Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Yes We Did!

Wooo Hooo America, I love you!

May we all sleep well tonight. I know I will.

Friday, October 03, 2008

While I do not doubt her commitment to Sparkle-Motion

I sure as hell don't want her a heartbeat away from the presidency.

Oh! And her bangs need cut!(as a Pittsburgher would say)

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

One More - About that Sofa

This is the sofa that I talked about "deconstructing" in my previous posts. I guess it's about time that I posted the evidence that we were actually able to get it back together. I have photos of it in different stages of dis-assembly too - but right now I don't see a point in posting them cause what I hoped would later be a helpful "how to" has turned into a cautionary "please don't ever attempt this without a professional".

It was a LOT of work. Too much work and way too much anxiety to be worth it. The only reason we even attempted it was because there was absolutely no other way to get this sofa into this third floor apartment. None. Trust me - we considered everything. And what any sane person with a few dollars in their pocket would have done is buy one of those affordable sofas that are designed to break down into pieces that can be transported up narrow and winding staircases. Or not rented an apartment that was so aggressively inaccessible in the first place.

So, why did we go to this extreme? Because my terrific and very young friend from work finally managed to land her first apartment. She's mature and responsible beyond her years but has had a difficult time finding a landlord willing to take a chance on her. So although this apartment was pretty dismal and inaccessible it was affordable, available and most importantly close to work. She didn't have an extra dollar to buy furniture. It was this sofa or nothing. It was a generous donation from a Pittsburgh Freecycler. As was most everything you see in her apartment. If we had failed to get this sofa back together properly I wouldn't have known how to live with the shame. So please - don't take such a risk if you don't really, really, really need to. It took many hours, much cursing, eyerolling, sighing, time-outs, and bloodshed. Yes, it's back to good as new - but as I warned my friend - it belongs to the apartment now.

Here are a couple more pics of her place. Excuse the camera phone quality. I'm thrilled with how her kitchen turned out. When we first arrived every wall was stark white - the tiny countertop was stained and scored, the greasy wooden cabinets were hanging off the wall, and there was an eyesore of a hot water heater to the left of the stove.

We cleaned the cabinets and painted them, sanded and painted the countertop around the sink, built a cute little island/counter with storage space inside and covered two bi-fold doors that we picked up at Construction Junction for a song with striped wallpaper to serve as a screen to cover the ugly hot water heater. A donated pine lingerie chest was painted black and white and awaits a microwave on top, but the drawers are adding much needed storage space for small kitchen items and a stash of Ramen Noodles. Her kitchen is now clean, bright, functional and totally reflects her taste. Thanks to Pittsburgh Freecycle, co-workers, and a couple hundred bucks spent wisely at Ikea and Construction Junction.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

About that sofa...

Two days ago I announced our intention of dismantling and reassembling a sofa. Wow... In case you've been sitting on the edge of your seat waiting to find out how that went - I won't leave you hanging any longer.

This is NOT a project for the faint of heart. While I've read that there are several companies in the NYC metro area that can do this for you in a matter of an hour or two for a couple hundred bucks, it's really not a quick job if you don't know what you're doing. And we didn't.

We carefully removed the fabric covering from the bottom of the sofa and then from the backside. I think we hoped that at this point the "secret" of deconstruction would simply reveal itself to us. Um... no.

So we spent a couple of hours removing the arms and the upholstery that held the arms on even after the nails and various sized staples were removed from the wooden frame. We banged apart nicely glued dowels and drew a curious crowd of spectators.

Finally - we had the 44" wide sofa in enough smaller pieces that we could squeeze it up the 27" stairwell of the third floor walk up.

Then it got tricky! LOL

I am greatly relieved to report that after several more hours of work and enough staple scratches to look like we were in a death match with a pack of feral cats the sofa body is back in one piece and seems no worse for wear.

I took some photos - admittedly less than I'd planned to - and will upload them later. Bottom line: Would I attempt this again? No freakin' way!

We were very lucky that we didn't turn a perfectly good sofa into a piece of trash. This is one of those things that in my exhausted and bloodied opinion is best left to trained professionals.

And in case anyone is in the sofa market - Bauhaus doesn't skimp on the construction. At all...

Oh, and one more thing - the public voting portion of the True Value contest ends today. Please toss me a vote, if you wouldn't mind. I'll be forever grateful!

Peace out! :o)

Monday, September 15, 2008

Dismantling a Sofa

That's going to be the big challenge of the day. No, I've never tried it before and frankly the thought is making me feel a little queasy - but, I don't think we have a choice.

A very dear young friend of mine has just landed her first apartment and it's lovely. Or at least has the potential to be lovely. It's spacious and has plenty of natural light and a nice view. The trouble is that you need to climb two flights of narrow stairs to get to it. Twenty-seven inch wide stairs!

My first reaction to the the "how are we gonna get anything up here?" question was to think "Fire Escape!" But no... The fire escape - while more open - is narrow and rickety. Yeah it might hold up long enough for a 100 pound girl to run down it in case of fire but I don't see two adults carrying a sofa at shoulder height going up it without an ambulance on stand-by.

So, after thinking about ropes, hoists, boom trucks and a whole lot of other stuff that simply isn't going to work - we're going to try to take the sofa apart and put it back together. Apparently this is a pretty common thing to do in narrow stairway plagued NYC - and there are scores of businesses there offering this service. But, not here in Pittsburgh as far as I can tell. We're on our own.

Here's the plan: Carefully remove the fabric from the underside and the back of the sofa, look inside to see what we can cut and then re-attach to get the back away from the seat and "wing it". I'll take lots of pics to share the experience with you later. Please wish us luck - we're going to need it!

Monday, September 08, 2008

You May Be a Do-It-Yourselfer If...

Originally uploaded by gimbler
Someone describes themselves to you as a painter and you assume they're a house painter. Even if they've arrived at the job with no coveralls, tarps, ladders or buckets.

I forgot, much to my embarrassment, that there's more to the world than scraping off and applying wall and trim paint to walls and trim - there are actual artists out there. And the young man who had arrived on a bicycle with a backpack that I so boldly offered to "help paint" while we were waiting for the Obama Headquarters in Homestead to open was that other kind of painter - an artist.

Isn't that portrait phenomenal? And the man who painted it in a few short hours was very gracious about my mistaking him for a house painter.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

The Price is Right?

No, I'm not talking about the TV game show - I'm talking about Craigslist and Freecycle. Love Freecycle! When something has got to go, it's been my experience that someone on Freecycle will come and take it off your hands lickety split.

Same thing with Craigslist - as long as it's free! Whenever I put anything free on Craigslist it's gone within hours - sometimes minutes. But, when I have something I'd like get a few dollars for.... the hemming and hawing, the coordinating and logistics. Holey Moley! With the exception of a couple of "construction/material" items - (which I guess us DIY types know how to jump on a bargain quickly!) - the hassle has made the transaction almost not worth it.

It makes me hesitate to post anything that I'm not willing to freely give away.

How does your experience compare to mine? Is it me? Does anyone have any tips?