Sunday, May 30, 2010

Weekend randomness

Going to look for bargain tiles for the bathroom floor/walls at the Habitat Restore:
J: I hope you find something you like.
Me: If it's cheap enough, I can be quite open-minded.
J: You'll have to live with it the rest of your life.
Me: Well, there's a lot that I already have to live with.
Me: That hasn't been fixed.
Me: Not you!  The paint on the bedroom ceiling, for example.

After being told that the originally equipped 205/75 tire size on our van is an oddball size and out of stock, we 'plus sized' to 215/70 and walked away to spend the hour installation time:
J: Wider is good
Me: Ha, that's why you like me?
Smart man just laughed.

After seeing the new tires:
J: Wider is sexy!
Me: The tires, right?

What else happened?  We saw a turkey vulture from 6 feet away when we stopped to watch it eat road kill- no camera, darn it.

Found a little garter snake under the old shingles J picked up. I thought it was cute, he didn't.
Rototiller and weed whip are working, and we used them. Planted our veggies that we bought in pots. J's pumpkin seeds are sprouting nicely, but not fast enough  for him.

Our field was mowed and the hay baled, 3 horses now vacationing in our pasture.
The old bathtub is off the front steps and in the back of J's truck, and the new tub is caulked.
Plastic is off the windows, winter drapes are clean and away, and the summer ones are ironed and up.

The price of gas downtown went from 2.92 to 2.67, so we filled up.

J watched a manly movie to recover from the previous girly one. I didn't join him. He has to work tomorrow so was in bed by 7:30.  I didn't join him.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Mr Crazy reviews The Blind Side

Mom asked me to get this movie and I said yes, reluctantly.  Well I was hit on the blind side with this one!  You have to watch it, but first a warning.  Guys, make sure the girls are watching it with you, just in case someone shows up at the door.  Hey it's her movie, I was just screening it!.  And then tell all your friends that they should watch it!  No guns or such, but lots of good film.  Maybe a few tissues, a few cold ones and some eats.  You will enjoy this movie.  I give it a 4 out of 5!  As Get Smart says, missed it by that much!  Now go and order it!

Monday, May 24, 2010

We can shower again

Actually, we were able to take showers Sunday evening which was the plan. J's plan was to be done Saturday, but he is an optimist, silly man. This was our weekend.

This is what we started with- old panels covering up old walls. Then we got down to older walls, and old wallpaper.
Behind that wallpaper is a curved wall, and our computer room is on the other side. The wall curves to allow a doorway into the living room, which wouldn't otherwise fit (the door that is), due to our chimney and heating vents. Pretty neat. I won't let J discuss removing that wall. 

The horsehair plaster is off the wall and we're ready to take out the old tub. In case anyone wonders, yes, there is real hair in that old plaster.

I think I mentioned that the tub is cast iron and weighs at least a couple hundred pounds? And that we have a really skinny bathroom?  

The inspector said we were good to go.

I would like to remind you that the dirt you see is debris that has rained down from the ceiling and walls, and not the normal state of affairs. 
With the aid of a handtruck, we got that through the living room and out the front door, where it is still sitting on our nice steps. J will get it to the scrap dealer later this week. He promised.

I started to sweep the floor after the tub was out and noticed a pattern to the dust. This was yucky- I had to get the yardstick because the size of this dead rodent skeleton needs to be seen to be believed.  The only good thing about this is that it is clearly ancient.  Imagine having that die under your tub, smelling it and having no way of getting rid of it!
J then did his plumbing magic and we replaced a bit of missing floor, and brought in the new stuff. 
Next weekend, we will finish off the upper walls and repaint.

Soon, we will redo the floor and install the new toilet, but we need to do some outdoor work too. We really didn't get to enjoy the sunny weekend we just had, although we enjoyed the sense of satisfaction we got from this job.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Weekend forecast

Busy, busy and more busy. We are planning to replace the bathtub and wall surround in our (one and only) bathroom this weekend. We have an old house and a tiny bathroom, so the tub alcove is just a bit smaller than standard.  I think we've found new stuff that will fit. J and I did replace the walls almost 15 years ago, but neither of us remember exactly what we found back there at that time. So we did some exploratory surgery.
This confirms that there is sheetrock back there, as well as boards to fill in the space between tub and studs. This probably means that we could have gotten the inch longer tub, but that would have made it wider as well. And we need to save every inch of floor space we can. If you notice, in the left of that picture is our door frame? The other side of the door is the end of the room. Thanks to my handy-dandy tape, I can tell you that is 38.5 inches.

And, I would like to point out that the rust is un-removable, not shoddy housekeeping. We installed a whole-house water conditioner since we have so much iron in our well water, but years of no conditioner has indelibly stained the tub.

We are picking up the materials we know we'll use today, and J plans a trip out tomorrow once we get the walls down and the tub out and know just what else we need.  Crossing our fingers that this has no nasty surprises for us and that we can shower by Sunday.

PS. This bathroom is one of the reasons I find those first-time home buyers on TV so laughable. They moan and groan about the size of their multiple baths, or that the master bath has just one sink or doesn't have granite. We had 4 kids, two of them girls, and one small bathroom. I grew up with one bathroom and 5 kids.  When the girls went to college, they couldn't believe how many kids never had to share a bath or bedroom before, and had no idea of common courtesies.

Anyways, this is way off track and I have to go. More pictures when we are done, she said optimistically.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Happy Birthday Shoeshine!

Shoeshine is 31 today. How did that happen?
I think turning 30 last year jarred him a little, then he had a pretty eventful year, what with Ladyslipper showing up this past March. Ladyslipper hit him harder than turning 30 did, that's for sure! He was able to spend a week with her this month and was happy that she accepted him right away, even if she seems to be giving him a "What you talkin' 'bout, Willis?" look here.

He managed to teach her how to stick out her tongue before he left, but no pictures of that so far. I look forward to seeing this relationship grow. He is just starting to realize how much his life has changed- for the better.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Follow-up on Pictures

I forgot some updates yesterday. J spent some time stacking all the wood from our tree-felling party in March and wanted documentation. Thanks again to sibling #5 and her hubby!

Sending out the latest shed pictures in our family emails generated a lot of complimentary comments. Our favorite was from my uncle (who is only 3 years older than I, and was in J's class in high school) who is also a J:

"Ahhh Grasshoppa... when you can find any tool with your eyes may go out into the world and build..."
the Zen of Tools
by Master J.
" G. Damn it, Reb have you seen my duct tape (substitute hammer, adjustable wrench, etc. etc.)? Oh I think Anders had it last. Oh no, that's right, Grant stopped by yesterday, looking for some. Did you check in Maizie's room??
the Chaos Theory of Tools
by" another trip to the hardware store"-(uncle) J. O.

And to wind this up, I have to include a shot of my tools. I had to fight for this, as J didn't think it was a problem to trek out to his shed to get a hammer when all I wanted was to fix the loose nail in one lousy window shade bracket. This is the back of our cellar door, hidden from the public, but used frequently by me.
Even I get 3, count 'em, 3 tape measures! Plus a yard stick.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Picture updates

A quick post today to update with pictures.  First, the goodies I bought with the Mother's Day gift card from Ms M. Thank you.
That's a spool holder, a bobbin holder and a ruler to use with a rotary pad and cutter. The pad was in the stuff  I got recently from my mother so I picked up a cutter to try it out. I am a convert! What an easy way to get straight cuts in fabric. Why did I not know about this? 

Next, J's been out in his shed every day after work, finding places for all of his things. He declared it photo ready this week, and it really looks good. Of course, the next day, I went into 'my' shed and found all the stuff he didn't have room for! We'll work on that next.
When I sent these to my family, my brother joked that J has too much time on his hands if his workshop is that neat.  First, J has just figured out where each set of tools were going, so it is freshly set up, and second, J says "There is a place for everything and everything is in it's place". I must say he is pretty persnickety about his tools, as am I about my sewing room.

Lastly, (no picture) yesterday when we were in the kitchen, I looked out to see the hens wandering and said 'That damn hen is on the other side of the road!"  
J plaintively asked "Why did she cross the road?"
Then we both laughed like fools.
It's a good thing we found each other.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Mr Crazy goes to the movies

 Ok, I had to do this.  J loves movies and has a Net.flix account. He has (often) watched the same movie twice and sometimes thrice, mostly by accident. However, as he says, if he liked it the first time, he likes it the second time around too.

He started sending reviews to Mr. C and Shoeshine, I believe. After Ms M pointed out that Mr C always had to read them to her, so why didn't she rate a copy, J has included us all on his list.  Tonight's was a good one (by that I mean his review, I know nothing about the movie) and I have to share.

 Here we go:
Ok, hang on to your shorts!   "NINJA ASSASSIN"  A must get movie for those that  like Ninjas.  Also for those that like a lot of blood and swords.  Good story line, well, for a ninja movie, and has a bit of romance in it to boot!. Too bad all the good girls die, but hey, that is what Ninjas do!  Kill and then ponder over a hot bed of coals about the girl that was supposed to be the one!  Poor Ninja, she is always the one that got away.  Or left, or met mister wonderful, you know the type, not into killing and such, well never mind I am getting off course.  So it is a good movie, lots of blood, guts and way, and I mean way! lots of swords!  And I want one of them.  Ok sue me.  But do get the movie, only a hr and some, not counting the silly adds and such, so yes, be a good 2 hrs, but a good watch and I would make lots of corn and bring the drinks cause you won't want to leave your seat!  Riveting  is too strong, so I will say, very very exciting if you like watching guys in black with knives kick the ass out of guys in white with guns.  It is a 5 guys and gals!

You gotta love him.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Time to get going

I've tried to be productive today, went upstairs to my sewing room and ended up...puttering for 45 minutes. I started one project, had an idea for another, but didn't like it after all, then spent 15 minutes looking for material that I know I have up there, with no luck. So I fed the dogs.

And now I'm on the computer. Thought "Oh, I should really post something, it's been a day or so" but meh. Peggle is calling my name but I am resisting that siren song. It's like drinking- you can't do it too early in the day... Not that I drink... hard, really.... Diet Coke all the way.

It's sunny and almost 50 degrees outside, I could walk the dogs. But I have a plan for that and it entails J mowing the lawn inside their yard later while I take them out. So, yeah, that has to wait. What?  Two walks? That's crazy talk.

That reminds me that I didn't say that J gave me a cute metal rooster for Mother's Day (And I'm not getting up to take a picture of it) plus took me shopping for plants at Gingerbread Farms Greenhouse. We'd never been there before, but definitely will go back again. Very healthy plants, a nice assortment of perennials and annuals, plus they gave away 6 inch container gardens to moms on Sunday!  Score! Now if it would just warm up enough to plant them, I'd be happy.

Okay, okay, I went and took the picture! Happy now?

I included Sectaur's roses which are still going strong, and our cute yellow egg basket- complete with eggs. And see that pitcher on the right? That was a recent transfer station find. It's handblown and has bubbles all through the glass. Hard to believe someone threw that out, although it was covered with greasy dust and grime.

Wait a second, I'll be right back...I had to Google buttercups to see if they really are poisonous, as I  remembered being told years ago. Ma, you were right.
Per Wiki:
"All Ranunculus species are poisonous when eaten fresh by cattle, horses, and other livestock, but their acrid taste and the blistering of the mouth caused by their poison means they are usually left uneaten. Poisoning can occur where buttercups are abundant in overgrazed fields where little other edible plant growth is left, and the animals eat them out of desperation. Symptoms include bloody diarrhea, excessive salivation, colic, and severe blistering of the mucous membranes and gastrointestinal tract. When Ranunculus plants are handled, naturally occurring ranunculin is broken down to form protoanemonin, which is known to cause contact dermatitis in humans and care should therefore be exercised in excessive handling of the plants[1]. The toxins are degraded by drying, so hay containing dried buttercups is safe."

There you go, my Public Safety tip of the Year. And the reason this popped into my head? Last week when I took the dogs through our pasture, I noticed one whole side of it is covered in buttercups. This is the part of the field where our horse friends come to spend the summer. I guess they are smart enough not to eat the buttercups, which of course means there are more to propagate each year.

I am considering taking our lawn tractor down there to cut them before they bloom. I suspect it would be a fighting a losing battle however.  I like our pasture to be grass, not buttercups and not milkweeds, which are also moving in. (And I realize that both plants are food sources for different butterflies and they grow elsewhere on our property, but I don't like an overgrown pasture look)

I really can't ramble much longer, so I will go upstairs and prepare to be surprised when the missing fabric pops up in front of me.

Oh, and speaking of getting going, Ameranth is planning to set off today on the last 70 miles or so of Erie Canal trail, ending in Buffalo. 

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mother's Day

I am so lucky to have both of my parents alive today. I certainly hope I continue to be lucky for a long time! Being the oldest child of two oldest children gives me the lion's share of possible time with them, and I'm okay with that.

When I told my mother today that I was very satisfied with the parental hand I was dealt, she laughed and said they had not been perfect parents. Of course not, no one is, but they were the perfect pair for me. (I'm trying to figure out how to get another card analogy in here, like 'aces with me' or 'we sure had a full house' but this parenthetical is the best I can do).

J was a middle child of ten children, and his parents were about 17 years older then mine, so we lost them sooner. Besides God, nothing was more important to his mother than family. When her mother was ill, Catherine would go to her house each day with her youngest children after getting the older ones off to school, and take care of her. Later, her older sister was nursed at home too, as long as possible. It was taken as a matter of fact that you took care of family yourself. One of J's sisters (and their husbands) each lived with his aunt and then his mom when they could no longer live alone. Those brothers-in-law were as helpful and caring as if it was their own family- and after all those years, of course, it was. I remember J telling me about the wedding day of his first sister to get married, and how his mother was very emotional. The new groom tried to make her feel better, by pointing out that she hadn't lost a daughter, but gained a son, to which she replied "I have 6 sons". Ouch!

Of course, the day passed, the marriage lasted and that groom was the B-I-L who
adjusted his life to make sure Aunt S had a safe, welcoming home as long as she lived. She never married, but had 13 loving nieces and nephews who thought of her as a second mother.

J and I have often said that we were blessed to have in-laws that we liked, and love. He and I are far from perfect parents but I think we did a pretty good job with what we had to work with! (Just kidding, children!) Our four are part of a great big, loud, opinionated, funny, hard-working, recycling, flower-growing, sarcastic, Democratic, Republican, independent, loving group of people that happen to be related by blood, adoption, marriage or proximity. That's family, and Mother's Day is not the only time I think of them or am grateful for them, and I certainly don't say it enough, so I hope they know it. I think they do.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Storm coming

When I let the dogs out this evening for a run, the light was really neat because a storm front was coming and the sky was cloudy, while the sun was low, but still bright. I tried to capture it, semi-successfully. I was more successful at catching Boomer, Rosie was in her "I am a skulking wolf" lope and I had to track her down the road.

This is facing east:

And this is west, towards the oncoming front:
The wind was very strong, tossing the trees around.

And this one is from our porch.

A few minutes later, the sun was still shining, but it was raining out. I still had these to look at in my kitchen, courtesy of Sectaurs:

Wednesday, May 5, 2010


Know what this is?
This came with it:
From Shoeshine to Ameranth:

Right- We ended up with Ameranth's gift wrapping paper from Christmas. Why? Because unlike her other stuff that we have here, we can use this. The paper and card are handmade paper impregnated with flower seeds. The back of the card says there are 14 types of annual and perennial seeds in it and to cover it with a light layer of soil and keep moist, with 1-3 weeks for germination.

Shoeshine is the production manager at Bloomin' in Boulder CO and his gifts are always wrapped in good stuff. I planted our paper and the card today so we'll see what comes up. One piece of it is from the Christmas before last, but I think they will still sprout. My biggest problem was getting every bit of paper hidden so my hens don't scratch it up. It's getting close to the time they have to stay in their pen anyway.

*Full disclosure- I don't get anything for mentioning Bloomin' except a lot of satisfaction!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

I'm pooped

The weather was great this weekend and we made the most of it, starting several projects and even finishing some! It was cleanup weekend at our transfer station so we got rid of a big old monitor and some more random demo stuff, at no charge.

J mowed the yard and we cleaned up the winter mess from our porch. We had stacked and covered the furniture last fall, and I brought a bale of hay out there, to make a wind break for the dogs. They loved that and had the hay all over that end by spring. The hay is gone and the furniture now usable again. By humans that is- Boomer had climbed to the top of the stack and claimed that perch for himself all winter.

We installed two trellises out front and I untangled the rose branches to cover one side.

See that post in the back? Yes, the crooked one. That sucker bowed so badly over the winter that we should string it. After pondering several fixes for it we said the heck with it and just dealt with it as it was. I figure for most of the last 20 years no one could see our steps, or use them safely, so this is miles ahead of what we had.

I moved one 'baby' rose plant to the right side of the trellis, so I hope it lives well and prospers there.

This is an old-fashioned rose called Seven Sisters and it has small clusters of pink flowers. I got this from my folks' yard years ago- I'm not sure if it's a climber or a rambler, but it's not a bush!

This messy garden usually gets weeded before now, but I decided it is going away. I cannot keep up with the grass anymore. I think I will leave the spring bulbs there, and J can just mow them down after they bloom. I have to move 3 clumps of day lilies, some irises and some hollyhock mallows before too long though.

I also moved some hostas from out back to either side of our barberry bush. And yes, those should have been divided at the same time, but I once again said to heck with it.

The plants in the pots are my .50 clearance pansies and allysum from Lowe's. I didn't plan on buying them today, but how could I pass on that price? $3.00 for 36 perfectly good plants.

Oh, for any readers who have wondering why Ameranth has not updated her blog, she has not had the internet for the last few days. One person she stayed with in Syracuse had wireless, but had no clue how to let someone else access it. She got a couple of short rides with friendly folk, and assured me that she didn't accept rides from just anyone and had in fact turned someone down that day, Mom.

Camping in rain showers last night along the canal trail, she heard many coyotes yipping and howling, but Anna was not interested at all. Today was so hot that she carried Anna's pack most of the day, and let her wade in the water to cool off. Poor dog hasn't blown her winter coat yet, and does not like the hot, muggy weather they've had. 

She is a little more than halfway through her trip and getting used to carrying her pack and walking 7 to 10 miles per day. She calls every day so we know where she is so that's been good. Thank goodness for cell phones! Tonight she is sleeping in a dance studio which belongs to a nice lady, so she should be comfortably dry while getting her rain fly in the same condition.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Tagged - you really want my first post?

I've been tagged by In Real Life with the first blog post meme. My first tag and I am happy to play along.

My first post was short and sweet, so here goes:

I have enjoyed my lurking ways, through Livejournal, and Blogger, reading, chuckling and moving on. Then, I felt the need to add a comment. I followed the directions well, I thought, but then found myself with a blog! I managed to leave my original compliment, and forgot about this page.

Now I'm back. Because darn it, I can figure this out!

I am slowly trying out the settings and came to the My Profile part. I thought I could choose a broad employment description, but 'customer service' is not listed. I know it's out there, it's what I do, but am I really a dying breed? There are some companies that still have live people, here in the US, who answer phones when you call!

Okay, I guess I am ready for the first post to go public. This is surprisingly stressful, considering I am very likely to be the only person who will be seeing this.