Apply desk to forehead

Weekend progress report:  Primed 1st story of kitchen side of house and dining room window.  Painted inside dining room storm door.  Got most of 1st coat of green paint on kitchen side door.  Removed kitchen door. 

Casualty:  One broken circular saw cord.  (Sawzall is already on disabled list from a previous project, youth health hopefully it’s just crud in the brushes)

Installed new kitchen door. 

  • Problem #1:  learned that kitchen addition to house has two layers of exterior siding, this thus rough opening is 5 1/2″ deep.  Door frame is 4 1/2″ deep.  Solution – remove brickmold, cheap add extra trim. 
  • Problem #2:  Interior drywall (2 inexplicable layers) is deeper than door trim and had been finished off with a metal strip attached to old door frame.  Solution – add extra trim, repair drywall. 
  • Problem #3:  Don’t have any more of the kitchen paint to repaint wall after drywall repair.  Solution – it’d make a lovely accent wall with a quart of some other color. 
  • Problem #4:  Idiot who bought door (me) figured it wouldn’t matter much that door is right-handed when old door was left-handed.  It looks/works fine unless you consider the fact that the open door will be in the middle of the room instead of against the wall.  Solution:  Try to convince self that it’s not really a problem.  Wake up at 4:00 a.m. and agonize over it for an hour.  Find left-handed door in stock at another store.  Try to convince husband that door should be swapped.  Discuss ethics of returning door.  Hope door fits in basement (where new door is also very much needed, unless you like doors that are literally part cardboard [long story]).  Wonder how to remove new door without sawzall.  Find sawzall schematics online. 

Casualty:  My sanity/wallet. 

Knitting progress:  Finished Alpine scarf!  Woot!  It only took me two years and seven months!  No, I did not work on it the whole time.  It spent a lot of time in time-out because it was very naughty.  I love knitting on slippery needles but learned the hard way that lace on slippery needles is not a good car project and it is inadvisable to knit lace while drinking around a campfire in the dark.  I could have knocked at least three months off if you discount the time I spent fixing mistakes.  Plus there was that time the cat chewed the yarn in half. . . anyway it’s done!  I blocked it last night (Lucy even failed to use it as a cat bed!).  The Alpaca with a Twist Fino blocked out nicely.  Before blocking I couldn’t tell there was silk in the yarn because it was so drapey and fuzzy, but after blocking it’s got a lovely drape to it and a body that I didn’t expect.  I wanted to take it to work and show it off, but I was afraid it would lose too much flatness.  I want to take pictures and show it to the knitters in my life before that happens.

Scientific progress goes boom

Two years ago Anna got to come to Bring Your Child to Work Day.  She doesn’t get to do that anymore because of one crochety higher-up, visit this but the sole year made an impact.  She wants to be a chemist “like Mommy” when she grows up.  I told her not to limit herself, sickness but I think it’s cute.  I can’t help encouraging her interest in science, order so last night we attended the annual Faraday Lecture.  Lots of things blew up.  Anna was delighted.  Claire got bored, but I expected as much.  Claire wants to be a firefighter. 

I attended the lecture three years ago by myself, I checked to make sure it was the 19th lecture back in 2006.  I could have sworn I was knitting on the Alpine scarf while waiting for the show to begin.  I remember it so clearly, the fine blue yarn getting briefly tangled in the zipper of my purse, the feeling of absolute geekdom of knitting lace while waiting for a chemistry lecture.  This blog tells me I didn’t start the scarf until 2007, roughly in April.  My brain has become autonomous and is making up its own history.

Claire fell asleep on the way home but when I put her to bed she drowsily insisted on a bed snack.  I knew she wouldn’t stay awake long enough to eat so much as a cracker, so I promised I’d bring her something.  She was back in dreamland by the time I returned from the kitchen, so I put the cup of dry cereal beside her bed and let her sleep.  This morning the first words out of her mouth were, “You left me a bedsnack!  I love it!  Thanks Mommy!”  Behold, I have invented the bedsnack fairy!

Paint paint paint paint and paint

The mysterious painter did show up yesterday, global burden of disease and is at this moment up in his big yellow bucket truck painting those bits of my house which I can not safely reach.  Which is awesome, except for the fact that it means I’ll be out there painting those bits that I can safely reach before the snow flies. 

We have learned that our house is sided with yellow pine.  This is good because “it lasts forever” due to a very high sap content but bad because it doesn’t hold onto paint as well as some woods might.  So we’ve noticed.

I’m up to the top border on Alpine Lace!  It’s only taken me forever and ever and ever! 

To finish my degree, I have to apply to be readmitted.  It also looks like I’ll be chosing a new advisor as the previous one was difficult to pin down.  This might mean that finishing this damned degree will take longer than I’ve anticipated, but at least it will be done.  I hope.   Maybe.  Someday.  Bleh.

Well whodathunk?

Guess who phoned last night?  The missing painter.  He claims he’s coming today.  Suddenly he wants to be paid in cash.  :: raises eyebrow ::  I am washing my hands of as much of the matter as possible.

Weekend progress report:  edged and mulched the stairway up the front yard.  It looks so tidy now!  It wants plantings and solar lights.  Prepped the dining room window for painting.  Painted and hung the dining room storm door, look installed knob/latch.  Woot!  I can leave the main door open and let sunshine stream in the storm door without the dog running outside!  Dog is vexed.  Painted dining room door – gosh I love our accent color.  Dog is painted with accent color.  Stupid dog.  Finished Christmas mittens for girls, recipe put them away with coats so they don’t disappear as Claire is enamored with hers.  Made significant progress on Alpine Lace scarf that I started forever ago, gleeful at the concept of knitting something with no deadline or recipient.

Get the carrot! Get the carrot!

When your house was sided mid-century, global burden of disease and not the last mid-century but the one before it, it’s hard to find replacement siding.  We’ve got some damaged pieces and some missing pieces that need to be replaced as part of the exterior refurbishment job.  I’ve talked to two lumber mills this week about having some custom made.  It entertains me to see people’s reactions when you explain what you’re after, but they’re not really surprised.  It reminds me that we’re not the only crazy old house lovers out there.

Lately I’ve had another project weighing heavily on my mind, and I made a decision today that took a huge weight off my shoulders (and replaced it with another older one).  I’ve been working on my MS degree off and on for a disturbingly long time.  In fact when I started this blog I was still taking classes.  I needed one more class and a thesis to finish.  My advisor needed to grant me permission to take the final class because the time limit for completion had passed.  He said he’d grant permission when he had a draft of my thesis in hand.  Fair enough.  Then I had Claire, and switched jobs, and moved, and the thesis got shoved so far to the back of the to-do list that it all but fell off.

Yesterday I had lunch with a former colleague who moved to France seven years ago.  He asked me if I ever finished the degree.  *wince*  Also at lunch was my boss, who laughed when the subject came up because he’s been encouraging me to finish, too.  *double wince*  Today I ran into another former coworker who asked me if I finished the MS.  *triple wince*  Then as I was sitting on the 31st St bridge, I saw this billboard.  OKAY, UNIVERSE.  I GET THE MESSAGE.  I will write a draft of the thesis.  I will contact my advisor, eat a generous helping of crow for having let so much time pass, and beg and plead for him to let me complete the degree.  Then and only then will I proceed with the project that I want to be working on.  It’s a good carrot.

Bucket list

It’s going to be absofreakinglutely beautiful out today and I could be outside at home getting work done but intstead will be at work getting work done since a) that is what I get paid for and b) if I manage not to blow any more vacation days hanging outside my house on a ladder I can have two weeks off in December.  Besides that, buy viagra I have accepted that I will not get the house finished this year.  I will not even get the third side of the house finished this year even though I have the first story scraped and all the windows on that side reglazed because I can’t reach the peak on that side.  Technically I could, bulimics but it would require borrowing the big ladder from my father and finding a way to put it up and convincing my family that I’m not going to die a horrible death from falling off said ladder.  So we were to hire a painter to do the high-up bits on that side and the back, but he’s gone MIA and I fear that the nice weather will got MIA next.  I’m working very hard to accept this, but it rankles every time I walk in the house.  The side in question is the one that faces the driveway.

In lieu of painting yesterday I replaced the threshold on the old front door.  It started out simply enough – remove old threshold, cut new threshold to fit, install new threshold.  Ignore the fact that the screws to hold the new one down don’t screw into anything since they line up with the gap in flooring underneeth.  Install rubber gasket in new threshold.  Try to close door.  Realize that gap under door is not even.  Examine to see if it’s because door is cut crooked or hung crooked.  Take door off hinges and out onto porch to cut 1/4″ off 2/3rds of bottom of unevenly cut door.  Stand around and talk to neighbor who shares the wisdom that all projects end up more complicated that originally planned.  You don’t say?  Remove door sweep before cutting.  Find out that previous owner who “stripped and refinished” the door’s interior didn’t bother to remove the cheap ass sweep and there’s a 2″ strip of white paint along the bottom.  Shrug.  Cut door.  Rehang door.  Squeeze door shut over new threshold gasket and hope the whole thing compresses to the point that it is someday functional.  Remove decorative trim from inside of door winow and seal up gaps with caulk and add nails so that window glass no longer rattles in frame.  Replace trim.  Walk away from door and eat pie.

Pie:  I baked pumpkin pies from scratch yesterday.  I’ve always wanted to try this.  Some people have always wanted to try bungee jumping.  My ambitions are less likely to break my neck.  I had two “sugar pie” pumpkins which I cut in half.  One of them cut easily, but for the other one I seriously considered getting out the Dremmel.  I have never encountered such a tough pumpkin – it was like wood on the outside.  The tiny pumpkin saws from our jack-o-lantern kit finally enabled me to get the thing open without opening an artery in the process.  That was the toughest part of the whole process.  I cleaned out the halves and put them face down on a pyrex baking dish with a little water for an hour at 350 until they softened.  Well, one of them softened.  The tough one remained rock hard on the outside but got soft on the inside.  I let them cool and scraped out all the flesh.

I used a small food processor to puree the flesh and had enough for two pies (4c) with a cup leftover which went into the freezer for later.  I baked the pies using the recipe that came with the pumpkins.  I’ve heard two schools of thought on baking pumpkin pies from scratch:  one camp says it doesn’t taste appreciably different from canned pumpkin, the other says that the flavor is better and worth the extra effort.  My verdict?  The flavor is different if you really pay attention, but if I hadn’t known they were from scratch, I wouldn’t have noticed.  And it’s not better or worse, just a little more. . . pumpkiny.  But having smelled pumpkin in its various stages all day long, I was rather tired of it by pie eating time. 

Mark “Make pumpkin pie from scratch” off to-do list.

Happy Halloween! (only two days late)

We like Halloween at our house.  This year I had two princesses – Rapunzel and Cinderella.  The night before their transformation they carved pumpkins:

At dusk they bundled up and set off to collect enough candy to put them in a sugar coma until Christmas:

Then we went to a costume party at Grammy and Pap-Pap’s where they partied ’til they dropped.  Or in Claire’s case, pilule demanded to be picked up.

I’ve already begun sewing their Christmas dresses.  I say it’s because I want to get a jump on holiday preparations, but really it’s borne out of gratitude to not be outside scraping the house.