Category Archives: house work

Part Two: Autumn/Winter 2010


This article was written by guest writer, Miss. Stefie.

Our first week in Glens Falls, everything went according to plan. I was looking for a job, he was starting classes.

It was at this point that things went terribly, terribly wrong.

Less than a week into his graduate classes, he realizes we can’t afford them. The decision is made soon enough that he gets a full refund of what he’s already paid, but we still have a year-long lease. His family is disappointed; my family urges me to come back home. Everyone is confused. We had a plan, and now we are both looking for jobs.

I apply everywhere. Administrative work, retail work, manual labor, anything. I am overqualified. For everything. Even retail chains that would hire anything with a brain and a heartbeat won’t hire me. I stop bringing a resume to apply for retail jobs. I get the same answer every time: “We’re not actively looking for someone right now, but we’re always accepting applications.”

Luckily, we live close to a community college and there is another college half an hour away. I e-mail the art teachers and ask if they need any figure models this semester. I’d modeled off and on during college, but was really planning on getting a more respectable job, something I could tell conservative relatives about. Because, you see, being a figure model entails standing nude on a platform in the middle of a room full of art students. You know that dream you have where you’re up in front of the whole class and everyone is staring at you and all of a sudden you realize you aren’t wearing any clothes? That was my job. And it paid well, but the hours were sporadic.

Meanwhile, John is still unemployed. He is getting depressed. We apply for food stamps, the social services office jerks us around for two months, and finally we are accepted. It is a huge burden lifted. John does some contracting work that is just barely cost-effective. We continue this way until December. Finally, a job offer for him at a local bank. And just in time—my modeling work has dried up in the end of the fall semester. It takes him less than a week to figure out that he hates his new job. It is menial, repetitive, mind-numbing. He is depressed again, and so am I. I am home all the time, the best part of my day is walking to the library five blocks away. I love this library. It is by far the best part of the city. I could loiter there for hours.

It is after Christmas that things finally start looking up. Early in January, John gets a call from a company he had applied for months earlier. They want him to come in for an interview. The only problem is it’s three hours away. He goes anyway. There are two weeks of waiting, and then a phone call. They want to offer him the job, and they want him to start in less than a month. It pays more than double what he makes at the bank, and it comes with benefits. It seems he has no choice, he takes it.

We break our lease, earning the eternal spite of our landlord. We hire a couple of friends to help load the boxes, the furniture, everything into the U-Haul, and we are headed back from whence we came.

CHECK BACK SOON FOR PART THREE!

Of Carpets and The Teenager


By sendmeonmyway101

(I apologize for the lack of posts this week. The past few days have been busy-bee days around the house, and I haven’t had time to sit down).

The carpets that originally came with our house were unpleasant, flat, and grimy. Over the past few years most of the carpets have become stained with paint, soda, cat and dog pee, and other questionable liquids.

Kyle and I pulled out the carpets in our rooms years ago. We both found that the carpet glue riddled linoleum put down by the original owners back in the fifties was easier to clean than the rugs had ever been. Similarly, the rug in our living room was pulled up a year ago, and replaced with a gleaming hardwood floor.

We have two other rooms in our house – Michael’s, and our parents. On Saturday it was time to replace the rug in our parent’s room.

I had been excited to work on the project ever since my dad and I remodeled the closet in their bedroom. My dad, apparently, had different ideas. He had imagined finishing off remodeling their room with Kyle. Some father-son bonding thing that I can’t exactly say I understand.

But I ended up getting what I wanted.

My dad and I, as always, were the first two awake. We finished moving the furniture out of the rents’ room and into Michael’s, and then we pulled up the old rug and threw it out back.

Kyle, in his infinite wisdom, had pulled an all-nighter (playing games or watching TV shows, or something like that) Friday night, and thus was incapable of coherent thought when my dad and I crept in there Saturday morning. Since our sun porch is full of wasp nests, and I’m terrified of things that fly (and the night before our dad had mowed the lawn and pissed off a couple of yellow jackets nearby), we decided that it would be Kyle’s job to put the rug into the sun porch. (If I were still in college, it is likely that the smelly old rug would have been crowded into my room).

Kyle’s two syllable response to our 9am wake-up call was a sleepy, “Goodnight.”

My dad and I were on our own.

But the long day wasn’t too bad, and even Michael pulled himself from his sheet-cocoon (surprisingly not at 7pm) to help us first place the padding over the cement floor, and then to lay down and even out the new rug.

Once the rug was finished, we went to work on nailing down the new baseboard and paneling around the closet. All the work was finally completed around 7pm. Just in time for me to drive Michael to his friend’s house for a cookout. (Mind you, we had pizza and hot wings sitting on the table since 5:30 waiting for us to finish up and eat it).

That was when The Teenager struck again.

Michael wanted me to drive him to his friend’s house, and pick him up with enough time for him to get home by 8. I tried to explain to the boy that by the time I dropped him off, and got back home, I would have to turn around again and pick him up. I tried to tell him he was unreasonable, and at least make him agree to staying two hours. He refused.

Exhausted and starving, I finally caved, dropping him off and heading back home. I had hoped to steal a piece of pizza before leaving the house again, but instead I helped my dad move a few things around. Then –back to the road.

Except when I tried to pick Michael up, he informed me that he was staying an extra hour.

I think the fact that I did not strangle the boy says something about my character.

(CHECK OUT SOME OF THE PHOTOS!)

Fish Killer Follow-Up and Other News


Toby (stripes) and Tucker

I think it’s only fair to let all you “Lessons From a Fish Killer” readers know how Toby’s tale of survival has played out so far. You’ll be happy to know that after seven days of living alone, sole companion his reflection in the aquarium glass (which he spent an unnatural amount of time with), he now has a brother!

We introduced Tucker into the tank yesterday afternoon, and the two have gotten along swimmingly! (Really? That was corny). Tucker is also an angelfish, and even though I wanted a tank full of fish, I’ve decided to stop with just the two right now. The woman at the fish store said that angelfish can grow pretty large, and any more than two may be too much for the tank in a few months. Besides, I don’t want them to start eating each other. I may decide to pick up a cat fish to help with the tank upkeep, but I’m going to hold off on that one for a little while.

I do have a couple of questions about fish maintenance, and I’m hoping someone may have the answers.

  1.  Besides water conditioner, is there anything else that belongs in the tank?
  2.  How often should tanks be cleaned out and refilled?

In other news, I went to the local Brewfest yesterday. Back in June I got a gig (without pay) writing an article every two weeks for an online magazine based in Central New York. Most events I review have been free, but this required my first press pass. Beforehand I contacted the creator – and man in charge of the event. I was pleased with most of the information that he provided regarding how the Brewfest started. But let’s face it – articles are nothing without pictures, and it wouldn’t hurt to have a quote or two from the general public.

I’ve discovered that my skills at approaching people are incredibly pathetic. For some reason, rather than reassuring people that I’m not a creeper – this is legit – I just make them look at each other like, “WTF is this chick doing?” They almost always say, “Sure,” but it’s long and drawn out, as if they’re saying “sure,” but they’re thinking, “hell no.”

Not that it matters, I suppose. I got my quote and moved on. Still, it would have been nice to find someone who was anxious to share their past experiences and what they thought about the Brewfest. But then again, it was Brewfest, and everyone was getting pretty tipsy.

On the home front, my father and I are getting ready to start one of our final remodeling projects of the summer. Since I came home we’ve been doing work in my parents’ bedroom – rebuilding the closet (my favorite part so far), putting trim at the top and bottom, putting in a new ceiling fan, etc. Now we’re going to pull up the nasty old rug and put down a new one. This isn’t my first time pulling up a rug – a few years ago I pulled my own rug out of my room, though I have yet to put a new one down. My father has pulled the rug out of the living room and put down wood flooring. We both have some experience, but our opinions on the project differs. I’m excited to pull the rug up, whereas my father isn’t so thrilled. He’s anticipating a lot of work in a few hours, because he would prefer to have the rug up and down in the same day.

Me? I don’t see the fault in spanning the project over two days, but he’s the task manager. Anyhoo, the project starts next week, provided the rug comes in on time.

It Ain’t No Green Thumb


By sendmeonmyway101
ORIGINALLY POSTED Saturday, July 23rd

The inside of our house looks GREAT. I keep the sink relatively empty (my whole life the sink has constantly been over flowing with dishes), I sweep twice a week, the cat box is always clean, the dogs are let out, junk mail no longer piles up on the end tables. I keep on top of my brothers about keeping their rooms clean. Laundry is done, dust and dog hair is wiped away. All in all, I’d say my lack of a career has been a positive influence on our usually hectic house.

So I have decided to take on our backyard.

I haven’t been much of an outdoors girl since the summer following eighth grade, when we got a computer and the internet suddenly seemed more interesting than exploring reality (Fear not, I now run on a healthy balance of virtual living and sunshine), but the ‘rents were out of town, and I figured an organized backyard would be a pleasant surprise for them.

Despite the latest heat wave (which puts a new spin on the term ‘swamp ass’), I stepped into the sun around 10 am, armed with a cowgirl hat, so many coatings of sunscreen that I was sparkling like a Stephanie Meyer vamp, and my computer for a little music. My pathetic plan consisted of eventually mowing; disemboweling the weeds growing between the stone slabs of our walkway, and clearing out what was once the garden (the leftover, bare branches of what had once been a rose bush is barely visible beneath weeds and the rubble from roof repairs).

My Dad used to be on top of this stuff. But all the passion he put into gardening has been replaced with his latest hobby: remodeling the house. The backyard doesn’t look horrible, but I’ve once again been fantasizing about my future home, and I decided that it couldn’t hurt to learn a little more about upkeep.

After half an hour of yanking on weeds, I came to the conclusion that protecting my face and skin from sunburns was nice, but I needed to put more thought into this gardening business. I needed garbage bags, and I needed to figure out what to do with all the rocks piling up on the stone walkway. Most importantly, though, I had to come to the realization that the likelihood of this rose bush coming back to life any time soon could only rival the likelihood of Disney TV gaining substance. The flower bed was cleared out, but it was far from pretty.

Here Are a Few Gardening Tips:

  1. Weeds and overcrowding in flower beds should probably be taken care of in early spring
  2.  Pruning should also be done every year, and followed-up on at least three or four times throughout the summer
  3.  When you put on a new roof, make sure all debris is picked up immediately following the project
  4.  If you happen to be working for several hours before your younger brother points out that there’s a HUGE hornet’s nest right over your head, don’t freak out. It’s not like taking notice of it changes the fact that it’s been there the whole time, and so far nothing’s happened (And knocking down a bee/wasp/hornet nest without a professional should be delayed until the fall, when the nest is deserted)

By the end of the night, the dead rose bush was cleared of weeds and garbage, the tiles on the walkway were finally visible, the lawn was mowed, weeds were pulled out from around the fence, and Michael and I pulled out the hammock and Tiki Torch (We were also going to bring out the swing, but it’s too worn from the weather – a project for another time). The perfect end to an exhausting day was sitting out under the stars and sipping on pink lemonade.

For more tips on gardening, check out: myezgardeningtips.wordpress.com

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