Sunday, February 22, 2009


"Kindness is the golden chain by which society is bound together." ~Johann von Goethe ~

It seems I got lucky as far as neighbors go. The first few days I owned the house the neighbor across the street came over to talk and shovel the driveway with me. He managed to give me quite a bit of history about the neighbors...chatty storytelling. Apparently, one of the neighbors (she's in her nineties) was one of the first residents more than seventy years ago. She was newly married and hanging wash out to dry when a cow came up and nudged her in the back. Then who adopted and from what country, etc. Who got "frisky" after their kids were grown and ended up with a surprise baby at menopause. Well, I was thoroughly charmed by the conversation as he had such a matter-of-fact affect and colorful language (not in the swearing sense). And, I had assistance shoveling the snow to boot!

"He does good to himself who does good to his friend." ~ Erasmus ~

My next door neighbor came over to meet us as my brother, Mom and I were walking in one day. I introduced him to my brother and then he said he knew our mother (my brother and I were shooting a look at each other like - yeah, sure!). But, it turns out he drives bus for the adult day care that Mom attends and he did indeed know her. Well, Mom ended up in the hospital this past week (she's out now and recovering) and then it snowed. So, my brother and I came to the house today armed with shovels as we figured we would need to clear the snow to get the garbage bin filled with cement and tile out to the curb for pickup tomorrow. What did we find? The driveway was cleared. We could tell the next door neighbor had cleared a footpath for the postman to walk on from house to house and then continued on into my driveway and cleared that as well. Was it because he knew Mom was in the hospital and that I was busy caring for her? Perhaps. But it most certainly brought a smile to my face and filled my heart with gratitude.

"We are primarily on this earth not to see through one another, but to see one another through." ~ Peter De Vries ~

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

No More Popcorn!

"What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals." ~ Zig Ziglar ~

Happy to say that by now I have managed to scrape all the popcorn texture off the 2nd floor ceilings and the lower level ceilings on the 1st floor. The first photo shows the tools I use, the most important of which is the garden mister. It has a continuous spray button on the spray lever and being that the water comes out as a mist you don't get all those drips falling back down on you. So, just moisten the popcorn and let it sit a couple of minutes and then start scraping. You will end up with a nice flat surface ready to be skim coated, sanded and painted.

"When we show respect for other living things, they respond with respect for us."
~Arapaho Indian Proverb ~

I do have to add that as I was spraying the ceiling I did notice that I was destroying the habitat of a very small spider. I figure the mist gave them fair warning to vacate the premises. And, I would prefer to live in a spider-free environment if possible. Those of you who have popcorn on their ceilings might want to check closer and see if these little creatures are watching over you as well.

"When a person is sufficiently motivated, discipline will take care of itself."
~ Sir Alexander Paterson ~

I always keep a couple of projects going at the same time so when I tire of one I can move on to the other. My other easier project is to remove all the carpet tack at the borders of each room. Won't be needing that anymore! I am shopping for hardwood floors which I should be able to get for half price if I do the install myself. So, I'm off to do some shopping!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009


"Perseverance is not a long race: it is many short races, one after another." ~ Walter Elliot~

With a lot of perseverance and some help on Sunday from my brother, we accomplished in one day what I anticipated would have taken three days on my own. I must say I have a mighty nice brother to have sacrificed his Sunday off for hard labor, but we've already arranged that I pay him back in sweat equity. He has a house full of popcorn ceilings that I will be more than happy to scrape for him. Again, thanks a ton! Literally!

"The man who removes a mountain begins by carrying away small stones."
~ Chinese Proverb~

So now I have a mountain of cement crumbles and broken tiles in twenty-three contractor bags and a mound of tile, cement and wire mesh in my garage. I figure it will take a couple of months to get it hauled away in the regular garbage.

In renovating a home, you uncover a bit of the social history related to the time it was built. In 1946 the United States was in post WWII, a time recovering from rationing, doing without, "waste not, want not". And these tin cans are indicative of that mentality. Have a hole to cover? Don't run off to the hardware store to buy sheet metal! What do we have here in the garbage? Sure! A tin can will do it! We could all use a bit more of that innovative frugality these days considering our current environmental concerns. So, I'll leave these charming bits of history as they are under my flooring doing their job just as good as the store bought kind. Perhaps our ancestors internalized the following quote and the importance of our actions:

"We cannot live for ourselves alone. Our lives are connected by a thousand invisible threads, and along these sympathetic fibers, our actions run as causes and return to us as results." ~Herman Melville~