Monday, October 9

The After

It took them less than a week, despite some less-than-perfect weather, and now our house is all freshly painted:





As you see, for the porch floor we decided to go for a red instead of the grey it used to be or some equally innocuous color. The idea was that it would stand out a bit while still matching the red bricks of the structure. I have to admit that we have somewhat mixed feelings about the result. I like the color a lot by itself, but it does reflect quite a bit of redness onto the whole porch that I am a bit unsure of. But my guess is that it will grow on me. And I sure do love the green fishscales.

All in all I think the house looks a lot better, and I'm very happy that we got it painted both for appearances and for preservation reasons. I'm especially happy because we live in the historic district intown so the borough was willing to give us a grant to do some of the work and a loan to pay for some more of it, all of which means that despite my cheapskate tendencies I am only freaking out a little about th elarge checks we have written this week.

Friday, October 6

Windows Update

No, I'm not asking you to download anything.

I just thought that I should thank you all for your helpful advice and let you know that the window problem was solved. And, as expected, despite the large number of hours that the Head Painter and K. and I all put into trying to solve the problem, it took the carpenter that the painter brought in approximately six minutes to solve the issue. Basically, he just removed the whole storm window frame from the outside (including the storm windows) , and then we were able to access the top window (which you may recall had fallen down) and push it up to the top where he nailed it in to keep it from sliding back down. It then took a few seconds with a paint scraper to loosen the paint on the lower window and now it opens and closes as if nothing happened.


Getting Better All The Time

I don't have much to say, unless you want to hear about how my students did on their linera algebra exam, but the painting is progressing on pace and I thought I would share with you some more pictures of the progress made by the end of day four:



Heck, even the stairs are starting to look better, though there is still some work to be done:


The painters said that they were going to finish today, but its raining pretty hard outside so my guess is that the project will extend into the weekend. But it will all be done soon.

Tuesday, October 3

Two Midnights Gone

We haven't solved the window problem yet, but the painters have now finished two solid days of work on the house. And today I chose to work from home (file under: Joys Of Being An Academic) so I could chat with them a bit and watch them work and, yes, take some action-packed photos of the progress being made on the house:






While it is a lesson that I probably should have learned last year when we did all the painting on the interior of the house, I have to say that I am amazed at how much better things can look even after a single coat of fresh paint. Combine that with the warmer shade of white and a little bit of color! It seems like it will be a whole new house. And that is before they have even started working on some of the things that most desperately need the new paint job, like the porches and the stairs:


Zeno's Window

The painters are hard at work on their scraping and painting, and pictures will be forthcoming. So far, we have hit two bumps in the road. The first is that they started to paint some of the trim the wrong shade of white (and yes, like the Box o' Vinegars, it feels way too grownup to be spending lots of energy differentiating shades of white) but luckily we caught this before it went too far and the painters were very gracious about re-doing that work.

The other problem seems like it may be harder to overcome. You see, we have this window in our dining room. And at some point shortly after we moved in we noticed there was a problem with this window and that the top part of the window got pushed down behind the bottom part. So far the only way that this has negatively impacted us is that on the top there was only a storm window between us and the outside which is not exactly the best insulation, but we dealt with this in a very ad hoc manner with many sheets of plastic, all of which were nicely hidden by our curtain. But now we need to remove the storm window for the painters. And we cannot do this because there are not one but two big pieces of glass between us and the little buttons we need to push to remove the storm window. And neither of these parts of the window move because (according to the painter) they are jammed in too tightly with the storm window and the screen. And even after removing some of the molding to try to access the window, we don't see a way to get it out. Oh, and did I mention that the ropes have all broken, too? Hmm.

Anyone know of any magic ways to remove windows?

Monday, October 2

The Before

Between K's new job and me drowning in stacks of exams to grade, we have barely had a chance to think about working on the house, other than the bare minimum needed to take care of the garden (and sometimes not even that, as evidenced by the foot deep grass I mowed this morning). And that has meant that no work has gotten done which in turn means that we have had very little to share with y'all.

But that's about to change.

No, we aren't entering easier times at work. Nor are we quitting our jobs to devote more energy to our house, as tempting as that may be. No, we are contracting out some work. As astute readers may have noticed, the exterior of our house is in desperate need of a paint job. My completely untrained and unskilled eyes would estimate that it has been a decade since the trim and porches were last painted, and it definitely shows:




So this week some painters are coming in to scrape, paint, and spruce up the exterior of our friendly little abode. But before they could get started they needed all of the storm windows removed, so that is what we got to spend our Sunday afternoon doing:


Sunday, October 1

I would like to buy you sunflowers...

As mentioned previously, one of the most successful elements of our garden this year has to have been the sunflowers.




I have sunflowers in my backyard that shine like diamonds when you squint your eyes - David Garza

In fact, it is without an ounce of exaggeration that I can say that several of these flowers grew to be literally as big as my head, as demonstrated here:


But nothing lasts forever and the sunflowers have begun to die, and we decided it was time to decapitate them and cut down the flowers. At one point we had grand visions have harvesting the sunflower seeds and eating them, but it has quickly become apparent that we are not that patient, and unless we get a pet monkey that we can train to harvest and shuck the seeds, I think they will soon find themselves in the compost bin rather than allowing us to do our best Mulder impersonations.