brother, here we go again

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Dec 092008

Tom Lehrer sang:

Christmas time is here, by golly,
Disapproval would be folly,
Deck the halls with hunks of holly,
Fill the cup and don’t say when.
Kill the turkeys, ducks and chickens,
Mix the punch, drag out the dickens,
Even though the prospect sickens,
Brother, here we go again.

Ah, our first Christmas in our new house. We wrestled an 8-foot tree up to the third floor, where it dominates the kitchen. And Nancy added lights to our decks, and a small tree in the picture window on the second floor. Now I have to slow down enough to relax and enjoy the holidays!

Not easy to do. I haven’t posted in over a month because there has been another project sucking up my extra time and energy. I’ve bought a townhouse down the street, so I can move my mother from San Francisco to our new neighborhood.

Penny has been living alone for 4 years in San Francisco, has Alzheimer’s, and I see her twice a week to get groceries and generally take care of things. She wants to move, needs assistance, and I want her nearby. So we started hunting for a place in the neighborhood over the summer, and we completed the purchase of a 3-bedroom townhouse last month. Now I’m renovating it, using my newly-acquired skills and contractor friends, and I want to move her in by Christmas.


Some of the existing features of the house are fine, for example, bathroom tiling, the exterior (which is maintained by the homeowner’s association), the windows and doors, most of the kitchen fixtures. But the carpets are worn and stained, the kitchen floor has some problems, the kitchen cabinets need work, and the lighting is mostly original and not very attractive. Wall plaster is the original rough texture, and there is sprayed “popcorn” texture on the ceilings upstairs. So demolition started just a few days after we closed the purchase.


Out go the carpets, the kitchen tile and counters, the ancient water heater and furnace. In comes my friend George Dapsevicius (who did so much of the finishing detail in our house) and his friend Lee Swanson. They removed the popcorn and patched the walls. We’ve re-plastered the walls to a smooth finish, and painting is underway. I’ve ordered new lights, bathroom vanities, sinks, and kitchen counters.