Friday, December 25, 2009

Some Hillbilly's a'livin' in my DOGHOUSE!

Moved in the week of Thanksgiving!

There was a couple thousand dollars left over from Mammie's affairs, and my brothers and I divvied it up. With my share, I got a furnace from a place in Okoboji at a hell of a discount because some other body put a ding in the side, but since it has a new warranty and that it was a no-brainer. It is 95%, and all! Also, I got a new water heater, and replumbed all of the Natural gas lines inside. I had a tankless that I wanted to use, but it didn't have the special vent hardware with it and for what it cost to dink with I just call to the hardware store and he brought one down to me.

The night we did the hot water and plumbing I did the two-step Maytag bath in the clawfooted tubbie. Know what that is? You draw a nice hot bath, scrub and lay there till the water ain't warm, then you drain the tub and draw another hot one just to sit and stew in! Since I am a bachelor, I can do that. So I do.

There isn't any galvanized plumbing left in the place, and all the cast iron sewer stack is replaced with PVC because it was rotten. We rammed a rubber boot in the cast iron pipe going out, and put the PVC in that, and added a clean out while we were at it. Now if the line stops up we don't have to pull the terlet off to do something about it. Speaking of things terlet I got to get a new one, we broke the bowl. The hardware store has a "pot-in-a-box" kit pretty reasonable, that may be what I get.

I rewired a light from my great-grandmother's house, and hung it in the back bedroom. It's a brass pan light, hangs on two chains and has two sockets. The wiring was truly scary. It was all half-assed, so it got redone. The shades are frosted, and have lilacs painted on them. One has a corner that was broke, dinged up, and glued back together, but it doesn't show so much, and even if it did what the hell, my great-grandmother won't ever buy any more lights. Besides, it ain't the Gotrocks' mansion, and in the end the only one that has to be happy about it is the one I look at in the mirror.

I also put a nice Porcelier fixture in the bathroom. I got it from Shirley Pico in Emmetsburg, when she had the antique store. She was a good friend of my Grandma's, and she made me a real deal on it, because she knew I liked them. It is supposed to be a ceiling fixture, but it looks all right on the wall. It's real art-deco-looking, and has matching colours to the rest of the room. The wiring was pretty nice yet. Those bulbs looked like hell, but they've been in the old light for who knows hows how long.

The porch of doom is no more-it started making ominous noises, so an executive decision to perform the removal. Saving all the wood I could, it took an hour to pull it off. I burnt the rotten wood up in the dark of the night, and stacked what was worth bothering with. Mammie's front storm door and the one from Teri's house are up and working.

A whale of a storm is commencing, and pictures are to follow.

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Slow goes it!

Well, the kitchen porch is getting torn apart for demolition. It has a nearly flat tar paper roof, a bad case of the rot, and smells like an army boot. It really isn't worth saving. There may be a few good pieces of lumber in it, but that's it. The city gave me permission to tear it off and put on a new one, and it is going to have the basement entry at ground level.

The old porch was sort of a temporary deal eighty years ago, so I don't feel too bad about the whole thing.

Also, Mammie's landlord gave me the old wood storm door from her house, so I put it on my dining room door. It has the glass insert too, and is in pretty good shape, since she had a porch on the front of her house.

My uncle Greg and aunt Bri gave me a china hutch that was my great-grandparents', and it came from the farm in Pomeroy. It is in the dining room, and will go on the north wall once I get my smaller sideboard in and Earl's old one out.
Just to see what it would turn up like, I cleaned up the hallway door. The wood looks pretty nice. I replaced all of the doorknobs with porcelain, because the metal ones were oval and the dog could open them with his mouth.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The worst is over.

I haven't posted lately, because there hasn't been much progress. I have been at my mother's a lot lately, because she has been coping with cancer. She was diagnosed last summer, and wasn't given much time, but we were blessed to have her with us through the winter, and even into this summer. She took a sudden turn towards the worst on July eighth, and my aunts and brothers came up, and hospice came and set up so she could stay at home, where she died on the 17th. It's sad for my brothers and I, yet I am glad she was only bedridden for the last twelve days of her life. I'm glad she didn't linger in pain, and the journey was easy-she worked hard all her life, raised four of us almost alone, and deserved better than she got.

Ma, we'll miss you!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Clocks and Desks and Cats in hats!

Long time no post! Lots of things are going on, but most of it has been pretty boring. The north half of the roof is scheduled to be installed. The junk outside has been cleaned up, and a few other little things. There may be a decrease in the mouse population-Kent & Tina's Mama cat hatched a litter of five babbies. This picture is when they were about ten hours old. If they don't find another home for it, I told them I'd take the Bengal striped one or the white one. I figure I can spend a few bucks getting it fixed and licensed, and it'll keep the mouse and rabbit numbers down a little around this place.

My Grannie moved to an assisted living, and it was time to clean up the house. My dad and I went down to help, and I got a few little things to remember the place by. I really didn't want much, and I got everything I wanted. The big thing I wanted was an old drop-front desk that was in the garage since I was a kid. It was my great-grandmother's, and it came from the old farm. It is sort of rough, but nothing that can't be fixed. My dad and I dropped it off at a place in Spencer that has done work for me in the past, and he can fix the big issues for a very reasonable rate. I need a couple of knobs, and some trim pieces and veneer work on the top. Most of the finish is not too far gone-a little Kotton Klenser and some wax and it'll look like a million. I also got a set of kitchen cupboard doors that match mine, a bunch of washers and screws, a pretty nice metal mailbox (which I happen to need) and the old sign with our name that came off the front porch.

A year ago, a clockmaker friend of mine left me an old master clock that came from the old High School in Estherville. It was missing a lot of parts (sort of a life-long project) but had good bones and a hell of a nice oak case. When I mentioned it to a friend in Emmetsburg (whom I was visiting on account of his 101st birthday he got really interested. He told me to hold on and got his car out, and we went to his "other house" where he keeps all of his goodies. He had a piece of slate with almost all of the missing program mechanism. It still needs wired and a pile of contacts, but the hard work is done. It's going in the dining room, so it can correct the clocks in the other rooms and ring bells in the bedrooms and the back yard.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Loss of a friend.

Our good friend Paul Harvey died today.

One of my very earliest memories was sitting next to my Grandpa in his old truck one Christmas eve. I was just the right height to have the heat from the registers blow right in my face, and had my hands on the gearshift feeling the motor as it ran. He was going slow, trying to see the road, because it was snowing, and still dark, or got dark already, and we were on some county road in the middle of nowhere. It could have been scary, but I was with Grandpa. When he got quiet and concentrated on the road, I listened to the radio, and when Paul Harvey came on with his daily program, and for some reason it was soothing. From that time hearing him on the radio always made me think of my grandpa and his old truck. Twenty-eight plus years later and I can still smell the cab of the truck and remember the way the snow looked like stars flying past, the dash lights reflected off of grandpa's glasses, and the gearshift felt under my hands.

And that's one more tiny piece of the rest of the story.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

See, Saw, Swine!

The front bedroom has been a pain in the neck for a while-the sub floor has some dry rot in it and it needs to be removed. One of the problems was how to cut the floor boards without totally destroying them-so I can relay the floor. I finally got tired of dinking with it the other day and pulled the mopboards off. I was pretty proud of myself-I only broke the quarter round and I kept the pieces-the mopboard and top trim came off pretty well.

With them out of the way, a skill saw will get close enough to the walls to cut a decent line and I can cover the cut with quarter round when I relay the floor. I had to take the closet out, but the beadboard camne out with no real damage, so I can reuse it. I am thinking of putting the closet on the wall backing with the living room.

Worked real good untill I hit a buried nail and did the sawblade in. Oh well....

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Pro means "for," and con means "against," so what is the opposite of "progress"?

No glamorous pictures this time around. I notched floor joists and got them ready to install, and didn't do too much else. Thank God the damnable cold is finally releasing its grip a little. Next is putting floor joists in and hooking up the furnace.

Still no word from the propane man. yippee.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

The fat man lives!

Well, I haven't froze to death yet. Not from any lack of cold, this winter is a pissuwah. It's been so cold I had to put the brass monkey in the porch. Progress is slow, because I have yet to hear from the people who were supposed to bring my propane barrel, and the people to upgrade the service enough to put an electric heater in!

I did go and get my Quincy rocker from the basement where I work, and brought back the kitchen table last time I went to my mammie's in New Ulm. The rocker has a pressed front, and vaguely mission-esque sides. The upholstery is shot to hell, but it's made it this long, a few more months won't be any problem.

The table is elm, with faux-oak grained legs and apron. I get kick out of it-it looks all little and tiny, with 5 great big fat legs, then you pull it open and it'll seat ten, twelve if they like each other. Leaves. 6 of them.

I have the matching sideboard at my mother's but it's not going anywhere for a little while.

I still like the oak centre pedestal table a little more, but this this sure a good runner up! It'll fit better in my kitchen. There is no counter space in there! None! The only counter is the thirty inches or so that are between the burners on the stove, and the drainboard on the sink. Since the glass fronted built-in takes up the whole west wall, the sink and windows the whole south wall, and the outside door and fridge the whole east wall, and the stove and dining room door the whole north wall, the only counter option is a table or island. I'm nowhere near to the point where I want an island, and Miss Andrea got along with a kitchen table for plenty of years, so I guess that's what I'll do. With the leaves all in, it takes up almost the whole kitchen.
And that's all the news as I know it. Mr Chompp wants it warm, so he can go out. Boo hoo! We all want something!