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Holiday Home Tour a success (phew!)

8 Dec

On Sunday, I opened up two floors of my house for a fundraiser Holiday Home Tour for the Springfield Preservation Trust. This was the reason I was furiously painting and cleaning for the past fortnight or so. I had alternating feelings of panic (I don’t have enough decorations! Everyone’s going to think my hallways are ghastly) and resignation (eh, ornaments shornaments, halls, schmalls).

In the end, all was well (as it always is, as Julian of Norwich was fond of saying). The people on the tour were extremely nice and appreciative of our (there were six homes on the tour) opening our places up. When the president of the Trust came by, I said to him “Well, this is the understated version of Christmas decor,” (mind you, dear reader, this is the most my house has EVER been done up for Christmas and I borrowed quite a few decorations). He replied, “Well, it’s a continuum of ornament on this tour.” Ha ha! Some of the places had a chicken in every pot and a tree in every room. I love my crooked old tree and my vintage ornaments, and it’s a delight to have a clean house and a freshly painted kitchen, so I’m considering the tour a win-win.


Day Three (Thursday, Thanksgiving)

26 Nov

I had a very civilized evening Thanksgiving meal with friends — no one there was related or under 40. Thus, there were no fights, slights, or frenzies. It was vegetarian and delightful. During the day, therefore, I had plenty of time to keep on keepin’ on in the kitchen. I’m nearly done! Just need to paint the trim around the doors and window (hoping to find paint in the cellar that I can use) and touch up the ceiling in a few spots.

Here’s how it’s looking:

Day Two (Wednesday)

24 Nov

Mamma mia! Lots and lots got done today thanks to my friend Jorge who came by and worked with me non-stop. We painted the brick wall, gave the ceiling two coats of black, and gave most of the walls a first coat of brown. Also skim coated the wall between the door and window and sanded and primed the previously skim coated wall to the right of the door. I *never* would have gotten all this work done without his help. His friendship is definitely something I’m grateful for.

Day One — end of day report

22 Nov

What a crazy day. In addition to painting this brick wall, I had to go out for more primer (and got all the rest of the supplies while at it) and fight Thanksgiving traffic plus un-ending I-91 construction, the plumber came to fix the leaking hot water heater (came and went and came again — he brought the wrong part), and while here we discovered a big leak from elsewhere in the basement — that’s going to entail cutting into walls to discover the source of… ugh.. Also, the mobile vet came to trim the dog’s fangy fingernails and drain the hemotoma in her ear 😦 poor little doglette! She needs special ointment in her ear, but should soon be on the mend. Plus a neighbor brought her a steak bone (which she horked down in one gulp) so that cheered her up a bit. And now… Off to teach!

At least I managed to finish priming the wall with all this other stuff going on. It’s BLINDING. Can’t wait to get the ceiling blackened and tamp the light down a bit 🙂

Here we go…. Day One in the Kitchen

22 Nov

No turning back now. I’ve started priming the brick wall. It’s slow going, but a great arm-strength builder. Yo, heave ho, unh. What was that from? I think it’s called “The Volga Boat Song” and it’s my mental soundtrack to trying to get the primer in all the nooks and crannies.

I love how the brick looks painted. I think it has much more visual interest. The raw brick was just so dingy and flakey. It’s reflecting light already, and I think that with the black ceiling it’s going to be stunning.

I got Glidden’s “Gripper” primer at the Home Depot, and it’s got pretty good coverage, but the wall itself is in such poor nick that I’m getting quite a workout trying to cover everything. So my goal today (Monday) is to get the whole brick wall primed before I have to go to work this afternoon. Then Wednesday will be the day to finish the skim coating and start painting the ceiling. Thursday I’ll prime the skim coat. I don’t know that any work will occur on Friday, so Saturday and Sunday are the big push to paint. Eeek!

Sunday Skim Coat

21 Nov

I peeled off the rest of the paper in the kitchen. There are a couple of sort of black (mold?) spots under the window, so I’m going to hit them with some TSP before I skim coat there. Started skim coating the skinny section to the right of the door. Am hoping to just give the walls 2-3 coats and then paint. Got some special mortar caulk for the bricks and will get underway with that tomorrow. Am hoping for big work days Monday and Wednesday…

“That’s a new floor?” quoth he

19 Nov

When I had a new furnace installed in 2008, a couple of tiles on the kitchen floor leading to the basement got chipped. The furnace guy sent a tile guy to fix ’em, and they got done today. You can’t rush into these things. Anyway, the tile guy was great and said, “keep me in mind if you ever need any tile work.”

“A-ha,” I thought. “Could you take a look at a grouting disaster I created in my bathroom?” I told him that I had done a horrible job grouting the floor (to save money) when it was installed this summer. “Sure,” he says. So off we go up flight after flight of stairs to survey the situation. “That’s a new floor?” he asks, incredulously. I smiled. “You need to take all that grout out and re-grout it,” he opines. “Not bloody likely,” I say silently.

After he left, I wondered if it was the style or the generally poor state of grout that made him ask about the vintage of the floor. If the former, I am complimented, if the latter, a little sad at another reminder of my low standards. Ah well.