darkemeralds: Photo of an empty room with caption "Imagine an Empty Room" (Decluttering)
It's been true all my life and I don't see it changing at this late stage: I'll accomplish things for a deadline or for someone else that I'll let go for years when I'm my only audience.

[personal profile] kis has several times expressed a concern that I'm overdoing the home improvement for their visit (in three days! Eeeeee!!!), but it's a fantastic motivator, and I'm not doing anything that didn't desperately need doing.

It's the back end of a perfectly splendid September Saturday, and I'm happily tired (and prophylactically dosed on ibuprofen), having sawed, spackled, chiseled, pounded, painted and pruned things that have been left undone for as much as ten years. Several of them seemed too difficult or too complex for me to tackle, but with the Magic of External Motivation® I suddenly found simple, obvious solutions.

It's like getting a new house! I hardly know the place.
darkemeralds: Photo of an empty room with caption "Imagine an Empty Room" (Decluttering)
I rode Eleanor O home from work and groceries today, rolled her into her lock-up spot in the back yard, lifted the basket of groceries off her handlebars, and came into the kitchen via my new back door.

I've lived in this house a VERY LONG TIME and have never really been able to come and go by the back door. I can hardly believe what a difference that change makes.

And it looks cute, too. )
darkemeralds: Photo of an empty room with caption "Imagine an Empty Room" (Decluttering)
Ed, bless his hard-working heart, came over today in the ungodly heat and put the final touches on Project Empty: Phase II, Mudroom.

The ever-popular Way Before, Before, and After shots )


Aug. 12th, 2010 10:11 pm
darkemeralds: Photo of an empty room with caption "Imagine an Empty Room" (Decluttering)
Foam mattresses are delivered rolled up. Mine came tonight at about 9:30, vacuum-packed in plastic.

What they don't tell you is that you practically need a pair of trauma shears to set it free.

Everything's almost done! )

I'm tired! I want to go make my bed and lie in it.
darkemeralds: Photo of an empty room with caption "Imagine an Empty Room" (Decluttering)
Today my new door is due to arrive, and this evening I get my new mattress.

Door and mattress. I remember a day when I wouldn't have considered either of these things as exciting as I do today, but here's the thing. There's been a sheet of plywood screwed to the back door frame for weeks, and if I want to use my refurbished back yard--which I do--I have to go out the front door and around the house (through amazingly recurrent spiderwebs) carrying my computer, my iced beverage and my phone. Decency demands, incidentally, that I be dressed before I do this.

So by Saturday I hope to be able to rise from the supportive and yet yielding splendor of my memory-foam-enhanced bower, drop the coffee beans on the floor if I want to and be able to reach down and pick them up, and then, coffee drink in hand and possibly still wearing my bathrobe, exit privately to the umbrella'ed table next to the gently plashing rehabbed home-made water feature in my charming outdoor living space, and there be the Queen of All I Survey.

And not a moment too soon, either, because even more importantly, my lovely guests [personal profile] kis and Mr Kis will be able to enjoy the same during their visit, which is less than four weeks away! Eeeee!

Back yard

Aug. 8th, 2010 06:25 pm
darkemeralds: Photo of an empty room with caption "Imagine an Empty Room" (Decluttering)
After today, the only thing lacking for me to be able to go from my kitchen through a clean, tidy, non-leaking mudroom into a well-groomed and attractive outdoor living room in the back yard is the door itself.

All But Door )

A neighborhood landscape company did a lot of the heavy lifting, and there's still some planting to go (jasmine is proposed as a vining cover for the lattice, and I could probably still spend a small fortune in brightly colored annuals and make the space into a parade float) but mostly, it's done, and as soon as I have my damn door I'll be able to proceed directly from coffee-pot to outdoor table on the few weekend mornings I've got left before autumn sets in.
darkemeralds: Dark Emeralds in red glasses (Default)
I got an estimate this morning on Project Mudroom: The Continuation. And it was an estimate I could actually live with.

Project Empty Phase II.i Mudroom Continued, Section B Paragraph 6 (c) The Back Yard )
darkemeralds: Photo of an empty room with caption "Imagine an Empty Room" (Decluttering)
Hoo-whee, I'm tired. And boy do my hands hurt.

The interior portion of the mudroom is pretty well done. The concrete is set, the walls and floor and window trim are painted, the floor paint is drying, the tools are mostly put away, the sheet of plywood acting as a back door is screwed back up to the frame, and I'm calling it a weekend well spent.

There are three or four punchlist items I still need to do, and then it's just a matter of waiting for my new door.

And then? The back garden. But not till my hands stop hurting.

The worst part, before and after )
darkemeralds: Photo of an empty room with caption "Imagine an Empty Room" (Empty Room)
I have poured the concrete. After much muddling about in my mind about how to mix and transport 120 lbs of concrete, I ended up just slitting the bags open right in the wheelbarrow what brung 'em to the backyard, and running the hose in there.

Mix with shovel.

Shovel into bucket.

Dump bucket into form.

Repeat several times.

...et voilĂ ! )

The worst is over. It really is. Now I can just finish painting and clean up. Basically. I hope.
darkemeralds: Dark Emeralds in red glasses (Default)
There's something about working till 6:00 or 6:30 every day that makes doing hard manual labor in the evening afterwards seem pretty unappealing.

Which is my way of saying that I didn't get a damn thing done on the mudroom this week except some actual mud. )
darkemeralds: Photo of an empty room with caption "Imagine an Empty Room" (Decluttering)
I'm giving myself the evening off for good behavior. Well, for cleaning.

There comes a point in every house project where tools and substances normally hidden away create such a mess being out all over the house that nothing else can safely happen. I'm way past that point.

I have a peanut-butter jar full of peanut butter, and not far from it in the kitchen, an identical peanut butter jar full of peanut-butter colored paint. And I'm tired. I foresee a paint-and-honey sandwich in my very near future.

Sigh. I really wanted this thing to be done by yesterday, but I ran out of steam.

So, podfic to go and back into the grubby clothes for some inspiration-renewing tidying up. And hazard abatement.
darkemeralds: Photo of an empty room with caption "Imagine an Empty Room" (Empty Room)
Damn mudroom. Damn painting. I knew it would become a remodeling job! I knew it!

I couldn't stand to just slap paint on over the foundation wall and hope for the best. It leaks. It's a problem. There's mildew and algae and water damage. I had to strip the existing coating so I could fill the cracks with hydraulic cement.

Two buckets of stripper later, I discover one of those stupid "homeowner-quality" jobs hidden under the epoxy, requiring the pouring of a new footing not only to prevent seepage in a rainy climate, but to shore up the damn foundation of the damn house!

So, 120 lbs of concrete being the bare minimum to do the job, I borrowed one of the working cars in the family--my former 23-year-old Honda Civic which is now my sister's--to go get it at the corner hardware store. While I was there with a car, I thought, hey, might as well get that box fan and those two on-sale garden chairs I've been needing.

The chairs don't fit in the Honda. So I drive the concrete home, then put on real shoes and walk back to the hardware store.

Fortunately, the chairs weren't very heavy. )
darkemeralds: Photo of an empty room with caption "Imagine an Empty Room" (Decluttering)
OMG it's almost done. The mudroom is scraped, stripped, scrubbed, de-epoxied, thoroughly cleaned (several times) and primed. Today, after a full week of "painting," I'm finally going to paint.

Here are some things I've learned, re-learned or proved to my complete satisfaction:
  • Liquid fabric softener, which is nearly as toxic in its own way as some of the other substances I've been working with all week, really does make latex paint slide right out of paintbrushes and rollers
  • Light-reading audiobooks and fun podfic make the job go faster, but surprisingly, serious non-fiction audiobooks work well too
  • Rockite is my new favorite thing
  • It always takes longer than you thought it would
  • Four ibuprofen just before bed are like a really good sleeping pill
  • Posting "before" photos really motivates one to get to the "after" photos
  • Once you are soaked with sweat, you can stop worrying about being sweaty

Okay. Paint! Pea green, deep navy blue, and cream. We'll see how it looks.
darkemeralds: Photo of an empty room with caption "Imagine an Empty Room" (Empty Room)
Hey! It's 3:20 in the afternoon and it only got up to 91 today. Woo hoo! That's about nine degrees less infernal than predicted.

Accordingly, I've spent the day on Project Mudroom. It's difficult to convey in a photograph, but the space is partly situated over the basement stairs, so one wall has no floor under it, and painting it, or the ceiling above it, requires putting a ladder basically kind of halfway down the stairs, then climbing it.

So I did that. And the vault-y part of the mudroom is now primed. Go me.

Then...concrete! I love concrete! I got to make a little form out of boards and duct tape, and repair a section of floor with Rockite. I am now sort of nuts about Rockite and will be looking for other places to use it because it's really cool stuff. Rrrrrockite, baby!

Now it's 5:00 and the temp says 94, but it seems genuinely cooler than yesterday and therefore my goal is to have this fucker mudroom painted by bedtime.

And also post Chapter 35 of Restraint. Which is done.
darkemeralds: Dark Emeralds in red glasses (Default)
The Bathtub of Resuscitation has come to my aid once more.

After a day of high-90s temps, during which I primed woodwork, chiseled concrete, scrubbed completely ineffective stripper off of whatever paint-like substance is coating the foundation wall in the mudroom, and generally knocked myself out, I had a long, cool soak in the BTOR, while watching an episode of Doctor Who.

Then I had a strawberry teff pancake, and now I'm going to bed. Tomorrow: more stripper of a nastier variety, a wee bit of concrete pouring, and paint!
darkemeralds: Photo of an empty room with caption "Imagine an Empty Room" (Decluttering)
Not being the world's biggest fan of summer, I put off doing much on the mudroom today, even knowing that tomorrow is supposed to get even hotter OMG. I know that most of my fellow North Americans have had the heat longer than we have here in the rainy zone, so I'll restrict my weather bitching, since today was our first really hot day. But OMG I do dislike hot days.

An entire bucket of paint stripper did not avail to loosen the coating on the concrete foundation wall. I thought of going back to the hardware store for something even more toxic and horrible, but it was too hot. Toxic shit seems more toxic in the heat.

I did get some painting done before the afternoon got into the high 90s, but nothing picture-worthy.

Then I came in and spent WAY TOO MUCH TIME hard-resetting my damn phone. Grr. Windows Mobile operating system: I am done with you! It takes hours to get all the ringtones and text message alert tones and pictures attached to my contacts again, and hours to get all my apps re-loaded and set up, and I don't even remember which cooked ROM I flashed a year ago, but whatever. I'm getting an Evo as soon as I can.

And now there are mosquitos in the house going mmmmmmmmmmmm near my ears. Summer nights. Ptui.

No progress

Jul. 6th, 2010 08:59 pm
darkemeralds: Photo of an empty room with caption "Imagine an Empty Room" (Project Empty)
It's all very well to pour on the steam, to scrub and scrape and sweep all day long getting ready to paint, but I forgot how much it hurts later on. My hands hurt, my hips hurt, my knees hurt. Waah!

Then I had to go to work today. I'm supposed to be on vacation--Friday the 2nd through Sunday the 11th, right? Ten solid, uninterrupted days. But no. They had a crisis, and none of us on the team have any backup, so in I went. The entire system is predicated on basically either everything going smoothly, or no one taking vacation.


And I really am, but between the pain and the work crisis, I made no progress on Project Mudroom today, and it's supposed to get super hot tomorrow. Boo. Hiss.

On the plus side, the paint should dry fast.


Jul. 5th, 2010 08:11 pm
darkemeralds: Photo of an empty room with caption "Imagine an Empty Room" (Decluttering)
Here's why I don't like "painting": because before any actual painting can take place, you can spend hours and hours just getting ready to paint, and it doesn't look like anything has really happened.

The results of seven hours' labor )
darkemeralds: Dark Emeralds in red glasses (Default)
I've drunk two pots of coffee. I've been to the hardware store and to my sister's tool room and my basement. I have now assembled one great piece of podfic :D, several quarts of leftover interior and exterior house paint, most of a gallon of Kilz primer, a box of TSP, rubber gloves, a bucket, a scrub brush, a mop, a respirator, fresh filters for the respirator, concrete paint (tinted black), a cheap light fixture, brushes, rollers, rags and crappy paint-stained clothes.

I can't procrastinate any longer. Well, I can--it's what I'm doing right this minute--but I'm not gonna.

Wish me luck. I'm goin' in.
darkemeralds: Dark Emeralds in red glasses (Default)
Ed finished his portion of the mudroom project today, and now it's my turn.

Besides paying the bill, I still have to solve these little problems. )

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