[the Millennium Falcon shakes, knocking Leia into Han's arms]
Princess Leia: Let go.
Han Solo: Shh.
Princess Leia: Let go, please.
Han Solo: Don’t get excited.
Princess Leia: Captain, being held by you isn’t quite enough to get me excited.
Han Solo: Sorry sweetheart. I haven’t got time for anything else.
Star Wars V: The Empire Strikes Back
Something wonderful has happened. Something for which I have been waiting for over a decade. Something that I had begun to despair of ever actually happening. Dad Windu is prepping the kitchen ceiling and walls… for paint.
That’s right. My dingy white kitchen is going to be painted. It’s the last room in our house that hasn’t had some type of de-Mabelizing. The lady that we bought our house from was a wonderful person, the rightfully proud original owner of a house in absolutely fantastic shape. But Mabel, well, Mabel had horrible taste. Our kitchen – the most tasteful of all rooms in the house when we bought it – was at various moments of its existence light pink, lavender, mint green and dandelion yellow. In small doses, any of these colors might have been fine (ok, probably not), but Mabel – bless her heart – didn’t do small doses. The entire kitchen was these colors – ceiling, walls, cupboards (inside and out), trim and shelves. Right before we bought the place, her daughter insisted on having the kitchen – the entire kitchen – painted bright shiny white in what appears to be $1.99 per gallon paint.
A decade afterwards, the paint is coming off the ceiling and one of the walls in sheets as DW tries to get the room in shape for the primer. Keep your fingers crossed for the ceiling to be primed by dinner time tomorrow evening.
“I sense great fear in you, Skywalker. You have hate. You have anger. But you don’t use them.” – Count Dooku, Star Wars III: Revenge of the Sith
Yeah, well he got to use them yesterday afternoon and he’ll get to use them again this weekend because we’re scraping and painting the garage. WooHoo! That’s right, folks. Life here is red hot.
As Mrs. Sunday Morning Doughnut Buddy says, “It builds character.” I’ve been re-reading The Complete Calvin & Hobbes this summer, so that sounds just about right to me. I’m going to make him go camping in a few weeks, too. Maybe it will even rain to round off the experience.
I’m going to re-read The Complete Far Side starting this fall. I wonder what that will eventually lead to…
“Sorry about the mess.” – Han Solo, Star Wars IV: A New Hope
The house is pretty much done as of this afternoon, only shutters, corbels and the window sash that broke are left to install (when they arrive). The temperature inside the house is amazingly stable now – no 20 degree difference between the basement and the second story. The quiet was almost disconcerting for the first couple of nights after the insulation and new windows were put in – hardly any of the usual low-rubbling road noise that we’d gotten used to over the years comes in any more. I find it to be a much more relaxing house to live in than before. Not to mention that I can finally stop dusting every day without anymore construction fallout.
So, one very large check was written and is being picked up tomorrow. Another much smaller check will be written after the three remaining items are installed. There is one thing that I’m a little sad about though. Jim won’t be coming back tomorrow and that seems weird. For the past three weeks, he was here every day and I’ve kind of gotten used to him tapping on my walls and operating assorted power-tools in my garage. But, it sure is nice to be able to park in the garage again.
The duct cleaning should be (re)started and (dare I hope?) finished tomorrow. Smallish check to be written tomorrow for that. Thursday just might be a day without any contractors at our house.
Day two of seventh grade went smoothly. Tuesdays and Fridays are lighter days, curriculum wise, than Mondays and Thursdays. We’re going to be starting formal Dutch lessons again next week, Wednesday mornings. It will be a good way to spend a half day morning, before heading off to Padawan Learner’s trampoline and gymnastics class. He and I are reading Fahrenheit 451 together, discussing things as we go. Neither of us has ever read the book before, so it’s nice to see it together without one of us anticipating things or being in danger of giving something vital away.
A glimpse at some of this week’s educational feast:
History: quick historical overview to Renaissance
Science: matter and element of the week – Hydrogen
Dutch: review spelling rules & conjugation of regular verbs in the present tense
vocab o’ the week: homeschool-related words (e.g., subject names, calendar words, classroom tools)
Logic: arguing vs. having an argument (“fight fair”)
Uncle Owen: Have you seen Luke this morning?
Aunt Beru: He said that he had some things to do before he started, so he left early.
Uncle Owen: Did he take those two new droids with him?
Aunt Beru: I think so.
Uncle Owen: Well, he’d better have those units in the South Ridge repaired by midday, or there’ll be hell to pay.
Star Wars IV: A New Hope
It’s only 1:01 p.m. and I’ve already cracked open a beer. It’s been one of those days. (Arcadia’s Angler’s Ale, for those of you who care about such things.)
We’re finishing up week three of the exterior remodel today. Hopefully they’re going to be done soon…?
The last siding pieces on the main floor can’t be put up until the corbels get here. The contractor ordered them…on Wednesday. They’re made to order and will take…up to two weeks to get here.
<sip, sip, sip>
One of our windows is off being made…for the third time. Window 1 came to the site 10 inches too narrow due to a measurement error by the contractor. Window 2 was put on rush and arrived 2 weeks later and was dropped yesterday by the manufacturer breaking the glass in the top sash, while being delivered to the contractor’s warehouse…yesterday. Window 3 has been put on super-special rush and (hopefully) will be ready in a week. Yeah, right. hahahahahahah *wipes away tear of laughter*
<drink, drink, drink>
Because of the insulation that was accidentally blown down into Padawan Learner’s cold air return vent on the second day, the contractor and I agreed to get the whole house’s ducts cleaned out instead of just the one and split the cost. Look at me negotiate. Duct Guy came last Thursday and did the upper floors and half of the main floor, taking a lot longer than he thought he would. “Don’t run the air or push air through the vents in any way tonight.”
He came back Friday morning to find out that his machine’s motor was burned out and needed to be sent back to the manufacturer for repair or replacement. “Don’t run the air or push air through the vents in any way until I get back.” So no AC or central fan until…the Thursday or Friday after Labor Day. One week. Sunday, Monday and Tuesday of this week were the hottest days of the summer. 90′s. No call so far this week. I called today and found out that the motor still hasn’t arrived. He’s planning on being here Wednesday a.m. Two weeks. No AC. Hot. Humid. Just shoot me.
<gulp, gulp, gulp>
Oh, by the way, we’re starting lessons on Monday. Can you imagine working algebra problems, learning Dutch grammar, or reading and discussing Fahrenheit 451 together with people pound on walls, supersized vacuums screaming and people going in and out? I can, and it’s not pretty.
“You can’t stop the change any more than you can stop the suns from setting.” Shmi Skywalker, Star Wars I: The Phantom Menace
Just theoretically now… But how might one bring up the matter of (and stop!) your home improvement guys taking a leak behind your garage - in your medium-density city neighborhood? Granted this isn’t Manhattan’s high density, but we do have rather small backyards and plenty of neighbors in close proximity all around. For the record, I did mention first thing, on the first day of the project, that the guys were more than welcome to use any of the bathrooms in the house. Plus, they’re putting in all new windows, so they’ve seen where all the bathrooms are and know where they’re located. This is just so embarrassing for me to bring up. I turned around in my office chair today and saw one of the guys doing “the scan” around the garage before assuming the position and I was sorely tempted to call out the back window, “Hey, we’ve got 2 1/2 baths for your pissing pleasure.” But I just couldn’t bring myself to do it.
(as he grabs and then pulls a droid toward him with the force)
“Hey, ugly, over here.” – Anakin Skywalker, Star Wars III: Revenge of the Sith
Our house was originally painted cream and mint. Mint. You cannot possibly imagine how hideous this is. Padawan Learner and I were away most of the day working at the CSA and swimming with some friends so we only saw a little bit of the aluminum siding tear down, but when we pulled up in front of the house this afternoon it shocked me. I mean completely shocked me. I managed to get out something really insightful like, “Wow.” The lead on the tear down crew responded with, “I know! I didn’t think it could get any uglier but it did!”
On a positive note, the tear down has brought our neighbors out in force to look at the spectacle. Most everyone starts the conversation with, “Nice color.” One neighbor with the same exact house design as ours even started to cannibalize our upstairs windows for his house, replacing some of his storm windows with ours and keeping the others for spares. He got most of the storm units removed before the sun went down. He’s also going to “upgrade” some of his sashes that have cracked panes of glass or warped frames once our new windows arrive and the old sashes are taken out . I’m glad they can get some use out of them until they can afford to replace the rest of their windows too.
One not so cool thing was that they accidentally filled Padawan Learner’s cold air return vent with insulation. Oops. Shredded cellulose insulation makes a huge mess when it plops into an open box-shaped space, for.your.information. Good thing I didn’t dust yesterday after all. They sucked it back out, but oh.baby does that stuff travel.
“You must do what you feel is right, of course.” ―Obi-Wan Kenobi to Luke Skywalker, Star Wars V: The Empire Strikes Back
We’ve wanted to do this since we moved in, a decade ago, but found ourselves constantly with other draws on our disposable income. OK, maybe not essential draws but what seemed like important purchases at the time (travel to Ireland, England, The Netherlands, California, British Columbia, and a car that doesn’t rain on the inside when you’re driving in inclement weather - you get the picture.) Well, we’ve taken the plunge. A year ago in October, we got estimates on making the house more energy efficient. Then I cringed in horror. And cried a little. And maybe died just a little on the inside. We had already replaced the front and back doors, which were so bad the fanlight windows on top were, literally, falling out but knew we had to take it up a notch.
Our house was built in 1949. Did you know that here in the great, snowy north, until the 1960s, houses were not built with insulation in the walls? That’s right: nothing, nada, zip, zilch, zero. Basically we have clapboards on the outside and plaster on the inside, with 6 inches of breeze blowing in between. No wonder our place quickly becomes an icicle when the power goes out! We’ve chosen to remove all the current siding and have insulation blown into each and every little spot possible. After that, the house will be wrapped with 1/4″ closed cell foam board before new siding is put up. I feel warmer already. Our attic insulation depth is “a 7 out of 10″ according to the contractor we’ve chosen to use, so it only needs a little help.
Our windows are even worse, if that’s possible: the 1949 originals - huge and very drafty with single panes of glass and loose-fitting storms. I think they’re an R-value of about negative 13. We’ve been putting plastic up in the winter to keep some of the heat inside, which has the added bonus of keeping your shirt from waving in the breeze as you pass on a cold, blustery day, but it has to come down in the spring, summer and fall to let the breeze in and so we don’t have to run the air conditioner as often. Therefore, new windows are going to go in at the same time as the insulation. They’re also going to insulate that recess back behind the edges and sills of the window frames. That’s why we’re biting the bullet and having everything done all at one time, so that everything will be as sealed as possible.
In the end, it’s going to cost us a boatload of money (almost as much as my first car, a new mid-sized sedan – that’s still in my garage 13 years later) but it’s worth it. Say it with me. It’s worth it. Repetition will, hopefully, make the gasping sound lessen as I write the final check. We’ll probably even be able to get a smaller furnace when the time comes to replace the current one (according to the furnace guy). So we’ve saved and saved and saved and cashed in an investment and saved some more. I have to write the first of the two checks tomorrow night. Barring any holdups, it should all be done by the beginning of September. For the record, I’m glad it’s getting done, but I sure can think of more exciting things to spend so much money on – like travel.