things I did today (still grumpy about the construction project)

Woke up at 6:30 am on a Sunday to the sound of these words being whispered directly into my ear. “Mommy. Is it good morning time? I’m hungry. Let’s go get bagels.”

Went to Brueggers STAT with Nick to eat bagels for breakfast. Nick only eats the insides torn into small pieces, with a dab of cream cheese on each piece. I do all the work. Good times, good times. At least I got to sneak an egg, since Jesse wasn’t around.

Answered the phone when it rang, while we were sitting at Brueggers. It was Jesse, sounding a little morose. “Mommy, Daddy is still asleep and I’m hungry. What should I do?” I suggested she wake Dad up. “I tried, and he said something, but he won’t wake up.” I told her to make herself some toast and get something to drink. I could feel her mood brightening through the phone. “Oh! Okay!”  When I got home half an hour later, she was happy and Dad was awake.

Wiped off the dark stain we put on our staircase risers yesterday. We made a stupid amateur mistake and put it on too thick and didn’t wipe it off, and it didn’t soak in. I woke up worrying about it and confirmed my fears with some googling and deep memory. No way to finish that tacky mess properly. So we pulled out the mineral spirits and wiped it all off to start over. Sigh. At least an hour putting that stain on yesterday, wasted.

Painted primer on the storm window I’m repairing. Half the bottom sash was rotted out, so about a week ago I dug out the too-soft stuff and impregnated the remaining wood with some sort of liquid hardener. Then I used a magical two-part epoxy that you knead together for a while, and then it acts like clay. I shoved and shaped it onto the existing wood to rebuild the missing wood. It’s ugly as all get-out, but it’s for a second floor window and no one will ever notice after it’s painted.

Grouted the baseboard tiles in the powder room. This required me to mix up only about two cups of grout, and you would think it’s a quickie job, but grouting is too messy to go fast, ever. Since I was doing tiny little joints spaced six inches apart, I filled each joint with my finger instead of using a grout float, and it was just a pain in the ass. And even though I only used 12 ounces of grout, I still went through two big buckets of water to clean off all the excess and dropped grout, and then I had to come back an hour later to rub off the grout haze with cheesecloth. Yeesh. I should have just used some pre-finished fake wood baseboards instead of tile.

Went to Ace Hardware, where they know me very well thanks to my almost-daily visits. They smile and say hi when I walk through the door, but I also think they cringe a little. “What can we help you with today?” I bought some paint, and a gel stain to try again on the stairs, tack cloth, mineral spirits, a new paint brush for putting down polyurethane, brads to attach the kick boards to our kitchen cabinets, a tiny drill bit to pre-drill for those brads, and other stuff I can’t remember.  Supply needs are endless in home improvement work.

Re-stained the staircase risers. I used some sort of dark gel stain this time instead of the runny stuff, maybe a mahogany tone. It was redder than I had anticipated but it turned out well. I guess.

Painted the second coat on the exterior of the sashes for our new kitchen window. I was reminded that double hung windows are the 8th wonder of the world. Whoever came up with that idea deserves a Nobel Prize in something.

Painted a cheap hutch we ordered on-line. This is the picture we saw on-line, and it was described as “celadon green.”


Isn’t that a fun color? It’s exactly the right dimensions for a spot in our new kitchen/dining area, under where the microwave will go. We plan to use it as a sort of coffee and breakfast nook, where we’ll keep the kettle and toaster. We decided the color would bring a nice lively pop of youthful allen-wrench-furniture kitsch into an otherwise grown-up modern kitchen.

Here’s what it actually looked like when it arrived:


Not even close to the same color; just another drab piece. Yawwwwn. Return it and look for something else? I decided on another route to allow for more instant gratification. I got the folks at Ace to match the color in the on-line photo. Easy-peasy. It’ll take a few coats, but I’ll make that cheap hutch a pale tacky green soon enough.

Did touch-up painting on a handful of spots around the exterior of the house. This required me to move a 24-foot extension ladder around, which is always really fun. Even when it’s not extended, it’s very tall compared to my 5-foot frame, so it tends to move me around as much as I move it. Good core work.

And that was a wrap on my Sunday punch list. I feel like such a Jacqueline-of-all-trades these days. I’ll keep punching tomorrow.

One thought on “things I did today (still grumpy about the construction project)

  1. I could not possibly consume enough coffee to even begin to contemplate all of the home improvement badassery happening in your house. I’m overwhelmed by my laundry. Grrrrrmph.

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