Before & After

Filed under: @ 7:15 pm

So March has been a giant slavering turd of a month, but for the most part it’s over now. Well, except for the garage. Right now our garage looks like a particularly energetic bomb went off, but I don’t live in the garage, I only interact with the garage for a few minutes a couple of times a day and it can, by god, stay looking like a particularly energetic bomb went off until I damn well feel like doing something about it.

We would, once again and forever, like to extend our gratitude to the following:

Curt, Shawn & Annie (and Anastasia for keeping Della busy), & Steve for the gracious gift of a Saturday afternoon to help friends move heavy shit. We have no words but thank you.

Mom & Dad for lunch, companionship, good suggestions, and a remarkable chocolate stout cake. Also for bedtime stories without which I wouldn’t have been doing much sleeping over the last few weeks.

The Lenzers and assorted hangers on for grief, support, chaos, humor, and a lot of love. They say you don’t actually know someone until you see them under the most stress. In the last month Lenzers have shown me that you don’t necessarily need great stress. As always you have provided grief, support, chaos, humor, and a lot of love. It’s nice to know that I’ve always known the real people.

And I’d like to add a shout out to my boss lady, Melinda Cumming, for putting up with me missing shifts, leaving early, being frazzled, short tempered, and glum without getting too worried about it.

All that having been said…..

So let’s go back to, oh, about the 21st or so.
Friday the 21st, I got up, ate breakfast, and started truly alarming my cats by, instead of sitting at my computer for a couple of hours as is my habit on my day off, started moving things. And moving things. And moving things. The scope of this project encompassed the entire upstairs of our house except for three small bedrooms, and the entire downstairs except for Andrew’s office and the laundry room. Which meant that we had to compact about 2/3 of the house into 1/3 of it.
I got things off walls, I packed up books (note to self: books are HEAVY, use SMALL boxes the next time). I moved fragile knick knacks, I took apart shelves, I moved what furniture I could and I wondered how we’d managed to move so much shit into a small house in such a short period of time.
Saturday? Same thing! Except we were also emptying the fridge so the guys could move it Monday morning.
Sunday? Same thing! Only add Shawn & Annie with Anastasia and Della, Curt, and a metric boatload of sushi as a bribe for helping to move the heavy shit. Andrew’s hand is well healed from the surgery that he had earlier in the month, but he only had surgery three weeks ago and is strictly forbidden to lift anything heavy. As I can recall it Sunday afternoon was the last time before now that we had any peace and quiet. After we finished moving heavy shit and after we’d finished lunch, we adjourned to the porch for talk and toasted marshmallows. For the record, if you don’t have graham crackers Girl Scout Thin Mints work amazingly well for S’mores.

Monday morning I packed up the cats and went to work. Ivan The Installer and his goons showed up Monday morning and proceeded to move the stove, the dishwasher, and the fridge then pulled out the godawful carpet, the vinyl in the kitchen, and started to put the new flooring in.
This is the dining room before:
Before DR:Disgruntled Flitter

Please excuse the disgruntled cat in the foreground.

And here’s a closeup of the dining room carpet:
Closeup:DR Diamond Pattern

I believe it’s what’s called a berber carpet? Not sure. Small, hard loopy things with a raised diamond shaped pattern that was guaranteed to be almost impossible to vacuum. Who puts carpet with what amounts to PITS in it in a dining room?

Vinyl in the kitchen? Mostly white. Who puts WHITE vinyl anywhere, let alone in a KITCHEN?!

This is what the living room looked like when I left on Monday.
Before LR:Disgruntled Flitter

Please excuse the disgruntled cat in the background.

Closeup of the carpet:
Closeup Powder Blue

Powder. Freakin’. Blue. No one, but NO ONE with children, grandchildren, friends, pets, a garden, or FEET puts powder blue carpeting ANYWHERE. There are colors that are harder to keep clean, I’m sure, but it’d be hard to find one.

Came home Monday evening and the stove and dishwasher were in the living room. The refrigerator was on the back porch, there was no carpeting anywhere, and no where to sit. We had a pair of wickedly annoyed cats. Ate pizza in bed, put the cats away for the night, and woke up way too damn early the next morning to do it all over again.

Ivan the Installer and Vlad the Installer showed up Tuesday morning. Andrew reports that it was loud.

Andrew checked into our home away from home, The Embassy Suites, on Tuesday afternoon. The cats, thank god, adjusted to the whole situation fairly quickly. The cats, in fact, thought that sleeping with people was a charming idea and they were enchanted with having an UNDER to the bed. We have a captain’s bed on a solid base so there is no under to our bed. Under the bed was a BIG favorite.
People sleeping with cats, however, was not so popular. The cats might have slept well, we didn’t so much. Pogo likes to sleep on my head.

Wednesday and Thursday passed pretty much in a blur. I was really glad to hit Thursday evening and not have to plan to go to work again the next morning.
And Thursday afternoon Vlad called and said he was done. WOO HOO! So we planned that I’d come back from work and we’d go to the house to see whether or not we’d be able to move back in on Friday.

No. No we couldn’t.
We got home Thursday evening and opened a door. Two people each took one step inside and were promptly shoved back out the door by the STANK. It was literally breathtaking. Eyes watering, lungs shrieking, we backed out and closed the door. A little planning and we mounted an assault on two doors at once. In the house, outside to breathe. In the house, open a window, outside to breathe. And so on.
We were here for probably a half hour opening windows, turning on fans and marveling at how ABSOLUTELY FREAKING GORGEOUS THE FLOORS ARE!!

After Stairs

Living Room:
After LR II
After LR

Dining Room/Kitchen:
After DR
After DR:Kitchen

These photos, by the way, weren’t taken on our whirlwind tour Thursday evening. By the time we left Thursday evening we could both feel our DNA unwinding so the idea of staying to take photos was one we did not entertain.

Friday morning I was back at the house at 8:30. I had had romantic notions of sitting on the porch with all the windows open enjoying the sunshine while waiting for the dudes to show up to re-install the dishwasher and deliver the new fridge, but it was, as is has been for most of the last six weeks, pouring. Also the house! Ay-yi-yi! As much pre-planning, moving, smooshing, taping, and covering in plastic as we had done, the house was COVERED in microfine dust.
So Friday morning I came home, I opened all the windows (actually the stank had dissipated considerably) I turned on all the fans and I started to clean. I was here for (totting up on my fingers) 10 hours cleaning on Friday and I’m still finding little patches where there’s dust.
We were actually scheduled to stay at the hotel Friday night, but Andrew in his wisdom, asked why we should. The house was livable, the stank had dissipated, why stay at a hotel, as comfortable as it was, full of high school chorus members when our bed was calling?
So we ate dinner bundled up the cats and checked out. Our bed is GLORIOUS!

Andrew and I have both spent the last two days unpacking, cleaning, re-cleaning, moving, pushing, shoving, reeling, writhing, and fainting in coils. The house looks like ours again (except with MUCH better floors), the cats are settled and happy (except that it’s 10 after 7 p.m. and I’ve not fed them dinner yet), and I DON’T WANT TO DO THIS EVER AGAIN.
Except that the house needs painting.
That, however is going to have to wait until we recover from this.
Living Room:
Living Room
Kitchen/Dining Room:
Kitchen/Dining Room
Family Room:
After FR
Come on over. Just please take off your shoes!


Rest in Peace

Filed under: @ 8:52 am

“Memento, homo … quia pulvis es, et in pulverem reverteris” (Genesis 3:29)
“Remember, man, that thou art dust and unto dust thou wilt return.”

Joan & Tony on the sofa

Joan Lee (Linn) Lenzer. March 18, 1930 – March 10, 2014

Requiem Aeternam dona eis, Domine
Requiem et lux perpetua luceat eis:
Requiescant in pace. Requiem. Amen.


Dear Joan

Filed under: @ 11:16 pm

Thank you so much for my husband, the love of my life. I’ll take good care of him for you.

Be at peace.

All my love,

Mom, Margaret & Daffodils


It’s a PLOT!

Filed under: @ 4:11 pm

It’s a lousy, stinking PLOT! Or a suicide pact or something!

So we’re having our floors redone. Part of the labor that the floor goons will provide is to remove and replace our stove and our refrigerator. So we thought, being as we were paying someone to remove the refrigerator, AND seeing as the refrigerator is 21 years old, now would be an ideal time to get a new refrigerator.
I don’t like side by side refrigerators anyway, they’re too damn narrow and this one…… Well, to its credit, it hasn’t gone kaflooey yet. But it’s going to. And this way we can PLAN to move all our perishables into a cooler for several days instead of having to do it, say, just before our next party or something. Or after our next party (shudder). I’m not sure which would be worse. 😯

So anyway, we go down to Albert Lee Appliance whom long time readers of UADN may recall from our last remodeling saga. We looked over refrigerators, we compared sizes and interior capacities and energy efficiencies and so on and eventually we purchased a refrigerator. Now the new refrigerator won’t be installed until after the floors are done at the end of this month and maybe we were a little careless in talking about it in the kitchen.


Tuesday morning I got up at an obscene hour, ate my oatmeal, put my lunch together, and put my tea in the microwave so I’d have hot tea to take to work with me.
Open the door, put the teacup in the microwave, close the door, press the button, two minutes later you have hot tea. Pretty simple, right?
Except for Tuesday morning.
I pushed the button and…. no happy little microwaves speeding up my tea molecules.
I’m not exactly at my best at dark a.m. but I SWEAR I did everything correctly to start a microwave. I opened the door, I took my teacup out, I closed the door. I opened the door again, I put my teacup back in, I pressed the button and………

So this morning, now that Andrew is able to go without hydrocodone (he had surgery on his left hand again yesterday, did we mention that?), we packed up and went back to Albert Lee Appliance to purchase a bloody damn microwave!

In the 13 years we have lived in this house we have replaced the dishwasher, the stove, and the washer and dryer. There aren’t any major appliances left except the furnace and the hot water heater.

SSSshhhhhh! No one say anything!


The Saga of The Floors

Filed under: @ 7:13 am

Is about to begin.

Y’all cannot have failed to notice over the years that we *hate* the carpeting in this house.
The downstairs with its electric raspberry was quickly solved by having Scrum pee all over it. As annoying as that was, it did show that he had taste. I’d have peed on it too if Scrum hadn’t beaten me to it.
So we yanked that one out within a year or so of moving in. It was wonderfully therapeutic even though it exposed the tremendously ugly 1968 vintage asphalt tile that had, at one point, been covered with linoleum that was underneath the carpet pad.
The asphalt tile is ugly, but the carpet was worse!
The upstairs, however….. Powder blue carpeting. Nobody in their right minds, nobody with pets, friends, children, grandchildren, a garden, to say nothing of actual honest to god FEET, puts powder blue carpeting in ANYWHERE. And to put powder blue carpeting on the floor smacks of serious lunacy.
But we haven’t had the money or the momentum to break free and do something about it.

Now we do! 😀 The carpeting is old, permanently stained in places, a major PITA to clean, and a dust trap. Did I mention that one of the major allergens that both of our cats have in their profile is house dust? BooYAH, laminate flooring is going to be SO much easier on their systems!

We had three companies come out to do bids for us. One was a major, multi outlet franchise. Two were small, local companies. Mr. Multi Outlet Franchise came out all slick in a company car, suit, briefcase, laser measuring device, the whole nine yards. I was impressed and he immediately shot to the top of my list.
The second, a few hours later, was a little scruffy in jeans, writing down measurements on the back of the Google Maps instructions he had printed out to get him here. #2 had samples of products that we looked at and chose, but what distinguished #2 was….. He LOOKED! #2 poked around, pulled up furnace vents looked under the carpet, and what he found under the hated, filthy, hard to clean powder blue carpet in the majority of our upstairs was….

5/8″ oak hardwood.

Ah yup! Ours is one of those houses where the original owners got all fashionable in the early ’70s and covered what looks to be some pretty damn gorgeous flooring with wall to wall carpet. Which Mr. Multi Outlet Franchise was going to find only AFTER he had sold us (without return or refund I’m sure) the entire upstairs full of laminate flooring.

#2 shot immediately to the top of our list and since #3 is a nice enough guy, but totally flaky, we’re going with #2.

I’ll get around to naming names after the job is done and we’re satisfied enough to post a glowing review. As it turns out #2 is also a little flaky, but since he’s so far only been flaky personally instead of flaky professionally we’re still anticipating something pretty spectacular.

In the mean time it’s going to be a big, fat, sweaty pain in the ass. We’ve got to move furniture, we’ve got to pack up books and ornaments and ourselves, our cats, and our snakes for two days when Vlad The Installer and his dudes are here sanding and refinishing the hardwood.

T-minus 4 weeks and counting at this point. Andrew’s having surgery on another of his hands during the first week in March and Sara is going to be here during the second week in March so we put the whole thing off until the last week in March.
We can’t promise not to be grumpy, distracted, annoyed, harried, or completely insane, but damn we’re going to have nice floors!

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