Sunday, October 30, 2011

OctoSnow 2011

Yesterday afternoon, the snowflakes were gently falling. 
It was extremely bizarre but nothing could prepare us for...


Route 3 by Giants Stadium...
(yeah, the slush forming on the windshield should have been a warning sign)

Toll booth on the Turnpike...

(too late to turn back!)

Goethals bridge...

Staten Island Expressway...
 (winter wonderland?)

We came home later last night to a scene. After navigating through downed trees and road blocks, we arrived to two police cars with their lights on in front of our house and a downed power line (whomp whomp).

BUT! THANKFULLY!!! We still had power! (Knock on wood a million times to infinity!!!!)

This morning I woke up early to survey the damage...

Here is the view of the front yard and street with the downed power line...

Highlighted in pink for all to see...

Cars are not supposed to drive under, but they do anyway. 
We are not supposed to go outside, but seriously, had to catch up with the neighbors this morning!

All the trees and bushes in our yard look like upside-down U's...

And the pièce de résistance...

A branch off our old tree, and a neighbor's shed roof smashed. And many phone calls this morning.

I'm starting to think I need to add a tab on this website for "Natural Disasters"??

Friday, October 21, 2011

Stairs update!

Last spring I removed the carpet on the steps. It was pretty cruddy underneath and we've been living with it like this for, like, ever:

Funny story - the guys who refinished our floor way back like almost two years ago were like "We can refinish the staircase for $300" and I was like "Ummmmmm.... well... no, i don't know what we're doing" and they were like "Are you sure?" and I was like "Yes, I'm just not sure if we're going to replace the carpet or what we're doing, so I'll wait til later to make a decision" and they were like "ARE YOU SURE???"

Lesson learned - just get the stairs refinished next time!

So this week I sanded it myself. First with 60 grit, which was really slow going. Then I upped it to 50 grit, which did help a lot. Smoothed it over with 60 and 120 and we're ready to stain:

There are still little dents and dark spots and places where old grime didn't lift up, but seriously, after 6 hours of mind-numbing labor I just don't care.

You can see the remains of a runner from years back. Also, you can't see from this angle, but a lot of the front parts of the steps are worn down and a little busted. 

My plan is to stain the treads dark to match the floors and if we can still see these lines, or if we are not satisfied with the outcome, we'll add a runner.  

The risers will be painted white and I see lots of touching-up in my future!

To date this is the most "outside my comfort zone" project I've taken on. Crossing my fingers this will work!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Our third bedroom built-in shelf/closet is a lilac nightmare that never ends!

It took forever just to get the first coat on:

Since this photo was taken I've painted a bunch more, but slowly coming to the realization that this will probably need 3 coats all together.

Normally this task would include taking out each shelf, painting each side, painting the closet and sliding the shelves back in. However, these shelves are painted in and the few shelves I could pry out are in there TIGHT! No wonder I procrastinated so long!

Now I have a non-binding agreement with myself to finish this by Friday and get on with my life.
I also keep telling myself that when this ends, I can finish sanding and staining the stairs, then I can easily paint the walls in this room, and when that's over I can work on some fun projects (!) like painting the dresser, refurbishing a couple of antique chairs, making curtains and buying rugs and lighting fixtures for all of our other rooms. Just trying to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

In other slightly related news, I've already started sanding down the gunk on the stairwell. 

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Yay! A before and after. It's been awhile, hasn't it?

So this was the first weekend we had gorgeous dry weather at home, after weeks and weeks and months of rain, or travel, or weddings, or sick days. I actually got round to painting our repaired stoop. Just a reminder of what it looked like before...

...pretty badly cracked and hazardous!

Well, now look at it...

 ...Ah, smooth!

Even our next door neighbor came over to tell us how awesome it looks. Guess it was an eye-sore for everybody else too?

I tried to take a full view shot of the house from the street but the sun was insanely bright. This was the best I could do...



Thursday, October 6, 2011

Third Bedroom...

From the time we moved into this house, up until last week, our third bedroom basically looked something like this:

Various stages of storage and work space. This was the place I would pour paint into the tray. It was very dusty and usually much messier than in the photos above.

Since moving in we refinished the floor. Before that, this room held a wall-to-wall dark purple carpet. It was like sensory overload.


Side note - I case you are wondering, the walls are just a shade bluer than Tiffany blue. It is a manic color. I highly recommend staying away from anything close to this color in a wall paint.
This is coming from someone who loves the color turquoise FYI.


The other thing we did was replace the hollow replacement 1960's door with an original 1920's solid door we found in the garage. It was the only door in the house that we needed to switch. Not sure what happened to make previous owners mess with this to begin with...

And now for a counter-clockwise tour of the room...

The back of this garage-found door needed major stripping (which I did exactly 1.5 years ago!).

Also, last February we had a contractor install new quarter-round foot trim.  

Yesterday I ripped out the scalloped header over the large opening of the built-in closet.

Yay for procrastination!

But I'm ready to move on now. I've already painted a fresh white coat over most of the woodwork. The closet is going to consume a lot of time, but also hope to get it knocked out real soon.


Sneak peek:

Someone previously painted all the chunky window framing the same color and matte finish as the wall. See photo at left - notice the window looks small and the woodwork blends right into the wall. All architectural detail has been removed and the window looks very very blah. See photo at right - After just one coat of semi-gloss white paint, the window stands out! I'm not even close to finishing but already the window looks larger and there is a lot more interest to the room. Working with what I got, I tell ya!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Sunday, October 2, 2011

A Shortcut to Mushrooms - or - A Fungus Among Us - or - Are You Ready to be Majorly Schkeeved?

Disclaimer: This is disgusting. But John and I agreed it must be documented.

I ran out into the backyard yesterday and found 8 GIGANTIC MUSHROOMS growing under our large oak tree. It was so gross!

We decided to remove the offenders. Each mushroom was larger than the size of a very large cabbage. They were so heavy. We estimated each one weighed at least 10 pounds each. We ended up with almost 100 pounds worth of fungus. I am so schkeeved! Ewwww!! The mushrooms filled an entire large garbage can.

Oh and the whole backyard SMELLED of mushrooms. Ughhhhhhh!!!!

Just to be clear, this is ONE mushroom pictured. There were SEVEN OTHERS.

Note: Now I am not sure what is more disturbing, the size of the mushroom, or the socks-under-thong combo that John is wearing. He wants me to point out that this was the first time he ever wore his socks like this, since it was an emergency situation.

Upon further research I think we had a bonafide trove of Sulphur Shelf, which is also known as Chicken-of-the-Woods, because, you can, you know, prepare it like a chicken cutlet?

I know, barf.

FYI, This is just a guess after about 5 minutes searching on the internet. I would never try to eat this stuff or let anyone else try to eat this stuff. Or tell anyone else it's ok to ever eat something growing in the wild.


Stay tuned for a major painting project in progress...