Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Ta Da!!!

The living room floor is done! It seems so much brighter, lighter in the living room now that we don't have that dull, dark, unfinished floor. I can live with this until the plaster is replaced and I get to put down hardwood floors.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Another Roadside Attraction

This has nothing to do with the house, but I think it's neat. There is a farmer who lives off Kansas 47, between mileposts 29 and 30 who creates metal sculpture in his spare time. There are at least three dinosaurs in this picture. He says they are "anatomically correct" because his daughter, a palentologist, oversaw their creation.

If you double click on the picture, you will see a larger image. There is a red tyrannosaurus by the tree; a white brontosaurus by the building in the back and smaller ones behind the white deer. I believe they are those small dinosaurs that look like horned toads. Hard to tell when you zip by at 65 mph.

Nearly done

Look how it's coming along! All that is left to stripe is the area where the piano sits. That's been our walking corridor as we laid stripes and let paint dry.

When we were in Lawrence a couple of weeks ago Pat bought me a new rug for the center of the floor. I put it down for the first time last night. Of course, the cats say it works fine. They try to blend with the black parts.

I'll finish the red area today or tomorrow and have the floor complete by Thanksgiving.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Half-way There!

We have the room half done! More than half... The squares are fully painted on the west side of the room, the furniture has been moved onto the painted area and the other half has been primed and painted red. I plan to get the stripes laid this weekend.

It's been nearly a month that we've been working on this project in our spare time. I'm ready to have my living room back!!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Furball Lends a Paw

I am drawing the line. As you can see, Furball is helping. When Pat came home for lunch he brought me a second roll of blue tape. That really helps. After the lines are drawn, I can lay both lines at the same time.

In case I do this again, I'll document what I've learned. First-- knee
pads are a must! That floor is HARD. I tried various methods of drawing the lines. The easiest one doesn't even require a pencil. Just a good yard stick and the tape.

I place the yard stick near the wall and use the tape to mark the 12" point.
I'll next use the second roll of tape to mark the 13" point. I press the first six inches down securely on each piece of tape so they won't come loose when I tug on them later. Then I move the yard stick about 1/3 of the way down the floor and position the edge of the stick on the starting point of this "brick". Using the first roll of tape like a plumb line, I "snap" it straight to the 12" mark and secure it to the yard stick. I now have a straight line. I repeat for the second role of tape, securing at the 13" mark. Press the tape down and progress to the next section of floor.

Quick. Straight. And no pencil marks to paint over if there is a mistake.

Peeping Tom

While the painting is in progress, we put the boys outside. (Furball, the Ladycat is afraid of squirrels. She never leaves the house.) I'm not certain if Morris wanted to see what we were doing, or if he was telling me he wanted back in. However, we did have a Peeping Tom while we painted.

There is a cart parked under the kitchen window where I keep unused flower pots. The cats will jump on it and look inside to tell us they want in. The view behind him is the east yard and Pat's three-car garage/shop. This is our main "back yard" because we seldom use the front door and only cross the west yard to get the mail. The south yard is another full lot. We use it for the garden and orchard.

Second Coat

The red brick color we're laying for the main coat is Dutch Boy Mesa Red. I was making the pizza dough for supper when Pat started the next coat. He used a small brush to paint the edges where the floor and walls meet, then came back with the roller for the rest of it.

He had about two roller widths painted when I heard, "Oh. That's really red."

"IRIS!" His voice came drifting into the kitchen. "Is this what you REALLY want?"

Grabbing a dish towel and wiping flour from my hands as I wove my way through the furniture stuffed any which way in the half of the room we aren't yet painting, I came to look. It was a wonderful brick red. Just what I wanted.

"Don't worry, Pat." It will tame down when we add the stripes."

"YOU get to paint the stripes." I was informed. Ah. Pat doesn't do brush work. :)

Primer coat

I must admit, I like the way Pat thinks. I had expected to paint these floors with a brush. He pulled out the paint roller and pan. Now, that's the way to go!

We are using Kilz for the primer because it hides stains so well.

Oh, yes, this is the way to paint a floor!
Not only did it go on quickly, I got to watch Pat do all the work. The Kilz is really thick, but dries amazingly fast. By the time he had finished the first third of the room, there were spots already drying.

I had the really hard task of sitting across the room in my rocker and going "You missed a spot!" Pat showed amazing restraint. He never tried to paint me or throw anything at me. :)

First Stage --Prep Work

It's begun! I was pulling staples when Pat said he'd do that if I'd unload the three bookcases. Gladly!

Each of us feels s/he got the better end of the bargain.

I will say, being a librarian shows. I have a lot of books. Pat has a mere pittance in comparison. :) His books take up a couple of shelves in the bookcase in his computer room. Mine are EVERYWHERE!!!! At the moment they are all over the daybed. Boy, was Something disgusted when he wanted to catch a quick nap this evening.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

The Foundation of the Matter

I've waited a year, thinking we'd be more productive than we have been, but it doesn't look like we'll get to put down the hardwood floor I want any time soon. I'm resigned now that it may be two or three years before we do it. The issue at hand is the things that have to be done BEFORE we can do the floor.

Besides replacing the roof, (there is a leak in the flat roof over the utility and bathroom areas), we have more horsehair plaster to remove. That's dirty work that can ruin the finish on a nice floor. I'm too cheap to put down an interim floor just to see it ruined. I refuse to put down the good wood floors I want until the plaster is replaced. I have plans to replace the utility room and bathroom floors later, too. I have my eye on some click-together laminate that looks like stone. I've heard they don't stand up well in wet areas. This may not be a good idea for the bath and the back door. I wonder if they can be sealed? Hm... I have time to make that final decision.

We have four more rooms that may need the horsehair plaster removed. Kitchen. Utility. Bath. Northwest Bedroom. I can hope the bathroom and utility room have already been done when the folks reworked the bathroom, but I'm not holding my breath. It's all paneled. That was Dad's way of coping with crumbling plaster.

My old bedroom, the northwest room, has walls that are in good condition, even if they are still horsehair, but the ceiling is crumbling. Dad installed dropped ceilings to hide the problem. He did that for two reasons -- lower ceilings make a warmer house in the winter, and it was an easy fix. Dad wasn't worried about a "period look". He wanted something functional. He was also in his 70s when he was doing some of this work (with only Mom for help) so he wasn't going to create more work than they could handle. He only lowered the ceiling a foot, so that really isn't a big issue. I want to go back to the 9 ft. ceiling.

Before Robert and Pat stripped the plaster off the living room, the first thing they did was pull out the old green carpet. We've been living on the particleboard underlayment for the past year. I've even tried to wax it to make it look a little better, but that was useless. I'm really tired of living on particleboard. But I'm still too cheap to spring for an interim floor. Or am I?

Browsing at Sutherland's the other day, I found a flyer for floor and deck paint that showed it laid down in a red brick pattern. That looks nice! I know it's intended for a concrete floor, but the texture of the particleboard would just add realism to my bricks. We bought the paint and will be giving it a try. Even if it looks pretty amateurish, it will be better than raw particleboard for the next few years.

As you can see by the photo, there will be some prep work before we put down the color. I need to pull the nails that held the carpet down for starters. We will seal the floor with Kilz before putting on the color. In his later years Dad cut a trap door in the floor so he had access to the floor furnace. We have removed the furnace and will close off the trap door when we install the wood floor. In the meantime I plan to paint the black lines between the "tiles" to fall as so they hide the edges of the door.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Jonseys Construction

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This is what's Pat's business card looks like. He always gets a chuckle when folks first read "Hire a Husband". But they like it! Almost anyone who sees his card thinks of some nagging problem that needs to be done.

It took a while for his business to get off the ground, but it's going strong now. He also works 4 days a week as maintenance man for the county library system and 1 day a week for the regional system as the rotation van driver, delivering books to member libraries. He has a full calendar. Now you see why we haven't had time to work on the house.

Ah, well, I consider this a lifetime project.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Summer Distractions

We haven't done much on the house this summer. However, Pat got to plant his first garden. We planted onions, carrots, lettuce, corn, tomatoes, peas, pole beans, asparagus, potatoes and watermelon. We let the strawberry bed go back to grass. That was too big a project for this year.

The spring crops did really well. We had a lot of rain this year, even some flooding around the Oklahoma line near Coffeyville. That translated into a lot of rain where we live. At one point the corn laid over nearly flat. Pat was heartsick. I thought it might stand itself back up, but didn't say anything because I wasn't sure. After three or four days, as the ground dried out, the corn pulled itself back upright. Pat was amazed. Unfortunately, all of the rain and problems at all the wrong times meant the corn didn't "make" very well. If Pat got two ears to eat, he may have been lucky.

Our best crop, hands down, was the tomatoes. We were able to can about 50 pints of tomatoes and a dozen quarts of juice. Except for a few onions, we didn't have enough to preserve for anything else. We picked one watermelon. The beans flooded out. The weeds took the asparagus. We had two or three meals of new potatoes but I wasn't ready to harvest the potatoes when Pat was. I could have sworn my folks harvested potatoes in the fall, not the spring. So we left them in the ground too long and they rotted.

But for all of that, the garden was a success. Pat had fun "farming" and we know we want to do it again. His home-based business has taken off and he's added two part-time jobs to his workload as well. I'm really busy with my job, so I don't see us putting in a big garden next year, but Pat wants to try corn again and I sure want fresh tomatoes and onions. We will be planting again next spring.

Guess we'll spend the winter pouring over seed catalogs. :)

Monday, April 02, 2007

1947 Lineoleum Floor

Spring has sprung! It's so nice to have the doors and windows open. It gives us an urge to get things done.

Pat has been busy this winter. He has reworked the living room walls, evening out some boo-boos and painting walls and ceiling. On nice days he has puttered in the 3-car garage, organizing it and enjoying his "man-space."

BUT NOW! IT'S TIME TO GET BACK ON THE PROJECT! We outdid ourselves today. (Am I sore!) We had been using Granny Mitchell's iron bed in our bedroom, but it was just too large. That wonderful foot rail that curves out to make a quilt holder takes up 18" more floor space than we had to spare. Today Pat wanted to install the new ceiling fan in our bedroom, so it was a great time to switch bed frames.

Pat took down the iron bed and pulled out the red cedar one that matches the rest of the bedroom set. It had been in storage for more than five years and was layered in cobwebs and dust. I grabbed the lemon oil and a rag and began dusting. Hey! There was wood under there!

All winter I have been muttering about the 1940s lineoleum on the bedroom floor. I have no idea how old that flooring truly is, but it looks like the stuff that was on the floor in grandma's house when I was a kid. It's real lineoleum, not vinyl.

"Do you really want to take that flooring up?" Pat asked as I was mopping it. "YES!" was my resounding cry. Hey! I guessed right. We rolled it until it cracked and broke, then took it out in pieces. Underneath was a layer of old newspapers. Kansas City Star, Feb. 2, 1947. The flooring was one year older than me!

We had fun with the newspaper. There was a politically incorrect ad for Aunt Jemima pancake mix, a Parade insert with an advertisement for "the really original postwar styling" of a Studebaker, and the funnies! Gasoline Alley. Little Orphan Annie. Dick Tracy. There were funnies there that I haven't seen since I was a kid; some I've only heard about. One called "Newsreel" had a story about Groundhog's Day. We weren't able to salvage much of the paper, but I kept the Studebaker add and a page of funnies. Pat would have liked to spend the afternoon just reading the paper, but we had things to do.

The bedroom is too small to rearrange. The furniture only fits in one way. But we have a wood floor now. The boards are stained but not varnished... and as ugly as Mom said they were. She despaired at the wood floors in this house. She said "I've seen better floors in barns." They are wide, poorly fitted, pine boards. Air leaks through them in the winter (remember me complaining about the cold in the computer room?).

Pat put insulation under the computer room and the bathroom. He plans to do this room soon. We will probably put floating laminate in this room and the computer room as well as the living room and kitchen. There really is nothing here worth salvaging.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007


Onions! We've got onions!

Pat is so excited! The first thing to pop out of the ground is the onions. He feels very territorial about them. They are HIS onions.

Before this he was sure he could kill plastic plants. It's so exciting to see something come up. Now he wants to see the corn come up. Never mind that we haven't planted it yet. He can't wait to see corn rows in our garden.

Flat Lala

We have had a spring guest. Flat Lala visited in granddaughter Lala's place. You see her sitting among the tulips with this entry. Lala means Tulip in Slavic. The stone head always reminds me of my bald headed Papa. FlatLala finds it a bit grim.

I've had a lot of fun with this assignment. Flat Lala has accompanied me to work; helped Pat and I plant garden; helped Pat in his handyman business and traveled with us to visit cousins in Indiana. If you want to know more about Flat Lala, visit her blog at

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Farmer Jones

Garden time! I love spring!

Pat has never gardened before. He has prided himself that he is "not a farmer!" But he is really getting into the spirit of things this year. Last Fall our neighbor Merle plowed a section of Mom's garden when he plowed his own garden.

Pat was amazed to see Merle's tractor listing to one side with each pass. Then he walked out to inspect the newly turned earth. "It's 2 ft. deep! He dug that ground nearly to China!!" The garden sat during the winter with the snow adding nitrogen to the turned earth and the freeze and thaw of the season breaking up the clods.

Come spring, our tiller wasn't working, so we rented one in Burlington and smoothed out the garden. Pat also dug me an asparagus bed and a strawberry bed. We're starting small with only about 1/3 of Mom's garden tilled. Today we planted potatoes and onions. Later we will put in English peas, pole beans, corn, pumpkin, watermelon and cantaloupe as well as carrots and tomatoes.

You can see Flat Lala helping Grandpa plant potatoes and onions.