Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Home 18: Library (last but certainly not least)

At least I don't have to sleep in the closet to have room for the library.  (I actually wouldn't have minded doing that, and it could still be a possibility if I try to adopt and end up with siblings.)  Anyway, the library has a terrible fake-wood floors that have seen many, many better days, walls of a bold (ugly) shade of yellow, and random kanji characters stenciled about in red and black.  The curtains are brown, and I moved a set of shades in to cut out light.  Speaking of light, there is some haphazard track lighting on one side of the room, so one blank wall is hazily illuminated. Since I had no money left over for paint, I'm glad that the general  hideousity of the room is mostly hidden because the library has, unsurprisingly, an embarrassing  number of bookshelves packed nearly to the ceiling with books and some DVDs.  The maximum number of containers is already here, so this is the size my library cannot outgrow from this time forth.  Seriously.  Really, really.

This is where the anime and manga live, along with a few American comics.  There is a file cabinet and a glider rocking chair I bought from a man at a retirement home after his wife died and he couldn't bear to see it anymore.  (Don't ask me to tell my stupid story about washing the cushions when I got it.  I have learned and moved on.)  I've covered the rocking chair in a pretty sheet with pointless but pretty scrolling embroidery.  (It came that way; I didn't put it there.)

There is also a small closet.  I call it my Poetry Closet.  It is where my writing from my undergraduate and MFA program lives (including the two massive binders of my finished thesis, annotated with all the grammar and spelling corrections I've found throughout the years since I turned it in and my committee complimented me for it being 450 pages and still being so carefully proofread as to contain no errors, hahahahaha), along with most of my reference and class books from that time period.  It's also where the CDs live right now until they get a shelf of their own that is glassed in, so I can put it in the allergy-free zone of my bedroom.  The closet door is currently prevented from closing by all my journals from the time I started classes in 2003.  (I am currently on approximately #53.)

Once I finish with all the other unpacking and sorting and get things moved around (and find a cheap glider ottoman), this will be a favorite room, especially in the winter when the window seat will not be fit for occupation.  Until then, I'm so glad it's finally here!!!!

Home 17: The Study

It's taking shape slowly.  It's a dining room by design with an obnoxious  and somewhat ugly chandelier that a kind friend clamped out of the way so that nobody had to lose an eye.  This is where the oversized fiction (alpha by author) and much of the remaining nonfiction (sorted by topic / subject matter) live.  It's where my functional, cobbled-together standing desk is.  It is the future home of a window seat, if I can make that happen.  (Step 1: get gutter put on above window to prevent more window frame leprosy; Step 2: get leprous window and frame replaced; Step 3: figure out how to cobble together the perfect window seat on the cheap.)

There are some files in cabinets and boxes, which I shall eventually neatly conceal under the desk.   The window is covered with a large, double-folded sheet of white, tulle-like polyester (abandoned to me by a former roommate) that lets in a lovely diffuse light while giving privacy at night with no need to open or close anything, including the window, which is missing the screen due to the window leprosy mentioned above.

I am trying to make it its own separate and calm-feeling space (for me and to make friends who don't feel comfortable with clutter more comfortable).  There is a shoji screen blocking the backside of my MacGyver desk from the larger space and some little cubbies with doors hiding their contents.  There will be more screens that I will prop in front of the bookshelves to hide them from view when not needed.  The remaining floor space is big enough for an air mattress (or a pullout cough component to my magical imaginary window seat).  When it's done, it will be black and white and full of diffuse light supplemented by the high-chandelier light.

There is a cutout from the kitchen.  I'm not sure if I will set up some see-through curtains or a half-height shoji screen in front of the kitchen opening to block out the pink and preserve the simple effect I'm going for.

I've kept the long diagonal lines of sight through the dining / living room open, so it makes the while place feel a bit bigger than it is.  It's functional but cluttered at the moment.  We'll call it good.

Home 16: Kitchen

It's pink.  Sigh.  I think it's slightly darker red pink than the intestinal brownish-pink of the bathroom.  The cabinets are a distressing shade of sort of creamy off-white.  My sister found it all rather ugly.  I cannot deny this, but I reveled in having more space then the 3x5 area in my old place.  There's a bit more counter and cabinet space and a lot more light.  There is a cutout facing the window in the study, so it gets some light from there during the day.  It has a backsplash that was the only DIY non-disaster, as far as I can tell.  I will one day (hopefully soon) paint the pink some sort of lovely blue that will somehow match the backsplash.

For now, I enjoy having a dishwasher, a non-leaking faucet, a fridge with a real freezer (even though I can't seem to get the fridge above 20 degrees), and a stove that still technically works despite missing the handle to open and close it and being a bit off in terms of temperature.  The toaster oven is my new best friend and covers a multitude of oven sins.

Overall, I might wish it had a fan that actually vented outside instead of into my face and more space or just not the fake dropped ceiling, so I could store some stuff up there above the cabinets instead and leave more space open on the counters.  If I get that whacked out, I'll have less to paint, too, but I'm sure that's costly and dusty, so I don't know if I should plan on it ever happening.  It's good to be able to use a kitchen again, and I'm already eating healthier as a result.

Home 15: Living Room

It has an oddly shaped, sloped ceiling that gives it a feeling of being bigger than it is but slightly crooked.  It is painted a bright and glorious white to try to boost the indirect light coming only from the north.  There are tall, white curtains covering the doors to the deck.  There is a dark blue yukata from my sister on the wall that leads to the hallway.  My painting (given to be by a former roommate) is in the random nook.  Around the nook are Christmas pictures from friends and family.  (The nook will be even nicer when I am able to clean off the clutter.)

There's a sofa cast off from a retirement home, a discarded Best Buy break room couch, my lovely rocking recliner (given to me by friends), an ancient television on a cheap, rickety stand, and the mass market paperback fiction.  Furniture is covered in black, blue, or green covers and blankets and pillows in blacks, blues, and greens (and a bit of white).  There's a matching rummage sale coffee table and end table with an ancient rummage sale lamp.  There are two Borders CafĂ© rescue chairs  beneath a small pull-out table attached to the wall nearest the kitchen with a beautiful deep geen haori (traditional Japanese kimono jacket) displayed high above it (also a gift).  There is also a huge, ugly Schwinn Airdyne (see part 5), a cheap, foldable stair climber, and a balance ball, but pretend those are invisible.

And there is the accent wall.  Oh, the accent wall.  I knew I would be painting the dark walls (russet red, mustard, and dark gray when I moved in) white to amplify the limited and indirect light, so I wanted one wall that was a color that I found lovely.  I looked at a lot of paint chips, laughed at a lot of paint color names, and eventually chose a beautiful rich green with some blue in it.  My sister painted it when she came to help prep for moving in.  Her text to me after a long day explains why my text message box is always nearly full (I keep the funny ones): "long story short I might burn down your condo to hide my paint job accent wall disaster. redid many times. 1/2 still looks odd but not enough energy to care."

Home 14: Deck

There's a tree!  It's a deck!  It's big enough to put a hammock, trip on said hammock, and fall without smashing my face into any bars!  It gets very little direct sunlight and is aging, but at certain times, I can lie in the sun on it.  I will try to do that even more next year (while wearing proper sun protection mostly) to pursue my sun camel merit badge.  I might also have to rig up something to let the diagonal neighbors know when I'm up there, as my ninja powers seem to accidentally conceal me, leading to several very awkward overheard conversations that left me trapped on the deck in desperate need of a bathroom break but unwilling to announce that I'd been there all along while they talked about things they wouldn't have talked about had they known I was there.  I hope.  I mean, maybe they would have.  But I wouldn't have.

There are also dragonflies.

And then there was that time with the spider who built an invisible-in-the-indirect-light web across half the door only to end up with both of us scared half out of our wits after one of us blundered through it one summer morning, leaving me terrified of going out without first waving a sock-covered broom for weeks.

In conclusion: hammock, sunlight, dragonflies, WIN.

Home 13: The full bathroom

Maybe I should I have made the linen closet of doom #13, but I'm not thinking at my most clear.  Bathrooms can be scary, right?  We'll go with that.  Bathrooms redecorated by D-I-Y demons can be especially wacky.  From the weird sticky-caulk-y residue left behind after a failed attempt to attach a self-adhesive border to the shower seams to the missing baseboards to the too-tall-to-allow-things-to-be-plugged-into-both-outlets and not-quite-level, newish sink cabinet with the odd extra spaces around it and the not-completely-openable secret drawer at the bottom to the brownish-pink walls (this is what it looks like from the inside of your intestines) to the pinkish vinyl square floor badly laid over a somewhat disgusting tile floor to the inexplicably not-white floating cabinet with the poorly attached doors I can't use to the ugly fixturing (why would you want gold, silver, and bronze on everything anyway), this bathroom is, um, well, it's functional despite all the DIY disasters.  There is a heating vent, a bathtub that is old but not nearly as terrible as the one at my last place, and a fan that seems close to its last legs but does not moan like lost souls.  (See Part 7.)

Some day, I want it to be a clean blue-based and calming place.  If I can figure out a way to obtain a freestanding, claw foot tub to cram in there, that would be lovely.  Not sure if I want black or white fixtures of plastic to avoid rust and mold or something bronze like elsewhere.  I'd like the lights to be dimmable.  It will look like a whole new world not at all resembling the interior of the human body.  Some day.  Probably a long time from now, what with all the other actually necessary repairs.

At least the toilet is one of those ancient beasts that will flush anything down, not these new, delicate ones you can't trust if they are having a bad day.  And this one is attached to the floor.

Home 12: The Linen Closet of Doom

When last we left my linen closet, things were grim.    "August 4, 2014 · Anyone have good suggestions on how to clean out a linen closet that reeks of something that is not a dead animal in the attic, mold, or mildew? The plumber suggested painting it. My sister suggested gallons of bleach, pounds of baking soda, a young priest, an old priest, a crucifix, and some holy water. Your suggestion?"

Many good suggestions poured in when I turned to Facebook for help with what my visiting sister had dubbed the stankwood (TM) closet.  I tried the bleach and baking soda to no real effect until I realized the wood of the shelves themselves had absorbed the stench and were a total loss.  I got help to move them to the garage, which then stank abominably and confirmed our suspicions.  There was more baking soda and bleach and then a lot of Killz possibly followed by more white paint.  (Extra thanks to the friend who ended up wearing the white paint.)

The finishing touch was some unfinished cedar shelves (finding them and getting them cut correctly was an adventure in itself that I won't bore you with).  I reasoned that I would rather shell out more than I could afford and get the occasional splinter and have my clothing, towels, and sheets smell of the gerbils / guinea pigs of my hazy, best friend's pet container's cedar-shaving memories than risk the return of stankwood (TM).

So far, so good.

As an additional bonus, cedar planking either doesn't smell as strongly as cedar shavings, or my sense of smell is worse from my allergies and the 7 times I've broken my nose since that time in my childhood.  (Translation: apologies to anyone if it smells more cedar-y than I am leading you to believe.)

Some of my favorite suggested remedies from when I consulted Facebook are below.

  • Is the offending odor stuck in the floor, wall, etc? I've seen hazmat clean up on TV & they have rip things up to get rid of the stank.
  • There is a product called Kilz that helps with smell. I will ask a painter friend of mine, and try to get more info. Good luck, and if all else fails, you could become the quirky lady who cures meats in her closet. Charcuterie couldn't smell worse than what you've described! smile emoticon
  • your sister - wise beyond her yrs.: D
  • Save thousands on cedar lined cabinets and closets by storing some cedar shavings (pet or hardware store) to a cloth bag. Repels moths. Gel desiccant, the same packets found with new leather garments, keeps ambient moisture down to kill mold habitat. Activated charcoal works like baking soda because it is the most porous substance known, and traps odors (and all visible light). In a pinch, can be used to absorb toxins from some accidental poisonings. Just thought I'd share all that!

Home 11: The Hallway

It's been a while  since I've lived in a place big enough to have a hallway.  If I were still young, no doubt I would appreciate being able to climb the walls (my favorite thing about hallways when I was a kid).  The seller did some serious damage to it when moving out, so there are some weird dents and gouges that weren't there during the inspection, but it's been repainted a nice clean white to try desperately to make it a little brighter than the cave-like dark grey I think it was before.  For some reason, the hall light, which appears sized for two bulbs to make it nice and bright can only hold one, so it's still pretty dark.

My current favorite thing about the hall is that two different light switches operate that light.  You can turn it on from a switch by the bedrooms or one by the front door.  I don't know why this is so exciting to me, but I was really pleased about it.  Too bad we don't have any idea what that third light switch is supposed to do . . .

Last but not least, the hallway contains the closet formerly known as the Stankwood Closet ™.  More on that in a bit.

Home 10: Guest Bedroom

The title is a bit ambitions.  Right now it's where the odds and ends that have yet to be unpacked and the books that have yet to be sold or donated are squatting.  It has makeshift curtains (required by the Association rules) and some furniture.  I've cleared enough room that the air mattress can fit, and I have sheets and a blanket for it, so I'm ready for visitors.  Some day, I'd like to finish cleaning it up, move everything out, and maybe adopt a teenager (they have the hardest time getting placed in homes when they are up for adoption, and a sadly surprising number of them want a home with just a mom and not a dad).  I can't really do that until my health is better, so I'll be working on that in the coming years, too,  as I try to clean the room up more to make it ready for someone who needs it to add his or her own personality to it.

Home 9: Bedroom closet

Technically, I had a walk-in closet at my last apartment.  You could take at least one step in there, so I suppose it was technically a walk-in.  Sturdy and well-constructed it was not.  The cheap, do-it-yourself quality shelving and hanging rods collapsed more than once.  A walk-in closet was not really a requirement for me when I was house hunting (except when I was looking at 2-bedroom places and thinking I would sleep in the closet instead of wasting a whole room I couldn't put anything in due to allergies [see part 8]).

The "master bedroom walk-in" closet here did not inspire me.  It had all these shelves and things in it that made it too narrow to put any kind of bed, so I was going to have to actually use it for clothes.  The shelving units were somewhat poorly installed with gaps and overlapping bits and wire baskets that kept falling off in ways that made me nervous.  But it was deep, and it had more than adequate space for my clothes.  After one of my friends managed to fix the improperly overlapped bits with only the sacrifice of one ancient Borders-rescue butter knife, I even thought it might have some structural integrity if I didn't challenge it too much.

And nothing (except that wire basket) has collapsed.  Yet.  Win!

There's still some work to do figuring out where to put things currently squatting in the guest bedroom, and I anticipate some donations once everything is in the same place, and I can sort through it all at once ruthlessly.  You know, eventually, when I finally get all the unpacking done.  Maybe by next June in time for the 2nd anniversary?

Tuesday, December 1, 2015