Sunday, October 21, 2012

There's More Than One Way To Skin A Cat, I Mean, Couch

In the middle of the living room floor, on top of the multi-level green shag carpet that needed to be taken up, was this lovely couch.  It's heavy, it is a recliner on both ends, and because I purchased the home from an estate, no one knew how the previous owner got this couch into the room.  Every way the sellers tried to get the couch out, it just didn't seem to fit through the door.

Well, I was going to wait a few days to line up some guys to try to figure this out, but it didn't take long to get tired of walking around it.  It stared at me like it had won, and screamed that it was something that I couldn't do on my own.

I accepted the challenge.  After my wasp/chimney episode, it was the perfect task to release some stress on something I could do.  I flipped it over, and with a saw, sledge hammer, crowbar, hammer, wrench and screwdrivers, began taking it apart with the back side and underneath so I could see the "guts" of this beast.

This is the pile it became.  It was broken down further with the metal in one pile, cushions and stuffing in trash bags and the mostly wood materials in a can.  I had pulled trim, shelves and other wood and had a stock pile going to burn.

And what better excuse to plan a Saturday night gathering, a "Burn The Couch" Bonfire.  Only in Southern Illinois, can you turn any excuse into a bon fire, as the answer to everything seems to be "just burn it."

So, a few of us gathered in the wide-open sky of my back yard, near one of the largest, coolest trees around, and with a truck playing music and hot dogs and smores ready, we started a small fire.  

We cooked our food over normal wood - logs, etc.  After dinner, we pile on the demo wood as if it was time for fireworks, and marveled at wallpaper walls, trim, shelves, and yes, a couch, as it blazed and turned to ashes.

Whatever works, right?

I tried the same strategy when I could not get this refrigerator out from the cabinet by myself.  I think the refrigerator is sort of retro, cool looking, but it stinks and doesn't work, so off to the dump it will go. 

It wasn't so easy.  I did get the doors off, and then I ripped up the carpet in front of the refrigerator, because clearly it was being nothing but a speed bump for my attempts at removing the refrigerator.  The carpet was glued to a linoleum floor, so it didn't come up easy.  I cut it in about 12" strips and yanked like there was no tomorrow.  I'm sweating by this point, a great deal, by the way.

I finally had to get behind the refrigerator in a dark closet that is behind this wall.  Unfortunately, to my discovery was a very old, dead mouse.  I took a photo of it, but it is sort of nasty, so I won't include it.  

The project almost came to a hault, until I heard that voice of my late father, telling me I was a chicken, big baby, etc.  It worked, I ignored the mouse, and after again yanking like there was no tomorrow, I moved the refrigerator away from the cabinet and in another area of the kitchen.  It awaits a pick-up from the local electric company which will give me a $50 credit on my bill and haul it off for free.

I got some grief from Facebook friends for not making something out of the couch springs and for getting rid of this retro fridge, because they know my love for scrap and old things.  So in their honor, I saved the cool metal kick plate (from the fridge) to the right, and I don't know how I'll use it, but I will.  

Springs, doors, and other metal accessories, however, went into the back of my step-dad's truck that I borrowed.  He's a coal miner, and works three different shifts which would drive me crazy.  I sometimes borrow the truck when he is sleeping in the middle of the day.

Needless to say, here's a photo I took and I know it rates up there with Beverly Hillbillies.  But the convenience is that the scrap yard is right down the road, and they gave me $24 for this junk, and I didn't have to get a dumpster ($$$) and I know it will be recycled.

So there you go.

On to more adventures, all of which don't happen as quickly as I would like. :)

Friday, October 19, 2012

Let The House Renovation Begin

It's been a long, long time since I've posted on this blog.  Needless to say, "Jen's Adventures" was foreshadowing for the way life would turn from January 2011 to now.  It's been a learning experience and the summary is:  

  • I finally have a published book with name as a (co-) author.
  • It brought me back home to be with family and old friends.
  • It allowed me to lead a development and renovation of a heritage museum in my hometown.
  • It allowed me to establish a couple downtown events.
  • I was able to purchase and renovate (ongoing) a building next to the museum that I hope to turn into a bakery.
  • I have a vacation home rental property in Nashville now; again, long story, but it's a house I renovated.
  • And in addition to some career shifts, I just recently bought a 1921 house in my hometown of Carterville, Illinois.  So recent that I just closed on the house a week ago - Oct. 12th.

So, from here, I'll be blogging mostly on "the dig" as you might say; renovating this small gem of a house and the adventures that come my way.

One of the first tasks to complete is to remove the chimney from throughout the house.  I thought I could handle the inside, but was going to let a contractor handle starting it on the roof and patching the roof properly.

When rain and unfinished work postponed the contractor, I decided on the day after I bought the house to get started on this project and if I could get the chimney down for them, I would save some cash.

The extension ladder appeared long enough on the way up.  Soon, it would not as I hurried to get down.  After crawling to the top of the house and right before taking a slam at the chimney, wasps flew out of the chimney and towards me.  Somehow, I managed to stay calm and after thanking Jesus out loud a few times, I made it down the ladder safely.

From that adventure, I decided to do something calm like the removal of the boards surrounding the chimney in the living room.  I guess in 1921 and beyond, they did what they had to do, so a house had to have a chimney from the furnace for heat, and if it came right through the living room wall, you do a "when life gives you lemons" deal and surround it with shelves in the shape of a Christmas tree.

You'll note the tree-like shelves to the right of the photo below.  You'll also note a lovely ceiling fan that I couldn't wait to take down, especially because no one could ever find a switch for this light.  It came on when I actually put bulbs in it that worked, and it stayed on for two days until I finally flipped the breaker.

I took it down and put it in the stack for the local 

thrift store, and replaced it with a porcelain fixture with chain while this room is under construction.

Ta-da.  I would have taken a photo with the light on, but it doesn't translate, so just trust me, it works.

A lot more happened last week, but you'll have to give me a bit to catch up.  Stay tuned for another post when I'm not about to fall asleep.