Thursday, June 24, 2004

The adventures of sugarplum!

Sugarplum is our neighbor Ms. Reese’s dog. Ms. Reese has lived in her house next to ours since 1948. We’re not sure how long Sugarplum has lived there, but we’re guessing that it may be something similar.

Hmmm…. I wonder what Peter and Tara are planning on doing with this old water feature? A koi pond perhaps? Maybe a fountain. Could be nice… for me to poop in!

Tara's Favourite Place

This is Tara’s favourite spot in the house (note that English spelling is in effect). She loves it so much that when she discovered me taking a moment’s repose, I was banished to the stinky ole’ saggy-ass office. Alas.

Tuesday, June 22, 2004


Dan Barnes, the roofer, came by yesterday to fix & coat our roof. He did an excellent job, if a little early (8AM). Amazingly enough, the total for the roof repairs came only to $450! Imagine that! A roofing bill that cheap on a 104 year old house! I love tin.

Monday, June 21, 2004


As it turns out, styrofoam peanuts, like squirrels, will find their way into anything with an opening. Who knew?

Sunday, June 20, 2004


Here I took these lovely ‘after’ pictures of the kitchen, only to discover that I forgot to take ‘before’ pictures! Oh well, you’ll have to use your imagination:

I spent this morning putting the pulls and handles on the cabinets. It’s really quite amazing how a little thing like that can change the whole look and feel of the kitchen. Note the three pictures on the wall in this photo: the two on the left are woodcuts that were purchased at Grand Rapid’s festival in 2000 (I think). The one on the right is an original photograph by our friend Denise!

This island is a new addition to the kitchen. We bought it from the local Boscovs for something like $150 less than the original price! It was also the inspiration for the pulls I installed this morning.

I love my new fridge!

I couldn’t figure out where to put the hanging pot rack. This is a fairly good solution, but it still isn’t perfect.

Saturday, June 19, 2004


So I decided to clean out the nasty-ass dishwasher last night. Or, more specifically, I had to clean out the dishwasher last night ‘cause Tara wouldn’t touch it in its current condition and the dishes were really starting to pile up. So I scrubbed it w/ softscrub and ran it once. Then, I got the brilliant idea to run it again, but this time with regular old dish soap. This was the result:

Ok, so the new home-owner lesson of the day is: don’t use regular dish soap in the dishwasher, idiot.

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Beat LA

No pictures for today - we spent the day unpacking cargo and trying desperately to turn a big pile of crap into comfortable living space. We’re almost done with the living room, where we are currently enjoying Detroit’s 5 point lead on those damn Lakers. Beat LA. Beat LA. Beat LA….

Monday, June 14, 2004

Stuff 2

Now that we’ve got the stuff, we have to unpack it. And oh boy, have we got a lot of stuff:

Did I mention that some of our boxes - including the one that contained my receiver - got wet in the back of the truck?

After loading all the crap into the upstairs master bedroom, I noticed that there was a small new crack in the living room ceiling. We were planning on reinforcing this with a column in the next few months anyway, so we ran out an purchased one of these jacks from Home Depot:

It actually took an amazing amount of time to find this floor jack in the Home Depot. We eventually were able to find a manager who knew where they were. You’d think that with all the old houses around here, they wouldn’t be able to keep these things on the shelves!

If you look very carefully, you’ll notice that I was able to discover yet another use for the Ikea IVAR shelves!


The stuff arrived early on Saturday morning. Here are the truck, and Tara posing with our very nice movers Mike and Tony.

Mike and Tony were unbelievably helpful and conscientious, especially after the long delay we had waiting for our stuff. They even stayed a few minutes longer than necessary to help me stack the dryer on the washing machine!

They did tell us that they almost refused the shipment - we are guessing that the lengthy delay resulted from another driver’s refusal. You see, the United agent in St Louis underestimated the load by a good ton. The drivers, from what I gather, are semi-independent contractors who have to make their own ends meet. The fact that the shipment weighed a great deal more than the payment locked in by the agent’s poor estimate made our shipment very unattractive to drivers. It took some movement from on high (spurred, no doubt, by our instance that they reimburse us in advance for the hotel) to convince Mike and Tony to ship our stuff. Incidentally, Bill and Adele’s move was also underestimated, and also arrived late.

Saturday, June 12, 2004

The Stuff has arrived!

Day 16 of our odyssey without stuff, and the movers have actually arrived! As I write this stuff is actually arriving in our house. Fantastic. Unfortunately, they had to re-tag everything, so we have little idea if all of our stuff has actually arrived or not. I’m sure we’ll have that vague ’something’s-missing-but-I’m-not-sure-what’ feeling for a few years, whether or not something is actually missing. But hey, look on the bright side: we have achieved comfortable bedding!

Thursday, June 10, 2004

Tara Wounded!

While I was installing a curtain rod on the front door (which you can admire behind Tara in the picture below), I accidentally dropped my Philips head screwdriver onto poor Tara’s foot. Poor thing.

Front Improvements

Here is the last of the projects that I completed before the Internet connection was up and running. Notice the mailbox, new railing and the fact that the numbers moved to the other newel post!

Concrete project update

So we were wondering how we were going to get rid of all the concrete that we had pulled up from the side and back of the house. Tara called the Westminster streets department, and was astonished to discover that our trash people will pick it up! Amazing, the trash services around here are just incredible. I keep expecting Homer Simpson to lead them down the street singing ‘The Garbageman can!”

Anyway, here’s the latest pictures from our concrete abatement project:

Here’s the SE side of the house. I’ve removed the sidewalk from the old entrance to the basement to the last slab before the porch. I would remove that slab, but it may well be holding up the porch itself.

Here’s the sidewalk that was killing the maple in the backyard. The maple may be well and truly dead, but at least the damn concrete is removed.

This photo was taken this afternoon from the same location as the ‘before’ picture of the backyard below. Notice we’ve pulled out the fence - and, today, the old hot tub frame!!!

Wednesday, June 09, 2004

Phone Lines

The phone lines are a mess. Someone recently decided that rather than unplug the wires running between different rooms, he’d (or she’d) simply cut the wires and twist the exposed copper together! That meant that once we plugged in our phone, we had no dial tone! I dug through our nasty dirt, cob-web infested basement until I found this: our punch-down block.

I actually took this picture on our first night because our flash light was out of batteries and the camera’s flash was the only method of exploring the deep dark crevases of the nasty-ass basement.


These are the ‘before’ pictures of one of our major early projects: concrete removal.

This is the ‘before’ picture of the back yard. I took this standing on the steps that lead down from the porch into the back. I’ll keep taking pictures from this location to show the updates.

This is how the back yard looked when we bought the house. The fence separating our yard from Mrs. Reese’s (a fabulous retired lady who has lived here since 1948) yard was completely rotten. The side walk running along side that fence has contributed to the death of the maple in the picture, and something must be done about that horrible hot tube frame and deck!

This is the start of the project: remove the side walk on the right hand side of the yard, the fence, and turn this back yard back into something beautiful.

Along the Southeast side of the house, there is a small sidewalk whose width takes us right up to the property line. In the middle of that sidewalk, there is an disused entrance to our basement, which we are having walled up and back filled shortly. But, just to the south of that entrance, there is this ‘depression’ in the sidewalk, which is collecting water and causing some sagging in the structure of the house. In the middle bedroom on the second floor, the sag comes to about 1.25 inches. We need to create a new drainage channel to flush that water to the street. That’s where I come in. I need to remove this sidewalk so that when Mike (our contractor) walls up the old entrance and backfills it, we can lay the new drain. So, lots more concrete destruction to go!

Inet up and running!

We have achieved connectivity! Today we received a visit from a pleasant Verizon technician (really!), who figured out that the problem with my DSL connection was a bad card at the local central office. Once the card was replaced (and an hour and a half had passed by), the connection is up and running. In fact, the wireless network is allowing me to recline in our middle bedroom in relative comfort of an air-conditioned 72 degrees. Yes, I’m sitting on an air mattress in a bare room surrounded by the suggestion of tater tot aroma, but given the conditions of the last few weeks, that’s pretty darn good!

Tuesday, June 08, 2004


Unknown light switch

This light switch is located immediately inside the front door. When we were looking at the house, the second switch in from the left was blocked due to the previous owner’s passion for, shall we say, a *lot* of paint. Anyway, when we arrived, I immediately took off some of the paint and flipped the switch. Nothing happened. So, if anyone happens to know what this switch does, I’d love to find out.


Day 12 in our wait for our stuff to be delivered by United Van Lines. We heard today that they won’t be here until the 15th or 16th! That’s another 8 days for a total of 20-21 days! Can you believe it? They originally said 4-8 business days. The expected delivery date is 3 times that long - and they still expect us to pay! If a pizza place said that it would be a 10-15 min. wait and showed up 45 min. later, would they expect you to pay? Unbelievable.


Yes, we have arrived in Westminster. In fact, we’ve been here for some two weeks waiting for our stuff. It seems that United Van Lines has been, well, reluctant to deliver our belongings. In the meantime, we’ve started a few projects that I’ll be updating from time to time. The first and most terribly exciting of which is pictured here.

Repair to the screen door.

Impressive ain’t it?