Wednesday, June 29, 2016

House happiness

Tonight I sat outside for a few minutes as it got dark. While Ada kept her post near my chair, the fireflies were flashing all around, and two bats swooped overhead. I feel pretty lucky to have found a place to live that blends city and nature. I live inside the Beltway, and it's only a ten minute walk to the metro. Still, from my yard, I can see birds, bats, and (and every gardener's nemesis) Evil Squirrels.

Then I went inside and moved back into my bedroom. It took me almost two months to complete, but I'm very pleased with the refinished floor. I have a new roommate moving in in two weeks, and it'll be good to be back up on the second floor in my bedroom when she arrives. Sleeping upstairs means that I don't enjoy quite as much air-conditioning, and it's a hike to the only bathroom in the house, but having a bedroom on a separate floor has given me privacy that make house sharing much more manageable.

Friday, June 24, 2016


I'm still not sleeping in my bedroom, but I'm close. The oil-based polyurethane takes days to cure, and you're supposed to wait up to two weeks before you let a dog walk on it. There didn't seem to be much point to me staying in the bedroom if I had to rig up a barrier to prevent the Ada from coming in. This decision was made easier by the fairly comfy guest bed; if I had been sleeping on the floor you can bet the dog would have been banished to a separate room.

I started to put my bed back together tonight but noticed that the frame was scratched and the metal finish a bit worn. "No point in assembling this if I'm just to going to disassemble and paint it in a few months," I said to myself. "Better to repaint it right now." So tomorrow morning I'll nip out to Home Depot, buy a few cans of paint, and paint the frame in the backyard before reassembling it. This may be interpreted as:

  1. Lunacy, because I shouldn't be starting another project when I have to repaint the bathroom and move back into my bedroom before next weekend when my parents arrive.
  2. Brilliance, because I have already unpacked my bedroom THREE TIMES in the short time I've lived here, and I don't want to do it a fourth time.
Possible both labels apply.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Catching up

The big reveal: the floor looks great. I dawdled for a couple of weeks, avoiding starting the finish coats because I was nervous I'd mess it up. Finally I decided I was tired of sleeping in the guest bedroom and dressing in the attic, and I put down three coats.
It looks better than I expected, and I love the color that the oil-based polyurethane imparted. The smell and mess of oil-based is awful, but worth it in this case.
However, once again, I will note that I would never hire me. The floor looks great from afar. But if you look close up, you'll see where I have permanently shellacked cat hair and dust into the floor, and it's not an extremely smooth finish. If I had hired me and paid a thousand dollars to have it done, I would be disappointed. I guess I won't quit the day job yet.
My new town is almost exactly one-third White, one-third Hispanic, and one-third African-American. I really like the people in my neighborhood. Yesterday night, a cool summer Friday evening, I was walking the dog and noticed that it was almost a requirement that at least one family on every block host family and friends and accompany this with loud Latin music. At one house, they had row seating for a hundred and a band, but (if I can trust my limited Spanish skills) that turned out to be a church service/ cookout, and that's not so typical. In the neighborhoods where I grew up, you were supposed to keep your parties rare and quiet, so it's definitely a different vibe.
My parents and in-laws are in the middle of a two-week trip through Ireland. I am truly pleased that they have remained friends and take trips together. Also, I have been to Ireland, so I imagine I'll be a bit jealous once the pictures start getting posted.
Work has been a bit stressful lately. Our department was reorganized, although that didn't affect my job much, and almost everyone in the company moved to a new office. I worked a Saturday meeting in June, and there was a big deadline on a proposal. I'm hoping the next month is calmer, so that I can save energy for the big week-long conference in Sacramento in late July. I love seeing all my work friends at said conference, but the 16-hour days are killer.