Heat and Love

We have been warned of historically bad weather coming. I look forward to the coming snow, and enjoyed some great pictures from my friends in Washington! But, it’s gonna get cold and wet, which means power outages are possible.

Totally iced over by Walker’s Creek church.

I said to Lee that I wished we had installed the extra gas fireplace we had leftover from our last renovation project. We couldn’t find it, which is weird, because we both remember it sitting around…somewhere.

It looks sort of eerie.

Then it occurred to us that the store nearby where we bought most of our furniture sells fireplace inserts. Lee dropped by, but they didn’t have any in stock (they usually order them custom). Then she remembered there were some laying around…somewhere.

All the fences look interesting.

But, yay! They found stuff! All we had to do was pick it up! We went over there, which gave me a chance to take pictures of the icy landscape in our area. It’s just so…white. I’m sure it would have been spectacular if the sun came out. However, that’s unlikely for a few days.

Ice at the furniture warehouse.

When we got home, it was clear that these weren’t fancy new fireplace inserts. But, they are fine looking.

Carlton really wanted to help Lee install the logs and such, but his paws were too big.

How can I assist you?

Lee didn’t put the fancy controls in. We will wait until our resident expert comes back. It works now, though! And the logs are just fine! I consider this my Valentine and a true display of Lee’s eternal love. Aww.

Installation in progress.

We are quite pleased to have backup heat at the Hermits’ Rest, just in time for the wintry mix and such. I’m so grateful to Franci at the furniture store for going above and beyond to help out. Love to her family, too!

Fire time!

And hey, I made chili with some of the 5 pounds of dried pinto beans Meghan brought us. We won’t starve. We are ready For the deep cold. Brr.

Mmm. Chili.

Office Construction Zone

Today I got more things over to my new office, which was fun. I was really excited to unpack my fake wood stove and see how it looks. It’s not bad at all!

This is the view from my desk. Lee put the theoretically valuable cats on there and we decided to keep it that way.

I keep trying things on the mantel. I’ll eventually be happy. There will be a lot of plant and seating movement before I’m totally happy. I also brought over my very old bookcase just to hold things until other shelves are done.

Not done, obviously.

Much of today was spent with Lee building this shelving unit for me. It has the slash of wood theme the barn door and other furnishings have.

There were a few adventures and mis-steps, but we achieved furniture-hood! Lee is not fond of pictorial “destructions.”

I can hide office supplies! And will have a better arrangement of “shit” as Chris calls it, later.

That unit matches my rolling drawer unit, and the filing cabinet that is the last piece I need to fetch from across the street.

That’s one way to get desk drawers. And I can put my headset and other necessities in a basket on top.

Lee and I enjoyed a well deserved rest as he used my nice desk chair. Ahh. I’ll have less back pain with it!

Yep. It works.

Lee insisted on a picture of him and his “desk.” He will eventually bring in his nicer one, but as soon as we can actually occupy the building, we’ll be using that room for our team members for a short while.

The middle stretch of stair rail is fabricated, by the way. It and the top will get painted and installed on Monday, I hope. Then we can get inspected!

Oh yeah, now that the giant box is gone, the bathroom is as done as it will be for a while.

I love motivational toilet art. Should have put the seat down to not spread germs.

Here’s a few more pictures. I’m mainly taking these for my own records in case I want to try something again. And I like looking at the room; I admit it. This will be it for a while, though!

Tomorrow I have a book report to write!

Putting in Sweat Equity

While it’s true that the Mighty Chris is doing most of the work on the Pope Residence renovation, I’m helping when I can. Today I volunteered to work on the big fireplace in the main office.

But wait, I got a picture of the garlic teapot I bought yesterday. I think it’s so precious.

Where was I? We wanted to see what color the tiles on it really are, because there’s one missing, and we want to find a compatible replacement. It became clear that there was a lot of work to do when we tried to get one tile clean.

Before. You can really tell which tile has been cleaned as a test. And you can see the spilled stuff near the paper towel. Also, there is a lot of ancient ash in the fireplace.

Also, some of the sealant for the brick had gotten dripped on the hearth tiles, and we wanted to try to get that taken off, if possible. I showed up prepared to sweat, and that I did!

Close-up of the tile before. Lots of streaks and drips, and ick, what’s in the fireplace?

I used a whole LOT of degreasing and grime remover products, combined with steel wool and a scraper to get what appeared to be many decades of smoke, nicotine, and whatever else…who knows?

In progress The drips are from the degreaser. Yuck.

The hardest part was the sealant. Some of it wanted to STAY, darn it! But I persevered, because once I start cleaning something, I have to see it done!

Close up of cleaned tiles and cleaned-out fireplace.

The results pleased me very much, even though it’s still obviously a very old fireplace that got a lot of use. I think maybe the tiles were handmade, like all the brick, because they vary in color in a really pleasant way. I’m glad I didn’t ruin them with all my chemicals!

Nothing is going to get that black stuff up, but I did get all the drips, and discovered some tiles that had been replaced.

Meanwhile…

The other work on the house is going along just great, though there have been some hiccups with installing the sliding barn doors. Chris had a lot of adventures with epoxy yesterday, but I like the way he just takes these things as a learning experience, thinks about it, and comes up with another plan. He really has a lot of fun figuring stuff out, and it’s contagious.

Barn door that will not fall down.

Chris has all the doors hung, and is now staining them two at a time. The door hardware will look so good.

And oh yes, I’m helping more. My other big contribution was putting some birds on my little bathroom birdhouse. That’s sweet!

Two little birdies in their duplex, hiding a water pipe.

What Are the Other Two Up To?

This woodpecker mocked us as we tried to get in the Ross house today to make renovation estimates.

Our spouses are busy planning and scheming on our next projects, which may or may not involve moving a house to a vacant lot we will own as soon as the title company wakes up and lets us close on it and the Ross house. And they are growing the Hearts Homes and Hands business, even in these hard times. I’m proud of what good business people Lee and Kathleen are!

There’s lots more to come, so stay tuned. I hope you’re having a reasonable weekend and finding some projects to keep you busy! And if you’re putting sweat equity into a project, I hope you get a nice relaxing bath or shower later. That’s my plan. With roses.

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