Here is a random summary of what I’ve been up to:

It has been a lovely autumn. I am enjoying myself, and the weather is fine.

Autumn leaves

I have decided to wage war on most of the carpet in the house, starting with the living room. That means I’m ripping it out. The hardwood floors that were under the living room carpet need some serious care, but they are still better than the carpet, which was on my nerves.

Rudy on LR carpet removal

So there is a pile of stuff growing and waiting for a trip to the landfill.

Pile of carpet rolls

We are still washing the dishes in a dishpan. In doing so we (I) have caused the side of the counter’s splash board to detach because there was a bit too much water in the draining area. There were no draining boards in stock the day I bought the rack, and I haven’t been back to the store since. Plus I don’t that it would have saved the situation. Water gets around. Frosty the Snowkid claims she remembers the installation guys warning me of this when they put in the countertop in 2001 – when she was 4.

Kitchen counter detaching

I haven’t done much with the bathroom except clear the drains manually with rubber gloves and a hanger. That’s a job that will make you reassess the meaning of life. (No picture provided.)

Frosty and I missed our kayak class this weekend because of the weather. That’s probably it for kayaking until the spring. The sight of my kayak shoved in the shed tells me that I need to get cold weather kayaking gear, that I need to get proper hanging hooks for my kayak, and that my shed is too full.

Kayak in shed

I am half way through my Teaching Reading in the Content Areas class and am still enjoying it. I repeat: I really wish I knew these techniques when I was a student.

Frosty the Snowkid is closing in on the end of her first calendar year of online school and doing great.  Unless you ask her, in which case she’s apparently going to fail out of 7th grade.

Mary about to fail school

Plum loves learning about Maryland facts and history.  She seems to like war.

Abby's Maryland history work

Paul suggests I should work towards running in a 5K in December.  I still don’t like jogging, but the wiser person deep inside me thinks that I should at least be strong enough to run 3 miles if I had to.  It’s just that when I try to move fast it feels like I’m suddenly made of jello-shaped lead weights.

I could just keep telling myself that ripping out the carpet tack strips is plenty of exercise.

I’m enjoying such a nice feeling of success this week. I have finished the porch renovation I started about two weeks ago.

BEFORE pics:

We did not repaint the dog.

We did not repaint the dog.

Before porch from kitchen door

The kitchen door is our main entrance, and it leads to a screened-in porch. We have treated the porch badly over the years. The “Before” pictures don’t do justice to how unattractive the area was because I had already started clearing out by the time I remembered the camera. Imagine a grill in the corner getting soot everywhere, a dirty recycling bin, and piles and piles of unclaimed stuff. Thanks to the dogs, there were always balls of fur with dried bug carcasses rolled into the corners.

AFTER pics:

Porch from deck stairs

A red door! Our devoted reader, Margo, convinced me to go for it.

A red door! Our devoted reader, Margo, convinced me to go for it.

But now! After a few gallons of paint and several promises to myself to do better maintenance, we have a new-looking porch!  I’m searching for just the right white lights to string around the perimeter of the ceiling, then I’ll call it truly complete.

Designs courtesy of our girls, Frosty and Plum.

Designs courtesy of our girls, Frosty and Plum.

My husband thinks his dad may have built this table in the early 1960s. It had about 4 old layers of paint on it. I suspect one of the layers was really contact paper. I did not do the best refinishing job, but when I realized I was refinishing plywood, my level of caring dropped significantly. Plywood and contact paper aside, there’s something about the table that grabs me.

I will probably have to repaint the floor within a year because I expect it will scrape up in one corner. I am not gifted with patience for surface preparation. At some point, Grandma (the previous owner) made the porch window into a door and built a small room out onto the porch that could be accessed from inside. It’s hard to describe. Grandma needed lots of space for her copious amounts of stuff. We got rid of that room years ago, but there were still traces of vinyl tile adhesive that I didn’t spend a lot of time scraping off.

All in all, I don’t think I was overly sloppy with my workmanship. And now a cup of coffee or a bowl of ice cream tastes really yummy out on the new porch.