Tuesday, July 26, 2011

everybody's got a porch

Just because our porch is done doesn't mean there aren't other porches in the neighborhood that need a little love. We have been working together for the last week or so on our neighbor's porch columns. It's been good to have a project that has a definite end point.

Because we were hired to do the columns and only the columns, we don't have to worry about the floor, or the ceiling, or the railings, or anything else. Just the columns. This makes it much easier to get it done in a timely fashion.

So in between rainstorms, we've been walking over to our neighbor's porch to make it a little better, bit by bit. All the houses in our neighborhood are about the same vintage, so they all have lots of old wood and old paint.
Here I am scraping away, with my trusty sidekick watching out for squirrels, other dogs, neighborhood kids, and other assorted creatures. Contrary to appearances, I am not the main prep person when we have a big painting project. I definitely do put in my time with a scraper, but I don't like to sand, and I am likely to call a surface prepped long before Joe is willing to do so. He's more thorough, and he's the one who did most of the sanding, filling, and more meticulous prep.

I am the painter. I like to paint, and I like to be fussy about it. That's me putting on the primer coat, with the color scheduled to go on tomorrow, assuming the rain looks like it's going to hold off long enough.

Here's a thought: would it be cool to have a Ravelry sort of thing for people who are into DIY on their houses? It wouldn't be for professionals, just for people trying to do a decent job fixing and remodeling their own houses. It could be a place to share pictures, discuss products and techniques, get ideas, solve problems. Would you use it?

Thursday, July 21, 2011

back to our roots

It's been a long time since we've blogged, and even longer since I needed a space to pontificate on matters educational. I've begun a doctorate in education, and I get plenty of time and space to read, write, and talk about all my dearest concerns, and many that are less dear. Although this opportunity to be a full-time student has been attractive only because the dreadful economy has made it all but impossible to get hired as a public school teacher, I am grateful. It is a gift to be unemployable at the moment, a boon to be paid to go to school.

But it does mean that we have less money to work with, and also that (for this summer, at least) I have a great deal more free time than I've had in years. So I've been de-cluttering, and we had a mongo garage sale a few weeks back, using the proceeds to fund a few minor home improvement projects. As difficult as it is to call anything on an old house "fixed" or "finished" I am doing just that with our front porch. While I can find imperfections, I can't find any I want to fix.

It is easily my favorite room in our house. We often have dinner out here, and I like to knit out here in the afternoons.

Interior rooms are coming along as well, with fresh paint in the kitchen and a downstairs bathroom. For the first time ever, we hired someone else to do some painting for us last summer, and it was astonishing to see work getting done without doing it ourselves. It turned out not to be such a great deal, though, for a number of reasons, and we're definitely back to doing our own work.

We have no shortage of projects that need doing. Here are two that need attention soon, certainly before I go back to school at the end of August.