Time Thief

Sunday, June 26, 2005

weekend wrap-up

It's "molting" time for the sycamore trees here in perfect village.

The trees were busy shedding their bark, but what did I do this weekend? Replaced the switches that control lights in the hall/stairs. Sounds like nothing, but that's two lines in three locations. Six switches in all! ugh. To make matters worse, I pulled the wires "backwards" in two of the boxes (meaning wires for the switch that should go on the left entered the box on the right and vice-versa) so I had to work the wires a bit to get them installed on the "right" sides.

So what the heck was I replacing? I had installed some "regular" three-way dimmers while waiting on a parts order. I replaced them with "smart dimmers" that can dim the lights from any location. They're pretty pricey, but after living with "regulars" for two weeks, I think they're definitely worth it. Hated having to go downstairs to adjust the light level.

Lots of other miscellaneous tasks: Fixed a switch in the bedroom that wasn't quite right. oops. Worked on more sanding, priming, painting of closet doors. One is installed, another coat of paint still needed on the second. Did a little sewing (yeah, I do it all) on a bedroom window treatment. I stupidly used some fusible tape along the bottom edge and it had started to pull apart. I also now have a hook in the new bathroom on which to hang my robe (yay!) and the guest room is ready for sanding/final touch-up coat of compound.

I spent way too much time playing out in the garden today. Why? It is the time for: squash vine borer patrol. I've had problems with them every year at this house. Grrrrr! I noticed the telltale signs when I was out watering the other day

as well as some other unknown invaders

I went out to try to identify the little leaf-eaters and work on evicting the borers, when I noticed a strange little wasp. My first reaction was to be afraid of it like I usually am of wasps, but then I watched it for moment. It started flying around the monster pumpkin vine. Then it would land on the vine and appear to (ahem) hump the vine. A-ha! I ran inside for a quick Google search and confirmed that it was the mama squash vine borer moth depositing her eggs! Grabbed the camera and went outside to go to work. Unfortunately, mama never showed back up to have her picture taken and meet her death. Maybe another day.

Once the borers have made their home in a vine, there are a couple of things you can do to try to save the plant, both of which are extremely difficult and time consuming.

1) Inject the vines with a solution of BT using a syringe
2) Cut open the vine and extract the worm (ewww)

In either case, the plant's "wounds" should be covered with dirt to encourage new root development. I used a combination of methods depending on the plant. I went
through this effort last year with mixed results. My own fault for taking a "wait-and-see" approach again this year. Won't make the same mistake again.

Ordinarly, I don't like to split the vine because it's hard to know where the borer(s) will be found. However, in a couple of the vines, the BT injections made the little buggers start to travel and poke their head out of their entrance sites to see what was going on. That made it easy to yank them out.

I even got a movie of this little guy. It isn't in focus (due to the angle, I couldn't exactly watch what I was filming), but you can see him moving around in there.

As I was injecting the vines, I also saw quite a few of mama's eggs, so I got rid of as many of those as I could find.

Nature is so cool.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

origin of name

When I decided to create a new blog and started to think of a name, Time Thief just popped into my head for some reason. It seemed appropriate. Turns out it wasn't spontaneous genius or anything. Buried deep inside my brain was memory of the song "Time Thief" by the Pale Saints which popped up last week when I was listening to iTunes on random. Searched out the lyrics today. Here's a section that kind of applies, no?

the money's falling through the wall again

it lives inside this house
it lives in one of us
time thief's coming
don't you realise?

round and round and round we go
the words are breezing and there's always
one more clue to comprehend
it'll take you and jump into your head

it's inside this house
it lives in one of us
time thief's coming
don't you realise?

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

some "after" teasers

So the time arrived when I was ready to post some "after" shots. And I started to feel kind of weird about it. I mean -- transmitting images of my bedroom for all the Internet to see -- freaks me out a little. Especially since I know there were readers of my last blog that I don't exactly want seeing that kind of thing. What if they found the newest incarnation? (Don't worry - if you're wondering if you're "one of them", then you're probably not.) In order to appease my followers, I've taken some abstract "what the hell is that?" shots. Hopefully that will satisfy. Read on....

(Disclaimer - I just got a new camera and haven't exactly figured out the best way to use it. Everything keeps coming out blurry. Since these are supposed to be abstract, I'll just say "I meant to do that".)

I love the practicality of ceiling fans, especially since I try to limit use of the A/C as much as possible. Must be because of the "nature girl" inside me.

Wacky shot of a built-in. The room is looking much more blue than reality.

Gratuitous cat shot - Meda and friends

Another gratuitous cat shot - Meda and her friend "legs"

Door from office to bath. The "Home Depot" orange color was not chosen by me, but I think I'm okay with it. As you can see, some walls were painted white to highlight the funky angles. The color orange is supposed to stimulate thought, so it's perfect for an office. The only problem with it is it gives the impression that I'm a huge fan of the Despot, which I am NOT.

You'll notice a lot of incongruity in different rooms' colors. I know that bothers some people, but not me. I think you should use color in specific rooms to affect how you would like to feel in that room. One of the coolest houses I ever saw was an old four-square on a Christmas tour of old homes in Lawrence, KS. All the rooms in the house were painted bold, bright colors. They all came together in the kitchen, where the walls had a white base with a sort of "finger paint" effect using all the other colors in the house. I thought it was so fun and interesting. I remember that house when I think of all the wacky colors going on here.

The color in the bath is off, but it's just going to have to stay that way for a while. It was a major pain to paint in and around all the funky wall goings-ons in there, so it's staying that way....at least until round one is finished.

Meda checking out the shower

Cool two-part flusher on the toilet. Little one in the front for pee-pee, larger one in back for other stuff.

Quin finds a home in the bathroom sink. "I will eat you, then pee on your carpet." Yes, Quin, and that is why there will soon be no more carpet.

on to the next....

Things upstairs are pretty much wrapped up. There are a few little things that are waiting on purchases, etc., but it's totally liveable.

the closet doors i messed up and made too short (doh!) have been re-built and are being sanded

Next in the batting order: HVAC replacement and redoing the "guest" room that was formerly the bedroom. Why the guest room first on the first floor? Because it should be the quickest hit and will be the "getaway" where I will move the living room while the rest of the first floor will be going through it's super-dusty phase. HVAC because it's terribly outdated and the condenser(?) now leaks water all over the basement floor when the A/C runs. It also helps that I know people who will install for free and sell me the unit at cost. :) So, I need advice from the housebloggers....

First - any advice or experience with Lennox versus Trane for a traditional two-part HVAC system? From what I've read so far, they're both reputable brands and there isn't much difference between them, but I'd love to hear your story if you have one.

Second - I've read postings around houseblogs.net and others that how easy or difficult it is to refinish wood floors depends on the sander. What should I look for there?

Patching the walls/ceiling has started and should be done within the week. yay!

no more termites! (like the mint green vinyl next door?)