More Drawer Explosions, and the Weekly Photo Challenge: Edge

I’m living on the edge of reason around here while remodeling is going on. With everything out of place, I needed at least one corner where I could bring order out of chaos. I found two drawers in the “bar” cabinet (doesn’t every 1970’s suburban house have one?) that hadn’t been visited in a long time.  Here’s my most important find — as you can see, it’s a bit bunged up, I’m assuming from past use.

Panic Button

Panic button, also needed for Earth-evacuation in a ‘Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’ scenario. Oh wait, maybe that was “Don’t Panic”, much harder to do.

As for a list of finds, here goes —

9 wine-bottle corks. I gave away the wine, so that makes these how old?

12 clip-on flashing lights like we used a decade ago when walking at 0-dark-thirty in the morning.

3  can openers,  4 sleek mid-century-looking bottle openers, 6 can/bottle openers of the kind that were once called “Church-keys”, including a cute little folding one, and 7 corkscrews (4 I didn’t even know what were at first).

5 screwdrivers… now that I think of it, very appropriate for a bar area, at least in a bad-pun sort of way. Also 5 more pairs of scissors, and many little oddities. Here’s my favorite oddity…

Celebrator goat ornament

It took only a little surfing to find out that bottles of ‘Celebrator Doppelbock’ come with these ornaments on the neck. Bob loved his German beer, so it’s good to think that he once enjoyed the bottle this came from. Oh, and apparently bock means ‘goat’ as well as a type of beer, so mystery solved.

Also on the subject of German beer – more of Bob’s coaster collection – pretty, yes?

German beer coasters

And my nomination for the award for Most Out of Place — a fossil remnant from a past Gem and Mineral Show …

Fossil - Exogyra Cretaceous - Texas

Exogyra Cretaceous, Texas

And here’s the obligatory drawer-explosion photo, a partial-view, after throw-aways —

Another drawer explosion

Do you have any cabinets that need exploding?


More on the Weekly Photo Challenge: Edge

More on Exogyra Cretaceous

Enfilade, Remodeling, and the Weekly Photo Challenge: Frame

Some scenes are best framed formally, with a doorway. Think ‘enfilade’ — a group of rooms with doorways in line, like this view at the Tate Britain.

Enfilade - Tate Britain

Yes, you can see all the way to the gift shop.

Or sometimes framing can be informal, with a portion of the surroundings —

Pulteney Bridge, Kayaks on the Avon in Bath

Kayaks under the arch of Pulteney Bridge in Bath, UK

But back to ‘enfilade’ — I’ll segue now to garden, and use this example from the tour to Glastonbury that Sam and I took in May.

Entrance to the Chalice Well Garden, Glastonbury. And yes, we tasted the water.

Entrance to the Chalice Well Garden, Glastonbury, UK.

I learned about enfilade from reading Tara Dillard’s blog.  

Meanwhile, on the homefront, there’s another kind of bath — the bathroom. This one has no kayaks and things are not so pretty. One bathroom is being demolished as I write…bang bang bang just overhead. Here’s the state of destruction at lunchtime…

Bathroom remodel during demolition

Framed by the doorway — gutting the bathroom, and oh how it needed it.  See that green strip on the bottom where the tub was framed in?  You can see that previous owners had it refinished from avocado green to white.

I used to think I could wait until avocado green and harvest gold were in again.  Now I realize that may not happen in my lifetime. I’ll stand by this quote from one of the comics in the Sunday paper a couple of weeks ago…

Everything I have is in that awkward stage between outdated and retro.

(“The Lockhorns” August 21)

What do you think? Do you favor new, or should I have waited for retro?


More on the Chalice Well at Glastonbury

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Preparing for Bath Remodels and the Weekly Photo Challenge: Rare

In this house full of accumulated stuff, I thought there’d be nothing so rare as an empty cabinet, but now I have two empty vanity cabinets plus an empty medicine cabinet. The occasion? — bathroom remodel starts next week.

Empty medicine cabinet

Medicine cabinet with 3-way mirror — it was handy, but hulking.

This poor old cabinet is coming apart, but I’ll keep the glass shelves long enough to see if they might be useful to someone. I’ve been diligently sorting out what’s still usable, what’s recyclable, what’s never-used and can be donated, and what must be discarded, all the while trying to keep track of what I’m keeping.

Just to keep myself entertained, I held a “Goofy Stuff I Found” contest — here are the winners.

— Most prolific find — safety pins. Nearly all these came from one drawer in the dressing-table. I think they’ve been breeding in there. The first runner up on most prolific: match books. There were twelve. Two were empty. (?) Next would be the eight manicure scissors (Bob’s) and at least that many nail clippers (ok, some were mine). We must have had a fear of not being able to keep our nails short after the revolution.

Many many found safety pins

Apparently, I am very interested in safety (at least in pins).

— The oldest finds  — Flouride gel, expired 2/1989.  Prescription, expired 5/1998. SO last century. Luckily, collection of expired medication is no longer a once-a-year event, and I can drop these off with a bag of others I’ve set aside.

The oldest things found in the medicine cabinet

I’m trying to dispose of things responsibly, but it isn’t always easy. I ended up with a small grocery bag of trash, and a LOT of stuff I need to use up. That includes what I cleaned out of another cabinet a while back, posted here.

On the topic of throwing things away, quoting a comment on an Apartment Therapy blog from last week, “There is no away.”  –Good to remember.


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A New Retaining Wall, and Two Weekly Photo Challenges (Morning and Fun)

I thought this morning might be the last for my old retaining wall, but it turns out I’ll have it until Monday.

Old Retaining Wall made of railroad ties

Here’s my “before” — the old wall, sadly, long past its expiration date.

It’s been a happy home for termites, chipmunks, ants, spiders, and probably lots of other critters, but I’m finally giving in and getting it replaced. Years ago, when we moved here, we said, “That retaining wall needs attention.” But there were other things, like health, that needed attention more. The retaining wall didn’t (quite) fall down, so there it still is.

As for the demolition? — Here’s what arrived this afternoon…

Dumpster gets backed up the hill into the driveway

Here comes the dumpster. I hate to see things going to the landfill, but in this case, there’s no choice.

I have two more remodeling projects stacked behind this one. Is it going to be fun getting through the next few weeks?  Maybe — stay tuned!  Meanwhile, I’m planning some sorting-out days to keep me busy while I listen to the drumbeat of timbers falling (thunk) into the dumpster.

Have you ever had your own dumpster?

More on the Weekly Photo Challenges: Morning and Fun

Surprise Lilies, and the Weekly Photo Challenge: Narrow

Here’s a favorite flower that I just can’t seem to grow in Georgia. In the midwest we called them “surprise lilies” aka hardy amarylis.  Here’s a close-up —

Surprise Lilies/Hardy Amarylis

Surprise lilies, photo taken last week on a trip home to Northwest Missouri

And what’s so narrow about surprise lilies? You judge —

Surprise Lilies/ Hardy Amarylis

This clump is just beginning to bloom. And, they are fast growers. When we walked by the following day most of the new stems had shot up to the height of the old blooms.

Look Ma, no leaves. The foliage comes up in early spring and dies down shortly after, all about the time spring bulbs bloom. Then, surprise, in July or August the narrow flower stems pop up.

One reason I can’t grow them is that I can hardly ever find them for sale. But even when I think I have, I plant them and they never come up (and that’s no surprise any more, since I’ve tried several times). To me they’re an heirloom plant, a childhood memory and symbol of home.

I can’t complain too much, since right now I have a backyard full of phlox and four o’clocks and black-eyed susans, but a few surprise lilies in the mix would be comforting. Like the peonies and lilacs I got from my mother and grandmother, they don’t grow well here, and they’re now a potent memory of the yard I had in Kansas City. And, speaking of hoarding (which I hadn’t got around to mentioning yet), that yard was full of plants I hoarded, er, collected, all my life. I need to remember that even though I had to move on, the plants-of-my-life are still going/growing strong in yards all over the midwest, and I can still drop by and enjoy them.

Are you missing some favorite plants?

More on the Weekly Photo Challenge: Narrow

More on Surprise Lilies

Finishing Touches, and the Weekly Photo Challenge: Cherry on Top

I never have enough excuses to share my photos from Home Tours, so I’m happy to post some of these finishing touches for the Cherry on Top theme: “a little enhancement that makes a good thing better.”

On the Modern Atlanta Homes tour, some style their homes with striking vignettes or floral arrangements. Here are some from last year’s tour…

Modern Atlanta Homes Tour - floral

Modern Atlanta Homes Tour - floral

Modern Atlanta Homes Tour 2015

Some have quirky touches in the kids’ rooms …

O for Octopus at the Modern Atlanta homes tour

O is for Octopus alphabet wall decal, and watch out, here comes a matching 3D octo-window…

Modern Atlanta homes tour 2014

Some have one touch of vintage to set off a spare ultra-modern interior…

Modern Atlanta Homes Tour 2015 - vintage typewriter

Vintage typewriter and…

Modern Atlanta Homes Tour 2015 Phone Booth

How would you like to have your own phone booth? (Could this be Clark Kent’s house?)

Meanwhile, the cherry-on-top for me this week was taking an afternoon for serious paper-decluttering. Think four bags shredded plus two large trash-bags ready for the recycle bin. The end may not be near, but it’s nearer.

What made your good week even better?

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Buying a New Air Conditioner, and the Weekly Photo Challenge: Details

I usually spend so much time snarled in the details of decision-making that it takes months to decide on a major purchase, but this time I had to be quick. On July 4 weekend, one of the hottest of the summer, my upstairs air conditioner uttered a mighty “thunk” and died.

Death was not entirely unexpected (but timing could definitely have been better). The old furnace and a/c were original to the house, which made them 37 years old. I’m surprised they made it this long, but a good maintenance plan helped.

Old AC-Furnace unit lurks in the attic

Here’s part of the old unit, lurking in the attic, disconnected and ready to leave.

I’d been hoping they’d last until I’m ready to move out. They were so large that I couldn’t imagine how they’d get them out of the attic, but as Sam would say, “these guys are trained professionals.” It all came down in pieces.

Furnace and A/C pieces are down

Old Furnace and AC unit come down the attic stair

Later I saw this part out in the driveway – I think it looks like a robot heart. See the aorta? But then, I’ve been watching The Iron Giant and Big Hero Six, so everything looks like a giant-robot-part to me.

Ductwork looks like a Robot Heart

I’m lucky the house has zoned systems, so the unit downstairs still worked. I moved downstairs and slept on the couch for two weeks until the new one was installed.

The old upstairs unit was noisy and friendly. I would hear it think about coming on, clink and groan a little, then run through it’s cycle. The new one is distant and serene, whisper quiet, and a little like the ambient hum of the Starship Enterprise. On the bright side, I no longer need to get a Star Trek White Noise Sleep Machine (“Effective as a Vulcan nerve pinch”).

New attic furnace and air conditioner 'system'

Here it sits, crouching in the attic amid that muscular and shiny ductwork. Now I get to feel virtuous about its energy-efficiency.

 At least when it comes time to sell the house, it’ll be a desirable detail on the list of upgrades. Meanwhile, I can move back upstairs and sleep in a bed, lulled to sleep by the ambient hum of… oh dear, could there be a warp engine in my attic?

Oh yes, and the new system is smart. It emails me acknowledgement when I change the settings on the thermostat. It wants to talk to my phone, but I haven’t let the phone know that yet.

What does your A/C sound like? And, do you let it talk to your phone?


More on the Weekly Photo Challenge: Details

And, after some investigation on Youtube (where you can download hours of the sound) here’s the Enterprise…


Battlestar Galactica’s Cylon Base Stars are noisier, but you can get that sound too.