We had quite a productive weekend, all things considered.

Saturday I was up by 7:00 because my hips, knees, ankles, and thighs were absolutely screaming in pain.  I just couldn’t laythere any longer, so I got up and showered and put on coffee.  Lisa wasn’t long behind me and, by 9:30 we were painting the ceiling in the family room.

We have two fireplaces, one upstairs in the living room and one downstairs on the family room.  We’ve never used the upstairs one because there was always white carpet up there, and the brick is white and it would have just been too much of a mess.  But, the downstairs fireplace is red brick, with a dark carpet, and a huge slab of Pennsylvania bluestone for the hearth.  Over the years, it has seen many fires and, in addition to the fireplace, I used to supplement the heat with a large kerosene heater.

What do we get from both a fireplace and a kerosene heater?  Smoke.  Black, greasy smoke.  You can see by the picture the kind of discoloration that occurred on the ceiling.  Also, when Lisa took the mantle off the fireplace (it’s a HUGE piece of barnwood), she  found a huge, gaping hole to the rgiht side of it (you can see it in the picture, on the right side, just to the left of the blue painter’s tape) that was apparently letting the smoke through, adding to the mess on the ceiling and wall.  She also found a lot of “chinks” in the mortar of the bricks, where drafts were leaking through as well.  If you look to the right of the fireplace, you can see the snow accumulation on the windows. 

Another picture shows more of the discoloration, along the ceiling as well as the top of the walls.  The flat white ceiling paint stands in stark contrast to what used to be.   By 12:30, we had finished wih two coats of paint on the ceiling, and were ready to prime the walls.  By 4:30, the walls were primed, the ceiling painted, and we were ready to rock and roll with the paint.

 Sunday we slept in until about 9:00.  When we got up, the house was at 54 degrees, upstairs.  We had decided, since we were painting and dressing up the room, to get rid of the old manual thermostat on the wall.  You know the kind, sort of a shitty gold color with the plastic dial?  We took it off the base mount when we painted and, like a dumbass, I never thought about the fact that there was no longer a temperature setting nor a mercury switch to tell the furnace what to do.  We’d purchased a manual digital one and, after we got the walls painted, and after thoroughly reading the instructions, I installed it.  The problem was, the damn thing allowed the furnace to run non-stop, with no regard to the temperature settings.  Clearly, I had gotten the wiring wrong.  The problem was, though, that the old one had no labels for the wires, even though it was the same brand as the new one.  Since we didn’t want ourselves bound to indentured servitude to the local gas and electric company, we felt there was no choice but to turn it off overnight.

 Anyway, as we waited for the walls downstairs to warm up, I got a burst of energy and, by 12:30 had scoured the kitchen, baked a cake, put on a ham/corn chowder in the crockpot, a loaf of bread in the breadmaker, dusted, and ran the dustmop through the upstairs. By 12:30, the walls were warm enough to paint, so we got down to business.

I got up at 6:00 yesterday morning and went down and turned on the furnace and closed the door to our bathroom so that Lisa wouldn’t freeze to death taking a shower.  Since I was off for the President’s Day holiday  I was able to call Honeywell and spend some time on the phone with them, disconnecting and reconnecting wires.  We’re up and running correctly now, and Lisa didn’t have to get up to a cold house this morning.

The family room is painted and it looks great.  The color is called “sea mist” by Behr, and is the same color we used in our entry way last spring when we re-did it.  We had a ton of the “sea mist” left over, and decided the family room would welcome the leftovers.  We’re now considering a new sub-floor on the concrete, which lifts the floor off the concrete a bit, allowing it to breathe and not allowing moisture through to the floor or carpeting or whatever else is used.  It’s a large room — 15×22 — and will cost about $600 to install, but as I told Lisa, if it helps to insulate the floor against cold, and protect it against moisture, then it will pay for itself in reduced heating and airconditioning costs — over time, that is.

Ever helpful, Simba and Idgie supervised the work.  Simba is just too darned cute when he sits in either the recliner or the couch — he mostly does so in much the same manner that a human would.  Idgie just loves to snuggle up to her big brother and take a snooze.  We’re so lucky we have them to inspire us with their energy!

It’s 43 degrees here today, so I think I’ll go weed my gardens.  Assuming, of course, I can find them under all the frickin’ snow….

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