But wait, there’s more

Here’s the rest of the basement. Talk about a man cave. This is just a cave. With rocks and everything.

Yep. It’s a basement.

Coke and Judy — who were somehow roped into attempting to clean this cave — are having nightmares looking at these photos. It’s worse in real life.

The rock gives it character.

See that workbench? That’s a future kitchen counter.

It’s a bit untidy, but nothing the shop vac can’t take care of.

Magic Workbench

Amazing. I just pulled the workbench out from the wall in the basement (shop vac comes in handy to destroy creepy cobwebs) and at first glance it looks like it comes apart. Built to be disassembled. Yay. Can’t see very well, so need to crawl under there with a flashlight. (the shop light goes on, but keeps blinking like a strobe light — worse than no light at all.)

Typical workbench — lots of stuff on it.
Cleaned off — look at the potential!

Yes! It was carefully built with no screws or nails so it could be disassembled. The 4×4 legs are made from four pieces of oak glued together. I know this because one came apart. The bottoms of the legs are a bit water damaged so I’m going to buy post bases (I never know the Official Names of things) to cover the damage. The top was held on by little wooden twisty things that tuck into a groove. (What are these called?)

So I pulled it apart and brought the pieces upstairs where I laid the top on the counter top and began scrubbing with TSP. Some stains were raised — like paint cans sat there — so I grabbed the CitriStripper and that comes off very easily. There’s a dark finish that’s kind of crackled, too, so I’m stripping that in prep for Zinsser BIN Ultra Stain Blocker. This hid the water stains on the 130 apartment floor.

Well. I’ve seen worse.
Stained and pretty grubby

I debated for awhile whether to paint it white or create a “reclaimed wood” look that’s all the rage. I’m opting for paint for a cleaner look. After the primer I’ll use porch and floor as the top coat.

Of course I never stop to ask myself why. Why? Why am I doing this?

27 Below

Whoa. The little digital thermometer in the back foyer said 27.1 below this morning. I still see those tiny tykes walking to the school down the street, though. Hearty little people. One little guy was skipping — like it’s summer or something.

I’m using bright sunny days with light-reflecting new clean snow to work on the kitchen. Late morning is a good time to really see where I missed snippets of wallpaper backing. So I finished with the TSP cleaning and had j-u-s-t enough Zinsser Bullseye Plus primer to finish the three walls. The sink/stove wall is going to need the heavy duty primer as there’s formica glue, mold and other substances that need covering.

The lower cabinets got lonely for the upper cabinets so they staged a walkout. I helped them along to the garage, where they’ll have to stay until I get trash service (which I finally ordered today).



Snow Day

Beautiful fluffy white snow coming down this morning. I needed coffee and casters for the smaller table. Apparently I needed them both immediately, so I set off for Marketplace (coffee!) and then Ace Hardware where I got the casters. I also needed a video card adapter for my computer, so stopped in to CCS where I talked to my friend Wendy for awhile.

Meanwhile, the snow was coming down hard and in an attempt to clear the windshield of built-up ice, I broke the wiper, which went flying. I wiped off the window as much as possible and limped off to Napa where the friendly, helpful guys installed a new wiper blade for me.

Back home, the snow was piling up on the porch and steps, so I got that shoveled off and then started washing the kitchen walls for painting. Amazing how much leftover scraps of paper are still stubbornly clinging to the walls. But with the aid of TSP substitute, lots of water and a metal scraper I got most of it done. By this time the snow had stopped and the sun was out — which was a great help in seeing the offending paper/blue in that somewhat dark kitchen. Ready to paint tomorrow. Yay.

The casters fit the table fine, but don’t stick into the slots, so while it rolls easily and doesn’t scratch the floor, you can’t lift it without losing all the casters. Sigh.

What a great day!

January 7, 2017

Happy Birthday, Susie. (Susie owns this house.)

First great thing: I turned on the coffee pot and it worked. Yay. Coffee first, then tackled the kitchen wallpaper. Those are bird houses in the border. The rest of the walls are supposed to look like crackled paint. Out. Dated.

Remove the wallpaper. !


Here’s another view. Big wall.

This went really well. For some strange reason, I decided to grab my garment steamer from Waterford before I left. It’s a Conair device that’s made to eliminate wrinkles in hanging clothes — or draperies, I guess. Anyway, I started that up and off I went in the corner of the room. Steamer + scraper = paper falling off the wall. Yay. Later on I plugged in the Scunci steamer but that didn’t work as well. I put vinegar in the water, mostly to keep the hard water from clogging the machine. So the house smells a bit sour.

I can’t think of a better activity on a sub-zero day than steaming away on the wallpaper. It not only warmed me up, but distributed a bunch of good humidity into the house.

One corner done!
There’s my little garment steamer perched on the ladder (which I found in the garage! Not even rickety.)
It gets worse

While I was waiting for the steamer to re-heat, I pulled off the transition strip from living room to kitchen to see if the hardwood continues into the kitchen. It does not. And there’s more tile under this tile. I suspect that if the top tile is not asbestos, the bottom tile might be. I’ll be checking to see if asbestos needs to be removed entirely to sell a house (?) or if it only needs to be covered up (which seems kind of dicey to me).

Good day! Coffee pot works and so does the steamer. Tomorrow: end of wallpaper.

Day One

Day 1 January 6, 2017

Amazingly cold. Thermometer in the foyer window said 18 below this morning. Having no coffee pot and being incapable of functioning without my morning cuppa, I headed to McDonalds for my large-with-three-cream. Then took off for Libbys to get the coveted coffee pot so I could make my own at home. Alas, I found out later that it no longer makes coffee. 🙁

Wallpaper with bird house border.

I loaded up stuff from Libbys:
Computer and two monitors, so I could work
Step stool
Oscillating tool
Vacuum cleaner
Shop vac
Coffee pot and coffee
A couple of small tables
Blue tea pots and canisters and a blue pillow
Feather pillows (yay)

From Libbys I headed to Spooner where I hit the ReStore and found some really good buys:
3 Umbra nesting tables — nice!

They stack, too.

A blue tea kettle
Window shades — which fit the bedroom windows perfectly
Curtain rods
Various blue dishes — coffee cups and small plates
A toaster

Then to Indianhead Thrift Store where their credit card system didn’t work, so I had to run to the ATM for cash which amounted to $46.
2 sets of tabbed light green curtains – 100% cotton, quite light, but will do
2 full flat sheets and 2 ikea pillowcases
Some awesome blue plaid fabric (huge) along with small pieces of blue cotton and some gray/blue wool
A couple of paper towel holders
A recipe stand — the acrylic one I like
Kleenex box
Soap pump

I’ll have to start taking pics of my shopping cart 🙂

Stopped at Economart for groceries.

When I got back I unloaded everything from the car then took the hutch off the Hoosier cabinet and put it on the oak drop-leaf table in the sun room. That will be a nice pantry (needs cleaning and maybe interior paint).

Set up my desktop on the Hoosier cabinet bottom. My wireless adapter doesn’t work, so I strung a network cable across the house :/ to the router. But I was able to get online and update something for Hayward Chamber.

Spent a bunch of time removing the curtain rod from the kitchen window and reinstalling it in the sun room where anyone walking by can look in the window at my computer monitors. And me. I guess.

More time figuring out the best way to journal the BlueJean Chronicles

What to do with very large cacti?
Moved the microwave to the top of the fridge and put the (useless) coffee pot on the counter.
Made tea since coffee wasn’t forthcoming.
Ran to Walmart for a mouse 🙁 and CO2 for my soda stream which had been languishing in my car for weeks. I have no idea why it was my car.

Here are the Before pictures: