Steady March: Kitchen, Cat Door, and Thermostat

While Good Man was working on the closet, I decided to work on the kitchen window.

Our kitchen has a window facing the street, which is covered with blinds from Blinds Galore (good experience, for the record!). And then we have the window on the door, which was covered with some plastic, cheapo, stick-on “blind” as the window treatment.

The window is made up of a cover that makes “panes.” I decided to unscrew the “panes” so I could put a piece of rice paper film over the entire window at one time.

This was not my greatest idea, because the entire window started to fall out. Ahhh, duh. The “pane” divider is what actually mounts the window in place. I called Good Man in to help, interrupting him while we was working on the closet.

(He really, really didn’t like me in that moment. He called me “Reverse Midas.”)

I did realize that the rice paper wasn’t going to be enough coverage, so at least some good came from the experience.

We used frosted film and applied it. It didn’t turn out perfectly, but it turned out good enough. I realized if the choice was between perfection and completion, I was going to go for completion.


Completion, however, was short-lived. A few days later, I removed two “panes” and redid them. They still aren’t perfect, but they are much better. (I don’t have a photo.)

While I let the window “breathe,” I worked on removing the adhesive from the cheapo blinds.

Douse with Goo Gone, wait a few minutes, scrape, repeat. For over an hour. If we ever buy another house with that stuff on it, I am knocking hundreds of dollars off of our offer price. Those blinds are evil.

Finally, I got enough adhesive off to be happy.


The two faux panes are since re-filmed (and those bubbles are pressed out), and I can walk in the kitchen without worrying about the neighbors seeing me. Tonight, Good Man opened the door and startled me. The frosted film really does let light in but block the view!


While I was working on the closet rod, Good Man worked on the thermostat, which has been loosely hanging off the wall since Dad painted, way back in August.

It was an easy fix, but since I managed to knock the wires out of place last time (cutting off the AC), and I wasn’t sure how to fix it, I just kept putting it off. Good Man took care of it for me. Thumbs up for him.

(Wow, I really need to Windex the heck out of that thermostat and find the cover for it.)

Good Man Gives a Thumbs Up


This house was built for a cat. We have a cat tunnel, a cat perch, a sealed-up cat pass-through (I think) and a cat door.

The cat door is blocked from the inside, so the cat can’t get out, and a raccoon can’t get in. But it is very, very drafty. And I know insects can get through the house through the door, too. (We had a Cricket Death Corner of the basement this summer. I think I know how they arrived.)

Front of the Door

Back of the Door

Really Filthy Inside of the Door

So Good Man and I worked together to fill it with DapTex foam. It worked! It’s no longer drafty. A cheap fix, but good enough for now!

Foam-Filled Cat Door

Steady March: The Closet

Remarkable! Behold the steady march of progress toward no discernible endpoint that is home improvement!

—Mark, in an email

After all of the work we did on the house this summer, I just wanted (needed?) to take a break. But the last few weekends and evenings, I’ve been all, “let’s get it done!” Fortunately, the huge stuff is done. Unfortunately, that means the stuff we’ve done seems really minor.

The hall closet doors were driving me crazy because they kept sticking in their tracks. So in a fit of anger, I demanded we remove them.

Good Man Is Very Patient

I don’t even want to know what that gunky brown stuff is.


I pulled up the track and found…termites? I don’t know, but they were all dead.

Really Eww

The floor track was easy to remove. The ceiling track, though, was another story. No matter how we tried to get the screws out, they were holding fast. Good Man ended up bending back the track as much as possible (quality metal, so not much!) and used pliers to remove each screw (five of them), about ten degrees at a time.

I am pretty sure he hated me at this point.

I Bet That’s Lead Paint

Two hours later (yes, you read that correctly), the track was gone!

Of course, removing the track meant removing some paint. It also exposed the unfinished floor. Those will be dealt with this summer. (And I am glad we didn’t refinish the closet floor, because if we had, we would have one weird strip!)

We found a tension rod and a curtain. I wanted a plain, draw-no-attention-to-it curtain. Good Man wanted this blue curtain (which is not photographing well). I said, “It won’t match anything in our house.”

“Have you seen our house? How many colors do we have on the walls? Four? Five?”

“Six, if you count the trim.”

I obviously need to iron the curtain, but I have to admit…I like the massive pop of color when we come downstairs and turn the corner. We turned the curtain around so the flowers are closer to the ground. I wish I could get a good picture of the color of it. The flower embroidery is a very pale cream, not yellow.

We’ll Paint That Later

Take Note of That Thermostat (It Will Appear in a Future Post)

An Unfinished Floor

But the closet excitement isn’t over! Ohhhh, no.

Do you remember this ugly closet rod?

Original Closet Rod

It was one of the first things I removed in the house. Back in August or September, I bought a rod and brackets. Then I lost the brackets, because that’s how I work. It didn’t matter though, since it was so warm.

Then, we got a massive cold snap, and I got tired of dropping our coats on the office floor. So a week after we removed the doors, I sawed the rod down to size, sanded it to final size and—look! I can hang up my coat! Right now it has three coats on it, and it’s still holding! I need to invite friends over so I can share the glory of the closet rod.


The closet is not done. I need to fix the ceiling, paint, refinish the floors…but that can wait. The next step is to move the cat box in there, but we need to move it only a few inches a day, so it will take a week or so to get that done. By then, I will have mounted a broom and mop rack in the basement so we can remove those from the closet, too.

Jack is Getting Bolder

A few days ago, over breakfast, Good Man yelped. Jack had clawed his way up Good Man’s chair. Then he read Money magazine for a while.

Reading Together

He climbed on the table.

Testing the Waters

Then he lay on the table. I left him long enough to take this photo, then put him on the floor!

Short-Lived Success


Good Man, Mark and I went to the Inauguration again this year. I charged my battery and then…left my camera on all night.

That sort of ended up being how our day went.

We got stuck behind the broken Jumbotron, so even though we should have been able to see (or at least hear!), we got neither.

Broken Jumbotron

But Mark and I did practice our Presidential Chin Jut.

Obama Style

The people watching was fun, of course. Out of frame, someone was selling Obama and Romney condoms. We didn’t see the naked painted lady, though.

People Watching

And we weren’t the only ones taking photos of the Starbucks pile!

United States of Starbucks

Almost ten miles of walking later, we finally arrived back at Mark’s house, where we streamed the President’s speech to see what we missed.

So it wasn’t quite the experience we had on 2009, but I’m still glad I went.

Flu Flying Through

The flu is tearing through our school, leaving half-empty classrooms in its wake.

Our first Friday back, I felt perfectly fine, but Saturday I was sick as a dog. I called my doctor Monday, and described my symptoms, as well as the fact that I had gotten the flu shot.

She listened and said, “Yep, sounds like the flu. You can come in and get swabbed to be sure, but your fever broke, and it’s too late for Tamiflu, so there isn’t a whole lot I can do. Rest and drink plenty of fluids.”

I finally made it back to school, exhausted. I am hoping I didn’t pass it on to my intern, who isn’t allowed sick days.

Now, every morning and afternoon, as my kids file in and out, I feel their foreheads. I send them to the nurse, and the office staff begs their parents to keep them at home.

The ones who remain use Clorox wipes at the end of each day to wipe down their desks, the knobs, and the water fountain.

How many more weeks left in the flu season?

Scott’s Run

Yesterday Good Man and I headed out to Scott’s Run for a hike. We haven’t been there in years. We explored part of the park we hadn’t been to before.

The trail was a bit muddy, and in some spots it was very narrow and I felt far too close to the edge. But the weather was great, and the hike felt good.

Tree in a Tree

Fallen Tree

Weathered Rock

My students always seem to doubt that trees can weather rocks. I need to show them those photos!

Parts of the trail had these logs across them—old telephone poles?

Telephone Poles?

Good Man

In the Air

Good Man Doing Boat Pose on a Fallen Tree

At the Old Home Site

We hadn’t been to the home site, and I was not expecting it to be this large!