Stuck in again

Shopping day again but first some more work to do. Up once more very early and by three o’clock I had my overalls on and was giving the woodwork a second coat of paint and the ceiling its first. I was two and a half hours doing that and then returned upstairs for a drink and to watch some tv before toddling off to the supermarket. Now it isn’t often, practically never that I eat a hot dog but the previous week I came across some cans of hot dog sausages when shopping and brought one home. I had almost forgotten I had them so this week (Thurs. 8 th) I bought some buns. On my return home I cooked some onion by chopping it and then boiling it rather than frying it as I normally do. Boiled onion is usually served with hot dogs and I made a couple of them with added ketchup. They were delicious, just like the ones I remember on days out somewhere. After my treat I put on my overalls again and continued with the painting. Earlier I had noticed a couple of places where the emulsion had turned brown but in fact they were stains seeping through. One was on the ceiling and the other on a wall.

When decorating the small front lounge last year I had purchased some stain sealing paint and had a little left over. I used it to over-paint the two stains so that I could apply the emulsion once again, which I did after first of all painting the most part of the walls. I stopped work for the rest of the day at twelve o’clock. There was still much to do but the room was beginning to look as it should.

Shirley Anne

 

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Tired of it

With no morning walk I was able to concentrate in carrying on with the utility room project immediately after breakfast on Tuesday. However breakfast was at four o’clock as I had allowed myself an extra hour in bed once again. It appears I am working so hard I need the extra rest and who am I to argue with that? I began the work at four-thirty not leaving myself open to any distractions for I wanted to continue filling in the gaps and joints before painting could start. I spent almost two hours filling in holes, some of which were large and had been made by others many years ago and not repaired. It is because the room is in the cellar that any sort of refurbishment was considered unnecessary, even by myself at least while there were more important things to be doing in the upper rooms and elsewhere. So not only have I had to fill in my own work but all the other gaps and holes too and there were quite a few. I was beginning to tire of filling them in and in fact I had been doing it in stages to relieve the monotony. Some of the holes were too large to fill in one attempt anyway.  After two hours I decided to do some painting. The woodwork needed an undercoat of paint so I searched my stock to see if there was anything suitable. I found a half-filled ten litre drum of vinyl silk emulsion in magnolia which was pale enough to act as an undercoat to the white paint I was going to cover it with later.

There was still more filling-in to do which would hopefully get done the next day. I was happy to see the undercoat of paint making a striking difference to the now already brighter room after I had installed the new ceiling light the day before. Although there is still plenty to do yet I am beginning to see the finished job. It’s got to be better than when I first started on the room!

Shirley Anne

No floor painting

It was now Thursday 18 th and after a really good night’s sleep I was ready for the day. First of all though I was to take my morning walk. It was a little on the cold side at 7 deg C but because there was no wind whatsoever it didn’t feel that cold. The sky was clear and the stars filled it. However the street lighting prevented a clear view, that is until I reached the seafront where it was almost pitch black. Soon my enjoyment was over and I was back home for breakfast. I had a number of chores to do before I could even consider doing any work in the utility room, except to fill the washing machine and switch it on. I had re-positioned and re-connected the machine the evening before to check for leaks. Yes there was one! One of my pet sayings is that I hate plumbing and to be honest it is true, at least to some extent. The leak was sorted and I washed my overalls, they needed it! On Wednesday I had concentrated on installing the second cabinet, no painting the floor that day and having to fight the fumes. This is how far I got…

By the end of the day I was ready for bed and a good rest. Now it was Thursday but I had the weekly shopping to do. I watched some catch-up tv before going to the supermarket and returned by eight-thirty. An hour or so later I began to work in the utility room but kept the work to a minimum. I fitted the doors to the second cabinet and the door knobs to both after which I painted the new section of worktop.

I couldn’t do anymore work thereafter until the paint had dried in case I stirred up dust so I had the rest of the day to myself.

Shirley Anne

Overpowering

Wednesday morning saw me doing a spot of painting in the utility room I’m engaged in refurbishing. I began by painting the wall against which the next cabinet will stand, the same wall or side of the room I was concentrating on as I work around the room little by little. Once that was done I gave the floor beneath it a coat of the chlorinated rubber floor paint I had used elsewhere on other projects in the cellar (see older posts).

Eventually the whole floor will be painted as I move around the room. I can only work on sections of the room at a time because of the furniture (mostly freezers) in there. The parts of the floor beneath the new cabinets will only be painted once of course for there is no need for another coat when it will be hidden. In the picture above there will be the washing machine, another cabinet and a freezer. The patch you see couldn’t be painted until the following day because the cement I had put there to fill a hole hadn’t yet dried completely. Painting the walls doesn’t require wearing a mask as it is only a vinyl emulsion but the mask was necessary when painting the floor. The fumes given off with the chlorinated rubber paint are overpowering and possibly a health hazard if a mask isn’t worn. The fumes linger for hours so we keep the door down to the cellar closed until they subside. Later in the day I hoped to do more work down there but only if the fumes had dissipated, if not there would be plenty of work to do in the garden! 

Shirley Anne

Missed the walk

I must have been so tired on Sunday evening I ended up sleeping in a further hour and a half after I had switched off the alarm! Usually I get out of bed immediately because I know I am likely to nod off again if I don’t. The consequence was I missed my early morning walk as I didn’t then wish to take it because I had work to do which I would have to start later in the morning. I didn’t want to do that. The walk would have to wait a day. The work I wanted to do was all in the utility room. First job was to fix some wall tiles around the sink top. The second job was to move the drain pipe coming from the upstairs dishwasher and to re position the cold water supply pipe to the washing machine in the utility room.

The black pipe is that drain from the dishwasher which used to run at high level and come down the wall to where it is still connected. The cold water pipe to the washing machine now runs down alongside the window on its left. It used to come down the wall to the left of the drain pipe. I wanted them moving so they didn’t go through the worktop I would be fitting there and it would allow any joints to remain accessible. Once those jobs were done I blanked off the hole near the ceiling (top centre in lower picture) then took a break and sat with E having her breakfast. When she was ready we went to the hardware store and purchased two more cabinets, four doors with their furniture and some more plywood for the worktops. One of the cabinets would go alongside the washing machine between it and one of the smaller chest freezers which will stand on the far left (lower picture above). The other cabinet will be fitted on the opposite wall together with the larger and older chest freezer. The other small chest freezer will be fitted where the older one now stands. All this is intended to make better use of the room space. On our return from the store E got ready to go to a funeral and I took the goods into the room. After a quick lunch she went out and I got on with more work, filling in some holes in the floor and wall and later giving the wall its first coat of paint. 

However I then noticed the drains for the washing machine and dishwasher drain needed attention as there appeared to be a small leak. This leak must have developed over the years and I needed to repair it. Whoever had installed it hadn’t left enough pipe sticking out of the wall so I had to dig it out before doing the repairs.

The main leak was on the white pipe connections. The dark patches on the wall is cement which couldn’t be over-painted until it was dry. You can see the dark patch on the floor where I had filled it in. The best thing about this project is the different disciplines involved, electrical, carpentry, brickwork and cementing, plumbing and painting and decorating. That’s why I like doing projects.

Shirley Anne

Spanner in the works

Or…for my American friends and some others….a wrench in the works. Somehow ‘wrench’ doesn’t seem to express it as well as spanner but I suppose that is due to my living in the UK. I would prefer to say England rather than the United Kingdom because I am English, I was born here. I do have Scottish ancestry though on my father’s side of the family but I was born in England. Now we say ‘spanner in the works’ to express a condition whereby a planned activity has been forced to a stop by an outside influence or objection. Well it seems that E has thrown such a spanner in the works having raised tentative objections to my planned garden project. I think however she would prefer something slightly different from my proposals though not entirely different. At the moment therefore the plans are on hold until we can agree on what to do. I suspect that won’t take long and I’ll soon be making inroads but who knows? We’ll just have to wait and see. In the meantime I can rest up though with me that will be difficult. This morning, that is September 1 st I had to water the garden  again because we’ve had little rain lately and one or two of the plants were beginning to wilt a little. I had watered the garden on Friday evening and the plants were looking healthy afterward but a second watering was needed to ensure the soil was moistened through. For today and the following few days the weather forecast says it will remain dry. Anyway I did that and on the way back upstairs I glanced at the pit in which the cross-trainer stands and noticed a small amount of paint flaking off in one corner. When I first constructed the pit a few months earlier I had used paint we had in storage but was never really satisfied with the colour after painting the walls in the room white. The paint in the pit was more creamy looking. Having painted the floor red it magnified the differences between the wall and pit colours. I decided to scrape off the flaking paint and redo the whole pit in a gloss white though I couldn’t of course paint beneath the cross-trainer itself.

It didn’t take long to do, about twenty minutes but now it looks much better for it. Later in the day it was time for more garden maintenance, sweeping up leaves and mowing the lawn.

Shirley Anne

France

Up and about at my now usual early start but I had to wait until it was light enough to allow me to have the gym light on with the door open. If you remember I didn’t want a room full of moths which would have been attracted to the brightness of the room. That meant I couldn’t begin painting until five-thirty. The plan was to complete the second coating of the floor which I managed to do all except for the small area where the treadmill had been standing. It is the area between the up-righted treadmill and the small can with the wood on it. That small area had to be left for its second coat as it was part of the walkway I had to leave to enable access to the garden door for the day (to the right and to the rear in the picture). It would get painted on Tuesday morning when the rest of the floor would be dry. This was how the floor looked soon after I had painted the second coat (on the left and beyond)…..

I was feeling rather tired during the rest of the morning and was sitting quietly on the sofa when I heard my eldest son and his wife arrive. They were collecting some things they have in storage here. He was telling me how much he was feeling tired also because of the extra work he had been putting in at work lately, especially the shift work. He is a police officer and puts in some long shifts as they are expected to do these days. He was looking forward to his annual break in a couple of weeks time (as I write). By the time you are reading this he, his wife and their daughter will be holidaying in France for, as he said, twenty-seven nights! They have been to France a couple of times before. I remember when we took he and his younger brother down to the south of France many years ago for a two-week break with a short trip into Spain too. On that occasion we travelled by car, in fact the only time we have ever taken a holiday by car. We have driven in foreign countries of course but we flew there first!

Shirley Anne

Steady hand

I could have been a surgeon……but I didn’t have the patience (patients). Okay and old joke I admit but then again well let’s say I’m over thirty-nine! Actually the medical profession was the last thing I would have considered as a career. Apart from the thought of all those years of study followed by a very long subsequent learning curve I don’t think I had the aptitude. Even in the career I chose as an electrician and electrical engineer I had four years of study and an apprenticeship followed by years of learning experiences. I had in fact begun a higher level of education after obtaining the relevant qualifications but a year into the course I gave up the idea. You see I didn’t want years of studying, I wanted to use my skills hands-on. The rest is history, in fact everything is history isn’t it? I will lay claim to having a steady pair of hands and am dexterous. As a surgeon that would be essential of course. Having a steady hand has been an advantage especially when the work demands it. Most of the things I do now naturally involve the use of my hands (even typing this). My current little project is nearly coming to an end and it totally requires the use of my hands, painting the gym floor though I will admit my steady hands didn’t prevent me from applying paint where it shouldn’t be! That though is mostly due to the uneven edges between the floor and the walls. One area involved painting alongside an existing white line.

Most folk would use masking tape and simply remove it once the paint had dried to leave a straight line. It doesn’t always work especially if the surfaces are not smooth as the paint can leak under the tiniest of spaces. I decided to have a go at doing it free-hand…It isn’t perfect but is pretty close! As for the ‘splashes’ of red paint on the white walls, they will be far easier to cover with the emulsion paint because emulsion can be wiped off with water if it gets where it isn’t wanted. The chlorinated rubber floor paint however is more difficult to remove and more so considering its red colour. On Friday morning (10 th) I had almost completed the painting of the floor though half of the floor was yet to receive the second coat.

As I had cemented in the cracks where the treadmill had stood temporarily I couldn’t paint that small area on the day.

Shirley Anne

A lot for six hours

If I was being pedantic I would say six hours and twenty minutes but if I was being extra pedantic I would be honest and say well okay it was more like five. What is she talking about? My early morning activities of course what else? It was Wednesday morning and the promised rain hadn’t fallen through the night. I was up.before two o’clock, which accounts for the twenty minutes and downstairs before two-thirty. I checked to see if we had rain and discovering we hadn’t I went into the garden to give the plants a drink. At this time of year it is important not to let the plants die for lack of water. Next it was breakfast followed by a half-hour of catch-up tv. and checking my emails. I was about ready for another walk which used up two hours. On my return home I would be doing some painting in the cellar again. I was about half-way through my walk when I happened upon a guy in a wheelchair who darted out of a hotel lobby a couple of hundred metres ahead of me and going in the same direction. We had both reached the far end of the Promenade before I caught up with him and I hadn’t been walking slowly. I bid him good morning and we chatted a while as we went along. I mentioned that I was impressed with his speedy exercise and he told me the chair was brand new and he was ‘putting it through its paces’. ‘Much better than the previous one’ he said. He was staying for three weeks at the specialist respite care home at the far end of the Promenade after leaving the spinal treatment unit at the hospital. I assumed he meant at Southport. He told me he had an operation which hadn’t gone well and it had left him unable to walk. He was very philosophical about it but I thought how sad for him. I asked him where he lived and he told me North Wales. North Wales can be seen across Liverpool bay from Southport on a clear day. Soon we were at his destination and we parted ways. As I walked along the seafront I could see the heavy rain clouds dumping their load over Ainsdale about four miles down the coast. As I got nearer home it began to rain there too. It had just about stopped raining as I entered the front door. So what next? I put on my overalls and painted over the area I had been working on a couple of days earlier giving it its second and final coat. I also painted the step leading into the room and a little more elsewhere.

At the time of writing there remains the area around that step and the small area beneath the up-righted treadmill to be worked on and of course the bare section in the picture. The other half of the floor also needs its second coat of paint. None of that will take long to do. The floor repairs and painting will then be finished but at some point I will need to touch-up the white walls where I have accidentally touched them here and there with the red paint.

Shirley Anne

Same old again

Rest over, time to get back to work. Typical routine for me these days. I am not happy unless I am working but the strange thing is that I like getting away from it after a while. Even stranger is that I can’t wait to get back to it after a short time! I am a hopeless case I suppose but I’d rather be doing something constructive than just doing something which isn’t or not doing anything at all. That said, it was Monday morning again, the first of the month and there was a feeling in the air that things were beginning to change in the weather, it was getting perceptively cooler. I was up very early again and ready for a walk after the weekend break but at two o’clock? No way, that was far too early so I busied myself doing other things until I finally left the house at five o’clock. This time I was wearing my waterproof jacket though with only lightweight clothing beneath. I was glad I did for the wind had increased and it felt very cool. Without the jacket I would have felt uncomfortable and probably would have returned to collect it. On my return home I thought I would get some work done but unfortunately there was little I could do. I wanted to use up the remaining floor paint to do as much as I could with it but wanted to wait until it was brighter outside. If you remember I mentioned that having the door open when it was still dark outside would attract flying insects, especially moths and I didn’t want a cellar full of them! However it was ten o’clock before I got around to doing the work as other things got in the way.

You can see from the picture above how far I was able to go with the remaining paint. The area I covered was all that behind the makeshift barrier. It wasn’t quite enough to cover the whole area as you can see. The next can of paint was on its way from Ireland and I would probably receive it on Tuesday or Wednesday. There was nothing further I could do on that project. The first thing I would do then would be to give the same area another coat of paint so that a couple of days later I could return the treadmill to its original position. That would allow me to repair the small area where it had been standing and I could then go on to finish the painting. Later I would be giving the whole room another coat of paint, except the area under the treadmill which would already have been coated twice. That was the plan anyway, let’s see if it went that way.

Shirley Anne