Sunday, September 29, 2013

A day in the life ... DIY September mania (and on the 7th day she rested)

A few weeks ago, Capel declared a fiat. No DIY projects on Sundays. I went along reluctantly the first Sunday. The second Sunday I enjoyed myself. Yesterday, Saturday, I noticed a curious effect. I worked harder and more efficiently because I knew I was taking today off.

But it's September. There's a lot to do before winter sets in. And I was thinking, as I raced around from thing to thing yesterday, that on this blog I present each topic discretely. But in reality, I am always juggling multiple projects and errands and other chores around the house. I'm sure this is totally normal.

I'm beginning to learn that part of the skill is in managing the juggling (just as in my professional world), in defining priorities, and what does and does not have to be perfect, and managing the stressors, to stave off burnout. So today, I am going to write about the juggling.

My primary project yesterday was to assess the repair of the shingle siding on the southeast corner of the house, caulk the siding at the corner trim and prime the siding. And, at the same time to prime three other bits of wood around the house that needed primer. And to ... clear out last winter's ashes from the fireplace (don't ask), clean the bathrooms, do the bills, check the wood under the downspout on the northwest corner, put in one of the new screens, take out the A/C, order herbs, go to the farmer's market, do something with the bumper crop of tomatoes, repair the corner trim, get grass seed and put it down, do some paperwork, water, and put down traps for the voles!

First thing I did was to negotiate a division of labor with Capel. He took on the bathrooms and bills. And bringing out ladder ...

While I went to the farmer's market. What a great division of labor! Corn. Pears. Apples. Mums.

Then Capel went off to the city for a volunteer job, and I was off to the races.

Up first: evaluate last week's repair of the siding on the southeast corner ... where I am worried that the siding is sticking up past the edge of the corner trim, like so. Is it perfect? NO! Is it acceptable. Well ...

I look around. Wait, just a foot away on the studio addition, the siding sticks out past the window trim. And there don't seem to be major issues there.

I walk around the entire house. It's not common, but does exist elsewhere. And nowhere does it seem to cause major issues. So then. Done is done. (Or, as Sheryl Sandberg quotes more than once in her recent book Lean In, "Done is better than perfect.")

On to caulking. I assemble my tools.

Back to the southeast corner ... caulk. Where I have company ...

It takes a little trial and error, but it comes out clean. I'm pretty proud of that bead, if I do say so myself. Pause for minor celebration.

Then I leave the caulk to set up and go on to the next project ... installing the last of the new screens for the year (yes, I am aware that it is almost October, but it is perfect sleeping weather for open windows and I want an open window beside my bed. I've wanted an open window beside my bed for two years, but with cats, I can't open a window without a screen. ... And you've seen the cats. They want out!)

I wish they would catch the voles, I think, for the thousandth time, rounding the corner of the zinnia bed and noticing again what seems to be the most well used of the vole holes ...

I put away the caulk tools and bring up Screen #11 for the bedroom.

It's getting warm out. A beautiful, sunny fall day. I shed the second layer of the day, going straight to sleeveless tee, with glee. 

On my various trips around the house, I've noticed that all of the flower pots and hanging pots look parched, so I bring in the watering can to remind me ...

Then it's up to the bedroom to take out the A/C ... which frees up a great extension cord for the drill ...

And unhook the storm window, preparatory to taking it out.

Then, watering. Poor things, it was a dry sunny week, and despite the cold weather, they're all a bit fried ...

But it's a gorgeous, gorgeous day ...

And Minky keeps following me from window to window ...

I stop to smell the roses ... um, geraniums ...

And, because it's lunch time, I take a few moments in the garden to pick all the ripe tomatoes. And to notice, by the by, that my favorite 8 foot dahlia has started to fall over and needs to be tied up to a stake.

I eat two tomatoes for lunch, set aside two for dinner, and spend my lunch looking at recipes for roasting tomatoes to go into the freezer. 

A colleague from work, Gretchen, happened to mention Friday that this is the time of year she makes sauces and pestos, salsas, and any and everything tomato-y from her extra tomatoes. I told her I have a few extra and never know what to do with them. Roast them, she said, and put them in the freezer for the winter. So, I take her advice. Core them. Garlic them up. And pop them in the oven.

Then, it's back to work. Tools for hanging a screen ...

Then it's up the ladder I go. 

What a beautiful day!

I decide to investigate the front and corners of the house first, and go up and down, checking for soundness and repairs needed. I'm busy making a mental list for next summer. I notice, by the by, that here too, are a few places where the siding extends past the trim. It really doesn't seem to pose a major issue anywhere. That relieves me.

I take the storm out, and, while the sill is exposed, go ahead and mark the sill #11. 

Then, a little bit of marking and drilling later, the screen is in!

I pick up the storm to put take it down for repairs and re-painting and notice, fondly, that someone before me had marked it, #5 with an arrow north. I take a few moments, as I always seem to, sometime during a repair, to feel grateful for the owners who came before me, and to remember, especially Martin and Marguerite, the last owners, who did so much and have taught me so much, even though I never got to meet them.

Then in through the window goes the storm. And back down the ladder go I, clunking with my tool belt. And up the back stairs, for the umpteenth time.

And, whoops, I got the wrong size hooks, despite having measured. It happens so frequently with projects, I no longer get frustrated. This will require a trip around the corner to Melrose Lumber (and hardware store), which fortunately should still be open, as it is only about 3 p.m. And then I can also pick up the grass seed. Off I go, this time taking the hook from the storm window with me.

Twenty minutes later, ...

Voila! Right size hook. Now we're in business.

 Putting the hook in is the work of a few moments. And it is time for another minor (okay, major) celebration. Screen #11 is installed!!!!!

For good measure, since I found it while looking for the screen hanging hardware, I install an experimental sash stay that I found online. Pretty. But is it functional? I will let you know.

Then its back to the basement with all the tools. And on to primer. Various things get primed all at once, to save on time and brush cleaning and, well, you get the picture. Whatever got missed the last time (or two, or three). So, the bit of wall I've just repaired ...

The edge of the basement door that Capel painted and then had to trim down to fit, and ... a piece of corner trim from the bathroom that never got painted LAST fall!

Better late than never, my father would say.

Then of course the brushes get washed. Always. Wash. Brushes. (And Capel's brushes from his last painting project get washed too, by yours truly.)

And after a short break to take out the tomatoes, which have quietly been roasted into oblivion. And to find a recipe for roasted pears and start those (of which all evidence has since been devoured).

Then, my favorite part of the weekend. Gardening!

I dig the ash can out of the garage, empty the ashes into the yard trash bag (it is yard trash, I reason). And, by the by, now, Sunday morning, the ash can has still only just gotten as far as the front doorstep ...

And, final chore of the day, planting a few mums, in and among the overgrown alyssum. I'm hoping the mums will winter over and get established for next year, so I will probably cut all the blooms off and bring them in the house, to get the energy down into the roots before winter.

And finally, in the last light of day, weeding, glorious happy weeding ...

Later, much later, into the freezer goes one bag of tomatoes. A small bit of summer stored up for the long winter ahead.

So now, it's almost 9 a.m. Sunday morning and yours truly is about to take a day of rest. A happy and restful Sunday to you, too.

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