Like Tolkien's elves, when my Charles and I went to the ocean, we met our Doom.
What the heck do I mean by that? Well, about two seconds into us being there, that constant ache of homesickness that I've dealt with for quite some time went away. I had managed to shove it into a little corner of myself and forget about it, but the minute I knew it was gone, I realized that I hadn't been free from it since we left the coast three and a half years ago.
My Charles felt it too. At breakfast the next morning, he turned to me and said, "This is the first time I've felt like I belonged since we moved to Nevada County." Uh oh.
It meant that we really, really enjoyed the salty air and humming of fog horns in the night. We didn't miss a day of going to the coast, even three days in when we ate some tainted salad mix from a major store chain and got so ill, I don't even want to think about it.
We followed the windy roads that gave us glorious glimpses of the ocean and wind-blown trees and coastal grasses and everything we've been missing.
We probably won't be moving back any time soon, even if my heart yearns for it. While it may not be home, we have made a life for ourselves here, and we own a house into which we're putting a lot of sweat and love.
Does that mean we'll never go back? Hell no! I'm sure we'll be back someday, and life being as unpredictable as it is, it may be sooner than my Charles and I can even fathom. I told my grandma that this trip spelled the end of any plans to retire to the desert. I told her that I think we had it right before we left Humboldt County -- live at the coast, vacation in the desert. We had a pretty perfect set up that way, after all.
We spent some time hiking among the redwoods, too. How could we not? We're as used to the diffused glow of the redwood canopy as we are of cold, crashing waves.
And it was absolutely beautiful. The temperatures were as close to perfect as it gets. 70 degrees on the North Coast? No kidding. I felt like it had been held in a cup until we could get there. My friends that still live in Hum and Mendo Counties have been rather oppressed by the fog all summer long.
Oh, the smell of the moist redwood bark, the feel of the spongy forest floor, the emerald of e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g.
Before I wax nostalgic to the point of nausea, maybe I should talk about the work we did on the house?
We did a lot. Four of our days were spent working on my office. We prepped the remaining sheet rock, filled little cracks with foam insulation on both the inside and outside, and my Charles rewired the outlet that had been that hot mess I previously discussed. That foam stuff is amazing! I was watching a heat shimmer at the corner of the house as my Charles filled the cracks with foam, and then, voila, the heat shimmer disappeared.
Then we put up the insulation. It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. I've worked with insulation in the past and dealt with itchy forearms for days after, but this stuff went up easily and didn't coat me in glass dust.
The new sheet rock went up pretty easily, too. There ended up being a couple of hiccups, the main one being the light switch. I held it out so my Charles could attach it to the stud. He pushed it back. This occurred a couple of times, and I decided to leave it alone. Fast forward an hour or so, and we had to do a patch. That's fine, though, because how else do you learn? We were careful with the patching, so hopefully, it won't show at all.
Then it was on to taping, mud, and sanding. It's waiting for us to mud and sand at least once, if not twice, more. Once that's accomplished, it's texture time!
My Charles and I are on vacation this week. We've been working on the house, though there may be some venturing out sometime as well. In the meantime, I wrote an article
for the local paper and BriarPatch (dontcha love double-duty writing?) on Irish food and my big boss' roots. Pictures next week!
This would be a blast
! It would be great to be in New York this week.
Cue the sound of angels singing.
We have a door. It was the one thing that we've been dreading -- that the frame would warp, that the door would no longer slide, that it would never be square again, but it is. In fact, it was the easiest part of this reno that we've experienced so far. The frame went in square. We caulked it and screwed it in. We positioned the doors into the frame and made sure that they were in their tracks, and ta da! It worked! In fact, I felt it opened and closed better than it had before we removed it.
A great weight lifted. It felt like I had suddenly lost 500 pounds. I know this isn't true, as I still can't fit into my skinny jeans, but it felt that way all the same.
Now, we just need to put the deck back together and start working on the inside. Next year, maybe in the spring, we'll repaint the entire house -- not that color <---------------------------------. That color is celery. We were shooting for sage. Next year we'll repaint in a color that's less yellow and more gray. It will go really well with the cedar and black oak trees. In reality, this color looks like it would work really well on the coast.
We have a door! My Charles and I have been poking our heads into my office a few times a day just to gaze at the beautifully-fitting door in satisfaction. Soon, I'll get to remake my office to create it into MY space once again. You'll see my funky style. I won't apologize. My style makes me happy. I'm planning a built-in for the weird part of the wall that juts out a tad. It will cost less than buying a bookcase and will be better quality because I'll make it. I'm looking forward to the flooring. I've already planned the paint thanks to Home Depot's online tool. The art is waiting to be rehung, and my Bruce Campbell velvet painting created by my super-friend Chris
is on its way. Things are looking up.
Yep, that's right -- we have a wall. You may have just heard me breathe a sigh of relief. We got it up none too soon. It went up last night and today was primed. About eight hours later, it rained.
This wall have given us all of the cliched blood, sweat, and tears imaginable. Those panels are HEAVY, so heavy in fact, that it was even hard for my Charles to support the wall while I tacked nails into the studs. We actually traded off supporting panels. We would hang them, and they'd be a little too low. We'd take them down and do it again. And again. And again. I held panels up so long, my muscles spasmed. Finally, they were in the correct position, up high enough, butting up against the other panels with enough of an overlap, and square. We knew we had to get it right last night because of the threat of rain, so we tried and tried until finally, they were a thing of beauty. We had a wall.
How did we finally get to this glorious point? Well, I'll tell ya. First, we made sure that the door frame would fit into the frame my Charles had built. Success! With that warm glow of satisfaction, we took the aluminum frame back out and started on a-preppin'. First, I painted the foundation and a bit of the frame with that bitchy-thing prep goop. It was S-T-I-C-K-Y! Really, incredibly sticky. I don't like being sticky, but soon my hands were, and so was the foundation and that bit of the frame.
This was after freeing the wires.
Whilst I was slathering stuff with uber sticky white gunk, my Charles was uncovering a hot mess. He discovered another 2x4 that was pock marked and dry rotted. Unfortunately, it was the support beam that also had the outlet strung through it. After turning off the power, my Charles took apart the outlet to discover a mess that suggested a novice had wired it. I guess it was a good thing that we discovered it. Yes, it was a good thing that we discovered it. We wouldn't have wanted that hot mess to become a hot fire, but our spirits fell as we realized that we would either have to call in an electrician to rewire the outlet, or wait until my brother comes through this way again. (Since he lives in Arizona, this doesn't happen too often.)
Then we waited for the sticky to set. The instructions said that it took about an hour. Well, that ended up being just about perfect since my Charles had to run into town to get a few more supplies, and we live far enough out of town, a round trip takes about an hour. We couldn't have planned that better.
Once my Charles returned, we put up the bitchy-thing. If I thought the prep goop was sticky, I soon learned that it was just the beginning. The smell of tar stung our noses as the weather-proof membrane was placed. It felt like a wet suit with a side coated in Krazy glue. Peeling the paper was a bit of a challenge, but it went up pretty smoothly. The instructions said to make sure to limit sheet length to eight feet, so we did some trimming with a utility blade. It also suggested that we use a roller to flatten it, but not having one, I used the heel of my hand and the pressure of my weight to set it. Once it was in, we put up paper for a vapor barrier, and then, we did the wall install dance.
And that was that. Our next step is cutting out the doorway, reinstalling the aluminum door frame, and praying to the home improvement gods that the frame hasn't warped at all and that the sliding glass door will go in smoothly and still function. Maybe I should start making offerings now. And then, and then, we can put in insulation, put up sheet rock, and paint. Oh the dreams I have of painting my office -- and then putting in the floor -- and then using it!
I hadn't done a coffee review in a while, and I've been missing it, so here ya go:
It’s my favorite time of the year – that stage when the Earth is exactly at the point when the Ethiopian coffees come into season. And what a glorious season it is!
I just got to cup Barefoot’s Ethiopian Yirgacheffe, and holy moly, it totally made my day! The smell of the grounds filled the room with a glorious combination of cherries jubilee, chocolate with hot peppers, and a hint of cinnamon. After steeping, the chocolate aromas continued, chased by pumpkin pie.
A well-rounded assortment of flavors and a gloriously smooth mouth feel followed. Nutmeg, hazelnut shells, cocoa powder, and lemon pleased my palate and caused a contented sigh. Orange creamsicles, the vanilla dancing like a pixie on a spring wind, finished the experience on a pretty perfect note. I really, really can’t wait until we get this in the store!
You can see the new plywood floor.
But at least we're getting closer. My Charles consulted with a contractor on Sunday and found out that we're doing things properly, and the plans that we have for finishing the project are spot-on, so yay! In fact, a few of the ideas that My Charles had run across in books impressed Mr. Contractor quite a bit, so much so that it felt like we had won a prize.
Sunday also had us working hard, My Charles even more-so than I. Thank goodness the new plywood section of the subfloor is done -- there was much leaping out of and climbing back into the room.
What was aggravating but humorous (at least a few days later when we can look back at it) was that it rained almost the entire day. My Charles had to do all of his cutting in between bursts. He succeeded, even when we had a brief power-outage due to lightning, in building and installing a new header above the door jam. As you can see, this is what a header should look like.
To the right is the previous header, yet another of the wtf things we've found since starting this project. That is just a random piece of wood -- a random piece of heavy wood with much scarring and not quite long enough, I might add. Note the attached plywood pieces to the end of the header so that it was -- almost -- the correct length. Seriously, what were these builders smoking?
The next project includes this bad boy, pronounced bitch-y-theen, I think. Maybe that's just how I feel after dealing with the aftermath of the builders. We need to tack it to the outside of the house to create a barrier in between the structure and our ever-so attractive paneling. (Ooh, baby! How I love me some cheap, cheap paneling!) We're actually going to bring it up over the door jam, as well as using flashing, in order to prevent any issues with water in the future -- at least due to our work or lack thereof.
Next step, the moment of truth -- will our door fit or has it been warped?