Monday, October 16, 2017

Something to Occupy my Time

Jon's health woes continue. As soon as the fuss about the GI bleed settled down, he developed severe pain in his unbroken foot, which turned out to be gout. Caused, according to the doctor, by the GI bleed that left a lot of blood for his body to break down, and also from moving less because of the broken foot. Having just one kidney didn't help either. Let's hope this is the last thing.  At the moment things are a bit better. He got his cast off and is in a boot instead, although still on crutches and non-weight bearing, and the worst of the gout seems to have passed.

What I really want to write about is what I've been doing lately. Because the second stage of empty nesting is to take on a bunch of projects. (You'll recall that the first stage is wandering around your house like a ghost, wondering what to do with your time.)

The first project is to fix my front porch, which was truly an eyesore. It has never been particularly pleasant, and in the eighteen years we've lived here, we've gotten into the bad habit of dumping anything that's unwanted or too dirty to bring inside onto the porch. Not only that, the porch served as a workshop, so the floor, in addition to being filthy, was covered with blobs of paint, varnish, caulk, linseed oil, and other random chemicals. In our defense, our house is on a private lot, not fully visible from the street, so it was really just us who suffered from it. The thing is, when you live with something really bad, you cease to notice it after a while.

A few pictures of how horrible it was:

Weapons-grade filth

The first step was to get rid of all the crap. I put my bike away. I put the rocking chair at the curb with a "free" sign on it. It was gone within the hour. The Christmas tree stand had been living on the porch because it's such a pain to take it down to the basement. WHY, IN EIGHTEEN YEARS HAD IT NEVER OCCURRED TO ME TO JUST KEEP IT IN THE COAT CLOSET WITH THE ORNAMENTS?

I'm guessing that the original porch was wood that rotted and that someone replaced it with concrete. For sure, those are not the original porch pillars, which someone replaced with wrought iron. The owners previous to us found the current posts in a barn and put them up in place of the wrought iron. The two posts that are agains the house, half embedded in stucco are the original ones. After the clearing came the scrubbing.

And the patching of the cracks. 

This crack looked a lot larger once I cleaned all the dirt out of it.

If you follow my instagram stories, where I've been documenting in real time, you may have seen where this project is heading, but I'll stop for now. There's still quite a bit to do, though in real life I'm further along than I've shown here. This project has been a lovely distraction from political and broken foot misery.

Speaking of Instagram stories, that's where I've been amusing myself lately. I love creating stories out of my days, in an ephemeral format that disappears after twenty-four hours. The stories are where I throw pictures that aren't good enough for my feed. I also love watching other people's stories. There seem to be people whose entire career and fame come from their Instagram stories. Snapchat has had the same thing for longer, but I prefer Instagram. 


  1. Your porch progress has inspired me to consider painting mine. I did it about 10 years ago but didn't prime first so the paint lasted less than a year before peeling.

    Instagram stories are addicting. I can't stop rubbernecking.

    1. Me too, with the stories. I'm addicted to Celeste Barber now. I'm going to apply a sealer when it's done and I'm hoping that will preserve the paint job.

  2. Jon's tale has definitely put my own little foot drama into perspective - and made sure I followed dr's orders. Although this whole, 'take it easy and stay off your feet' thing is HARD. Day 6 and I'm counting the minutes until my dr's appt for a follow up this morning.

    Your porch looks fantastic. It's like a bigger version of mine to be honest, although Pat & his buddy Will did some work to it last winter.

    1. I saw your foot on instagram. :( I hope you heal quickly and with no complications.

  3. Bravo for taking on this task of porch fixing. I am in the empty-nest stage right now, but can't seem to get past the political stun-fest and buckle down to do something useful.