*An Important Warning* and the Weekly Photo Challenge: Twist

How long have I been putting off cleaning out the basement? Here’s a twist: I finally made some progress on it Monday night when I got home from a week away and found a mini-flood in progress. Now for the important warning — picture first:

Water Heater Expansion Tank

Water Heater Expansion Tank – complete with leak.

That’s the expansion tank on top of my hot water heater. See how it’s rusted out? (I didn’t — it’s my fault for not noticing) The important warning, of course, is check your expansion tank. NOW.

My ritual first task when getting home is to empty the basement de-humidifier. I almost didn’t walk around to the water-heater side of the basement last night, but when I did, I found this leak spewing out with enthusiasm — a fine spray shooting across the room, making puddles and dousing several boxes of stored, um, junk. It may have been leaking for days. It’s tame little arc of droplets in this photo because the pressure was down by this time. Even I was not thinking of taking pictures when water was running everywhere. Monday was our Memorial Day holiday here in the U.S., so I had to scramble to find a plumber on call for a holiday night emergency.

 I think I just heard “Hello, this is the Universe — it’s time you cleaned out the basement, now get to it!” Here’s another twist: I just gave away 3 books on Murphy’s Law (“If something can go wrong, it will”, and variations).

On the bright side:

  • I have really great neighbors — they came over (after 9PM!) to help when I found the water shut-off valve was too tight for me to twist. Of course Sam came through for me too — he came last night to move the heavy boxes.
  • I was forced to stay up late to empty the wettest boxes, as well as sort out some stuff that was sitting on the floor — painful at 2:30 AM but hey, now it’s done.
  • I got to learn to use Bob’s old wet-dry vac (Thank you Bob).
  • There are several more boxes that are damp enough to make me focus on basement progress the rest of the week. I’ll have endless fodder for “see what I found in the basement” posts.
  • It could have been far worse. I’m beyond glad that the remaining boxes of books are safely on the dry side.
  • I found some pretty interesting coffee pots.
  • A water cop would not have helped me here, so I don’t have to feel guilty (yet) for not following up on that.
  • Did I mention it could have been worse? I’m always afraid I’ll open the basement door and water will be lapping the top step.

 Here’s my new expansion tank:

New expansion tank for hot water heater

Isn’t it pretty and clean? Not to mention dry? Why didn’t I think to put a star filter on the highlight?

Wish me luck now, and let me know if you have any good plumbing stories. (I could use some encouragement.)

See more twists on the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge.





Dream Cars at the High Museum, and the Weekly Photo Challenge: Work of Art

Who could resist this face? Isn’t it a work of art?

1936 Stout Scarab front detail.

1936 Stout Scarab, a “living room on wheels”, a work of art, and a precursor to the minivan. I think it’s also a precursor to the cat-bus in Miyazake’s My Neighbor Totoro.

Faces of an exhibition: This week I’m taking a break from clutter (in blogging if not in life) to look at something completely different. Here’s a gallery of faces of the “Dream Cars” in the exhibition of concept cars at The High Museum of Art in Atlanta, open May 21- Sep 07. If you’re reading in your browser, you can hover on a photo for the title, or click on any one for complete titles and larger images that you can page through — photos are mine unless otherwise attributed.

I love how streamlined designs like these still look futuristic, even decades later.  I’m not really into cars, but these are works of art, and are in a class by themselves. Here are a few more details… can you tell I was thrilled to get my first invitation to a media preview? I got carried away taking photographs and was one of the last ones out of the exhibition. That meant I had the gift shop all to myself, but I maintained my anti-hoarder stance and, though tempted, I didn’t acquire anything.

This next one reminds me of a Boccioni Futurist sculpture (Unique Forms of Continuity in Space, anyone?) except it’s covered in fabric — as you can see in this photo.

2001 BMW Gina Light Visionary Model, photo courtesy of the High Museum Atlanta

BMW Gina Light Visionary Model, photo courtesy of the High Museum, Atlanta

No exhibition is complete without exiting through the gift shop, and this one has not only the requisite books and posters, but more adorable animistic shapes to offer. I was a little disappointed to see I wasn’t unique in my interest in the ‘faces’ of the exhibition. I suspect we have Pixar to thank for that.

Run, don’t walk… no wait, drive to see this exhibition if you’re anywhere near Atlanta between now and September 07. I asked if there’s going to be a day that they’ll have hoods-up or lights-on… the answer was no, but check the website for videos of such. For the High’s website, with lots more information & many photos click here.

Do you have a favorite work-of-art Dream Car? (or are you waiting for Dream Bicycles? Oh, Dream Trains would be good too.) 

The 1998 “Art of the Motorcycle” show at the Guggenheim, and the 2010 “Allure of the Automobile” at the High set a great precedent for defining works of art.

As always: here’s a link to more entries in the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: Work of Art

What’s This Doing in My Closet? and the Weekly Photo Challenge: On the Move

I said I wouldn’t clean out the closets yet, but sometimes I have to go on expedition to find things. Here’s something I accidentally uncovered this week: it’s hard to imagine being on the move while wearing these.

A big deal back in the 60's: I think these were my first high heels: pointy toes and three inch heels!

A big deal back in the 60’s: I think these were my first high heels.

Yes, I’m horrified. Partly because I still have them (I thought about this and I think I found them in my mother’s things so let’s blame her, OK?)… but also I’m horrified that I ever had them in the first place. What to do with them now? Halloween springs to mind.  Or since they look so moldy-oldie, maybe a Zombie Mad Men party? Dragon Con?

A few weeks ago I went closet-diving and came up with something more useful. Money, or rather, a money equivalent…

Vintage Traveler's Checks and a little foreign currency.

Vintage traveler’s checks, and old passport, and a sampling of currency. Uh-oh. I just realized I still have the blouse I’m wearing in this photo.

Check out the 80’s hair… come to think of it, we wore heels (but lower ones) with our “dress for success” look back then. I wonder if the traveler’s checks are from the same geological time period? I’m planning to cash them for my next trip, something to help me when I’m on the move. As for the paper money, I know from experience that it’s too old to exchange except at specific banks in the countries of origin.

Two hundred dollars isn’t a bad haul for a little closet-sorting project. Maybe I should try it more often. Everything I get sorted out and donated or disposed of makes me feel lighter, freer, one step closer and on the move toward to my goal.

Three inch heels from the 1960s, what a sight I must have been teetering around on these.

What a sight I must have been teetering around on these.

Here’s another view of those heels… 3-inch heels were as high as they came back then. I’ve seen women wearing what look like 5 or 6 inch platform heels recently. Maybe in a few decades they’ll clean out their closets and do a “what was I thinking?” blog too.

What’s the best thing you’ve found when cleaning out a closet, and what shoes do you wear when you’re ‘on the move’?

Related posts:

WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: On the Move

Storm Troopers, Hellebores, Downsizing my Yard Work, and the Weekly Photo Challenge: Spring

Work-wise, I prefer development over maintenance any day, so I thought that getting rid of the grass would really help me out. Come to find out, spring requires maintenance no matter what kind of yard you have.

On the bright side, here’s one of my new white hellebores with upward facing blooms.

Hellebore blooms

I’m eager for them to make babies and fill in the spots where I’ve cut the ivy back.

Going all-groundcover, no-grass helped me chip away at the store of lawn-related supplies in the basement. I gave away my leftover grass seed back when I gave up on keeping the lawn, but there were other supplies stored up from when Bob used to take care of it. I’m not sure why he had four spreaders, but  earlier this spring I donated two and recycled one.

What to do with the bags of fertilizer? — I’m using a cupful at a time to mix into the compost bins, to help speed up the process. With Sam’s help last summer, the entire mountain of raked-up leaves from the previous fall got worked into the bins just in time for the new mountain of leaves that came down last autumn. Next up: I unpacked a supply of tree-spikes and compost starter to use this year. I don’t know what to do with the old bag of lawn weed-treatment though. I’m not sure how it can safely be disposed of.  Any suggestions?

Now, as for what to do in the springtime besides clean up the house and yard? Why, travel of course.

Thawing out in New York in early March.

Thawing out in New York in early March — we’re looking out the window of the coffee shop in the Guggenheim.

Orchids at the Atlanta Botanical Garden.

Closer to home:  a little local touring to the Atlanta Botanical Garden.

Orchids at the Atlanta Botanical Garden.

Orchids at the Atlanta Botanical Garden (Isn’t this “radiant orchid”, the Pantone Color of the year for 2014?)

Oh, and one more thing… I know it’s a couple of days late for Star Wars day (May the 4th), but I hope the Fourth was with you.

Kilted Storm Troopers swing by a Dragon Con parade.

Kilted Storm Troopers swing by a Dragon Con parade.

How are you celebrating spring?

For more on the Weekly Photo Challenge: Spring, click here.