Saturday, April 30, 2011


My gym is .5 miles from my new house. Since the plumbing at Hawthorne Avenue has been turned off, the pipes cut out, and the fixtures removed, Billye and I have become regular Saturday afternoon visitors to the gym.  Membership has its privileges!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


Our house has 2 chimneys with 5 coal burning fireplaces and, like much of the rest of the house, they have been neglected for many years.   So neglected in fact we got the sad, SAD news that they are crumbling from the inside and, short of tearing down the chimneys to the ground and building back up from scratch, there is no resurrecting them .

(See how this bows on the left side)

(Such a tall narrow chimney to accomodate 3 flues)

 To make the firebox usable, even for a gas log situation, would require widening the opening and refacing any fireplace we wanted to use.  Doing so, to the tune of mega-bucks, we would lose my beautiful ladies, all 5 original iron surrounds and covers.

We have since discovered a product that will allow us to enjoy the aesthetic of the fireplaces, give us an authentic looking coal fire, put out a modicum of heat,  and be safe for our daughter to be around. The Vision Electric Fireplace insert  will do just that.  While I found the fireplace insert doing a simple Google search on the internet, the people who invented it have a showroom and store only 2 miles away from Hawthorne Avenue.  We intend to get one soon to be sure our electrician can do the appropriate wiring while he is in the house.

Monday, April 25, 2011


You can be certain SOMETHING will rub off.  I spent an afternoon cleaning chimney flues.  What a MESS.

When I finished each fireplace, the only thing in the room that was not coal black...was the print my bottom left behind.

Sunday, April 24, 2011


 It has been a beautiful spring week in Virginia.  Taking a break from laboring on the house, I took a walk around the new neighborhood, camera in hand.  Just 2 blocks away at the Theological Seminary, there are 2 fabulous gargoyles, one of which boasts being the largest gargoyle in the city.

The other "gargoyle" gets my vote for being the funniest.

I believe my guy will be right comfortable amongst them!

Note: Gargoyles are said to scare off and protect from any evil or harmful spirits. Technically my guy is a grotesque. A grotesque figure is a sculpture that does not work as a waterspout and serves only an ornamental or artistic function. He belonged to my mother-in-law and always makes me smile.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


After obtaining several estimates and finding many people ill-equipped to take on the job, tree day arrived. Knowledgeable, courteous, professional, and thorough.  These guys are HIGHLY recommended in my book.

 No Dominion Power haircut for my beautiful magnolia!

Saturday, April 16, 2011


Wicker chair   $89.00

Home and Garden magazine $3.99

Diet Cokes with ice and a straw   $2.50

Spring day  $0.00

Livin' the Life Magnolia   PRICELESS !!!

Friday, April 15, 2011


  MANY years of water damage led to rot resulting in a basement window carrying the load of 3 joists.  Yesterday we undertook a major job...replacing these 3 floor joists and an exterior support beam. I say yesterday because that is when I became involved.  Truth-be-told, our general contractor Donnie has been mulling it over for some time and had done all the precautionary prep work days before.

Exterior molding removed and saved, stucco cut out, house jacked and braced from the interior, it was time to cut out and replace the joists and support beam.... 

YIKES!  Several tense moments ensued. 

Once begun, it was necessary to complete this fix to a certain point before the next day since rain and high winds had been predicted for the following day.

 So with the help of a spotlight, diligent workers,

and tandem screwdrivers,

we were able to leave the house secure.  PHEW !!!

Thursday, April 14, 2011


My reciprocating saw was not cut out (a nod to Wallace) to  handle this mammoth demolition job.  Last night it bit the dust...and after only 1 month on the job! Thus my former love has been laid to rest to make room for yet another infatuation..... the heavy-duty, industrial powered amped up version of my original saw.  Thanks goes out to Rick and Sheila at Lowes  who accepted my dead tool for a full refund/store credit even without a receipt.  I now own the Papa Bear of DeWalt saws. 

Of course it is 2x as heavy as the original 'ladies' version so I will likely defer to the guys when there is major demo to be done.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


Knob and tube wiring

Square headed nails

Pocket doors

Repairs made with coffee cans and shoe boxes


Monday, April 4, 2011


My buddy Chris helped me at the Hawthorne house today.  He and I went room to room and removed the nails remaining in the studs.  He caught on fast and we both got a lot done in just one hour of work. 

Chris is my kind of worker.  He works steadily, cheerfully, and cheaply!  He was happy to cap off our work with Skittles and a Slushie! 

Thank you Chris.  You made my day.

Sunday, April 3, 2011


Now that the kitchen and bath fixtures and plaster on the walls have been completely removed...

TRUTH BE TOLD, there are a few more areas of water damage than we anticipated.

Under the shower...

Beneath the kitchen sink...

And alongside the fireplace in the library.

TRUTH BE TOLD, humans were not the last inhabitants in the house.  Racoons, birds, and squirrels made this their home, and in some cases, final resting place, for several years.  Holes in the house beneath the plaster have been open invitations to critters for some time.   

A couple of the third floor openings in the walls...

TRUTH BE TOLD, not every former repair was done to code.

This staircase had no support post  (We attached this 2x4 as a temporary support).

 I'm not even sure what was behind this roof repair.

TRUTH BE TOLD, we are still excited about our new home-to-be.
Go figure!