Empty House – Full Basement

The floor installation started on May 30. During the last several days before that, I became a madman moving everything that wasn’t nailed down into the basement. As a result, the night before the installation started, the place was pretty darn empty.
Here’s a few photos to follow up on the progress report from a few weeks back.
As planned, the bed was the only piece of furniture left.
A bed, and not much else.
Clock, shoes and notebook PC.
The only other thing left in the entire upstairs was a couple days worth of clothes.
Clock, shoes and notebook PC.
The first floor was equally empty.
The first floor, also quite empty.
And here’s some updates on the basement.
The first floor, also quite empty.
The first floor, also quite empty.

Making Progress Again

I’ve reached a point in the renovation project where I’m tired of the entire thing. Consequently, although I’ve unpacked a few things (I now have a sofa along with the computer, desk and chair), I’ve been finding a number of excuses to put off the rest of painting. About all I’ve accomplished along those lines the past couple weeks is the prep work for the master bedroom.
That’s changed. Today I made a point of finishing the prep work for the bedroom and it is now officially painted. For Sunday, I hope to get the upstairs hallway painted. Then all that will remain is painting half the kitchen and getting things out of the basement again. (And there’s a bit of deadline too, Shore Leave is in two weeks and I’d like to have the project done before then.)
The only catch is, my bedroom now smells like paint. What’s worse though is that the drop cloth was blocking the air vent. Consequently, it’s also about 20 degrees warmer than the rest of the house. So tonight I’m going to sleep on the sofa. Happily, it’s not just a sofa, it a very comfy sofa!

Fashion by Google

Of the features of Google’s GMail user interface is something called “Web Clips.” It’s near the top of the page and features the headlines from a number of RSS feeds and even offers you the ability to add feeds of your own choosing (I heartily recommend you search for "http://dactylmanor.org/blair/zero/feed/atom" and click the Add button).
Of course, Google being Google, they can’t resist taking a feature like that and doing a little extra with it. For instance, if you go to the Spam folder, the web clip headlines are replaced with links to recipes. More specifically, recipes involving Spam, the alleged meat product.
Visiting the Trash folder, the web clip area is used to display a series of recycling tips. Most are ordinary tips such as “Plastic bags can be reused as bin liners or package stuffing” or “Empty tissue boxes can provide easy and handy storage for plastic grocery bags.”
Today however I spotted a truly unique recycling tip. Not only was it environmentally friendly, this tip also involved such a bold fashion statement that I’m not sure even Green Gal would have suggested it:
You can make a lovely hat out of previously-used aluminum foil.

Water Restrictions

The local water utility had a major water main break late on Sunday evening. Evidently it was one of the primary mains for the Northern half of the county. Consequently, we’ve been advised to boil water before using it for drinking, cooking, brushing teeth, etc. Unfortunately, I didn’t hear about the advisory until I was halfway to work yesterday.
In order to conserve water for emergencies (firefighting, etc.), they’ve also imposed water use restrictions. No watering lawns, washing cars, laundry (good thing I did mine Sunday afternoon!), no washing dishes, etc.
Also, because they can’t use the water in food preparation, most of the county’s restaurants have been ordered closed. Likewise, a number of supermarkets have closed their produce departments because they can’t spray water on the vegetables.
This morning, Wylie and I discovered a torrent of water running down the street from up by the elementary school. Apparently the main serving my neighborhood is also broken.
I have to wonder, does this mean I should boil the water twice? 🙂
At the office, they posted signs yesterday asking everyone to limit their use of the restrooms because of the water restrictions. Fortunately, there are bushes planted around the building…

Heat Advisory

Temperatures here in the DC area are projected to hit 100 degrees today and a little higher on Sunday.
We are now officially in that part of the year when it’s just too hot to mail anything chocolate (cookies, fudge, etc) unless you don’t mind it arriving as one solid (sticky) mass.

The Dog of a Thousand Names

Ever since he first came to live here, Wylie has collected a variety of new names to suit the various facets of his personality.
A lot of the names are affectionate variations of his given name: “Wye”, “Wyler”, “Dub” (short for W) and on occasion, when he’s being nutty, “Wylizenheimer”. On more formal occasions, he’s been addressed as “Mister Wylie,” though when I find myself getting frustrated with him, instead of “Mud” his name becomes “Wylie J. Dawg.”
Other names reflect his mood, for example, when he won’t stop bouncing off the walls, he’s been referred to as “Rocket Dog.” Others make less sense, I’m still not sure how he became “Chocolate Pudding Dog”, though “You Silly Dog,” when he tripped over his own leash, is a bit more obvious.
This past week though, Wylie’s been working to earn himself a new name.
A few times in the past when Wylie’s been confined to the bedroom, he’s tried to dig his way out, resulting in a shredded carpet. I really don’t want him damaging the floors (it could be bad for both Wylie’s health and my blood pressure), so as part of Sunday’s activities, I cut up a chair mat to fit in the doorway of my bedroom.
Of course, with summer approaching, I also don’t want him to get overheated. A few weeks ago, I purchased a child-safety gate to put across the bedroom door. The idea was that this would keep Wylie in the room while at the same time, letting the air circulate. Before the floors went in, it seemed to work pretty well (aside from the time I didn’t put it up correctly and he and his buddy Riley teamed up to knock it down twice in five minutes), but now that the floors are in, I may need to rethink my strategy.
Every time I’ve left the house this week, I’ve put Wylie in the bedroom and put up the gate to keep him there. And every time I’ve come home this week, Wylie has either met me at the door or come downstairs shortly after I arrived. (What I forgot is that in Wyile’s world, there’s no such thing as a fence. Instead, Wylie’s world contains nothing more substantial than obstacles made of gossamer that he can pass through any time he so chooses.)
On Tuesday I discovered that not only had Wylie escaped from the bedroom, he’d somehow managed to open the basement door (see my previous comment about gossamer barriers) and instead of eating the food in his dish, had figured out where the milkbones were hidden and had a little picnic. (Predictably, he didn’t bother with his regular food for the next several meals.)
Thursday evening I went out to my Swing Dance class down in Glen Echo. Before I left, I put Wylie in the bedroom and closed the gate. When I came home several hours later, the basement door was open and ol’ Wylie was staring down the steps. I went upstairs to change my clothes and took Wylie out for his evening walk. When we got back, I went down the stairs to get him his evening treat. That’s when I discovered what he had been staring at.
At some point in time, Wylie seems to have decided that the cushions on my sofa are his mortal enemy, and Wylie attacks the cushions at every opportunity. While I was at my dance class, Wylie had launched another attack on his enemy. What he’d been staring at when I came home was a sofa cushion, the foam stuffing of which was scattered across the basement floor.
The latest addition to Wylie’s collection of names is therefore a recognizable classic: “Dammit Wylie!

In Which I Cannot Find My Clothes

I arrived at Relay for Life on Saturday afternoon and except for going home to check out the work on the floors and write a check to the contractor (The floors incidentally are gorgeous!), I was at the event all night. I got to sleep around 4:00 AM and awoke a few hours later, about 20 minutes before the closing ceremonies.
My plans and relative priorities for Sunday were fairly straight-forward. Having expected to be at Relay overnight, I already knew that simple was going to be my best chance.
First up was a trip to Staples to obtain a chairmat suitable for wood floors and cutting it to fit in the bedroom doorway in order to prevent Wylie from digging through the new floor. (Instead, I came home from work on Monday and found that he’d jumped over the gate and was waiting for me in the living room.)
Next up was a trip to Mike & AJ’s house to pick up Wylie, he’d been staying with them for a few days while I was preparing for the floors to be installed. (So far he’s managed to avoid putting his head through the drywall, but when he comes down the stairs, he’s halfway across the living room before he manages to slow down.)
After protecting the floor from Wylie (and thus protecting Wylie from my wrath), the next priority was to reassemble my bed. That didn’t go so well. I eventually got it put together, but first I put the mattress in the middle of the guest room floor so Wylie and I could both take a nap or two.
The final item for Sunday was to unbox enough of my clothes that I could go to work on Monday. I brought a few things up from the basement and put them in the closet. After falling asleep again, I decided that was good enough and finally went to bed for real (actually getting into the bed instead of merely collapsing on top of it) around 11:30.
As I started getting ready for work on Monday, I discovered that I could not find my clothes!!!!! Turns out I’d been kinda wonky on Sunday evening (gee, how’d that happen?) and hadn’t unpacked the work stuff after all. Uh oh! After several frenzied trips to and from the basement, I finally found stuff to wear, though I’m also coming to realize that I desperately need to do some laundry! (Which means I need to excavate the washing machine, which means I need to figure out where to put a few other things…)