Sunday, May 4, 2008

Those Who Cannot Remember the Past...

For some reason, I've been dallying with TileDoc again, the maddening epoxy product that is, apparently, designed to cover one's bathroom surfaces in a perpetual layer of foul-smelling sticky white goo. You may remember my many struggles to re-finish our guest pedestal tub (for the full, harrowing account, see previous entries "In Which I Inhale a LOT of Epoxy," "Tub, Shelves, Groundcloth, &c. &c.," and "Success! At Last!").

The problems with TileDoc are 2-fold: 1) it goes on best when aerosolized, which is difficult to accomplish without a power sprayer and air compressor, and 2) it only actually dries when it's applied during a full moon when Uranus is in the House of Leo and the solar winds are unusually high. Or something. The not-drying problem is, itself, 2-fold: a) you must measure the two components very, very, very accurately (I recommend filling a pyrex measuring cup with 1/4c of water, pouring the water into the intended epoxy receptacle--such as an old salsa jar--and marking the water level with a sharpie. Repeat with a 2nd quarter-cup of water so that you have 2 sets of markings on your jar. Then pour the clear, sticky stuff first to the first line and the white, opaque stuff to the second line. but given my success rate, you may not particularly care to take my advice.) And b) you must coat the surface with the faintest possible sheen of the stuff. This latter can be extraordinarily difficult to do. I have no advice for you on this subject, other than Be strong!

Anyway, I've embarked on this dubious endeavor because I just can't stand the stupid grey tile backsplash above our sink one second longer. We got the bathroom looking more or less genteel and tamed--at least if you squint--and the anomalous backsplash really wrecks our groove.

Note the pointlessness of the grey backsplash

Also, we have guests coming at the end of May, and I'd like to hide our tessellated shame. We haven't the resources (cojones?) to do anything about the much larger expanse of hideous grey tile (and its repulsant sidekick, Moldy Old Caulking) in the shower surround, but we DO have an opaque shower curtain, so that problem's handled. It was time, however, to take care of business where the backsplash was concerned.

So I painted the stuff on with a brush about 4 hours ago. It's still tacky (in both senses--it will need at least 2 coats to adequately hide the grey), which strikes me as a bad sign. On the other hand, it's drier than it was before, so perhaps there's hope?

Oddly enough, the corrosive, chemical odor of the epoxy made me feel strangely nostalgic. The human subconscious--or at any rate, my subconscious--works in very, very peculiar ways.

New TV
...And on to things that do work. Mom & Dad just got the New Hotness in terms of TVs, and they kindly gave us their old TV, the Old Hotness, which, by Matt's & my standards, is an utter leviathan and a fancy one at that (back off, would-be thieves--it's about 15 years old and weighs more than Mount Rushmore. You've never be able to get it out of the house. Plus it's not digital-compatible.) They also gave us an entertainment center to put it in (nice parents!), which is also no featherweight. Many people, including hired help, a benevolent neighbor, and my brother, combined their efforts to extract the units and get them into and out of our Jeep and trailer.

In any event, it's now reposing in electronic glory in the den, plugged in, re-programmed, and ready to go. Thanks to its superior antenna, we now get two PBSes, two CBSes, and (¡que suerte!) four Spanish channels. We watched a DVD on it last night, and everything was all crisp and lovely and, you know, big. No more squinting to read subtitles.

The funny thing is that we haven't figured out what to do about the old TV, so we are now not merely a four-TV family, but we have a two-TV living room. And in case you wanted a quick headcount, the residents here are (1) me, (2) Matt. In our defense, 1 TV is halfway dysfunctional and lives in the garage, 1 is our wee little kitchen TV, and 1 is the usurpee, probably fated to take up residence in the crawlspace under the stairs. Still. 4 TVs. 2 people. Livin' the Costco lifestyle, my friends.

For a truly immersive multimedia experience

Other Long-Term Projects

But what, you may be wondering, happened to the porch swing (meant to be our Valentine's Day present) How about those antique doors and knobs? The shade patio? The hedge of mutabilis roses to replace those scraggy abelia? The other hedge to hide Mr. Ugly Car and his opprobrious cohabitants? Quick summary:

(1) The bolts that I bought for reconstructing the porch glider are too short for the thicker pipes (part of the dismembered hurricane fencing from the back yard) that we're using to replace the rusty original supports. So I need to trek out to Austin Bolt Company, whom I utterly adore but whose hours of operation are problematically short, and exchange them. But the frame is rustoleumed and ready to go, and the new red oak slats are stained and varnished with 3 coats of spar urethane for protection.

(2) "Greg," the last of our new (old) doors is at Elgin Furniture Refinishers getting stripped. Next time we're in town during their operating hours (probably next Sat), we'll pick him up. We need to get in touch with Javier (the dude who built our lovely shelf/drawer unit in the study) to get his estimate for sizing and hanging them. I suspect that he's been hesitant to call us because it'll be a fair pfennig. Ouch.

(3) Re the shade patio (for latest pix, see "The Patio, & More Flower Pictures"), Mom & Dad very nicely gave us some ooftish for our 5th Anniversary (yesterday--Happy Anniversary to us!), which we will take to Lowe's to convert into metal edging. We'll install it around the current configuration of pavers, lift up the stones, and put down some sand. We may have enough from the old sandbox on the property, or we may have to buy a few bags. Then we'll reinstall the pavers and cap them off with a little cement.

(4) Re the mutabilis hedge (meant to stand at the head of the driveway and give our back yard a little privacy), well, the two roses we planted last year are doing nicely. But there's a huge gap in between them where we need to plant 3 more, so we'd be flattering it if we even described it as "spotty." The four abelias remain in their original locations for the time being. It would probably be foolish to move them this late in the year. We're going to plop them around the shade patio, but if a few croak, there are plenty of nicer shrubs we can substitute in (especially oak-leaf hydrangea and American beautyberry). Even so, I'd feel kind of slummy about killing all four. So the abelia relocation is postponed. But I'm willing to plant mutabilis as late as June of this year (it's that rugged), so we may at least get that part going soonish.

(5) Mr. Ugly Car's hedge--Matt was given some second-hand primrose jasmine (Jasminum mesneyi), so we've planted a line of them inside our property line. They're puny now, but we plan to water and fertilize the bejeezus out of them, so hopefully they'll be quite sizable next year. Primrose jasmine makes a rather massive fountain of light-colored evergreen foliage. I don't actually think they are the absolute best choice in landscape design terms--they look too much like the grass below and the ash above in color and even leaf shape, and they don't have a lot of definition--but they smell delicious and they'll accomplish our primary goal. And they were free, which is one of my favorite adjectives ever.

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