Lists

Unabridged to-do list

Making lists is comforting. They provide the illusion of control; a sense of order and the hopefulness that things will get done. I love making lists. I find it is calming. Lists turn chaos into manageable orderly pieces. Lists calm me down. Lists give me hope. Yes, I make lists. Many lists.

Today is one of those crappy days – nothing monumental, but lots of crappy things keep happening. I’ve heard this feeling being referred to as being pecked to death by a duck, and that’s totally it. Lethal by the sum of its parts I guess.

So I am going to use the wondrous power of lists to take a delusionary moment away from this shit day, and compile a comprehensive and exhaustive (exhausting?) list of everything that needs to be done to the house. Starting from the front, working our way in, up from the cellar, to the roof and ending in the back yard. Ready? Here we go:

Outside/front:

Finish stoop project

Coal shoot trap – needs new trap door

Strip and repaint gate under stoop

Fix front yard light

Remove cement, create flower bed

Strip and repair façade

Strip, patch and paint cornice

Replace windows

Purchase and install mail slot in front door

Replace entry door hardware

 

Cellar:

Repoint stones

Do something about the floor

Rebuild cellar stairs

Remove ugly paneling

Retrofit heating system to gas (or something more environmentally friendly)

Remove oil tank

Take down room that houses HVAC, since no longer needed by code (after the switch)

Replace rear hatch to back yard, make functional

 

Garden level

Finish plastering entry foyer

Replace ugly tile in foyer with something nicer

Fix plaster under the garden stairs

Install proper door trim on tenant’s front door.

Install proper door trim on both sides of French doors in tenant’s apartment

Fix plaster under parlor stairs

Replace all windows

Parlor level

Fix missing bits of encaustic tile in entryway

Hang light fixture in entry foyer

Fix plaster in entry foyer

Remove ugly hallway tile, replace with wood

Fix creaky stairs

Fix plaster in hallway

Strip and re-finish all woodwork

Remove stick on floor in skinny hallway, replace with wood

Clean out closet of doom

Turn closet of doom into 3 piece bathroom

Install new door in closet of doom/3 piece bathroom

Remove green bathroom from existence, prep for future kitchen

Fix floors in front, middle and rear parlor

Finish stripping front parlor summer cover, install

Redo bad fireplace stripping job.

Fix ceiling plaster in front, middle, rear parlor

Remove horrendous ceiling fan, replace with less offensive model

Finish plasterwork in rear parlor wall

Fix pocket doors (middle parlor to rear parlor)

Fix glazing on pocket door glass (middle to rear parlor), strip and re-finish doors

Redo bad strip job on rear mantle

Create new kitchen in rear parlor/green bathroom

Turn one of the rear windows into doors

Make window in bathroom (future kitchen) smaller.

Move radiators in front parlor

Make shutters in front parlor functional (strip?)

Front, middle and rear parlor woodwork.

Replace all windows

 

Top floor

Move roof access ladder back into closet (where it belongs)

Fix stair hall ceiling, including hole where ladder used to be

Repair stained glass skylight

Repair treads on stairs

Remove ugly tile from hallway, replace with wood

Replace temporary vinyl floor with wood.

Redo bathroom

Turn kitchen into my office/library

Remove drop ceiling in rear top floor

Finish stripping rear fireplace

Rebuild original cupboard

Fix plaster throughout

Turn front little room in walk in closet

Fix plaster in small front room

Make ladder closet not scary, turn into linen closet

Strip millwork in small front room

Paint ceiling and coves in bedroom

Apply second coat of paint on bedroom walls

Finish stripped woodwork

Re-wax floor

Fix squeaky floorboards

Replace middle window, restore small windows

Paint radiator

Replace all windows, except for the 2 original ones

 

Roof

Replace roof

Add insulation in cockloft

Replace skylights

Relocate roof hatch to its original location

Replace downspout as needed

 

Backyard

Remove middle and bottom sections of fire escape

Close up top portion of fire escape, but preserve roof access

Install deck

Remove ugly pavers, replace with historic brick

Build new grape arbor

Build outside furniture to create living area under grape arbor

Build retaining wall to address sloping rear yard

Install French drain by the old tree pit

Remove flower beds by fence

Create raised planters to divide living area from grilling area

Rebuild rear extension. While this doesn’t happen, put new roof on extension

Replace squeaky vent chimney with with one less irritating.

Install water spigot somewhere

Install electrical outlet somewhere

 

 

 

 

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A plan of sorts

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We’ve been in the house just under 27 months, at that point where things just drag on. The initial steam wore off and we got used to camping in our home.  No oven? No problem, use the toaster oven. No direct access to the back yard? No problem, climb down the fire escape and use a rope and pulley system to lower a picnic basket.  Resourceful as it may, the McGyvering is getting old. It would be lovely not to have to step over tools or construction supplies on our way to the bathroom.

To shake out the moroseness, we came up with a 1-year plan of what we’d like to accomplish between now and December 31st (actually this is the bare minimum I’d like to see done so that I can continue to fake it as a quasi-legit grown up). The list is divided into 4 major categories: Spring, 1-Day Projects, Anytime and Oh-God! It breaks down like so:

1-Day Projects. This includes the small annoyances that we put up with so that we can focus on “the big projects.” I decided that if we can tackle some of the smaller things, the overall DIY mood may improve.

* Coat Closet – make parlor floor coat closet a bit more functional/less gross. Give it a good cleaning, paint walls, install shelves for shoes.

* Living room fan – remove ugly ceiling fan in front parlor, which we don’t use anyway.

* Fix old lighting fixtures purchased at salvage shop. Buy globes that fit

* Remove stupid little add-on wall in parlor floor hallway

* Linen closet – turn old roof access ladder closet into linen closet. Clean and patch walls, install shelves.

* Closet of doom – clean out room of all its contents.

Anytime projects. These projects are not weather dependent and can be done at anytime. Got some time? Great, get some of these cross off (at least that’s the idea)…

* Living room fireplace cover – strip paint, put it back in its original place (remove existing cover and take to Build It Green)

* Basement Cement Slab – The removal of the old asbestos tiles in the basement left the floor bumpy. Needs a layer of cement on top

* Closet of doom: demo dry wall and assess plumbing

* Top floor rear mantel – finish stripping

* Fix plaster in garden level vestibule.

Spring Projects. These are important for a variety of reasons: moisture control, rust prevention, general safety,  and saving the brownstone from one more freeze-thaw cycle under all that paint.

* Complete façade stripping project

* Front & Rear hatches (replace)

* Stoop railing – finish stripping, paint

* Raise grape arbor to create enough space for seating area beneath

* Back yard drainage project

* Source of water for backyard hose

* Stoop – repair steps

Oh-God! Projects.  These are the most daunting projects on the list. The stripping of the façade should probably be in this category, but I remain deluded determined that “it’s no big deal.”

* Bedroom woodwork – sand and oil

* Bedroom ceiling – finish spackle, add moulding & trim

* Bedroom walls – strip, fix cracks, prime and paint

* Parlor flooring – replace cheap-o stick on parquet with actual flooring

* Fix plaster under stairs, fix squeaky stairs (the plaster is helping this along by falling off in chunks – yippie!)

* Closet room – fix plaster

* Closet of doom – fix plumbing

* Parlor woodwork – strip (muppet flesh paint be gone!)

And that’s about it for the year. I’m hoping things get it done, because there is a ton more where this came from.