Don’t Put a Paintbrush in My Hand when I Have No Agenda

Today I toddled off to the Pope Residence to see how I could help Chris. I knew I had to paint another coat on the second floor porch door and use paint thinner to get the rest of the paint off the stained glass over the front door.

I did it! Our entry is beautiful.

I got the door done but really didn’t feel like scraping yet, so I finished my project of creating a little anteroom out of the former scary upstairs kitchen.

Here’s the other window I finished scraping putty off.

It was fun. I ripped the remnants of the extra-flimsy sheet vinyl from the floor and finally got all the broken glass and other odd detritus off the floor. It made getting to the porch dangerous.

The wood floor may be ugly, but the cracked vinyl and glass were dangerous.

Next, I “cleaned” the pink Formica counters. They are marginally less filthy. I sprayed some Windex on the old sink in there and it got a lot cleaner! I think we can actually re-use it!

Wait, you say, that looks disgusting! But it was way worse. I think it will clean up!

I looked down. There was my can of paint. I proceeded to do perhaps the worst paint job any cabinets have ever received. No prep work, no taping things off, nope. I just slapped paint on them. You could say it’s cheerful.

It is best observed from a distance.

You could also say it’s ugly, but I put a bench and folding chair in there (to store our cushions during rain), and added a fine mirror and wall decor thing. The final touch is two puppy chia pets that I’m lucky Lee didn’t throw away when he was disposing of some stuff yesterday.

All decor was already in the house.

Well. I was more successful with my paint scraping I did after lunch. And Chris is putting in floor trim.

Looking finished!

I don’t think they’ll turn me loose with red paint and no set agenda again! I don’t blame them!

Book Report: Restoring Your Historic House

I saw a little blurb in This Old House magazine, saying this new book is a “must-read” for anyone restoring an old house. Why, I’m renovating an old house, which is close. So, I ordered two copies, one for me and one for Kathleen, of Restoring Your Historic House: The Comprehensive Guide for Homeowners, by Scott Hanson (2019). At 720 pages, it has a good chance of being comprehensive, anyway!

This post will have two parts, one in which I review the book, and the other in which I talk about the choices we have made on the Pope house that do or don’t follow Hanson’s recommendations.

By the way, we now have TWO stuffed animals for kids to find, and we’re going to put Easter eggs in the window, too. Look at that original stained glass! Look at that trim! Let’s keep it.
Continue reading “Book Report: Restoring Your Historic House”

Renovation Is a Family Affair

Fun historical house fact: apparently the Pope House was once blue or blue-gray. This is where the old front light fixture was. It will be covered up by our sign, eventually.

As you may know, we Hermits are doing our best to isolate ourselves just with the folks at the Hermits’ Rest property. We’re lucky we all work for Hearts Homes and Hands in some way (except Lee’s brother, who has taken on mowing our property and hanging out with Vlassic as his life’s mission), so work isn’t a problem. And our renovation of the Pope Residence is right across the street from our office. Oh boy, I get to walk across the street!

I’ve shared a few photos in other blog posts recently, but today I thought I’d share where we are now. We’re all pitching in, so things are progressing, even though we miss our other helpers.

Trimming

There will be two or three shelves here, with glass behind it.

We’re finished with most of the window trim (except the front room). We decided to put shelving back on the window between my office and the entry hall, with some opaque glass behind it. I’ll put my glass collection on those, and it should be really pretty.

One of the big projects right now is putting up the trim around the ceiling on the rooms whose ceilings aren’t getting painted. There is plain wood trim, with crown molding on top if it. I’d say it looks pretty spiffy. All the trim in the house is the same shade of creamy white, which looks great against the brick and really brightens the place up. It almost doesn’t feel like the same house.

Easton is putting up trim. More about the door frame below.

The trim is a challenge, because of course the walls aren’t 100% square. That gives Easton and Chris a lot of fun calculating and trimming. But, it’s moving right along, and they’re on the second room.

Continue reading “Renovation Is a Family Affair”

This Old Ross House, Part 2

I got a few requests for more pictures of the Ross house in Cameron, which we are hoping to close on ASAP. It will be perfect for Chris, Kathleen and their family while they are here building a business, building a family, and whatnot. Then it will be available for our next project. Win!

Here’s the big oak tree on the side of the house. There are grape hyacinths and other lovely plants just waiting for a bit of TLC.

Today I’ll share some pictures of rooms we didn’t look at yesterday, as well as a bit of the property around the house. I believe that if you click on an image, you’ll be able to see it bigger.

The attic really was the best part of the house, for me. Here are some more of the photos and documents we found. If any of these are images or items about your ancestors, we’ll give them to you once we take possession!

And finally, I wanted to show you how large the lot is. It goes all the way to the road past the large tree in the distance here.

A NEW Project to Distract Ourselves

You know how hard it is for me to not share when something exciting happens. I’ve had to wait a couple of weeks for this one, and it’s been killing me. Good news is needed these days, and we have some! Let me tell you a story (which I will share on another blog, too, but that’s okay).

Back Story

Once upon a time, last month, Kathleen was taking a back way from the grocery store to the office. She passed by a house with a For Sale by Owner sign on it. Kathleen thought it was really beautiful and reminded her of her grandmother’s house. She kept driving by it, but didn’t mention it to me or Lee, since we are so busy with the Pope Residence project. She did call the seller and got information on it, but never went farther than that.

Look! It’s a cool old house!

It kept tempting her, though. So, finally she broke down and told us about it, the week before we were scheduled to leave on our vacation. She scheduled a viewing, but could only get it for the day we were supposed to leave, because the current owner lives out of town. We debated whether to put off the trip or not, but I really did want to see my family…

Look! It’s the other side’s equally grand entrance.

We were pretty excited by her description of this large 1885 house on over 1.5 acres that had been partially renovated, so we decided to drive over there and at least look at the outside.

Continue reading “A NEW Project to Distract Ourselves”

Had to Share! I Have a Chair!

I hadn’t planned to do another renovation update, but then I got all excited. The office chairs that Chris and Kathleen got me for my birthday arrived, and of course I had to put the one I could find together and test-sit it.

A new chair, just crawling with flowers, just as I like it.

The color came out a little darker than we’d thought, but the red and orange will still be perfect in my new office. It certainly looks fancy in my old office!

Here you can see it matching all my stuff. It’s really comfy and short enough for short folks. Yay.

But, More!

A lot got done yesterday, so I’m going to share even though I just posted pictures yesterday. For one, all the drywall is now up, including along the future “break room” wall.

The last sheet of drywall goes up. Note that the wooden ceiling is also up, ready to be covered in tin.

The stairs are all covered up, and the old flooring removed in the new landing. This is unrecognizable as the same house!

All ready for a new floor.

The brickwork is moving forward. It’s now getting dusted and cleaned, and two of the rooms are now blocked off in preparation for sealing.

Yep, it’s getting real. Shoot, we’re so close to being done that we ought to start on a new project, right?

Things are looking up!

Renovation ACTION

When all your workers live at or near your house, you can keep your renovation going! While Lee and I were on vacation, Chris, Easton, and Randy kept up the work at the Pope Residence. They concentrated on the back stairway area. and it was easy to see that a lot got done.

Stairs and drywall! The hole is for a sconce.

Almost all the drywall is up, and the second set of stairs got completed. You can now get to the second floor from the inside, if you are so inclined (which few of us are; it’s a mess).

The empty section is where they’ve made the landing larger.

They’re still working on the floor of the upstairs landing area, but what a great surprise it was to find out that they managed to make the area a bit larger. For one thing, since the first course of stairs was taller, there are fewer steps on the second course, so it ends farther from the door. That will give us a little sitting area/balcony kind of deal up there.

Chris is hiding while I show you the new window and how nice and light it makes things. The two holes in the ceiling are for matching chandeliers we already have.

A new little window was installed in the stairwell, too. That has made the back part of the house much lighter and brighter. Plus, the windows that were already there now allow light to go all the way down to the first floor.

Bathroom Update

Chris decided to put greenboard on all the bathroom walls, to add a bit of sound protection. Some of the walls will be covered with metal, which we are guessing may conduct sound.

This room is ready to be finished. Can’t wait to pee in the future toilet.

Preparation for Flooring

There is a lot of wood waiting to be used. There’s some nice wood that will serve as a stabilizing influence and go under the luxury vinyl tile in the downstairs rooms that don’t have tile or original wood.

Repaired flooring by the window, and lots of wood for trim.

And Easton did a great job of getting rid of the bad wood in the main “parlor” room and replacing it with wood from Lee’s office. That’s gonna look so great when it gets cleaned up!

More flooring material.

The rest of the wood is all the trim. There is a LOT of trim. It will match what was originally there.

Brick Repair

Meanwhile, Randy worked on brick. The area in my office with the window into the hallway got bricked up to the height of the wainscoting in the entry hall. And the place in Kathleen’s office that had crumbled now has nice, healthy brick.

Repaired brick in Kathleen’s office.

Chris says they are going to clean the brick really well, then put on a sealant that will really make the walls look spiffy. Argh, so exciting.

New brick in my office. The gap will be covered by trim.

We’re going to keep you updated, of course (and post this info in a couple of other places). It’s fun to see a plan coming together.

Imagination, Take Me Somewhere Good, Not Paranoia Land

The word of the day in UU Lent is imagination. Great, I thought, I already wrote a lot about this in my post about mind blindedness. I’m going to repeat a section from that post at the end of this one, because it explains a lot about my childhood and development.

Day-dreaming of beautiful and peaceful places…a fantastic use of imagination, right? Photo by @jesslowcher via Twenty20

My imagination has been my constant companion, sanity saver, and comfort zone my whole life. It’s almost as if I’ve lived in two worlds, the one I physically walk around in and the one in my imagination and dreams. Guess which one I prefer (even the weirdest of my weird dreams are at least fascinating!)?

Cautions – Too Much Imagination Can Be Damaging to Your Health

While using one’s imagination for temporary escapes from either too much stress or too little going on can be a good thing, I’ve sure seen a lot of times where too much imagination (or maybe it’s more like conjecture) can have some unpleasant consequences.

Just because I’m paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t out to get me.

I used to have someone very close to me who had an issue with paranoia. He would experience something, and then use his vivid imagination to come up with consequences, motivations of others, and their effect on him. I can remember a two-hour conversation about how a higher-up didn’t say hello to him, which meant his entire career was in jeopardy, she had something against him…blah blah. I just kept repeating, “Maybe she was just thinking about her own shit.” I wasted many hours and much energy on this.

I didn’t hear from this guy for 20 years, so when Facebook showed up, we re-connected. He immediately launched into how his current employers were out to get him. I did not engage.

Or course, I’ve dealt with this kind of thing myself from time to time. Mostly it’s when someone suddenly drops out of my life, which happens to me periodically. I’ve spent way to much of my energy imagining possible things I said or did to offend people, or things that might have been going on with them that could have led to it.

Has any of that helped the situation even one little bit? Well, maybe, if I would have stuck to the imaginary scenarios where I’m a totally innocent victim of some huge misunderstanding and I’m better off without the person I formerly cared deeply about. But, no, I’ve spent way too much of my energy and time imagining less pro-Suna scenarios.

Two moms and three young women. In good news, Pouri and Ellie still speak to me. I wish all of them a good life, though!

What’s helped is that I’ve been training myself to live with ambiguity. I’d rather have that than to find out the paranoid truth. I think I’d rather have not known why Edie and Leigh (two young women who lived with our family when they were having problems) both suddenly went off on me and told me everything I did was for selfish reasons, they’d never loved me, and they’d hated being in my family temporarily. Like my old friend, they were twisted in knots with things they came up with in their heads, and it made me sad. But in both cases, I just listened, knowing my actual motivations and that I loved them anyway. They weren’t interested in my perspective; they must have needed to make a break for their own reasons. I just moved on.

I hate dredging it all up, but I wanted to share how painful over-imagining things can be to others. I don’t want to do it.

So now, I’m okay not knowing what other people’s imaginations have interpreted my actions and motives to be. Everyone has their own perspective, and if anyone wants to talk to me about it, I’ll listen, but I won’t endure abuse. I’ll move on. And I am consciously refraining from imagining why others might be thinking or doing what they do. It’s not helpful to me, and I end up much more mentally healthy and with lots more time for all the things I enjoy.

Instagram of the day,

From now going forward, I’m using my imagination to design dream homes, take mental trips to interesting places, conjure up a nation and world where differences are celebrated, and remember my departed loved ones.

Imagine all the people living life in peace.

John Lennon

My Imagination and Me, from February 11

In case you were wondering about me, I’m one of the 2% on the extremely vivid mental imagery side. I’ve always been that way, so I never knew any different. My mom said as a toddler, I was always wandering around talking to a tree. When she asked why, I said I was talking to Jose, who lived up there. Where this little Anglo girl got that name is beyond me. So, either I was seeing fairies, or I had a vivid imagination. It’s all the same to me.

Don’t shut the car door on meeeee!

I had an imaginary gang of cartoon characters that went with me everywhere, too. My parents loved to tell the story of the time Mom shut the car door on Theodore of the singing chipmunks. I apparently didn’t take it well. I was also a Highly Sensitive Person, ha ha.

My whole life I played stories in my head. It helped pass the time, since I was not the most popular child, and certainly not the most popular during the early teen years! I had an entire life I lived during the time between going to bed and actually falling asleep. In this soap opera, I was strong, smart, and always said the right thing. What a nice world. I also had very cute boyfriends, especially the one from the comic books who was the smartest guy in the universe, and also green.

Teen superheroes make for a fun imaginary life. Hey, don’t judge. All my human heart-throbs died.

This internal life was very vivid and had touch and smell, as well as visual aspects. I now fall asleep without my “dreams,” for the most part. I think it lessened so dramatically when I started anti-anxiety medication. I will gladly exchange that loss for my mental clarity and ability to handle things more calmly.

I still can enjoy a little mental vacation by imagining things, like what’s going on in the towns I drive through, or what animals and plants may be perceiving. I find that fun. No wonder I’m not bored easily (if ever).

Currently imagining what I will do with this future stairwell and landing when it’s done.

Is your imagination your friend or your enemy? Are you imaginative? Where do you go in your imagination?

Shopping Spree

One of the reasons I had so much fun yesterday is that I got to order a lot of the things for my new office. I also got a lot of news about the renovation, so that made my day fun to get through.

I believe we are getting the one at top center. Kathleen wanted it to be very rustic. This is easy to install and waterproof, too.

The renovation team has decided that the floors in my future office are not salvageable. I am not surprised. This room seems to have gotten the most abuse during the years, and the floors looked practically worn through in some areas. Others had been badly repaired. So, I reluctantly agreed to have the same vinyl planks put in there that Kathleen will have in her office. I’ll cover it up with the giant and inexpensive rug I bought (that I can’t find a picture of, so it will be a surprise).

But, that’s okay, because when I look up I will see this symphony of rustic beauty! It is nice and big, which I need for the size of the room and its ceiling height, and it was not too costly (but not “cheap” – just right). You may have noticed it does not have one bit of bling on it.

A most beautiful, yet rustic, light fixture. With many bulbs.
Bling.

Don’t worry! I found a place to buy chandelier crystals online, and they weren’t too expensive. Eighteen of those will be coming in the mail very soon, and I’ll just add them to the lamp. I’m creative. I will also order some replacements for ones that got knocked off my very similar chandelier at the ranch. I must know what I like.

It just screams “Suna,” doesn’t it!

Now, we certainly don’t want my office to be boring, with all that brick and wood, right? Of course not! So, I have selected extra shiny tile to go under my fake woodstove and on the floor in the tiny bathroom. I will smile at it every single day, and it fits my office decor colors of red, orange, and pink. You know, because those are my favorite hair colors…

Shiny!

AND we were told that we could not repair the ceiling in the entry hallway of the Pope Residence, because it would look too patchy (thanks, dumb stairway). So, we’re going to put up a lovely copper-colored metal ceiling in there. We will put it in the bathrooms, too, since they don’t have the cool wood ceilings that are in the rest of the house.

I have to admit, making these selections is why I loved my real estate redevelopment work so much. I’m glad to have another opportunity to select quality materials that will enhance a beautiful building.

The Yuck Side of Dog Ownership (and more)

The dog part is coming, honest.

How Am I Eating?

I’m trying really hard not to get immersed in the news, so I’m filling my mind with more important things, like, um, good nutrition! Yes! I try to cook a meal for Anita at least once a week, since she’s not a “cooker.” Last night I found some non-wheat pasta with quinoa, corn, and chickpea flour. I cooked it. I combined an organic tomato sauce with black beans and some kind of re-constituted Chinese mushrooms (labeled “fungus” on the package).

It looks festive with some pumpkin seeds on top.

Does that sound weird? Yes. But it was good. The pasta does not pass for beautiful semolina pasta, but it has a reasonable texture and should make my triglycerides happy.

Continue reading “The Yuck Side of Dog Ownership (and more)”