Friday, December 30, 2005

Holiday Recap

I've been off work this week and I made a conscious decision to not work on the house. It doesn't make for an exciting blog entry or give me the gratification that getting work done does, but it pays off dividends when I return to "house" work with new zeal and energy.

So, what did we do this week? Went out to for some nice dinners, hit the annual clearance at Anthropologie and REI. Spent time with Mom and Dad & Dave. Went to see Brokeback Mountain and going to see David Sedaris' "Santaland Diaries" tonight. Took some good long walks and actually tried that yoga class I've been meaning to get to for a long while.

One of us got a new 1/4" chisel from Woodcraft this year- guess who? But my most exciting gift is a new Web Camera. The reason for this camera is so I can keep in touch with my sister in CT and her husband and new baby. You see, I am about to become an auntie!

New Year's we like to be very low key. As I've said before I cannot abide expectations of certain days and I just feel like everyone expects too much out of these days we designate as holidays sometimes. This year I did really well and kept an even keel and just relaxed. Another benefit of not pushing myself to work on the house amidst the festivities.

We got a Honey Baked Ham for x-mas dinner and have been eating it all week. And I've been savoring the chocolates from Anderson's Candies that we get from my Dad every year.

Tomorrow, we do plan to work on finishing the entry trim, so we are doing a little bit. I am going to work on a recap of the year like I've seen HiP do. I think it's a great idea to look back at what's been accomplished in the previous year. It's so easy to just keep looking at what needs still to be done.

I am planning to do a recap on installing the new front door lock as well- just haven't been online much this week. That's it for now!

Friday, December 23, 2005

We wish you a Merry Christmas

We wish you a Merry Christmas
We wish you a Merry Christmas
And a Happy New Year!

Best wishes from Chicago 2-Flat!

The above photo is of my Dad circa 1938.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

The crew is illin'

First it was me coming down with a cold/flu on Friday night. Must have been the damp.
Now it's Steve with the same thing. I hope for his sake he doesn't get it as bad as me. It's amazing how one can blow one's nose every 30 seconds all day long.

I am from the school of no suppressants and suffer through to get better faster so 2 days this week at work I renamed myself "sniffy". If you're going to be all gross at work, some self-deprecating humour never hurts.

As you can see, not much work will be happening here till after x-mas. But then, this gives us a chance to just enjoy our house, which is after all, what we are all working so hard for isn't it?

I know I've mentioned before that it's hard for "people like us" to just relax and enjoy the house. When we are not working, we tend to start thinking of things we need or can do to improve the house and its furnishings. The list of furniture for Steve to make keeps growing. We need that wood shop to reopen! I wish we could make a wood shop here, but we still have the upstairs to do and money for that project but not for a woodshop right now.

C'est la vie!

Monday, December 12, 2005

The miracle door

I feel pretty sure many out there can relate to this one. You know how we are all so often busy mired in a BIG project? Sometimes those little things fall by the wayside.

Take the inside front door to our home. It's never shut properly ever since Steve moved in here in 1999. It just hasn't been catching. So you'd have the juggle the handle and try and get it to catch. Or else you'd have to have the deadbolt activated and then the tendency was to lock oneself out while accepting a pizza delivery while little naughty dogs bark like mad on the inside.

Well, this past weekend, Steve disassembled it and simply oiled it and voila- perfect functionality. They sure made things to last as this lock is as old as the house and works with a skeleton key, which we don't use. We use the deadbolt for security. But now, we can disable it and still shut the door.

That's why I call it a miracle door. If only every ill could be cured as easily with some WD-40.

The whole situation with the door reminds me of the part in "It's a Wonderful Life" where Jimmy Stewart as George Bailey keeps pulling off that knob on his staircase and wants to throw it when he gets mad. That is just too true.

We watched the movie on Saturday night. I noticed something different this time. Notice how Mary falls in love with that old house? And notice what happens to the house in the world where George was "never born"? The house falls into ruin. And wasn't the world in that movie a better place with George, Martini's bar, Bailey Park, and that beautiful old house?

Funny, how I never noticed that part of the movie so much before.

Here's our tree all lit up.... and here's my favorite Santa figure greeting people as they come to the door.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

a little holiday cheer

I did get the tree up this week and this is the first tree we've ever had here at Chicago 2-flat! We've always been too busy with projects to take time and have a tree so this is a very nice thing.

I have to admit that there is a part of me that loves the tree, etc... but also I tend to be anti-holiday. I don't like the pressure of having to do all these extra things, go to parties etc... I am such a wimp when it comes to social obligations- I seem to just like a quiet little life with occasional social engagements.

Plus, I come from a divorced family and they say that the split family can make holidays more challenging. I also tend to put pressure on myself to make everything "perfect" and get overwhelmed- but it gets better as I get older.

Okay, now that you know about all my holiday neuroses, how about that tree?

p.s. The plumber came and went and everything seems to be okay right now. It was just a clogged toilet it seems. That bathroom on the 2nd floor is so ready for a rehab.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Oh my God

We had an "Oh my God" moment last night and it wasn't a good one. I was walking through the dining room towards the kitchen and I heard water- like a heavy rain sound in the house- not good.

I got to the hallway and saw water pouring out of the spaces between the trim over the bathroom door. Our tenants toilet had backed up and overflowed. Steve ran right upstairs and turned off the water. Then out came the mop and bucket and towels.

Fortunately, I was too tired to get upset and besides what can you do other than clean it up and call a plumber and pray the water came straight through and didn't damage the ceiling too much? Sigh.

Of course when you have tenants like ours, the first thing you think is "what did they put down the toilet?" or "How long has thier toilet been acting up and they didn't tell us?"

Steve plunged it last night and it was okay, but we got a call from Thadeus today saying it was filling up with water again- it's clogged. We called a plumber because we don't have a good snake for this job.

I feel kind of depressed about this happening, so I'm watching Turner Classic Movies today and not working. The plumber just came and he's up there now.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Basement Re-org

We had tidied up the basement a few weeks ago, but there was still no work space, which put us in a bad spot since we can't really work outdoors anymore as it's like 20 degrees out.

Also, we had all this wood for the pantry that has been sitting in one spot for months and it needed to be flipped over to prevent it from warping. We moved the wood onto 2x4s in another part of the basement so now there is a work space for us.

The pantry has been delayed because of the entry project but also because of the local wood shop closing. It's more of an undertaking to get to Lincoln Park for Steve and we have to rent a van to bring the wood there etc... It's coming soon though.

I am really excited to have this little work area now. Today I sanded the shoe moulding, hit it with linseed oil and a coat of stain. See below photo.

The shoe moulding is for the kitchen and the entry.
It's about the last thing to go into the kitchen. We still have some odds and ends such as nailing the moulding down permanently. It's just tacked on with minimal nails right now. No, it won't fall off, but it's not nailed on like it's meant to be there for the next 100 years like it was when we removed that. Ever try and remove trim that's been in place for 100 years? It's like -petrified.

Anyway, we have that and a few thresholds to put back and that's it. Oh, and readjusting the hinges on the swing door. And that's besides Steve's furniture projects in there which include a plate rack, work table, and the pantry.

Still plenty of good things to come in that part of the house.

I can't believe how happy this basement re-org made me. Nothing like getting more usable space I guess.

Today, Steve was installing a new entry lock on our front door. This one will work with the strikes we got for our entry system. I'll post about that tomorrow! He's still working and it's almost 6pm. We need to be able to lock the door before we go to bed at least.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Looking for love

No it's not me, it's this house. It needs a new and loving owner to bring it back to it's former pinnacle of homey-ness and grandeur.

Look at those columns! and those brackets! and those round eyehole windows! And that lovely huge pine tree!

This house is in my neighborhood and up for sale. It was actually featured in one of my previous posts as part of the The Good , The Bad , and The Ugly series. It was featured in The Ugly because it's "ugly" when an architectural beauty such as this is allowed to let herself go or rather her owners let her go.

Of course, I'm concerned about it being torn down and having something much more ordinary minus the sense of history replace it.

When you read the listing on Century 21's website, you can understand why I'd be concerned. They call it a "Developer's Dream!!!" (their emphasis not mine).

I already posted about it and the house next to it on my other blog and wrote to one of my contacts at the Alderman's office to see if he knows anything. Nothing is going to happen for a while as the ground is frozen at this point and developers move slower in the winter, but I'm keeping my eye on this one.