Turning Things Around


The rest of the house still looks like a screaming disaster zone /construction area, and for that matter so do I, from weird bruises and cuts to the fact that my hands look like I’ve been wrestling something with fan-blade hands. I was telling my husband I have performed sacrifices of blood on every inch of every new floor. I don’t know if he was impressed or appalled. The expressions are so similar.

BTW you’re not looking at the side of a refrigerator on the right, but at the side of some very old cube-shelves we’ve had since the kids were little.  (Look, buying the same shelves all now would set us back $500.  We have too much stuff to do to waste that kind of money.  I do need to get cubes for my eventual sewing area, (When we get there) but I’m half tempted to get the cheap plastic ones, so as not to put the knife in the account QUITE that deeply.)  Of course, before putting them up I spray painted all of them (After saying I wasn’t going to do it because it’s so much work, of course, but I note that I need to bring in one of the little paint bottles and cover up those glaring screws.  Although that’s not a big deal in the long run (right?) and the office looks largely as it will look, pending my arranging files and such properly.

Which means I have a place to hide in, when things get to be too much for me.  Well, to hide and hopefully to write and resume normal life.

Besides the fact that it’s a relief to have ONE room that looks as it should, it is a much needed reminder of why we’re killing ourselves doing all this work. Because when we’re done the house will (hopefully) look like this, and we can have our life on a more organized and productive pattern.  It is the bait for when I don’t feel like doing anything.

Of course, yes, I want to fast forward to when all this is done, and the house all looks like this (well, not exactly like this, since this is a highly personal space with Boris Valejo on the walls, and pictures of the kids growing up, but you know what I mean.)

Sometimes I think it is like that with our polity.

Look, for a good 100 years our supposed elites have been playing footsie with totalitarian Marxism.  To an extent you could say that we, as we came along, purchased a nation in need of some renovation and fix up.  (We definitely need to find that rot in the attic and clean it out.)  I mean, it’s in better shape than other nations, but it does need renovation.

It’s just that you can’t do everything at once, even if you try.  There are limits to what you can accomplish in a month — or a life time — and while we’re attempting to fix the most glaring issues, it makes the whole thing look worse (like replacing truly ratty carpet means everything is out of place and you trip on crowbars in the hallway.)

This is not an excuse, metaphorically speaking, to just run off, soak the whole thing with gasoline and set it on fire.  Everything looks worse when you’re fixing it, be it a house or a nation.  And much as we’d like to fast forward to when we’re all done with this, that’s not the way it works.

OUR house should be done in another month, two at most.

The nation?  Well, maybe our grand-kids will live in the land of the free.  It’s better than the alternative, at any rate.

Be not afraid.  And keep working. Even if you have to bleed over every inch of the project.


165 thoughts on “Turning Things Around

      1. This Video:

        The guy riding the mountain bike and almost got impalled!
        impaled by an impala?
        (okay, it wasn’t an impala but still . . . impala are lighter bodied)

        1. How does anybody own an impala (yeah – this impala is not owned, but work with me on this) and NOT name it “Vlad”?

            1. They do not name their cars!?
              Barbarians! Serves them right when the poor vehicle strands them by the side of an untraveled highway on a holiday weekend, instead of limping along to the next nearest bit of civilization promising a garage, or at least, a means of contacting AAA…

              1. Some navies have a tradition of *not* naming submarines, just using designators like “U-235.”

                They lost so many at sea, perhaps the poor things felt insulted…

                  1. Going off of the guy on our ship who quit Nuke because the submariners were just too weird for him, Submariners are basically sailors but cubed.

                    Trying to MAKE them do most anything is likely to have creative results.

              2. My current car has yet to demonstrate such personality as to warrant a name, but the prior one was known as “Princess” — because her suspension was such that one felt every imperfection of the pavement.

              3. I had, briefly, a cute tiny, two seater Smart Car we named Soot Sprite, shortened to Sooty (スチェ), which was meant for me to learn to drive in and diddlybop around doing groceries and errands. Then I fell pregnant and so we sold it. But it had a little black poof keychain. I kind of miss the thing, since we could actually put a full shopping cart of groceries into it’s boot, and people thought it was brilliant since we could squeeze into tiny parking places; there is one at the local mall that’s only half that of a standard sedan’s length, which a motorcycle would use, but we used it for a while. Illicited a lot of delighted laughs when folks saw it.

                I don’t think I’ll get it again, cute as it is, since it was actually noisy inside and it was difficult to hear music, and it was a but difficult to keep a smartphone usefully set up anywhere on it.

            2. never named a car, or truck. Closest I get is the ’91 Honda ST1100 pair I own. The Black, and Two Tone really just to differentiate between the two. I really need to finish fixing the Two Tone (black replacement fairing bits on a formerly all silver bike). The Black is getting a bit ragged. 109,000 miles on it now.
              Only 100,000 on the Two Tone (~_^) but it was better cared for before I got it (excepting the crash at 70 mph at 40,000 miles)

            3. All of our cars have names. Mine has even acquired a title—one of the scouts in my son’s troop, just before he aged out, said that my car looked like a battle toaster, so now it’s got “The Battle Toaster” as part of its name.

          1. I drove one we called the Queen Mary, because it was a land-yacht. (Giant, wide car, Atlanta streets, a little too exciting at times.

            1. I had one like that, once upon a time.
              I dubbed her the USS Lollipop.
              She was a good ship.

            2. In Gordon R. Dickson’s “The Dragon and the George”, a minor character is “The Gorp”, and old Fiat that reminded me of the Peugot 403 that Columbo drove…

              1. “Blue Whale” – ’58 Plymouth Power Wagon … Technically it could hold 9 (if the last seat was working), practically it held 12, comfortably …

  1. Nice floor. Congrats o job well done.

    Inexplicable body damage (and taking longer to heal) is part and parcel of burning calendars.

  2. Ooh, nice floor! *Looks at wall of current office* I wanted teal, but I also know that I’d be the one covering it with beige-cream when the day comes to sell RedQuarters, so it’s beige-cream. The yellow’s not bad.

      1. Looks good with that color. We did white walls, but the bits and pieces hanging on the walls do better with a white background. ($SPOUSE quilts, so there’s several of those, plus various other hangings, prints, and plates and whatever.) Finding a color other than white(ish) that wouldn’t clash is a tall order. We’re lazy in one respect; we’ll buy paint in 5 gallon buckets and use it everywhere.

        I’m starting to consider how the Wall O’Books in the office should be trimmed. The vast majority of my reading is now eBook. The used book store isn’t interested in any culls unless it’s a recent hardback (5 years max). The county library system will take and sift for goodies, but I need to do my own sifting. The non-fiction is currently in the shop, and a small percentage of that could be/should be tossed (Data books with obsolete information is one category, plus a couple of ill-advised impulse buys. History of postal vehicles, I’m thinking of you!).

        1. I have long had an hankering for wall quilts for the hallway, but thing is quilting is the one thing I can’t do.
          This office will have fillet crochet curtains by winter, btw.

        2. I culled a bunch of reference material (the kind with pages of tables) and some histories I probably wouldn’t read again. And all the old programming books, and a bunch of stuff that, if I needed it again, I’d be willing to pay half.com or Amazon for another copy later just to get the space back *now*.

          “First world problems…”

      2. There’s no need to live with bland, just paint it all white and wear tinted lenses. Or put selected gels in your lamps.

        When we moved into current home the initial plan called for painting the entry and upstairs hallway a light yellow. Then we discovered the contractor-applied paint which five previous owners (over the ten years since the house was erected) had disdained to cover, had a tendency for the pigment to float up into the overcoat. Adding mud beige to yellow did not produce the cheery effect we sought. We ended up resorting to the old stand-by of putting down a base coat of ceiling white. Two coats, actually, followed by three coats of the yellow.

        The resulting paint fumes revealed a hitherto unrecognized allergy to chemical fumes in the Daughtorial Unit, specifics of which I decline to divulge.

        In the time spent waiting for the fumes to dissipate the house has so filled up that further painting is … impractical.

        Someday I will tell of the spot in the den where we just … barely … ran out of paint with about two square inches of wall remaining, awaiting the second coat.

        1. We’ve learned when painting a new color, at least one coat of primer is indicated, inside or out. If you taint the primer the same color as your final choice, then it takes fewer coats of final paint.

          We need to paint the stairwell & upstairs … it is getting hired done, or it ain’t getting done. Ditto with outside. Already painted inside, whole house, 4 times (stairwell & room upstairs only 3 times), outside of house 4 times. Well okay, son got paid one summer to paint the house outside. Our house & his grandmothers. He couldn’t get a summer job because he had to disclose he had to be gone for 3 weeks in August for school reasons.

          1. Paint with primer actually works surprisingly well—and if it’s a premium paint, you might even end up with lots of extra. (I thought it would take two gallons or more and it ended up using one…)

        2. I gather that Kilz is a good primer to stop pigment migration. The stuff I’m familiar with is alcohol based, so while it stinks (and is a problem if you have flames in the house), the stench doesn’t last long.

          I had an off-white wall that I was trying to paint white. The not-quite-sufficently-damned Glidden White could *not* cover. I got a can of Kelly Moore paint, and it covered like a champ. OTOH, I’ve had decent luck with Baer paint, though I’m not fond of the Home Depot variety that mixes primer with paint. Next time I need paint, I’ll check one of the other vendors. I’ve had far better results with a straight primer, then a straight topcoat. OTOH, the combined paint over straight primer is OK under normal circumstances. Initial paint on the pumphouse wasn’t done under such, and it needs another coat after 3 years. Note to self; time to recoat $SPOUSE’s shop, too. UV fading at 4300 feet is a thing.

        1. If I remember right, they’re “witch balls.” (sort of a cross between a buoy ball and a blown glass ornament, renamed by glass blowers because they’re pretty)

          She buys one as her reward for selling a book, IIRC. (to publisher or the first sale on a self-pub, not for every single book sold. 😀 )

          1. No, just for finishing a novel. This is because it’s the part I control.
            Though i realized I’d not rewarded myself for Deep Pink and Uncharted, and I guess I still need to get a special one for Guardian.

          2. Weirdly the one for AFGM was supposed to be deep red, and it was blown from volcanic sands. since it’s a revolution book I thought “Cool.”
            It’s deep, shiny pink.
            …. I think the characters had a joke on me.

    1. When step-son moved out, we converted his tiny bedroom into a den. The walls were that wonderful older and very dense wall board. Alas, they were a mess from all the things anchored to and removed from them in the teen years. I can do a fair repair job, but patch and sand at that scale was just too much. So I got lauan from Home Depot and had them rip in on their panel saw — 4″ wide planks. Dirt cheap and no charge for the ripping because they liked what I was doing. Nice guys all.

      The result was I planked the two worst walls and “saved” the others with minimal patching and a couple of coats of new paint. It turned out even better than I hoped. Total cost for the planking was something like $125. A really good deal.

        1. Ouch … We got some in Boulder last Fall and used it to cover over windows we’d insulated at our mountain house. It bends in amazingly well with the log interior and the cavernous great room is much warmer and easier to heat. Don’t know why we didn’t think of that sooner. I’d really like to be able to update the huge window wall that looks over the Divide — yes, we got lucky with the house — but egads it’s pricey. When the wind blows hard — 100 mph — the house sways, the windows bow inwards and we pray.

        2. Uh-oh. That’s been the only quarter-inch plywood available in my area since the 20th century… if it goes away it will be a problem.

          [still wondering why, when there are several major plywood manufacturers in my state, every single bundle at either lumberyard is spray-painted “product of UKRAINE” or “produit du CANADA”…]

          1. Oregon lumber mills are still running at reduced capacity. OSB that normally comes from Roseburg is coming from elsewhere, usually Canada.

  3. In the right used store, nice bookshelves are nearly free; trick is finding them. Supply is exceeding demand. If I hadnt’ needed to build my own two-layer shelves for space reasons, I could have got them for a song at the local Goodwill.

    1. I specifically wanted white cubes, and they haven’t shown up around us. (EVERYTHING in that office is thrift-shopped. Because “we ain’t made of money.” Okay, not the plants. They’re alive, and thrift shops don’t seem that.)

      1. Errrr … cubical shelves are relatively easy to construct: lumber, nails (screw ’em if you want), T-square, saw … some assembly required. White enamel paint, figure about six coats (sanding between coats with ever finer grade abrasive) for the finish you want. Paint the interiors different colours if that’s your idea of a suitable look.

        Lineament for arms, shoulders applied as necessary.

      2. The Better Home and Garden brand of cubes that Walmart carries are actually pretty good, and reasonably priced.
        Ditto IKEA and their version.
        Both have cubes that are about 13″.
        (Been working on my wife’s craft room. She now has many.)

    2. Geez, I need to raid your Goodwills… everywhere I’ve lived, bookshelves are scarce and precious. I’m going to have to resort to building some… cheaply, probably involving dowels, pegs, a hole saw, and plain boards. (In part because I have no physical memory, which makes carpentry an Adventure.)

    3. I should look for some of those. We have bookshelves, but two of them I probably paid too much for secondhand and many of the rest are… um, well, they mostly haven’t fallen apart? But some of them were Shelves for Putting in Dorms constructed more to provide inexpensive cubbyholes in narrow spaces than to hold actual books for 20 years.

    4. I need to come up with a sturdy shelf set that will hold .50 Cal ammo cans. Heavy ammo cans, but I need to do an inventory to figure out how many of those cans need that kind of shelving. OTOH, some of the cans don’t need special storage, because of light weight and/or different subject matter than the heavies.

      1. Check out Sam’s Club, they have a fair selection of shelving from light residential to light industrial.

        1. Sam’s Club doesn’t exist in Oregon, and I think I’d be better off with a purpose built shelf unit. The slot where I want to put it is too small for a heavy shelf. OTOH, I have a table saw and am not afraid to use it. (The wood cutting band saw gets my sincere fear respect, but the TS is only ordinarily dangerous.)

          1. Interesting. I have always been more wary of table saws than band saws. It is notable that I have never seen a saw-stop band saw.

            1. I’m another with a very, very healthy respect for the table saw. Usually because DadRed and I are cutting full sheets of plywood into smaller sheets, and I get to feed the stuff into the blade. Which means bending a couple of safety rules.

              1. If I can cut a sheet of plywood with Mr. Makita, the 7″ sidewinder saw, I’ll set up one of the 4+ foot cutting guides and go that way. The joiner to make them an 8+ guide went away a long time ago, but if necessary, I’ll do the best I can with the Makita, and if really necessary, I’ll clean up the cut with the table saw. One nice addition to the elderly Craftsman was a 42″ Vega ripping fence. It’s no Delta cabinetmaker’s saw, but my cabinets *usually* are intended for personal use, and when I have to do something for public consumption, I know the necessary tricks.

                I know the table saw can do a great job at amputation or maiming, but with push sticks (and occasionally the Gripper jig thing) I can be safe. My fingers get too close to the blade for me to be comfortable with the big bandsaw. (I’ve used one of the 4 x 6 metal cutting bandsaws to finish a rocking horse project that my wife’s father had started before he died. I think my niece still has it, waiting for her baby… For that matter, I still have that saw. The woodcutter was given to me by my MIL.)

                1. I made a rip fence out of a 10 foot piece of 2″ x 1/4″ steel bar stock. I cut the top jaw off of a 3″ C-clamp from Harbor Freight and welded it to the bottom about 6″ from one end. Then I put a small piece of 1/4″ Masonite against the bar and made a shallow cut into it with the circular saw to make a guage.

                  With that, I can make perfectly straight cuts in 4′ x 8′ plywood sheets, with about 30 seconds set-up.

                  Band saws are treacherous. They can cut your arm off as quick as the ones in butcher shops cut off ham hocks. NEVER trust a power saw. Always keep well clear of the blade.

                  1. I like your cutting guide. Will probably steal the idea for my own. 🙂

                    Main difference is that I’ll use some angle rather than flat bar to avoid inadvertent bending. OTOH, flat bar tends to be smoother, but there’s a few ways to defur that feline. (Fasten an angle to flat bar stock as a stiffener, or find some smooth angle. Not much structural aluminum for sale around here, though.) 1-9/16″ is seared in my brain as the offset for the Makita. If I ever have to replace it, I’m screwed. 🙂

                    I’ll be getting lumber and siding in a few days. A side trip to the metals retailer sounds like a good idea.

                  2. I just got a 10′ piece of 1/4″ x 1-1/4″ x 1-1/4″ angle. Seems non-bendy enough to serve. The metals place is getting hit the by state of the economy. Scrap metal seems to be stacking up (I suppose when US plants finally get up and running, the scrap metal will get used), and nobody’s actually doing much work needing new steel.

          1. There’s a selection of durability. They do have cheap plastic ones, but the metal ones go up to pallet worthy. The ones I get are rated for something like 1500 pounds, and can be split in half for a workbench, which indeed I did for years. Particleboard shelves, but replaceable with plywood. I’m in the middle of four projects so the picture isn’t the clearest, but https://photos.app.goo.gl/d9RaBGr2yKnVPrtR7

            1. Gorilla is one of the brand names for that style. Rated at 200 pounds per shelf. I think I have, er, 10 of them in the shop/barn for various purposes. (There’s a considerably heavier version sold at Costco, I think rated at 750 pounds per shelf, but it’s 6′ long.) What I want is something that will fit in a 2′ wide space, about a foot deep. The weight loads are high, but compatible with dados in 2 x XX stock using 3.4″ plywood as shelves. IIRC, I have a couple of really heavy cans, and several not quite so heavy. They’re in the main barn on the slab, but they’re hard to get to.

              1. A local metal yard had 2″ x 2″ and 1″ x 2″ steel tubing for cheap a few years ago. I got enough to make 5 shelf units, 24″ x 40″ x 8′ high, shelves spaced 16″ apart. I think it all cost about $120, plus a couple pounds of welding rods.

                1. I’m so-so at MIG and gas, don’t have TIG or stick.

                  I would like to take a welding class, but the hours at the CC absolutely suck–evening classes, and my eyes are such that night driving is suboptimal. OTOH, my welds may not be pretty, but I’ve learned how to make them good enough.

                  Had one job that needed a pro, and took it to a shop in the city. Worth it.

              2. I had a similar space problem with shelving in the laundry room, a two-by-two space that was eating at me to use, but I still needed access behind it to do a bi-annual dryer duct cleaning. Got some wire racking from a restaurant supply website, set on steel poles, with decent wheels. Rated for something like 200 a shelf as well, and easily reset for whatever height you end up needing. Total height can be something like three foot up to six, though a hacksaw could make it truly custom.

      2. If you’re on a frame floor instead of a slab you need to keep an eye on floor load. Some of the “buy it cheap and stack it deep” guys ran into that back when Combloc ammo was cheap.

        1. Pole barn with a slab floor. Haven’t punched through the slab yet. 🙂 I have a fair amount of .45 ACP left over when I was doing serious shooting, as well as “almost enough” of other useful calibers. Also have a stash of loads for firearms I don’t have anymore, and never expect to see again. The small box of .221 Fireball handloads surprised even me.

          I have a frame floor in the mezzanine above the workroom, but it’s ladder access. Right now the non-fiction books are up there, but I’m trying to create space downstairs and move some to the house.

  4. I hear you on the “one area that looks nice and the rest a disaster area.” Our back porch is filled with projects, including the bed I’m building for my daughter (loft bed from studs—a LOT of sanding is involved) and the bike that I’m fixing up slowly. (And for that, I’m fixing the essentials, but not repainting it, so it’s going to look like an old 1980s ten-speed as a minor theft deterrent.)

    One suggestion: Keep an eye out for large campaign signs come this fall. They’re often made of corrugated plastic and are required to be taken down after the election—back when they were made of masonite, my dad would scavenge any number of them after elections and they became things like bookshelf backs. Get a nice cut of that, put contact paper over it, and stick it on the side of those cube shelves and you’ve got a nice clean look to them.

    1. Re bicycles: I have some components from and/or for 1980s-1990s vintage bikes that are sitting around. If you have a need for anything specific, let me know and I’ll get in touch through your WP site. IIRC, I was looking at building a bike before life got in the way, so I have a few bits useful for such.

      1. Bike’s are rarer than hens teeth here, even the pawn shops are sold out of them. I’ve been trying to source parts for a tandem trike I’m in the process of building to take a nearly blind friend out riding the trails. But I do have some spare stuff if you have a shopping list.

        1. I’d been looking for “my” bike for years. I actually like that old-school ten-speed style, had one that was perfect (and well-maintained by the previous owner, who now bikes a century in miles for his birthday, so you know he’s good at bikes.) That one got stolen. So I’d been checking Craigslist and this current one popped up, and it was at the upper limit of the frame size I could handle, not too expensive, and what the heck, I needed to learn a few bike-care things, right? Heh. I’m learning. But it feels good, too. Chain is clean, brake pads replaced, working on the spokes (I need to have a bike-fixing friend come by with the tools to remove the back gear cassette in order to re-thread those—I got some specialty tools but those are just a bit too specialized for me to purchase.) May have to replace the front gears; I’m going to ask about those. He’ll probably have to come back to help me with the brake cable and gear cable adjustments. But then I will have a bike of the kind I like, nice narrow wheels for paved roads, drop handlebars (with bypass brakes that I have to buy & install, that’s one of the changes planned from the start), enough weight to make me work for it, but speed.

          1. I just finished reweaving my first tire, had to replace the hub with a heavier duty one capable ot taking the weight of two people, as well as the rather different lateral stresses of a trike rather than bike. THAT was an education, figuring out what new pattern to weave. Then actually getting the wheel to be straight!

            1. I left the front wheel woven for now. I’m literally just going to copy it when I replace it, and I have the magic tool for the spoke nuts. (The spoke nuts that got stripped are for the trash.)

          2. I forgot to say, I’m building up a collection of bike tools I never thought I’d own, If you’re anywhere near a five our drive from central Florida I can ride the motorcycle over to lend stuff 🙂

      2. I didn’t realize how much of this bike I was going to have to re-vamp, but it cost me $120, so I have wiggle room. It’s the cascade of “I need to replace a spoke, so I might as well swap out the rusty ones while I’m at it—oh, I need to learn how to remove the cassette gears on the back to do that? Well, might as well detach all the spokes while I’m at it so I can give that hub a deep clean—hmm. I’m not sure those front gears are good…”

        Also I want to put bypass brakes on the drop handles, because I had those extension levers on the drop-handlebar bike I rode to school for four years in high school, if I don’t have them I’m going to be instinctively grabbing the wrong place to stop the bike.

        1. The year I did serious riding (14K miles that year), I wore out several back sprockets, usually the smallest two gears, but the front chain rings were still in good shape.* Road bikes and I never quite got along; the more upright riding position on a mountain bike frame was better for me. By the time I realized my riding days were over, that bike bore little resemblance to its original version.

          (*) OTOH, I think chainrings (front gears) are easy to replace. It’s been a few decades, so I doubt any of the tools (a couple of wrenches with bike chain tails for removing back gears) are appropriate. (I think they’re in the main tool chest. Have to look.)

          Do you have a copy of The Bicycle Wheel by Jobst Brandt? If you want to maintain your wheels, it’s a godsend. Not cheap, but you can build a decent wheel for a lot less than if you buy a good one. Not sure I want to part with my copies. (1st and 3rd editions) I knew Jobst slightly from work, and he was (is?) a *serious* rider.

          1. I’m switching to a recumbent style myself because of shoulder problems. Teaching myself to weld so I can build a couple different styles as they’re fripping expensive. Just the single for myself and setting up the welder and making it is probably just about a wash, but a tandem, WHEW! I’ve had cheaper cars!

            1. I need a tricycle and have considered it. (tricycle: I can’t balance well enough for a bike.) Definitely if they cheat their way in in November. Because you know we’ll have the Green Nude Heel on our necks before we can say “Joe Biden is insane.”

              1. That’s what I’m building myself, a recumbent trike. Not for balance for myself, though when I take my blind friend out that’ll be a big thing, but just to be able to go at a slower pace. Central Florida in the summertime’s a bit on the sauna side.

          2. I ride road bikes more upright—that’s the place where the bypass brakes help. It’s all imprinting/physical memory at this point; mountain bikes feel wrong and the tires! Oh, how they slow me down!

            1. I’d use hybrid tires or the slick Specialized Fat Boys. It’s amazing how little off-road cycling I did on that bike.

              1. I’m not an off-road type. There’s lots of paved trails in my area, including a 30-mile stretch from the capitol downtown up the river.

    2. > a minor theft deterrent

      Over the years, I have observed that in most petty thefts the thief didn’t have any plan to use, trade, or sell whatever they stole, they just took it because nobody was watching it and it wasn’t chained down.

      1. I recall a letter to the Daily [redacted] from a student. His bike lock & chain were stolen, but they left the bike. He was amused.

      2. My previous bike was stolen off my front porch, with trailer attached, LOCKED. Right before my birthday. Neighborhood supposition is that a local drug house probably stole it as a “mule”—they stick drugs in the tires, and then sell the bike to their drop. A horrible end to a noble bike.

        Note that the neighborhood had someone go through all the cars the next year at the same time—they stole an old phone that I’d been using for audiobooks, the day we were driving to Monterey with the kids. Dammit.

        (My birthday is right before tax day. I’m told that petty thefts go up a lot when these jobless folk still have to pay taxes. Maybe we should set the IRS on criminals instead of the cops, the way they act…)

  5. Looks wonderful. Always makes such a difference to have a little chaos-free corner for yourself where you feel like you can get stuff done.

  6. Oh, my goodness, is that… no… it is! A CLEAN DESK.
    How did you… I mean, I just…

      1. But it has existed! There is photographic evidence!

        *looks at own desk* Um, I am not going to supply photographic evidence of my current state, but excuse me while I tackle the to-file pile…

  7. I wasn’t motivated enough to do much inside work this past winter. Been S l o w l y doing outside stuff. Pulled another storm window off (I’d like to set fire to whomever used what ever that glue/sealant is they slathered over the frame and paint, then painted), stripped the failing glazing putty, reglazed, scraped paint, primed,, painted, drilled a few more screw holes in the storm frame and remounted. No rot on this frame, so was a mid saturday to sunday afternoon job. Also pulled the light fixture from the porch . . . more people diserving death. The Stucco was put on over the old siding and window trims, so a 4×1 trim only has a bit over an inch exposed (-_-) . . . but here they ran screws slightly into the siding, spread the concrete stucco on, and left just the cloth coated wires hanging in the breeze ,and expanded metal lathe! The light was on a motion detector, so always live, and there was a bare spot on the live wire not far from said metal lathe.

  8. highly personal space with Boris Valejo on the walls, and pictures of the kids growing up

    That sounds like a perfectly valid living room and exactly like my game room, although the Valejo is mostly from a calendar by him and Julie.

        1. You saw that short film on The Illusionists: Imaginative Realism? The art critic guy says some things that are cracky, and I know he’s trying to sell stuff at a gallery. But still, it warms the cockles of my heart to hear someone put Boris in the same basket with the Pre-Raphaelites.

    1. I’ve been too busy processing the realization, “So, that is why he’s had so little recent output!” to otherwise comment.

      My ideal win the Power Ball (I will settle for Publisher’s Clearing House, I’m not that fussy) art collection would cover my walls with works by Frank Frazetta, Alex Raymond, Burne Hogarth, Chesley Bonestell, Edd Cartier & a variety of illustrators of the classic Unknown and Astounding mags and assorted cells from Chuck Jones and Tex Avery Looney Tunes.

      1. She is awful pretty, isn’t she? (Especially once I figured out she’s only a year or two younger than my mom; got curious and her author photo from the 90s looks almost identical to the one on their website, except the new one has more silver in her hair.)

        Oh, you mean the “they’re doing 13 totally original paintings every year for the calendar” thing.



        1. She?!? My reference was to Sarah’s declaration she’s put poor Boris Vallejo on her walls, while most of us would settle for replicas of his paintings. I trust she put him there in as humane a manner as possible (no nails or screws) and is seeing to personal requirements (no details, please!) but still it seems likely to be a strain for an almost eighty-years-old artist.

          Surely you meant to reply to another’s comment …

  9. We definitely need to find that rot in the attic and clean it out.

    Happily, the foundation is strong, although the anchor bolts holding the house atop it seem to have rusted (and some varmints have attempted to cut through them with hacksaws so they could carry off the house.)

    The bats in the ivory tower have overmuch been allowed to multiply and their droppings seem to be having a toxic effect on the susceptible older children. That might require a pressure washing, although Professor Reynolds has assured the problem will self-correct in a little while.

  10. Looks very good, organized, calm, but homey. We recently “did” the family room after 24 years living here with dreck. Had a color consultation with a woman through Sherwin Williams which was very inexpensive. We have a new looks-just-like-wood vinyl plank floor in a sort of rough-hewn light variegated oak and we painted the fireplace bright white, along with new floor and crown-molding trim in the same white. I told the consultant that I wanted a very light, neutral color on the walls that would be just dark enough to contrast with the white, but no more. I didn’t want a yellow-ey or a grey or a brown-ish off white. She recommended SW Aesthetic White, and it’s perfect. Just had to put that out there because it would look good in your room too if you want to paint over the yellow someday.

    1. I LIKE yellow. I JUST painted it.
      The downstairs has a very strong yellow and we thought “That will look terrible” when we saw the pictures, but in person it looks great. And I like yellow.

      1. Heh … I’ve always been a fan of yellow, ever since I discovered an unwanted can of yellow spray paint in my Dad’s paint locker. I proceeded to turn the model Dodge I was working on into something reminding me of race-car yellow. Alas, the bride does NOT like sunny-yellow, especially on cars. Oh, with the exception of one fabulous Porsche we saw and will NEVER own.

      2. I presume that liking of yellow is not unlimited … for example, not down the backs of Republican politicians.

        1. I rather like a pale yellow as an interior color – it makes the inside of the house when the sun floods in, rather like a lantern … the next paint job on the inside, as we tried it out in the hallway, is a very pale yellow, with ice-white baseboards, door trim, cornice molding and ceilings. We tried it out in the hallway, and in the front entrance, and like the effect very much.

      3. Ooops Gracious Host, I did not mean to impugn yellow! I had the impression that painting the room was a planned future project. I too like yellow; our guest bedroom is yellow with indigo accents–the inspiration was the painting Starry Night. I was just excited to pass on our experience at finding the perfect off-white in case you or anyone here was interested.

      4. I like the idea of yellow rooms, but can’t shake the memory of one from childhood that went unpleasantly greenish after a few years. I suppose the paint has improved so that wouldn’t happen, but it makes that color a harder sell. And there’s no way we’re moving all the books to repaint the walls any time soon.

        1. I recall the yellow paint I did in my bedroom when I was a teen. ‘Twere the late ’60s, and I’m sticking to that excuse. No idea what the color was actually called, but now if I saw it, “Burn My Eyes Out Yellow!” would be appropriate.

          Mom sold the house without changing the color. OTOH, it was a hot market that year.

          1. Robert A. Heinlein painted the inside of his Col. Springs house yellow, having read research that indicates it’s stimulating to the brain.
            It’s good enough for me.

            1. A couple years after we moved here, we repainted the outside of the house from battleship grey to a yellow similar to what you used. It’s one of the colors that behaves well in high UV environments, so that’s a plus. The brown trim paint I used on the sheds, no luck. The hunter green I used for the house, that would resist a small nuclear flash. As I recall, I’ve needed to repaint that trim once in 14 years. The brown faded out after a couple years. Finally painted the trim the body color on the sheds.

    2. My study is RED.

      Also my bedroom is BLUE.

      I decided I would cross the “selling” bridge when I came to it.

      1. Right?
        The last house we never painted, because “we’re eventually going to sell”. So we lived with oatmeal-colored walls.
        Of course, when time came to move, I had to repaint anyway, after 13 years of growing boys…
        To repaint/sell, we went not with white but VERY pale colors. So….

        1. I really like that Parisian white, which is really a little pinkish or orangish. Basically designed for “we live in latitudes where it’s winter a lot of the year,” so they use it in those Paris apartment buildings to eke out the pitiful interior sunlight.

  11. Looks great. The yellow is pleasantly restful on the eyes. And that desk is freakin’ GORGEOUS. Got any history/info on it? (I don’t know furniture styles, other than “what I like” and “wood vs not-wood”… I drag home most any alley-fodder that’s real wood, no matter how rough it looks.)

    1. It’s a reproduction I’d guess 18th century partner’s desk. (Meaning it’s not an antique but a really good reproduction.) We got it at ARC for $50 when we were staging the last house for sale. Only having found it, we never let it go and brought it with us to the new house. 😀

        1. It helps that lo half a century ago I was my grandad’s “apprentice” (i.e. sometimes he let me nail stuff.) It’s amazing how much I learned just from tagging along (he was a cabinet maker.)
          I can — and have — spotted a piece of furniture with multiple coats of horrible paint by the side of the road, and KNOW from the lines that it’s real wood, and a nice piece.
          Dan has gotten used to the “Stop, stop, stop, that’s 18th century. Probably mahogany or Cherry.” (Don’t ask, but yeah, it usually is.)
          we now have more desks than we need… which is weird.

          1. That’s awesome. Especially when you can get the paint off and discover the nice piece underneath.

            (Maybe sell off those extra desks or trade them for the cube shelves?)

            1. The Kingscote tour, when I went to Newport, talked about how when they moved the dresser, they discovered that the last time the room was painted, they had just left the part there the same since there was a dresser in the way. So they knew EXACTLY what wallpaper to use

  12. The thing is, as a Nation, we have been renovating the Marxist drivel out since the 1970’s. Oh, the Elites have been fighting back, but they have also been losing ground. Some from our efforts (look at the March of ‘shall issue’ and ‘constitutional carry’ across the land), and some from their own blundering (if they’d left the level of idiocy in the Public Schools alone circa 1970, there would be scant enthusiasm for serious reform). Yes, they look powerful and dangerous now, but to a huge degree that’s because they are FREAKING OUT. They thought they had a lock on things when they elected Bubba Clinton, and then the country went and elected a Republican Congress and they were fighting a rearguard action for four years. Then Bush happened and their pash for the Islamic Radicals came back to haunt them Big Time. They managed to undermine Bush’s war (largely because Bush lacked the intestinal fortitude to GO HOME) and managed to get Obama elected, twice. SURELY that meant they had it locked! But much of what Obama managed to do misfired, or was obviously stupid. They were SURE Hillary had clear sailing, never understanding how many people loathed the ground she walked on. And that lead to TRUMP, and they’re BESIDE themselves. He won’t roll over and be a Good Republican. He keeps resonating with the public. Their attempts to get him out have serially misfired badly.

    So, they’re clearly going to redouble their efforts to steal this election…and if their efforts over the last four years are any indication they are going to get caught with their tails in the breeze. If they were confident, we wouldn’t be seeing their trained baboons Antifa-ing all over the streets. And it’s clear to me, at least, that rioting is not a good election platform. Hell, if they weren’t fully in panic mode they wouldn’t be nominating a serial groper with cognitive issues. If they couldn’t find somebody better, they’d bide their time and work on their bench. But they have the awful feeling that if Trump gets four more years a great deal of the papier-mâché edifice they’ve build up is going to come crashing down. Deregulation will march across the land and the promised Apocalyptic Disaster won’t happen. Hell, some of them might have to start actually WORKING for a living.

    Yes, there’s a lot still to be done. Even if the crash they fear happens quickly, sweeping up the detritus will take lifetimes. But this isn’t the beginning.

    1. They thought they had a lock on things when they elected Bubba Clinton, and then the country went and elected a Republican Congress

      It is difficult for young’ns to realize how much that Gingrich takeover stunned democrats and their adjuncts in the Media. Their party took control of the House back in 1932 and held it with only the briefest interruptions for SIXTY flippin’ years! That’s twenty-nine of thirty-one terms, and never being out of power more than a single term (80th and 83rd Congress).

      That Gingrich’s hellions not only stole their House but kept it for a decade in spite of the Dems’ best efforts was a violation of the Laws of Nature.

      They had held the Senate pretty much the same, with the exception of three terms under Reagan, but Senate rules and the effect of the Dixiecrats limited their capacity for riding roughshod over Republicans.

      1. The Republicans, drat them, wasted a lot of energy on trying to impeach Bubba. Yes, he was as GUI.ty as a cat in an aquarium, but the energy could have been better spent elsewhere. I think the obsession came from two causes; 1) they KNEW Bubba was a crook, and had forgotten that as a rule Presidential scandals only really break after the subject leaves office (Watergate was an exception). They wanted to get him on SOMETHING. And 2) the while the history of the President of the United States may include numerous characters who weren’t above having some on the side, POTUS is supposed to be classier than banging the help. Ok, JFK had an affair with an intern, but he at least kept it under wraps (also, Mimi Alford wasn’t a pudgy little thing whose only recommendation was she was there).


        But the public didn’t much care. Hell, if I were married to Her Shrillness (and for some reason slitting my wrists was out of the question) I’d be looking for comfort elsewhere.

        The Clintons did enough petty sh*t as they left the White House that Bush might have gone after them, absent 9/11. After that, he had much more important things to focus on.

        As I comment from time to time, it’s really a pity we didn’t wreck Iraq and Afghanistan and then LEAVE, saying “Don’t annoy us again, or we’ll be back.” But it would have been a tough policy to sell.

        Of course, all the Left’s anti-war rhetoric went sour when Obumbles not only couldn’t figure out how to flat LEAVE, but seemed determined to involve us in every other Middle Eastern piss-up going. I’m sure there are some dedicated Lefty anti-war types still protesting, but the Left’s Panjandrums don’t see any advantage to acknowledging them.

        1. The impeachment failed because the prosecutors could’t keep the charges away from sex. While the initial reaction was shock over his sexual exploitation of a young woman, that was not his crime and was something to which the public could eventually become inured — not least because visualizing the alleged acts tended to cause people’s brains to shut down, rendering them averse to contemplation of the issue.

          The suborning perjury and bald-faced lying to the public (as well as the abuses of power) became lost in the miasma of naughty bits.

          It is questionable whether Democrats would ever have agreed to impeachment anyway — as we now know, their treatment of subordinates is such they could hardly have been shocked at what Billy Jeff did, merely that he got found out. Certainly delaying the vote util after the election turned events in Clinton’s favor by allowing congressional Democrats to avoid having to take a stand on the facts just before facing the electorate.

          As for the way the Clintons’ (white-)trashed the White House, Bush’s victory was too (apparently) close and he was attempting to ease the divisions that had plagued the Capitol for the last few years. As much as I would have enjoyed Bush sending the Clintons an invoice for damages in excess of their security deposit we all know the MSM and the Dems (BIRM) would have criticized it as excessive, petty, and rude. (Hmmmm … that might be a good name for a law firm.)

          Much as I despise Barry the Gormless, I think credit for the Middle East fiascos on his watch go to Hillary. She clearly thought she needed to paste a gold star in foreign policy toughness onto her resume and thought Libya would a) be easy and b) earn her some favors from the Italians and French who were starting to fret about their southern coastal security. Constantly having boatloads of ragamuffin jihadi refugees coming ashore wasn’t going to help the Cannes Tourist Bureau, was it now?

          1. I remember having discussions about the Clinton impeachment at the time.
            My take at the time was, Clinton is a sleaze. Those paying attention knew he was a sleaze when elected. His perjury could be proven.
            But not enough Democrats were going to vote to impeach him and Gingrich actually had him cooperating in getting useful things (welfare reform, balanced budget, capital gains tax cut) done. Why waste the effort trying to impeach – just get more of your agenda through.
            Had Gingrich not pushed impeachment it’s likely the Dems would not have pushed his ethics violation probe (remember these were the more collegial Tip O’Neill era Dems) and he would have remained Speaker a lot longer.
            Oh well. Gingrich always had lots of ideas, some good, some great, and some insane ones he obviously didn’t think through before speechifying about. There ain’t no perfect people and that goes triple for politicians.

            1. OTOH, I know a machinist who worked on (among a lot of other things) parts of the Abrams Tank. A lot of the work was need-to-know classified with some parts being made by multiple workers, none of whom had the whole plans, just their piece.
              One day in the latter half of the 90’s a bunch of Chinese came in and were given the run of the place to copy all these classified files and watch parts of the production. The orders to allow it had come from the White House. From other reports, apparently similar orders were given to firms in aerospace production.
              Now if THAT had been the grounds for impeachment it might have been successful.

          2. I think both Obumbles AND Her Shrillness deserve something discredit for the way foreign police became a bigger mess than usual on their watch. Maybe that could be a new aphorism: “Two bunglers make the full catastrophe “.

    2. No, it’s not the beginning, and we’ve got enough light in (finally!) to see what the problem is, thanks to them tearing down the blinds a lot earlier than planned. We can see the mess they’ve been making, and are starting to get a sense for what tools and cleaning stuff we’ll need. Yes, it will look worse before it gets better, but it always does. [Types she who moved every 18 months to 2 years for over a decade. Ah, the life of a low-hour blue-collar pilot.]

    3. Weelll… it wasn’t quite that simple. Dollar Billy was a third-rate governor of a second-rate state, with nearly zero political experience other than being elected governor due to massive teacher PAC money. He was already in hot water for accepting personal gifts from private companies and the use of the State Police as his personal hooker transport, and it was looking like formal charges were going to be brought on one or both activities.

      Consider, *none* of the Democratic Party stalwarts was considered electable, nor were there any experienced Democratic congressmen, senators, or governors who weren’t already in trouble for something, that they had to reach *that* low and pull out Dollar Billy, taints and all, and run him as “the new JFK!”

      Clinton got the nomination because, for all practical purposes, he was the last man standing. And then got elected anyway, because Bush’s campaign was a dumpster fire, and then they ran Bob Dole against him in 1996, probably because David Duke or Larry Flynt weren’t available… it’s fortunate Dole never had a chance, or I would have been forced to vote against him instead of sitting that election out. Checking some stuff on the web, he’s been whitewashed pretty thoroughly, but in 1996 he talked like a cross between Gavin Newsome and Nancy Pelosi. Oh, HELL no.

      1. During the crucial period when presidential candidates are signing up staff and enlisting donors President George H. W. Bush was riding high on the impressive Desert Storm victory and his masterful foreign policy achievement in managing that coalition. I forget the precise approval number and it ain’t worth a search but it was upward of 80%, a largely unprecedented high. Thus the few credible Democrat challengers (most notably, Mario Cuomo) determined that discretion was the better part of valor and declined to “take one for the party.”

        Thus the campaign of the Five Mediocrities, in which Clinton competed with California governor Jerry Brown, senators Paul Tsongas, Tom Harkin, and Bob Kerry of (respectively) Massachusetts, Iowa and Nebraska.

        Clinton ran a distant second in Iowa, (discounted as native son Sen. Harkin won overwhelmingly), second in New Hampshire (where he declared himself “The Comeback Kid” because mounting scandals had seemed to be derailing the campaign), and Third Place finishes in races up until the Southern primaries on Super Tuesday. Frankly, there was scant chance of any of the senators getting the nomination, what with the immediately prior Dem nominee having been from Massachusetts, neither Iowa or Nebraska being Liberal bellwethers, and Gov. Moonbeam’s reputation as a flake.

        Meanwhile, Ross Perot was tarnishing Bush with his “giant sucking sound” and concerns over budget deficits and the MSM was creating the impression of a tanking economy (the mild ’92 recession ended before the election — and was even reported having done so in the business section of the NY Times, but the Front and Editorial pages never let it slip out) and an “out of touch” Bush.

        Thus are small men raised to high office, not because of any merit in themselves but their usefulness to others.

        1. Oh – reference to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1992_Democratic_Party_presidential_primaries for refreshing of memories. Before closing the page I scrolled further and noted that, sitting out along with The Beloved Mario was Jesse Jackson … who was never going to win any way.

          Also, it cites Bush’s polling approval rising as high as 89% … I don’t think Jesus H Christ himself would ever poll that high … of course, He tended to tell people what they needed to hear rather than what they wanted to hear.

  13. That room looks -good- .

    My favorite bargain furniture source was move-out day at local colleges. The kids buy a bookshelf or desk or something, then have nowhere to put it at the end of the semester, other than out for trash.

    In my broke-student days, I furnished my whole (tiny) off-campus place with bookshelves and tables and lamps and a desk, for a few gallons of gas to drive around.

    Of course, that method is currently on hold due to dem-panic issues.

  14. Oh, and when can you come over and finish mine for me. I’d like to get separate analog and digital workspaces set up.

    1. We now have half the house done, and save for the bedroom in the basement which is an odd shape AND has a trap door, the remaining ones are just square.

          1. I’m disappointed.

            Surely the Evil But Beautiful Space Princess would have a home with a dungeon. 😉

          2. So, just a crawlspace full of plumbing and spiders. Not even any Deadites. 😀

  15. > Even if you have to bleed over every inch of the project.

    “You don’t fully own a project until you’ve bled on it.”
    — SkinnyG

    1. I figure every project has many costs, and if it’s not the price of anothers’ labor, most likely it’s going to be in my blood.

  16. The room looks lovely. My congratulations on achieving a comfortable, uplifting workspace–for all the heavy lifting that stands before you!

    1. Hey, she just put that floor in! Give her a little time to look at it before it gets all covered up with stuff.

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