Monday, June 24, 2019
"No, they're COWS!" Joie retorted in a gleeful tone and counted 7 of them, now contentedly grazing in The Viewing Circle. For those of you who don't know Joie, as much as she loathes snakes and large birds, she adores cows.
While Marilyn grabbed the camera, Joie found the number to the police department...not to report trespassers but to ask for help herding them away from the highway beyond the house.
Note: Joie actually told the dispatcher, "We got a coupla big ol' heifers in our back yard!" Apparently, spending all those years in Texas left its mark on her in more ways than one.
A very nice police officer arrived quickly, followed a bit later by the rather petite wife of the owner of the cows. It turned out that a tree had fallen on their fence about a mile or so north of Chateau de Joie and their small herd had taken the opportunity to check out whether the grass really was greener on the other side.
Unfortunately (because Marilyn & Joie really wanted to see the little woman handling the huge cows with nothing but a bucket of feed), the critters had already turned back into the woods from whence they came. Since they haven't returned, the gals felt sure the behemoth leader of the pack led them home without any human assistance.
Thursday, May 9, 2019
|1960s paneling & built-ins|
In case you're wondering why on earth they would tackle such a big project in the middle of a school term -- Joie's good friend from Texas State years landed a great job at the university and quickly needed a place to live...in 5 WEEKS! So the gals leapt into action to create some space upstairs for Lisa and her two cats, Sammy & Monkey.
Unfortunately, saying a magic word wasn't enough to make it happen, but here's the pictorial account of how it did. Week 1 whizzed by as the room was gutted down to the studs.
|Joie+crowbar= breaking bad|
|Built-in # 1 eliminated|
|1/4 way there|
|Built-in # 2|
|Housemate Brittany sledge-hammering|
|#2 gone - useful closet coming|
|+ behind door cubby for books|
|Whole room down to studs|
|New electrical work roughed in|
Marilyn got the plumbing pipes wrapped in sound-reducing insulation, then Joie installed sound-proof board on that entire wall before drywall was hung over all of it. (Definitely helped with sounds of rushing water & toilets flushing.)
|Marilyn installing soundproofing insulation|
|Wall of plumbing needed extra soundproofing|
|Ex-housemate Katherine cutting foam board|
|Exterior walls required rigid foam board insulation|
|Mixed insulation completed|
|Dust was blown up the chimney!|
|Ryan, Joie & mechanical helper|
|Drywalling a ceiling isn't for weaklings!|
|Joie just can't get enough learnin'|
Creating the closet took a bit of creativity but finishing the drywall in the tight space was hardly a challenge for Joie after she had drywalled the closets in the downstairs suite (see "Closets, Closets, Closets" 4/18/18 post ).
|Joie with her mudding hawk|
|M sawing out old frame|
|Joie taping corner of closet|
Deadline-day arrived and Joie and Marilyn were still racing against the clock to complete the final tasks on the to-do list. In fact, they had just begun installing the carpet pad when Lisa pulled in the driveway. Not surprisingly, Chateau de Joie's newest housemate jumped right in to help finish the job...proving just what a good friend she is!
Baseboards and door & window trim are still to be done but here are some almost-final pics of the conversion...
A shelved nook behind the door and a wide bay window ledge make perfect spots for a few favorite things.
|Full length mirror on door|
|View thru bay window|
Rods, shelves and a chest of drawers turned office built-in #2 (see above before-pic) into a bedroom closet with a perfect space for the television opposite the bed.
Until doors arrive, a curtain suffices nicely.
Friday, March 8, 2019
"It's the Plague of a Thousand Deaths," she screamed, recalling the tales of those who had accidentally inhaled the lethal exhumations of an Egyptian tomb. Yes. It was that bad.
It all started with Joie's need to demolish a wall before the start of the new year. The beginning of that reno story can be found in the January 3, 2019 post and, when the transition is complete, the whole story will be related in a blog tentatively titled "Bar Crash 101." But the "What's in the box?" mystery began when the removal of a section of old paneling revealed an air/heat duct (marked with a suspicious white X in the photo). The rectangular holes in the floor are air returns that had been covered by the former built-in bar.
The Campbell gals had been told the vent in the kitchen ceiling (only about 10 linear feet from the duct in the hall) was an old "fresh air" vent that opened into the attic for cooking fumes and smoke to go up, a function which was actually handled by a new exhaust duct they'd had installed above the stove. Since no air, hot or cold, came out of that vent, it had made sense to seal it off so that nothing undesirable could travel from the attic to the kitchen.
It should be noted that, even if the duct had been properly connected to the vent, the attic is too cold in the winter and too hot in the summer for the heat or cooled air to reach the kitchen by such a long, circuitous route.
The next logical step in demolishing the wall was to remove the duct that served no apparent purpose. Thus, the Reno Queens received another shock when they were greeted with a flow of heat powerful enough to warm the entire upstairs!
After moving into Chateau de Joie, the gals had the original furnace and a/c system replaced with a brand new (very expensive) system, but since their living space was never as warm or cool as it should have been, it was assumed that, as Floridians, they were expecting too much, or perhaps the lack of exterior wall insulation and old windows were the culprits. A mere 4 years later they learned the truth -- a good amount of the heated or cooled air was going straight to the attic!
A rusty old grate very high on an exterior wall of that chilly room seemed to be part of an original clothes dryer vent, but it had been rigged to connect to the main air return to pull fresh air into the system. In reality, that "fresh" air is freezing half the year, which resulted in an ice-cold draft being continuously pulled into the crawl space above the room...solving the mystery of why that room was the coldest in the house.
Behind the rusty grate, a metal duct piece passed through the wall and connected to a large, home-made cardboard box covered in foil with a rusty metal handle on one side. The odd contraption was hung by wires from the rafters. With Marilyn on a ladder outside in the cold working to remove the grate and metal duct piece, Joie worked from the inside to separate the weird box from the other end of that piece.
|The mystery box will forever remain a mystery.|
After all that, the Reno Queens were incredibly disappointed to discover the box was empty, giving no clue at all as to its purpose or what the metal handle was supposed to turn. There was nothing left to do but add the box and its accessories to the growing dump pile...then race to the decontamination showers.
UPDATE April-June: This project turned out to be a near deadly disaster as Joie became more and more ill until she couldn't even get to campus to teach her classes. Her description was that she felt as though she was being eaten from the inside out. A lot of doctor appointments, followed by a lot of tests, finally revealed that she had multiple bacterial infections, so the "plague of a thousand deaths" wasn't so funny any more. As of June (after a lot of heavy antibiotics), she is almost, but not completely back to normal, still fighting one last issue. Needless to say, no more destruction work without a mask!
Thursday, January 3, 2019
|Ye Olde Box|
A Tale of Two Mailboxes
by Marilyn Campbell
Once upon a time there was a happy abode, known as Chateau de Joie, that sat on a peaceful country property where all manner of woodland creatures frolicked. The elderly caretaker of the home was known to all as Mama Marilyn and she enjoyed her various tasks…except for one—fetching the communiques from Ye Olde Box where they were delivered daily by ye olde letter carrier. That task required endurance and courage...for the rugged journey was fraught with peril.
First there was the long walk from the abode to the property's border, along which ferocious beasts waited to pounce on anyone foolish enough to enter their domain.
|The walk starting from the front door|
Even when she made it to the end of that trek, she had to dodge speeding carriages to cross a highway that was coated with invisible ice in the winter
Mama Marilyn had heard tales of those who had not survived the journey but she was not one to shirk her duty because of a bit of danger.
|Continuing walk past parking lot|
|Last leg of driveway|
Unfortunately as the seasons changed and she grew slower with age, she became determined to ease her travails.
FINALLY, a week before Christmas she received official permission to have The Box relocated to a mere ten feet from the Chateau's front door.
As a Christmas gift to their beloved caretaker, the local lords and ladies prepared the ground and installed a new post for a new box to be set upon.
|Lady Katherine pick-axed|
|Lord Chris shoveled|
|Mama Marilyn & Lady K scooped|
|Marquess Joie, recently injured in the line of duty, supervised|
|Hmmm...how does part b attach to parts a and c?|
|Ready for service!|
|1st Delivery - with room to spare!|