Posted by: mattcolvin | April 10, 2009


It’s spring break for Mars Hill, which means that it’s time for me to get cracking on this house.

My wife apparently thought I wasn’t getting started quickly enough, so she lit a fire … literally. She was attempting to plug in her iron to an outlet behind her cluttered sewing table, and a naked piece of metal trash intervened and created a spark, which somehow pierced the dryer’s exhaust duct and ignited the lint inside. Fortunately, the dryer was not on at the time, so all that happened was that the lint burned up and the dryer’s interior smells like smoke now. Had it been on, it might have ignited a pretty large blaze and even burned our house down. (But the fire department is only 3 blocks away.)

So I cleaned up the sewing table area, went to Lowes hardware store and bought a fire extinguisher and a new dryer exhaust duct, installed the latter, and sent a few wet towels through the machine to clear out the smell of smoke.

Later in the day, I got out my paint scraper and took off most of the green-painted wallpaper in our living room. Aedan and Ezekiel got into it too. It’s a satisfying thing to pull of large swaths of wallpaper.

So the living room looks like this:

Still to do: steam off the second layer of wallpaper, patch and resurface the walls, paint them (probably green again), tear up the carpet, sand the hardwood that is (I hope) intact under it, stain and polyurethane it. (“Verbing weirds language.” – Calvin & Hobbes)

It’s nice to work with my hands for a while instead of with a grading pen. I also had a good time planting trees and bushes for our garden with Sora on Wednesday night.

In other news, we finally took our Plymouth Neon in to the mechanic. It’s been leaking oil and requiring 3 quart top-ups between oil changes. Our local mechanic, Barnes Auto Service, is marvelous. First off, it’s about 3 blocks away from our house, so we never have to take two cars down to it. Even better, the mechanic there, a fellow named Dale, is honest and good-natured, and continues to blow us away with his prices. Our engine was making a funny noise? He replaced a belt and didn’t charge us. Our turn signal was behaving erratically? $17. And so it was again today: a big bill to correct an engine that was hemorrhaging oil? Nah. He replaced the oil pressure sensor, which was the locus of the leak. $58. We’d picked today to have him work on the problem, figuring that if it took him a long time, I’m off next week, so we don’t need two cars. But he had it done by 5:30.

Between Mars Hill, and our church, and our mechanic, it’s pretty easy to have a good life in Mason.

I was also looking at the house across the street and wondering if its large yard would be enough to feed a small cow for us. (The current owner is over 90 years old.)


  1. I remember the joys of home improvement. It’s a young man’s game.

    Best check with the city of Mason to see if they have any code restrictions on livestock.

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