While I’ve been in Colorado, I’ve anxiously awaited news of progress TBM is making on the floors. His plan of action this week is to complete one room and make certain when I return that I like the color before he continues. He’s starting with the library, mostly because it’s easy to isolate, but also because two weeks ago I moved the books, bookcases, bric-a-brac, and all but two pieces of furniture into another room in preparation for staining. It was the least I could do, literally, with a few hours I had before work one day. Well, methodical man that he is, TBM decided to HAND SAND the damn floor before cleaning and laying down stain. His words: “I thought I needed to be exacting in trying to get the wood to look new.” So he spent two and a half days carefully sanding, then cleaned the floor with TSP. Only late yesterday did he actually start staining and only today did he send visual evidence: Image You might not think this looks special, but I was moved to tears when I saw it. Yes, it’s just a brown stained floor, but it’s not yellowish or orangey or red, and IT’S NOT PAINT!!! Continue reading


Love of Old Begins at Home

While TBM continues to labor on the floors this week, I’ve traveled to Colorado to visit my mother. Late summer is the most amazing time in the Rockies (except winter snowfall): streams of sunshine, bluest skies, warm dry air that rarely leaves me feeling too hot or too cold, as does the humid air in the east. The best part: there’s a daily nature exhibit in the back garden.


This doe and fawn, and bucks that come two-by-two, have made themselves very comfortable, though it’s a pity they’ve eaten every last lilly and rose, and stripped away most of the leaves on low tree branches. My mom claims to despise the deer, and the piles of manure they leave on the lawn, yet she opens the backdoor softly and calls to them in a friendly voice, especially the baby, who we saw suckling on its mama early yesterday morning. Continue reading

Stains of Many Colors

As we finish the last details of sanding, we are still trying to nail down the color we want for the finished floors. Better said, I’m trying to nail it down, and TBM is trying his darn’dest to please me. All along I’ve said I don’t want a light color: too “country” for this old house with ten-foot ceilings and really good bones. I think she’s asking for something more sophisticated. Continue reading

The Big Man

I’ve been a Bruce Springsteen fan since I was a young girl. For any of you who might be as well (or who know anything about the E Street Band) the nickname The Big Man might ring a bell.

photo: Martin Olbrich

photo: Martin Olbrich

Clarence Clemons, saxophone player and personality extraordinaire was the original Big Man, aptly named because of his physical stature- approximately 6’5″ and 270#. He brought so much light and life to Springsteen concerts; his smile lit up the stage; his saxophone playing stirred souls. He was Bruce’s brutha from anutha mutha and the E Street is a different band without him. Much of the same could also be said of another man: my husband. Continue reading

Welcome Home

Nothing says Welcome Home like tools, extension cords, sanding dust, ladders, and messes. At least that’s what I’ve decided this summer, because in our home…


…the entryway, and so many other places, are littered with these accoutrements.

We’re in the process of a DIY floor refinishing project. When we bought our 1871 home in Upstate New York, every inch of floor (and stair- and there are both a front and back staircase) was painted dark chocolate brown. A carefully lettered sign: “Please Remove Your Shoes” taped on the front door by the realtor was the clue that all would not be well with the paint. Indeed, within a few weeks of moving in it was peeling everywhere, even though we DID remove our shoes, always having done so at home. Worse, where the paint peeled between floorboards, a hard white, chalky substance was revealed, creating a strange animal print with patches and stripes… definitely not the look we were going for. Continue reading