The House

While Jorj and Chuck are on the bike trip, it's time for SusieJ to get busy with ...

the Tour du Paint

I always do something for his trips and conferences, such as visiting New Orleans, Las Vegas or Japan. With only 10 days of vacation and Tobi arriving in a month, travel was out of the option. Also, I want to finish those projects that have languished for seven years before Tobi arrives.

As if the first time weren't bad enough, I'm painting again. Tired of living in white boxes, I am taking the opportunity presented by Jorj's bike trip to repaint the dining room and finally paint the entrance.

July 12th through 18th

Saturday, July 19th: Watching paint dry


Jorj is off although I'm less than thrilled that he's biking alone. Drivers are crazy around bikers.

Ceiling repairs in process. Holes for pulling wire on left, failing plaster on right.

The ceiling repairs aren't finished, so I can't prepare the entrance walls for painting as planned. The books are packed and soon the bike equipment will move to the basement. Surprise, surprise, the bookcases around the window seat have adjustable shelves! The shelves are down in preparation for stripping the umpty-layers of paint. I bought the stripper last week, but not the non-metal scrapers and mineral spirits. Ugh. I do not want to go to Home Depot today. Instead, the dining room walls will get a second coat.

Additionally, the Jorvo is acting up. I believe Jorj is trying new, open source software for Tivo functionality. However, the tv remote isn't happy with it and every two or three clicks confuses the hell out of it, and something goes wrong. One reason not to go with off the shelf: when custom software works better than what's out there.

Hrm, I think I boiled water for tea about half an hour ago. Yay electric auto-shut-off kettles!


Dining room is done. Jorj has arrived safely. Chuck feels better. I have no food in the house. Three out of four isn't bad. (Back when FoodTV had Door Knock Dinners -- chef and host go door to door to find a family willing to let chef prepare a meal from what's in the fridge -- I'd always hoped they'd show at my house so that I could see what they'd do with a half cup of milk and six unopened cans of cat food.)

Watching decorating TV and gearing up to clear more crap from the entrance. Gena says I need a garage sale. What I really need is a freaking flame thrower.

Sunday July 20: Watching paint strip

DON'T PAINT YOUR WOODWORK!Today I tried stripping. As all of you know, Chez Talbutt-Bauer is 100 years old, and, although the gatehouse, does have lovely Victorian woodwork. Woodwork covered in an eighth inch (no joke) of paint layers. Today I tried stripping the paint from the adjustable shelving and a carved corner protector. It took an hour, no real results. The stripper -- I got the orange, fewer nasty chemicals stuff -- didn't pull enough layers of paint, and certainly didn't get into the carved crevices. The plastic scraper was too weak, as was the toothbrush. The metal scraper and the putty knife were both not wide enough and yet too bulky for the detail work.

So, two lessons: don't paint your antique or vintage woodwork, unless it's already painted. Also, no wall-to-wall carpet over hardwood floors. If I catch you violating either rule, I will hunt you down and force you to strip paint/refinish floors. I swear every time I start renovating the house I find either 27 layers of paint or crappy workmanship, and under that is either crappy workmanship or 27 layers of paint. Take the adjustable bookshelves: after installation, the previous owners painted the shelves, gosh, I don't know, every other year maybe, but didn't remove the shelves, and certainly not the little metal widgets that suppor the shelves. The paint glued the shelves in place. Even with the shelves removed, and the widgets pulled out, they are impossible to put into other holes. So, the adjustable shelves don't. And the stairs. Lovely hardwood stairs under the thread bare red carpet (okay the bottom step has termite damage and is being replaced). Yes, I'm watching a lot of home shows while Jorj is gone.

Today also included Sam's 10th birthday. Unlike his Aunt Susan, he didn't get his ears pierced. In fact, he got a Playstation 2, Legos and cash. And Mary gave me leftovers so that I don't starve and/or eat only crackers. Hrm, must by cereal.

I do have pictures, but uploading to the web server is a pain in the tuchus for so many reasons, not the least of which is Windows.

Wednesday July 23: Prime time

Some pics made it up to the server yesterday. Having issues with the smart media adaptor; the notebook didn't recognize it then wouldn't reboot.

Over Monday and Tuesday I got the entrance sanded and cleaned. It's now the ultimate white room. Wouldn't be surprised if the Moody Blues showed up.

The schedule's getting pushed back; due to family issues I'll have Sam Saturday morning through Sunday morning. Since painting has never been on the top 100 list of "vacation activities at Aunt's/Uncle's/Grandma's," I'm planning on biking and video games. Friday will be cleaning so as not to induce a life-threatening allergy attack, but there's not much I can do with the dining room and entrance.

In more disasters on the Tour de Jorj, he lost two tubes today; the valve just came away from the tube. He did make it safely to the hotel, and now plans to return with Chuck and Gena. C & G had planned to drive out tonight for the rest day and hang in the three-bedroom suite. They'll take him and the bike back to Lexington Park Friday.

Great! I said. You can come home early!

Um, no, came the reply. (Really um -- crackle! crackle! -- n... -- crackle! from the bad reception.) He's worried about the rental, and plans to stay at C & G's until Sunday.

What's wrong with this picture?

Thursday July 24: TnT

No painting today, it was time for the ladies who dine on third Thursdays. Because the choice was Buddakan and reservations are so hard to come by, dinner was pushed back a week. Most ladies couldn't make the rescheduled date, so it was just Karen, Melissa and myself. The best description for the whole Buddakan experience is "wasabi mashed potatoes," which seem to be on the menu of every "cutting edge" restaurant in the area. Steven Starr does Chinese with his usual nouveau-fusion food/decor/service; there is not much that is surprising, and we think we saw a few items also on the Pod menu. Not that the food is bad. K & M had swordfish and Chilean sea bass. Absolutely buttery! We split the calamari salad -- fantastich! Wine was good, coffee could have been stronger, chocolate bread pudding was decadently chocolate without being heavy. Acoustics were terrible. I'd go again, but it won't become a long-time favorite.

By a strange coincidence, I'll be going to Jones next Wednesday with another group of ladies.

Being downtown again was great. In addition to staying out late for well-prepared food, there was my favorite drive on the curves of Kelly and Lincoln drives, listening to WKDU 91.7 and WRTI 90.1. Kraftie was very happy to see me, probably because she hadn't been fed yet.

After the laptop died last night (the adaptor for the smart media card from the camera just kills the OS, hence, no more pics), Jorj called to say he would return early. He doesn't know how close he came to having to help paint.

Additionally, Mary and family have postponed the trip to Florida, and Friday and the weekend will be spent finishing the downstairs.

Saturday July 26: Watching Lance


Could not get the laptop to boot. According to Dell support (via Jorj), the scroll/number/caps lock keys flash a numeric code indicating the error condition. I was too annoyed Wednesday to count flashes, but last night it was a single flash. Took the battery out and let it sit overnight and voila! we have portable computing.

Last night finished priming the entrance. Fingers and hands are still sticky from primer that didn't clean off.

Having some tea -- Barry's Gold -- and watching the Tour de France time trials. Oooo, Tyler Hamilton is starting! He's pushed Lance out of most-favored status in my book; I'd really like to see him move up in the standings today. Jan and Lance have started. The course is taking less than an hour.

Plan: paint ceiling and walls this morning, second coat on the walls this afternoon. Kraftie can't understand why she's not allowed to sleep in the amazingly cleared window seat.


First coat on the entrance and it looks great. The green Jorj selected is perfect. It's the same color as my green suit. It feels so good to be done. It may not even need a second coat, just a bit of a touchup around the edges.

Jorj called an hour ago saying he was on the way home, and should be here between seven and eight. I'll see if I can get any of the house cleaned up before he returns. As is my want when he is not here, I haven't cleaned all week. Well, I cleaned paintbrushes.

Tuesday July 29: Finish!

Finished the trim last night, cleaning up and moving the furniture back in tonight. Final tally:

Rolls of blue tape2
Rolls of shop towels1
Gallons of paint & primer4.25
Hours of Tour de France coverage~42
Trips to Home Depot5
Sheets of sandpaper3
Laptops destroyed1

Yes, that's right, I destroyed the old Dell laptop. Jorj returned and pronounced the RAM to be badly seated. He reseated the RAM, I booted, worked for 30 or 45 minutes, and the laptop froze again. The diagnosis was downgraded to failed mobo or power supply. Now I'm looking at this.

With Jorj here and the laptop confirmed dead, maybe I can get some pics up soon.

The entrance, no longer white! And just look at how clean these rooms are!