Susie Homemaker

I love my new house. I just love it.

And while I am constantly going out to the backyard looking at the land and the space and how I will be transforming it into gardens, it’s a little cold right now for the actual digging and on-the-ground designing.

So, with the landscape around the house, I’m firmly in Permaculture design principle #1 mode: Observing & Interacting. I know where some paths will be; I’ve laid out some garden beds in my mind’s eye; I’ve got my eye on a number of fruit and nut tree species; I’m thinking about a pond or chinampas (raised “fields”) to deal with back lot flooding, and I think I know where my chickens will go once I (hopefully) convince the city that “urban” chickens are perfectly reasonable.

But inside the house? Inside, I’m having some fun.

When we picked out the paint colors for The Kitchen (not my home kitchen, the Clinton Kitchen), I got a lot of funny looks from the paint guy down at the lumberyard. Those guys have been no end of awesome to me both pre- and post-housefire, so I would not deny them the pleasure of giving me sh*t. But, given the compliments we’ve gotten on the scheme in The Kitchen, I think I have a pretty decent sense of color.

I’m not denying I’ve had some real bombs. I remember when I painted the living room in my Vermillion house a bright turquoise and yellow. It ended up looking like some superhero had met an untimely demise across the walls–and it was a huge room, so there was a LOT of creamed superhero in there. It took a couple gallons of primer to get back to a base on which to apply the muted cream-and-sage color scheme I ended up with.

But I do love bold color. And after yesterday’s you really want this? look when I picked out an orange-y Turkish Red for the back entryway (and subsequent realization of the complete awesomeness of that choice when I slapped a little on the wall), my new color choice rule is that if Mark doesn’t look at me like I’ve completely lost my mind, the color’s a no-go. Like I said, those guys have been awesome to me.

The back entryway is pretty rugged-looking at present–three patterns of old vinyl flooring–all peeling and crumbling, two kinds of fake wood paneling, ceiling stained with what looks like rust. But there’s a LOT of storage space in there–the previous owner constructed cubbies and shelves and installed lots of coat hooks on either side of the basement trapdoor.

And they’re all covered with dust and cobwebs and lint from unsealed dryer venting.

I was excited to finally figure out where the plumbing and electrical was for the washer/dryer–there was a big box built around them, and I didn’t realize it was removable until I reached my hand through the hole in the wall in the kitchen into this dark mysterious area and pushed–and the box tipped back, revealing the whereabouts of the hot and cold faucets, 220 plug-in, and a dryer vent tube leading down to the basement.

Except, of course, it really isn’t ideal (and probably against code) to have a dryer venting all that lint and dust into the basement. Not to mention one of the faucets wasn’t turned off all the way and there was a drip for god-knows-how-long back in there. Also not to mention I don’t really relish the idea of a washer/dryer in the corner of my kitchen.

But! The electrical and plumbing for laundry isn’t very far from where I would ideally like to have it–in the super-huge railroad sleeper compartment-sized closet in the downstairs bedroom–and the side of that closet is along an outside wall where a dryer vent could be installed. Problem theoretically solved once I find a plumber and an electrician or decide it’s worth the time and overcoming the fear of learning how to do it myself.

In the meantime, I’m vacuuming and scrubbing out all those cubbies (and hoping the trapdoor will continue to hold my weight) and priming and painting my way to a cleaner, more usable–and fabulously colored!–space.

And pausing occasionally to stand in my backyard and dream about fruit trees and chickens.


One response

  1. Thanks for being the one to provide my good “Saturday laugh”. Like a bath, ya know, you need one at least once a week!
    My daughter offered to paint my dining room and small living room, over the holidays, a few years ago. I gave her free rein and she picked out a lovely deep duck boat green color and a deep rusty, almost red, for the other room. The color choices turned out great but we got that same “look”, upon ordering these colors, from the same guy! I think he’s pretty sweet underneath that rough exterior. I don’t really know that he shares our good taste on the color-wheel! It’s so great to have you in Clinton. You’ve always a smile to share and are the best example of keeping your chin up when the day doesn’t go just right.(that could be an understatement on the day you got the call that your home was on fire) I would think you could have chickens on your big backyard lot. Gathering my eggs, three today, is like getting a present each time I do it! My son, Charlie just came home from college, hungry of course. I scrambled him the three fresh eggs and melted a little cheese on top, made some toast to go with and he was delighted. Food service is darn good at Concordia but not as good as getting the “just picked” eggs. With all of the pumpkin and squash trimmings I have been giving the hens these eggs must be loaded with vitamin A. Merry Christmas!!

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