Sunday, October 21, 2007

Looking for inspiration

When your beach house is in the ’burbs, rather than at the beach, sometimes you have to hit the coast for some inspiration. While the house I’m staying in on St. George Island, Florida, offers little in the way of home d├ęcor inspiration, the view more than makes up for the serviceable but unremarkable place.

From the comfort of a screen porch (an essential for any beach house, whether in the ’burbs or not) overlooking the beach, I have watched storms roar through, enjoyed the perfect beach day (yesterday, it was breezy, sunny, low 80s, the Gulf was like glass) and nearly been blown to Timbuktu.

St. George Island is off the coast of Florida, east of Panama City. I first came here as a Florida State student. It’s about an hour and a half from Tallahassee. The island is long and narrow, with a state park taking up about a third of the east end. The rest of the island is houses, a few shops and restaurants and a couple of inns and motels—all low-rise. It looks like the Myrtle Beach I remember from my early childhood, before it got so built up. (I’m dating myself, I know.)

When I was in college, we came here one February day—the advantages of going to college in Florida. The weather was beautiful, high 70s, sunny, but the water was freezing cold still. Back then (the early 1980s) the island was nearly deserted. Few houses, the state park was only a couple of years old. We just parked the “sin den,” as someone christened my 1978 Gold Buick Electra 225 that was big enough to raise a family in, by the side of the road, tromped across the dunes (no worries about protecting them in those days) and laid out our beach towels. We were the only people on the beach. All was fine until I had to go to the bathroom. Like I said, the water was too cold to get in. And I’ve never been one for going behind a bush. I planned to walk back to the car and drive it to the one convenience store on the island and use their bathroom. But the enormous, heavy car was stuck in the sand (now they have signs telling idiots like me not to pull off the side of the road and park). I had to go in the water. I waded in just as far as I had to, did my business and when I came out, my legs were blue from the cold. I huddled under my beach towel, trying to get warm and figure out what to do about the car. I had friends with me and we all had to get back to school that day. Fortunately a nice park ranger cruised by in his Jeep. He stopped and asked if we were the ones stuck in the sand, laughed when we admitted we were and pulled us out for free.

The people here are still nice, though as a friend learned, it now costs $70 to have your car towed out of the sand!

But I’m having no bad days at the beach this trip. Even today, the windblown day, isn’t bad. My poor dog, Prissy the Pomeranian, and I couldn’t take our morning walk on the beach. She’s built so close to the ground that the wind kept blowing sand in her eyes. She tried to walk backwards to keep the sand out, but that didn’t work. After she did her business, right quick, I might add, I picked her up and carried her back to the house. So we’re sitting inside (it’s too windy even to enjoy the porch) with the French doors thrown open. The breeze wafting through the house and the roar of the surf—no longer smooth as glass—are all the inspiration I need.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Party time

One of the best things about getting most of the remodeling work done on your house is that you can finally invite people over. We went for 5 years without an oven, 7 years without floor covering in the living room, dining room and kitchen, and more years than I can count with exposed studs and crumbling drywall.

Now, most of those things are taken care of (There's still one room with no floor covering, just the subflooring, but it's looking really nice with the magic-marker drawings on it.) So this past weekend we had a party. About 40 people, lots of good food--we do pot luck here, we may have an oven now, that doesn't mean I know how to use it--great music and interesting conversation. We even got lucky on the weather. It rained all morning, but quit about 1 p.m. and didn't rain again until just before dark. Long after people stopped getting in the pool.

So, how's this related to remodeling, you might ask? Well, it's one of the things to keep in mind when you're buying a house or remodeling one. What do you plan to do in your house? We don't have kids, which might mean we could get by with a small house. But, the truth is, we both work out of the house, we have a lot of company, and now that we have a place to do it, we like to have parties.

Before the remodeling began, this wasn't a good house for parties. It had potential, that's why we bought it, but the inside was chopped up, dreary and dark. The outside was great, two acres and a pool. Except that the deck, on the west side of the house, had been painted dark brown to match the house. In the afternoons, you couldn't walk barefoot across the deck to get to the pool without setting the bottoms of your feet on fire. And there was nowhere to sit out back that didn't just bake in the hot Georgia sun all afternoon.

Thanks to the resident remodeling contractor, we now have a screen porch out back and the remaining deck is painted light gray. We can sit in fan-blown comfort while watching others swim in the pool or even stay outside if it's raining. It's great to listen to the rain bounce off the metal roof of the porch. And you can walk across the deck without your toes bursting into flames.

And when the walls came tumbling down on the inside, the whole house opened up. We can have 50 people inside, almost comfortably. So long as not everybody wants to sit down at the same time!

Look for some pictures with the next few posts.

I'll get some pictures up of the

Thursday, July 19, 2007

So, we got this thing ...

My mother-in-law called recently and asked Chris if he'd travel to west Alabama to pick up a family heirloom--for lack of a better word--that one of her cousins has had custody of for years. The cousin's moving and doesn't have room for it in the new house. And it needs to stay in the family, Chris's mother said.

That's how we became the proud, but concerned, owners of something that may or may not be illegal to own. I don't know.

When Chris was very young (back in the late 1960s) his family traveled from Alabama to the Petrified Forest in Arizona. And brought back a 600-pound souvenir in the form of a petrified log. Said log is probably a couple of feet long and a foot or so in diameter. As I was trying to find room for the dog--a Pomeranian, for heaven's sake, not a Great Dane or anything--in the back of the Exploder (I mean Explorer) I thought I'd just slide the log over a couple of inches to make room for Princess Prissy Pants. But I couldn't budge the thing.

Now, the story they tell is that in the late '60s it was perfectly legal to bring home a petrified log. Not so much, now, according to the website, which talks about stiff penalties--I'm imagining floggings or tar and feathers--for so much as touching the petrified wood, much less picking it up and taking it home.

So, what's a basically law-abiding girl supposed to do? It's not like we can ship the thing back (600 pounds, remember?).

For now, it looks good in the living room. Maybe one day we'll make our own pilgrimmage to the Petrified Forest and return the heirloom back to its homeland under cover of darkness. But, please, don't tell my mother-in-law.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

A squirrel in the house!

Pets add so much joy to your life! Especially when you have a dog door. It is the portal through which all manner of surprises can come enter one's life.

We have a very large Pomeranian, as Pomeranians go, the 10-pound Princess Prissy Pants, who is quite as prissy as her name implies. But don't let that sleek, elegant, black (with coy touches of white on her chin and legs) fool you. She's a hunter.

We don't always leave the dog door open. We also have a cat who brought in a live, tail-less chipmunk (The tail was on the floor by the refridgerator; obviously Kitty was saving it for a snack later.), a dead mole and a dead baby bird one day when Chris was out of town. But that's another story. But because of Kitty, we only leave the dog door open when we have visiting dogs because Kitty is a scaredy-cat and won't come out when Leroy, my parent's killer shitz tzu, is visiting.

So, there I sat at my desk, writing a magazine article, when my precious little Prissy Pants brought me a gift--a headless squirrel--and laid it at my feet. She was quite proud of herself. I was less thrilled. In fact, I was disugusted. Fortunately Chris was home (and our marriage vows state that he is to deal with all dead things, and he owes me big after the Kitty episode, so I ran outside, stood on the table on the deck and screeched until he cleaned up the mess). My first question was, "How do we get rid of the dog door?"

After Prissy Pants had thrown up squirrel parts on the new couch and on the bed, my question became, "How do we get rid of the dog?"

The answer is, "We don't." Both the dog and the dog door, along with the killer Leroy and cousin Abby the Norwich Terrier, are still here. It's a small-dog convention at our house this week. Kitty has packed her bags and would run away from home if she had nerve enough to leave the master bathroom.

So, I guess the dog door will stay, at least until we get the other projects--front steps (we've only had one friend sprain an ankle by jumping off the porch and landing in a hole); master bathroom doors, which would make Kitty happy; flooring in the chicken room; redoing the extra bathroom (the pipes burst several years ago, so it's been unusable since then) and a mess of other things I don't even want to think about.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

You can either do the work or write about it!

All that's left of the chicken room, our room above the detached garage where Chris once raised chickens on the shag carpet, is a picture drawn on the floor in black Sharpie that says "Welcome: The Chicken Room." All wildlife, except my husband, has been evicted. The wall is repaired where the bees lived for a couple of years. No signs of the chickens remain, thank goodness!

The room is supposed to be my husband's office. He's a remodeling contractor. But you see the pictures. It's every little boys dream office with musical instruments and musicians, (Chris is playing the drums) a couch, and a floor that nobody cares about. (We'll get floor covering one day, but given that it took seven years from the time the carpet came up in the main part of the house until the new flooring went down, I'm not holding my breath.) I'm afraid to ask how much work he's getting done up there. He moved his desk in last week. Then this weekend we moved a couple of bookcases and all of his office stuff upstairs. I may never see him again.

We both work out of the house. After nine months, I have given birth to my own office. I don't have to work at the dining room table, our only eating space, clearing it off every time we have company, which is often. No, life is good. I'm in an office of my own, the red room, formerly the box room, when it had no heat or air and French doors hung so crooked you could throw a cat through the cracks in between them. Before that, it was a garage. Now it's an office/den/dog room/piano studio. But with Chris installed in the chicken room, it's all mine! The great American novel should be finished any time now!

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Overlooked Miami Beach architecture

Okay, so maybe calling the Miami Beach lifeguard huts architecture is a bit of a stretch, but I loved them! Given my inclination to move all things beachy into our suburban ranch house, I'm trying to figure out where to put one of these things. By the pool is probably the best spot. We could use it to store all of the pool junk--nets, vacuum, chemicals, floats, etc. But it can't be too close or some of the adreneline junkies who use the pool will be diving off the platform, and the deep end's just not deep enough for that!

The Art Deco architecture was fun to see, too. But everybody talks/writes about that, leaving those cute little beach huts feeling completely ignored. I've included photos of my three favorites.

I was in Miami Beach for Sleuthfest, a mystery writers conference sponsored by the Florida Chapter of Mystery Writers of America. I've written a mystery, Redneck Tarot, and was at the conference to pitch to agents and editors. I have one of each who would like to read the manuscript, which Ii will have in the mail Monday. We'll see what happens.

But even if this agent and editor don't come through for me, the trip was worth it--just to see the lifeguard huts!

Sunday, April 15, 2007

The swarm moves on

This was the week of biology lessons in our chicken room. That room as been home to lots of wildlife, from the human to the non-human variety. First the chickens lived there. Then a hive of bees moved into the walls. This week we finally got the bees removed--and discovered the walls had become home to carpenter ants and these disgusting beetles that look like ticks, except when they're in the larval stage and look like maggots--blech!

Thanks to Georgetown House who provided a tip about finding someone to take our bees alive! Chris, my husband, found Cindy Bee, a woman who has been ridding homes of bees for 11 years! She came out on Thursday and took ours away--and let me watch, take pictures and learn about the process. She doesn't need to worry that I'm planning to horn in on her business. It looks scary as hell!

The first photo shows the outside wall of the chicken room. This is all we could see of the bee hive until Cindy exposed it all. We could occasionally see the swarm of bees surrounding the hole--that's how we knew what had done the damage. That's honey dripping down the wall. We could also feel a hot spot created by the movement of the bees on the inside wall.

Anyway, Cindy donned her protective gear--net bee hat, long sleeves, gloves, etc. And headed inside. She said she'd come get me when it was safe to come in--she didn't recommend being there when she cut the hole through the drywall. That part tends to upset the bees, and nobody wants to be around upset bees! Especially when they don't have a net bee hat!

In a little while she came and got me. She had cut a hole about 1 foot wide and 3 feet long--it fit just between the studs in the wall, where the morons who built the garage and chicken room had forgotten or neglected or thought they were playing some great joke or maybe they just wanted to one day have bees living in the wall, anyway, they didn't put any insulation--which Cindy says bees hate--in between that one pair of studs. (See the second photo, all that black is very agitated bees.)

Cindy seemed a little disappointed by the hive. It was black, which indicates old comb, with no white new comb around it at all. This means an unhealthy hive. Because our hive was unhealthy, she estimated we only had 10,000-12,000 bees! Which sounded like a right healthy number of bees to me. But, if the hive had been healthy, we'd have had 30,000-40,000 bees! Who knows, they might have completely destroyed the chicken room! So, I was happy with 10,000-12,000!

I took pictures, looked at the bees, got to wear the bee hat--not a good look for me. Then she suggested I go away again while she vacuumed them up. She uses an actual vacuum cleaner, but sucks the bees into a five-gallon paint bucket instead of into the cleaner bag. I heard the vacuum cleaner running for quite a while. Then it stopped. A while later she came to get me again.

She had cut the comb loose from the wall and wanted to show me what she found. She had been afraid there would be no queen, given how unhealthy the whole mess looked, but she found bee eggs in some of the comb. Just looked to me like dirt pressed into the holes in the comb, but she said there were eggs in there. And since she seemed to know what she was talking about, I believed her. So, if there were eggs, there had to be a queen. But she couldn't find it. Then she showed me another piece of comb that had bright yellow in the holes--pollen! Finally, I got to see the real purpose for all that yellow crap that covers our world here in north Atlanta for a month in the spring. (Picture 3 shows Cindy Bee and the baby bees--that's the "beach house" in the background. The chicken room is over the detached garage.)

She also pointed out the problem that the bees were fighting--the disgusting tick-like beetles. A whole pile of white maggoty-looking things crawled around the comb and a couple of little black beetles could be seen. They're parasites, living off the bees. She said usually the bees can take 'em, but we seemed to have a docile, hospitable swarm and they'd welcomed the beetles in. Beetles, being beetles, promptly took over. Then she told me the beetles were the worst problem. We went back inside and looked at the wall where she had cut the comb away. Little teeny holes showed through the siding, letting in pinpricks of light. "Carpenter ants," Cindy said. They're eating the chicken room.

So, 3 and a half hours and several hundred dollars later, we no longer have bees (Cindy even found the queen, crawling around on the floor, which she said they never do. I figure the queen got sick of the carpenter ants or the baby bees always wanting something from her.) Now we have carpenter ants and a hole in the newly finished drywall. ("She'll get the bees out through the siding," Chris said, as we hung, taped, mudded and sanded new drywall just two weeks ago.)

But, really, what kind of remodelers would we be if one project didn't begat several others? Better get back to work!

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Buzz, Buzz, Buzz ...

Honey bees have been living in the wall of our garage for several years now. They go dormant or hibernate or something in the winter, but spring has sprung in Georgia and they are back. One day--after the yellow-pollen haze is gone and I can safely leave the house--I'll take a picture of them to post. They mostly live inside the wall, but they also come out and huddle close together looking like a big, black blob on the side of the garage.

So, they've been there several years. Chris has looked for a way to get rid of them without killing them--he's a nice guy, rescued a neighbor's dog that had fallen in another neighbor's pond at 1:30 yesterday morning and couldn't get out. But he's having a hard time finding one, that doesn't cost an arm and a bee wing! He's also cheap, so when the humanitarian side and the cheap side conflict, he just does nothing. And the bees haven't really been a problem.

It's kind of cool to see them hanging out on the side of the garage. And if you press your hand on the wall inside, it feels warm--these activities are good for briefly amusing the nephews when they come to visit.

But yesterday the bees became a problem. We're fixing up the room over the garage to bee (pun intended) Chris' office. Some structural work to keep the roof from collapsing on him while he sits at his desk, running his empire, required the replacement of the drywall on the vaulted ceiling. When the drywall came down off the ceiling beside the wall where the bees live, they were able to get inside the garage for the first time. They came in through the little crack between the roof rafters and the drywall on the wall.

Needless to say no one wanted to try to hang drywall with bees swarming around! Enter Great Stuff! That very cool stuff, that is almost as versatile as Duct Tape. Chris sprayed it in the crack to keep more bees from coming into the room, then left the room for a while. The bees all disappeared--going back to their hive in the wall.

We might decide to keep them if we could figure out how to get the honey out of the wall--but fresh honey mixed with insulation doesn't sound like something you want to smear on a biscuit!

So if anyone has any ideas for how to humanely and cheaply get rid of bees, please, let us know!

Friday, March 23, 2007

Avoiding 7 years of bad luck!

When we bought our house, which looked nothing like a beach house 13 years ago, we decided that the woman who sold it to us had a strong streak of vanity in her. The house was full of mirrors. Full-length mirrors hung on backs of all the closet doors, every one in the whole house. Another full-length, double-wide mirror hung on the master bedroom wall, despite the one on the master closet door. And in the room above the detached garage, an 8-foot square mirror stretched from floor to ceiling and covered the space between two windows on one wall. She obviously didn't want to have to go more than 10 steps anywhere in the house without being able to see her reflection.

We got rid of most of the other mirrors as we painted or moved closet doors. But we left the huge one. The tenants we had up there when we first moved into the house didn't seem to mind it. One was so stoned all the time he probably didn't notice it. After he left, we used the room for storage, then as a chicken house, then most recently as a workout room--with storage. It was nice to have the mirror when we (mostly Chris) worked out. Besides, what were we going to do with an 8-foot square mirror, that wouldn't risk breaking it and causing a lifetime of bad luck?

Now we're getting the room ready to be Chris's office--he works at home as a remodeling contractor and building. And we needed the wall space where the mirror was for furniture. And we thought it seemed weird for Chris to be staring at himself all day as he worked. Despite the fact that he's quite handsome!

So he had a brainstorm. He called a glass company he works with--they do shower doors, replacement glass for windows, normal-sized mirrors--and they came and got it--for free! They took it off the wall and carted it away, without breaking it and causing anyone to have bad luck!

I'm sure it's a sign. It means the rest of the work on the room will go smoothly--despite the fact that we've been waiting on the drywall guys for two days--and they still aren't here.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

The Taxman cometh

So last year we made a little more money than in previous years. Which seems like a great thing, right? Now we can finish the chicken room into an office and I can stop having to write on the kitchen table (the only place to eat in our house).

Except that the taxman is going to take all of the money we had budgeted for said chicken room. I knew we were making more money last year and thought I had sent enough in estimated payments to cover the difference. But since math is not what I do well. And, really, all I did was say to myself, "Oh, I think I'll send in a little more money this time. This should be plenty." Rather than try to find out exactly how much I should send in, like, if there's a formula or something, which apparently there is. So, now we have to pay, and I have to keep writing on the kitchen table, carting my work life around in a red plastic basket that threatens to break and spill out all of my work everytime I pick it up.

And I can forget updating the hall bath. It was the first thing we did in our house thirteen years ago when we bought. It was disgusting and dirt and dark brown. And I found this very cool Elvis shower curtain--a life-sized picture of Elvis is full hip swivel. Elvis inspired the whole decor. The walls are painted black and white stripes and covered with Elvis photos and memorabilia. The only rule was Elvis had to stay in the bathroom. You know how people get when they think you collect something--you end up with Elvis creeping out into the living space. We decided early on that this house wasn't big enough for Chris, me and Elvis.

We've all been happy with him living in the bathroom for all these years. But the shower curtain has holes and the white stripes on the walls have yellowed and the vanity needs to be replaced.

But it all has to wait. Because if we don't pay the taxman, we'll be singing our own version of Jailhouse Rock. Nobody wants to hear that!

Thursday, February 08, 2007

What could possibly top this?

Our new roof is on! The roofers were here most of last week, including one really, really cold day (for Georgia) anyway, when the very steep front half of the roof was slick with ice. Fortunately they didn't tell me that until the next day, when it was warmer and not slick at all. I'd have told them to go home had I known.

Of course, the problem with getting work done is that it begats other work that needs to be done. Now, for example, we need to paint the new siding around the dormers--see photo. So, do we just paint that the same color as the rest of the house or do we figure out what color we want to change the house to--it's been this gray color for quite a long time and could use a paint job. And if we do decide to repaint, then do we get the rest of the work finished on the outside first? For example, we've never put in front steps. You have to leap over a good-sized crevice at the end of the driveway or else step up an impossibly tall three feet to reach our front porch. We keep meaning to build steps, but it hasn't happened yet. And what about the siding on the chimney? It was rotten. The rotten parts got removed, but the new siding is only about half finished--and has been that way since the fall. And on and on and on.

But, meanwhile, I'm thrilled with the roof. The next step (because I know how things work around here and the siding won't get painted at all for ages) is the drywall inside, then paint, floorcovering and moving Chris in to his new office--and me off the kitchen table!

I'd rather that happen than the siding anyway.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

The Roofers are Here!

Nine years ago--I can remember it so specifically because it was the same summer we had my dad's 60th birthday party here--we put a green standing-seam metal roof on our house. It's been great! It looks good, it isn't too loud when it storms--lots of insulation in the attic--but if you want the noise of rain on a metal roof, we have a screened porch. Just don't go out in a hail storm, you'll go deaf.

Anyway, we also have this detached garage and for reasons I'm not sure of now--probably lack of money--we didn't reroof the garage when we did the house. So for 9 years it's had the old brown shingles. Well, two years ago it started to leak pretty badly, water running down the back wall everytime it rained.

We started talking seriously about getting the roof then. But Chris put up a blue tarp--which looks really good with the brown roof, gray-sided garage and green-roofed house--and that was as far as we got. (Chris has completion issues--only around here, not when he's remodeling other people's houses. I think he's afraid I'll either come up with another project or decide I'm ready to move if he actually finishes something. This way, he knows a move is at least six months in the future, because no one would buy the place with its half-finished projects.)

Until today--the roofers were going to come yesterday, but we woke up to 19-degree weather. Damn cold for Georgia. So they put it off for a warmer day--it's 36 degrees now. I can see the roofers from my desk (which is actually the dining room table). And I'm afraid I won't get much work done today. I'll be too busy looking out the window at the progress. Right now they are scraping shingles off, exposing the wood underneath. They're moving pretty fast, much faster than I would on the fairly steeply pitched roof.

The sun's shining on them, so I don't think they'll freeze, but 36 degrees is still damn cold for Georgia. I'm awfully glad they're here!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Not so beachy furniture

Well, we bought a new couch, chair & ottoman for the living room as our Christmas present this year. They just arrived and we love them. However, Chris says they aren't really very beachy, though the chair and ottoman are great for napping. You can see for yourself in the photos. When I look at our old furniture, though, all I see is old furniture. Not anything beachy either. It's more the whole atmosphere of the place, as far as I'm concerned.

Anyway, beachy or not, the furniture we replaced had to go. The off-white leather sectional sofa had been bought 12 years ago at a garage sale. It officially entered the "got-to-go" category when Prissy, our giant (10 pound) Pomeranian, puked a river from one end of it to the other last summer. I didn't know such a small dog could throw up so much. I discovered that cleaning leather with bleach cleaner, which seemed like such a good idea in the face of all that stuff, didn't really do it much good. The scratches were forever raised and turned a weird brown color.

The chair and ottoman that we replaced had been my parents, and I believe are actually older than I am. They've lived very productive lives as cat scratching posts, but it was time for their retirement as well. But we're not really crying over dead furniture. It's just being retired to the chicken room/office as soon as it's complete.

And progress is being made. The electrical work was done yesterday. And in huge news, the roof, green metal to match the house--after only 9 years--was delivered today! Whoo-hoo!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

New Year's Resolutions--old song, new verse

Once again I have resolved to get and stay more organized. And if only we would stop bringing so much crap into the house, it wouldn't be that hard. We don't have kids--only a small dog and smaller cat, and, really, they don't require much in the way of possessions, the ocassional bone and fishing-rod-feather toy, but that's it. So, it's Chris and me.

But this holiday we brought home a piano. It was my piano as a kid--I was the one who took lessons--and my parents have been trying to get us to take it for, like, three years. But everytime we'd go to Alabama it would be raining or we couldn't get anybody to help load it or we just didn't want to deal with it. But this last trip, the weather was good, we took the trailer and we found help.

Now, bringing home a piano isn't like bringing home another shirt. You can't just fold it up and put it in a drawer or hand it in the closet with the other shirts. No, it requires a lot of space. Space that we don't really have, but especially don't have at Christmas when we have a tree and Christmas stuff everywhere. So, for two weeks now the piano has been sitting right in front of the front door. We're getting ready for it.

The tree and other decorations are back in the attic--in an organized pile for the first time ever. But the moves required to find a home for this piano require a flow chart.

First, the small table in the foyer had to be moved--and we don't have a good place for it, so it's shoved in a corner of our bedroom, which when we got the new bed and dresser (for free from one of Chris's customers!) last year we swore we would stop doing, but that was before the piano.

Into the small table's place went the larger, but still small, colorful bookcase. It looks good there, actually. Better than where it was.

Into the small bookcase's place went the large cherry bookcase--sort of Shaker style, Chris made it several years back. It's okay in its new spot, a little dark, maybe, but the living room in the beach house is very bright.

And that's where we got bogged down. The china cabinet--an antique from Chris's mother, has to be moved next into the cherry bookcase spot--but, it's full of some not very attractive stuff, a light fixture, mismatched plates and some extremely tarnished silver (plate, not sterling!). And it's being moved to the living room, because the house doesn't really have a dining room--just a great room, which sounded like a great (get it) idea at the time, and is, but has left us without many walls against which to back up furniture.

Once the china cabinet goes, the piano will live in its place, in what is called the red room (used to be the box room, when we first moved in and discovered that the previous owners had finished the garage, but neglected to put in heat and air or insulation and the room, while finished, though in a ghastly manner with gold shag carpeting, French doors hung so crookedly you could throw a cat (especially ours, she's really small) through the cracks between them and a bizarre navy blue and dirt-color paint job, but that's another story). The red room is our office, den, music room, laundry, exercise room, etc. Since it already houses the drum set and various guitars, basses, amps and a glockenspiel, seems like the natural location for the piano.

At this point, as long as it leaves the front door area, I don't really care where it goes! Because until this series of moves is complete, getting organized is once again falling by the wayside.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Happy New Year!

Well, it's been too long since the last post--I blame some on being too busy during the holidays and some on a lack of work in the chicken room. But, part of being busy included getting some work done!

The new beam and posts are up--which means the ceiling and roof won't fall down on anyone--a good thing by any standard. Also, the new closet has been framed up.

After much discussion, we've decided against a tongue-and-groove wooden ceiling. (Chris, who is not as in love with the beach as I am, has declared he wants a "lodge" theme for the chicken room--I swear, I'm trying to stop calling it that, but old habits die hard!)

The frugal part of Chris, always in competition with the "what do I want" part, won this fight and we're going with drywall for now. It will still be pricey--it's a vaulted ceiling, with several nooks and crannies due to dormer windows, the new beam and a weird little flat space in the center. But, cheaper than wood.

He's still trying to figure out exactly what a lodge look involves, but I'm guessing darker paint than I would choose and some sort of brown or green carpet. I hope it ends up being cozy, despite the lack of a fireplace or budget for new furniture. Considering it has to hold his office stuff--desk, files, etc.--plus a set of drums--we don't play, but he got them in a trade when he did some work for some folks whose teenage son decided he didn't want to be a drummer after all and we have several friends who play--plus weights, guitars and amps, a bass--and amp (he does play those), and cast-off sofa, chair and ottoman--I think cozy is definitely what it will be.

The roofing guy is supposed to come look at the roof today. We put a green metal roof on the main part of the house nearly nine years ago now, but we never got around to the garage. When the garage roof started leaking a couple of years ago it began to seem more urgent, but urgent is a relative term around here. A pretty blue tarp has kept the rain out--mostly, since then. We'll see how it works today--it's storming in north Atlanta.

And it's Friday. The roofing guy may not show up.

I'll keep you posted!