8/15/2013 World Lizard Day

Hello again!
Gorgeous weather this week! I am relieved that the rain last week is finally greening up the back yard where it was cleared. I got myself a bouquet of zinnias and snapdragons at the farmstand, but there are goldenrod, queen anne’s lace, purple loosetrife, and other wild flowers all over the fields. Our strip of garden is not doing so well (probably because of the ladders and scraping when they painted the wall it’s up against), but there are some stock or phlox or some such old fashioned flowers growing that smell lovely. I just wish I remembered putting them in and what they are.

The reason you didn’t get this Wednesday as usual, is that when we got up in the morning the modem had given up the ghost, and I sat on hold for over an hour to tell TDS. Apparently a large block of Indiana had problems so to get a replacement I had to wait my turn to report my individual issue. It was extra frustrating because I knew what the problem was- the lights were flashing when we started and nothing after we’d checked all the cables. If there was still a Wilton Phone Company, I could have driven down and picked one up in less than a half an hour. But because I am part of a country-wide “service” business, I have to wait until the customer service crew at TDS gets to my call. I got to listen to a cycle of advice to do all the things we’d done (not a bad idea, but frustrating the 6th time you hear it), and that they had a “heavier than normal” call volume, and they cared about my problem, and I could get it dealt with faster by contacting them by internet. It’s so frustrating to have them tell you to use the internet to report that you have no ability to get on the internet! I’m sure it’s more efficient for TDS, and for phone companies in general. There doesn’t need to be a couple of people in each town. But I think they could benefit from a psychologist looking at the effects of their voicemail on callers.

Mostly this week has been dominated by the renovations. They are almost done with the outside of the house, and I think it looks really good- only the west wall to paint. The lights in the house that had stopped working are fixed. (Unless I forgot one. It’s so easy to get used to something not working and forget about it.) As Kat said about her room light lighting up by touching the switch (instead of fiddling with it a lot): “It doesn’t get old”. We even replaced the unit in the bathroom that had a heater and exhaust fan. That was a bit complicated by the tub having gone in in the upstairs bathroom, because that blocked the previous vent path. Also, I’ve been putting plastic packing peanuts into the hollow place around the tub. If I’ve paid good money to heat the water for a bath, I want it to stay warm as long as possible! So insulating the tub. When Paul pulled out the old fixture it started “snowing” plastic peanuts on him from under the tub!
The doors are painted, and except for the soft stair in the attic and putting a skim coat of plaster on several ceilings (and I hope- eventually- to sand and refinish the various floors on the first floor), we’re pretty much done. So Wally asked me what else I wanted, and since he’d pulled it all in for about $25K, and I’d budgeted fifty, I asked him how much to put shelving into the keeping room. He estimated $3K, so I said go for it. The hard part was taking everything out of the keeping room. Let’s face it. I love having that room. I think I may be mis-using the term, the keeping room was a small room off the kitchen, often heated by the kitchen hearth. I’m using it as a pantry because it stays cool all winter, so I should probably call it a pantry. But the kitchen also has a huge pantry closet (and a wood closet), so I latched on to the phrase keeping room. Frankly, when we move the dining room back to the front room, to let the computer and relaxing stuff dominate this room, this will be closer to the real definition of keeping room- especially if we can think of a way to push some of the heat from the kitchen woodstove in here. (What will we call the closet we keep the food in then?)pantry before

At some point (the 20s we think) previous owners decided to use the big room off the kitchen as a dining room and cut a hunk out of the old pantry (as I should start calling it), to put dishes in. I’m pretty sure the front room across the hall from the kitchen was originally the dining room because of the built in cupboards with slots for displaying plates at the back of the shelves in there. (More recent tenants have put in holes for wires, and taken the doors off as they used it as an entertainment center. We shall put the doors back on.) A dining room really doesn’t need much except table, chairs and sideboard. Our comfy chairs, and TV, X Box, Wii, etc. will move to the new keeping room, or what modern people call family rooms. (It’s going to take me a while to rename the rooms!) Anyway, I had them take out the china closet to return the old (pantry- not keeping) room to its old dimensions. Not quite as they also cut a hunk from the room to be able to fit a refrigerator into it. Why‽ (Because with a wood stove plus an electric or gas stove, there’s no where to put a refrigerator in the kitchen, except where the wood-stove goes.)pantryempty

Anyway, Wally suggested they could start on that on Monday if we cleared it out, and we busted our butts to get all the cans, and cookware, and cleaning supplies, and general “stuff” out (didn’t quite make it, but mostly). Sunday I realized that we also had to clean out the china closet, and since we’d already filled the back hallway with the stuff from the pantry, we filled the livingroom with bins and boxes of my plates, goblets, and serving ware from the closet. So Monday they took out the closet. I already miss my living-room, and it is a bitch trying to find a piece of tupperware or dish I want when they are all stacked up. Oh how I look forward to being able to just go in and find what I want! (It is specifically because sometimes it was hard to find what I was looking for that made this seem like a good idea.)pantry removal

Tuesday, they put wallboard up, and switched the wiring around. There had been a bulb with a pull string over the door, we’ll probably put in track lighting again. I have become fairly enthralled with track lighting- you can aim the lights to where-ever you want lighted. Being able to see into your pantry cupboards seems like a good idea to me.

pantry wallWednesday they started smoothing over the walls. We got some new paint, which should go up before the shelves. They’re staining the shelving outside before it goes up- that’s much easier than installing it, THEN painting it. Wednesday morning when I got up I found Paul in the back room with a hod- making the wall smooth. How wonderful a tool a hod is- no need to change it over 2000 years!
He also cut off the end of the counter by the sink which has been such a bottleneck ever since we moved in and put in the wood-stove. We will have to find room to store our tupperware in the pantry, and Paul’s going to build us a flip up tray on a gate-leg to put the dish-rack on when we wash dishes, but it will be down most of the time, and that will be a joy. Right now the kitchen “junk drawer” is stuck in the wood closet. We’ll have to find a place for that in the pantry too. And clearly, once there’s room to put the stuff for a day, we are going to have to have the kitchen floor refinished like the hallway. Wally wants us to get the keeping room floor polished as well, but I’m not sure I need to do that. But I do look forward to seeing the kitchen done. Too bad we can’t think of a place to put a refrigerator in the room- we could take out the ding in the keeping room wall where it sits now. Oh well.

nocounter no cupboardAll that carrying stuff around over the weekend got my feet hurting again. I felt badly as I’d promised them that I’d stay off them until they got better. I’m sure they’re mad at me. But once everything was moved, I have been staying off them. I’m starting to work on the con again. There is SO much to do. Most of the advertising is in, except social media. There are major discussions about what’s the best way to advertise, but I suppose it comes down to what I’m able to do. I can’t do everything, I’m not a business with a bunch of people to do different jobs, it’s just me. (although the kids really help!)
I had a scramble to find a guest for the New Normal, and finally tagged Jane, who has a farmers Market on Wednesdays, but by rushing straight home was able to make it. We had a great show on Norse Traditional Herbalism- the topic of the book she’s doing her final edit on, and I’m painting the cover (got to get back to that!).

We have gone out on errands FAR more than I like (once a week). Willow’s desk chair died. She just bought a REALLY nice one at Staples about three months ago- it not only swiveled, but it could go up and down, and lean and probably too many things because it broke. Luckily they took it back, and she got another that doesn’t do quite so much (so maybe won’t break as easily) from Costco. We’ve also gone out for paint (and maybe to escape. As Willow said, it’s hard to be around work without joining in) a couple times.
Anyway, it’s very exciting and time and energy consuming, but doesn’t generate many interesting stories.
On the other hand, considering how long the letter was last week, this is probably a good thing. Affection and good wishes- until next week…
Tchipakkan

Nie mój cyrk, nie moje małpy . . . literally, “not my circus, not my monkey”
figuratively, “not my problem.” a Polish expression. We also like: “κάτι τρέχει στα γύφτικα”, “there is trouble in the Gypsy camp” which has the meaning of “who cares!” .

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