Thursday, May 28, 2015


Sorry I can't get to the phone today.  My replacement will be handling all calls:

The answers might be a little sticky, however.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015


Last night Walt Kowalski and I did our usual "divide and conquer." He went to work at the front house.  I stayed home and worked around the Cat Ranch. 

One of the things on the to-do list was a new flapper for the commode in the powder room.  I could hear the toilet was running to refill more often lately. The high calcium deposits in well water make the parts in the tank wear out more frequently.  Less than $3 for a repair completed by one person in less than 5 minutes.  Easy task. 

Except the valve to turn the water off to the toilet is corroded and won't shut off completely.  So my one person task became a two person task.  Walt Kowalski knew about the valve and even has a replacement ready.  In the meantime, we can still fix the toilet.  I held the lever so the water wouldn't fill and Walt Kowalski changed the flapper.

Of course we did this task at 10:15 pm just before we went to bed. (I know better than to start a plumbing project that late.)

But everything went well. The valve replacement will be another day. 

Except as we finished the task, I glanced at myself in the mirror and realized ...

I never took a shower this evening!

But I'm ready to go to bed nowwwwwww.

How I missed this minor detail, I don't know.  Walt Kowalski showered as soon as he returned home from the front house while I was making dinner. Normally, after working outside or at the front house, I'm too dirty and I shower before making dinner.  One small change threw me off my schedule.

Then again let me tell you what I *almost* did the other day. After working outside, I am always cautious of ticks, poison, and dirt in the house. As a preventative measure, we got in the practice of taking our work boots, jeans, and long sleeve shirts off in the garage before coming upstairs. 

My mind was already on making dinner and when I got upstairs to the bathroom, I turned on the water, grabbed a wash cloth, and stepped into the shower.  Still wearing my socks and unders. 


It took my brain a moment to realize 'something is not right in this picture.'

It's ok. You can laugh.  I did.  

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Dumpster Diving

Like my "new" planter? I got two of them. 

Last year, at the end of summer, they were sitting down by the curb for the garbage. They were dirty and needed a good scrubbing. I popped open the trunk, threw them in and put them away in the shed for next year.  

It's next year!

I forgot about them until this weekend.  After I scrubbed them, you could see they were a little weathered from, well, being out in the weather.  Nothing a coat of spray paint wouldn't cure.  I even had a can on the shelf in the laundry room. 

Spray spray.  

Add dirt.  Add flowers. Done! 

(I know that Walt Kowalski tolerates my collection day "finds" but a quick internet search said they retail for minimum around $50 each.)

I got the other small pots for the back patio planted, too.  

I have learned that when planting my own pots if the pot looks like 4 flowers would be enough add 6. I also learned that I always buy too many flowers.  They are just so pretty at the store.  

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

One Two Three

And just like that...

The walls are gone.

It looks kinda scary in here with no walls and plaster.  It looks a LOT cleaner than it is, too.

Taking the ceilings down is the worst.  The walls are dusty, but the ceilings have dirt left in them from the coal furnace and lots of chimney soot. 

The truck is full. The burn pile is growing (again).

I'm not ready to think about the chimney.

Monday, May 18, 2015

One Job

Dear City,

You had one job. Empty the dumpster.  

Here was our agreement.  Instead of going to another company and having to get a permit, I would rent dumpster from you for a weekly fee. No permit needed and you got some easy money from a member of your community. You would bring the dumpster to the requested location, I would fill the dumpster, and you would take it away in 1 week.  Empty or full. If I wanted the dumpster emptied sooner, I would go to your office, pay for another week, and you would empty the dumpster on the day I paid.

Sounds like an excellent agreement.  

Our relationship started out great. We paid, you provided, we filled, we paid, you emptied. Once you even gave us an extra weekend.  We didn't mind. 

I now realize that extra weekend was only great when the dumpster was not completely full.  

Walt Kowalski and I planned the dumpster rental around the weekend.  We planned to fill the current dumpster, have a check to you on Friday morning, and have an empty dumpster Friday afternoon for the next weekend. We have done this before, do you remember?

So when I get the call around 2:30 pm that the new dumpster had been paid for and the current dumpster was still full, you can understand I wasn't pleased. I was even less pleased to find out that on Fridays, you are done working at 2 o'clock pm and that dumpster I paid for is not going to be emptied until Monday morning. 

What about our agreement? 

You can't be late for you Friday afternoon tee time, can you? I bet you didn't hesitate to deposit that check I gave you this morning, did you? But if I'm late paying, you don't care and make certain you remind me I was late. 

So now I have a weekend of work planned and an overflowing dumpster

Ok, Lesson learned.  I will still honor our agreements in the future, but I will no longer trust you. Because you can't be trusted, I will call and call and call you again until the dumpster is empty. Because you can't be trusted, I will be the responsible one and get you the request for an emptied dumpster a day earlier than I need.  

Once again, City, you have disappointed me.  

Love, me.

P.S. Your truck is going to struggle to pick up that dumpster to empty it.  It is HEAVY. I didn't wait for the empty dumpster.  I added as much as I could to every corner of this current dumpster.  It is overflowing.  I probably would have needed an extra week's rental from you, but not anymore. Maybe I should be thanking YOU for saving me money after all.  

Thursday, May 14, 2015


There are some days I run into roadblocks at every turn.

Trains and traffic this day. This was the never ending train. I had to cross.  This was the only way through town. I had no choice to go around. I just had to wait.  This restaurant probably does better business when the traffic is backed because of the train.  This train almost caught me on my way home, too.  I saw him coming and didn't dilly dally by stopping for a pit stop.  

Traffic was a different subject.  I had the option to go around but said "Oh that detour isn't for me.  The traffic wont' be THAT bad." 


I should have made that pit stop.  I was going to stop at the fruit market but I knew my chances of getting back into this line were slim. People can be quite rude when it comes to merging in construction.

At this point I was more than half way through.  Looking back where I came from made me feel better.  Well, expect my bladder, that is. 

I didn't turn into a pillar of salt either.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015


Some days are just hard. Challenging is a better word.

Today was a challenge.

It was a challenge to get out of bed. It was cool. Soft. I was sleepy.
It was a challenge to get the coffee.  Feed the kids. Make the lunches. Think about what to make for dinner. 
It was a challenge to get myself fixed up for work. Find clothes. Pack exercise clothes for lunch. Pack work clothes for after work.
It was a challenge to run to the basement for drinks.  To find yucky things on the floor.  To step in yucky things on the floor. To clean up the yucky things I tracked all over the floor.

I was sweaty and thirsty and disheveled before I left the house at 6am.

That's life.  (Life in morning at the Cat Ranch, that is.)

I've heard the quote "Set a goal for every day and never be tired." I'll work on that. 

Tomorrow morning, I'll get up and do it all over again. Hopefully with less yucky things on the floor. 

Monday, May 11, 2015


Our buckets were ready. We have been taking down walls and lathe all week.  

The dumpster was ordered on Friday morning and delivered later Friday morning. It's the "larger" dumpster of the two sizes available from the city.  We thought about other options, but after comparing costs, it was faster (and easier) way to go.  If you have a check in hand, they will be glad to empty the dumpster that day. 

It was warm.  I won't lie, I was sweating more than I have before.  And sweating in places I didn't know I could sweat. I think my ears and eyelids were sweating. Halfway through the second floor demo, Walt Kowalski said 'Don't we have fans?' 

I said 'We used to have fans.  One got broken and one was "borrowed."' To the fan store we go!

I promise I will try not to knock these over.  I sounds easy. Don't knock over the fan. But it seems like it is always in the way. It gets hit by plaster or falls out of the window. In case you are wondering, one of these fans won't work with only 4 blades. It will try to turn, kinda like an off balance washing machine.  Funny, but not useful. 

The dumpster filled up quick. Walt Kowalski and I took turns shoveling and carrying.  He would carry a few buckets down to the dumpster while I filled them.  Then he would rest and I would carry the buckets down while he shoveled them full. 

Then we moved on to the first floor. 

We started out removing the kitchen cabinets. We salvaged several of them to hang in the shed.  The other cabinets were plastic.  PLASTIC! Plastic drawers and doors.

If only the base cabinet had been made of plastic inside of particle board.  ick. Years of water damage.  (The previous landlords should be ashamed they rented this place in this condition.)

We want to make the kitchen our staging area.  The dining room and living room are full of parts and pieces and building materials.  We didn't want to move things multiple times.  (yes, I know it will happen anyway.)

So we started demoing the kitchen first.  And we are glad we did. 

In the process of removing the ceiling, something hit Walt Kowalski.

It was a plastic container.  Why was that in the ceiling? It wasn't in the ceiling, it was in the floor of the bathroom upstairs.  The previous owners must have had a leak in the drain of the tub and instead of fixing it properly, they opened the access panel to the tub plumbing and slid a container under the pipe to catch any drips. {Walt Kowalski shakes his head.}

You can see the dripping pipe in this photo. 

 The walls came down fast.

Where the window is used to be a door and there used to be a window on the other side.  This is the second boarded up window we found. 

The arch ways were nice, but very small.  This will eventually be a door from the laundry room into the kitchen. 

Here is a view into the front hallway.  We're thinking we might close off this door way and make. There would still be two exits from this room if needed in an emergency. 

It's still early in the planning phase.  We've already changed our minds six times.  

Thursday, May 7, 2015

What walls?

Have a frustrating day?  Come on over.  I know a few walls that you can take out your frustrations on. It works for me. I made this mess. Ok, Walt Kowalski helped a little.

Maybe I should say knew a few walls.

The dumpster can't get here soon enough!
We filled all of the buckets and continued to take down walls.  We don't need more buckets because we are really just waiting on the dumpster. The buckets are only transportation.

Here is another example of our frustrations and "why did they do that?" moments. Originally, the house had gas lighting.  The old pipes are still in the walls. At some point, after they stopped using gas lighting and went to electric, this house was remodeled.

Instead of removing the old pipe, they build a door around the pipe. Did they think they might someday go back to gas lighting?

In this case they cut away more than half of this 2x4 holding a door frame.  *sigh*

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Letter P

Today's show is brought to you by the letter P...for printer.

It should be brought to you by the letter O for old.

Unlike my previous post with the old computer that was no longer used, this printer is still is use!

Yes, that is dot matrix.
Yes, that is a ribbon.
Yes, that is a box of continuous feed paper. Perforated. 

Ok guilt, I always loved the perforated paper.  The ultra-perforated was even better and easier to separate. 

Do I even tell you about the old software that is printing to this printer? 

Monday, May 4, 2015

Tree cutting tree cutting

Moving forward with the tree cutting process has taken us back into the poison field. The flowers around the house are up and blooming so we can't work on trimming those trees until the end of the season. (Thank you Walt Kowalski for understanding.)

Instead, we'll focus on clearing the location for the garage. Walt Kowalski set up the ladder and made the first cut. Chain Saw Johnny then cut the next two large branches. (We have to keep reminding ourselves, these are just branches! Look at the size of the tree!)

Walt Kowalski was in the truck putting pressure and pulling on the guide wire.  We weren't taking any chances.


Boom. The ground shook when that branch fell. 

(It was a beautiful day. Look at the blue sky.)

The first branch we took off was mostly eaten inside.  I'm amazed the branch hadn't fallen sooner. 

Before we knew it, the sun was setting. How did that happen so fast? It was a lovely evening.  Our fire was HOT (so hot it was still hot on Sunday afternoon.).  The goal was to kill the poison that was climbing the tree.  Done. Just be careful not to breathe the poison smoke. 
The natives were communicating, too. From our point of view, we could see two other campfires glowing and smoking on the hill and in the valley. 
Wood splitting is on the list for this week.

Friday, May 1, 2015


Walt Kowalski has been busy working away at the front house while I have been loafing. Ha ha, I joke. Actually, we were dividing and conquering again.  I went back to the Cat Ranch to do laundry, clean bathrooms, run sweeper, and make dinner.  

I would have rather taken down walls.  Walt Kowalski always says "I can push 10 buttons on my phone and dinner will be delivered." I don't mind it sometimes, but not all the time. I over salad him some weeks. 

I've been asked multiple times 'what is so bad about the current plaster?  Why do you have to take it all down?'

Several reasons.  

1. Wiring.  We want new.  It's old cloth covered wire.  To dangerous.
2. Water damage.  The chimney is leaking. the roof leaked. No way we want to do all of this work and have the chimney leak again.  And besides, we're taking the chimney out. 

There are other reasons, Those are the biggest ones right now. 

Here is a good example.  The previous owners attempted to hide cracks in the walls. They took seam tape and covered the cracks and then repainted. One small pull and the tape came off.  Paint and all. 

In the dining room downstairs, much like the front bedroom, they just put drywall over the old plaster ceiling.  Let's just hide the problems and not fix them.  

Then we found where they covered over a window (badly). They didn't put any support or insulation where the window used to be.  You could lean on the wall and the wall would move.  *sigh*

Walt Kowalski made a breakthrough from the back bedroom to the front bedroom. 

This was a closet.  A closet so small you couldn't hang a shirt on a hanger if you wanted the door to close properly.  The hangers would have been sideways.  I know space was limited, but this was too small.  Then again, I could have turned it into a closet space just for shoes.  More space in the rooms will be better. 

Piles of lath for the fire. 

The wall between bedrooms with the chimney. Getting rid of the chimney will gain bedroom and hall space, too.

The buckets of plaster are piling up.  Next week...dumpster delivery.