When I Have Arthritis in My Thumb....

>> Monday, July 18, 2011

....I'll know whom to blame. I spent several 10-hour days helping my brother and his girlfriend work on their new-to-them fixer-upper. It's a classic DC rowhouse that needs, um, work. More work than anticipated, I think. It has, as they say, "good bones," and I think it will be quite lovely one day. In the meantime, the goal is to get it liveable -- and I am quite invested in this goal as I'm supposed to live there.

This experience has renewed my appreciation for the hard work of demolition, construction, remodeling, and renovation. It's no wonder it costs so much, when such efforts require things like pulling staples out of formerly-carpet-covered floors. Luckily the hardwoods underneath the carpet are in great condition. The two rooms sanded yesterday look fantastic and will look even better when stained. But staple-removal in 3 rooms and a staircase took 2 people 10+ hours.

So a few thoughts from this weekend's work:
1. Never ever carpet over good hardwood. Sand and stain the hardwood, and relish it.
2. Do not paint over textured wallpaper (or any wallpaper for that matter).
3. Do not plaster and paint over wallpaper (seriously, strip the wallpaper when it's fairly straightforward and then plaster and paint).
4. Four layers of bathroom tile are too many. Rip out the old and replace the new before creating an absurd tile-monster bathroom floor.
5. Some people are willing to live -- and eat out of -- disgusting kitchens. Seriously, who doesn't clean up the mouse droppings? Or allows layers upon layers of grease in the oven? But when you encounter such grease, Easy-Off* is your best friend. It's probably full of terrible chemicals, but it is a fabulous cleaner. I really should have photographed this marvel. The oven is now a usable appliance once again.
6. Bleach and white vinegar are truly amazing cleaning products.

I have to confess that I'm still a little tired and sore from the weekend. And my sewing machine sat idle as I squatted and pulled staples, hacked at old wallpaper, and ferociously cleaned a kitchen. There are a few little projects I'd like to wrap up over the next couple of weeks, but the state of the fixer-upper may determine how much gets done...

image from here

But when I get back to sewing, I'll have something new to play with. I checked my email this morning to find that I've won some Aurifil thread and a color card from Lynne's giveaway. I've heard that this thread is silky to work with, especially because it produces very little lint. I'm excited to test it out and perhaps find myself a new kind of thread to use. It also looks like the 5-pack includes a multi-color thread spool and I think that will be especially fun to use on a quilt top.

*I have not been paid to endorse this product. My mom and I plucked it off the shelf because it claimed to be fume-free (true!) and it turned out to also be a miracle-worker. I thought it would take about 8 passes to find the original metal in the oven. It only took one. 


~Michelle~ July 18, 2011 at 12:09 PM  

I've experienced all of #1-6, although not all in my current abode. Especially #5 - except substitute cockroaches for mouse droppings. And those people that eat out of gross kitchens in their homes are probably the ones who complain at restaurants...

Home renos are hard on the body - if you can swing it, a nice hot bath is a good remedy!

Karissa July 18, 2011 at 4:15 PM  

Yikes! Does not sound like a fun weekend, but glad it was productive at least! Does this mean you won't be doing any sashiko stitching for a while? Did you ever finish your piece? I picked one up last weekend--inspired by you! Haven't even started mine, though.

Anonymous July 19, 2011 at 9:49 AM  

Easy-Off is excellent. One summer when I had been working as a hall director for a while, I was required to move for the three months so that the building I was in could have a sprinkler system installed (university housing). So they put in an on-campus apartment that housed upper-level undergrads during the year, and it was clear that the oven had not been cleaned in several years (the fridge and range top were also disgusting). I had to do two rounds of Easy-Off, but the oven was sparkling by the time I was finished. I'm a BIG fan.

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