Friday, May 23, 2008

Admitedly, this isn't a very exciting post. But I do want to document the whole process, so here we are ripping up the old floor, marvelling at the weirdness, puzzling over what to do and finally being disappointed by the price of making it look nice. How will this all turn out? You'll just have to stay tuned.

Here's a photo of the old tiles and copious amounts of floor leveling compound being removed. The floor leveling compound has the consistency of cement. Over the years the old tile has cracked in places causing little bits of the cement to spill out. Needless to say, stepping on these pieces is very painful and I, for one, cannot wait to rid the house of them forever.

We ended up just taking up the tile and stuff on the right side of the kitchen. That's where the problem was. The other side seems stable and straight. Besides that, the tile wouldn't come off and I got sick of it!

There are several areas in the floor with pretty big gaps. You can look right down into the crawl space. I try not to think about it...

Speaking of the crawl space. Pete had to go in there a couple of times to find the joists that we have to reattach the subfloor to. I was thrilled when he found a couple of things in there and brought them out for me.

A nice piece of china that seems to have been part of a tea cup saucer at one time. How it ended up in the crawl space I'll never know. And why only one piece?

He also found this old whiskey bottle that was repurposed for Methyl Hydrate (wood alcohol). It has a nice old label from Lumb Hardware on Adelaide Street. I'm not totally sure where that was but I'll have to jot the address down and take a look next time I'm in that area. The old phone number indicates it's at least from the 50's (not exactly sure when phone numbers turned to 8 digits?)

So now we're at a bit of a standstill (after we fix the subfloor) because the quote came in for the flooring and it's going to be WAY more than we expected. I guess I have expensive taste because the main cost is for the product itself. You can see the sample in the background behind the bottle and china shard above. Subtle, but retro--with a really nice thickness to it. It's made by Domco. However, I think it's going to just be too expensive for us. So I think it's back to the drawing board. We'll be doing some shopping on the weekend for alternatives. Hopefully we can find something that's a little more affordable, but just as nice (and durable).

Stay tuned...

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Here's the progress so far on the kitchen. What turned into a "let's fix it up as best we can" project has turned into "rip it all out!" Well, everything but the top cupboards and the ceiling. We can thank Rob N's frankness for the turnaround. He called the present kitchen an abomination. Yep, that's about right.

I'm actually happy to keep the top cupboards. I like the retro 40's set up with the sink under the sunny window and the scrolly stuff up above. Besides, complimenting the retro-ness will help us make decisions about decor and it will fit into the rest of the house better.

We are now finished stage two--drywall. Let's summarize, shall we?

We went from knotty pine walls installed by an obviously drunk handyman in the 70's:

To original painted plank walls. We might well be looking at the original 110 year old walls. It was very exciting to see. The middle shelf moulding is gone, but you can see that it used to be wainscotting with horizontal planks above. I could easily picture how this kitchen might have looked so long ago. I could also picture bats flying out of all of those holes... so we couldn't get on to stage 2 quick enough...

Stage 2 included drywalling and taping. We left the old wood underneath. It went suprisingly well, considering nothing is straight and drunk handyman in the 70's did some majorly bone-headed door framing to cause us extra work.

Oy, the sanding and the mess and the sanding...

The cats are so totally over it. They hide as soon as the tools come out.

If you just can't get enough of these photos-- you can find the rest of them here.

Next stage: Ripping out the bottom cabinets and then new flooring. The man came today to look at the floor and give us an estimate. He discovered some wonky problem that we have to fix before he can do anything (part of the sub floor is not attached to the joist blah blah blah). Of.Course. The joys of an old house that has been violated by a drunk handyman from the 70's.

Stay tuned...

Friday, May 09, 2008

If you’re snoopy, like me, you’ll enjoy this website: The Old Bailey Online
It's the proceedings of The Old Bailey, London’s central criminal court from 1674 – 1917

The transcripts are all typed out to make them easier to read, but each page actually has a scan of the original document that you can view as well.

There’s lots of everyday crimes like thefts, libel and fisticuffs—but of course it’s the murder and mayhem that are the most interesting (and sometimes astonishing) to read. There also seems to be quite an obsession with sodomy. Speaking of which, you can read the entire transcripts of Oscar Wilde’s trial (although I haven’t found that one yet).

If you go to the advanced search page you can type in actual names (in case you want to see if any of your ancestors were involved in the courts), case number and crime category (which is the most fun, I think). You can even search by date (who was tried on your birthday in 1674?)

Here’s a quote from a trial in 1679 for a woman that killed her baby:
“This Sessions beginning in the Old Bailey, 26 February, the first person brought to Tryal, was an unhappy Wench , whom the Devil had seduced to endeavour, to cover the filthy sin of Fornication, with the Scarlet Mantle of Murder, having made away her own new-born Bastard-Child.”.


Another website for snoopers is
The diaries of Samuel Pepys, a 17th century diarist who lived in London, England. He wrote entries every day for several years and all of these entries can be read on the website. I read an entry each day in the National Post.

The olde english is hard to understand most of the time, and most of his entries are rather mundane, but every once and awhile something exciting happens—like the day he stole a kiss from a colleague’s maid (against her will I’m sure!), or the fight that he had with his wife over a pair of earrings she bought without his consent. He also had an affair with his wife’s companion/maid. The week his wife caught him was just as good as TV.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Oh my gawd... The last time I wrote something was last August? Damn you Facebook!

Jenny, you've inspired me to start it back up. And Wendy, you're very persuasive. I've linked to all three of you so we can encourage each other to keep it up.

I don't have much to say today, but everyone has to start somewhere, right? So I want to share with you the Skull a Day website. Have you seen it? The writer made a committment to make some kind of skull image and post it every day. It's facinating!