Monday, June 20, 2016

The Kitchen.... A Tale of Horror and Triumph


We are renovating the kitchen.

Here's what it used to look like:

Yeah.  Note the lovely (ripped) fruit-motif wallpaper.  The 1980s cabinets.  The vinyl floor.

And here's what it looked like yesterday:

Note the absence of 1980s cabinets!  ::yaaaayyyyy::

After we did that, we started in on the floor:

After we removed the vinyl, and the next layer of vinyl, and the layer of lauan (thin plywood), we discovered 3/4" pine flooring.  And under THAT we finally found the subfloor!  It's in surprisingly good condition for a 140-year-old house.

We're going to take it all down to the subfloor, and put new 3/4" oak hardwood down, to match the rest of the house.

Oh, did I mention....  In the meantime, this is our kitchen:

Let the wild rumpus begin!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

And the rest of the news ....

So yeah, the philosopher's job was the BIG news.  Here are a few highlights (and a sad) from the rest of the first half of 2015....

Of course, we moved into our new (old) house in February.  The first major renovation was the bathroom.  We ripped the floral wallpaper off and painted everything a lovely chocolate brown.  Yay!  The kitchen is our next big task, but we'll have to wait until we've saved up enough to do it.

The sad bit of news is that we lost sweet Julian kitty.  She was 16, and had a long happy life.  

As spring moved forward, we discovered some lovely things growing in our new yard.

An enormous Lady Banks rose.

Clematis by the front walk.

And Nannie's roses happily took root and bloomed.

We also managed to get in some hiking.  We're closer to the mountains now, and all sorts of opportunities have presented themselves, both near and far.

At Sewanee.

And Fiery Gizzard Trail.

And the Pinhoti Trail.

And the Walls of Jericho.

So that's a quick recap!  It's still woefully inadequate for the amount I used to post, and the lovely prose that accompanied it (::snort::), but I feel less guilty now.  ::GRIN::

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

News Flash

It's the end of August.

The summer break has come and gone, in a flash, it seems.

Fall semester has started already.

Football season begins in two weeks.

And I have news I haven't shared with the two of you who still read my woefully un-updated blog.


In the pic below, on the left is a ridiculously expensive bottle of wine.
On the right is the newest Assistant Professor of Philosophy at the college where we work.

Yes, indeed.  Prayers have been answered, in abundance.  After nearly eight years of part-time teaching, the philosopher now has a tenure-track position.  We are settled into our new home, and are reveling in the joy of being where we're supposed to be.

It is a good thing, indeed.

(BTW, don't tell him I posted his pic.  He'll be embarrassed.)

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Introducing... the Redneck Victorian!

So, most of you have heard the wretched saga of our first attempt to purchase a house near Rome, Georgia.  (If you haven't, and your address book has an address on Sunset for us, you should erase it!)  Yes, the Hobbit house is no longer a thing.  I'm trying not to harbor ill will for what happened, so I won't recount it again.


In the midst of the insanity, we started over.  And went looking at houses on January 16.  We were living in a camper, so our rule was "if the house isn't worth a month in the camper in January, we aren't interested!"

On January 19, we made an offer.  We close... tomorrow.  Yes. That is TWO WEEKS from offer to closing *with* a mortgage.  Yes, that is totally unheard of!  Anyway, we received the HUD and the final closing approval yesterday, so even me, with my "HB-PTSD" (that's Home-Buyer's Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) is pretty sure this one is going to close and the sellers aren't going to walk away from the deal.

So, friends and family, I present to you:


I know, I know.  We said we wanted to restore a Craftsman.  But, really, this is the best of both worlds.  It has Victorian detail both inside and out, but because it was built in 1876 it's moving away from the fussy Queen Anne Victorian and more to the simple, solid style of the Arts and Crafts movement born at the turn of the century.

Here are some interior pics (obviously we don't close until tomorrow, so we haven't moved in yet!)
This is the living room.  Zoom in and you'll see the door knob on the closet. Yeah.  How cool is that?

This is the guest bedroom.  (It backs up to the living room, so there's a back to back fireplace.  More about that later.)

This is the library.  Yes.  Built-in bookshelves. Through that door you see is the study.   It also has built-in cabinets.

So that's the Victorian part. 11 foot ceilings. Medallions on the doors. Old hardware. Iron chandeliers. 130-year-old hardwoods. Huge windows. :ahhhhhhh::

So, you may ask why we call it the "Redneck Victorian"?

Because the front half of the house is *all* Victorian, and the back half is... a little bit Redneck.

The bathroom is the "transitional" room.

 When you walk through that door you see on the left (from the dining room - I know, right?) there is a cast-iron clawfoot bathtub and a pedestal sink. Then you turn to the right, pass through this bizarro narrow passage and... boom.  Cheesy 80s shower stall with *another* sink.  And a ceiling fan.  And a window AC.

Then you move to the kitchen.

Lovely laminate flooring.  Crappy pre-fab cabinets.  And wretched wallpaper.

Then there's the dining area. The wallpaper is that woven grass stuff.  Painted.  And yes, that's an AC built into the wall.  It vents into the sunporch.

Which also has an AC unit.  Where I come from, we call this "redneck engineering".

You walk through the kitchen down a little hallway.  On one side is a large closet, which we will be turning into the master closet.

On the other side of the hall is the laundry room.

Yes.  That wallpaper says "I hate Laundry Rooms".  o.0

At the end of the hall is the master bedroom.  A converted garage.  Also with that terrible grass wallpaper.  Painted.
And a gas stove.  Because even though the house has central heat, they didn't connect this room.

Oh, remember the back to back fireplaces I mentioned in the old part of the house?  They removed the chimneys at some point.  So the fireplaces don't actually work.

But then you move to the backyard, and there are SO MANY possibilities.  Can you say "cottage garden"??

It just needs some love!

We never dreamed we'd own a house in a historic district, never mind one that shows up on a historic tour. (The gingerbreading on the eaves is original.)  So this is our next project.  First on the to-do list?  Install central heat and air!

No it's not a Hobbit house.  It doesn't have a barn and a shop and a guest house.  But we are within walking distance from downtown and the river, and still just ten minutes from work.

We've got a guest room (and soon it will not be pink) so we hope you come to visit!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

A Lovely Trip to Charleston

First, how can it be November?  How is that even possible?  Have I really been so busy in the last five months that I haven't made a single post?  Done one silly thing that I wanted to share?  Had one ornery rant that I wanted to convey?  REALLY?

Probably not.

But I did go to Charleston last week for a conference.  I had only a couple of hours total to walk around, but there was a reception at the South Carolina Aquarium.

So here are some photos, mostly without commentary....

Battery Park

A better view of the gazebo at Battery Park

private residence


Another private residence

Presbyterian Church

historic home

Episcopal Church

Historic home with some *serious* home defense!

And then we went to the aquarium for a reception.  The pictures SO don't do it justice, but I took a few that are blog-worthy....

First, they had a few rescued birds.... a bald eagle

and a kestrel (I thought they were bigger than this!)


seahorse (look closely, he's down near the bottom of the orange coral on the left)

Alien (No, you cannot possibly convince me these actually occur in nature.  ::shudder:: )

Eastern diamondback rattlesnake (Protip - avoid these if you meet one in the wild!)

Albino alligator (Protip 2: Also avoid these in the wild.)

I don't remember what this is, but it makes me smile.

Mmmmm - shrimp and grits!!!!  

The conference was amazing, by the way, but I will spare you any photos of 1500 librarians listening to speakers and attending workshops.  8-)

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Hope, indeed.

I work at a lovely college.  I work with great folks, and I enjoy my job immensely.

I'd like to retire here, many moons from now.

But the only way to stay here is for the philosopher to find long-term employment in the same general geographical region as my lovely college.  And that has... not always proven to be an easy thing.

He's been teaching as an adjunct for several semesters (I started in the summer three years ago, and I think he started teaching two classes the following spring.)  This past spring, he was offered a full time temporary position to replace someone who had moved up the administrative chain.

Recently he was asked to continue the full time temporary position through the next academic year.  So for the first time in a long while, the philosopher will have a good job.  Yes, it's only for a year.  But that's better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick, amirite?

So here's where the hope comes in.

This position will be posted as a full time, tenure track position next spring.  And of course the philosopher will be eligible to apply at that time.

Of course, there are no guarantees.  He has to do a good job for the next academic year, and then do well in an interview (assuming he gets one).  In the meantime he'll be networking, and getting to know folks, and doing his best to fit in and prove his worth.

So yes, this is the most hopeful we've been in several years.

If you're of the praying sort, I know you've been lifting us up lo these many lean years.  Please continue. We're ready to put down some roots, and be settled.  And goodness knows we're both ready to not fret about where his next teaching gig will come from.  He's meant to be a teacher.  His oft-prickly exterior, once breached, shows a man who's dedicated to his students. He wants nothing more than to teach them how to think critically and take what they've learned on into their "real lives" in some meaningful way.

Hope, indeed.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

20th Anniversary Adventure: San Francisco

I admit it.  I was not all that keen to spend the day in San Francisco, killing time while waiting for our midnight flight to depart.

But the philosopher was willing to drive, and I was willing to navigate, so off we went!

Driving to the city from Napa entailed a trip across the Golden Gate Bridge.

 It was a bit foggy and hazy, but not too bad for seeing the sights.

We started our visit by parking near the most important place in San Francisco.... Ghirardelli Square! (Yes, I bought chocolate.  We bought an entire case of wine in Napa... why wouldn't I buy some treats for myself??!?!)

We walked down the coastline, and saw Alcatraz in the bay.

From there we headed to Fisherman's Wharf.  We ate lunch at a delightful place called Alioto's.  Clam chowder in a sourdough bread bowl.  Fantastic!  We also walked through the Musee Mechanique, an incredibly quirky collection of games, from air hockey and old penny games to Pac Man and such. It's free; they make the money to keep the place open by asking folks to play all the games!

So that was the easy part.  Now we headed back to the car for a death-defying trip to ....


We had some lovely tea at Ten Ren Tea, and browsed all the quirky shops.  I will say we bought some gifts, but I won't say what, or who they're for!  ::grin::

Old St. Mary's

An interesting view of the Transamerica building from Chinatown.  Talk about a class of cultures!

Our final destination was completely inadvertent.  We were trying to find the interstate on-ramp, but because of  road construction, we were thwarted, and ended up driving the length of Market Street!  


Here's the problem with Market Street.  TOTAL INSANITY!!!!  You actually can't make left turns. (Which is of course where we needed to go.)  And if you get into the "car" lane, you can't turn right, either.  Now, those of you know are familiar with the city might say - just continue straight and head into the Mission District and you can get wherever you need to go."  Nope.  The main roads were blocked off for the 2014 Carnaval Festival.  ::sigh::

We finally ended up on the 101 headed back to the airport.  There was a brief conversation about trying to go somewhere else... Haight Ashbury, or Coit Tower, or Lombard Street, but by then we were both so exhausted that we decided to go to the airport, drop off the car, and be incoherent for a few hours before our red-eye home.

And that's just what we did.