Sunday, September 14, 2008

You can't polish a turd, but you can sure try...

The "you can't polish a turd" thought kept coming to mind today as we painted our living room with the assistance of Rachel's parents.

We had originally planned to just live with it until next year, but it's pretty bad. When it comes to the most "ghetto" part of the house, it gives our bathroom a run for its money. The bathroom had several holes in the partially rotted floor (from old plumbing installations) and a resident cricket (now with a girlfriend cricket). The cricket usually hides under the trim near the toilet and sings for me when I visit, but last night he came out for a stroll while I was cutting my hair.

The living room has 140+ years worth of wallpaper, all of it peeling or peeled to reveal crumbling plaster, and an occasional nest of asian beetles. It's kind of fun to play "name that decade" as you peel off each layer.

The living room is where our sole source of heat (a woodstove) resides, so any major projects here need to be done in the summer months. Realizing that peeling the wallpaper down to a paintable surface is a futile effort at best, we decided that it may be worth it to have a drywall contractor replace the walls for us before the wood stove goes in (we have maybe a couple weeks before things get cold). After getting the contractor's estimate, we decided that the peeling wallpaper really could be painted, at least until next summer when we should have time to drywall it ourselves.

While the new paint does calm down the many competing prints of the different wallpapers, it also serves to highlight every bubble, edge, and hole. The paint rollers have a great ability to wet the wallpaper and make it peel up underneath them as well.

Some of you may have heard me gloat about how Michigan doesn't have the perma-drizzle that Bellingham suffers from 9 months of the year, but I think I would take perma-drizzle over our weather for the last two days. We lost track of exactly how much rain we got after emptying the rain guage several times, but I believe we were between 10 and 11 inches over the last 48 hours, as the remnants of a tropical storm, followed by the remnants of Ike rolled through. Toads liked the weather though, and were out in force.

The sprouts out in our newly planted pasture didn't fare so well as every dip in the terrain turned into a babling brown brook full of our topsoil. I think much of it will recover, but it's tough to see $1100+ dollars of seed and countless hours of tractor work get beat up and washed away.

This morning, Rachel and Henry heard a strange noise through his bedroom window. Rachel asked Henry what he thought it was, and he said "That's a chicken -- that's the sound they make when a raccoon is eating them, or maybe a weasel." Thinking that Henry might be right, I ran outside to investigate. Sure enough, the sound came from the coop. Sitting in the middle of the roost was our solitary rooster (recently named Fergus) surrounded by his harem, trying out his newfound crowing ability.

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