Almost There at Pope House

Every day it’s looking better at our future office. The hallway is empty.

It’s all clean! And the American flag is ready to go up.

The front reception room just needs two more blinds. And the bling hung on the chandelier.

The big blind will keep it cooler!

We have a snazzy cover over the breaker box.

Classy breaker box.

The upstairs ceiling is textured.

Hmm. It will look better soon.

My office awaits floor repairs.

I brought in a plant.

I see stair rails in the very near future. I celebrated by building the little bistro tables for the break area.

We hope we have space for two of these. They are small!

Yes, that’s a leftover screw I had trouble with. The second set came out better. I just need a stronger hand with the Allen wrench!

Open Mouth, Insert Foot

That seems to be my hobby this week. It would be funny if it weren’t so annoying that I’ve managed to offend or upset people every time I try to be nice and accommodating. As my dad always said, I really have a way with words. Just not a GOOD way sometimes.

Anita said it’s Mercury in retrograde, so I’ll go with that. But in advance, if I’ve said, written, or texted something you think is horrible and mean, I probably lacked proper tone or was so wound up trying to not be offensive that I failed. Inarticulate is putting it mildly. These are not my favorite points in my life. Luckily they do get better!

And on that note, I do have a couple of happy little things to share. One is that the inexpensive little rug I got from Overstock.com turns out to really go well with my “guest chair” for my new office. (Ironically, there will be no guests in the chair until after COVID-19 restrictions are lifted, so it’s now my “reading chair” instead.)

Rug goes well with the chair. Not so well with the box under the chair.
About as exciting as a trash can gets, I guess.

I also got a nice rustic office trash can, so that I can leave the generic black plastic one in the dungeon office. Yay.

And look how pretty the reception room at our new office looks, now that all the saws are gone and the floor is clean! It’s almost done, too. Of course, it’s just for show until some time in 2021, but maybe we can have internal meetings there, or something.

Just a little tape to remove, and sparkly things to add to the chandelier. Oh, and the blinds.

Virus news around here is really sad. I don’t mind one bit being careful if it means someone else might stay healthy! You all take care, and try to choose your words more carefully than I do, because foot-in-mouth disease is unpleasant in so many ways!

Cheerful last image! The big mirror above the fireplace goes up soon! Woo!

Trim! The Home Stretch!

Really. We’re on the home stretch of the Pope Residence. The trim went in on the two remaining offices. It wasn’t easy, but it was less messy, thanks to attaching the shop vac to the saw.

My office looking toward future interior window.

Since the baseboards were already cut, that went fast. And the quarter round was already painted. So much nailing went on!

I think my office is beautiful.

All that’s left is caulking and touching up. And finishing the floor. Oh hooray.

The reception room is also the work room.

Chris also finished the base for my big office mirror. That looks GOOD. We have to plug the hole behind the mirror and then it will sit straight.

Looking fancy!

And the window mirror for the main bathroom is up. It looks great in white.

Now that’s a good mirror.

Wait until you see the finishing touches! I’ve ordered some fun furnishings. And we have the novel experience of watching Chris make the stair rails to look forward to. I’m excited.

The other side of the bathroom.

Speaking of Shiny Things

The fun with mirrors didn’t stop all day today, plus Chris finished the stairs, which are ready for the rails to get fabricated. The shiny wood is complemented by shiny metal trim that will be darned sturdy.

All the sides and edges are finished.

Chris was saying this staircase is his most impressive creation. I must agree. This is one hand-made object with so many parts!

The real and fake wood look good together.

Every time I climb these shiny stairs I’ll think of all the work that went into them and the horrible staircase they replaced.

Shiny!

Since we were on a mirror kick, I brought over my Ann Allen original mirrors that I’ve been carrying around for years (since 1998). They are really happy things that I knew would look great in my office bathroom.

Why have only one mirror?

I’ll smile every time I wash my hands from now on! They will go great with the other art I plan to put in the room. So glad I know so many creative people.

I really need to change out those light bulbs.

And Tubby got put to work today. He makes a good mask drying rack! It’s nice to be able to use the office a little bit.

We Need Sinks, ‘Cause It Stinks

Why you need p traps in your sinks, plus a new mantel

Happy Thursday. Wow, it’s already July! While we’ve had two in-progress sinks at the Pope House, it’s been a bit smelly. That’s because the helpful P traps are not in yet, so the little water barrier that keeps sewer gas in the sewer isn’t there. It’s not horrible, but we have incentive to finish the break room and office bathroom sinks sooner rather than later.

Installed but not connected yet.

Our hearts are in the right places. But our pipes are not, so the construction team is gonna have to figure out some PVC tricks to get everything up and running. In the meantime, it’s LOOKING pretty good.

The faucet looks good, even though Tubby’s faucet is gold and clashes. Tubby has the last laugh, though, because that faucet’s hooked up and works (enabling hand washing).

While we wait to solve the pipe problem, there’s still plenty to do. Chris has been finishing up on the flooring around the edges of the stairs, in preparation for finishing and trimming that area. That means it will be back to the welding machine to make the stair rails soon!

And all the wood for the trim in the reception area and my office has been cut. It’s all ready to go in, which will add a beautiful finishing touch. Speaking of finishing touches, we also have the next batch of epoxy ready to finish off the glass inserts in my office floor. This time, it’s going to work, by gosh!

The mantel, along with the trim that has not yet been nailed in place. The chair is my thinking area.

My mantel is installed and shining in its glory. Next for that area will be a cool hearth-like backing for my faux wood stove that I can’t wait to see come together. My whole office will be filled with one-of-a-kind works of decorative art at the rate things are going.

Trim and Tidy and Safe

The work on my future office is progressing. The bathroom just needs the sink picked up and installed, and some paint touch up. Then I can add my plants and wall stuff.

Now the edges of the tin won’t attack people. It looks so good.

The office trim is getting painted for both rooms on this side of the house. It will get installed as soon as it is dry.

Shiny.

The same is true for my beautiful mantel. We revised it a bit and really like its shape. Creative use of leftover trim makes a huge difference!

Side view of mantel shelf. I’m gonna have a baby fireplace!

Also, because the State has requested more precautions in businesses, we added places right inside the doorways of both the current and future offices so anyone who goes in can spray their shoes with sanitizer and clean their hands.

We canceled a lot of upcoming activities, too. Until the virus spike in Milam County calms down, our little ranch community will keep doing our best to entertain ourselves. So glad for our pets, livestock, and weather.

Peace to my friends, family, and the community.

A Home-like Hearth

Things are coming along at the renovation site where our office will be.

Most of our window blinds were special order, because they are so long. A few came in already. The one in my bathroom is a special favorite of anyone using that room for its intended purpose. We now have privacy!

Some light still comes in. And look, Tubby has fixtures.

We had two others installed but one broke spectacularly. Gotta replace it! But this one is fine, after a bit of trimming.

Doing its job.

We’re still working on the floors, waiting on some drying. But, today my little hearth got installed. It’s inset into the floor.

Preparing the foundation for the tile.

It was fun watching the teeny tiles go in.

Lots of squares.

It’s ready for grout, once it’s dry. We may do red grout. We will see.

Won’t a little heater look cute there?

Chris is now working on the mantel. We are trying different arrangements of trim, shapes, etc. It will be great to display things on.

Not the final product.

Oh yes, since the pedestal sink broke, I had to find another one. It needed to be small, since the bathroom is a bit awkward. This met all the criteria.

And it’s cheap.

Meanwhile, we are preparing for new safety procedures. Here’s Lee bringing our new router into the office. We’re following instructions. And hey, Internet makes an office a real office.

Mr. Internet.

Pee at Last! With Stereo!

We have running water at the Pope house! and I got to be the first to use the toilet in my new bathroom! Now THAT is progress, my friends.

Ooh, aah. It works.

Note that the toilet was re-used, and was at the house when we got it. It was pretty new, so Ms Erma must have replaced it recently before she moved out.

One, um, interesting detail is that since the window we installed had to be low, due to the stairs, you get to enjoy the entire neighborhood and traffic (such as it is) on College Avenue as you sit on the throne. That makes me glad we got blinds to install.

You actually see more of the road out the window. And obviously it couldn’t be any higher!

Other plumbing also got done. The other bathroom is now fully functional.

That mirror is tiny. It’s hung now, but useless to tall people.

As I mentioned yesterday, Chris has requested we never get a faucet like this very cute one again. It took many hours to finish it today.

El chingaso

We also lost the pedestal sink we’d wanted to re-use. It broke as Chris tried to work on it. That means I get to pick a new one. It has to be small!

Tubby is looking forward to this new faucet. It didn’t come in black.

Lee’s Office Improvements

Lee spent most of yesterday on his most important office feature, the sound system. He re-did his mother’s old stereo cabinet to have modern insides (removing a rat nest from inside, mmm).

Nest was at left. Nice.

He put in a new tuner and speakers and will add a modern turntable.

He was proud of the finished product, which also needs new cloth in front of the speakers.

A man and his stereo.

As far as he’s concerned, with the added chair, he’s done. It sounds great, by the way.

The listening station.

Next up is the water heater. Our dream of hot water will finally come true. It will have to wait until Monday, though. There’s ranch and Ross stuff to do today.

Thelma and Louise Do Gardening. Mostly Thelma.

It was a busy day. Much of Kathleen’s day consisted of planting and hoeing again. I did a great job picking things out. I am not a very energetic Louise to her Thelma.

Some of our haul.

This morning we went back to My Flea, in Milano, where I’d gotten these cute guys with Chris last week. Kathleen and I got Mexican pottery for each of our new plants, and I got some for plants I’m going to root or divide.

What I got last week, and the plant that goes in the chicken.

They are so festive, and the prices are really good. I broke down and bought the plant-holding donkey to go with the other one. And I had to get a little claw-foot tub, of course, for my bathroom.

What a cheerful guy!

Kathleen got a stand for our fern and a cute little cart that actually rolls. The plan is to put seasonal decorations in the cart. Fun!

We came back and used up all our potting soil to plant our three big plants. They look so pretty, especially the fern.

Fern and stand.

We will get more soil next week. In the meantime I’ll be rooting some pothos plants.

Corn plant. Isn’t the pot pretty?

The rest of the day, Kathleen was a bundle of energy in the yard. She’s going to get rid of the burr clover and sand burs. She’s going to encourage actual grass! And she’s going to plant lantana around the trees.

Clearing around the oak tree.

And what I find most ambitious is that she is going to plant things to disguise the giant gas line and old flagpole. She prepped for those today. Next comes weed killer and whatever else. I’ll watch.

Future former eyesores.

Going Plumb Crazy at the Pope House

Well, here’s an announcement I’m happy to make: we have a functioning toilet in the Pope house! Running water is a dream come true! And as soon as the bathroom faucet gets finished, we’ll be able to wash our hands.

It’s a functioning toilet. Wow.

If only that were as easy to do as it sounds. Apparently, the really cute faucets that we picked out are “chingasos” for Chris (screwed up). They are delicate as daisies and must be carefully installed. Oops.

Well, it IS a pretty faucet and handles.

However, all the fittings are attached to the walls in each room with water in it, and nothing leaks, so I’m impressed as heck. We will soon have flushing and hand-washing options! I can’t wait to see Tubby with running water.

In other areas of work, the floors are finished, other than putting a bit more epoxy in the areas with the glass in them. Much of the stuff Chris put on the floor ran straight through the cracks to the ground. Oops. It will be strong now, however, with it finally sealed. The glass will be subtle, but a cool touch to the room.

The reception room, gleaming away.

We love the color that they came out, and all the character you can see (like my office has both a red splotch and a green splotch that did not sand out). I think it looks pretty darned spectacular. Now we have to let the floors cure and put in the trim around the edges. Ahh.

My office, shining.

On the second floor, Randy worked really hard to get Meghan’s future office all taped off to be painted. He had the brilliant idea of bringing in the old carpet from the other big room and spreading it on the floor so no drips would happen when the ceiling is being painted. They’ll then drag it to its original place, where it will fit perfectly and protect the floors when that room gets painted.

All taped off and ready to paint. I assume the pictures will come down.

We are not sure why this ONE room has a popcorn ceiling, but we are just going to smoosh it down and not remove it. Maybe no one will look up, right?

The wallpaper is off the fourth bedroom. Its shiplap may end up getting painted to lighten up the room, but that won’t happen for a while, because it’s the “spare room” right now. It’s nice to have the scary wallpaper gone.

The piece of furniture in the middle is a wardrobe that’s going in Lee’s office to be his “closet.”

This morning, Kathleen and I got some colorful pots for the new plants we bought. That will cheer up both the outside and the inside of the house!