Thursday, June 27, 2013

Final Kitchen

Finished Kitchen! Yay! I did it!
I managed to finish preparing the apartment for the new tenants. There was a lot more painting than I had expected, so there was still quite a bit of work to do after running interference for the floor. (The interference was successful -  by the way. It's completely unnoticeable!) I had patch panting to do in every room. That means primer over the scuff that can't be washed off, and then another layer of the actual paint. Phew! I'm done - and I'm tired. 
But you know how you get on a roll about something? Well, I kind of did that here. I just couldn't stop! I took pictures of Swee'pea inspecting the stairs (he's not really huffin' the polyurethane - I promise), and realized - they look dreadful! I've known this for a long time, but decided here... no time like the present! 
So the original plan was to strip all of the white paint off. But as you can see - I gave up after the first two (top) stairs.  
And while I knew that things needed to be spruced up - I simply couldn't bear to cover up all of my hard work. The top two stairs are to remain... plain. Maybe sometime in the future I can strip some more paint off. 
As I was working on the steps I realized I had really scratched them up by walking up and down them with floor residue attached to the bottom of my flip flops. Hey - why not re-finish them?! So I did that too. First with a dull finish - totally wrong and disappointing. Then with the correct, semi-gloss finish - which would have been perfect except that I missed some spots! So tonight - last time (I sure hope) I finished four of the steps. They should be completely dry by morning. 

The Boys have been very confused and perturbed.
There have been a lot of strange noises from the 3rd floor including someone hammering away at chipping up the floor, a giant sander all morning, more clunking and walking up and down the stairs while I was gone, and now, more strange noises because there are perfect strangers clomping up and down the stairs and wandering around on the ceiling. The new tenants' lease starts July 1st - but I said they could move in a few days early as their lease ends June 30th. As a result of all this, there has been a lot more schmoozing and concerned discussion from The Boys about what in the world all of the commotion is about.  Can you blame them? 
The weather has change dramatically too. June was incredibly beautiful. Cool and even. Some rain, some warmth, mostly the 70°s and 80°s and relatively dry. Until this weekend. Oh boy. Mother nature sure did a 180. It has been hot and more humid than anything you can imagine. For the last three days we've had thunderstorms every afternoon. This is unusual for Philadelphia. Normally it takes a week to build up to thunderstorms. But this is actually very nice. It is hot and sweltering all day (while I am at work on someone else's dime for air conditioning), I come home during a thunderstorm and then there is a breeze cooling everything off. I'm still surviving on just open windows and haven't switched to air conditioning - yet.
Jacques new spot is on all of my un-filed paper work. It seems to be in the exact spot of the morning sunbeam.
Swea'pea has decided that the front window after the storm is THE place to be. He's got a good view of what's happening and a nice breeze to keep him cool. 

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Good Craft vs. Bad Craft

I was greeted this morning at 7:30am by Thomas. Poor Thomas who took over Henry's job because Henry couldn't do it - also couldn't move the fridge which Henry said he COULD do. Frustrating.

I left to go to an all day workshop and came home to find this: (ah... beautiful)
and this:  (big frown)

Do you see that? THAT is wood that has been replace (which, okay,  it probably needed), but with totally un-matching wood. !  Right in the middle of the kitchen!    Look!
Listen up People. Here are words to live by:

Having good craft is like having good grammar. When it's good no one notices - 
but when it's bad... it's really obvious. 

So, okay, Thomas "fixed" flooring that wasn't very stable. Fine. I actually wonder if he just took what was there and turned it over. ? OR - he took brand new pine (or whatever) and just slapped it in. While it's nice that the floor is now non-spongy there - a giant blond patch in the middle of the floor is unacceptable. Options for fixing? hmmm let me think! 

1. pry up wood from a closet or cupboard where no one can see, use the same wood to fix the problem that is in the middle of the room where everyone can see it. Put the new board back in the cupboard - where no one can see! 
2. Get some stain and match the color of the existing floor. 

Is this really so hard? 
Good grief! 

Well, since it's not really that hard - I went ahead and did it - the staining option that is. 

So - we had the bright blond patch in the middle of the floor here:
 little walnut stain and voila! Blond gone.
 As it turned out - there was some more "fixing" done by the stairs ...
 so I took care of that too:

Now. Wouldn't it just really take the cake if the stain I used aged into a different color than the existing floor anyway? WELL! we will just have to wait and find out. 

Friday, June 21, 2013

All my hard work....

After 18 hours of work, I am finished getting all of the layers off of the floor.
And -
I. am. pooped!

Let me show you why....

Wednesday evening start:  (or was it Tuesday? I can't remember anymore...)
Goal: Finish portion behind the stove - 
Two and a half hours later, time to shove the stove back in place and go to bed! 
Thursday - take a vacation day to finish all of this:   


The other inspector decided to brave all of the noise to see what was what up there...
There was no stickin' around after the noise started again. Instead he waited just inside the door of the 2nd floor (his apartment) watching up the stairs for when I would come down.  

Thursday I spent the entire day whackin' away at that awful black stuff. It was so strange, some of it popped right off and some of it wasn't comin' off for love or money.  
By 6:30 I had finally finished it all.

Of course after all of this, I got a call from Henry, he can't come.
But he did arrange for someone else to come in his place. sigh - what can I do? I've got to get this floor done. So Thomas is coming tomorrow. I really hope he is as good as Henry.  We'll see...  

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Garden Bounty and more Floor

I was too exhausted last night to post, even though I had really planned to - especially with how the evening started. The bouquet is: garlic scapes, echinacea flowers, mint, melisse, parsley and chives. How lovely to have that sitting on my butcher block in the kitchen.  The chives were already used in the mashed potatoes for dinner (from my farm share!). The raspberries are in the fridge. I'm going to wait a few days and see if more ripen. There are quite a handful there. And because I sort of forgot about them they are all really ripe. They taste delicious - good enough for raspberry jam. hmmmmm. Maybe....
But the floor! the floor... oi! I'm too old for this.   
This is how far I got last night. Mostly I chipped away the yucky black linoleum that was adhered with tar. It stinks and is very hard to get off. I'm chipping away with the crow bar and hammer. I've got to get a bit further tonight.  
 But this is what I'm dealing with - what a pain. At least it is raining and a bit cooler than the last two days.

Of course in the middle of working on this The Inspector had to check things out:

 But the floor was not nearly as interesting as the fridge:
Shvoop! Up he goes - 

what? I'm just looking!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

This all seems vaguely familiar...

 Remember this post? This was just over four years ago. Four years!

Why am I reminding you of this? Because Henry Sanding Floor is back. The kitchen floor on the third floor has taken a beating in the last three years:
Looks okay here, especially with the glare on the linoleum...
But when you get closer: 
Good grief. What happened here?  

Well, what happened is irrelevant. I have new tenants as of July 1st and have been trying to decide what to do about the floor. Either I have to replace the floor myself, with more linoleum, which clearly won't hold up long, OR, I can call Henry Sanding Floor again and ask him to do it. Bless the man, he came today (yes today! Sunday! The only day he can go and give estimates. He is so busy otherwise). And he's really good that's why he's so busy. 

He is coming this Friday (!) so I had to start demolishing the existing floor today. The first step was the foyer of the apartment, then the rest of the kitchen.  
After six hours I'm only half way through. There are five, count 'em five, floors here. Wood, horrible vintage black lineolum, ply-wood with sheet linoleum a la 1973, more plywood with linoleum a la 1988, and on top of that the black and white vinyl. 
And let me tell you something else... I forgot how much work this is! I am aching all over! I'm really going to pay for this tomorrow. I've got the arnica out and am going to try to get all the sore muscles tonight. But I'm sure I'll miss one or two. 

And Happy Father's Day Daddy! :) Aren't you glad you didn't come visit me for Father's Day? :)

Friday, June 14, 2013

Beautiful Day

It was an incredibly beautiful day today. It started sort of grey and threatened to rain. But by noon the sun made an appearance. It was a perfect day to do laundry, mow the lawn, trim the hedge, weed, more laundry, and finish painting the lattice under the porch.  
I spent most of the day outside in the cool 70's temperature weather. The garden is doing well: I've cut several garlic scapes, the sunflowers are waist high, the morning glories are growing, raspberries are doing very well.
Half way through hedge trimming who should appear but Mr. El. who owns the house next door. A few years ago he and Miss Mary (his wife) moved to western Pennsylvania, much to my sadness leaving four of his children in charge. But when he hugged me hello he whispered, "We're moving back - too much snow!" On one hand, I'm thrilled! Mr. El is 75 (today is his birthday - he told me:)), retired, home most of the day. He watches everything going on in the neighborhood. Phew - what a relief! On the other hand he is already threatening to build a new fence between our properties, a deck for Miss Mary that will block all of my winter sunlight to the garden, and yanking down the beautiful vines that are finally covering up the ugly wall. Poor man, he spent most of the day ranting about what a poor job his children did of taking care of the property. I'm sure these plans will take a while. I think ultimately - I would be very glad to have them back!
I finally finished painting the lattice for the bottom of the porch. I'm missing one - the one to go behind the raspberries. There might have been one that was too damaged to salvage. I can buy another one - or - leave it alone. The rasberries cover things up nicely.  
 And my first nasturtium has bloomed! There are lots of sprouts int he garden, but this is the first bloom.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Let there be light!

Skylight blocked (since I moved in) : 
Skylight post-roofers!:  
My house was originally built with this skylight and the one in the third floor bathroom. These houses were built this way - it was the best ventilation system on one condition - you could leave your back door open. Well, since we haven't been able to do that in Phily for quite a number of years, it was apparently no big deal to block it off. I tried to pull on the chain to open it - but it doesn't seem to work. I will call the roofers tomorrow to see what is going on.  I do hope we can open it - but if not - it still is wonderful having the light!