Friday, August 3, 2012

The best stripper in the world

With a house under renovation, another house needing to be shown and rented, two kids on summer vacation and a husband once again off in -- hey, where the hell is Al again? (Japan and China this time) -- the blog is getting neglected.

It may leave me.  I'm convinced one day I'll log on and it will be gone, leaving only a sad "Dear MJ" letter behind.  It will tell me it needs to find a writer who isn't so caught up in their "life" and I'll understand.  But if it tells me we'll always have Paris, I'm going to roll my eyes because hello, cliché. 

The renovation work continues on Banister Abbey.  Much of the impressive front facade has, until recently, been covered in disgusting aluminum.  Contractor God got up on a very high, very wobbly ladder with a couple broken rungs (Contractor God lives dangerously) and started pulling the stuff off.  We couldn't believe what was underneath: dentils and corbels and a whole bunch of other words I only just recently learned.

It's like the house comes up with a new way every day to tell us it loves us.

Contractor "Danger" God did a lead paint test on all that peeling paint up there and, of course, it's full of the good stuff.  By "good stuff" I mean "the stuff that can kill my kids if they ingest it," so I guess it's really not good at all.  I excel at misnomers.

The front of the house now has to be tented and the lead paint removed in a specific way, likely with a monocle and a pair of tweezers, before we can continue with the restoration.  I will take pictures of the house burka once it has been donned.

In the meantime, I've moved indoors and have started making rooms look like this --

It's not finished but I think you can see the direction...
...I'm taking this sh*t straight to Crazytown.

Supermodel Neighbor is a carpenter (another misnomer thanks to me -- he's more carpenter than model these days) and came over to remove all the original woodwork from the windows.  The woodwork is now being stripped of its decades of darkened shellac by another man we call "the best stripper in the world." I'm talking the "wood" kind of stripper, not the "sexy sad" kind, although I wouldn't mind seeing him in a g-string.

Stripped wood by the talented but not sexy stripper.  

This is some of our woodwork with sample stains.  Can you understand now why I don't have time to blog?  I have to stare at the stripper's wood!

This is the bathroom we recently gutted.  This is what it looked like two weeks ago --

Here it is now.  It's not finished but given the hellhole of chaos and despair it was just a couple weeks ago, I'd say we've made good progress --

The harlequin travertine floor gives even our most sure-footed of friends a serious case of vertigo.  They have to sit down immediately.  Luckily, the toilet is nearby and that's what they went in there to do anyway.

Seattle Mom and Dad invited us over for dinner Wednesday night.  Lucien wore his shoes without socks on the walk over.  By the time we arrived, he had blisters on both feet. The two Seattle daughters ran up to their rooms to each get Lucien a pair of socks.  They argued over whose socks he would wear.  Lucien, the greatest peacemaker in the world (HA!) solved the problem, and looked pretty snazzy to boot --

Later that evening, Seattle Mom saw Lucien grabbing himself and asked, "Lucien, do you have to go to the bathroom?"  Lucien shrugged and said, "Nope, I just like touching myself."

Aaaahhh, the honesty of youth.

I burned a layer of skin off the roof of my mouth on a very hot breakfast sandwich.  It hurt a lot and, even worse, made drinking coffee very difficult.  Both Contractor "Danger" God and Seattle Mom wandered into my house later to find me sipping coffee slowly and deliberately through a straw.

I explained to them my coffee delivery system -- I had to funnel the coffee directly into the side of my mouth to avoid the roof of my mouth.  It was the only way I could continue to consume my caffeinated beverage without excruciating pain.  Seattle Mom listened then said, "Whatever, you look ridiculous."

Aaaahhh, the honesty of friends.

Strip away, stripper,


  1. Just write when you can - I really enjoy your stories. And that house is awesome.

    1. Thanks, Country Girl. And will do.

  2. Ahhh, Banister Abbey, the house that keeps on giving. Congrats on
    the great find underneath the aluminum siding. 'Dentils'? 'Corbels'?
    You are well on your way to a degree in Old Houses. Love the dandelion seed looking chandelier in the living room. Looks like the house is gradually becoming a home.

    As tedious as it sounds, I'll bet deciding on wood stain coloring is a heck is a lot more exciting that picking tile grouting colors.

    Just be thankful Lucien didn't reply 'Damned crabs anyhow' when questioned about his crotch grabbing.

    Coffee thru a straw? Not nearly as bizarre as seeing my classmate's
    daughter, just home from 1st semester at college, drinking beer thru a straw. Talk about being at that awkward stage.

    1. Hi, Bill. Wood stain is heart palpitating excitement compared to grout. Confession -- I've done beer through a straw, too, but I don't remember why.

      I'm going to ignore the crabs comment.

      Bye, Bill!

    2. Sorry. It was a bit over the top. This wouldn't be the first time my attempts at shock humor have gone over like a lead balloon.

  3. Reno porn! Love it!:) All that talk about wood sounds incredibly kinky!;) This house is gonna look absolutely stunning! Can't wait to see the final results (and I bet you can't either;))

    Have you considered ICED coffee, dear?;)

    1. Duchesse! I first read your comment as "Reno" porn, as in the city in Nevada. Took me a minute, and in that minute I wondered what you were telling me about your weekend.

      Strippers and wood. This was indeed a sexy post.

      I hate iced coffee. A lot.

      Hugs, D!

  4. I adore that Ikea light fitting. Love love love it. Your reno porn is fabulous.

    1. Hi Jenn. I saw the IKEA light featured on Houzz and knew it had to be mine. And only 80 bucks! Everyone should go buy that light! Then they, too, can have a giant dandelion in the middle of the room.

      Another commenter talking about porn in Reno. What did I miss in Reno over the weekend?

      Bye, Jenn, thanks for coming by as always.

  5. Love love the house's like our very own show on HGTV....and you get to pay for it!

    Just finishing up holidays hypnotized by sad that male swimmers stop wearing speedos

    Hi to the duchesse and hope all is well with Paris Karin.....

    1. Hey Debs!:)

      Ahhhhhhhhhhh HGTV! How I missed it while I was in The Hague:) I'm partial to House Hunters International myself:)

      Speedos...tut tut tut;)

      Your two weeks in Muskoka are already over?!

    2. Hi Debs!

      Come to think of it, I don't watch nearly enough HGTV. There's no excuse for that.

      I am also hypnotized by the Olympics. I miss the coverage in France, though, where they always featured sports the French were good at, which means I'd never heard of them before. It was a revelation each and every day.


      Thanks for sticking with me, D&D.

  6. Love Love all the house pictures! It makes me wish you had your own show! How about some webcams for this blog? I had to laugh about Lush's comment, my son does the same thing and sometimes throws in "okay mom, I just touch myself in my room." and he is 3!

    1. Crouse, if I had my own show it would be very boring. The parts that wasn't boring would be heavily bleeped because of all the swearing. Moving ladders hurts, by the way, and my shins are very bruised.

      I love little boys. They're crazy.

      Bye, C!

  7. You live in Seattle for heavens sake, what could be better than an a Starbucks ICED latte? It really is like a long slow episode of an HGTV show, but long and slow in a really good way, keep those pictures and stories coming.

    Oh the fun I missed raising girls!

    1. Hi Tara! I hope it doesn't make me any less Seattle but I hate iced coffee.

      This HGTV show is going to be veeeeerrrrrry long and veeeeerrrrry slow, like a couple years long and slow. We'll get there, we'll get there. I hope.

      Raising girls comes with its own challenges and laughs. Girl or boy, kids are just funny.

      Bye Tara, and thanks much.

  8. this is too funny-it looks beautiful so far and anything worth having always make us sufffer in some way or another----that facade is so AWESOME-let the tweezing begin-sorry about your mouth-looking forward to more tales (when time allows) safe travels al-

    1. Hi G. Alex and I say that all the time, though usually in reference to parenting -- "Nothing worth doing is easy, honey!" But it totally applies to houses, too.

      More tales to come, whenever I get some spare minutes. Perhaps when I'm encased in plastic inside my house?

      Hope all's well there, g.

  9. ...Man...with the title and the first picture I was ready for a "here's how Coco will pay for college story." :-)

    Love the blog. Love the stories. Keep 'em comin'!

  10. I live vicariously through you. Paris, Seattle and now a great old house to renovate and remodel! My dreams 1, 2 and 3! Love it, love the house.
    Do you have a great garden there too?