Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Lost and Found

My back porch has been in bad shape for a long time. When my house was built, it was built by a notoriously bad builder, and he obviously did his usual work on this abode. The layout is bad, the kitchen was tiny, not made for an actual family, though the house is three bedroom/3 bath. One would think the house was built with a family in mind. But in the last part of the '70s, this part of the country was in a boom, there were no houses to be had, and thousands of people looking for a place to live. The construction business was in full swing and no one really cared what they did, just so they got the houses up.
I didn't buy this house, and I would have never thought to buy this house... At that time, I was in school and was thinking about my date on Friday night, but someone bought the house. Nearly 10 years later, my husband bought the house from that person...  then another 13 years or so, we married and I moved in.... Not my choice. I mean, I chose to marry him... but I had lived in my dream house before I divorced, the house I was "raised" in, and really never wanted to leave it... but... things happen,... and after I divorced, I moved into a townhouse  and then after I married, moved into this house because it was practicle... and have been here ever since...

When my husband was in High School he bought a house down the street from his parents home, I know... 16 years old and very responsible. He traded houses with his brother when he got married, and then they found this house, I guess his ex wanted it pretty much, they bought it, furnished it, and then, they divorced. He lived here for a long time all by himself. It looked like a bachelor pad really.
 He had two water beds, an office full of everything but office... and a pantry full of junk food!
Seriously. The walls had never been painted.. the carpet and drapes were all the original. It had nice furnishings, he did have good taste, but it was very sparse. Which for most people would be nice. Me? I like things around me that mean something to me, remind me, soothe me, give me inspiration... I like family stuff...

So my loving husband  told me  I could do anything to the house that I wanted to, within reason...it took me a few years, but I painted and replaced curtains, drapes, and some furniture, but really didn't change much other than adding my junk to the house, changing the office into a nursery, and adding people to the house.

 It was home, and I enjoyed it... but I would have changed the kitchen, definitely the kitchen. It was literally 8'x10' which made it so much smaller with the counters, refrigerator and stove. Now, I know that a lot of people have tiny kitchens, but... I had not had a small kitchen since I was first married years before, and even that kitchen was bigger. My townhouse had a bigger kitchen. My old house had a 32'x16' kitchen and a pantry and cellar to keep overflow in and I didn't bring all my kitchen stuff... but what I brought never fit into this tiny kitchen...

The kitchen should have been first to be remodeled, but sadly, it was pretty far down there on the list. I could live with it I told myself, we needed to take care of other things... like kids and I could live with just painting and curtains...

I did joke around that I was allergic to this kitchen, every time I went in there I got a headache... and seemed to be the honest truth. I thought it was just tension, tight quarters and all... Having two little ones running around underfoot and a cat and sometimes my husband cooking bacon for the family...it was really cramped. Matter of fact, I got really irritable in the kitchen... I just figured it was tension.

So, after my husband passed away, there were a lot of things that went neglected for a few years.., I didn't have a normal job, and with the kiddos, I didn't want a full time job... I went back to work at the college, teaching in the evenings in the Continuing Ed dept. and did what I could to keep the house going...
But one of the things that needed repair was the roof... It had to be replaced pretty soon after my husband passed... the insurance was a pain in the butt... they didn't want to honor the claim... and my father in law had to step in and talk to the insurance company...   and the job got done, though they balked at the back porch. They said it hadn't been replaced the last time there was a storm and it wasn't covered... so it didn't get done. . at the time, I didn't have extra money to put into the roof... we needed to eat...

When they built this house, they left a small bit of concrete at the back, behind the garage with no roof I suppose, that is the only explanation for the reason that the roof that is over it now could have so much damage. Whoever put it up, and I'm hoping it wasn't the contractor, did a really poor job of it... and it caused a lot of damage to the adjoining structure. They lifted the roof of the garage up and inserted a couple of pieces of wood and used a couple of 4x4s for posts on the yard side, they had tucked the flashing under the porch roof line, not extending it over to the new porch, just wrapping it somehow, thinking that would keep rain out? I don't know the reasoning behind that...
 It allowed the water to pour down and into the wall of the porch, which rotted all the 2x4s, and the siding and doorframe...Well, it caused more damage than it would have cost to pay for it outright at the time, but...I just didn't have the money...

So... the kitchen, it was probably the last thing on the list, especially not having extra money... but it was just hard to work in, and the final straw was the cabinet over the little peninsula that had been drooping... I mean literally drooping. I had marked a pencil mark because I thought it looked like it had come away from the moulding... but I wasn't sure.  Sure enough, after 6 months there was a noticeable gap there... then after a year, it had grown to more than a quarter inch... I asked someone and they said it was fine....

I had china and crystal in that row of cabinets.I started to worry about the weight of it, but people told me not to worry, that it would be bolted up there and wouldn't come down... that's what cabinets are made for.... so I put it off another year...

sure... it's fine...

I don't know what prompted it, but it slipped down another quarter of an inch and I got worried... so I called on my handy man... that's what I call him, though he says he's not that handy... but I ask him to do and fix everything and he obliges... He said he could look at it... when he got the moulding off, it had about an inch and a half between the ceiling and the cabinet top... not a good thing. Soooo.... I said, can you move the cabinets that are here... and put them there?? take out the sofit... since it is wasted space?  He says sure... kind of shrugging his shoulders...

So that is how we found out there was black mold above the stove...

... so out came everything, down to the walls, and replaced with a nice, roomier, brighter and cleaner room  with a lot of cabinets and counter space. The refrigerator was moved and now we have a kitchen/dinette that is not quite as big as I would like, but bigger than it was.  And you can't begin to imagine how much lighter it is without that ugly cabinet over the counter.... I love the light...I'm broke, but I love how it has progressed.

The rest of the house was in need of repairs, the electric and plumbing was horrible, out of date and dangerous. It is like the Money Pit... The walls are insulated but not much, and neither was the attic, so I had insulation added to the ceiling, the walls will have to wait. I would love to just go through and 'fix' the whole house... but I don't have the money.

But that back porch.. it just couldn't wait. The wood is rotted, it is falling down, and I am afraid that one of the kids will get hurt. Really, it is literally falling down.

So it came down... Thanks again to the 'handyman'!!   Honestly, it  had needed to be torn down for the past  6 years, the six driest years in the like six decades  they say... And wouldn't you know it,  the next day after it was torn down....we had torrential downpours... I'm not kidding. You can imagine my horror, watching the deluge, hoping that the piece of tin keeping the rain from entering the closed in porch would hold. It was an afterthought, you know, that ... what if it rains... will it get into the back porch??

... So, I am watching the slow progress, as we are in the wettest Fall in many, many years. So it is going to be much needed...  It will be nothing fancy, just enough to keep the water out of the house and the sun at bay in the Summer. That was the main purpose of the roof anyway, at least I guess it was, or to have a place for a bbq pit to sit...  I don't know, but for the past three years, it has been home to the cabinets that were torn out of the kitchen, the only ones that didn't have mold in them, only to be ruined  by rain. Welp. they got tossed since they got soaked. Thank God. The porch is cleared and it gave me incentive, that and the rain, to do some cleaning on the closed in porch.

There is stuff in the closed in porch that has just been shoved there, through work on the kitchen, through clean out of my husband's storage building... through clean out of the kids rooms... extra Christmas decorations... stuff that needs to go!!!1
 I don't know how much will get done, I don't have that much energy, but I'm going to give it a try!!  I know if I am not up to having a garage sale, I can always take it to the charity shops.

Sigh....

Slowly but surely... it will get done... the house will be nice... We won't have junk, well... other than good junk... and it will be all right. I keep telling myself. It will be all right. I'm broke... but it will be ok.

Friday, November 08, 2013

The Pioneer Woman does it again!

I just love Ree Drmmond, the Pioneer Woman. She has the best blogs, blogs that usually make you laugh, sometimes to think, and sometimes to cry. Her recipes are to die for and she is just a powerhouse... she home schools her kids, she writes these wonderful blogs, has recipe books and kids books and a wonderful husband.... and she has a cooking show on Food Network.... I think she is amazing.
Well, today she is giving away another one of the beautiful mixers in turquoise and floral. I enter her giveaways, but I have never won anything.... but I have hope.  I am hoping that I win this mixer... I covet it. I am in love with it.... and I need it!
Well, ok, so needing it isn't part of the equation, I don't NEED it.... but it would make life so much easier. Like when I got the food processor, I didn't NEED it. I wanted to update the way I prepared food. I had used the old hand cranked grinder for everything. I made chow-chow and relish with it, as well as grinding venison, pork, beef.... well, everything that had to be ground up. I didn't use it for pecans though, I have a modern chopper for that. You know, one of those little gizmos that fits on top of a glass jar, you turn the handle and it feeds the nuts from the top through the grinding teeth and into the waiting glass jar?  Oh, come on, doesn't everyone use that?
OK, so my kitchen is still kind of out of date. My food processor is the same one that I bought about 20 years ago... my blender is near 30. OK it is about 35.... but it still works great. I do need to update. I have my Aunt Billie's stand mixer from the 1950s... and a hand mixer that is only about 10 years old. I do have a microwave. I do have a toaster oven, and a coffee maker that my old boss bought for me, yes, I haven't worked for him in a dozen years, but.... OK, I don't like change.
I would love a new mixer.

I haven't been working on jewelry this week. I had a bad spell with my eyes, but I worked on a kimono that I've wanted to try out. I made my own pattern based on another one that I saw, but I didn't like the way it looked, but the idea was good, so... .I drafted the pattern, cut it out in fabric and have it most of the way finished. I can't tell if it will lay well still, I used a heavy material because it was handy... but I did have fun hemming it.
I own a few machines, sewing machines that is. I own quite a few, but the thing I love about some of them is that they have all the gizmos that go with them. Usually it is the old, old machines that have all the added feet. The newer machines might have some feet, but they deny the coolest feet, making you spend a fortune for the ones like lace attachment, cording, bias binder foot.... I know not many people use those, but, darnit, they used to come standard on the old machines.

I have an old Singer Featherweight that has all the bells and whistles, so I tried out one of the feet, the hem roller, on my Brother and it worked, well, pretty much worked, the shank is just a little bit too long, or the attachment shank is a bit too tall, but with three hands you can make it work....
I hemmed the whole of the fabric with just a quick pass, and I was so pleased.
Yes, I could have used the Featherweight to do the hemming, but it doesn't have a threader on it. I have to have a threader if I am sewing by myself. Or a bunch of magnifying glasses, and I just didn't want to mess with that.

When I get the finished product done out of the right weight cloth, and screen printed, I'll post a picture. OK, when I find the cord from the camera to the computer, I'll post a picture. Yes, I have lost it. I do have the Cannon, but I am wanting to use the camera that has the bigger screen that I can see instead of having to use the little view finder. ... Nothing can be easy around here.