Friday, November 17, 2006

Two More Feet (and Freezing)!

I awoke this morning to Rex licking my toes. He was crying, because there's not enough room on the couch for his chunky dog butt. It was still dark, at 5 a.m., but I got up and got to work, chiseling that horrible tack-board (the stuff they hammered to the wood floors -- and ALL of the floors -- to keep the nasty carpet down...sacrilege -- on the wood floors! oh!) from my future bedroom, and, finally, hammering into the ceiling.

I struck gold. Proverbial, household gold, that is.

One of the investors I consulted b/f buying the place said that the previous owners had likely lowered the ceiling, which makes the house feel cozy, but kind of cramped (at least, to those who haven't lived in a tiny apartment for all of their adult lives). Two contractors looked at the place and said the ceiling tiles would just peel off -- it'd be easy, they said. In sum, the ceiling looks like shit. The prev. owners covered up the real ceiling (until this morning, an unseen mystery) with these tacky, cardboard (?) tiles. They'd been painted white, who knows how many years ago, and were beginning to slope and dip and warp. They look old and rotted. I'd started busting into the ceiling a few days ago, but was discouraged to find that the tile just peeled apart, flaking into pieces of crappy cardboard. I presumed they were glued to the ceiling (the prev. owners liked to GLUE shit everywhere, like the frikkin' wood panels on the walls, for example), and that it was going to be a mega-bitch to take them off, b/c they weren't coming w/ any ease.

This morning, I climbed my newly purchased ladder and took a whack at 'em. More peeling. More cardboard. Then, GLORY! An ENTIRE PIECE of tile peeled away to reveal TWO more FEET of space -- and a gorgeous, old, original hardwood ceiling (that had been painted, of course)! I'm psyched! By the end of it, I had a ring of black dust around my mouth (had to wear mask and goggles) and sawdust in my ears. It's going to be a bear to remove all of the ceiling tiles, the support beams, and the low molding. I can handle it, though. What I'm more concerned about is the electrical stuff and heating duct that are now exposed. I'd rather not get electrocuted...not the best way to go.

There's no risk of my cooking to death via the heater, though, considering the furnace is probably ka-put. All I know is that there's nothing coming out of it, it's not making any noise, and replacing the thermostat (which I did yesterday...correctly?) didn't make diddly-squat of a difference. Sister Sledge has been freezing her flat, white girl booty off, with only the weak heat of a space heater to warm by.

I think I have to pay some dude w/ experience to take a look at it. Having grown up in a household where my father kept the heat at 59 degrees F throughout the freezing New England winter, I'm hell-bent on keeping warm. I'm notorious for wearing my heavy jacket at work. And, if it's cold enough, my hat and scarf. I hate being cold! Worse, I hate being cold in my own house.

This weekend: finish whacking out the ceiling in my bedroom, figure out what to do w/ electrical and heating hanging from the ceiling, fix furnace (pray I don't have to buy a new one), prime and paint (off-white and red?) bedroom; take a sledgehammer to the sealed-up chimney in the living room -- and maybe buy me a pot-bellied wood stove (or pellet stove, the new vogue) to keep cozy.

Photos to come.

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