Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Enter-vention Day

OMG y’all. Have you ever heard that saying about pulling a thread on a sweater and ending up with just a pile of yarn? Well, I pulled the thread. 

I. Pulled. The. Thread.

So, the day started off well enough. Gym. Coffee. Pedicure. I mean, that’s like 3x awesome. And somewhere between then and now, things went woefully awry.

I was thinking I’d paint the 2nd floor landing and hallway. This landing is why landings are called landings. This boy is big.

Anyhow, I washed the walls and then set to scraping. These walls defied scraping.

They’re so eff’d up. The hall even has this lovely feature that we won’t be able to keep b/c they need so much work.

This is also the hall where the stairs inexplicably so from black to white. And of course red. The red persists throughout.

And this hall has this.

Guess how many things it actually turns on/off. On zero, and I guess off three.

A harbinger covered with duct tape pulled off to reveal…

A hole. Gum (?) in the hole. And possibly the Star of David etched into the gum (?).

Dear Previous Home Owner,

Are you jewish? Cuz I really didn’t expect that. Thanks for keeping it fresh.


Then the baseboards had sooo much caulk on them that when I spent 400 hours scraping it off they were like ¼ inch away from the super shitty walls. So, what else was I supposed to do? The area was a mess and I went fugue. I went for brick.

See, we live in a rowhome. The party walls, or walls shared by other rowhomes on each side, can be exposed down to brick.

In hindsight, I should not have put a hole in the middle of such a large wall.

In my defense, there was already a hole there. Not nearly as big. And with plaster still intact but whatevs. You can see the harbinger to the left. Which, in comparison, doesn’t seem so action inspiring now.

And really, I should have stopped here. But it was very cool in the hole. Like a very pleasant A/C draft. And I was hot. And confused.
When I came to, I had exposed an entire wall in the entryway. It was a mess. Bags upon bags of mess. And the brick itself isn’t in very good condition. Which means we’ll have to just put up a new wall.

But blog friends I think we all know whose fault this really is.

He should have stopped me. But no, he scope crept up behind me and was all “look behind the curtain, look behind the curtain”. He convinced me to start tearing out the door frame. 


Saturday, May 22, 2010

Day of Wonder

Sometimes as I work, I wonder what the P-Ho collective would think of the changes we’ve made. While the house in its current state is questionably improved, I oft like to muse on what their reactions might be.

Like this week, I am re-purposing the booger room to no longer be a booger room. It is scrubbed, scraped, caulked, primed and painted. 
And I wonder, would she be upset? Clearly, she worked very hard on the collection. What one could only assume to be years of picking & sticking. That’s not even taking into consideration her time spent on placement. I wasn’t able to discern a pattern before taking a mulligan but then again, I wasn’t really looking for one. I’d probably just show her the yet-to-be-cleaned window pane that still bears maniacal crayon scribbling all over the glass, and am sure we’d part as friends. Though for obvious reasons, we wouldn’t shake hands.

I also sometimes wonder how horrible it must have been to paint before there were rollers.

Complications persist with the bathroom. We both wonder if it will ever end. Despite his best efforts, the room will never be square. The tub couldn’t be set evenly per se, so he had to make it equally uneven on both ends. A split the difference plumbing mentality.

And putting in the wall that will be linen closet took a staggering amount of measuring and re-measuring.

With all the challenges we’ve encountered thus far, I wondered aloud if we might qualify for a Guinness World Record for most difficult bathroom renovation. Though it’s probably not an actual category, the Notorious revealed he’s always wanted to be a world record holder. He said he’d once considered going for longest fingernail but was discouraged by the age and subsequent growing time of the current record holder.

While working in the bathroom, the Notorious occasionally makes milestone-y announcements from within. “Well, we’ve got floors” actually got me to walk over to look. When I entered he corrected the statement to “Well, subfloors at least.” IDK. Subfloor sounds like sub-complete to me. Plus, I can’t imagine this will help our campaign for world record recognition as I am sure self-created complications will be a ding against our total. Keep in mind, I am standing on the floor while taking this pic.

As for me, with each new task that I take on, I wonder aloud if I might turn out to be some undiscovered genius at said new task. Like all along I’ve been this brilliant natural at spackling but just never knew. Just this situation occurred with the booger room re-do. The walls are pretty chewed up in spots. (Possibly literally.)

I’ve been repairing them as I go with this:

The Notorious was supervising my first attempts and I began my proclamations.

E: “I am rebuilding a corner where there was none. What if I’m a genius plasterer and just never knew it?”

Notorious: “Well, you’re spackling. I feel like people that are genius at something know what it’s called.”

Hmfph. Dream killer.

Later on I wondered aloud if I might be the world’s most efficient painter. He was much more optimistic in his response. Not b/c I’m even remotely good at painting but b/c it would make me so much more useful.

The finished product for the booger room. It’s still just an interim spot, but it is indeterminably better.

 Lastly, I wonder if I could possibly love the upside down lamp shade as a light fixture any more.


Friday, May 14, 2010

Visiting Day

When my sis and bro-in-law (Mr. & Mrs. Q) were out recently, I asked them to guest blog. Well, during the actual visit the sheer glory of the house left them speechless and flat busted each nite. However, they have email'sd along a post. I edited a smidge for ease of reading. And b/c I'm bossy. I also re-posted some pics for reminders. Unfortunately, not enough has changed to post new pics.

My husband and I had the distinct pleasure of being the first overnight visitors with the amazing and unbelievably good looking and smart Notorious and e. Tee hee. Editing is awesome.
Ok, for reals, here's their post:
My husband and I had the distinct pleasure of being the first overnight visitors at 1512. I am E’s (slightly) older, (significantly) less funny, and (exceptionally) less heat/dirt/ghetto tolerant sister.
Here are our bloughts on our getaway at chez E. I’ve prepared them in a point/counter-point style as anyone who has lived through a home renovation can attest to the love/hate relationship the re-doer has with the re-done.
Point 1: The bathroom is way worse in real-life than in picture-life.

From Mr. Q:
Seriously, my two requirements are a dumper and a hose. They didn’t have a hose. I longed for a hose. I swear the bathtub/sled was headed straight for the basement every time my cleaner-than-the-tub ass put a foot in there. Oh, door, no front door…I can see you from here.

Counter point 1: I lost at least ½ inch off each of my thighs.

You’d think a shower would be super fast given that you want to spend as little time in there as possible. But it takes a lot of time and effort to undress, shower, and re-dress in a 2 x 3 foot space without making any contact with any surfaces. Try it sometime. The leg strength and balance required to step into your underwear while keeping a flip-flop on your foot without touching said flip-flop to said underwear and NEVER MAKING CONTACT with the walls/doors/fixtures should be the next fitness craze.

Point 2: A liv-itchen is not the same as a kitchen.

Mr. Q: 
Nope. But I tread lightly. The liv-itchen has a fridge with cold beer.
Counter point 2: Philly has some of the best restaurants ever!

I’ve had a liv-itchen. Not fun. Not appetizing. Not convenient. While having your food within arms reach of your couch might sound like a dream come true, the novelty wears off fast. Luckily, Philly is blessed with more restaurants per capita than any other city in the good old US of A. And they’re good. Cheesesteak . . . yum. Cool Israeli restaurant with weird waiter . . . yum. Yuengling . . . yum-ling.

(Zahav but not us at Zahav.)

Point 3: There is not a whole lot to do at the house.

Mr. Q: South Philly Tap Room. Didn’t see enough of it.
(Our neighborhood bar. Again, not us.)

Counter point 3: Quizzo and Ikea

Once you get tired of watching a weird lady walk down the street without shoes (FYI, tetanus survives on concrete) and observing the cats take yet another nap, the lack of cable and functional space sets in. Enter Quizzo (the greatest game on the planet) and Ikea (the greatest store on the planet). Oh, what fun!

Point 4: There were boogers all over the walls we cleaned.
 ("TV Room")

 ("TV Room", "Superman Room")

 ("TV Room", "Superman Room", "Booger Room")

Mr. Q: Shouldn’t even be a mention. The place is 100+ years old. Things happened in that place that would make you shiver. Better a booger than a diary.
Counter point 4: I’ve realized the importance of having a Kleenex talk with my kids.

As you have already read, we were prepping the 2nd floor bedroom for paint when we discovered boogers. ALL over the walls. Hundreds of them. So, somewhere between the monumental discussions of ‘the difference between less and fewer’ and ‘the birds and the bees’, I will schedule a talk about proper booger disposal.

Point 5: The house is really old.
Mr. Q: And full of potential. I’d love a place with 12 foot ceilings with a raw canopy to make my own. You certainly have the vision.
Counter point 5: The house is really old.

Okay, so the leg of the couch fell through the rotted floorboard while I was sitting on it (embarrassing). And the bathtub did seem like it was about to plunge into the basement (frightening). And sure, there is no AC and many of the windows do not perform the requisite window functions of opening and closing (hot). But, there are 10+ foot ceilings on the first floor. The baseboards are 6” wide. The house is in an up and coming part of a very cool city. 

 (So, not technically "our" part of the city, but still the city.)

And the best part? My sister lives there.

(Actually me.)


Thanks soooo much guys. For everything. Again. One complaint though, why'd you have to let me know tetanus survives on concrete? What else does it survive on? Do you think treating for termites also treats for tetanus? They do kinda sound alike and I'm pretty sure that logic flies around here.

We reciprocated with a visit to Indy this week. We'll be back in inaction after the weekend.


Saturday, May 8, 2010

Thought for the day

Yo. P-Foe. When you move you don't take the sink drain stopper thing. Which is, BTW, that much harder to purchase when you don't know what it's properly called.

I'd call you a thief but you've stolen so much from us at this point (youth, time, confidence in our good decision making skills) it would be redundant. 

Nope. Still fresh. You're a thief.


Wednesday, May 5, 2010

What a Difference 3 Days Make

Now blog friends, the Notorious and I fancy ourselves stylish. Really in all we do. Most certainly in our home style. But have you ever seen such a glorious white-white-white room?  

I know a white room is the opposite of leaving a style mark, but it’s sooo wonderful. It’s lack of color (and filth) is mesmerizing. I could sit for hours and gaze into the abyss of white. And this photo was taken at nite. It gleams in the day. Gleams.

My fantastic sister and brother-in-law (Mr. & Mrs. Q) came out to Philly to lend 4 helping hands this week. The bedroom was the white fruit of our white labor. (Hmm, that doesn’t sound right…). We washed the walls, doors and baseboards with some very ominous looking chemicals. Then we rinsed. Then we primed the walls, doors, and baseboards. Two times. Then the Notoroius blew us out for our painting skills. Lots of times. All the while Mr. Q was patching, sanding, and righting the scary electrical wrongs. A reminder of what it was…  

And what it is.

Painting is for the birds. Walls are whack enough, but could a room have any more doors? Really, unless a room was actually just constructed entirely of doors, I don’t think it can.

In case you didn’t notice…..RIP PTG. Which BTW apparently stands for “Philly Thug Gansta” which was the brain trust of one of P-Ho’s children. Now don’t get all sassy about me starting smack with a kid-o. PTG kid gets high fives all around cuz the child living on the 2nd floor….ugh….I honestly find this hard to reveal. I mean, the level of grossness on this one is off the charts. But here we go….

The 2nd floor room we use as a TV/sit-down spot was a child’s bedroom. Shown here and here.

Now, if this child ever wondered why her friend’s didn’t want to come visit, wonder no more P-HO, jr. And it’s probably not entirely b/c your house was capital “G”-ross. Mrs. Q and I were washing the walls, doors, and baseboards in here. We were literally on opposite sides of the room when this convo broke out:

E: Man, these walls are disgusting.

Q: They’re really hard to clean.

E: Is that? Are those….BOOGERS ALL OVER THE WALL?

Q: I think it is. Boogers. I think they get higher on the wall as she got older?!?!

[Chorus of yells for Mr. Q and the Notorious to share the news]

How does one prepare visitors for something of this caliber? The house as a whole is enough to take on its’ own. Boogers just add insult to injury.

The painting is all just a stop gap til major renovations get greenlit. For the time being, we need a couple of palette cleansing rooms. Obviously.

Big shout out to the Q’s for coming out. Many, many thanks.