Tuesday, May 20, 2008

"Spring," Home Improvement and Tomatoes

There is one good thing to be said about this "Spring" we are having. I use quotation marks in only the most necessary way since "Spring" usually implies warm days, the smell of fresh flowers, and neighbors on their front porches. I don't know what the weather is like in northern Ireland right now, but I expect it is much the same. The normal high for May 20 is 77 degrees, and the normal low 57. We're looking at about 10 degrees below that today. Global warming, why do you taunt me so!!

So back to that one good thing. While it's been bad for running, when the weather blows, there's not much temptation to get out of the house. This means I may actually start to make some headway on my nearly endless list of home improvement projects. On the short list for the next week are a lot of projects that in and of themselves aren't urgent, but will make my life a lot easier as I move forward.

These projects are mostly organizational and storage related. My house, unfortunately, has been blessed with three closets, one of which is a tiny hallway closet. That's right - one of my three bedrooms doesn't even have a closet. So storage space is at a premium. Luckily, I have an attic of sorts, which is useful for storage, as well as a full basement, which is useful for storing tools and stuff that hasn't yet made it to the attic. Right now, though, I'm making horrible use of my space, and the basement is almost impassable, which makes major home improvement projects challenging since I can't find any tools and even if I could find them, I usually destroy something or hurt myself in the process.

So, over the next week I've got the following:

  • Put in an attic ladder to improve access to my crawl space (currently, accessible only through a little hole in the top of one of my two closets). Acquired at Home Depot yesterday.
  • Tear down remaining useless partition walls in the basement.
  • Move workbench along north wall of the basement, near the back basement entrance, which will make working with long lumber a lot easier (since it can then stick out the back door). And free up the existing space for a future pool table.
  • Move anything deserving of long term storage to the attic.
  • Organize mountains of tools and miscellaneous junk. My basement in many ways resembles a typical Home Depot aisle. I probably have more stuff than they do, but I can't find anything.

With any luck, all that will be accomplished by the weekend. (Yes, optimistic, but the weather is crappy). Then, on Saturday, I've got help coming to replace the windows in my kitchen, which can't be done alone. Once that's done I can actually move forward with the rest of the finish work in there, most of which is drywall, tiling, painting, and so on. And I may actually be able to close the renovation book on the very first room in my house a year after I moved in. Hey, I'm not in a hurry... and it IS the kitchen...

Well, time to go to work. But what about the tomatoes, you ask? Believe it or not, the timeline for my attic storage ladder was driven somewhat by tomatoes. I bought a bunch of heirloom tomato seedlings when I went to Gettysburg a week ago to pick up one of the final rounds of my posessions still stored there. I had planned to just pot them in my backyard, but as it turns out, I have almost complete tree cover. No sunlight, no juicy delicious tomatoes. Pretty remarkable given that it's about 75 feet deep. So, by far the next best place to grow them is on my roof. But it's way too much of a pain in the neck to get up there right now with the closet access.

So, this attic ladder should make access easy enough that I can actually go up there every day to water them. I'm even thinking of putting in some permanent plumbing up to the roof for this purpose. I've already got the walls open behind the bathroom so that would really be a pretty minor chore.

My goal for the end of the summer: kitchen complete, basement clean & housing a pool table, and dozens upon dozens of tomatoes to be eaten, gifted or turned into sauce.

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