Sunday, July 22, 2007

Playing Queen Dragonfly in My Own Little Realm

This is going to be one of those self-indulgent posts that's more about keeping a record of what I have (or haven't accomplished) than about supplying edifying content for the Houseblogs community at large.

When we last saw our heroine early on the morning of the 19th, she was whingeing about the failure of a certain paint stripper to deliver on its promises-- or about her own inability to take advantage of its glorious potential.

Well. Later that day, I called a friend who took down and refinished all the wood trim in his house. How easy is that, I wondered, vs. doing it in situ?

Oh, much easier. And if you crack it, you can just kind of nail or glue it back together. If it isn't too badly cracked, that is.

Oh. Right.

So I made one little experiment into taking the trim down, the first since I tried it a year or two ago and ended up with a grievous crack in one piece. I think you'll agree that this casing, at least, needs to be taken down and reerected anyway. It's crooked, and there's a gap between the trim and the wall that's as wide as an quarter inch in some places. All filled with spackle or some other rock-hard goop.

It's got something to do with the front room and its conversion from a front porch. I'm not sure when or how this was done, but it wasn't the neatest job in the world.

So I took down one piece. One. And hammered out the nails. Then a friend came by and that was that.

Until later that evening, like, after midnight, when I finished removing the stinky old beige carpet from the first floor-second floor stairs. In time for Friday morning trash pickup, again.

I rather like this little detail on the bottom tread; so simple and elegant, the way it curves into the newell post.But alas, the edge of the curve is a butchered mess. I wish I'd counted how many staples it had in it. Little copper staples from the green plush carpet laid by the POs-1. Big steel staples from the beige berber carpet the POs put down. Staples, staples; staples on top of staples. It was a staple convention, a staple infestation! I was using a hooked dental pick to pull them out, and constantly rammed my knuckles on the hallway floor every time another vicious bit of pointed wire came away. You know how people simper about not cussing around the clergy? I must have tramatized my sanctified ears sadly, with all the cussing I was doing around my reverend self--Lord help me!

And Lord help this stair tread. I know I'll have plenty of use for wood filler here and there as I de-beige this house, but this piece will call for genuine wood filler artistry.

Friday proper was devoted to the lawn and garden. Nothing exciting, just mowing, mulching, weed-pulling, herbicide-painting on the spurge in the cobblestone path of the vegetable garden; that sort of thing.

Saturday, ah, yes, Saturday, I tackled the back porch. My POs used it as a lovely social space, with a glass-topped table and cushioned chairs and all the rest of it. Me, I've let it degenerate into a dumping ground:

It took all day and into the night to bring it to this:

No, that is not my idea of a great furniture arrange-ment. What you see there with the Adirondack furniture is another Project. Those pieces all need scraped, primed, and painted. I even have the paint. Now I have the room to do it. Let the games begin.

The hilarious thing is that now that the porch looks halfway nice (for the first time in almost three years), I keep going out there with the vacuum cleaner to keep it that way.

Don't worry. I'll get over it.

Tomorrow I'm off to Athens, New York, for the three-day lime plaster restoration workshop at Howard Hall Farm. I'll try to report on it when I get back.

(I'm not averse to doing it while the seminar's in progress, but out of the three laptops I own, not one is capable of a reliable hookup to the Internet. At least, I don't think so . . . )

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