Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Nightmare After Christmas -- A Fujiko Farm Holiday: Part 1

The festivities started on the Solstice with the First Annual Solstice Mud Wallow at Dorena Reservoir -- but I'll get back to that in a later post. Maybe. If not, use your imagination on that one. On Christmas we exchanged gifts and then went to some hot springs, steamed ourselves for a couple of hours and then found a Chinese buffet that was open and feasted on sushi, crab legs, and many other things. We didn't notice the fried frog legs until we were too full and limp to feel adventurous. The next day Ronan and I raced off the coast with Valerie and Bruce to do some impromptu whale watching. I'm not sure those wispy things I saw in the binoculars were whales' spoutings or just wave spume. But it was a bright sunny day at the coast (whereas Cottage Grove was fogged in), so it was plenty of fun whales or no whales. The first picture here is the remains of a sign warning people that the breakwall is not designed for walking on, blah-de-blah, proceed at your own risk. The next photo is of Ronan proceeding at her own risk. (Or that would be the next photo, but it got deleted.) We tried to make it out to the very furthest point but the tide was coming in and getting doused, ducked, or drowned by a sleeper wave would have put a damper on the dinner (fish and chips, of course!) that we were looking forward to having, so we turned back after scrabbling two-third of the way out. My hip joints felt plenty exercised from clambering up and over all those boulders.

Then on Sunday the real fun began: we started moving the major appliances out of the kitchen so that we could tear up the floor and have a new one put in. By somebody else! Yahoo! We won't be laying the tiles!! I may just have to pull up a chair and watch the tile layers work; it will be such a treat to not be doing it ourselves. ... But WE have to tear out the old stuff and get it ready for them. And then after glorious relief of watching someone else work, I will get the job of applying the wax. Knowing our house and its many mysteries and pitfalls, we figured that tearing out the old floor would make up for any guilt we might feel for not having the thrift and spine to lay the tiles ourselves. Last time we tore out a kitchen floor -- the one in the "apartment" side of our house, we found that there wasn't anything solid underneath it. By the time we removed everything that couldn't be saved, we were left with a big patch of dirt with some water pipes running across it and the outer skin of the two outside walls. That job took one month of working every day to complete. My housemates are extremely patient people.

There kitchen wasn't small because it had room for a dinette in it. Our kitchen is on the huge side, a "farm kitchen" at 14 feet by 21, approximately. The first day all we did was get the buckets of bulk foods, the carboys of wine and cider, the two freezers and the fridge moved out and stowed in the back bedroom, the entry hall, and the dining room. We stopped early ( at 4:00 p.m.) and went to Tom and Lila's for a potluck and as much wine as we could put away without having to deal with a hangover the next day.

Later as I was looking at the now-vacant half of the kitchen I suggested to Matt that we tear up that half of the floor first, put down the plywood underlayment and then tear out the side of the kitchen with the counters, the sink and the dishwasher. I suggested this because I thought there would an open crater in the house that would be belching cold air up into the house. I hung a sheet and a blanket over the doorway to the kitchen, both to stop (or slow) the draft and to block most of the demolition dust from getting into the rest of the house. Much to our surprise and relief we discovered decking under the particle board. The decking has made this project much less of a nightmare than it could have been. Ah, but other trials awaited us .... To be continued.

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