Eye of the Storm

Things just keep happening around here, but I’ve actually had a few hours to breathe, at least! Sorry no photo illustrations. After you read this, you will forgive me, I think.

Monday was totally insane. I had a knitting class to teach in Dayton, as well as several important errands, so Hubby came home from work to baby sit the furnace repairmen. Yes, that’s right. The furnace up and quit Saturday night. He tried to fix it himself, but it was beyond his understanding of gas furnaces and WELL beyond his fear factor threshhold – and mine, too, for that matter. When he worked on it Sunday, I developed a strong interest in the part of the house most distant from where he was tinkering. I figured at least one of us needed to survive the attempt. I can’t tell you how glad I was when he gave up!

Before class, I stopped at Lowe’s to buy a  new bathroom fixture. The one over my vanity is flashing like a beer sign, and it’s uglier, too. I hate fluorescent tube fixtures anywhere, but I absolutely despise them in Victorian homes for some reason. Go ahead; say I’m narrow-minded… Since remodeling that bathroom is very high on my priority list, I bought the fixture I’d like to have for that fantasy – one less item to get if/when it actually happens. It’s not mounted yet, but I do have it! I also grabbed a couple battery operated puck lights to put under the kitchen cabinet on the frig side. The other side is longer and wired, but wiring is awkward on the right hand side, and since I just finished releasing it from solid pack clutter (while keeping my distance from the furnace), I thought it deserved a special little treat. 🙂

Meanwhile, on the hour drive into town, I had been praying for my daughter, who was disposing of her gall bladder at the time, fielding calls from my husband about the furnace and retirement village apartment rental, and trying to find a contractor who would actually come and measure the windows. Of course, as soon as I found one, the missing guy called, promising to be out post haste. That was Monday morning and this is Wednesday night, and guess who I’ve not heard from since… At least I DID finally hear that my daughter was in recovery, and things had gone well – though now that she felt horrible, they were in a huge hurry to send her home instantly. And hubby called to report the furnace was functioning again. Three down…

Class went well, but what happened AFTER class still has me fuming! My cell phone started exhibiting signs of failure over the weekend (of course…), and with it being 6 years old, it was not entirely unexpected. I stopped by the AT&T store, planning to replace it with an iPhone 4, after having done many hours of research. Instantly, the salesman embarked on an all out effort to dissuade me from following my intended course, and in the end, I caved and did it his way, bringing home a Samsung Focus, instead. I could write an entire post about this little fiasco! Now don’t get me wrong – nothing incurably horrible with the phone at this point, I don’t think. It’s just that the fellow at the Xenia AT&T store told me so many stories it’s not funny, and I’m going to be upset with him for a very long time.

  • He told me he would transfer my phone list, my saved TM’s (some info I was storing), and all my photos to my new phone. Once I signed the contract, it was “good-bye and good luck,” and guess what he did NOT do for me. Of course, the old phone is deactivated, so although I have all the stuff stored on it, now it can’t be moved.
  • He told me he was going to cut me a special deal – multiple times – but in the end, charged me the normal store price for everything.
  • Numerous times, he quoted prices for things – like restocking, insurance deductibles, etc., that were not accurate for the model I bought – and notably cheaper than reality.
  • He told me that I could wait and add a memory card later – which is somewhat true. However, if I do that, it will reset the phone to “like new” status, which I didn’t find out until I’d put hours of work into setting it up, buying some apps and putting phone numbers and email addresses in by writing.
  • He had absolutely no idea that the memory card cannot be removed from the Focus phones without rendering both the card and the phone useless.
  • Despite our extended discussion about ringtones and my irritation about having to repurchase the personalized ones I use to make my life ever so much easier, he never bothered to tell me that the Focus does not accept aftermarket ringtones, and I would have no choice but to use one of the series of generally unpleasant electronic beeps and blunders available pre-programmed in the phone. Not only do I hate those, but they sound just like everyone else’s phone, so now I’m going to be forced to join the eye-rolling game of looking at my phone to see if it’s mine whenever one rings in a crowd. How I’m going to learn to tell the personalized tones apart when the only ones that aren’t superbly obnoxious sound pretty much the same is another story. Again, this would most definitely have been a deal breaker for me.
  • He was doing this “wonderful service” for me by installing my screen protector from the seriously overpriced “bundle” of accessories that should be standard, and he managed to trap debris under it. That is going to drive me crazy!
  • I guess I’m naive, but when the salesman chatters on and on about the things one can do with a Focus, I sort of figure I really can do them – and without adding umpteen more paid services to my phone bill, especially when I’m told there are no hidden charges!
  • And I guess I’m a bit foolish, but I went in intending to get the $15 media package. I have WiFi at home, so how much do I really need outside the house? He managed to convince be to get the $25 package “for the first few months.” I’m guessing he’s on commission for some reason, and I was his sucker of the evening.
  • There are only two huge problem so far that is not the fault of the salesman is that the manual that comes with the phone is very minimalist – a quick start guide. I hate to be the bearer of bad tidings, but Samsung, not everyone in this world already knows how these phones function! The other rather critical problem is that my ancient Motorola V557 had absolutely no reception problems, but my Focus volume wavers in and out constantly on phone calls, going from too loud to bear to too soft to hear and back again within seconds. Now that is a HUGE problem! So how much of the phone problem is solved, even after several hours on the phone with AT&T tech support? Well… Let’s just say that the final chapter in the phone saga has yet to be written.

So anyway, Monday saw the furnace repaired, minimal contact with our window contractor, knitting class taught, successful surgery for my daughter, new bathroom light purchased, new phone perhaps temporarily purchased, and the deposit made on a retirement village apartment for my father-in-law.

Tuesday, I crashed – totally.

I really think I deserved it.

Besides, crazy is only just beginning!

 

 

Fenestration, Ortho-statics, and Bilirubin – Oh MY!

Remember those “famous last words” in my most recent post about this being a busy week, but hopefully much less surprising? Yeh… right! I know that this week could technically have been even more tumultuous, but if it had been, I’m not sure I’d be here writing a blog post right now.

Monday was my first day teaching the Baby Surprise Jacket at my LYS. Of course, first day of a class series always has its trials and triumphs, but I had fun. However, class did run WAY over time, and I ended up late to Guild meeting trying to grab a fast food supper on the way. Then I arrived to a very dark venue, due to Candace’s slide show. Instead of sneaking in unobserved, the program was interrupted and the lights turned on while someone located an empty chair for me. Blush…

Tuesday we drove to Cincinnati to look at some fenestration options. This would be my first new word for the week, and it has to do with the art/science of windowing a house. This is an unexpected emergency project, basically because we have one window we simply can’t close, and we are relatively sure that winter will eventually arrive here…

We are planning to replace just this window and one other that is broken at this point, and we’ve chosen to use Marvin windows. We were going to do more, but it seems that the contractor Marsh Builders recommended must not need work right now. He’s still not called to set up an appointment to measure our openings, despite my second call to the company, and it looks at this point as if it’s going to be physically impossible for him to get them installed before the end of the year deadline for the tax credit, since there is a 4 week lead time just to get the windows – without holidays. No energy credit is sort of a deal breaker on spending more right now. I guess it would have been a good thing to have known about that credit before last weekend… sigh… Now we’d just like someone to do SOMETHING for us before this rather big pane of glass hits the ground two stories down…

or we have to stow a snow shovel in the hallway upstairs. 😉

Wednesday brought my bulldozing buddy, who is helping me work through the decluttering project. It’s amazing how hard and how long we can work, and how exhausted I can be at the end of the day, and yet feel like we got through such a small percentage of the problem. I can’t be anything except unbelievably grateful for the help I’m getting though. This is so far beyond my ability to conquer alone, and it’s a marvel to have someone come alongside me and help. 🙂 There are actually moments once in a while when I think it might even be possible to get my life back. What a miracle that would be!

Then came Thursday. Not long after I woke up, I received a phone call that my father-in-law, who lives more than an hour away, had been rushed to the hospital via ambulance, condition unknown – and for that matter, hospital unknown – but symptoms sounding as if he might have had a stroke. Thankfully, I finally located him, and after three days in the hospital he was released. Instead of TIA’s or a small stroke, he was having ortho-static (next new word for the week) problems – blood pressure/dizziness related stuff, particularly evident when he changed “altitude” by sitting or standing. Much easier fix than the stroke we were fearing, but this was still definitely more stress than either hubby or I needed, especially since we ended up spending all day Friday touring senior care facilities in his area. Though he’s home for now, we are going to learn first hand what it’s like to move a parent into a retirement/care community and break up a household established some 60 years ago – long distance and before the year is over. It’s going to be a very challenging 5 weeks to 2011.

Now Friday had actually felt rather positive. We found a place we really loved for my FIL, nice enough I even thought I might be able to live there – presuming I could get two apartments so I had room for my dolls and yarn and fleece and fabric… – and when we stopped to visit at the hospital, he was looking and feeling much better. We stopped for our first meal in 10 hours, celebrating with a rare treat, a Cassano’s pizza, which was simply marvelous. As we left the restaurant and were getting into my car, hubby’s phone rang with a call from Daughter#2. This was odd, as she was supposed to be spending her birthday on a Caribbean island and had told me not to bother calling, as she wouldn’t be answering her phone. My heart was in my throat in an instant, and it stayed there for many hours to come. Instead of being in Dominica, she and her husband had just arrived at the airport in Baltimore on an emergency flight home and were making a mad dash to the hospital. The ship’s doctor had diagnosed a life-threatening condition that she felt couldn’t wait even another day. If you’ve never been in this situation, let me tell you that hearing your daughter’s liver isn’t functioning, her bilirubin (At least I knew what this strange word was!) levels are sky high, she’s 8 hours away and in terrible pain, and on top of it all, she has just lost a fantasy vacation and it’s her birthday, no less… well… it’s definitely one of the worst feelings I’ve ever had in my life – and my reserves were already shot with my father-in-law’s situation!

Happily, at this writing, my daughter is in much better condition than she was two days ago. She’s discovered the grand world of endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography. In layman’s terms, she had a camera for lunch on Saturday. 😉 Under anesthesia, a camera was fed down her throat and eventually to a place where her liver and pancreas could be examined. During the procedure, they were able to locate and remove a large gallstone that had lodged in an important duct in her liver. The pain is gone, but she has a killer sore throat – probably a good swap, in all honesty. She’s still not eaten since Wednesday, and sometime Monday she’ll be bidding adieu to the hooligan gall bladder that started all the trouble in the first place. One of the things I learned this week is that gall bladder problems aren’t just a pain; they can be a life-threatening problem.

Suffice it to say, after all this I’m trying very hard not to try to imagine what lies in wait for me this coming week. However, God has seen us through an impossible week. My Sunday has been a blessed oasis – the first thing anywhere near a “normal” day I’ve had in nearly a month. In a few hours, it all begins again, but today I’ve felt peace, hope, and much enveloping love and prayer from a myriad of online friends and acquaintances, and for this moment, that’s been enough.

Majoring a Minor

I did something tonight that would have felt like a small step had I done it 15 months ago, but today, it feels like I did something really major. And I’ve been looking at things the way they were for so long, it looks funny suddenly being done – no matter how small the step actually was.

So the “what” is a step forward on the nook project, with the specific task being to install the handles on the cabinet that will be under the TV. This has been sitting with only one handle in place, and one drawer on the floor beside it since August a year ago. The drawer was out because with no handles, it’s a challenge to open the drawers. I was originally going to put on the handles as I finished painting drawers, which is why only one was installed. Last week, I decided that since the other drawers are done and can’t be put in place until they are painted, those should be first, and meanwhile, I wanted to be able to utilize the storage space in the lower cabinet, so handles it was! However, it really wasn’t as easy as grabbing a pencil, ruler, drill, and screwdriver. You see, this cabinet is a horizontal surface, and I don’t know about you, but in MY house, a horizontal surface doesn’t remain empty for 15 months… 😦 The floor in front of the cupboard is also a level surface… in a recessed area… which wasn’t being used… Suffice it to say, I’ve spent a lot of hours properly excavating the area, since I didn’t want to just move the problem around, and by tonight, I’d reached the goal…

And tonight, I finally added handles! Drawers are partially filled, but this will be a work in progress. The things that belong in them are scattered widely around the house, having had no good home for the past 27 years. It’s in very close proximity to the computer, and for the most part, it will be housing office supplies  – mostly the spare stuff that I buy in bulk or just keep extra stocked. The bottom drawers are built with heavy duty glides and I sized them to hold more than a case of printer paper each, so you can see how much storage space I’ve gained in this. 🙂 Next time you see this, I’ll either be showing off the next tier, or you will see paint on more than one drawer, but for now, I’m just one happy person having done this much. 🙂 15 months is a dreadfully long time to live with stalled remodeling projects!

Published in: on October 17, 2010 at 4:12 am  Leave a Comment  
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I’ve Been Aging!

Yup! And I’m really pleased about it, too!!!

Now before you go rushing to call the guys with the white coats, let me explain…

For very obvious reasons, I’ve not been able to work a bit this year on the remodeling projects that have become such a normal part of my life that it won’t seem right once they are actually finished. In fact, I’m relatively sure I’ve not touched them since a year ago September. Things have just been that crazy! However, we continue to have warm, dry weather this autumn, with days that are really too hot for my taste, but bearable with the cool nights. They have been enticing me to do as much of the neglected summer projects as I can manage, and today I attacked one that I’ve been putting off for a very long time, simply because I was terrified of it. The thing is, though, I have a friend coming over once a week or so, and she’s helping me with some of the de-cluttering that I need to do. Our current project made it very obvious that I need to get back to working on the nook, and one of the next steps there involves painting the DVD cubby and drawers. Drawers can’t be put in the cubby without handles, and that brings me to my project de jour.

The nook project requires quite a variety of hardware – various knobs and handles and hinges and such, and I was about to tear my hair out trying to find all the assorted items in complementary styles and the same finish. I was doing pretty well with one exception… the pulls for the DVD drawers. I wanted the style that looks like the one on the old library card catalog drawers, and hours of searching didn’t turn up good quality, solid brass with an antiqued brass finish anywhere a few years ago when I was looking. It also had not escaped my notice that antiqued brass finish was substantially more expensive than shiny new brass. Of course, all the stuff I wanted was actually available shiny. Shiny finishes make me nervous, though. They seem to demand a level of attention that goes far beyond my interest to provide. Every smudge or water droplet is the enemy, and mars in the finish just glare. I can’t happily live with shiny! One day I was sharing this frustration with yet another representative of yet another hardware company, and his immediate response was, “Why don’t you just antique them yourself?” I had a knee-jerk reaction to that, and it was rather negative. That is NOT the sort of thing that sounded like something I could or would want to do, but he persevered with his advice, telling me it was really easy, then adding that his company actually buys everything in shiny brass and the employees antique them in house when more are needed. Then he topped it off by giving me their “secret” method. In a moment of weakness, I caved in and bought the aging solution and two dozen brass handles. When it got here, I KNEW I’d been temporarily insane, and I packed it all in the hardware box and tried not to think about it for the last two years.

Now I have no choice. These handles HAVE to be done, and the continued good weather even killed the only excuse I could come up with. It took a while to find a small plastic container, but that was the hardest part of the project in the end. 🙂 It really was as simple as he said it was! All I did was toss the handles into the container and pour the Brass Ager over them. They were jumbled together and it worked just fine, by the way. I left them for about 10 minutes, then donned gloves, curious to see what I had.

Wow! Black! Next step was to scrub off as much of that black as I could, using 0000 steel wool, then toss them back in for another 10 minutes. Of course, they were just as black the second time, if not even better. If I’d wanted the blackened brass look, I could have stopped right there, rinsed them, and left them to dry, but I wanted antiqued brass, so I steel wooled them a second time. I didn’t really want any black on mine, so I worked them over pretty good, but this is purely a personal taste sort of thing. The cool thing is that if you take off more than you want, you can toss them back into the aging solution and try again! When I brought them into the house, the different lighting showed some spots I wanted to work on more, but now I’m pleased as can be with my handles!

I didn’t want to drop the screw down into the aging solution. The thought of trying to steel wool 2 dozen of them made my skin crawl! Instead, I held them loosely in my gloved hand and dunked them, then left them sitting on a protected spot on my workspace for a bit. I ended up dunking them twice more before they were about right, then I rinsed them.

Here’s the before and after comparison. I only did half today, since I’m still limited on how much time I can stand in one spot.

Tomorrow I need to go pick up some clear lacquer spray, since I want to arrest the patina where it is right now. If I wanted them to continue to age naturally at this point, I could just leave them alone, but that’s not a good option for me with the rest of the hardware having been done elsewhere and finished. All in all, I invested less than 90 minutes on this, and the expense was negligible. The only remaining problem is that the thumb went out of my glove, and I’m sporting a dandy patina of my own now!

Published in: on October 10, 2010 at 11:47 pm  Leave a Comment  
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I Should Have Held Another Contest!

Okay, this post is only a week late, but if you were living here, you would understand why! Under the circumstances, I’m counting this as last week’s post. I deserve a break!

So, about 6 weeks ago, I commented to DH that the kitchen faucet was leaking at the base. In the past, he’s gotten underneath the sink and spent a moment or two tightening up “something,” and it was good to go. For some reason or other, this time he followed a totally different path. This time, he decided he needed to put a washer in at the base of the faucet where it swivels. I knew from the moment he did this that he was courting disaster, and that’s why I should have had another contest – one to guess how long it was going to be before I had an entirely new faucet. 😉 This washer he installed made it nearly impossible to swivel the spigot, and within days, it started leaking again, which led him to make it even tighter. In these days of plastic components, that is simply not a good idea. I said as much, but… well… he stayed his course. As the days went by, things got worse and worse until 8 days ago. That’s the day I walked out into the kitchen, noticed a huge puddle on the floor by the sink, turned faucet, and was met by my own private fountain! (In the photo, you can see the water spurting up behind the spigot.)

At this point, I knew I had a trip to Home Depot usurping my previous plans for the afternoon. I was sure it was beyond repair. Turns out I was right. He’d been tightening down something that wasn’t meant to be tightened, and in the process, an internal collar split the entire length.

I was really unhappy with the faucets available at Home Depot – nothing I thought looked good with my kitchen. They’ve suddenly stopped stocking anything except the really modern looking ones. Although they offered to special order one for me, the fact that our faucet was leaking steadily onto the floor even when the water was turned off made that an unacceptable option. I really miss my porcelain handles and simple design, and since I bought a rather good quality replacement, I guess I’m going to be missing them for a long time. Wonder how long it will be before I get used to this new one!

And I’ve had some questions about the ceiling collapse problem, and realized I’ve been very remiss in following up that story. (I’ve been remiss in a LOT of things recently!) I have to say that it has a rather surprising end – or near end. When I came home from Honduras, I was completely shocked to find that DH had pulled down the mess and repaired the ceiling!

He didn’t repaint it, and he managed to forget that one shouldn’t sand against wallpaper, but I do have to say it’s a vast improvement over the sagging mess, not to mention it was a startlingly fast repair job for him. He commented that since the first time he fixed that ceiling took him about 15 years, he thought this time it would be nice to do it closer to 15 weeks. Paint or not, I was impressed! 🙂

Blog Candy Winner!!!

Sorry I’ve been SO quiet about this lately! Life hasn’t been conducive to thinking about things that aren’t critical at the moment I’m living, and since the ceiling is still up, it’s definitely not been critical. 😉

So, the way this all turned out… Hubby finally decided maybe I was right – that he hadn’t fixed the leak after all. I think it had something to do with the bulge growing and the water continuing to drip through every time he took a shower. 😀 He went back and studied the situation  much more carefully and found a gap where the bottom of the shower and the wall overlap – with the bottom of the shower in FRONT of the wall instead of the other way around. He caulked it, and the leak finally stopped. I said I’d wait a month to see if it came down after the fact, and since it is still up now in mid-March, I think there is one comment that is most accurate:

On January 22, 2010 at 4:57 pm Doreen Said:

I voted for not this time as I am like the ostrich who buries his head in sand. I hope it does not collapse and that it will get repaired before anything happens. It is wonderful that you can be so good natured about all this. By the way I like your kitchen wallpaper.

So, I think Doreen is the winner – though when she wrote the comment, I actually laughed and said, “Don’t I wish!” Way to go, Doreen! I’m SO glad you were right! I’d say your optimism really paid off. 😀 Only bad thing is that I now have a VERY ugly ceiling to live with! 😉 Maybe I’ll have to have another contest to guess what month and year it’s repaired…

Doreen, I’ll drop you a note privately, but if somehow we get lost in cyberspace, contact me for your prize!

Thanks again to you all for playing along with me! I can’t remember every having this much fun with something that should have been so unpleasant! 🙂

Slow Motion Disaster

I just wanted to put up a short post tonight with a ceiling update. I’ve been running like crazy this week, trying to get Concerto published in time for the pattern to travel to a tradeshow in February with some friends. Monday I’ll be in the city, so I can get it printed then, but first I have to have it ready. I’ve also been working diligently trying to get ready for the Ravelympics. I’m entering one of the designer events there, and it’s a good thing I’m allowed to swatch in advance. The pattern I’m doing has given me plenty of grief! At the same time I’m juggling those two projects, I’ve also been continuing work on my next lace shawl design, which thankfully is in the knitting phase and proving very addictive when I actually have enough time to sit and work on her.  I can’t wait to share pix, but just as a tease, she’s got bling! And that’s all I’m saying for now – partially because I have to get back to work, and if I start talking about what all has really been happening this week in my life, I’ll never stop. 😉

So, the ceiling is still up, and those of you who put in guesses in February are looking very wise indeed! The drip has slowed to only an occasional drop here and there, and I thought perhaps the danger was past, but yesterday, there was a sudden change in the topography…

I mentioned earlier that DH said he’d caulked, but obviously this problem got bigger than his caulk gun. He’s pulled apart the faucet, but he says it was dry back there. He’s now talking about getting a plumber in – a HUGE concession on his part, but a lot of stress for me, as a handyman would be a most inconvenient addition to my life this next week or two – especially considering it will equate to needing a lot of things moved and an lot of mess happening. I just really need a big “pause” button on the ceiling/plumber thing for a week or two!

So anyway, you can see from the picture that there are suddenly a lot of new cracks. They all showed up Friday, after several days of no noticeable leaks or changes in appearance, so they feel rather ominous. That was a big, abrupt change, and it says that things are still going on behind the scene. I’d swipe that stupid cobweb, so it wasn’t in my pictures, but quite frankly, I don’t want to touch the ceiling right now!

Okay, I said this would be short. I have a pattern to finish, and there’s still plenty of work to do!

Christmas 2009 – Part 3

Before I start, the kitchen ceiling is still hanging in there – literally! Newest update is that DH claims to have caulked several days ago, but since the worst of the damage and the leak appeared after he says he did it, I’d say that there was definitely something lacking in his technique. 😉 The dripping stopped briefly this morning, but a couple hours after his shower it started up again, so obviously, it’s not cured…

**********

How do I know I’m too busy? I’m just now starting to put away my Christmas gifts – a month after Christmas Eve! It’s hard to believe that as I’m writing this, a month ago at this moment, we were just starting on the final leg of our “adventure” trying to get to our daughter’s house for Christmas… The reason I’m squeezing this task of putting gifts away in right now, is that I need the box in which I toted my gifts home. It’s the perfect size to gather the parcels coming in for the 2010 Bleuette Stash Swap. (There’s still time to join!) Otherwise I fear it would have continued the way it has up until now with me grabbing something from the box when I want/need it for something, and I might have still been putting things away at my birthday in June!

I thought I’d take a few quick pictures and share what everybody got for me, because I think I received some neat stuff, even if it is somewhat lacking in fiber… 😉

For paper crafting, hubby bought me a Bind It All (neglecting to get me any accessories whatsoever, so I’ve not been able to try it yet) and a new design card for my Slice machine. He didn’t understand that there were different cards and just bought one off ebay. Thankfully he got one I didn’t have already – and now I don’t need to re-prioritize when I make my birthday list. 😉 If you don’t know, the Slice is a compact design cutter with hundreds of shapes and fonts in a multitude of sizes. The design cards are very well priced and contain clever and useful designs and a themed font. I’m not sure where those folks at Making Memories get their ideas, but they think like I do – and it’s an affordable system if you shop smart. 🙂 The Bind It All is a Zutter creation – again a compact machine. It slots pages and covers, then installs wire bindings, turning anything you wish into a book. In addition to the paper crafting applications, I’m thinking it will be nice to be able to bind such things as my Queen Susan Shawl print outs and other ebook downloads, so I can easily put them on my bookshelf with my other knitting books.

I received a nice assortment of doll related items this year, including a lovely Bleuette dress, china paints, and the complete Re-ment Bread and Butter set, which thrilled the Hitty gang. I wish I knew who had made the dress, but he bought it on ebay, and it didn’t come with a tag or sewn in label. It’s very nicely made, and I’m sorry I don’t know who to praise for the workmanship. We haven’t decided who gets to wear it yet (After all, it IS short sleeved and not seasonable right now.), but there is going to be a clamor among the early girls when they see it!

My younger daughter condescended to walk through the door of an antique shop and found an adorable baby tintype for me, which contrasted amusingly with the “purrfect” pet cat mannequin she picked up for me elsewhere. I love both of these surprise gifts, which just goes to show what an eclectic nut I am!

And last, but very certainly not least, is this wonderful mobile! When I was in Honduras the last time, I fell in love with it, but I’d spent my money by the time I saw it, so I had to leave it behind. My older daughter told DH how fond I was of it, so he had her bring it home when she was up on furlough. What a surprise it was to find it among my gifts! Other than just being an attractive sculpture, when the ball at the bottom is tugged and released, the bird begins a slow, graceful flapping that is utterly enchanting – very peaceful and rather addictive! I’m trying to figure out where he will be best hung now. The wingspan is rather wide, and he really argues with my somewhat Victorian decor. That’s not going to stop me from having him somewhere that I see him often, though. I just need to work on finding the perfect long term location – and that is NOT hanging from the ceiling fan chain! :))

Drip, Drip, Drop…

Little kitchen showers…

Yep! The ceiling is still up, but it’s now officially raining in the kitchen!

There’s about one drop every 45 seconds, but I’m a bit puzzled about one thing. Obviously, I’m choosing to bathe in the downstairs bathroom, but he took a shower last night before going to bed and when nothing happened, I thought perhaps he’d snuck in some caulking time between shopping and working on his buddy’s model railroad Friday. He left early this morning to spend the day skiing, so no one has been in that bathroom all day. However, sometime this afternoon the dripping began. Sure makes me wonder how much water is built up behind that sagging plasterboard! I’m thinking I need to move more things farther away. This could be a whole lot messier than I was anticipating.

The water is picking up minerals on the way through the ceiling. I cleaned this before I went to bed last night, and when I took the puddle picture, I did a double take, wondering how I’d done such a lousy job of it. Then I realized that the dirt was all in little splash designs. Whew! I’ve not gone entirely crazy – yet… 😉 I guess I need to follow up on the suggestions to find a tarp… or maybe a big trash bag?

And if you haven’t entered the contest, there’s still time! So long as the ceiling is up, you may enter. Scroll down to the Next Catastrophe post and leave a comment there with your prediction regarding day and time of the impending collapse. There’s a prize to be had!

Published in: on January 24, 2010 at 12:44 am  Leave a Comment  
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The Next Catastrophe and Blog Candy

It’s not often that I have the privilege of knowing what the next catastrophe is going to be around here, but this time I think I have a very good chance of guessing correctly.

We moved in here October 1, 1983. January 1, 1984, a huge section of our kitchen ceiling collapsed. At the time, my infant daughter and I were having breakfast, and had we followed the suggestion of family members who helped us move, we would have been sitting directly under it when it happened. Not only did a large section of the ceiling cave, but with it came a substantial amount of broken brick, which had been tossed into the crawl space when a recess was chipped into the 12″ thick brick walls of our house to install a shower in the bathroom carved out of the corner of one of the bedrooms upstairs. It was an event that could easily have proven deadly.

Once the dust had cleared, we discovered that someone before us had placed a plastic tub in the crawlspace under the shower drain. Apparently, it was prone to leaking. It took us just 3 months of regular showering to fill that tub to overflowing and soak the plasterboard of the ceiling enough that the weight of the bricks brought it down. It was many years before DH repaired the hole, and even longer before the ceiling was finished and repainted.

Somewhere in that time, the shower was replaced, but I suspect our contractor wasn’t substantially more talented than the original installer. Even before the ceiling was done, it was apparent that there continued to be a problem, and that it would be necessary to re-caulk the shower drain on an annual basis, at the very least. It’s also no secret that DH’s favorite activities have little or nothing to do with preventative maintenance, and our beautiful new kitchen ceiling was discolored and slightly bulged within a few years. A change in its appearance and a gentle reminder has been sufficient to see the caulking done – until now.

This has been worsening quickly for several weeks, and after his shower this morning, the split (where the blackish line is) showed up.

Personally, I give this one more shower until it comes down, so I took some time today to move the things below it that could be destroyed by wet plaster. I thought we could have a little bit of fun until what looks inevitable happens, so I created a poll. Cast your vote and leave a comment with your guess as to when the ceiling is going to collapse. Include a date and the time, based on Eastern Standard Time. You can vote without leaving a comment, but you will not be entered for the prize drawing, as I won’t know who is attached to the vote. I’ll send the person who comes closest to the time of the actual event a $10 Amazon gift card. If he caulks before it crashes, I am going to wait one month before announcing a winner, since it will take a while for the plasterboard to dry out and prove it is going to stay up for another round. If I’m away from the house and can’t determine the exact time, and more than one person could be right, I’ll do a random draw to determine the winner.

And stay tuned!

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