Bathroom

In Which I Realize The Manor Will Be the Death of Me

The house is killing me. At least twice a day I am convinced we made a huge mistake in taking on this behemoth that seems to be falling apart faster than we can (afford to) fix it. I'm counting on the fact that back in 1907 houses were "made to last" and thus should hold up for another couple of years at least.

I've narrowed my despair down to four main culprits:

  • I've been really busy at work lately. More work = more stress = more grumpiness. Plus, I've had less time at home to tackle small projects or do the daily organizing that keeps my family's disheveled habits in check. It's a bit of a vicious cycle -- clutter makes me anxious (which reads as "bitchy" to my family) so when I'm busy at work, the house gets messy, which makes me more stressed, which makes me more tense at work. Yada yada yada. 
 Except for the randomly placed and disproportionately small picture frame on the wall, this is what happiness looks like for me. Tidy and spare, with lots of white.

Except for the randomly placed and disproportionately small picture frame on the wall, this is what happiness looks like for me. Tidy and spare, with lots of white.


  • I was sick over the holidays. I caught the flu the day after returning from a trip to Bangkok in mid-December and that flu virus turned into a cold, which lingered until it became bronchitis. In all, it was a full five weeks of misery before I turned the corner. I felt off my game for Christmas and New Years, and it drove me crazy that the time I took off (almost 4 weeks out of the office) was devoted to laying on the couch and coughing rather than tackling any of the dozens of house projects on my list.
  • Bill and I are not on the same page. We've had a string of disagreements lately about project choice, scope, design, and budget. The Manor is a hard enough project to tackle, without being on the outs with your partner in crime.
  • Several of our projects have gone wrong, or haven't been finished. The expensive paint job we did on the front porch last year has bubbled and peeled, making it an eyesore every time I have to go through the front door. The plaster ceiling repair we did on several parts of the house looks fantastic, but there are still multiple areas in other areas where the ceiling is peeling away. The chicken coop paint job isn't done, nor is the new ramp to the back door. Living "in between" is hard.

I'm hopeful that the impending spring weather (although it snowed again last night) will create a renewed sense of optimism about The Manor. Otherwise, I've noticed some very attractive downtown lofts available for a steal.

That said, there have been some nice points over the last six months. Here are a few of the highlights

Sewing Projects

 Warm pajamas for the rooms where the heat is still a little iffy.

Warm pajamas for the rooms where the heat is still a little iffy.

 An animal-print wrap-dress for #JungleJanuary.

An animal-print wrap-dress for #JungleJanuary.

 Matching dresses for me and the spunky one.

Matching dresses for me and the spunky one.

Small Home Improvement Projects

 We got rid of this hideous light (and gave it to my sister, who thinks it is awesome)...

We got rid of this hideous light (and gave it to my sister, who thinks it is awesome)...

 ... and replaced it with a ceiling fan. So much better!

... and replaced it with a ceiling fan. So much better!

 We got a new storage unit for our bathroom, which gives us more room for everyday necessities, and about 15 extra rolls of toilet paper. #beprepared

We got a new storage unit for our bathroom, which gives us more room for everyday necessities, and about 15 extra rolls of toilet paper. #beprepared

 We upgraded the dining table to a proper one with pull-out leaves that will comfortable seat twelve. Finally had our first dinner party, which was a rousing success.

We upgraded the dining table to a proper one with pull-out leaves that will comfortable seat twelve. Finally had our first dinner party, which was a rousing success.

 Ultimately, I'd like to have the table repainted (professionally) but once we set it up for that night's dinner party, I came to grips with the fact that it will probably stay like this for the next decade.

Ultimately, I'd like to have the table repainted (professionally) but once we set it up for that night's dinner party, I came to grips with the fact that it will probably stay like this for the next decade.

Happy animals

 My sewing room is the warmest place in the house (since I crank up the baseboard heaters) and I find a lot of animals napping there.

My sewing room is the warmest place in the house (since I crank up the baseboard heaters) and I find a lot of animals napping there.

 This fall, all was bliss...

This fall, all was bliss...

 And the sassy creatures paraded around with glee.

And the sassy creatures paraded around with glee.

 And we ate delicious fresh eggs almost every morning.

And we ate delicious fresh eggs almost every morning.

 Then one of the chickens got a hernia. There's nothing to be done, and some chickens can live for years. Sadly, about a month after it happened, her skin split and she died. Thank goodness BIll took care of the remains -- I was told it was pretty gruesome. 

Then one of the chickens got a hernia. There's nothing to be done, and some chickens can live for years. Sadly, about a month after it happened, her skin split and she died. Thank goodness BIll took care of the remains -- I was told it was pretty gruesome. 

 Still, the eggs from our remaining hens are delicious, and a nap can fix almost anything.

Still, the eggs from our remaining hens are delicious, and a nap can fix almost anything.

Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies

 I would be remiss not to mention a life-changing discovery. Putting a sheet of tinfoil on your baking sheet makes chocolate chip cookies bake perfectly -- soft and chewy with no burned bottoms. Please implement this trick immediately.

I would be remiss not to mention a life-changing discovery. Putting a sheet of tinfoil on your baking sheet makes chocolate chip cookies bake perfectly -- soft and chewy with no burned bottoms. Please implement this trick immediately.

That's all for now!

The Big O

This weekend we continued our goal of checking small stuff off the master list. It helps us feel momentum while the big projects linger in limbo 

The focus this time around was organization. I tackled the master bathroom and second floor linen closet, and Bill took on the kitchen. 

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It's going to be years until we properly gut and renovate this bathroom, and in the meantime we have only open shelving courtesy of the leaning bookcase we relocated from the guest room months ago. I've slowly been paring, shuffling, and containing the bathroom "stuff" and I finally feel like we're at a point where I wouldn't be embarrassed for a stranger to walk in and use the potty. 

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My trip to Target today was all about containers--for the bathroom and the storage closet. I may have cleaned them out of plastic storage-with-drawers options, and for a minute when I got home I was worried that I had over-purchased. Ha ha, as if a person can ever have too many storage containers! Everything is now sorted and labeled and I have threatened Bill and the kids with something very unpleasant if they fail to keep it tidy. 

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After planning it for months, Bill finally hung up my plants in the kitchen. They had previously been sitting on the counter and it is remarkable how much more counter space we have now that they have been relocated. 

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We also finally put a Command Hook up on the wall, so that we can hang the oven mitts. As with the plants, both mitts had been sitting on the counter for the last few months, and it make me unreasonably happy to hang them up. Maybe if I get ambitious I'll wash them. 

Bill also tackled several other small things, like shearing off the screws that had accidentally poked through a kitchen cabinet when he installed the paper towel holder. He also screwed the plastic bag holder into the pantry wall (our earlier efforts to attach it with Command Strips was a colassal failure. Oh, and he continued to pull down mountains of brush from the backyard. But that is a story for another time. Instead, here is a photo of Bill enjoying a moment of rest after a long day.  

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A Bug's Life

A couple of days after we moved, a wasp appeared in our bathroom. 

Wait, let me back up.

A wasp appeared in our bathroom one morning when Bill was getting ready. He was leaving early to get to the train station (to go back up to our old house, rent another U-Haul, and cram all of our remaining stuff into it for another drive down to the new place) and so departed while I was still asleep. 

I got up an hour later and proceeded to get into the shower. While I was obliviously shampooing my hair, something caught me eye. Yes, it was the wasp. Why was it still alive, after it has been spotted earlier in the morning by my very manly husband?

Let's not ask questions like that.

I'm not a huge fan of wasps, and this one seemed particularly deranged. It kept swooping into the shower with me, almost buzzing my head. But not in a vicious way -- more like it was disoriented by the steam. I kept a cautious eye on it while I finished my shower (resulting in no small amount of shampoo getting directly onto my eyeball) but by the time I got out and located the flyswatter (kindly placed on the bathroom shelf by my husband) it had settled at the top of the wall far beyond my reach.

Curse these high ceilings!

I had no idea where the step-stool was and I wasn't going to stand around waiting for the wasp to meander down, so I closed the bathroom door and went about my business.

Later that day it was gone. Where to? I have no idea. The vent on the ceiling would be my guess.

Two days of peace and calm came and went.

Then one morning at the crack of 4:30am the wasp appeared again in the bathroom, while I was taking a shower. (I was up super early to catch a train.) It once again settled at the top of the wall and so once I toweled off I tip-toed back into the bedroom to wake Bill up and see if he could help me kill it.

He declined.

Did I mention Bill's morbid fear and loathing of bees and wasps?

When I patiently explained that I still needed to dry my hair, apply my make-up, and do other bathroom things, he not-so-gently told me to deal with it and promptly went back to sleep. I pulled my stuff out of the bathroom, closed the door, and finished getting ready in the guest bathroom. I made it to the train where I promptly fell asleep.

Fun fact! I always sleep on trains.

When I woke up a hundred miles later, Bill had texted me. This following exchange ensued:

 
 

So we have -- at least temporarily -- solved the wasp problem.

I hear that old houses with leaky attics are prone to all kind of bug infestations and that it is likely we will have additional "guests" coming in through the vents. We're going to need a better plan of attack. I'm open to suggestions.