Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Moving Progress

The Deed came in the mail. Dang, they sure don't make 'em official looking like they used to... Ours has--I kid you not--an adhesive label on it from the county. So much for fancy, lol....

So far we have taken several loads over, three in the Interstate Space Vehicular Transport Media, and one in the Matchbox Car. *thank you, dear ones!!*

As of today, That House now has a set of plastic shelves (filling in on Kitchen Duty, but soon to be doing its permanently assigned Mudroom Duty); a lawnmower to go with the weed-eater (yayness! no tickets from the city!! amazing Weed Powers that yard has!), a DVD rack for Gryph's movies (with the DVDs in it), and a bookshelf, plus numerous boxes and bags of Stuff, including books. Five boxes have even been unpacked and brought back to the apartment for re-filling.

Oven cleaner has been sprayed in the oven and is awaiting wet sponges. I left the window open--took a temporary screen over--so I do have to go back and shut the window, but mowing the lawn is out of the question for today. I'm just worn out.

Gryph has the bigger pipe wrench now. The faucet is still not replaced, although a new one was gifted to us. We need a different size wrench to get the old faucet out--one that will fit in the space up under the counter and loosen the nuts on the supply lines. This may take a while.

We have a "new" lamp also, big heavy clunky green thing, and it just makes me laugh. Pixie pointed out that it matches the upholstery on the antique chair; the lamp has a couple of the shades of green in it that are accent colors in the chair... so I thought Our Friend of the Floors had the lamp in her living room and got tired of it. Gryph found it out on the curb and grabbed it for me... come to find out, it was one someone else had given her, and not hers at all!

It won't stay green. I'm thinking black spray paint is my friend. I love that black-accented-with-gold look and already have two lamps done that way; then it will just need a white shade and we'll be good to go.

I keep looking around wondering what on earth to do next. This tiny apartment is so cluttered that I don't even begin to know where to start.... especially since That House is sooo not ready for anything.

Maybe what I need to do is go over, finish the oven, shut the window, wash out and line the cupboards so my kitchen stuff can go over... that would be easy enough to pack, but I really don't want to get into it unless I have a good place to put it... and of course once the food and dishes are in the cupboards, the boxes can come back here for the next load.

Yep. I think that's what I have to do.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

I got asked for a wish list...

I got asked for a wish list.... it's HUGE but here is a start. None of these things have to be new, especially the furniture. Our favorite pieces are the ones we've rescued right before they hit the trash, anyhow... yanno, solid wood and just needed cleaned.
~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~

We need a washer and dryer.

We need a new kitchen faucet, or repair parts for the old one.

Gryph needs a bigger pipe wrench!

We need smoke detectors.

We need a spool of trimmer string for our Weed Eater (Electra Lite 9)... and who knew that would be hard to find?!

We need garden tools, everything from "diggers" to "rakers" to "cutters" lol.

We need a snow shovel.

We need a storage shed for our lawnmower (which is coming none-too-soon, oh my word, the weeds are growing fast!!); a plastic knock-together one would do, just some way to shelter the mower from the weather (and from greedy eyes).

We need a heavy-duty 100-foot outdoor extension cord for the lawnmower and for power tools.

We need fencing for the back yard--one stretch across the back of the property, and two gates at the sides of the house--so that the doglet can run free and strangers will stop cutting through the property.

We need a wet-dry shop vacuum.

We need floor wax for the wood floors. We considered polyurethane, but the manager keeps refinishing various apartment floors in the building with it and I get sicker from the fumes every time, so wax seems like a much better idea. It fits the 1920s era of the home better anyhow.

We need a bed for the guest room--at least queen sized--and linens for it.

We need a dresser for the guest room and a dresser for Gryph. He's been using a Rubbermaid storage cabinet as a dresser long enough... and then I can put that storage cabinet in the mudroom for garden and household supplies.

We need new sheet vinyl for the kitchen and mudroom.

We need a sander--borrowed or bought, either one--to sand the porch railings front and back.

We need handrails for the basement steps, the upstairs steps, and the back porch.

We need curtains and curtain rods for the windows--most of the windows are 42 to 45 inches across; some are 36 inches.

We need six drawer pulls for the built-in linen cabinet; you can still see that once it had the bin-type pulls on it.

We need shelf paper or better yet permanent liner for the linen cabinet drawers and for all the kitchen cabinets and drawers.

We need a Webster for dusting, because I truly cannot reach the tops of the windows, let alone the high corners of the rooms.

We need ladders that are rated for big people, metal step ladders and extension ladders.

We need a big tub and potting soil for the seed taters, which as of yesterday have split the bag open because their sproutage WILL not be denied.

We want a bigger toolbox for Gryph's tools.

We want a freezer, a clothesline, and a compost bin.

We want a bread machine, a toaster, a food dehydrator, and a blender.

We want a couch or loveseat.... or eventually, both!

We want a better computer desk.

We want a file cabinet.

We want more and better bookshelves. (I drool over glass-front shelves and cabinets---no cats can get in to knock things down! You would not believe how often our books hit the floor.)

We want a china cabinet--again, glass-fronted, and for the same reason! (At least books don't break when they hot the floor... eeek...)

We want a bigger dining room table with chairs (our small table only seats four and we want to put it on the front porch along with the patio chairs we've been using in the apartment).

Eventually, we want all new kitchen cabinets and appliances. I think that might be pretty far down the road though.

Our colors are all Autumn colors; our white is soft white or oyster white. Our style is definitely vintage/antique.... "Our Beauty" is a 1952 Singer sewing machine in a lovely small drop leaf cabinet with turned legs, and she will have pride of place in That House right next to a 1930s era chair Our Friend of the Floors *lol* gave us.

The only real stylistic difference Gryph and I have is that I am very much the romantic florals type person, and he is um... well... very much NOT. (Someone once gave him a floral dishtowel and it eventually ended up under the coffee pot to catch drips, the floral parts conveniently hidden from his aching eyes, lol.) So we've decided instead of flowers, we will decorate with a natural theme, seashells, feathers, stones, leather, wood, plants, animals, northwoods designs... sort of a country-lodge-in-the-city look. (Luckily, I absolutely love plaids, lol.)

It fits because the driving ideals of the Craftsman Era were to bring nature indoors, to use natural building materials, and to emphasize the handmade. It also fits because of his Native American heritage and because of our Paganism, a win-win situation all the way around, yanno?

We really couldn't have found a better house for us, even though she's falling apart, than our lovely little 1920 Craftsman Bungalow.

cleaning That House

Our friend up the street decided to wash the kitchen floor the other evening. Mind you, I have already washed it up SIX times.... started out with a scrub brush and eventually completely used up the mop with the Magic Eraser sponge on it.

So there she was on her hands and knees, and she scrubbed that thing for the seventh time... the water came up opaque brown again and again and again! I wasn't surprised but I WAS shocked, lol... I knew the floor wasn't clean yet but dayum, I thought I had gotten more dirt off it than that!! How the heck much dirt can a white floor HOLD?

After she wore out *lol* I decided that since she had not been able to completely get the dishsoap up when she scrubbed it either, I would take my new $2.50 mop from the Habitat ReStore and just do a good rinse. It started out okay (sheesh, though, there was yet MORE dirt on that floor!!)... but when I was only halfway through the mopping, the mop fell apart!! Brand new Rubbermaid mop, and the black rubberizing came off the squeeze handle--I put it back on, no big deal--but then the sponge fell off the mophead!! Mind you, the sponge ASSEMBLY didn't come out of the mop... just the sponge itself came off, and no way to put it back together. I guess you cannot use a Rubbermaid mop with hot water; it must dissolve the glue... who knew? Who knew? *sigh* So now I have to replace both mops, and I cannot find replacement heads for my scrubby mop (already looked), so I really hope the Rubbermaid mop will take a generic refill! After all, I still have the mudroom, the bathroom, and the entryway to mop.

While our friend was scrubbing the kitchen floor, I tackled more of the bathroom walls. They went from grunge to white... I was SO happy! The part of the tub I wiped down also went from grunge to white, this time not softly off-white like the walls, but sparkly shiny bright white. Now if only I could get the whatever-the-heck off the toilet lid (roofing tar?!), I would be SOOO happy! More comes off each time I scrub it, but I may just give up and use some Goof-Off on it, despite the obnoxious smell.

While the kitchen and bathroom were being scrubbed, Gryph went to work on the dining room floor with a heat gun, and scraped up a couple square feet more glue. OHHH how lovely those old oaken floors are! Before we left, he checked that burned-looking place where we thought Destructo-Tenant had tried to use a sander on the floor, and discovered to our great delight that we had misinterpreted what we were seeing.... Destructo-Tenant had actually spilled a bunch of VERY dark stain there and just wiped it around, then left it to dry!! It came up in small thick sheets (instead of the shavings we are used to getting) and the floor underneath is completely UNgrooved!! Wooohooo!!

I reserved a moving truck for Sunday the 26th. A couple of friends have offered to help us move, and we have GOT to get out of this apartment. The manager has repeatedly refused to repair or replace the smoke alarm, which is against the law; so we invoked the 14/30 day landlord non-compliance clause and gave our 30 days' notice. There's been no response so far and it makes me wonder if they are just glad to see us go, or if they haven't bothered to check the office mail slot and so haven't found it yet.... but we have to go no matter what happens because the pressure of living in this place is making me agoraphobic... it freaks me out so much knowing that they are spying on me, watching for me, trying to control me, that I cannot bring myself to leave the safety of the apartment. I even put off walking the dog, and that is SO not good.... I am once again acting like an abuse victim; I walk with my head down and I do everything I can to shrink into myself--staying under their radar--because I am always expecting a nasty explosion of verbal abuse to come my way.

This is no way to live. This is especially no way to live when we have a perfectly good house that we COULD be living in, instead.

The Inspector has been by again, and has left us a huge list of housing violations. She is coming down on the house like a ton of bricks again--no pun intended despite the falling brick wall, lol--and is holding us to higher standards than the rest of the neighborhood, but we can fight that battle next week.

One of the conditions of getting emergency repair money from the county is that we send in a copy of our deed--and the title company STILL hasn't sent it to us yet. It seems to me more important to get that taken care of first. AND That House has just dropped off the online tax rolls, so now we cannot even get free paint (which we already applied for), plus the taxes are due May 1st and we still have to appeal the valuation--it was $34,800, but of course we only paid $15,000 so it needs to be adjusted--so I think these things which we qualify for and which will get the repair process started need to be addressed before I call the Inspector.

We still have no refrigerator, and I'm not sure why. I'm hoping to run into the neighbor who offered me his old one soon.

Friday, April 10, 2009

doggone adorable

Please forgive the blurry pic; the Self-Installing Canine Program, Module One, was running on the Steal-Mom's-Chair-and-Be-Adorable Platform the other day and I simply HAD TO take pics. She was all curled up and finally--finally!--not panting.

Here in the second pic you can see the Module is operating with the Optional Camera Flash Eye Enhancement feature.

So yesterday our friend Pixie and I were at That House, cleaning the stove (which is now in the kitchen, woohooo!) and Gryph went back to the apartment without me.

That didn't last long. The doglet insisted on finding me... it is evidently NOT OKAY for Gryph to come home without The Queen Of The Universe, lol.... Lady insisted on a walk and then *tracked me* all the way back to the house!!

Silly pup! lol!

Monday, April 6, 2009

We bought That House

So, the house is ours now, and people have been asking me for pictures. There are pics back in November but I thought I would add some that are more current.

This is the view from the dining room through to the front door. Please forgive my strangely slanted camera skills, lol.... the curtains are temporary, as all the curtains in the house will be for a while. I have this stash of sheets... *wry smile*

This is the north wall of the living room, with the (currently disconnected) gas fireplace. These glass-fronted shelves are the only built-ins left in the house, as the "window seat" is something the previous tenant built over a cold-air return register for the original furnace.

We discovered pretty quickly on that we wanted our own heat gun. Here is our preliminary effort with a borrowed heat gun; it's what convinced us that this is the way to go.

Progress on the dining room floor with the borrowed heat gun. We intend to borrow it again, and use two at once to speed the work. Mostly I am working on the house while Gryph is at work, and it's slow going because of my fibromyalgia. I lost a week, recovering from pushing too hard.

A friend passed on a tip about Imperial Cleaner, telling us that we could pour it onto the floor and it would loosen the glue. We tried it. It doesn't work. The glue comes up the same way with or without the cleaner, and neither way is as effective as the heat gun. The cleaner is highly flammable so we cannot do both; we're praying that we've let enough time go by for the petroleum distillates to evaporate so that we can use the heat gun again.

The good thing about Imperial Cleaner is that it seems to leave a lovely finish behind, one that is impervious to spilled water. We might use it after the glue is gone.

Old oak floors are so beautiful to me. I go for the country/vintage/shabby chic look when I decorate, so an old worn floor is going to fit beautifully. We're seriously considering waxing it rather than polyurethaning it... how could a brand shiny new polyurethaned floor look right under antiques/vintage furniture?

So far the nicest surprise in the yard has been flowering quince; it came from the neighbor's yard and is spreading slowly into ours. It took a LOT of searching to discover what it was and my friend upstairs is the one who finally found out for me. Evidently this particular plant doesn't fruit in the autumn, although they usually do--not the big quinces that come on fruiting quince shrubs, but small sour ones that make good marmalade--but I suspect this shrub is too early to bloom and that year after year, the late March/early April freezes kill any fruit that might have set.

So... here is the reason we could afford this house. Yikes!

We propped the next section of bricks up as best we could... if it came down, it would more than likely bring the windows with it. Luckily for us, the bricks are a veneer, just a facing, and the structural part of the wall is inside the house. Isn't that a weird way to handle concrete blocks, though? I finally figured it out... I think that the concrete is for added stability, and that it is slathered onto the interior brick wall.

Friends and I did our best to cover that interior wall with plastic, since the rains were due in. This of course was BEFORE I knew about any kind of BLIZZARD being due in, sheesh... the plastic held, thanks be!

Unfortunately, the wood bracing that loose chunk of bricks did not hold; Gryph and I fixed it a couple times before we realized the problem was the wind under the plastic. So on went my workgloves (Gryph hasn't needed them so far, but I sure do!) and we piled the bricks back in front of the plastic to keep the wind out. Gryph even restacked them in part of the wall. It's worked so far and my fingers are crossed that it will keep on working until we have the money to get plywood and do something sturdier.

When the bricks fell, the pressure shattered the basement window. We bought a piece of plexiglass to fix it but the darned sheet is two inches short *eyeroll* so we just propped it in front of the window to keep neighborhood cats out.

We must be crazy, eh? But the price of craziness is right *innocent blink* and we are so in love with this house and all her possibilities. I have two raspberry vines and a 5 lb bag of seed taters waiting in the mudroom, and all my seeds waiting here in the apartment. We have a stove on the front porch waiting for me to scrub it clean and also to get the kitchen floor clean, and a neighbor has offered us a fridge. Now we need a washer and dryer and a chance to get the place clean--I already cleaned a good part of the bathroom--and we have to replace the geysering kitchen faucet and we're good to go.

That House will be a good place to live.