Wednesday, June 25, 2008

In Search of a Good Night's Sleep

Ok, I'll warn you right now that this post is going to have nothing to do with crafting, gardening or small town life. It's strictly a "woe is me" pity party. But, I figure there's folks who can relate.

I better start out by telling you that Monday night at work I set a box down and threw out my lower back. Did that towards the beginning of my shift. It was a long painful six hours before I got to go home. Needless to say it took a lot of Tylenol to get to sleep Monday night.

So, last night, Tuesday, I take a book to bed at a decent hour, thinking I'll read for a little bit and then get a decent nights sleep. I had finished my last book "Plainsong" which I highly recommend, but this one isn't as interesting to me so I knew I'd put it down and actually sleep. Hubby came in about ten and said goodnight. He said he'd turn my light off when I fell asleep. What a sweetheart I've got. Well, he fell asleep with the television blaring in the living room. I fell asleep shortly after he told me goodnight, and was sleeping like a rock when he woke up and shut the tv off.

The sudden lack of sound woke me up. The cheese puffs I'd eaten before I went to bed were sort of giving me indigestion so I got up and got a drink of water. Went back to bed and my back was hurting, a lot. It's hard enough to sleep on a good night on my ratty old mattress. My hips are wider (considerably wider) than the rest of me, so when I roll over on my side, it throws my back all out of alignment. So, I had a tussle with the pillows, arranging them this way and that till I finally got to a place that would work.

That's when the thunder and lightening started. So, I'm enjoying the lightening show. My bedroom has windows on the south, west, and north sides, so I get the full effect of storms. I was dozing off when the first rain drops hit the window. That jolted me wide awake again because I knew I had to go put the bucket under the drip in the bathroom. (See previous post on bathroom renovation).

By now it's about one o'clock and I've had about an hours worth of sleep. I did finally doze off. Woke up later trapped between my pillows, tossed and turned some more and fell asleep again. That was ok till the wind picked up about four.

There was more thunder, lightening and rain, but mostly the sort of noisy wind that rattles the windows and howls around the corners. The kind of wind that keeps me awake. By this time I had tossed and turned until I was wrapped in my sheet like some sort of flannel mummy. I picked up my pillows and waddled with my sheet and all into hubby's bedroom. Due to his chronic, continuous terrible back pain, he has an air mattress. Most of the time it gives me a back ache, but I thought since I had a back ache already, maybe it would be comfy. And his room is on the opposite side of the house from the wind.

Yep, the air mattress was comfy and the man wasn't even snoring for once. But....... his bed sits in addition number two to this house (the addition that was rather shoddily built). Although I could hear the wind buffeting the windows, I could hear all the creaking and popping that goes on in the attic when the wind blows. And there was a strong breeze coming from the ceiling fan.

This time I dragged sheet and pillows to the sofa. If all else fails, the sofa is always comfy, that's why I bought it. Beat the pillows into submission again. I'd just gotten comfy when the man decides it's time for him to get up! He always sits and watches tv for a little while before he goes to work. So, he sent me into his room. By this time the wind has really worked itself into blowing and it's howling around the window air conditioner. Of course all this traipsing around the house and flopping here and there has done nothing to help my spasming back.

The man finally left for work at five, so I parked myself in his recliner, opened the drapes, turned the tv to a music channel, and prepared to watch whatever sunrise we were going to have with all the storm clouds drifting off.

Ha! Didn't see a bit of the sunrise. I stretched out in that recliner, the pressure was off my hip, and I was out like a light for three hours. It was broad daylight when I woke up. We'd had .32" of rain, the clouds were gone and the wind was gone.

Needless to say, I went to see my chiropractor today, because I am NOT going to spend another ngiht like that!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Bowling Ball Project

Bowling balls. Who knew they could be such a great accent piece! I was just tickled pink to get one at that auction I attended a couple weeks ago. Then I got home and said, "What the hell am I going to DO with this thing?" I've got quite enough "stuff" cluttering up the place already.

So I let it set for a day or two and then came up with the idea to add it to my old windmill tower. I've always wanted a small windmill for my yard and one year my darling husband ordered me one from a mail order catalog. After assembly, it became clear that this lawn ornament was not designed to stand up to SouthDakota winds. The blades didn't last long, but the tower has endured because I have it anchored to the ground with fence posts.

Anyway, here are some pics of the finished product. Or perhaps in-progress photos because I haven't decided that I especially like the color.

I'm thinking I'd like to paint the tower black perhaps. I'm open to suggestions.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Salvaged Purse

Just thought I'd post a picture of a purse I rescued. It was a black clutch that I covered with black and silver lace, a piece of hand crocheted lace, and some flowers, all odds and ends that were cluttering up a drawer. I use it as a nice spot to store my nail polish, nail file, etc. Got the idea from a Mary Engelbright book.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Bathroom Project: part 1

I did all this a couple years ago, in December. And while I was at it, I wrote a sort of diary about it as follows:

True and Distressing Tales of a Do-It-Yourselfer

Chapter One, or “Why My Husband is Peeing in a Snowbank”

It’s midnight. It’s December. My husband is standing outdoors peeing in a snowbank. I know what you’re thinking, and no he didn’t just get home from the bar. He’s not a drinking man.

He’s standing out in the snowbank because at 8:30 this morning I thought I was going to do a load of laundry. Silly me. It’s Monday. I should have known nothing could be simple and straight forward.

I’ve lived in this house for four years and the stool has never flushed right, but hey, it eventually does what it’s supposed to, so no problem. Right? Well, this morning was the straw that broke the camel’s back. The washing machine hit that spin cycle and the stool backed up and over flowed and the bathtub started filling up.

By the time I discovered the problem and got the washing machine shut off, of course the water was running down thru the trap door into the dirt crawl space under the house. It was also saturating the two cotton rugs, various towels and newspapers on the bathroom floor. Ish.

Nothing was draining. We’ve had a cold spell lately so I thought it was possible, not probable, but possible that the sewer line could be frozen. So I heated up the old tea kettle and poured water down the washer drain pipe. Water level in bathtub rose by approximately one kettle full.

Heated another teakettle full. Poured it down the bathroom sink. Level of water in the toilet rose. This continued thru out the morning. The water level would go down a bit and I’d pour more boiling water. I finally couldn’t stand the thought of the laundry sitting there half spun out. I put the drain hose in a five gallon bucket and let it finish it’s cycle.

It was a lovely day. While I was considering the thought that our sewer line was clogged beyond belief, I was shoveling the front step in my shirt sleeves. Finally I called my dear husband at work and told him the story. His first thought was to call someone to fix it! Huh? Who’s going to pay for that?

Well, there are no plumber type guys around here anyway. The husband is at work, that leaves—me. Our sewer line has no cleanout trap, so the only solution is to pull the toilet off and go from there. So, I got out my trusty shop vac, sucked water out of the tub and carted it outdoors, around the snowbank, and dumped. Sucked more water out of the tub, carted outdoors, etc, sucked water out of the toilet, etc. On and on it went till things were dry. The shut off valve for the toilet was corroded beyond use by years of water leaks, so I had to shut the water to the whole house off. Aw, too bad, can’t do dishes.

Took the toilet off, got the plumbers snake out and started working on the sewer pipe. The water level in t he pipe did go down completely after awhile. But I needed a shut off valve so I could get water on to the rest of the house, so I decided I better make a flying trip to town. Thirty five miles, one way. Took the old valve into the hardware store with me, and got all the parts I need. As long as I was in town, I finished my Christmas shopping. Got home, just barely ahead of dear hubby.

We get to work putting things back together. Every single piece the guy at the hardware store had given me was the wrong size! So not only are things not draining, we’ve got no incoming water until tomorrow. And I don’t care what kind of balmy day it was out today, it’s darn cold when you’re doing your business in a bucket on the porch!

Noon, Day 2

Doesn’t seem like much has gotten accomplished this morning. I started my day by checking in at my favorite on-line message boards, then got to work at 7:30. Where to start! First things first, I had to put shoes, coat, hat and gloves on to take the slop bucket out to the compost pile. Back inside, I had to move all the plumbing tools out of the bathroom and go out to the cold garage and get carpentry tools. Again with the shoes and coat and hat and gloves. Thank goodness it was in the upper 30’s. Then I started ripping up old vinyl floor covering. At that point I realized I was going to need a putty knife. I left my putty knives at the church when I was working on a drywall project (which is still a work in progress). Once more, I put the shoes and coat and hat and gloves and trek over to the church for my tools.

It was a nice morning for a walk and I’m happy to say the sunrise was spectacular. There were a few whispy clouds that changed from purple to hot pink to soft orange as the sun came up over the hill. Ripping up old flooring is dirty dusty work I found. The sort of dirty dusty work that could really use a shop vac to suck up the mess. So, on again with the shoes and coat and hat and gloves to empty what’s left of yesterday’s water from the shop vac. Back inside I work away at the floor, pausing often to ponder how it’s all going to work.

Pry bar in hand, I start on the rotted floor boards. Ha! The floor boards run underneath the wall, so I call dad to have him bring his reciprocating saw. While I’m waiting for him, I pry up what boards I can and pull out the rusty, equally rotted nails. The sub floor doesn’t look great and I sit on the edge of the tub. If I stare at it long enough, maybe the problem will go away! No, the problem’s not going away. Rot is rot and I really don’t want to lay new boards over it. The trouble is, the sub floor is old 1x12 lap boards that run diagonally across the floor joists. There’s not really any way to replace them without pulling up the whole entire floor. That’s not something I want to do very bad, and when Dad gets here, something he flat refuses to even consider.

As I’m hanging head first down in the little hole we laughingly refer to as a “crawl space”, I discover that some dolt in the past has cut out a 2 ft. section of floor joist to install the sewer pipe. And then we wonder why we’re sinking! Of course there’s plumbing and wiring running every which way so it’s impossible to get in there and reinforce things.

Enter Dad. Let me explain that dad is an old cowboy with attitudes that match. He’s a pretty good furniture builder, but when it come to fixing houses, he’s something less of a perfectionist than I. My plan is to replace the rotted floor boards with the same kind of lumber, which I have on hand, then sand donw and varnish the whole thing. Dad’s idea is to just cut a piece of plywood to the right size and throw some cheap linoleum over it. No, no, no! Douglas fir may not be the ideal wood flooring, but it’s what I’ve got, and I will have wood floors. Why would I want new linoleum off gassing fumes in my house if I can avoid it? It wouldn’t be so bad if I could get real genuine linoleum, but I’ve priced that and I couldn’t afford that even if I won the lottery.

We compromised on the sub flooring. Cut out the most rotted section and replaced it with a chunk of plywood, reinforced underneath with 2x4’s. Not the perfect solution, but it’s about all we can do. Nothing more to be done without plumbing parts which won’t be here until the hubby gets home from work.

10 pm. We have running water!!! Hurray! No toilet until tomorrow. Boo, hiss!!!!!!! DH had to build a piece to go from the toilet into the sewer drain because of course they don’t make parts that size anymore. Imagine that! So, with a piece of this and a piece of that and some super duper glue and a prayer, he made a collar (I think it’s actually called a closet something or other) that should work.

Day 3

9:40 am. Time for a coffee break! The tongue and groove flooring is installed- properly I might add. The collar that DH built last night to go between the toilet and sewer pipe is installed and the hose clamps tightened.

Good thing I’m bendy. At least I always thought I was bendy, darling daughter #3 came home from science class and informed me that I am double jointed. Whatever. Fact of the matter is- I was hanging head first in the crawl space again this morning. Oh, my sinuses! Had a ratchet with 3 extensions on it that just barely reached the screw on the hose clamp that is around the rubber boot that is around the sewer pipe. The object of the game was to get that tiny little socket on the little screw and tighten the hose clamp around the new fittings. It’s a very good thing I have very long arms, because it took one arm, threaded amongst the various plumbing parts under there to hold the hose clamp in place and the other arm to run the ratchet. As usual, I got myself into a predicament, accomplished what I needed to and had no idea how to get out. Right arm was stuck! It took some wiggling around to get loose again.

The toilet bowl is properly installed and bolted to the floor. A good mornings work if I do say so myself. I spent a half hour scraping Decades of caulking off the base of the tub. Those do-it-yourself shows on television never show you things like that. “And the list of tools you’ll need is: hammer, chisel, razor blade, utility knife, putty knife, younger knees, and an extensive supply of swear words.”

When I’ve had enough coffee, and applied enough linament to my shoulders, I’ll be getting out the belt sander to start refinishing the floor. I have to do the little strip between the tub and the toilet bowl before I put the toilet tank back on, otherwise there will be no room to work. At least I have a pot to pee in again! And I’m going to try running the washing machine. We’ll find out just how clear- or not- that sewer line is.

Stay tuned for Chapter 2- or What Do I Work on Next?

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

My Summer Project

I've started renovating my bathroom-- finally! It's something that's long past due. I wish I'd have thought to get "before" pictures, I guess I have to settle for "near the beginning" pics. The wall was covered with old fiberboard, several layers of wallpaper, and just lately, several varieties of fungi. So, as terrible as these pictures look, it's a big improvement from what it was a week ago.

This whole thing started because it's been raining into the bathroom. Now that I've got the wall torn apart we can see the leak is not where we thought it was. Now we're not sure where it is, so we're waiting for another rain to see.

I'll be replacing the window along with re-doing the wall and sill. I've been dreading this project for a long time. Now that I've got it started it's nice to find that it's not as bad as we first thought.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Latest Junk Finds

First things first, here a more tulips pictures from my garden. A gorgeous white peony flowered tulips. Wish I had a whole bunch of them, but ended up with just one out of a mixed bag of bulbs I bought. The hot pink beauties edged with white came from my parents house. I need to get them split now that they've multiplied nicely. They are SUCH cheerful looking tulips. They show up a little redder in the photo than what they actually are.

Now, on to junk. I went to an auction yesterday and spent $5. I came home with two big lamps, two end tables, a bowling ball, two laundry racks, and a five gallon bucket of assorted "stuff". Oh, and a set of four old tv trays. It's been years since I've seen the likes of these things. I brought them in the house and DH just fell in love with them. So, for now he gets to have them for "his". When I get sick of moving them around, I'll do something creative with them.