Sunday, November 26th, 2006
8:45 pm - Vacation's End...  
It was a weird week. I alternated between working on various projects with a vengeance, and moping about my wretched existence. And in the midst of all that were my birthday and Thanksgiving.

I just finished putting the final accent coat on side two of the back room door, and it's drying down in the basement. Tomorrow I can pull off the masking tape, throw the hardware back on it, and hang it back up. I'll still have to work on getting it back in plumb, either by using Tommy Silva's method with hinge shims, or by actually plumbing up the frame (not as difficult as it sounds given that the moulding is already off). I like the way the finished doors look, but it's a royal PITA painting them. Four colors (primer, antique white panels, roasted cashew stiles, and toffee accents), two coats apiece, on both sides, plus all the time waiting around for the damn paint to dry, the damn things take forever.

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The kitchen faucet's been dripping a little bit, so I decided to fix that. Took the faucet apart, and there was nothing obviously wrong. The seals still seemed okay, but I figured the drippage meant they were starting to go, so I stopped at the Depot to get new ones. I was also hoping to find some new handles to replace the originals, which are really starting to look pretty shabby in that way old lucite does. Turns out they did have replacement knobs for my cheapo, cheapo brand faucet, complete with a new stems for just $12. The package was interesting, looking as though it'd been pulled off a display rack in some just opened pyramid, rather than a Home Depot that's not more than five years old, but what the hey? I figured they're just not a popular item.

It didn't take me long to figure out why they aren't all that popular. I got the new seals in with no problems, but when I tried to attach the new knobs, they didn't fit properly. They were machined incorrectly, or something, but they refused to snug down on the stems. I compared the new stems with the old ones, and the were perfect matches. The knobs were just made wrong, or were meant for some other faucet. Sigh. Took 'em back, and cleaned up the old ones as best I could. Next time I'm up near Lowe's I see if they have something.

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I mentioned how I took some silicone caulk to the tops of my first floor windows after water started leaking through the tops of them during the last big rain storm. Turns out that didn't really help. The actual problem was upstairs, where the sill plates of the second floor windows have rotted so badly that there are huge cracks in them. The water just goes through the cracks, down into the wall, and doesn't emerge again until it drips down through the top of the window immediately below it. Bozhe moi. As a stop gap until I can afford new windows, I figured I could lay down some kind of plastic on top of the sills that the water would just run off of. I wandered around the Depot for about half an hour looking for something that would be both easy to work with and cheap. I found it in one of those vinyl floor runners that realtors lay down on the carpets for the traffic areas when they're showing new homes. It was $3, and there was more than enough to cut out a bunch of sill liners. (One of my dreams is that if I ever am able to get the This Old House crew down to work on my house, Tommy will take one look at the window and say "WTF?!?" on air.)

It sort of worked. The main problem is that the sills are so rotted that when I tried to staple the vinyl down, the staples wouldn't hold. The couple I did are mostly held in place by the window sash pressing down on them. I'm hoping they'll only have to last the winter.

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One of the next projects I'm going to have to work on is the leakage of water into the basement at the point where the waste pipe goes through the foundation. We has another big storm on Thanksgiving, and I had another mess to clean up down there when I got back from NJ.

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On top of all that, it was cleanup week at Casa Machina. The nephew was due in from B.U. Wednesday to visit and to catch a ride down to Jersey, so I spent the time in between coats of paint drying making the place all spic and span. Looks good.

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It was fun to have the nephew drop by. He took the train down from Boston, so I picked him up at Kingston. Turns out there's a little railroad museum in the station that I never knew about, despite parking there for years (the bike path starts there). We went out for dinner, and discussed movies and archaeological ethics. He seems to be enjoying college life so far. I had to rehang the half painted door to the back room up so he'd have some privacy while here.

Thursday we drove down to Jersey in a blinding rain storm, always fun on the busiest travel day of the year. Dinner was at Rie's, and was excellent, with fives types of pie for dessert. Afterwards I drove back to Rhody in the same rain. Eight hours of misery surrounding three hours of good times.

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My birthday last Sunday was a different matter. I really have no reason to celebrate getting older anymore, so I didn't, apart from getting some takeout from the Outback that I ate in front of my computer, much like Scrooge eating his gruel in front of the fire. Well, except that prime rib is better than gruel. Mostly it gave me something to tell my parents when they asked if I'd done anything special for the day.

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The one side product of all the cleaning was that come Friday, I had nothing to do around the house until the next coat of paint dried on the door. It was a lovely day, and I needed an adventure, so I went down to Wakefield to renew my passport. What an easy way to kill three hours between standing in line at the post office, getting pictures taken at CVS, and then wandering around town waiting for the photos to be processed. At least it wasn't raining.
 
 
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casperfleacasperflea on November 27th, 2006 - 01:53 am
Is the nephew studying archaeology, then? I know several people in the department at BU; it's an excellent place for it. I happen to be very interested in the ethics aspect, which is a speciality of sorts at BU as well.
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DXMachinadxmachina on November 27th, 2006 - 02:08 am
Yup, that's why BU got the nod. We got to discussing it because he's working on a paper for his writing class on the MFA's having to return some pieces to their country of origin. He's already been to the MFA more in the two months he's lived in Boston than I have in the thirty years I've lived in RI.
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noradeirdre: shooty-dognoradeirdre on November 27th, 2006 - 02:35 am
Every time I read your livejournal, I am struck with how lame ass we are with home ownership. I mean, the biggest project we've undertaken is wringing our hands about the contractors showing up!

But, I guess it is gonna take a while to get the confidence to do home improvement type of projects. I have a scheme to lay hardwood floor in our small front room next spring...

Anyway, it's all very inspirational, if a bit daunting sounding. I love reading about all the stuff you do.
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