Saturday, May 19, 2007

Baby Prep

The books I've been reading all tell me that I'll probably spend the weeks before baby arrives getting ready by going around the house and "baby-proofing." You know: putting breakable things above waist height, plugging plasitic thingamabobs into all the outlets, and covering sharp furniture corners with...well, corner protectors. I guess they should be called "head protectors." Yeah. That's what all the BOOKS say. Me? I prefer to spend my days elbow-deep in Zip-Strip, filling my lungs (and eyes, and ears, and nose...) with lead paint dust.

See, that's what I do in my "off time," that time I spend NOT being a musician. I renovate and restore and refinish (although I usually reSTART first...thanks George Carlin). I spent summers during college learning from my mother - at her century-old farmhouse - how to demo lath & plaster, how to run new wiring and insulate, how to hang & mud drywall, and all the rest of the stuff that goes with major home renovation. Now that I live in my OWN century-plus house, I've tackled many of the same projects. When Tess & I moved in, we had knob-&-tube wiring; now the whole house is up to code with modern, 12- and 14-2 grounded wire. We've renovated our dining room (tearing out the crumbling ceiling in the process) and made the kitchen an actual livabale space. Now, this summer, I have a few "last" projects (except they never REALLY end, not when you're an "old house guy") to do in preparation for Roslyn's arrival in mid-July...and Odin save us if she's early!

So. Here are some of the particulars. Her room is already pretty much ready to go...

as that was the renovation project from LAST summer. (Back when we thought we were creating a studio for ourselves!) But, her bedroom door was a mess of multiple layers of gooey paint (some milk paint, others no doubt lead-based) and I've been dutifully stripping ALL of our interior doors so that they are returned to their simple, heart-pine glory. Problem is, to do this MYSELF takes about 1) $80 worth of stripper, 2) $30 worth of other sundry supplies, like rubber gloves, steel wool, and the like, 3) and about 30 hours of my time. Yeesh! I discovered that the furniture restoration place here in town, The Wooden Nickel, would charge me $140 to strip the door down to bare wood. YES! So, we end up with a bedroom door for her room that looks like this...

and all that's left for ME to do is the much more simple job of sanding it and applying polyeurethane. Oh, and I have to strip the hardware, but that's totally worth it because it's all original. What you get then is something that looks like this...

add in a healthy portion of stripper and elbow grease...

and you get a finished product that looks like THIS!

Awesome. BUT, this is really the "easy" job, because once the door is hung back in place I need to tackle the much larger job in the stairway and small upstairs hallway. The stairway is really a desolate-looking place...

with altogether too much paint-covered wallpaper peeling away every time we flip the switch.

Plus, I KNOW that underneath the crusty nastiness of this hallway wall...

is something that looks like THIS! (This is the opposite side, in our closet.)

Justify FullIn addition to all the normal wallpaper-stripping and plaster-patching that needs doing, all of the stair "treads" (which aren't really treads at all, but simply 1x stock) need to be taken up and replaced with much thicker material. So, there's lots to be done. But it'll all be worth it, because there are only 8 weeks left until what's in HERE...

can be put into this cradle my mother built.

Nevertheless, with all of the pounding and banging and moving-around-of-stuff going on, someone is a bit worried that there's big change comin' soon! How right she is.

9 Comments:

Blogger L*I*S*A said...

Great work, but then again, you've done other beautiful projects at your home. Love it.

Tess is absolutely glowing. She truly looks radiant and beautiful. Wish I was there to rub that belly.

Tell Mona there will be just another female in the house, so it's all good.

10:39 AM  
Blogger Suze said...

i admire your fortitude. when it comes to home improvement, stuart and i are Clueless with a capital C...dare I admit it took a week to hook up the washing machine correctly?
all very exciting stuff!

4:26 PM  
Blogger Steph said...

I know I am not the voice of experience, but isn't that advice those books give you about spending the weeks before labor child-proofing every inch of your home kind of silly? I mean, a newborn can't exactly clock her head on a sharp table edge or pull china out of the china closet or break into your wine rack or whatever it is you're supposed to be worrying about. I mean, I know they grow fast, but still.

8:23 AM  
Blogger Suze said...

yeah, we still haven't fully "childproofed" everything, even though daniel's been walking since New Year's Day. now he can run...it helps that he's not much of a climber, so we don't have to worry about him bringing down a whole shelf of books or anything. part of the thing with childproofing is that with babies who can crawl and toddle, you have to watch them like a hawk anyway, so as long as breakables are out of reach and cabinets are locked and the bathroom door is shut, well, you're good to go. (no one has accused me of being the overly-cautious type, mind you.)

8:37 AM  
Blogger Fun Guv said...

I agree on the childproofing thing.

I remember just after Mack was born we had our CD rack sitting on the floor and my aunt & uncle said we'd better put those up so she didn't get into them and break them (my toddler cousin was over at the time too and he couldn't keep his hands off them). We went with the philosophy that instead of working around her we'd teach her what she could and could not touch. They were always there in that same spot but she never bothered them at all. It also helped for when we went to other people's houses that weren't child proofed, she knew those things were off limits and didn't bother them there either.

Now of course, poison and other cleaning supplies we were a bit more cautious about.

10:01 AM  
Blogger Tess said...

We also didn't think chipping lead paint was a good idea to have around. Granted, she won't be teething for a while, but our time to get these kinds of projects finished is ideally now, when neither of us our working and/or sitting around, staring/marveling at a newborn all day. I too subscribe to the philosophy of teaching a child what can/cannot be touched. I so wish certain CATS could be trained in this way as well!!! Alas...

2:13 PM  
Blogger kat said...

Mona does look seriously worried in that photo. You can almost see her little bottom kitty lip quiver!

6:36 PM  
Blogger Flory said...

oooohhh-mama's looking good! you look absolutely gorgeous, tess!

f

8:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Such an exciting time! I am happy for the two of you.

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12:19 PM  

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