Sunday, January 27, 2013

Sometimes life takes a shit on you. This is one of those times.

What happened. 

While we were traveling visiting family, a pipe burst in the house we rent.  Our landlord found it relatively early which saved us from further loss. Long story short: the pipes run in the attic (instead of the insulated walls). The temperature dipped down below freezing (a rare occurrence in Seattle). We did have the heat set at a reasonable temperature, but my suspicion is that the pipes were not adequately insulated (if at all).

We were not the only people caught with our pipes exposed in the cold. Many other Seattlites experienced a similar unexpected fate.

So... it was basically like having a hose running in the attic. Luckily the water found several quick paths to pour out of the ceiling, which mostly kept the water from pouring down on the furniture, electronics, etc.  Most of our things were spared. Everything on the floor got wet, and the built-in shelf in the middle of house had water running down it, so we lost a bunch of nice books, and our record collection got wet. 

We haven’t had a chance to take an inventory of the damaged/destroyed items as they have all been haphazardly stacked in the shed and my landlords garage, so that emergency renovations could begin. The entire process of moving all of our stuff out of the house took only several hours, so you can imagine how unorganized it all is. It literally is just a huge pile of stuff. Some in boxes (not labeled), some in piles. No rhyme or reason to the process. Just a bunch of stuff…in a pile.

The aftermath.

Comparing pictures from the post about moving into the Bungalow, to post-flood demolition, you can see the extent of the damage.

Any of those who have stopped by the blog recently, may have seen the reupholstered rocking chair. It was mostly spared, but it has a water spot on it.

Our devoted readers may remember the kitchen shelves we built and shared here. Their purpose has been shelved. (bam! best pun of this post)

A serious inconvenience becomes a minor existential crisis.

You know that feeling when you are moving and you look around and at the crap you have accumulated and say to yourself: “What the $%^*?  Why do I have these things? What is the point of these things?”  You realize it isn't even worth the effort to move the things. You loathe their very existence. You are disgusted by the fact that you have accumulated all of it. Well, take that feeling of disgust and extrapolate it to the Nth degree and you have my feelings for the unorganized heap of my material things; where the perfectly-fine undamaged stuff is intermingled with the completely-destroyed crap in one unifying pile. I loathe it. I loathe it all.   

Many relevant Fight Club quotes come to mind. Thank you Chuck Palahniuk:

"It's just, when you buy furniture, you tell yourself, that's it. That's the last sofa I'm gonna need. Whatever else happens, I've got that sofa problem handled." 

“It's only after we've lost everything that we're free to do anything.” 

What now. 

So far our landlord has been very helpful, generous, and supportive. He is putting us up in a temporary place we found on AirBnB, while our old place is renovated. 

We have all learned many valuable life lessons:

1.       Renter’s insurance. It’s a good idea. And it’s very cheap.
2.       Always turn off the water-main when you leave for extended periods of time. (If you don’t know where the water-main is, (like in our situation) find out!
3.       If you have pipes running through the attic take extra precaution. If you don’t know where the pipes run (like in our situation), find out!
4.       Don’t own things.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Reupholstering a Rocking Chair

Tess and I have had our eye on rocking chairs as they show up at our neighborhood Goodwill, but have resisted the impulse since we have no room for furniture in our house. haha. Well we finally gave into the urge for this steal-of-a-deal. We bought it for a whopping $15 with the intention of making a project of it. We then dropped about $25 on supplies at JoAnns Fabrics to fix it up.

We chose a blue canvas fabric because I vetoed all floral patterns (this ain’t your grandma’s rocking chair!), and all “modern” patterns are too busy with dots and lines.

What is funny is that we picked a color that we thought matched our couch, but when we got back it became apparent just how far off it was. 

It’s interesting how bad our perception of the world around us can differ from reality… 
even for something which we sit on every day!

It is structurally in great shape. It has some worn edges from being rocked into things. The upholstery was a hideous mess and the padding consisted of what looked like a rat’s nest of straw.

I removed all the old fabric and padding in an archaeological dig which revealed that someone had previously made a sloppy attempt to cover up the original fabric.

The coil springs aren’t yet sprung and still have some spring in them, but needed to be retied in place.
I found some useful websites on how to tie the springs in place. It’s fairly straightforward. Here are some nice how-to’s on upholstering, upholstering, and tying coil springs.We didn’t really follow any of these exactly. We got the general idea and used common sense to make it work for our chair. It turned out comfortable and looks pretty good, so I think it all worked out.

I put burlap across the springs for several reasons which I thought made sense: to provide a uniform taut surface to distribute the load, keep the foam pad from sinking into the spaces around the springs and to provide some protection to the foam pad so it doesn’t get eaten by the springs.

I staple-gunned the burlap to wooden frame with a layer of paperboard from the recycle bin. This cardboard helps provide some protection to the burlap from the staples (since the springs are pushing up on the burlap). One day future archaeologists will dissemble this chair and find instructions for cooking a cardboard pizza on the back of paperboard strips. J

Tacking the canvass to the frame was very tedious. These decorative tacks look nice, but are annoying to work with. It takes patience and a lot of extra tacks…

So anyway, there you have it. Not perfect, but I’m impressed at how well it turned out. Overall it was a fun project. And now we have a chair that totally rocks!