The Second Weekend

Friday, September 12, through Sunday, September 14:

We had a productive week--we sold our old washer and dryer on Monday night, to a Mormon guy who paid us part of the money up front and promised to mail us a check for the rest. We put out lots and lots of bundled up trash and cabinets and things, and the garbagemen actually took it all, as far as we can tell. We fell asleep exhausted every night.

In general, we feel like archeologists or prospectors in this apartment. At every turn of a door or a wall or an electrical plate (and there are many, many of that last one), we discover something new: sometimes good, sometimes bad, sometimes freaky. Here's an example of the "freaky" part.

I've always described this place as a former bachelor pad, and the long tacky glass shelves hanging by steel cables in the bedroom seemed straight out of a playboy apartment, as far as I was concerned. Robert secretly likes them, I know, and only reluctantly agreed to their coming down. Dad cut them down on Tuesday, and Mom (concerned about the amount of dust they collect, which clearly was not a concern to their original owner, Playboy Renovator Guy) was relieved. Jef, when he heard them described and saw the remants on the floor (free pre-cut glass shelves, anyone? Howard? Anyone?), said: "Ah. I know. I bet they're something that I'd say, 'Well, I'm sure that's really fancy and expensive, but I don't really want to live with it,'" and that's about as good a description as any.

The glass shelves, the telephone and cable jacks in the bathroom, and the itsy bitsy old oven give you a taste of the personality of the guy who made this place what it was, way back in the swinging 1980s. Well, he'd also put lots of mirrors in the bathroom (the better to admire yourself in the hot tub, my dear--and at the sink, and at the toilet, all of which I think a little weird), and I'd taken the mirrors down to paint around them. One of the smaller mirrors had a pieced-together felt backing which seemed to be missing a chunk. Judging from the completely unfinished closet, with stapled-up carpet on the walls because someone ran out of wallboard or got lazy, I assumed the felt strips were just very sloppily installed. We didn't think anything more of that mirror until Dad, while painting in the big bedroom, started removing electrical plates and straightening out the ones we were going to just paint over, and not remove at all. He unscrewed an edge of one, in the small electrical closet built into the wall of the big bedroom, and suddenly started. We came over to look at what he found. From the electrical closet, behind the corner of the swinging, partially detached plate, you could see straight into the shower in the big bathroom. We were confused: we hadn't noticed the hole from the bathroom side before, so what happened? We suddenly remembered that mirror with the felt lining cut away in a hole in the middle, and when we held the mirror up in place, it was pretty clear what the intent was. Nice mirror from the bathroom side, decorative, modern looking, and just one of five or six different mirrors there, but an unobstructed view of the person showering from the bedroom side. Funny, weird, creepy--you name it. Yup, we're archaeologists all right.

And on that note, on to the weekend:

This is a shot of the dining room at the beginning of the weekend, after the appliances arrived on Tuesday and were carried up the stairs expertly by the delivery guys. Dad had come up again on Monday, and stayed until Wednesday, so we'd made a lot of progress. Plus, the phone guy and the cable guy (Part 2!) came by and did their thing, so we're now set for outlets of multiple sorts.

Here's the kitchen, with the range in the process of being rewired and the ripped-out sink area almost completely demolished. Robert and Dad patched the kitchen floor, in order to level it. Meanwhile, Christina and Mom tied up bundles and boxes of trash.

Then, Dad and Robert began installing the new kitchen cabinets on the easy side of the kitchen. Robert stayed late, after Mom and Dad had driven back to New York, in order to add two more.

Christina primed both bedrooms, in preparation for painting, and finished the woodwork in the small bedroom.

Mom cleaned everything in sight, from windows to brickwork to both bathrooms (after Robert unclogged the tub and shower, that is) to a shade.

Christina painted closets blue and finished off the clothes bars with covers. One of the closets had fixed shelves, a sunken floor, and a very high ceiling--painting the ceiling of that one involved leaning the ladder in on the sunken floor at a funny angle, braced just so, and maneuvering one's head, neck, and shoulders up backwards past the top shelf. Yoga, anyone?

The small bathroom is entirely done. Christina removed a broken tile in the wall and replaced it, Dad regrouted a few things, Mom spent hours touching up paint and brickword and cleaning the floor, and Christina built and then Dad hung a genuine Target medicine cabinet. From a dark green horror with a dangling light fixture and chipping paint, we have a functional, pretty, bright bathroom.

Dad gave the big bedroom a full coat of yellow over Christina's primer (over the former medium green). The color looks better in this picture than in reality, because the yellow is somewhat sheer, and really needs a second (and possibly, annoyingly, even a third) coat to cover well. We're going to buy another gallon and put it up next weekend, I think.

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Created: 9/14/03. Last Modified: 9/14/03.