127. Perfectionism, Part 3: the struggle

Yes, (sigh) perfectionism has been addressed here before. Twice. Part 1 and Part 2.

The tension between
perfectionism the blessing
and perfectionism the curse
hasn’t been perfected.
Hence, the struggle.
With Imperfectionism.

Let me introduce you to the two characters in this drama —
Mr. H.C. Dunright and Mrs. AHC Doquickly.
Was the tension
and dissension
when one strives for perfection

Things need to move quickly because there is now a CLOSING scheduled on the City House.
Hooray and Hip Hooray.
Thumbs up!
Prayers answered,
and a sale in the middle of January, yet!
And now,
they have only until the end of February to GET THINGS DONE.
Dunright, that is.

Because in March, there is a move scheduled on the calendar.

Mrs. Doquickly hasn’t yet waxed poetic over this end to the three year saga
of renovating a little cottage in rural Pennsylvania.

That might be because
the charming little cottage
isn’t quite renovated.
Not everything is Dunright.

However, Mr. Dunright and Mrs. Doquickly are both working feverishly
to get as much accomplished as possible for two more weeks.
And then there will be pictures.

In the meantime, they are looking for that perfect middle ground
between Dunright and Doquickly.

That perfect middle ground where the uneven floors look level
and the crooked walls look plumb.
Is it level?

126. Bluebirds in January

On the thirty-first of January

I long for warmth — hands and feet always cold…

the sun — so far away it doesn’t even melt the icicles

hanging from the roof,

or the snow on the spruce branches.

spruce trees in the snow

Blue skies?

Mostly the dark gray sky just turns a lighter shade of pale;

morning is only told by the smell of coffee.

The cat takes refuge in the warm dryer.

cat in dryer


Yet there are glimmers —

spirit-lifting bluebirds fly around in the snow;

a bit of brown grass shows underneath the pines;

each day brings an extra minute of precious light.

sunset through the spruce

Feb. 3, 2015: Sunrise 7:04  Sunset 5:16  10 hours 12 minutes of daylight… and counting.

125. Mudroom Redo Redux Redoux

I’ve written about the mudroom before. Several times.

The mudroom has issues. Several issues.

Each time we’ve thought to tackle it, one of those issues has stopped us dead.

mudroom floor cracks

    The floor for instance: Made of two concrete slabs, there’s not much of a foundation (if any). Just see the huge crack down the center. The sinking of the floor made it very un-level — a four inch difference from one side to the other!

wires and ceiling in mudroom

    The ceiling for instance: It leaks. Despite spot fixing and new insulation, the ceiling still leaks by the chimney. Mr. H.C. thinks it is the flashing, but the probable truth is It needs a new roof. But we aren’t ready to put on a new roof until we decide some serious architectural issues.

Chimney in mudroom

    The chimney for instance: It is old and ugly and needs relining. $$$. We had a company come to give us an estimate — $3000 for just the chimney liner, not counting the stove pipe needed to hook up the wood stove.

ugly chimney and panel box in mudroom

    The walls for instance: There is a floor-to-ceiling electric panel/wiring mess on the kitchen side wall. Not only is it inconvenient to have by the chimney, it is UGLY. And there’s no moving the panel box. (Hiding wires is hard!) The rest of the walls are a mismatched amalgam of siding, cement block, and plywood.

Mudroom door and windows

    The whole room for instance: It is the main entrance to the cottage and the door opens into the prevailing winds. Many times the wind just grabs the door from your hands. Did I mention we live on a ridge? It is called Apple Hill, after all. Consequently the whole room is cold; and since it goes directly into our beautiful new kitchen (where we hang out a lot!) it makes the kitchen cold too.

So what’s a pair of rehabbers to do?

Put it off!
We did that.

IMG_5473Mr. H.C. was just itching to get the wood stove hooked up into that chimney, but the contractor guy in him couldn’t bear to pay someone else big bucks for something he thought he could do. So we ordered chimney liners online from Woodland Direct for less than half the price and did it ourselves. (Well, Mr. H.C. did it himself, and I just helped guide the stove pipe into the new liner.) And once that old stove got hooked up and we could feel how warm that room was with wonderful wood heat, there was no stopping at the issues.

Mr. H.C. leveling the mudroom floorWe had planned to put down concrete over concrete to level the floor and then some concrete board over the concrete to keep any cracks from showing up in a couple of years. But the cement board idea didn’t work, so we just laid a new layer of concrete. The laying/grouting/sealing of the tile did not go smoothly; I won’t go into details, but it certainly looks beautiful to us. (Did I mention we chose to do this project during the coldest week of the winter?)

mudroom wallOne wall is finished with an old pine hutch top that has been repainted and repurposed into a mudroom staple — shelves and hooks for jackets. I painted it Blooming Grove green to bring the kitchen color out into the adjoining mudroom. The walls behind the wood stove are now covered in metal studs and Hardiebacker board (fire-resistant for the walls next to the wood stove) and some sort of tile will go over it. Soapstone is the material of choice, but $$$ matter. We’ve gone shopping at the big box stores and found nothing of interest, and we’ve had a long dry spell at our favorite Restores.

We have a long way to go still, but we’ve come a long way for a room that had such issues. And I have to show you one more photo series — a shot of the kitchen floor we took up, and why we chose this particular pattern for the mudroom floor.

When I wrote the very first post for Apple Hill Cottage, I talked about trying to respectfully honor those who lived in it before, as well as making it our own.

I think Joe and Clara would approve.