Tales of the weekend…

I’ve been reading Jen Lancaster’s books and they make me laugh out loud.  This morning I was laughing so much on the bus that the woman next to me asked me what I was reading because she wanted to read it too.  I laugh the most when she does or says something so completely nuts and her husband just sort of shakes his head.  Because that’s a familiar scenario at my house. 

I’m sure this will come as a complete shock to you all…but I’m really chatty.  J is not a chatty person at all.  On Friday night, we got into the car at the train station and we drove to our house…about 5 minutes away.  I was telling him a story and I talked pretty much all the way home.  J pulled in the driveway, parked the car, looked at me and said “What?”  I was talking so much and so fast that he just completely tuned me out.  It’s funny now, but at the time I got annoyed, yelled at him for never listening to me and stormed into the house…muttering something about talking to the dogs and getting a better response.  I no longer recall what I was telling him, but I hope it was something important that he really needed to know and now he’ll always be in the dark. 

We spent a good part of our weekend installing the air compressor for our new central air system.  Remember all those holes I dug a little while back?  Well…this weekend we actually poured the concrete slab and managed to move the three hundred pound compressor from its location in the garage to its final destination on the side of the house.  This involved putting it on a hand truck, dragging/pushing it up our driveway, across the front of the house and down the neighbor’s driveway on the other side.  It sounds easy, but it wasn’t.  The thing almost fell sideways off the hand truck like three times.  Luckily, my superstrength managed to keep it steady. 

The whole exchange between J and I while we were doing this was so funny…for the neighbors, who were sitting on their back deck, laughing hysterically.  It went something like this…

S: Man is it’s hot.
J: …
S: It’s like Africa hot.
J: …
S: Tarzan couldn’t take this kind of hot.
J: That’s sort of the point of the AC, Ferris. 
S: Seriously…I don’t think I’ve ever been this hot.
J: (rolls eyes) Imagine if you were actually doing some work instead of just standing there.
S: (gives the finger)
J: Ok Mariah, come here and hold this end up. (Mariah is my diva name…as in Mariah Carey)
S: (walks carefully around the unit)
J: Come on Indiana Jones, I don’t have all day…
S: Huh?  What does Indiana Jones have to do with air conditioning?
J: You know…because you are walking all carefully…(rolls eyes again) forget it.  Just hold this.
S: (really quiet while holding)…(breaks into giggling fit) Oh, I get it…because he was walking over the bridge, but he had to walk on the letters spelling out Jehovah and then he stepped on the wrong one because there is no J is Hebrew…(now hysterical laughter)
J: (rolls eyes yet again) Ok, it’s time for you to get out of the sun. I’ve got it from here.
(I go inside and return a little later with my camera and hand it to J)
J: What is this for?
S: Take a picture of me with the AC.
J: Really?  You came out here for a photo-op? 
S: Yes, yes I did.
J: (shakes head and snaps picture)

Unfortunately, I looked both fat and dirty in the picture he took, so I won’t be showing you that.  I will however, show you the fruits of our labor…

Our concrete slab...we had to mix 10 bags of concrete to create this beauty.


The AC compressor in its permanent home.

Also, last week I mentioned my need for a house to be symmetrical and some of you were all…the hell?  What does that even mean?  OCD much?  Yes, totally OCD.  I don’t do the counting thing where I have to lock and unlock the door three times and I don’t obsessively wash my hands or anything.  But I have had a thing about symmetry since I was a kid.  Everything has to be lined up and even and the same.  J encourages this nuttiness when it comes to houses because he has this idea of what a house should look like.  We both like center hall colonials.  In order to show you what I mean by a symmetrical house…this is what my current house looks like…

Notice that the bushes aren't the same on both sides...this drives me crazy!

I like the even number and size of the windows in the front…even though I find it odd that the middle window upstairs in is my closet!  I think the design makes the house look bigger and sort of elegant…as opposed to the tiny disaster it actually is.  Although, we’ve made significant strides from when we moved it.  The first weekend we stayed there our circuit panel blew out and we had no electricity and no heat.  It was awesome.  Now we have new electrical, a new furnace and new central air.  Next week, we start laying the new patio in the backyard…

The pavers are all set and ready to go!

I used to watch HGTV and think how easy all those projects would be and how I really wanted a fixer-upper so I could re-tile a bathroom and lay a patio and learn how to wire a light fixture.  Now?  I just want to hire someone.  Because it’s not as much fun as it looks on TV. 

Stay tuned for more pictures of our progress. 

Oh…and I’m closing in on my 100th post.  I’m trying to figure out how I want to celebrate that.  I’ve got an idea brewing so come back on Friday for the details…

It is kind of bulky…

I love my house.  It’s about 80 years old and has things like original woodwork and recessed shelving and gorgeous wood floors.  It has a ton of charm and character.  Unfortunately, it also has things like drafty windows, cracked plaster and uneven door frames.  Oh, and I forgot to mention the outdated heating and electrical systems, the shoddy plumbing…the list goes on.

Luckily, J is very handy and he’s taught me well.  I now know how to wire electrical outlets, re-caulk leaking windows, repair a leaking gas pipe, pressure test gas lines, replace a faulty circuit breaker, assemble new heating ducts, hang sheet rock and finish off walls.  Pretty soon we are going to be re-doing both of our bathrooms, so I’m going to learn about plumbing too.  Just call me Mike Holmes!

Our most recent project was doing and oil to natural gas conversion and replacing our old, gigantic, inefficient furnace with a new, smaller, sleeker, high-efficiency model.  J did the majority of the work himself…no easy feat since he had never done anything like that before and the installation instructions were written for a contractor and made no sense to us civilians.  It took almost a month to get the whole system up and running, but J did a spectacular job and everything is working just fine.

So J is handy and he really enjoys doing all these projects himself and I like helping him and it’s all good.  The problem is that there are some jobs that are better left to the professionals and J has a really hard time letting them take over.  Case in point…our oil tank. 

Since we have done a natural gas conversion, the oil tank is totally useless and has to be removed.  New York State has several laws about the removal of oil tanks and they require that a licensed tank removal company come in and do the job under the supervision of an inspector from the city fire department.   They don’t suggest it or recommend it…they REQUIRE it.  Of course, J has other ideas.

He has, in fact, hired a license tank removal company to come here tomorrow to do this work.  They will come, remove the cinderblock wall in front of the tank, disassemble the tank, pull it out of the basement, load it onto their truck and haul it away.  Well…I should say, that’s what they would normally do…in someone else’s house.  Here, the will not have to remove the wall…J took a sledge-hammer to that last week.  They won’t have to disassemble the tank…that all happened earlier this evening.  Then J got the crazy idea that he and I should move the tank into the garage to “make it easier for the guys tomorrow.”

Something you should know about me…I am not coordinated in any way and if there is a possibility of injury, I will pull it off.  Also, I have very little in the way of upper body strength.  So I say to J, “oh, if we put it in the garage are they going to charge us less?”  “No,” he says.  So why are we going to kill ourselves dragging this thing across the basement and into the garage?  But J was determined and I know better than to try to reason with him when he’s like that.  It’s entirely useless…like trying to reason with one of the dogs.  He drives me crazy when he gets like that so I’ve learned to just sit back and watch the show.

He stood there staring at the tank for a while.  He pushed it a little, pulled it a little.  He measured the tank and the doorways.  He pushed it again.  He tried to get a hand truck underneath it…which was kind of like trying to move an elephant on a skateboard.  I stood back want watched all this trying not to laugh about my elephant analogy and knowing full well that there was no way we were getting that thing out tonight.  I knew J would eventually reach the same conclusion.

Finally, he turned and looked at me and said, “It is kind of bulky, isn’t it?”  Um, I guess that’s one way to describe it!  At that point, I couldn’t help it and I burst into hysterical laughter.  Shortly after that he threw in the towel and conceded that it was probably better to let the professionals handle it. 

Oh…I got another item checked off my list.  My calendar is up to date and I’ve got birthday cards written out for almost everyone through the end of March.  Two more to go and another one will be done!  Yay me!