Winter is Coming

I have the hardest time knowing what to say these days, and I am sorry for the lack of posts. While I might not know what to say, I have had little trouble putting my hands to work. I have taken to combating the chaos in my family life with work of my hands, back, and brain.

The message hit home loud and clear a couple of weeks ago that if Byram and I want to see the dream we share of having a little homestead in the country together, we have real work ahead of us to accomplish that.

We have to get our suburban house appropriate for sale, without sinking too much money into it. A tricky line to walk. Given the market, we simply cannot get a good return on equity on any major improvements to the house, so we need to fix what is truly broken, put some lipstick on the pig (as it were), get it on the market and not be in a hurry.

We have to scrimp and save and make every penny squeal. Not being first time homebuyers, not having significant savings, and being that it is unlikely we will get a huge return on the house if we do manage to sell it, we need to sock away every dime we can towards a down payment. Frugal is as frugal does, and we are going back to a Dave Ramsey-like frugality.

So I have the motivation, I found the deals, and we have started putting some sweat equity into the house. Our downstairs halfbath is only a 5’x5′ space, and it seemed like it would be a relatively easy room to reclaim from the previous owners’ who had clearly watched too many episodes of While You Were Out. To that end, I have been stripping contact paper, cheap paint, ancient wallpaper, and puttying holes and sheetrock damage.

We settled on a creamy white color for the top half of the walls, a color called “Cream and Sugar” and since I am not going to bother replacing the deep green marble-like tiles, I decided to keep the lower half of the wall a deep green, but this one would be a solid color, and I would do a better job than the previous owners.

Seriously. I counted at least 4 different shades of green swiped willy-nilly across the wall. I am guessing (hoping) that was the effect they were looking for, and not that they were just swiping paint randomly on the walls.

We picked a green called “Deep Spruce.” Richer, grayer, and greener than the current blend of bright forest greens. I was horrified momentarily when I opened the can last night and this is what I saw:
Yikes. Fortunately, a really good mixing turned up the deep spruce green I believed I had purchased.

Here is the new (wet coat) green going over the old green.

And once dry, the color deepened to a green so dark as to border on black.

(The big swath of dark green on the right is my handiwork.)

It might wind up being too dark. It is hard to say yet. Tonight, I will roll the middle of the walls (last night was all brushwork and crawling behind a toilet to paint around the plumbing), and by Thursday morning, I should have a much better idea of how all of this will look when it is finished.

The chair rail and moulding will be painted bright white to help contrast the melted white chocolate color of the walls, and to tie it in with the bright white trimwork in the rest of the basement. I took the vanity mirror down and am painting its silver-spray painted frame a chocolaty brown color, again, to tie it in with the dark wood paneling and dark wood mantle in the rest of the basement. The silver-spray painted whicker woven shelf is also getting a coat of the same chocolate brown spray paint, but when I find something decent and similar in size, second hand (new shelves are expensive!), it will be replaced altogether.

Once the paint is cured, the vanity and shelves are dried and rehung, I am going to move some of my Alphonse Mucha prints from my Mom’s bedroom to the walls of our newly finished bathroom. Even though the prints are all women, there is something fairly masculine about that artwork, and will make the bathroom look decorated without looking feminine, or at least, that is sort of my hope.

I mean, this is a bathroom in the Man Cave, after all.

So this is where we stand today:
(Ugh. I would like to show you but apparently Photobucket has had enough of me for the day.)

All other news is related to the SCA, Pennsic, some knitting, some reading, some running, and cooking.

We went in with another family and paid for a freezer pig, much like we did with our Bessie Cow early this spring. We also were given a free smoker. We have since eaten home cured and home smoked bacon.


I have been trying to do more of the cooking to relieve some of the burden on my Mom who is overwhelmed with real life right now. I actually enjoy cooking and enjoy just whipping up creations based on what I have in the fridge and the pantry.

I am re-reading George R. R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire series, in anticipation of getting my hands on the fifth book, A Dance with Dragons, which came out today. Honestly, it was all I could do not to be at the store at midnight; but I am such a freak that since all I have to this point are the paperbacks, I really don’t want to own a hardback.

So for now, I am waiting and rereading the previous offerings. I just finished A Clash of Kings last night and started A Storm of Swords immediately thereafter. I am enjoying them both more and less the second time through. Since I have a better understanding of what is coming, I am getting a better understanding of some of the hints that have been offered to this point. It is becoming a guessing game; I like trying to outguess the author, just like I like to have guessed who the killer is in a typical murder-mystery t.v. drama, long before the reveal.

At the same time, I am getting a little done with the excessive violence, particularly the violence against underage girls. Now that I have seen the HBO mini-series, I am starting to imagine some of these scenes having to be played out on the screen now, or the steps the producers will have to take to censor some of this stuff (which they did for A Game of Thrones, but AGoT was tame compared to the books since). But there comes a point where you start to wonder just how much is GRRM looking for shock value. We hate Theon. We hate Jeoffrey. And the Boltons. And the Mountain. Do we really have to keep decending down the ladder of depravity to make sure the readers properly hate these men?

And while I may hate the levels of violence, I can’t keep from reading the books. GRRM can say what he likes about the “realism” of his books, but when you have zombies, giants, direwolves, wargs, and Others, what you still really have is a fantasy series that keeps dipping into some pretty dark places.

GRRM will keep writing, and I will keep skimming over the worst of the stuff, and will be sitting, waiting for the next installment to come out, no matter how low we go.

What does that say about me???

Ah well, it doesn’t really matter because Winter is Coming.


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