Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Spider Bite Update

Exactly 10 weeks ago I woke up in the morning and discovered 10 spider bites on one leg, and another bite on the other leg.  The bites never hurt, and it didn't wake me up when that sneaky spider bit me, but man, do they ever itch!  Worse yet, after 10 weeks they are only now beginning to heal.  In the meantime, I look like I have leprosy!  Check it out.  I got those bites on September 7 and they look as bad now as they did that first day. 

I now go to bed with a flyswatter, and I'm jumpy as all get-out.  I keep beating myself black and blue because I feel a little prickle and then I yell and slap at it, only to discover it wasn't a spider but a corner of the blanket touching my arm.  I hate closing my eyes in the shower for fear one will pop up out of the drain or land on me from the ceiling.

Have you ever been bitten by a spider, and if so, how long did it take for the bites to heal?  From what I understand, all spider bites are poisonous, but most are a very mild poison.  It's the brown recluse, the hobo, and the black widow spiders that are dangerous.  I leave them alone when they're outside, but if they come inside, it's all out war!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Update From the Boonies

Wow, has it really been a month since my last entry?  Sheesh.  No biggie, I reckon, as I'm probably the only one who actually reads my blog.  Sort of like talking to myself.  *g*

Lots if new developments in my life since my last post, the most important being my recent diagnosis of endometrial cancer.  I go in for a hysterectomy on December 6, and after that they'll be able to tell me what stage of cancer I have.  It's a scary thing to be facing the Big C and not know how bad it is, or if I'll have to have chemo or radiation afterwards.  I hate having to wait.  But all my friends have rallied around me for a group hug, and I am feeling especially blessed by all the support I've been receiving.  This is definitely a group disease.  It doesn't just affect me.  It affects my friends and family.  It's nice to know that I don't have to make this walk alone.  No matter what my future holds, I know my friends will be beside me, helping me walk that walk.

The Endless Remodel Job is still ongoing.  The carpenter only works a few hours a week now, much to my frustration.  The worst part is that I am constantly cold because of the heat escaping through flimsy plastic over doors and windows.  As I sit at the computer, a frigid draft makes my face and hands very cold.  Not fun.  He assures me the laundry room will be done by the end of this month, but I don't know how that can happen when he only works a few hours a week.  It's been 7 months since this project began, and we haven't even started on the kitchen, yet!  The picture below shows what the laundry room currently looks like.  Doesn't look like it will be done in 2 weeks, eh?  *g*

The doors have now been installed, and the electrical wiring is almost done, but as you can see, the job is nowhere near completion.And of course, it's not yet insulated, so that's why the rest of the house is so cold.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Spiders From Hell

Those who know me best know that I do not like spiders.  To appease all you do-gooder nature freaks, I will admit they have a place in the Great Scheme of Things.  They are wonderfully beneficial in the garden.  They are NOT wonderfully beneficial inside my house.  It is now fall, and what with the interminable ongoing remodeling (will it ever end?) and the advance of cooler weather, the spiders are making their way indoors.  Six weeks ago I woke up with 6 spider bites on one leg, and 1 spider bite on the other.  The picture above shows three of the bites a week after they first appeared.  What really freaked me out is that I apparently got bitten in my bed.  Meaning a spider was in bed with me.  Probably brought in with the sheets from the clothesline. 

Six weeks later, my legs are not a pretty sight, as evidenced by the photo on the right.  Despite the passage of time, the bites are still a violent red and they itch something fierce.  This is the first (and, I hope, only) time I have been bitten by a spider and it is not something I want to repeat. What's worse is  now I'm getting those gigantic scarey "drain spiders" that appear in my bathtub and sinks.  You can't kill them with Raid.  They just shake it off and laugh in your face.  Then they scuttle up to the ceiling where they hang out, waiting to slide down on their butt thread to scare you as you wash your face or brush your hair.

Friday, August 5, 2011


That sound you just heard was me, whooshing by to give a quick update on the remodel before I shut down the computer and pick up crowbar.  The siding and insulation to the exterior walls of the kitchen and laundry rooms are now gone.  So are the windows.  We've had over a week of glorious weather, with more glorious weather predicted, so now seemed a good time to start the demolition.  As Murphy's Law and Mother Nature would have it, we had unexpected (and unpredicted!) rain last night.  Isn't that the way it always is!  No big.  We'll be grateful for the cooler weather and make sure the plastic over the windows keeps the rain out.  Onward and upward!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Yet More Madness

The demolition of the exterior walls of the kitchen and laundry room has been postponed, but I've been busy anyway, drawing up design after design for the revamp of both rooms.  I've been meeting with the kitchen cabinet designer at Lowes, and he's put my designs into computer renderings, giving me a 3-D view of my concepts.  After many iterations, I've settled on a final design for the kitchen, and it's one I'm so excited about.  I get my breakfast nook and my island.  I'm very excited!

So today we gear up for the Big Push.  The carpenter is going to live in the basement in order to put in more hours on this project, and to save money on his long commute to and from my house.  So the project moves forward, and beginning today, it goes into high gear.

Friday, July 15, 2011

More Madness

The remodeling continues.  Slowly but steadily.  My carpenter-friend cannot make it every day, so I usually get him 2-4 days of the week, with 4 being rare.  And he's usually here for only 4 or 5 hours each day, so you can see why this is taking so long.  Plus, I'm doing a lot of the work myself, and I'm slow.  I do all the tedious stuff--painting, varnishing, sanding, etc. 

Next week we begin tearing down the exterior walls to the kitchen and laundry room. I'm the main tearing-down person.  Tove, the carpenter, will mark the items for demolition, and he'll cut the deck in half so that I can dismantle it.  I'll be saving as much useable wood as I can, to be used for rebuilding the new deck and for use in the enlargement of both the laundry room and kitchen.  I have a large bottle of aspirin set aside, and the pain pills for my back/leg are on prescription, so my crowbar and I are ready to roll!

Friday, July 8, 2011

The Madness Continues

Remodel woes.  Everyone told me I'd be tearing out my hair.  Actually, now that most of the lumber and construction debris have been removed from my hall and kitchen, I'm breathing easier.  I love the new white beaded board wainscoting in the hall with the pristine new mottled beige paneling above the wainscoting.  That's a picture of the hall, on the left.  I'm sorting through my artwork, trying to decide which pictures I'll be hanging on the walls above the wainscoting.  The hall will be my informal art gallery, since I have so much wall space.

I have painted or varnished miles and miles of trim and molding, and last night I stained and varnished (6 coats of varnish!) the oak that will be used as windowsills for the new windows in the Craft Room and the Rose Room.  (Okay, so they're spare bedrooms turned into a craft room and a sewing room!)

And next week we begin the expansion of the laundry room and the kitchen.  I'm excited and scared.  The exterior walls of both rooms will be demolished (that's my job!), so we'll have to make sure the weather will be nice, since I'll be exposed to the Great Outdoors.

Stay tuned for more updates!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Greetings From the Hinterlands

The reason I've been so quiet on this blog is that I'm deep in the throes of remodeling.  As in up to my armpits.  This has been going on since November of 2010, with a simple transformation of a spare room from a library to a craft room. The job just kept expanding and expanding, partly because of the usual old house woes needing to be fixed, but also because of opportune treasure finds, such windows. 
I have old, wavy-glass, single pane windows in this 100-year-old house, and I'm slowly replacing them with new, energy-efficient windows, one window at at time.  I have discovered that if you are very patient and check your sources diligently, you can find brand new windows for up to 50% off.  I made this discovery by accident when I was pricing windows at Home Depot.  They have a small, out of the way spot in the store where they place unclaimed or rejected new windows that were custom-ordered.  These windows are deeply discounted and they're sort of an insider secret, so unless you happen upon them (as I did) you won't know about them. Kind of like the table of discounted "oops" paint in the paint department.

I needed a long, skinny window for my bedroom, and found one at Home Depot that was only one inch shorter than what I'd wanted, but was way cheaper than ordering a custom window to fit into the non-standard opening.  I ended up paying $100 for my "custom" window!  So I haunt Home Depot and Lowe's, checking out their oops windows for my next replacements.

In the meantime, I am currently having wainscoting and paneling installed in the hallway, and I'm painting and varnishing molding and wood trim, while trying to come up withdecent reconfiguations for my kitchen and laundry room expansions.  If I survice, I'll eventually post pictures.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

My New Craft Room

Ever go to the grocery store to pick up one item, and when you leave the store you have a shopping cart full of groceries?  That's how the renovation of my library-cum-craft-room started.  All I wanted to do was remove the tacky old carpet and replace it with linoleum/vinyl, and get rid of the sofa and desk to make room for my craft table and rubber stamps.  Famous last words.  This simple project has turned into a major renovation.

The gloomy dark brown carpeting has been removed and I have a gorgeous new vinyl floor that is beige and white.  I got rid of the desk and sofa and moved the old craft table from my bedroom to the new craft room.  Ugh.  The old table with cabinets beneath it just wasn't going to work--the table was too small and not the right shape.  So I determined to build a new table, using recycled materials as much as possible.  I kept the cabinets that were under the old table, and used them for the new table.  Had to buy a few more cabinets because the new table is twice the size as the old one.

Then I hung the rest of the cabinets on the wall above the table, and installed a new window.  I gutted the closet and installed shelving for all my art/craft/rubber stamping supplies.  And I'm having a small sink installed so that I can easily wash glue and ink off my hands and my rubber stamps.

Progress on the craft room is slow.  The guy I hired to do the stuff I can't do, can only work a day here and a day there.  In the meantime, there's all kinds of construction debris lining my hallway--lumber, nails, boxes of craft stuff waiting to be emptied into the new cabinets and closet shelves, etc.  The house is in utter chaos, and it's driving me bonkers, because I like things neat and tidy.  Had I been able to do all this stuff myself, it would have been done long ago.  But this bum leg and back prevent me from doing stuff I normally do.  And when you rely on others, the work progresses at their speed, not yours. 

Don't get me wrong--I am very grateful to Tove, the guy who's helping me.  He's reasonably priced, and an easy-going guy.  Fun to talk to, and a down-to-earth person.  I enjoy working side-by-side with him.  And in the 2 months we've been working on the craft room, it has seen major progress.  I'm very excited, and can't wait to see the finished product. 

I've kept costs down by using recycled materials as much as possible.  I make weekly trips to Goodwill and have found a treasure trove of things I can use, from a brand new faucet for my sink, to nifty receptacles for the myriad pens, pencils, X-acto knives, rulers, artist's brushes, etc.  Yesterday I found 3 stunning glass vases with really heavy bottoms.  They're square shaped and staggered in size, and because they are base-heavy, they're perfect for my tabletop craft supplies, which tend to tip over if put in lightweight containers.

As soon as I finish the room, I'll post pictures.  I know you're all just dying to see them.  In the meantime, here is a "before" picture.  I stitched 3 pictures together in Photoshop, so the alignment is off on the window and a few other areas.   

I've already ditched the sofa, but the upright sofa cushion behind the maroon chair was saved for the dogs to lie on.  The old carpet is rolled up on the right, ready for disposal. It was the same color as the ugly brown floor now exposed. Bookshelves line the entire wall on the right, on the left, and inside the closet to the far left of the picture.  The old window in this picture has been replaced with a smaller one, and the cabinets are now hung on the left side of the window.  The craft table and floor cabinets will stretch from the wall on the left to the edge of the window on the right.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

What's New for 2011?

Sherrie, here, checking in with my hordes of blog readers who've been waiting with bated breath for news from ye old Holmestead.  (Insert smiley face)

I've been thinking about the things I hope to accomplish in 2011.  I even made a list of goals for the year.  I do this every January, and it's so rewarding to cross something off the list when it's been accomplished.  I have lists dating back some 35 years, and some of the things on those older lists weren't crossed off until 10-15 years later.  And some things dropped off the list because they were no longer important or relevant.  Case in point:  For several years my lists included tearing out the old disgusting carpet in my library (a sort of den with floor-to-ceiling and wall-to-wall books).  Well, last November (2010) I crossed it off the list as no longer being relevant.  I did tear out the old carpet, but by then I had decided to turn the library into a full-fledged craft room, turning it into a major renovation.

This year's list is smaller than normal, probably due to my current physical limitations.  (Can you spell "bum leg" boys and girls?)  However, even though my 2011 list is slightly smaller, it has some dauntingly huge items on it.  Such as finishing work on the library-cum-craft-room.  And gutting the laundry room to replace the floor and subfloor.  Then tear up the old flooring in the spare bedroom and replacing it with linoleum/vinyl.  Installing new windows, a room at a time, as funds permit.

So there you have it.  a glimpse into some of my plans for 2011.  Am I the only one who does New Year's resolutions, or are there a few relics out there who still do it?