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.