Sunday, June 19, 2011

Long Time no Blog

Gosh, talk about being behind! I swear if there were two of me I'd still be weeks overdue getting things done LOL Seem like a good general update is in order. During the last blog I told you about the in's and out's of the stripping operation. Having finished that chore - finally - I was looking forward to getting out of the bathroom and doing a 'fun' job. I started out working on paint choices for the downstairs room and entrance mostly to stay out of Tom's way upstairs. He started working on the new counters and cabinets in the east apartment bath and kitchen and also replacing some windows. Ugh! Talk about sticker shock with the window bill LOL We've got about 4 times the amount of windows in a standard house so take your cost for new windows and multiply times four! And that's just for the second story! In the updated pictures there's a photo of Tom installing the windows and you can see how he easily fits standing inside one of those windows. We're talking the size of doors here!

My work with the paint choices was a bit frustrating but nothing compared to Tom's tasks. The first window revealed tons of rot and a serious insect infestation. Other windows were better but most of them were all in need of replacement, both the inner and outer trim and the interior window framing. In the case of the first window we'll have to also re-sheet and coat the enterior due to rot. Average time for installing each window was a day; Tom's days start when he gets off work at 3:30 and run until 9pm or so. That's only for the window btw, not the making or installing the interior trim. He got half of the windows upstairs replaced, about one per room, before being burnt out and in need of R&R.

The paint was a snap by comparison LOL Tom had suggested tropical colors of some sort while I needed to keep the same color through the entry, stairway and landings and break room, all of which are different for the amount of light. I think I tried a dozen or so color chips before settling on four different test shades of blue. Thank goodness the home improvement stores now sell those little samples LOL Using the tropical idea I selected an historical shade that is a close match to a light Carribean blue. It's a bit too intense for me in the entry although everyone else likes it. I can't say as I got too much done in the actual way of painting though. About the time I started Tom decided to work on the apartment entry door so after one coat I've got that project on hold. There's sure to be repair needed on the walls after the new door is installed and there's no sense making it all nice, ripping it up and then doing it again.

Much of the work needed for the kitchen cabinets also got done. While Tom salvaged as much as possible from the old cabinets he still needed to make new fronts and all new drawers. Once things are all finished I'll have to get some close up shots of the window molding Tom's made as well as the floor molding and cabinetry. The man definitely knows his way around the woodworking tools! With the amazing job he's done on the walls and trim I hated even more the idea of only stripping the floor molding downstairs. It just didn't seem to do the building or quality of his work justice so . . . I'm back to stripping LOL Not quite such a bad job this time, lots easier to strip varnish off woodwork that layers of paint off walls. On the other hand I've discovered more of what we term the 'green paint from hell'. This is the first coat of paint at the bottom of much of the woodwork and it defies removal. It takes at least 6 coats of stripper with each sitting 30 to 45 minutes to begin to get it off. We talked to our friend Walt, a local antiques dealer and restorer and he said it was milk paint. Then he laughed evily LOL The stuff wears like iron! So far I have the floor molding and one entire doorway stripped down in the entry and stairway, the hardware stripped and ready to enamel and the transom window rebuilt. We'll be leaving the built in cupboard finish alone since it's in great shape. Matching the colors was another learning experience LOL

We have the original wood removed of finish, replacement wood we estimate was installed 50 or so years ago also removed of finish and two different varieties of new pine that Tom is using. The color we're matching is a red oak/red mahogany mix. Using that color stain on the original wood results in a perfect match while on the replacement wood and new wood the color comes out dark walnut. Two days and about 20 stain tests later - six different colors of stain! - I determined it will all match provided I stain all but the original wood bright red and then recoat with the red oak/red mahogany mix followed by a second coat of the bright red. That will all be followed by several coats of a brush on laquer. Given the labor involved I'm doing the public areas first and then later, once the apartments are up and running, I'll strip and refinish the wood in the break room and offices.

Outside things are really looking nice. The update pictures have some shots of the new herb garden I planted. Also you'll find a picture of my new nemisis poison ivy. Back in the day I was terribly sensitive to it but over the years I either was lucky enough to avoid it or never got a serious rash. Not so this year! The old garden was polluted with it and even being cautious I got an awful case. Tom's taken on the job of getting rid of it all and has been making progress although the stuff is terribly difficult to kill. We also discovered it has actually infested the yard itself so for the past week or so I've been banned from working outside. We'll keep up with the spraying but given the severity of the rash I got this year I may lobby to have the yard professionally sprayed.

Away from the Cauldron we've managed to carve a bit of time off and find time for fun and relaxing. The motor home is finally ready to roll and we're hoping for a shake down trip next weekend. Bike nights are in full swing and we've been able to catch up with some of our party buddies. This past weekend was Harry and Rory's benefit for Cancer Patient Services - a great time for a good cause. If you missed it be sure to put it on your schedule for next year; great people, some of the best bands in the area, tricycle races and grilled burgers and weenies. Biggest summer news so far is we have our Gold Rush passes for the Chillicothe rodeo and we're by-passing Wetzeland this year. It's a bummer missing Wetzel, we had planned on this being our last trip and having a blow out time, but they've doubled the camping rates for vehicles to try and weed out the non-biking crowd. It's an admirable thought but doesn't do too much for us old bikers who can't pack it all in on the back of a motorcycle and sleep on the ground. With Wetzel out we're hoping to head down to Eldora for the Kings Royal race and just as good a time.

Be sure to check out the pictures after you've read the catch up. I finally have all shots online and even organized. Amazing! LOL The most current progress shots are in the main folder viewable directly upon clicking. Pictures showing the complete progress may now be accessed by clicking the 'more folder's' option where you'll find them separated by area. Some even have captions to explain a bit more about the project.

Litha blessings and a happy summer to all!

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