Friday, January 15, 2010


No, not changes to this blog, changes to our house! We started in on some home renovation last week, and we're kind of in the middle of it right now. Last week we moved all of the furniture out of the room I call "the music room" (because the piano lives in it). Then, over the weekend, we tore up the carpet and the padding and the firring strips! It was a royal pain to get all the staples taken out of the floor, but my dear husband used a pair of pliers and a flat-bladed screwdriver to great effect. In the meantime, I attacked the firring strips with a crowbar and a hammer. I swear, the people who installed the carpet were either not professionals, or were *absolutely* sure the firring strips were *never* going to be removed. They nailed those strips down with ring nails! Now most of the ring nails were about an inch long, so it didn't take too much effort with the hammer and crowbar to pry the strips up, but some of the nails were at least twice as long and correspondingly heavier! Oh, and the floor we were prying all these things out of is oak. Not laminate, but solid oak strips - do you wonder that we were a bit tired afterwards?

Oh well, they all came out eventually, which was very good. This was all in preparation for the arrival, on Monday, of the floor-refinishing guy. Oh, what a wonderful thing to have somebody else come and sand off all the old finish and put on nice, new varnish! We hired that part done because I did that job on a different room in the house, and it nearly killed me. So, these guys have the equipment and know how to operate it. They got the sanding done in 3 or 4 hours and put the first coat of varnish on that same day. They finished the job (ha! ha! get it? "finished the job"?) the next day - and the floor looks so much better! Now, "all" we have to do is paint the walls (which entails sanding the stencils off of them first), fix up the ceiling and move the furniture back in. I realize we're doing this kind of bass-ackwards, but truthfully, I didn't expect the floor re-finishing guys to be able to get to us so soon. We simply ran out of time. But that's what drop cloths are for. And when we get done, "We'll get 1/4 of our living space back!" (to quote the wonderful "J") Wheee!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Christmas was Different this year

It was, for a couple of reasons. First, there were some people missing that I look forward to seeing at Christmas - nieces and nephews whose presences add a lot of spice and fun to the family celebration. It was also different because the weather played merry cob with our plans (and, not incidentally, the plans of everyone else in this region). We had had a snowstorm in the early part of December, but the streets had pretty much recovered from it. On Christmas Eve (when my family does its big celebration) the snow started falling again, and falling, and falling. It took my husband and I a good hour to drive home from the family get-together (where it would usually take 30 minutes at most.) It didn't stop until sometime late on Christmas Day, and then the wind kicked in! We ended up with drifts 3 or more feet deep on the front sidewalk and I couldn't open the back door to let the dog out Christmas morning because the drifts were blocking the door. In other words, we were snowed in! Now, it may sound cozy and romantic and all those things to be snowed in at Christmas, and it is, for a while. But it's not quite so much fun after 3 or 4 days. I knew I had to get out of the house when I started snarling back at the news broadcasters on NPR. I did get out, on Sunday, for a while, and it was a tonic. Snow on Christmas Eve is beautiful, but I don't want another blizzard like that for a good long time.