Monday, November 9, 2009


Part 3 of the Hot water Tank Saga

A pattern continued throughout the week. Sean would go to work, I’d go mystery shop and run errands and Gary would stay home laboring on the “weekend” job. Stopping the poor connection leak and removing the pan he had placed under it earlier in the week. During the evenings Sean and I would cook dinner, do the farm chores and help Gary.

Slowly progress was made. I love the wallpaper border that is in this room so I wanted to keep it. That meant it had to be blue taped off, so did all the dark woodwork.

While we were waiting for the floor to finish drying I decided it was a good time to take advantage of super easy access to all four cupboards in the room and dumped them all out. Remarkably I put back everything we were keeping and I did so in a totally organized, INVENTORIED fashion. Ahh the Princess Plan rears its head.

Unfortunately it also meant more going into the living room, bedroom, kitchen and utility room, plus now things were starting to move to the stair well to make the trek upstairs.

I found things we’d been looking for and had given up on finding, (isn’t that always the story?) things I didn’t even know we had ( a huge roll of paper I can use for rubber stamping and to make patterns out of) things to discard totally and things to sell.

I also found I was out of certain things I thought were in that cupboard, so the “to buy” list grew. One of which was the Murphy’s Oil Soap I use to wash woodwork down with. I picked that up just yesterday while out doing yet another mystery shop. The woodwork still needs a good scrubbing.

By Saturday the walls were finally all taped off, this room has LOTS of angles—the whole house does, and that is one of the reasons I love it so much. Parts of the room are 8 ft tall, others are 9 ft and the wall paper border follows all the turns and angles of the room. So it was a whole lot of blue tape.

Once the tape was finally up the painting went amazingly fast. I had chosen a light spring green to match a color in the rooster border. It was so light as it was going on it was actually kind of hard to tell where we had painted and where we hadn’t until the natural darkening set in.

Of course Murphy had to make tracks through the paint and the original off white color popped up in places after the paint dried. Quick touch ups solved that problem.

He also made tracks in the wood putty we had filled the knot holes on the subflooring with and the white Kilz primer we’d put on the now well deodorized and sanitized no-no kitty and mildew spots in the form of foot prints from one of the four adult cats.

Luckily the paint and putty were dry enough they didn’t track it to other parts of the house. So no real harm was done, Murphy just got to smile as we added more putty to fill in the dents made by the fat cat.

Rather than sit and watch the paint dry, which we were so tired we could have easily done, we pulled the blue tape off then retired to the over-crowded living room for a little tv time last night.

During one break Sean decided to go ahead and feed the dogs for the night and bring in the meat to thaw for Sunday’s dinner. He turned on the overhead light and suddenly it went out along with every outlet on the outer walls in the sunroom!

For the next three hours the two men armed with volt meters, and other tools threw breakers, checked voltage and much more to try to figure out why we had no power in that room or any outside wall of the house, except the one the camper was plugged in to—which we KNOW is on the same breaker. They never did.

My freezer and spare refrigerator are on the outside walls. So out, with only a nearly dead flashlight, because all but one of the porch lights didn’t work as well (why did that one work?—Murphy was playing games of course). Gary and Sean went to the camper and garage and drug in heavy duty extension cords for a temporary fix.

The brooder full of the three day old ducklings was also now without warmth, so another extension cord was put into play there.

Problem solved on a very temporary basis we all collapsed into our chairs again, but were too tired to watch more than 30 minutes. Sean said good night, retrieved his kitten from my room and went to bed.

Gary and I were following suit when I noticed a puddle of water on our now dry floor just under the wall that had JUST been painted. Okay Murphy, ENOUGH!

After a bit of discussion Gary mentioned how Sean had told him that he thought he might have a leak under his bathroom sink which is directly above that wall. Depression was creeping up on me when I noticed the cold water hook up for the washer was slowly drip, drip, dripping. Now it has a plastic catch basin so Gary had ruled that out as the source. He even said if it was going to leak, it would have done so before he cleaned the lint off of it earlier that day. I looked, Jackpot! A small hairline crack. The faucet would not turn all the way off, so we wedged a plastic cup under the drip and went to bed.

This morning I awoke to the roosters having a crowing battle that sounded remarkable loud until I remembered we have been blessed with very warm weather and were sleeping with the windows open.

As I mentioned this house is all angles, there are no straight shots through any two rooms to a third. Today we were going to lay down the linoleum and move the washer and dryer back in. I was so excited. I NEEDED to do laundry so bad.

Last night Murphy had whispered in my ear ”How are you going to get a 12’ X 9’6” piece of linoleum in to the utility room and cut it right without damaging it?

“Go away Murphy!” I moaned.

Our back deck, the one just outside my bedroom is in BAD shape, It was scheduled for replacement this last summer, but money and time had been tight so it wasn’t done. It’s bad enough I worry about the birds and dogs getting on it. But the only way to get that linoleum into the house easily was through that bedroom door.

Next thought was where in the world were we going to cut all those angles to make the linoleum fit. The bedroom floor was the only space that was near big enough. Only we had been filling that already cluttered room up all week. GROAN!

First thing this morning, while Sean slept—he was nearly out of inhaler, his “overnight” shipment ordered a week before still had not arrived, and the dust we were stirring up was giving him some problems. So we told him to sleep in and keep his kitten up there with him so we could have the bedroom open to “empty the bedroom—Gary did morning chores and I started emptying the sitting area in the bedroom into the living room and kitchen.

As I went I actually “cleaned and decluttered” filling one feed sack with odds and ends that had gathered here and there. Mercilessly boxing up magazines and books I had decided to cull from the shelves and were stacked here, there, and everywhere.

Gypsy wouldn’t let Sean sleep very long, so he soon joined us. He handed her off to me to hold while he got breakfast for him and her because. Lizzie is till determined this kitten is NOT staying the other three totally ignore Gypsy Skeeter now. Mama Amy has even gone so far as to play with her and groom her some, but we can’t let Lizzie near her. The fur flies when she does and Gypsy is terrified of her.

Sean brought Gypsy’s food in through the living room and placed it where he’s been feeding her safety zone in my bathroom. Before I could stop her she jumped down and headed for her chow. Lizzie was on her before any of us could stop her. Only this time Gypsy didn’t run. Oh the fur flew, but when it was all said and done, it was dilute calico fur, not the darker grey of the younger dilute calico that lay on the floor. It was also the bigger cat who had a new “beauty mark” on her nose.

Just as I had predicted the kitten had her fill of being attacked. Even more amazing, Sean’s cowardly cat Murray Mugillacuty ran in to protect his baby sister. Him with no front claws. Jellybean set and watched and Amy went to protect her new “baby”. While I grabbed the water bottle to squirt Lizzie for being a bad girl.

Lizzie’s nose was out of joint all day. It was late evening before she came to me wanting petted. She stalked the bedroom and bathroom doors where the kitten was locked up all day—we have no delusions the war is over—but her pride was definitely hurt today.

Soon afterwards furniture was moved to the living room and the far side of the bed. My huge plant was moved to the porch, the vacuum was ran and the plywood sheets from the living room floor were moved to the bedroom to use as “cutting mats” to protect the carpet. We didn’t trust Murphy, so we took precautions.

Using the old saying, “measure twice, cut once,” the guys set to work marking the linoleum to cut it. Because I tend to be over cautious and sometimes tick the guys off during such projects I left the room and went to the kitchen to see if I could perhaps figure out a way to cook a meal despite the mess in there. I also worked hard all day on cleaning and sorting, after all I was suppose to be able to start putting things back later on today.

On and off all day I cleaned and cooked, between kitten sitting and helping where I was needed. By the end of the day we had roasted chicken, stuffing, green beans, mashed potatoes, iced tea, Caramel Fudge Swirled brownies, and Cherry Mash Candy (recipes will be posted as the final post on this saga . I had culled more stuff from the house, burned trash, and had done a bunch of dishes.

The “quick” installation of the linoleum of course didn’t go quick.

My guys are both draftsmen, when they build something it’s square. Even if it has angles those angles are “square”. A room is the total same width at one end as it is at the other. They expect other people to build the same way.

We already knew that the people who built this home didn’t own a level. We now know they didn’t own a straight edge or a t-square either. We discovered this AFTER the linoleum was cut.

Sean later said we should have made a cardboard pattern, but of course Murphy blocked that intelligent thought from happening before they cut the linoleum. So there was a little piecing that had to happen. Murphy giggled.

Luckily Gary is GOOD at matching up patterns, and it was a simple pattern (rectangles) to match. The piecing is totally unnoticeable and it behind the washer and dryer, and in a small niche at the far end of the room. So no traffic on either area.

The type of linoleum we are putting down is the type you tape. The roll of tape said it was enough to do the utility room and the bathroom. It LIED.

We had no plans to do the bathroom today, we had the simple plan of getting the linoleum in the utility room down and the washer and dryer back in. Then tomorrow Gary would work on the bathroom, where the carpet is still down. Followed by the two steps, down into the kitchen, which also still have carpet on them as well.

There was just enough tape to put down from the back wall to just past the washer and dryer. So that’s what he and Sean did. Next was to put the mop boards back on—NO finishing nails, Murphy stole them I’m certain.

They tried taping the boards up, nope. Sean made an executive decision. It was after 10:00pm and he had to get up early because he has to work tomorrow and they are starting road construction on highway 75 in the morning, so he needs to leave early to take an alternative route.

He said “Let’s set the machines, I need work clothes for tomorrow.” Then once we have finishing nails we’ll move them out from the wall, put the boards up and put them back.”

So that’s what they did, once again using the shoulder dollies—we really love those things.

Gary and I have stayed up late to do Sean’s laundry and a load for Gary while I typed this.

We still have to clear a path to and off the bed. Gypsy is sleeping in our room tonight because she won’t let Sean sleep. He had taken her up with him, but she was so keyed up with all today’s activities she wouldn’t settle down so he asked us to baby sit her for the night. He’s really not feeling well without his meds if they don’t come tomorrow he’ll call his doctor and get a one time RX so he can breath.

Luckily the shops I had scheduled for tomorrow are flexible days, so I can possibly sleep late and do them on Tuesday and Wednesday , if Gypsy will let us.

Gary just came in from feeding the dogs and accidentally discovered all the electric is back on out there. Funny Murphy, real funny. Now I’m worried about an electrical short!

Our plan for tomorrow. Get the finishing nails and tape we need, check under Sean’s bathroom sink for a possible leak—just in case, do laundry, finish the utility room, check the outlets and such again—we have to find the source of the problem and then move on to the steps and bathroom.

Jan who steals a quote from Red Skelton when she says “Good Night and may God bless.” In OK

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