another out there, and the neighbors will be happy for more bounty, but I wish I’d put in a dried variety instead…

catch-up-painting basement floor

And the basement is coming along – the floor is now half teal. And I am an idiot and decided that the orange didn’t work after all, and have to hurry up and re-paint it with the original yellow, or a boring white, or more grey… (The pic above shows the floor color fairly accurately, but the walls are more grey-green rather than the yellowy putty they seem to be on my screen). So as long as I get on that soon, we’ll be able to finally install N’s library by the end of the month and unpack most of the rest of the boxes.

I’d like to overdye a large old cotton rag rug (old meaning faded and from the 1990s, not vintage) and a large old cotton sofa cover but not sure how to do that… I’ve only got a small front-loader washing machine, a well that is going a little precious this time of year, and I’m sure the laundromats don’t want me to do that there, but I don’t want to spend much to revive these things – probably be cheaper to get some cheap sisal/jute rugs in the end, unless there’s some sort of paint-on, no rinse or little rinse fabric dye out there…?

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Cellar dweller…

Our “finished” basement needed to be finished some more.

The only redeeming quality was that half of its lights are groovy. But the ceiling was styrofoam, the floor is skim coated with cement covering up god knows what, and I have no tolerance for thin, cheap, and dark paneling.

basement light

Painting the paneling was a no-brainer. I made a brief attempt at whitewash, but it looked terrible. And I wasn’t about to take the time and energy again to fill in the groves to mimic drywall, and doing new drywall would have been more effort, expense, and bad for the environment since the only place for paneling is a landfill, or a fire.

basement-good light

So a thick coat of primer and a couple of coats of pale green-grey paint later, it is fine – for a basement. I went with the same color scheme as my tiny studio (and it’s also the same green-grey as the temporary bathroom fix) because I like it and there was leftover paint. One wall only has half paneling/wainscot and another has built-ins, so those started to become yellow along with a couple of doors.

But it didn’t work for me, despite the fact that one wall was perfectly painted – the yellow was oddly too cool.

basement-yellow&orange

So I went out and bought more of the same orange that we’ve been using on all of the outside doors  and painted some sample strokes over the yellow.

But apparently, I forgot that I had added white or some other lighter colors to the original inferno orange…

So  a mixin’ I went…

In went a pint of a bad yellow, a near-full pint of a pale lavender, a spoonful of the green-grey, and the dregs of some bright white used on the trim in the kitchen….

basement-orange

And thankfully, it worked – at least in the way I wanted it to – a warm, bold color familiar with copper.

But the color scheme is a bit on the odd side – the green-grey looks white, so it’s a bit like a fuzzy freezer burned creamsicle, but it’s the basement, right?

I’m not crazy about the other half of our light fixtures – not sure what the original owners were thinking mixing mod with colonial revival, but at least both are copper.

And don’t get me started on the agony of figuring out what to do with the drop ceiling and the defeat of just buying new panels, albeit, smooth ones… and ones, I might add that were woefully damaged and without any attempt at quality control. I’m looking at you, Armstrong. But thank you N, for dealing with making all of the cuts thanks to the dumbass original owners who didn’t lay it out in the direction that would have minimized cuts…

The floor will soon be painted a dark tealy-green and then we’ll finally set up N’s library, my favorite old oak library table, some of my found objects on the built-in shelves, all of the artwork that didn’t make the cut for the walls seen daily upstairs, a lounge area for hot summer evenings, a corner for my stationary bike, and then there’s still plenty of room for a floor loom…

(I don’t have a floor loom.)

(And maybe a pinball machine for N.)

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