Sunday, June 27, 2010


With gross disregard for life and limb, I constructed this catwalk to reach the top middle of the wall. Here are a few pics of the first coat of primer. The final color is white, too, just not as stark. It's slightly more buttery, Behr "toasted marshmallow" to be exact.

I finished the first coat of primer today, but I'm not sure what I'll be doing the rest of this week because the MOST IMPORTANT PERSON IN THE WHOLE WORLD is flying in from NY tomorrow. I haven't seen him in so long, and I'm so happy he's coming.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Purchasing Doors and Windows

Remember the door Al broke? Well, I've been doing the research to buy three new ones.

Immediately, I eliminated Home Depot or any other independent source of doors, because I didn't want to deal with an assortment of retail people in trying to match doors with installers and warranties and financing. I had three companies into the house, Mid-America Exteriors, Renewal by Anderson and Pella.

Mid-America only had vinyl doors and windows, wanted me to put a mortgage on the house to finance it and tried to convince me that wood doors were crap.

Renewal had awesome, wooden doors, all kinds of options, warranties and service to die for, but they wouldn't tell me the price. Even when I had Al call them, they wouldn't provide an estimate. I was almost ready to go with them, but I wasn't about to give them carte blanche! How can you sell windows without telling people the price first?

Pella had great, wooden doors, warranties and service just as good as Renewal, although fewer options in styles. They do have, however, an attractive finance plan and--this was the kicker--they gave me an estimate.

I'll never know if the price is less or more than Renewal, because Renewal isn't telling!

So...Pella windows it is. Now I'm just taking some time to be sure I'm happy with my choices before I send the rep the exact details.

Pictures to come in a couple months!

Phase 1 Complete

I finished painting the first room of the foyer (above), except for the ceiling, which I'm still mulling over. The entry is now so bright and clean that it inspired me to go wash another wall, but then washing it revealed all the wear and tear and stains, which left me quite dissatisfied, so now I'm painting an additional wall (below) before I start on the stairwell. THEN, I'll go back and think about ceilings some more. Crown molding is rattling around in my head, maybe a plastered texture....

Monday, June 21, 2010

Project Update: Painting the Foyer

That's Al, camera shy.

The mess at the mid-point of a painting project.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Summer Home Repairs

Project today: Home Depot for paint for the foyer.

Yea, it's a 14 ft ceiling, and I have to paint around these doors, cutouts, trim, angles and 2 textured walls. My ladder is visible in one picture, the ladder with which I plan to make a catwalk and, most likely, break my leg.

I'm not doing a drastic color change, but after 12 years, 4 teenagers (with various cutting and projectile weapons labeled as "toys"), a walking cane and more than 8 dogs, all of them puppies at one point, it's past time for a refresher of this central artery of the house. I do NOT look forward to it.

The new paint job is only one of many projects we're looking at now that we're empty-nesters again. I already began ripping carpet out of the basement, harder than it seems, because the carpet tacks are nailed into concrete. Eventually, the upstairs carpet will have to go, and we'll need all new flooring. For now, we're enjoying the cool concrete in the basement while we get through a hot, Kansas summer.

Upstairs in the living/dining room, Alan tried to save money by replacing the worn, sliding door with the one that we never use. These doors, I should preface, have been the source of great annoyance for, at least, the past five years--that's how long the sliders have been worn to the point that I have to perform a Herculean feat every time I want to open it. And yet, I have to open it several times a day as ingress/egress for the dogs to the back yard.

To picture this properly, one should also know that one of these double pane doors is VERY heavy, heavy enough that I cannot lift one or--if you can imagine this--walk it corner by corner across a floor. Imagine if you can, Alan trying to lift these heavy doors out of the sliders (top and bottom), transport to the other opening and then try to fit them into the other set of sliders WHILE lifting.

Much to my delight, the inevitable occurred! Finally, after five years of door HELL, I'm getting new doors for the decks!

Hiding guiltily with his dog after breaking the door. Al often breaks things by trying to brute-force them to work, which is a long-standing joke around here. This time I was thrilled!

Friday, June 4, 2010

The Goddess

My dream; feel free to interpret:

I previously (previously meaning that in the dream, I came equipped with this information) knew about something special in an underground cavern. A great deal of the dream was concentrated on the look of the cavern and the experience of climbing down into it, as well as, traversing its floor.

We (there was another individual with me, male, similar age, undefined) entered through a roughly circular hole in the ground. I had the impression of a small sinkhole, about eight feet in diameter. We had to heft ourselves over the edge and climb down a vertical wall, much like descending one of these fabricated rock-climbing walls, except that this was grittier...crystalline, dirty white. It was calcified or like very hard salt. I remember that it was frightening, but the handholds were relatively simple to find, and we descended without any trouble. Nevertheless, I had strong feelings of claustrophobia that I had to fight.

Because I was the guide, I had to ignore my own fear about the cavern and lead on. At the bottom, the floor was extremely convoluted, the same texture and color as the walls. There didn't appear to be a light source, but the pale color was relatively uniform and seemed, because of its quality, not to require any light to be visible.

The floor, as I said, was extremely convoluted and had this same crystalline, crunchy texture. At one point, I could look down on us in the dream and see a shoeprint, not a footprint, but what looked like the mark of a man's dress shoe. There was nothing to say it had been made by a man, but I had that impression throughout. I deduced that the floor where we were walking was once molten/plastic/liquid and that someone had stepped upon it in that state and left his shoeprint as it cooled.

Our destination was not immediately visible, but a short walk of about 30 yards around a bend in the cavern revealed the object of our attention to my guest. It was a bronze statue of a goddess. She was approximately 6 feet high and stood on a base of another foot. Her arms were raised high at her sides (a bit like the arms of a many-armed goddess, but only one pair), and she had a semi-circular "halo," also of bronze.

She was stationary, but quite animate. Her eyes were aware. I remember being extremely afraid of her and wanting to fall down on my knees and beg her not to obliterate us and everyone else in the world with a blink of her eye. On the other hand, we felt so much admiration for her power that we also wanted to raise our hands and praise her over and over. You never quite lost your fear, even when assuming a posture of love, and you had a deep compulsion to sacrifice as a gift to her, even if you knew it was paltry and of no use to a being as powerful as she was.

My companion expressed his concern (to the goddess) that she shouldn't be hidden away in this small hole, but out where people could see and praise her beauty. In one breath, he sincerely meant that out of love AND he wanted to flatter the goddess out of fear.

I had to explain, somehow transmitting the thoughts of the goddess, that it didn't matter where the statue stood, that her power was far beyond the confines of matter or this image where we were alternately shuddering in fear and rejoicing with praise.

The only way she was hidden was when we (mortals) were too blind to see her. Despite that, her power continued to flow through everything in the world, sentient or not, living or not, every crystal of sand, every idea of man. In my mind, I could see her influence as a hazy blue sphere encompassing the whole globe of our planet, permeating the earth and the surrounding space. I remember wishing that I could love her without the fear, but the fear was integral, perhaps because of the great difference in power between us. I suspect that the fear was my fault, that I created it, that I nourished it unwittingly in every aspect of my life, that it had attached itself to me so strongly that only death would free me of it--if even then.

This is when I woke up, still afraid of the cavern and the goddess, and tried to shake off that creepy feeling you have after a nightmare, except this was a little different, not so intense a fear, but still enough to wake me.

*shudders* I still feel a tingle of fear at the back of my neck!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

On Wearing a Corselet in a Fight

Readers and friends know I'm a fan of northern epic literature and the sagas, and I swoon over Beowulf--what a hottie!

Anyway, I'm occasionally caught reading yet another analysis of the symbolism, customs, yada, yada, you know the stuff master's theses are made of...within Beowulf, the poem.

The latest, not that current really, is one I've read before from a book call God's Handiwork, and I just had to share this statement made by Richard J. Schrader, the author. He's discussing Beowulf's struggle with Grendel's mother, and he writes, "He [Beowulf] is saved from her knife by God and his corselet as she seeks to avenge (wrecan) her son...."

Now, what I'm thinking here is that it's a fine thing to have God on your side in a fight, but it's a damn, fine thing, nonetheless, to be wearing a corselet!