I really need to start carrying around a camera.

This past Thursday I had to drop off my car for repairs. My mechanic (the only place I trust in this city, Schummer’s Super Sunoco) is located in the Mayfair neighborhood of northeast Philly, a good 30 minute drive from my place. There’s a bus that goes connects to the El, but I decided to take my bike and ride home. I’m glad I did.

I saw an interracial homeless couple walking down the street pushing a cart full of shit up Frankford Ave. They were arguing loudly about something and wearing matching American flag bandanas.

As I headed south under the El through Kensington, the now-decrepit manufacturing heart of the city, I watched a bus blatantly run a red light, as two angry junkies across the street looked like they were about to duke it out over god-knows-what.

I was in the shadow of Philly’s magnificent industrial past, zipping past empty buildings — a shuttered movie theatre that looked like it had been built in the 1920s, an old Fraternal Order of Indians lodge(i think that’s the name), the Northeast chapter of A.A. (it said so on a plaque on the building, which kind of obviates the whole “anonymous” concept), and more.

I reallyy need to get a camera….

Someday I’ll Get Paid for This

Well, the peppers are pickled, the records and books and games are put away, and the stereo’s been stored too. I’ve got a few bikes to move down to the basement (although I might just sell the little Raleigh that Sam’s outgrown). After that, I’m headed out to use the flipcam that woodshop loaned me, so I can start learning how to edit video. there’s only so much I can do in the living room by myself, but after this weekend, I should be ready to start scraping and priming. Next week, I should be able to repaint the dining room and get the baseboards primed in both rooms.

Big Days

I’ve been going nutso trying to get my house finished up. Over the summer, as I think I mentioned, we repaired the porch roof frame, re-roofed, and painted the entire exterior. Now we have moved to the floors. (Sorry, no pictures for now, as I don’t have a digital camera).

I have exposed yellow pine sub-flooring, 3? planks, but they are not in the best shape. When i bought the place, the floors had this ugly orange finish that was old and crumbling, so I scraped where I could and then hit it with a layer of grey floor paint. Now, almost 10 years later, that paint is in bad shape too.

My original plan had been to do plywood floors, but C and I were both concerned that it might not appeal to a buyer. So instead, I settled on hardwood floors — but as the search went on I realized that the stuff I liked was out of my price range, and the stuff I could afford was ugly or poor quality. So then we reconsidered plywood: perhapsplanks like this or this; or maybe tiles.

But when my contractor and I discussed, she abruptly said, “hey let me show you something.” She got down on the floor with a scraper and sander, and in a few seconds the a spot of raw pine wood was peeking through the paint. She popped open the can of denatured alcohol I had used to strip paint off the baseboards and brushed a coating onto the pine, which turned a beautiful,glossy butterscotch.

“I’ve refinished worse floors than these, dude,” she said looking up at me. “Heck, I can replace the one or two boards that need replacing, it’s not like yellow pine’s in short supply.”

“Yeah, but the mess of refinishing,” I began but she reminded me “You’re gonna have to sand if you do plywood. And i can have these floors done in a couple of days once the room is cleared.”

So now we’re back to re-finishing, which will be completed in October (contractor leaves on vacation Tuesday).

So I’ve been working, largely by myself, to prep the rooms for refinishing. The dining room is largely done in terms of being emptied, and now it’s on to the living room. I have a few unrelated tasks to take care of first –harvesting the year-end basil for pesto and returning my friend’s food processor, harvesting another jars worth of hot peppers for pickling– and then I’ll be emptying and storing a bookshelf, sorting through my son’s toys and storing that away, moving more furniture into the storage room, and perhaps even breaking down the stereo. I doubt I’ll get this all accomplished today, since I stayed out late last night and woke up just before 11:00. But that’s the plan, Stan.