Archive | January, 2012

Occupy Movement

31 Jan

Poor Trixie was sitting all alone on a chair when she looked over and saw some fat cats sitting on a much better chair, getting much warmer rays of the sun. “That’s not fair,” she thought in her little pea brain. “I should be sitting with those fat cats and getting warm sun and probably a sausage pizza or a marrow bone or something.” So she went over and occupied their chair. The end.

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Fabulous renovation show

29 Jan

I’ve been watching episodes of “Beeny’s Renovation Nightmare” online. It’s an English show (Channel 4) of a couple who bought a “pile” (a dilapidated stately home) and are restoring it. They lived in it part time for about ten years then decided they needed it to produce income in order to finish the renovations, so they’re working on doing it up to rent it out for weddings. Lots of great historic home renovation tips!

Exterior paint plans

28 Jan

My front stoop is in rough shape — peeling paint and slimy green stuff. I had it painted about five years ago (after I spent an entire summer removing the paint to see what it would look like as bare stone — the answer: crap), and I guess it’s time for a re-do.

At some point, I need to address the rising damp issue on the stoop which is, I believe, somehow related to the basement. I won’t have the funds for the whole basement situation (I think I need to do a french drain and then cement the floor) for quite some time. I also want to change the exterior paint colors, and am planning to do that as part of a whole exterior maintenance which will include repointing the bricks. Nothing is simple here.

So in the meantime, I just want to put some sort of skim coat on the masonry and paint over it. I recently discovered that Farrow & Ball have exterior paint, including one specially designed for masonry and they have some sort of skimcoat-stopleak product — qv:

I’m thinking Pitch Black for the door (in a gloss), with Cornforth white and Manor House grey for the trim. I’d like to do a little splash of color in the sunburst over the door and was thinking a cornflower blue. I also admire their paints for wood and as I need to paint the fence in the back, that might happen courtesy of F&B this summer. Ah summer — it can’t come soon enough!

(this photo is actually the house a few doors down from mine, but it’s the same exact facade — only theirs is nicely painted!)

Christmas photos 2011

22 Jan

Just downloaded a bunch of photos from Christmas. Mostly animals wearing ridiculous costumes.


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One more reason to scorn Bank of America and have a little fun at the same time

17 Jan

Like so many People of America, I despise Bank of America. I used to have my sub-prime mortgage with Countrywide and I was perfectly happy with them. Then the BoAxis of Evil took over Countrywide and my mortgage. Now that I have a new full-time job and visible means of supporting myself (PTL!!!!), I’m hoping to be able to get a new and improved mortgage at a local bank — this year!

In the meantime, I have to grimace and bear it every time I send in my mortgage payment. Ok, I admit it — sometimes those payments are late. But I always wrangle up the money somehow and they’ve had me in their debt for five years now. When I’m late, the folks at BoA call to remind me of that fact — about ten minutes after the payment deadline. Don’t they have anything better to do? Like feed the flying monkeys or something?

Anyway, before they can get to the dunning portion of the phone call, they always ask me to “verify” the property address that they’re calling about. “Go right ahead and tell me the address,” I say, “and I’ll be happy to verify it for you.”

“No,” they respond, “you have to tell us the property address.”

“But that’s not what you asked me to do,” I say as sweetly as possibly. “You asked me to verify the address. So just tell me my address and I will verify if you have the right one.” I realize it is not the person on the other end of the line who chose to use this word incorrectly. The person on the other end of the line is just another poor slob like me trying to make ends meet. Still…

“I’m sorry, I can’t do that,” the confused person says.

“Then how can I possibly verify it for you?” I ask.

“Can you just verify your address please,” she or he asks again.

“Go right ahead and tell me the address you have and I will verify it,” I respond, yet again, impersonating Kafka. “Or if you could just tell me what the call is about [I know perfectly well what it’s about, I just don’t know why the hell they can’t just come right out with it instead of this kabuki verification baloney], that would be great.”

“I’m sorry I can’t tell you that without the address verification,” the person says. “But I can give you our phone number.”

“But you called me,” say I, “I didn’t want to talk to you, you wanted to talk to me. Why would I need your phone number?”

And then we all hang up and have a nice few hours of rest before they start calling again. I’m so glad my late payments are keeping folks employed, but I do wish BoA would hire someone who knows a bit more English to write their scripts. Filthy usurers!

Make mine mukluks

15 Jan

It’s around zero degrees out right now, and dropping steadily. I just went out in fur coat, fur hat, and fur scarf, and noticed that my shins (in long johns and sweats) and my hands (in heavy gloves) were freezing, so I’m now on the search for some fur-lined boots and gloves.

Thank you formerly-fur-bearing animals who help me keep tolerably warm in this atrocious weather.

Make Do & Mend Weekend

13 Jan

I started a new (full-time) job just before the end of 2011. I’d been working five or six part-time jobs every semester (with no health insurance or stability) for years. The new job is fantastic, though the low pay requires that I keep two of my part-time jobs, so I’m working about 50 hours per week. It’s QUITE an adjustment.

So this weekend is all about catching up with paperwork (piles of it — where does it all come from???), fixing shoes (separated soles), shoe polishing, and mending sheets and clothes. And de-Chrismafying…

I have managed to squeeze watching the first episode of Downton Abbey into my busy schedule 🙂 and am going to channel that WWI era spirit of thrift as I make do and mend all weekend.