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Monday, December 15, 2008

tis the season, or something

The holiday season is in full swing here. All work on the house has, predictably, halted, because we're far too busy cooking and wrapping and socializing and (occasionally) working. I'm about to run out to the post office to ship off the last of the far-away gifts. The living room is Holiday Central; wrapping paper, shipping boxes, cards, envelopes, tags, and three different kinds of tape are scattered over the big tables in the middle of the room, and wrapped presents are stacked up along the far wall (along with some holiday-themed beer somebody brought over, but we won't go into that). Every time I go through a roll of wrapping paper, Don claims the empty cardboard tube -- he's got three of them leaning up against the wall already and I predict a grand swordfight next time our friends are over. Because, you know, we're grownups.

In any case, that's what's going on here; no pictures, as a) my camera battery's not charged anyway and b) you never know who's reading this thing and there are still a few unwrapped presents scattered around. Don and I are both lucky enough to be able to take off of work for the holidays; I anticipate lots of relaxing and a great deal of hot chocolate being consumed.

We're kicking off our relaxation by attending the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra's Holiday Spectacular on Friday night -- it looks like it's going to be a lot of fun and we're both looking forward to it. If you're local, you should consider going. If you're going to be there, let us know! I'm thinking dinner at Sascha's beforehand.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

a belated anecdote

So, that plaster area over the top of the front porch? Inaccessible by any means other than joist-walking? Guess who made her way over there back while I was in Washington because it looked like a great place to nap and then got stuck, couldn't figure out how to get back over to the "safe" side, and howled her heart out until Don took pity on her and managed to get across the joists to rescue her?

Yeah. And then the ungrateful little monster made a panicked leap for the bare wall you see in the picture when he was halfway back across the joists with her, nearly knocking him down into the living room below, and then got stuck THERE until he finally managed to pry her loose and get her onto firm footing.

For once, she seems to have learned from a negative experience -- we haven't caught her over there since, no matter how tempting a nap-place it must seem.

She also managed to crawl into the underside of one of the upstairs bay windows while I was gone -- Don called me in a panic at three in the morning because she was howling and he couldn't reach in there to get her out. Three phone calls and some cussing later, I told him to open a can of tuna and stick it next to the hole she'd crawled through and ignore her. Lo and behold, one free cat (with some help -- once she got close enough he was able to grab her and help her out, as the drop was honestly too high for her to jump back up). We've blocked up those holes. And imagine, since I got back to pay attention to her at all hours of the day we've had only the normal kitty craziness. Spoiled!

Thursday, December 04, 2008

a vast wasteland

I promised pictures of the upstairs destruction -- here they are. In the top photo, you can see pretty clearly the plaster disaster over the front half of the master bedroom, which is what's over the top of the front porch. You can also see that the staircase railing is gone. It's sitting out on the front porch right now. It'll get put back later.

In the photo below you can see pretty clearly straight down through to the living room, where the remnants of a dinner party are still sitting out on the large folding tables we've put in there for dining and entertaining purposes. You can also see that Don installed a temporary railing where the floor ends to stop me from falling to my death in one of my clumsy moments. He's so considerate.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

the return of the chute

I hope you all had a lovely Thanksgiving, if you celebrate, and an equally lovely Thursday, if you don't. We had a nice time at Don's parents, and I spent the rest of the weekend selling jewelry at a convention while Don, predictably enough, played World of Warcraft. Work on the house is pretty much stalled until January -- Don's dad has too much to do between schoolwork and holiday preparations, and our weekends are filling up with events as well. But some things have gotten done, as I mentioned before. The project in progress right now is the upstairs floor. Don and his dad have ripped up most of the floorboards -- everything back to the third bedroom, where we're staying, and a little bit of hallway so we can get to the stairs. I'll post a picture later this week. In any case, when they ripped up the floorboards over the front porch, they discovered to their dismay that the builders of the house decided to add a little weatherproofing by pouring plaster -- the same crumbly, messy, gross plaster that we ripped down off of all of the walls -- down in between the joists over the porch. Needless to say, since we need to replace or repair all of those joists, that plaster has to come out.

And so out came the dumpster chute, pulled from its retirement in the garage to fight the good fight once again. I'm glad we saved it -- we didn't realize that WE would be the ones needing it again, but we were sure SOMEBODY would. This time, we've hung it inside the house; the plaster is all at the very front and there's no sense carrying it all the way to the back window when there's no floor to walk on. The chute is attached to one of the few walls still standing upstairs, and dangles down through the empty space between two joists into the living room and thence over the basement stairs to the side door. When they're working, Don and his dad can open the door and place a large barrel or another garbage can at the base of the chute, work til it's filled with plaster, then run down and upend it into the dumpster. I'm told it works pretty well. Don's planning on getting the rest of the plaster out himself sometime before January so that they can forge ahead with the new floor; we'll see how that goes.