Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Snail's Pace

I haven't posted in a little more than a month, mostly because there hasn't been much to tell. Late August and September have been taken up with various things including Adam's new school year (he's now teaching at three different colleges and more of an itinerant pedagogue than ever), trying to get back into a regular gaming schedule with our friends, and working on a new cross-stitch project in my case. We also successfully hosted an awesome Labor Day picnic, complete with marshmallows and hot dogs toasted over a fire, entertained a few houseguests, and participated in a multi-family yard sale up in my ancestral hometown. So it's been busy, but not renovation busy.

We're at a bit of a standstill with the attic work, mostly because there's a crucial piece of drywall that isn't completely screwed onto the studs. We need to borrow a drill from one of our dads to rectify that problem, which is smack in the middle of one of the biggest walls. At some point, before we go much further, we also have to figure out how to create insulated openings into the two attic crawlspaces. The previous owner marked in pencil where one of them should go, and advised us that the other one can be reached through the closet, but we'll have to cut through the wall and make the doorways ourselves. That kind of operation is way beyond our skill level. So the third floor is kind of stalled for the moment, although I may try to work on taping and mudding more of it now that the weather is cooler. We have some pictures of our progress, but I'm not posting them right now because 1) I'm at work and 2) most of the people who read house blogs already know what partially finished drywall jobs look like. It's not an interesting sight. ;-P

I may put up the pictures of the bits of old newspaper we found adhered to the attic floor, though. We couldn't find any dates, but one of them was talking about rations and military action in Tunisia, so I'm guessing they're from one of the world wars.

Until we can get more of the attic straightened out, I've resumed my old, bad habit of stripping. (Paint from wood, of course.) :) In order to practice my skills on an inconspicuous and nonessential piece of woodwork, I've been working on one of the nice doors from the annex--the tall, skinny one that separates the "box room" from the once and future powder room (the one with the smashed toilet and little else in it.) I've gone through layers of white, tan, and dark brown to find a layer of dark red. The red is pretty, but I don't think it's the original color of the wood. It acts like a stain, but it seems more like paint, as it still obscures most of the wood's grain. It rubs off when I put the paint remover on it, but it doesn't bubble up like the other layers do.

I'm not sure what to do about it, but I'm going to see how the door looks in red once it's all stripped, in case it still resists being removed. I'm pretty sure the trim in the annex used to be red as well, so maybe it will all match. With the white walls and the colored trim, it sort of reminds me of colonial architecture I've seen in various historical villages. It may work, at least in part of the annex, to restore it to that state. I'll put up a picture of the door and my progress at some point.

I've also begun stripping an old armoire the POs left behind, which was being used to hold electrical components and paint cans. It's really beaten up, but the wood underneath is nice. When it's done, we're going to use it to store toiletries and linens, since we don't have a linen closet. My uncle (a veteran of auctions and eBay) told me that we'd get more money for it if we didn't strip it, but since we're planning to use it and not sell it, I figured we're not doing it any damage. If we ever decide to sell it, I'll repaint it. It won't have the antique paint on it, but honestly, the antique paint was all banged up and ugly, and not in a shabby chic, peeling, cool patina way--more like a "used to store volatile chemicals for decades" way. So that's been my evening entertainment lately. I'm trying to use up the gross, poisonous paint stripper we used on the apartment fireplace so I can get something less fumey, like Peel Away or more Citristrip. I like Citristrip, although I've found that I now have trouble eating some orange-flavored foods because of altered smell associations. :-P

I discovered the other day that the little patio area behind the annex may be home to not only a tiny snake, but also a big fat groundhog. It was walking around the garden, and when I came outside, it ran back into the hole in the bricks back there. I don't know if it has warrens down there, or if it's just a small hidey-hole; it kept peeking out to see if I was gone, so maybe the hole didn't go too far. If it does have tunnels, though, we may have to figure out how to evict it before it goes into hibernation. In case something happened to the poor thing, I wouldn't want it to be dead under the house. :x(

In cooler exterior news, we discovered that the staircase we found on the corner of our property goes all the way up the hill and under the bridge. Adam found the overgrown upper portion yesterday. We don't know if it used to be a private staircase or one of the city's, but it's pretty narrow, so I imagine it's the former. We haven't followed it all the way to the top, but I know there used to be another street with houses up there before the Parkway was constructed. Adam already found part of another grindstone and some of the same Prohibition-era liquor bottles we have in our secret room. We're going to explore that area at length. I keep finding more reasons to love living on an old property.

Sorry for the long, pictureless post. I'll fix the latter problem when I have access to our photos at home, but I fear I can't do anything about the length. :)

1 comment:

Russell said...

Just remember what happened to Carl Spackler when he tangled with a critter.