Catching up.

Many, MANY thanks for all the well wishes.  I am finally feeling normal again, thank GOD.  This episode was particularly bad.  Normally the dizziness lasts about a week, this time it was more like 10-11 days.  Being me (read DAMN STUBBORN) I basically try to do everything I normally would.  Which – being home most of the time – is usually o-kay.  I can rest between laundry, kids, pets, chores, etc.  When the spins get overwhelming, I lay down.  But Thanksgiving on spin cycle…?  What a trip.  I spent the day in the kitchen, of course.  WELL – It was that or… what?  Try finding a low sodium holiday meal anywhere on a NORMAL day, let alone one when everything is closed.  SO I PERSEVERED.  Being (as I mentioned) stubborn as hell – as well as halfway insane, it didn’t much matter how sh*tty I felt.  I was going to conquer Thanksgiving or die trying.  The results were divine.  I tried several new recipes this year, including a low sodium cornbread stuffing, baked squash & apples, and whipped sweet potatoes.  Which, if I get my act together, I’ll post on my other DAILY DISH.  Stop laughing.

SO. Before the pity fest, I’d been discussing our latest home improvement project.  Re-tiling the upstairs bath.   Here’s the before shot.

And the AFTER.

John & I delved headlong into the wonder that is TILE and within a week had completed the job.  For ease we stuck to the same mosaics we’d used in the downstairs bath.  Mostly b/c we couldn’t find ANY large black & white tiles that didn’t cost $6 each.  Regardless. we both love the mosaic and I think it lends a nice uniformity to the house.  I am giving us an A+.

We spent a lot of time this & last weekend working on projects – despite (or more like IN SPITE OF) the spins.  [Between you & me, I am SO freaking Angry at having this damn disease, I get maudlin, I cry, I sulk, I weep, and then I end up redoubling my efforts TO DO WHATEVER I WANT TO.  Which is not easy when you’re about to fall down, BUT I’D RATHER DIE TRYING]  SO.  Last weekend we lined our chimney (YES, BY OURSELVES).  Here is my husband up inside the bricks.

My contribution was more minimal to say the least.  I was not allowed on the roof (thank GOD) so I spent most of that day helping assemble the chimney liner.  No small task if you’ve ever done one.  It first entails unfurling this huge metal snake from its (shipped) coiled form.  In our case (b/c of the massive size of the flue) 8″ x 35 ft of the most unruliest, unwieldiest metal EVER.  It took FOREVER.  You have to treat this liner w/ kid gloves so it doesn’t break.  Which, oh by the way, happened the first time.  Thankfully Chimney Liner Depot is the BEST COMPANY EVER and sent us a free replacement literally w/in days.  WE LOVE YOU, CHIMNEY LINER DEPOT!   So after the thing is straightened, you have to insulate it.  Using insulation, spray glue and tape.  FUN!  Then you have to sheath it in wire mesh.  Then wrap more wire round that.  All the while being careful not to handle the RAZOR SHARP ENDS which will surely sever your flesh from bone.  The end result?  GORGEOUS.

After all that, which would likely do in lesser men, we had to rig a rope through the liner so we would be able to install it.  We decided in my spinny condition, it would be easier to lift the liner UP the chimney, rather than risk one of us falling off the roof whilst attempting to haul it up there and subsequently drop it down the flue.  See, we are smart.  SO, my husband tied fishing line to our dog’s kong ball, rolled it though the liner, then reattched the rope to the fishing line & gingerly pulled it through.  Genius!  We then had to shimmy the thing across the yard to the front door.  B/c remember, IN-STALL-ATION.  BTW.  Did I mention my husband is a superhero?  While I was holding onto walls, recovering from the liner assembly, he was sawing apart that steel damper plate in the hearth, getting everything ready.  Then he got up on the roof and HEAVED, while I hoed at the bottom, together managing to SHOVE THAT SUCKER RIGHT ON UP.  YAHHOOOOOOOOOOO!!

I am thrilled to tell you that our chimney is now lined.  My husband has replaced the metal plating (as well as insulating it), and our wood stove is (after a TWO MONTH WAIT) FINALLY IN!!  And blazing.  Did I mention how hot this thing gets?  We’re talking hell hot.  In fact, we now have to wear summer clothes in our living room b/c otherwise we are passing out.  Don’t get me wrong, I am ecstatic.  But for someone accustomed to being cold, this is taking some getting used to.  Our former house had FORCED AIR HEAT.  Surely, the worst kind of heating system in the history of mankind.  You’d turn it on, POoooooOOOoF, it’d blow out at you.. ahh, toasty warm.  Two minutes later, it shuts off, the air whistles out our 100 yr old windows and you are FREEEZING.  8 yrs in that house, each winter I’d wear long underwear, two sweaters and a hat.  In the house.  NOW.  We have moved to MAINE (cooooold), have bought an even older house (250 yrs) and I sit by my wood stove cooking.. Talk about crazy. PS.  I was super amused yesterday, looking out the window whist painting my older daughter’s bedroom, I noticed our neighbors across the street having their chimney lined.  By a team of 3-4 men.

SO.  WHat else have we been doing>>>?  This weekend John replaced the upstairs hall light

and rewired a downstairs circuit to accommodate exterior Christmas lights.  Which I LOVE.

Our weather has been rainy of late and our basement has been taking on water.  So we spent a great deal of time trying to rectify the situation in the short & long term.  Mostly I curse, while my husband takes action.  He bought a concrete chisel and has been hammering out channels for the water to make its way to the drain.  Did I mention my husband is a superhero.  And NO he is not available for housecalls (CURLY).

Well that’s it for now.  Except for one thing.  Could someone PLEASE tell me who left this basket of holiday cheer on our doorstep??  Fess up.  We found it several days ago.  SOme little elf has made us all very merry.  MANY THANKS~!

22 thoughts on “Catching up.

  1. Ok, WOW. You guys never do anything by half measures!

    The bathroom looks gorgeous. GOR. GOUS. Although putting in little tiles is time consuming and definitely showcases your a) commitment to the project and b)mad tiling skillz.

    My only question is what is up with lining the chimney? Line it with what? And why?

    1. Thank you my love! As for the fireplace. It needs to be lined to hedge against harm. When a fire gets blazing – and is going for days, months at a time – it heats the bricks & mortar of the chimney. When you have a house as old as ours (also, made of all wood), the super high temps can light anything touching those hot bricks/mortar as well, and the chimney itself may be in disrepair. It’s just a safety precaution. In our case (w/ the woodstove) it likely also causes more air suction – which builds bigger & better fires and more HEAT to the house. The liner itself is just a big metal tube, insulated w/ fiberglass & wire mesh.

  2. I am exhausted, exhausted just from reading this…truly a labor of love. Glad you are feeling better. The wine wench is excellente. Love the bathroom tile (black and white, one of my favs.)
    Confession – I would have to hire the people or at least borrow them from our company…my husband is a superhero but I don’t see either of us lining a chimney EVER.

    1. SO GLAD you are enjoying the wine! I found that out a year or so ago – that you can’t mail wine via “regular” post. I bought 2 bottles of Honora wine for my friend Honora when we were in Vermont. But couldn’t ever ship them. PS: They were DELICIOUS!

  3. One of your wonderful neighbors left the basket; it wasn’t me. You two are spectacular!!!!!!! What a job. You’re gutsy, too, while John is brave, mindful, and practical. I understand what you’re going through not allowing the disease to get the best of you. After my car accident, I wouldn’t let anything stop me from walking again nor doing anything else as I recovered from my head injury. I had to work hard to keep my balance and rebuild my strength and endurance. To this day, I seldom look up when I’m on the move. I still need to watch WHERE and HOW I place my feet when I walk. And always watch for handholds. However, when I walk, I always think of ways to save steps, and cut corners whenever covering space. Often I start to lose my balance and need to two-step to regain my stride. People watching me move often gasp as I tilt as if to fall, and yet catch my balance. I try to take long walks, up and down hill, to gain strength in my stride. I’m dangerous in confined spaces when I’m trying to work around furniture. My husband just tosses up his hands realizing I’m an accident waiting to happen when I’m on my feet. And like you, I seldom sit still. Before Christmas I’ll stop in with a Christmas card and treats. Kate

    1. Hey Kate! WOW – we were convinced it was from you.. Cannot imagine who brought it.. Gotta love a mystery! Hope you are having fun in the snow. The girls (& me, in the morning) spent yesterday sledding out on the hill. John & I are making good progress on the dining room. Cant wait till it’s DONE!

  4. The pictures of your work are fab u lous!!! The bathroom is wonderful!!! I laughed so hard in reading about your home improvement adventures. I still think you should be a columnist and share your talent.
    Love, Mom

  5. oh my god (in JERSEY accent: gawd). i need a vacation after reading this post. you people are insane. seriously. lining a chimney? surely you jest.

    the tile looks bee-you-tee-full, but i am reeling at the thought of all the work.

    chiseling channels in the cement? you’re speaking chinese to me.

    can you please send john down to jersey to help us change the lightbulb on our front porch? we can’t reach it and it’s been out for 8 years.

    i’m only going to tell you one more time: CALL THE PEOPLE.

    luv ya mucho and glad you’re feeling better.

  6. PS. Why does a chimney need to be lined? I’m sure it wasn’t lined 250 years ago when the original homeowners lived in the house. You people just like to make work for yourselves!!!! Hahaha.

  7. I’m proud of you for not just curling up in a ball somewhere. Quite the opposite, in fact! Everything looks wonderful; if would have been tons of work for someone who was feeling well. Way to overcome! Now go take a well deserved nap.

  8. Wow, everything looks great! John is really amazing, when does he ever sit down and relax?
    Glad you are feeling better and getting ready for all of us to visit. Can’t wait.
    Love you

    1. Relaxation is not in our vocabulary.. Have to get this room done before Christmas. Just TWO & a half weeks — time’s awasting! PS; ARe you guys bringing The Rock??! The ladies are DYING to see him. And he will LOVE THE SNOW!

  9. How do you manage driving with meniere’s? I was diagnosed 6 months ago and I have not reached your wonderful attitude to just keep going and not let it affect my life so drastically. Reading your blog has been an inspiration, thank you.


    1. Sherry, Hang in there. When I was first diagnosed, I had gone for almost a year not knowing what the hell was wrong w/ me. Just having a name to put to all the symptoms was a relief. But the reality of Meniere’s is HARD. It gets easier w/ time. Just knowing what you can & cannot eat, what you can and cannot do, provides some semblance of control. Unfortunately, this disease often has no rhyme or reason. Sometimes I get so depressed I just cry. I feel cursed. But I keep reminding myself THIS TOO SHALL PASS. Keep calm. If you need help – ask for it. Just letting people know how you feel is infinitely releasing. I talk to my family, friends, my doctors. I have medication for when I feel overwhelmed and anxious. Doctors may not understand this disease, we may not be able to control it, but you can’t let it rule you. Most of the time I am able to live normally. I drive, I walk, I do what I need to do. When I am sick, I have to give up control. I have to sit and rest. It sucks. I am a terrible patient. But you have to accept life for what it is, and do the best you can. I wish you health and much happiness. Christy

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