Let's start at the very beginning, a very good place to start

If you're coming to this journal at this point, it may seem a little confusing. In March 2007 I switched my house journal to http://retrovation.blogspot.com, but I set it up to automatically update this LJ journal via email, just so that my LJ friends could know when I've updated my Blogger journal and have an easy way to link over to it.  So posts after a certain date are automatically entered, though stripped of all niceties such as photos and paragraph breaks.

Since LJ lists the most recent posts first, you may want to scan through this journal starting at the beginning. Click here to go to the first post of this journal, and you can work forward from there.

You can get the feed for the new blog in either ot two ways:
Go to the new blog, http://retrovation.blogspot.com, and add it to your feeds list (how you do it depends on your browser).
Or if you want to add the new blog to your LJ friends list, go to this page: http://syndicated.livejournal.com/retrovation/ and then click on the link on the top that says "Add it to your friends list".

(no subject)

I've decided to stop sending the text-only feeds from my new houseblog to this journal - without pictures or even text formatting it's just too messy

If you're interested in continuing to read my houseblog, you can subscribe to it in either of two ways:
Keep in touch!!

[Georgetown House] Slow progress, with pugs.

Dining room: 2/3 of the room done to round-1 level, 1/3 still needs
everything done to it. On the back wall is a sample of the color we're
going to paint this room, but not this week (click to see larger
version).Bathroom: Here's the new color, which we both really like. We
also re-stained the sink cabinet to better match the antique pine
cabinet which will eventually go on the wall (which you can see
reflected in the mirror), once our studfinder starts working. Actually
for now the cabinet will go on the wall behind the toilet, but as soon
as budget allows, that white beat-up cheapo sawdust cabinet you see
will be replaced by something lower and the pine cabinet will go above
that.The mirror and light above the sink have GOT to go, but alas, not
until we recover from The Attack of the HVAC System.And just because I
think it's cute: Pug Yin-Yang.

[Georgetown House] Why do I ever attempt plumbing?!? At least there's a mojit...

There is a rule in our house: I do the electrical work, and Von does
the plumbing. Except today I got a wee bit over-frustrated at the drip
from the outside faucet, which really isn't outside, it's under the
crawlspace, and I broke that rule. And the results caused me to
remember WHY I do electric and Von does plumbing.Apparently it's been
dripping for a while and we just never noticed it, except it's gotten
worse. So what did I do in my attempt to see if I could fix it, since I
couldn't wait one more minute for Von to get to it? I broke off half
the handle, and made it so we're losing even more water.The only good
thing that came out of my aborted attempt to stop the drip is even
though there's even more water coming out than there was before, most
of it's now coming out of the faucet instead of around the handle, so I
was at least able to attach a hose and route that to a planter so that
the water's not idly hanging out in our crawlspace tempting nasty
things to live there.And of course the faucet was rigged by the
previous owners in a way that's going to be a real bitch to fix:
Everything under there is PVC, which in theory should make it easier,
but there's the house shutoff then basically no space at all before the
T-connector to which the metal spigot is glued into place. Yes, I said
glued into place. If they had given a little more room, then even
someone as plumbing-impaired as I am could have just cut the PVC to
either side of the T-connector and put something else in its place. But
noooooooo, it couldn't possibly be that simple.So now we have to figure
out a way to fix this mess, and as long as we're under there I'm
determined to get it routed to outside of the crawlspace, which means
piping it to the foundation, putting in its own shutoff valve (what a
concept!), drilling through the blocks, and installing the new faucet.
Which of course neither of us really know how to do but our lack of
funds trumps our lack of experience and lack of desire to do this
ourselves.I hate plumbing.And I've been working on the floor again
today which hasn't helped my mood at all.At least I got us some steaks
for the new grill for tonight. Grilled steak, grilled brussels sprouts
with olive oil and rosemary, and grilled fresh peaches over dulce de
leche ice cream. Can I hear a YUM? And I think a mojito will be in
order, too - after all, the mint I have in the fridge will go bad soon
if I don't use it up!Oh and the blue we chose for the bathroom looks
really, really nice. I'd describe it as kind of a faded denim color.
Since we got a whole gallon for that little tiny room, I think we'll
paint one of the third floor rooms that color as well.

[Georgetown House] Low-budget compromises.

It's always a hard choice: Do something to make a room look better than
it does now but not nearly what you really want because you don't have
the money to do otherwise, or wait until you can do it "right." We're
starting on the downstairs bathroom to do just "better than now"
quick & dirty fixup. This is basically just bandaid #1 out of several,
but I do already see how it's going to make the room look better. It
just chaps my butt not to be able to do it "right."What we're going to
do is:
- Sand and refinish the stock oak base sink cabinet plus put on new
knobs to better match the antique pine wall cabinet that we bought for
that room. What we (ok, more me than Von but still...) really wanted
was to put in the antique pedestal sink that someone gave us, but it's
too damaged to put in without some serious restoration work. And a new
pedestal sink, or a new sink of any kind, just isn't in the budget
right now. Von already has them sanded and has on the first coat of
stain, and it's going to look a lot better than it did.
- Paint, a nice blue that we both really liked. Yes, we're going to
have to repaint after we get a new mirror/cabinet/lights, get a new
cabinet for towels and TP, maybe get a new sink, and patch the drywall
where the thermostat used to be (and a junction box cover sits now) but
at least for now it will be painted.
- Put up the new antique wall cabinet. The problem is that we can't put
it where it ultimately needs to go, because the ugly messed-up sawdust
cabinet we're using now for towels and stuff is too tall to put it
over. So we're putting it up over the toilet for now, and moving it
later once we can buy what we really want for that space.
- Put up new bathroom hardware (towel bars/hooks, tp holder, etc.). We
probably won't end up with the style and quality we'd really prefer,
but we'll at least have something a few steps above the HellMart
quality stuff that's in there now.Way future plans would be to rip out
and redo the shower, maybe even move the door to be off the hallway
instead of off the mudroom, but that's all dreams for now.Von's on
vacation this week, so hopefully this week will end up being pretty
productive. Von's going to do most of the work in the bathroom, plus
paint the walls in the stairway to match the living room, and probably
extend the color to the upstairs hallway.I'm going to spend this week
working on the dining room floors. And working on the dining room
floors. And working on the dining room floors.Just kill me now, k?

[Georgetown House] I wonder should I get up and fix myself a drink... no, no,...

I'm sooooooooooo tired, I don't know what to do. What I know I'm not
doing is any more work on this blasted floor today. I'm taking at LEAST
a 12 hour break, minimum. Like, from 10:30pm until 10:30am, minimum.
GAH!So, where I am. Oy, Yoda am I? Yes, so tired. Where am I on
this "get the linoleum adhesive off the dining room floor"
project:Around 1/3 of the room has all the staples removed, all the
basic scraping done, which means I've scraped up the black stuff that
will come up relatively easily (though still hellishly tediously)
without a seemingly endless cycle of soak/scrape/soak/scrape, and it's
been mopped.Ah, but "mopped," that sounds like such an easy task, no?
NO. This is The Mopping Of The Brown Gunk. See, under the black hard
stuff is the Brown Gunk. You might THINK that you've made decent
progress by scraping up the black stuff, but the Brown Gunk, it fool
you bad. Yes, it "mops up" but this is not an exaggeration: For every 6
sq ft or so of floor which averages 1/2 black stuff (easy to mop) and
1/2 brown gunk (hell to mop), it took 3-4 buckets of mopping, emptying
the water only when it was beyond sludge, then taking a minimum of 5
minutes of rinsing the mop between each bucket so that it could be
deemed "clean enough" to continue mopping.The middle 1/3 of the room
has the staples removed, or at least the ones that my knee, momentarily
holding all my weight, hasn't found yet. In that section I have
completed about 3/5 of the rough scraping. So what is "rough scraping"
as opposed to "basic scraping"? Rough scraping consists of using my
half-moon garden edger to scrape up the really REALLY loose stuff. To
reach "basic scraping" level requires sitting on my butt with a razor
scraper, scraping up the "able to be scraped up without soaking" stuff.
I'm leaving all the must-be-soaked stuff for last because I learned
from the one tiny section I did that is totally cleaned that the easily
scraped off stuff really just gunks up things as you're trying to
scraped off the must-be-soaked stuff.Am I making any sense? Didn't
think so.Tomorrow's goal is to finish the room to the staples out/rough
scraped/basic scraped/mopping from hell level. Sunday's goal is to take
out the last bit of plywood which requires me to figure out a way to
cut it in a straight line right across the dog's hallway where we're
putting vinyl flooring for now, do the staples/scrape/mop routine on
that, then do as much of the final soak/scrape removal of the black
stuff as I can handle, physically and mentally.Thank Maude that we have
air conditioning. As I'm doing this work, I have zero ecological
consciousness: It was 100 degree heat factor outside today and I had
our new AC cranked down to 72, which is normally unheard of for me (I
normally freak if someone wants to put it below 78 unless the humidity
is just too high).Maybe I will get up and fix myself a drink.You say
I'm putting you on But it's no joke It's doing me harm, you know I
can't sleep I can't stop my brain, you know it's three [days]I'm going
insane You know I'd give you everything I've got for a little peace of
mind[or the money for a professional floor refinisher]:::insert a
string of incoherent mumbling that if you play backwards says "Leslie,
you're screwing up your wrists and shoulders, plus you're whining and
whining sucks":::

[Georgetown House] Freecycle rocks, getting hijacked doesn't.

Once again, Freecycle amazes me.Old nasty carpet, padding, and luan
that we ripped off the dining room floor: All gone. Baseboard heaters
from throughout the house, all gone, to replace non-functioning units
or heat workshops (sold one of the thermostats, too!). Old grill that
needs several parts replaced, which we're replacing with a new
stainless-steel grill: Will be gone by Monday. Granddaughter's old bike
with the tires that need replaced: Will be gone tomorrow. We would have
had to drag all that stuff out to the curb Monday night and prayed that
the trash guys took it all, but instead other people came to our house
and gave it all a new loving home.I love Freecycle. I know I've
had "freecycle rocks" posts here before, but it just bears repeating.As
for being hijacked, fortunately it was the online variety, not the
vehicular kind! I've no clue how it might have happened since I'm
obsessive about not clicking on links within emails or things like
that, but someone managed to get into my ebay account, change my name
to Rhonda Wambold, change my email address, change my credit card (more
than likely to match the name, which I presume was a stolen identity),
set me up with a Rohnert Park, CA address and a MO phone number, and
listed several expensive classic rock guitars for sale "check or money
order only" which sold for a total of almost $2000.For whatever reason
the person hijacking my account didn't change my password, but I only
discovered what was going on by pure accident - I haven't been on ebay
forever, but a link for a cell phone battery led me to an ebay store,
which led me to check My Account just because I was bored, which led me
to notice that I had three things recently sold! It took ebay security
support about an hour to stop saying "we see no evidence that your
account was breached" and actually check the IP addresses from my
account activity history as I kept telling them to do. They had the
evidence that I opened my account from Delaware, they had the evidence
that all my account activity up until all my info was changed was based
in Delaware, they had the evidence that I was contacting them about
this from Delaware, and they had the evidence that I changed everything
about me from some other location, in order to sell things very
different than what I've ever sold, and accepting only check/MO when
I've only ever before accepted PayPal. "Please check the IP history."
Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Duh-oyyy!!By the way, I'm intentionally listing
Rhonda Wambold's name because I have every reason to believe that she
was someone whose identity was stolen, and quite possibly the credit
card number was stolen from her or opened as part of her identity
theft. It's an unusual enough name that if someone Google's it, they
might see this and contact me (just comment below, no matter how much
time has passed, and include a way for me to contact you!) so that I
can give her the information about this whole situation (including the
last 4 numbers of the credit card the hijackers were using, and the
evidence from ebay that the name and credit card was used to hijack
someone else's account), in case that helps her to resolve the
never-ending nightmare that comes with having your identity stolen.

[Georgetown House] Little kids and big projects just don't mix.

It's hard enough to get any work done on big projects around the house
with a near-toddler in your care, but it's basically impossible to get
anything done when those big projects are in the most-used room of the
house. What I would like to do is just keep working on the dining room
floor until I've gotten off all that I can of the old linoleum
adhesive. But that's just not going to done by this weekend, and the
dining room is indispensable and unavoidable: You have to go through it
to get from our primary entrance (the back door) to any other room in
the house except for the laundry room and office. And you can't get to
the kitchen without going through the dining room. So we can't just
close it off and make it off limits to Crawling Monkey Baby (aka our 1
y.o. granddaughter) when she's with us on the weekends.So what that
means is, even though I'm only halfway through getting the subfloor
staples removed and getting just the loose flaky part of the old
adhesive up, and so not even 1/10th of the way through the overall time
I'll need to put into this project, come Friday we'll need to wash the
floor as well as we can, put the big area rug back down, put the
furniture either back into place or at least in a place that's not in
the way when we're trying to carry, feed, or watch the baby, and put
everything out of reach of monkey-girl's roaming hands. Then we'll have
to put things back into ready-to-work mode come Sunday night when they
leave.I love our granddaughters so much that it bursts my heart, and I
dearly love that we get to spend this much time with them, but the baby
in particular definitely makes house projects difficult.Oh, just to
record: All I was able to do today was remove staples from and
dry-scrape about1/3 of the room total. Tomorrow I have obligations that
will keep me from doing much until evening, then Friday I'll have to
focus more on baby-proofing than really making any progress.But since
work on the dining room floor is suspended over the weekend, at least I
can hopefully start work on my rainbarrels! If the design I've come up
with really works, I'm going to post a very detailed how-to in my blog,
because truthfully the instructions I've found online so far either
didn't make sense and/or called for parts that are either called
something else here or just weren't available. If I can help someone
else do this, that will be great! But again, the key thing is that I
need to make sure it works first.

[Georgetown House] Introducing: Our Dining Room Floor, brought to you today b...

Today was Rip Out the Carpet Day, and I had originally planned to leave
taking up the plywood for another day. But Von came home as I was
mid-carpet pull and one thing led to another, and we pulled up all the
plywood.Ladies, Gentlemen and those elsewhere on the gender spectrum:
We have a wood floor in our dining room, in place of the nasty carpet
that has been the bane of my existence since we first moved here. I
mean, c'mon, what can you say about a beige carpet that you clean 6
times and the water still comes up into the carpet cleaner as black the
last time as the first?!? Pics are at the end of this post.The news on
the floor is mixed: Not as bad as we had feared it could be, but still
a lot of work ahead of us. No real evidence of smoke/water damage from
the fire that was in this room before PO's got hold of the house, but
there's LOTS of old linoleum glue on the wood. Oh happy happy joy joy
(NOT!). Some of it is being very kind and flaking right off, but most
of it is going to require some serious muscle. Sanding it off isn't an
option from what everyone has told me, because it will gunk the sander
up faster than my pug going after a treat. I ran some test patches of
various things that might work to help soften the glue, and doused
sections with goo-gone, Greased Lightning Orange Blast spray, Greased
Lightning concentrated cleaner mixed 1/2 & 1/2 with water, and pure
water as my control. The Greased Lighting spray was the winner in this
round. Greased Lightning totally rocks - it's the only cleaner I use
any more - but it's only softening a layer of the glue at a time, so
I'm going to test some other options tomorrow.The real bitch is the
staples. Oh lord the previous owners went freakin' nuts with that
freakin' staple gun when he was putting down that luan. And of course
all the staples went through the plywood and stayed in the floor when
we pulled up the luan. The only method I've found for removing them is
to jam one side of my needle-nose plyers into the staple, brace my
lineman's plyers behind them for leverage, then push down. My poor hand
is only marginally functional at this point, and yet I've barely made a
dent in all that are there. I'm definitely going to need a new
needle-nose when I'm done, I'm putting it through such intense abuse.
Do they made a needle-nose prybar?!?I'm so happy with having most of
the carpet gone (haven't taken it out of the doggie hall yet) that I
could work until my body is one solid muscle spasm. Oh, wait. I already
did that. ::groan:: I need some serious ibuprofen and a soak in the hot
tub. Except we don't have a hot tub. My friends do, though... Hmmmm, I
wonder if they're asleep...OK here are the pics.The before pic. Please
ignore the mess. I wasn't about to clean just before I turned the room
into a disaster area. The checked rug is the nasty ugly area rug that's
hiding the hideously awful carpet.Down to the luan, in half the room
anyway:There's the floor! We have no idea what that one stained area
might be in the second picture - it seemed to be there from before the
carpet.The Great Solvant Face-Off!For this teeny bit of progress, I
feel hit by a truck?!?

[Georgetown House] Not manic, just marginally obsessive and loving every minu...

A friend of mine just sent me a checklist of "how to tell if you might
be manic/depressive" after I told her that I was installing junction
box covers at 11pm, was feeling extremely proud of myself for finishing
everything on today's to-do list plus some, have been obsessive about
list making and task completion, and am feeling like a little kid the
night before Christmas that tomorrow is Rip Out the Carpet day.L., I
love your concern darlin' but as I said, no I'm not suddenly bipolar
and flying high in a manic phase. I'm just free from school and excited
beyond measure that this year I actually get to DO something on the
house instead of just lying around being sick all summer. Am I going to
push myself this hard on house stuff all summer? No, because I'll
probably lose a lot of motivation once it gets really hot (though now
with central air maybe that won't be as likely), I'll probably lose a
lot of motivation just because I'm not one to stay this highly
motivated about anything for all that long, and soon my other
obligations such as teaching an online class and taking care of the
grandkids during the week will kick in and I won't be able to get
nearly as much done.But for now, if I feel like digging tools and
supplies out of the garage at 1am, or organizing the office at a pace
that makes me end up looking like I spent an hour on a stairmaster
(considering that I made at least 12 trips to carry boxes and other
things upstairs, that's a fair analogy), or if I want to put the
junction box covers over the old thermostat boxes at close to midnight,
I'm going to revel in it.