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Home improvements

Home Improvements yet again…actually getting something done.

For a change. As some of you may know, my bathroom died in October. My ONLY bathroom. The husband’s solution to this? A square bucket. Since my butt is not exactly square, this did not sit well with me. (Sit, being the operative word) So I came north again to spend some time with my sister’s bathroom…of which she has one and a half.

It doesn’t look like I’ll be going home until spring since Leo has never driven in snow and really doesn’t want to tackle the mountains between here and there with the cold stuff on the road.

It took a while, and a not so occasional bitch to finally get Leo to call a contractor to fix the bathroom. The people we went with were my odds on favorite; the guy who gave the estimate we went with asked Leo why it took him 4 weeks to call someone. Of course, he didn’t realize that I’ve been trying to get him to call someone for 4 years, with no results.

So, on to some pictures of what we’ve been dealing with. Well, ok, what HE’s been dealing with since I have a toilet that works and don’t have to worry about falling through the floor in order to take a shower.

  

What it looked like in 2006, when I first started nudging him about the leak.

Starting to tear it down

November, 2011, starting work

Total mess

The mess on the right, partially filling in the hole is what is left of the toilet. It didn’t want to leave, took some unfriendly pursuasion to get it out the door.

You can see the broken beams in the floor. What you see underneath that looks like dirt? Is dirt. It’s the crawl space under the house. Just a little more give and that’s where I’d have been sitting.

New Shower...no tub

 We decided on just a shower, no tub this time.

Tiled but not grouted

Tiling is done, grouting is next. Then putting in the new toilet and sink. I think I told you that this is a very small bathroom? Leo had to stand in the shower to take this picture.

So, it’s almost done. There is a small question though of ‘will’ the sink fit. We’re on sink #4 right now, the first 3 having to be taken back because they were way too big. The last one was 15″ and it had to go back. For some reason Leo seems to think the bathroom is a TARDIS and anything he wants to put in will automatically fit. However, from the edge of the shower to the door, there’s only 30 inches. I’m beginning to wonder if what we need for a sink will end up being a livestock waterer.

 

BTW, comments are back on. I think

 

 

Out of past

Today my mail brought a real blast from the past. I received a packet of recipe cards that I had made out more than 40 years ago. Yeah, you heard right, more than 40 years.

I have a facebook friend who happens to be the next ex-wife of my favorite ex-husband. We all used to live together. I know this might be confusing but I was my favorite ex-husband’s second wife. The one I got the cards from was his third. (I understand there was a fourth but I never met her.) After f-x and I broke up, he took next x-w to visit first x-w and sent pictures back to me. I still have them.

Since we had all shared a time of living together, when f-x was getting married again, I offered to give the groom away, since the bride’s father was performing the ceremony. They declined.

Anyway, I asked this friend for her recipe for mayonnaise cake. Hers was the first time I had ever even heard of that and it was wonderful. She sent me the recipe and knocked me over by saying that if I sent her my snail mail address she’d send me my recipe cards. Now how can you pass up something like that? Recipes that I used a lot from 40 years ago.

Today they came and I’m amazed at the numbers of them to begin with and the variety. I didn’t remember cooking that much. But I guess I did.

I’m still having a hard time reconciling the fact that this woman kept these cards all these years. We didn’t part on the best of terms, of course; we weren’t enemies, either but who would think that someone would keep ANYTHING from her husband’s ex-wife no matter what? Or be willing to return them?

All I can say is “thanks”. I really appreciate it.

A new way of doing things.

I have just integrated my WordPress installation with Joomla in order to take advantage of the best of both programs. An easier subscribe, easier notification system, easier method of posting, etc. Maybe I’ll even find it easier to start updating, too.

There will be a few tweaks to be made and I’m sure that if I don’t find problems, you will. Let me know and I’ll do what I can to fix.

Anyway, please update your bookmarks, if you have this site marked, to http://3harpiesltd.org/jwp

If you should forget, don’t worry about it. I’ll put a redirect at the other address and you’ll still get here.

So Here’s what I’ll do.

Playing with a new theme. I kinda like it but kinda feel it’s a bit over the top. Too bad. We’ll go with it until I feel like something else.

One more pair of socks to knit plus a half a sock and I will finish up an even dozen pair for Leo. He says his feet feel better in my hand knits than in store bought socks. So I’ll be able to finish sooner and maybe get to actually dying the bare yarn I bought to experiment with.

(Did you know you can dye protein fibers…hair, wool, silk, alpaca, etc…and 100% nylon with Kool-Aid? It’s fun, the dye is colorfast and when it gets wet it gives off the scent of whatever flavor you used. Oh…real Kool-Aid, in the packets, not the stuff with sugar already in it.)

Reorganized my bookmarks, read 3 books in the last 2 days and cooked a killer meatloaf. By killer I mean it was horrible. Asian recipe with lots of ginger and other stuff and take my word for it, ginger meatloaf is just awful. That’s one that won’t get made again.

So, just decompressing from my facebook days. I may actually get around to making some posts that make sense here soon.

Even MORE Home Improvements

Leo finished the porch yesterday. Yes, I’m just as surprised as you are. Three weeks and it’s actually done. He did a great job on it. It’s solid, it’s never going to rot away…he used that new plastic building planks…it looks great. Ok, we need new steps but these are servicable and not a danger so I can live with them.

Of course, the back of the house that’s been rotting away for a long time and he’s been ‘working on’ for at least 5 years is still rotting away and he hasn’t even touched in about 18 months. And he has no idea why this irks me.

But…as he was congratulating himself and getting ready to take a shower he found that the floor behind the toilet no longer exists. Remember the plumber’s putty he used to ‘fix’ the leak in the toilet tank? Evidently it didn’t. He still had a container under the leak and was emptying it regularly but didn’t see the water that was seeping onto the floor, under the linoleum and rotting the floor.

We can’t afford to have somebody come in and do it for us so Leo’s going to do it himself. Of course I’m skeptical, but keeping my mouth shut. Well…until he says that he’ll either have to rent a portapotty or send me on vacation for about a month while he replaces the floor and the toilet. Yep, a month to do just those 2 things. Then I can come home but he can’t guarantee when we’ll have bathing facilities again. (Remember, we only have -1- bathroom).

Maybe if I headbang long enough and hard enough I’ll put myself in a coma and not have to worry about no shower for the next year or 16.

Sooooo Conflicted

I didn’t really want to take on a car payment at this time. We had been hoping to get at least another year out of the van, 18 months if at all possible but that’s just not to be unless we put a whole bunch of money into it. Almost, in fact, as much as the down payment on a new car.

So that’s what we did, put a down payment on a new car. Turned out to be the right time, right car. Honda’s 2010 Insight hybrid. Not only did we get a good price but we got it in the last 2 days of the tax credit for buying an energy efficient car. The $3500 tax credit will be very welcome next April.

Biting the bullet for a car payment (back to more pasta for supper) I’m still excited about this car. It’s so pretty.

Just delivered

Just delivered

The interior is nice, comfortable…and Leo fits in it. Really. Even with room to spare.

Interior from the Back Seat

Interior from the Back Seat

Interior from the front passenger (my) side

Interior from the front passenger (my) side

We’ve taken to calling it a game panel instead of a dashboard. It’s got almost as many electronics as one of my computers. For cutesy, it has screens that change that tell you how you’re doing…driving for the best gas mileage. When you turn off the car, it awards you flowers for your driving. Up to 5 for getting the best out of the car. (Even has half flowers…or single petals) Displays for your mph, gas, oil, etc. All the normal stuff. Then you get displays for inside and outside temperature, tire pressure, not just a fuel gauge but an ‘amount of fuel left’ gauge, trip clock, amount of fuel used for trip, time elapsed, average mph and mpg. Places to plug in your mp3 player, a USB port and all kinds of places to plug things into. About all I can about these features is “thank goodness it doesn’t talk to you”. It would probably never shut up. No matter how pretty it is, that would not be good.

The game panel

The game panel

Oh, and it has turn signals on the side mirrors. Another one of the safety features besides dual front air bags, side front air bags, full side curtain airbags. Hell, you have a crash, you don’t have to worry about what hits you, you’ll be smothered by the airbags.

House Mouse

In the kitchen we have an old, old, upright freezer. It hasn’t worked in a lot of years but we keep it and use it as extra storage space. The door doesn’t shut tightly and it really should be replaced by a decent cabinet but it was the very first appliance we bought after we got married and every time we think about throwing it out we both say ‘well, we’ll keep it another year or two’.

The other night I opened the door to pull out the sprouts I was growing in order to rinse them. Sitting on top of the box of plastic bags was a mouse. A very strange mouse when you consider that when you surprise a mouse they usually run like hell and leave you wondering whether you really saw it.

This one did not run. It did not move at first. It looked a little surprised but not upset. It was also a lot cleaner and sleeker than I’m used to seeing wild mice. (I grew up in the country, field mice were common in the house.) The next thing I knew this little thing was hanging over the shelf sniffing at me, bright eyes with an expression that said “hi there, are you here to feed me? I think I like you, do you like me? Want to play?”

Now I know better than to try to handle wild rodents. They bite. They can carry things you really don’t want to have. I was not about to stick my hand in and try to get the sprout container while this thing was sitting there less than 6 inches from what I wanted.

So I tried normal getting rid of mice techniques; I yelled. I waved my arms. I jumped up and down. The dogs stood in the door to the kitchen and looked at me like I was crazy. The cats looked up at the mouse and went back to lay on the couch now that Elwood had vacated it. The mouse sat up on his haunches and looked like he was about to try copying what I was doing. He wasn’t going anywhere. I swear I think he really wanted to make friends.

I finally got rid of him but it took putting peanut butter on some pieces of bread and putting them on lower shelves and then a bigger piece under the freezer. I haven’t seen him since. And much as I hate to do it, the old freezer will have to go and I’m going to have to set some traps. Cats and dogs are ok. I draw the line at rodents. I didn’t even want hamsters in the house.

So, little guy, I’ll erect a small tombstone for you but I guarantee that you’re out of here. Permanently. Even if you were cute.

My LAST computer.

Today I ordered what will probably be my last computer. Taking a chunk of money but I got to see my new motherboard today, the case and all the other components.

I can’t believe I’m doing this. Almost everything I want, all in one package. (The rest of the ‘almost’ can be bought later…when we recover from this one) Dual quad processors, 8 GB RAM, (yes, that’s 8 gigabytes) upgradeable to 32, 64 bit architecture and OS, top of the line graphics card, intel motherboard that’s 18 inches square and weighs 5 lbs, 1000w power supply. All the really good stuff I’ve been wanting for years.

You’ll probably not hear from me for quite a while so I can find out what it can do. Then again, you might get tired of me bragging about it.

It’ll be ready either Friday or next Monday. So now I have to figure out my computer configuration again and clean up the room to make space for computer #4…uh #5, if you count the laptop. It’s going to be so nice to be able to use all the features of the expensive graphic software I own.

Last one. Sure, I may do some upgrading, add some peripherals, but by the time there’s another one that I really want I’ll be too damned old to justify buying it.

This is the case:
new computer case

Yeah, those are really fans in that side panel. Won’t need the heater this winter.

If I had a hammer

Well, he finally found his hammer and actually did something. First he had to tear out some of the pieces that were rotting and sister the new pieces onto the beams.

But wait, what’s that I hear? It certainly isn’t hammering. And the hammer just came flying in through the back door. I think I’ll wait to see what that’s all about.

Turns out that the space that needed the most attention, the place he put off even looking at until he could find his hammer, is too small to even swing one. Top that off with the beams being too thick for anything less than a railroad spike (which would split the beam since it isn’t a railroad tie) to reach through. The only way to put them together so they’ll hold will be to bolt them.

Any one of the 3 drills sitting out there in plain site would do the job admirably. Even the heavy duty cordless that we paid a LOT for (including the extra battery packs) just for this kind of job.

The constant pain is from pounding my head against the wall so much. I’d use the hammer…on the wall, not my head…but then he’d accuse me of hiding it from him and all attempts at work would stop again. It’s a good thing Costco sells really big bottles of aspirin.

How Does Your Garden Grow

Well, it’s growing pretty well. Some pictures: (And please don’t ask where the sidebar went. I don’t have any idea. Maybe it’s on vacation and will show up again later…edited to add, yep, it showed up. Just out for the day, I guess.)

Spicy Globe Basil
Something a bit different from the sweet basil that occupies most of the space in the herb table.
Spicy Globe Basil

Garlic
Garlic to go with the basil for making pesto.
Garlic

Cherry Tomatoes
Usually I don’t care for cherry tomatoes. They don’t seem to have any taste to them. But then, I’ve never had any right out of the garden so that may change.
Cherry Tomatoes

Beets
Tiny shoots but in a week or 2 the thinnings will go good in a salad.
Beets

Arugula
Arugula. Looks like dandelion, doesn’t it? But it’s another salad green that we’ll be eating in a week or 2.
Arugula