Things that Keep Me Dry

I lost a bit of blogging momentum over the busy holidays. I didn’t have much time for focused writing, and now that I’m getting back into the swing of my daily routine I’m not feeling all that compelled to dig deep just yet. So bear with me, Dear Internet, as I continue to bore you with photos and antidotes.

Last week brought a stretch of sunshine and, more importantly, no rain, which brought a crew of roofers in by the truck load. In less than one day the entire mass of them had stripped off three layers of shingles, cleaned up, and beat feet out of there, leaving nothing but a muddy mess on my back deck. And by ‘entire mass,’ I’m not exagerating. Those guys were EVERYWHERE – in my yard, on the street, milling about, looking up and pointing – there had to be 10-15 non-English speaking laborors, ready to take on my house.

(Oh, and the only reason I point out that they were non-English speaking, is that it took me having a conversation with 3-4 of them before I clued in that they were merely nodding at me, and not actually acknowledging what I was saying. So I finally asked for the foreman and they all pointed – all at once – to the truck across the street. They were very snap-to-it kind of guys.)

The next day two guys returned – one to stay on the roof, and the other to hand him sheets of metal – and they had great weather all week. Until yesterday and today. These poor guys are now working in the pouring rain, and it does not look fun.

Here is a shot of the roof we used to have, the moss and leaks into our stair well not fully visible:

Old Roof - South Side before

And here is half of our sexy new metal roof, in a lovely shade of blue-ish teal:

New Roof - North Side after

It may look a little out of place at the moment, but picture a new coat of paint in the near future to brighten up the whole look.

And most importantly – no more leaking!

Basement Remodel: FINALLY!

We are finally ready to start moving Bryan in to his new office this weekend. The painting is almost done, and we put together two Ikea bookshelves tonight. In the photo below you’ll see the paint color and the brown trim, and the really cool ducting we had put in. The beam at the top of the picture will also be painted brown, and you can see a corner of the rug folded over on the floor. Besides the center beam, I also need to paint the doors, but all of that can be done around all of Bryan’s things. I just want him moved in so I can put my house back together!



Basement Remodel Saga: Floors from Hell

Poor Bryan. The one thing he wanted to accomplish this weekend was sanding and staining the cement floor in his new office, but two trips to McLendon’s, three methods, and one full day later, only about two feet along the short wall have been stripped. When he emerged from the room in a cloud of dust he was like the Peanuts character, Pig Pen. And he was very discouraged. I hate disappointment – it leaves one feeling as if time was wasted, but what else could have been done if not by trial and error?

Basement Remodel - floors

The Post Wherein I Describe Everything I’ve Done This Week All At Once Because I Have No Time.


Ruthie now thinks all daddies take airplanes to work. She asked me that when her little friend left the other day and she asked if he was going home to see his daddy. I said his daddy was probably at work, but that he would see his daddy later. And she said, misusing her pronouns in the cutest way, “Her daddy take an airplane to work, too?”

On Wednesday the kids and I drove up to the Tulip Fields as I’ve done almost every year since I can remember, with only a few exceptions. We drove up in two car loads of four moms and six kids, ate a picnic lunch, and let the kids go wild in the dirt. You can see proof that boys will be boys here (pardon the sideways video, I haven’t had time to figure out how to rotate the image). This is the first time I’ve ever gone with other kids Ruthie’s age, and they were a fun little gang of toddlers to watch. Every time Nor said, “COME ON, ROOFIE!” I just wanted to pinch her, she was so cute. They are all such good friends when they’re not hitting each other or pulling hair. You can see all our Tulip Adventures here.

I rode up there with a good friend who has neither a computer nor access to the internet, so I can blab about her all I want on this blog and she’ll never be the wiser!

The guys finished most of the work downstairs, so I’ve been painting. Which is why I have not been writing. Can you even comprehend how difficult it is to paint WHITE primer on top of WHITE drywall mud and wall texture??? At any rate, the painting is slow going because on my shoulder is a muscle knot the size of a grapefruit. After about an hour my arm hurts so bad it radiates to my neck and head and I can’t move my arm or open my eyes. I’m beginning to wonder if we should have just paid the guys to paint as well. If you’re curious, here is what the room looked like before I started painting. We now have new windows around the entire basement!

I will now leave you with a Dora reference. Today at lunch Ruthie was muscling her way in to Bryan’s hummus, using her grimy fingers instead of anything like, say, a snow pea or a carrot. Finally Bryan says to her, “Hey Swiper, no swiping!”

Ruthie stopped and just looked at him. Blinking, I suppose, just like Dora might have in such a situation. Then she says to him, “No, I’m Ruthie.”

She’s a literalist to the end. That’s my girl!

Basement Remodel Saga: Part III – The Insulation

Installing the insulation.

The guys put insulation in all the walls and the ceiling yesterday. We wanted insulation not only to make it warmer, but to help muffle the sound between the basement and the main floor. It’s exciting to see this project coming together, and I’m looking forward to the end of today when they’ll have most of the drywall up!

Basement Remodel Saga: Part II

Taking out the old chimney

THAR SHE BLOWS! This is one of our framers. His boss took it upon himself to tell me all of this guy’s personal business, which at first made me uncomfortable. But then, when they gave him the job of tearing down the chimney to let off some steam, I was in on the har-de-har-har.

We now have walls – sort of. We have framed walls you can see here. The sheet rock will come after the electrician finishes fixing all the crazy homespun work done by other people. It’s never as easy as you think it’s going to be – especially in these old houses where many upgrades have been made over the years.

When the electrician showed up at my door this morning my faced turned red he was so cute. I was thinking that if I was still single I’d be needing a lot of rewiring done!

Basement Remodel Saga: Part I of Many

NW Corner - before framing

My afternoon sort of fell apart on me when the contractor called to tell me his crew would be over at 8:30 in the morning to start framing the basement. We still had two large computer desks left in the space, plus a bunch of odds and ends that have no place, rhyme, or reason. My sanity flashed before my eyes and the muscles around my spine tensed.

I have to give a big shout out to my friend Greg who literally came at a moment’s notice to help me move the furniture – as in, I called at 3:30 asking for help, and he was here by 4:30. It’s nice to know I’m taken care of even when Bryan is out of town.

So for posterity, here are photos of the madness we hope will never return, and here is what the space looks like tonight before the framers come in the morning. Someday soon this will be Bryan’s new office with actual walls and an actual door he can close while he works from home. In the meantime I feel like roller skating.

After Greg left I pulled it together and realized the amount of work left was not all that overwhelming, and I was reminded how easily I become paralyzed. But even now late at night, with my house cleaned up a bit, two loads of laundry done, and everything moved out of the area to be framed, I am at peace with what I’ve done today and I have no anxiety left for tomorrow.

Things That Keep Me Guessing

Ruthie’s friend, Indi, is over today while his parents paint walls and refinish floors at their new house. We have our own project going on today, and figured a friend would help distract Ruthie away from needing us as much. This plan has executed fairly smoothly, except for the shouting match over whether Mufasa was really hurt in the stampede.

“He’s sad.”

“No! He’s NOT sad!

“He’s sad!”

“NO! He’s NOT sad!



And so on.

You might have guessed, but Ruthie was the one in touch with Mufasa’s true state of mind at the time of his death.

Indi and Ruthie are only three days apart. There are times we think they will one day be married, and there are times we think they’ll never speak to each other again.

At one point when I checked on them watching a movie, I couldn’t see Ruthie anywhere. As I came around the corner I found that she was hidden by Indi as they snuggled together on the couch. Their love for each other waxes and wanes by the minute.


This Would Be a BAD TIME for the Medication to Quit Working…

Over the weekend someone fired the starting gun and now WE’RE OFF!

We hired a contractor to finish half our unfinished basement, which he will do sometime during the next month while Bryan travels (more on that later). This is not such a big deal as he said the framing can be done in one day, and the drywall is done in phases after that. The overwhelming part of all this is the amazing amount of STUFF we have to move out of the space before any work can begin.

If you don’t hear from me in awhile, call the authorities. I may be trapped under a box.

NW Corner - Before