Lately I’ve been avoiding the news. I check the headlines to see if the world maybe ended during the night. I scan my social media feeds for articles about puppies and kittens, and the occasional fuzzy calf. I’m not sure why this morning seemed even bleaker than usual. It’s actually a beautiful sunny day at the moment – perfect fall crispness. I got TWO morning cuddles with BC. All the cats behaved at breakfast.
I think it must have been my Twitter feed(Click at your own risk.) You know what they say about curiosity. It didn’t kill any cats this time (thank goodness) but it did make me sigh a very very deep sigh. But from the depths of my memory came floating up the words “O Mary Don’t You Weep“. I thought – yes! I could really use The Boss singing encouragement right now. Did a little search and found his version of this wonderful spiritual. I may need to work my way through every recorded version of it before I dare glance at social media again today. *smile*
Click the link (BC’s pic) for a lift, and cuddle a cat if you have one. Or a dog – that’s good too.
bring May Flowers. Which means, of course, that even if something seems awful and gloomy you might end up with cheerful happiness afterwards. Or as my grandmother might have said “Every cloud has a silver lining.”
The Great Incarceration has brought us flowers: GC and BC have decided that they are great friends. Not only has there been a huge reduction in little spats at meal time but now they even cuddle. (GC and WC are sisters – they’ve always been BFFs.)
(apologies for the terrible quality of the photo. they very carefully waited to get cute together while my phone was being backed up. i had to use my incredibly ancient iPad to take the picture.)
Update: Still leaking. 😦 Even worse – leak wouldn’t happen when the plumbers came back to see/fix. This morning after I pushed the heat up I came down to find a puddle under the pipe and a drip still on the pipe. By the time the plumbers came the puddle had dried to 1/2 its original size. We pushed the heat up again in an attempt to start the dripping, but nothing dripped. I’m incredibly frustrated that I cannot demonstrate this. The good news is Michael saw the remaining puddle and believes me. They are once again cutting and replacing pipes. Isn’t it a good thing that no one closed up the ceiling yesterday? Is that a 😦 or a 🙂 ? And now back to our original post….
I still have a half-written post about how wonderful it is to work in the new kitchen. I have photos, too. But I’ve been a bit busy with other things and haven’t had much time or mental energy to write. It’s interesting how bad things can get those mental juices flowing. That must be part of the reason so much great literature is about unhappiness. Take the opening line of ‘Anna Karenina‘: “All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” When everything is great and happy and wonderful, there is less impetus to write.
Yesterday was an exciting day in the kitchen renovation. It should have been the penultimate day (I’m still hoping that Don will come through for me and get the electricians here with deck lighting, but just between you and me – I suspect that lighting has fallen by the wayside.). The plumbers and TJ were here to put in the new radiators, install the cold water filter under the kitchen sink and to put in the oil-rubbed bronze hardware in the pocket door. 3 plumbers and TJ all working away in the kitchen, basement and front hall. The cats were imprisoned once again upstairs. BC had gone up there on her own, but I had to physically catch and carry GC and WC up behind the wooden door. The plumber was astounded at the sounds WC makes as she is carried up to her incarceration. Hard to believe such a little thing can make such a loud appalling noise. (Her life is soooo hard, she’s had much practice.)
The new radiators were very exciting to everyone, as the plumbers had never worked with this kind of unit before. I learned a lot of interesting things as well. For starters, I learned that “wall mounted” does NOT mean that the water pipes come through the walls. It means that there are no feet on the floor, but that the water pipes do still come through the floor. I’d been told that the front hall radiator would be wall mounted but the one in the kitchen would not, as it is situated in front of the pocket door. As it turned out, they were both mounted on the wall. I knew the new floor would be drilled in the kitchen therefore but I did not realize the slate in the front hall would be drilled as well. That was not an issue because I’d already told Michael weeks ago that I was resigned to the fact that the slate might need to be drilled. The holes for the pipes are so small (comparatively) that it really is no big deal. The radiators are beautiful and do exactly what I hoped – fade into the wall behind them.
The other thing I learned was how my heating system works. My husband was very smug when he told me he knew this all along. Huh. But he knows NOTHING about BLEEDING the radiators, so there. My huge old cast iron radiators all have 4 feet (hence not wall-mounted) and there is a pipe going in one end and a pipe coming out the other end. I’ve always assumed that meant the water flowed in one end, out the other and went on its merry way to the next radiator. That is NOT the case. All of the radiators get water IN from one set of pipes and release it OUT to a different set of pipes. That explains why when I see the pipe running up from one floor to another there are always 2 pipes. The IN system is controlled by valves on each radiator that can either allow water into that unit or that unit can be bypassed as the water flows to the next unit. This setup means that the boiler can be going but individual radiators can be turned off without turning off every radiator downstream. I never realized that. It will be important.
Anyway, things were going swimmingly (and yes, I choose that word deliberately). The filter was in, the pocket door hardware was in, the radiators were in, the water was turned on to fill the radiators and we upped the thermostat to make the water hot. And then Michael saw water on the kitchen floor. He went to the basement and there was water dripping down onto the floor there. There was a leak within the walls.
I will spare you the drama that ensued. I will say that I stayed very calm, which I suspect most of you will not believe. But over the last year or so I HAVE learned that things that can be solved by money are probably not the big things in life. And these contractors have worked such magic that I believe they can fix anything and make it beautiful. I was concerned that the plumber might have heart failure, he was that upset. That is NOT fixable by money.
So. At day’s end we did have heat (which was good, because the overnight temps were in the 40s F), although the 2 new radiators were still offline. There is now a big hole in my gorgeous kitchen ceiling, saw-marks on the soffit, and dirty fingerprints on the other side of the soffit (for balance while investigating). There is also a scratch on the floor from the step ladder but you have to have your face very close to see it. I mentioned it to my husband who said “I see it” and pointed to a non-existent scratch elsewhere. *grin* I was up close and personal because I was cleaning up after everyone had left.
Michael is back today (not the whole crew) and he’s bringing the new radiators online. I understand there will be someone coming sometime to fix the ceiling, but as is typical with communications on this job (I have mentioned my dissatisfaction with the information flow) I don’t know who or when. Since there is no longer a key in the lock box they will have to let me know. I do hope it’s sooner rather than later as I was planning to throw a “come see my gorgeous new kitchen” party. Sigh.
These are all things and can be fixed. It’s disappointing, but not terminal. The house is warm, all the radiators are going. My water is filtered. I have matching hardware in my pocket door. The sun is shining. And the cats are happy.
One of these days I’ll even finish the post about how fantastic it is to work in the kitchen.
I’ve been very busy lately but I have NOT forgotten about you all out there. I have a half-written post about how MUCH I LOVE LOVE LOVE the kitchen. Unfortunately there are several other people, cats and issues that seem to think they have priority over my posts. But this was in my spam folder today and I couldn’t help but think “Why me?” I really hate to think that something, someone, somewhere thinks these topics are relevant to me.
The Love Swans has appeared in my spam folder every day for more than a week now……
It has now been a week since The Great Incarceration ended. It has taken this long to relay the information because we all needed time to adjust to the new life. Or is it the old life with new nuances? Whichever it is, the door stands OPEN.
The first step was getting confirmation from the contractor that they would not be coming back anytime soon to do the radiators and that I could, indeed, “let the cats out” (that was the subject of an email I sent Don). Once we had the official “go ahead”, we planned carefully. We decided that we would feed them upstairs one last time on Friday night, and then LEAVE THE DOOR OPEN after cleaning up dinner. I got ready with my camera and sat on the stairs and called to BC.
BC never really hesitated, and that’s why my picture of her at the top of the stairs giving one last look back is blurred. The one of her coming around the hall corner to the stairs is a total blur. 🙂 I need Honour’s camera. BC took off down the stairs, looked back and meowed to say “aren’t you coming too?” and then headed for the living room.
WC was a tad more cautious, per usual. I remained on the stairs and called her. She peeked around the corner. WC’s default reaction is “this is a trap” so I knew she would NOT come down the stairs if I was in her way. I moved down to the first floor and kept calling. She came halfway and rested. And thought. Thought some more. Then ventured all the way to the landing. BC insisted that it was NOT a trap! And there were LOTS of shoes (WC loves smelly shoes.) Finally she strode triumphantly across the (old) rug in the front hall – FREEDOM!
GC, well, GC REALLY like having everyone incarcerated on a single floor. She suffers from arthritis (don’t we all?) and she’s a bit lazy (the original couch potato cat) and she loved having everything she wanted and needed in one place. It took a lot of calling and coaxing to get GC to venture out the door and down the hall. I’d about given up on her when I saw her appear on the landing. I called to her and told her to come join the rest of us. She gave me a rather dubious look. I could see her consider the invitation.
Then she turned and headed back up the stairs very determinedly. A case of Stockholm syndrome? That’s probably not the correct syndrome but it will do. 🙂 She did eventually come back down later that night, after the rest of us had begun adjusting to the situation.
If I thought everything would go back to normal immediately, I was sadly mistaken. That night we left the door open. GC was in my face every time I rolled over, and began meowing insistently at 5:30 for breakfast. I pushed her away (yes, sorry B – I DID push her) and resolved to FIX this. That morning I tried to feed them in the breakfast room because that is now where all the cat food and paraphernalia is stored. Hah!! IT’S A TRAP!!!! WC has the others well trained. Sigh. I fed them in the kitchen. I did try for a few more days to win this battle – food in the breakfast room – but I have surrendered. For whatever reason, they do NOT want their wet food in the breakfast room. That’s fine for water dish and dry food, but WET FOOD IS IN THE KITCHEN. *rolls eyes* They won THAT battle, but I won the war.
After the first freedom breakfast, I noticed GC heading up the stairs with great purposefulness. I had a bad feeling about that. Indeed, when I went up later I noticed she’d left a ‘deposit’ in the room where we’d had the litter boxes. Sigh. Had I not already resolved to ‘fix’ the early morning meowing, this would have cemented it. For the next 48 hours, we kept the upstairs hall door shut, this time locking the cats OUT of the 2nd floor. *grin* It only took the 48 hours to get life normalized: deposits left in the basement litter boxes. And of course, the occasional tummy deposit left somewhere on the first floor for me to find in my bare feet.
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, but with any luck we will not have to repeat The (four month) Great Incarceration. BC and I are VERY happy being back together.
Yesterday was, in the words of a famous children’s book, a Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. It was extremely frustrating and infuriating. There were a few moments of respite (such as falling asleep on the chiropractor’s table) but for the most part it was a day filled with chest pain, headache and fury. I arrived home still seething, unsure what I could possibly do to relax.
As I got out of my car, I heard my name being called. I looked up to see my 2 young neighbors running up the sidewalk, calling to me. They were very excited because they were having dinner DELIVERED but also a bit frustrated because they’d “CALLED AN HOUR AGO”. *smile* I commiserated with them and mentioned I was going to go inside and have leftovers. G, the little girl, looked up at me and asked “Can I have a hug?”
Well. Cue the sunshine, the flowers, the hearts, the rainbows, and all things warm and wonderful.
“Of COURSE you can have a hug”, I replied. I started to bend down to deliver the hug and stopped and said “let me put down all this stuff and give you a proper hug”. I dropped my bag, my laptop, my other bag and picked up this adorable, wonderful ray of sunshine and gave her a very big, long hug. I put her down and we smiled and she ran back to her house.