Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Momentum Killer

If you've finally managed to work up some enthusiasm for a day-long spackling session, and then this is what you see when you open the door, it's a real bummer.

Nothing kills the momentum like an open bucket of rock-hard joint compound.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

False Starts

There was a lull, sure. I'll cop to it. Because you're not always working toward being in your house. Sometimes it just sits there, like base camp, for you to drop your stuff off or eat a meal. Sometimes there's too many things happening away from the house. Outside. The rest of life. Weddings, funerals, shows, parties and the great Southwest, for example. What do we care what shape the house is in...we're never in it? That was this summer for us; we were out. But now we're back.

Aside from having a lovely summer and being places I'd never been before - Vegas, Santa Fe and Taos -- we gained a new member of the Hogs and Herbs family. A 17-pound lionine mister who even has fur on the INSIDE of his mouth and a face that looks like a cigar blew up in it. When we talk in his made-up voice, it comes out sounding like Edward G. Robinson, and he becomes a small, but street-wise gangster character named Pickles Mcgee, see?

He doesn't do much toward fixing up the house. He can't weild a hammer or climb a ladder. He can't sand or plaster. And if you count pooping in the house as not really helping but hurting, then well, he's still occasionally hurting. But he is good at sniffing. He can find a baked good on the street that's been buried under leaves for 2 days (more common than you'd think in South Philly). And he also does a mean Dick Cheney imitation. Really, ask him some time.

But despite the travel and Pickles nonchalant attitude toward home improvement, we did do some stuff. We pulled up rugs. We lucked out; the floors are hard wood, warm tones with an oak inlay. They are in good shape. We improved the bathroom, with new lighting fixtures and a big white mirror. We bought some art for the walls at a Space 1026 auction. Oh, and we picked up a tree for the front of the house that looks to be a ficus. It begs the same question as our new dog: Why would anyone throw this out?

Addendum: It turns out, WE would throw it out -- the tree (not the dog). It seems to have just come into our house to shed every single leaf it had and then die. How did the previous owners know it was about to become a large potted stick? And did they walk by our house on trash day and laugh.....and laugh....and laugh?

Sunday, January 13, 2008

State of the Art

Betsy and I had a party this past New Year's Day, so we had to get the house into some sort of shape to have people over. Not that we haven't had people over before, but this was the first time a lot of people were coming over, and it was the first time most of them had seen the house. So in addition to cleaning the the hell out of the place (at least to our standards), we realized we really needed to hang some art on our totally bare walls.

This had been on our minds for a while, so we were somewhat prepared. A few months ago, we went to an auction at Space 1026 (a Philly art collective) and were able to pick up some pretty cool pieces for a pretty reasonable sum. For Christmas, Betsy's present from me included several framed and matted photos from our vacation in New Mexico this past summer, along with a really cool "See America" print featuring Carlsbad Caverns, which is a reproduction of an advertisement from the Works Progress Administration. We also had a couple of very nice watercolors painted by Betsy's dad, along with some paintings I inherited from my grandfather. Pretty much all of these went up the day before the party, and it really made a difference. Even though the same crappy wallpaper is up all over the place, the house really feels more like it's our own.

But we're still looking forward to seeing what it looks like without the crappy wallpaper.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

2008 = Time to Freakin' Renovate

We haven't posted here in a while. Perhaps you thought that we were so busy fixing up the house, we just didn't have time to get on the web and write about it. You would be so wrong if you thought that.

There hasn't been much house activity since last spring. Come summer, we found ourselves constantly traveling to bachelor/bachelorette parties, weddings, funerals - there weren't many open weekends. And then we got a dog, who has become a fantastic excuse for procrastinating about anything.

There were a few little projects here and there, and more plastering and sanding of the master bedroom, but when the summer hit, it became too uncomfortable to work in that room. We managed to get new sheet rock up on the ceiling (worthy of its own post some day), but that's about it. And to be honest, after sanding or hoisting sheet rock for several hours, the last thing either of us wanted to do was write about it.

Perhaps another reason for our failure to update the blog is that we were trying to write an entire essay for every post. Our draft folder is filled with half-written epics we became bored with before finishing. Some of them will end being salvaged, I'm sure, but I think the key is to keep things short and to the point. Installing a dimmer switch does not warrant 5,000 words.

If we can put together a little post at least every week or so, we'll be happy and you'll be kept up to date. So stick this in your RSS reader and check back with us every once in a while; if you don't see anything new, feel free to harass us in the comments (as some of you have already done). We don't mind the encouragement.