Sunday, October 18, 2009

More wallpaper from Hell

I have blogged a little about the wallpaper in this house, but the fact is I've kind of been avoiding it.

After the fiasco with the laundry room was over I haven't wanted to brave wallpaper removal again, although there is much of it, and much left to be done.

For reasons I don't fully understand this little town has a real problem with wallpaper. Kind of like the problem California has with medflies, or Australia has with bunny rabbits.

At some point the women in this town go crazy. Possibly after the kids leave for college they have no other way of dealing with empty nest syndrome or possibly after the loss of their spouse they hallucinate from grief, I don't know. But they go a little crazy, and they decide, "You know what'll cheer me up? Putting up some WALLPAPER!". Then up it goes.

I know it sounds sexist to assume, but I just have a hard time picturing any man I have ever known choosing any of this wallpaper.

When we looked at houses this was a trend. Crazy wallpaper in every room, often with matching drapes, and matching fabric on the couch, and once even matching fabric over the speakers. And when I say matching, I don't mean in a similar color, I mean exactly matching.

One had sparkles, one had blue fuzz, one had a raised motif of unicorns, almost all of them also had some floral elements.

This house had a little bit less of that, but it still had some. The dining room in particular had a dark red wallpaper with gigantic gold pears on it. It was high quality stuff, looked really expensive, and made the room dark like a prehistoric cave.

Shortly after we moved in my Mom-in-Law came to help us make the place more habitable and took on the unenviable job of removing wallpaper. She has a whole system for taking down wallpaper, which worked a lot better than my previous system. My previous system being a combination of scraping and foul language. I think she took down maybe 4 times the amount I did in 1/4 the time, and what she does basically is after using the little device which pokes holes in the wallpaper she coats it with really hot water and then lets it sit, but not too long maybe 15 minutes. Then it comes off more easily.

My Mother-In-Law assessing the task before her:

The room after:

What I want to point out is that even though the latter picture was taken on a rainy day in October and the former was taken on a sunny day in July, the painted room is still lighter than the wallpapered one. I love how the light colors really call attention to the woodwork! It looks white but it's actually kind of cream.

Now we just have to paint all the ceilings, so that the ceiling is not darker than the walls. Oh, and take down the wallpaper in the rest of the rooms. Do I feel like getting out the scraper today? Hm, maybe later.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

New Showerhead

This is the Moen 21777. So named because it has seven patterns of water distribution. I now have two of them, one in each bathroom with a shower hookup.

We decided on this one after an extensive 1/2 hour of research during which we looked up some amazon reviews and consumer reports rankings.

However, some people did a lot more research than that.

Note the following review excerpt for a different head advertising "hydrokinetic" action:

"I have tried over 10 showerheads recently, and this one has the 2nd best pressure of all of them. (The "best" one stings too much.) I highly recommend this showerhead. It is the one I plan to keep using. Sadly, it does not come in a handheld version."

Now that is a man (yes, it does seem to be a man) who knows his showerheads.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Well, THERE's your problem...

So the heating and cooling guy came to check out the furnace. In case you missed the previous installment I'll just say that this is the same furnace that spewed a large amount of moldy smelling air the first time we turned it on.

Given the nature of the upkeep on the house to date, I expected something to be seriously wrong with it. So, I called in some experts. They said it would be $100 to inspect and clean the furnace itself..... and $500 to clean the ducts.

My heart sank. Another $500, there it goes. But if we have no choice, it goes on the credit card, along with everything else we have had no choice about in the past 2 1/2 months.

Then when they said they had a record of an inspection order from 1991 which had been canceled I was even more peeved. I expected that no upkeep had been done on the furnace since 1959, the same time they last redid the kitchen.

However, when the guy got here and, several hours later, finished the inspection I found out several things.

1. The furnace is from 1994. So it looks like it wasn't inspected, got used anyway, failed 3 years later and had to be replaced. Woohoo! (I mean, for me.)
2. The ducts would cost much less to clean than I was quoted, because they only reach to the 1st floor. The other floors have radiant heat.
3. The ducts do not need to be cleaned right now !?!
4. The cause of the smell is......

The filter! So he replaced it! And now the heat smells okay!

And to show how awful the filter was, I put the replacement one and the old one side by side:

Just wow.