Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Not Just for Teens

Are you on MySpace?

Come be my friend!


I would like to have more friends on MySpace, but everyone my age seems to think it's just for teenagers or it's just to find sex. Or to find sex with teenagers.

Whatever. What you do on MySpace is your business, but come be my friend!

Monday, May 28, 2007

Not a Dumping Ground

A lot has been happening at the Jewel of Hollywood. So far we've tented the place to fumigate and restored the foundation. We took down all the interior walls, brought the insulation up to code, put in copper plumbing, upgraded the electrical, put in new heating and cooling, put the walls back up and painted them, and refinished all the floors. But for all that effort (read: $$$) the outside doesn't look any better. In fact, since we extracted the yucca tree monstrosity and cut back the Chinese elms, the place actually looks worse than when we bought it.

How bad does it look? Well, take Thursday. Ashley and I had plans to meet at the house, and Ash, not surprisingly, beat me to our rendez vous. When I called to say I was running late, she said, "Get here soon. There are two strange men taking pictures in your yard." Sure enough, I arrived to find a photographer and his model -- a term I use loosely -- making themselves at home, composing their shots against the backdrop of our lush estate.

I approached with caution. "Um, can I help you?"

With a dismissive wave of his hand, the photographer said, "We're just shooting here." His alleged model said, "Dude, I think this is her house." This I confirmed by both nodding, and by standing my ground. Like, I'm not just some passerby who was intrigued to encounter a real life photo shoot and came in to get a closer look. I'm here because I make WAY too big a mortgage payment not to be.

Now, where the model seemed to be aware that what they were doing might constitute trespassing, the photographer's attitude can best be described as "Well, exCUUUUSE ME!" He said, "Oh. We assumed the place was abandoned." After snapping off a few more shots, reluctantly, the pair withdrew to the edge of the yard. As the photographer lifted a leg over the remnants of fence he said, "Mind if we leave the way we came?"

While exiting he added, "It's a good thing you bought this place. It was a dump before," and his every word dripped with sarcasm -- especially the last.

He then turned his camera on me. "Mind if we get a couple shots of you as well?" And, in fact, I did mind. Clearly, it's not that I am oblivious to the Jewel's aesthetic shortcomings. But at the same time, I'm not sure I want my house to be the poster child for downtrodden Hollywood, either. And I sure as hell don't want to be the poster girl for stern-faced landowners who quash artistic endeavors by callously evicting them from thought-to-be-abandoned property.

Long story short, they depart. Cut to Sunday morning, just a few days later. Through the saggy canvas sheaths adorning our front windows (Yeah -- we'll get curtains eventually, but first we need to replace the windows.) I notice a plastic bag. I hate it when people throw trash in our yard -- which they do, let's face it, because the Jewel has been a neighborhood dumping ground for so long, and old habits die hard. So I pick up this plastic bag and am rather infuriated to find that it's filled with dog shit. And just as I come to the realization that I am holding a stinky bag of something foul, I look up to find another such bag only feet away. And raising my gaze, I see another. And another. And another. Bag after bag of dog shit, rimming our property.

The bags are too numerous and appeared to suddenly for this to be an accumulation of careless cast-offs. And as I walk the edge of the yard, plucking up these flimsy stink bombs, I can only wonder who in the neighborhood we pissed off. What did we do to invite this smelly attack?

And does it have anything to do with the belligerent photographer?

Sunday, May 20, 2007

I Married a Stripper

Yesterday, Jim and I got a couple doors from Santa Fe Wrecking, the same place where we bought our bathtub. These are a couple of vintage models to replace a couple of super-thin '50s eyesores in the house. I was planning to send them out to a stripping place to bring them down to bare wood, but Jim has taken it upon himself to do the job. Our plan is to stain all the doors, door frames and baseboards a dark walnut color.

I regret to say that -- even though we filled up a humongous dumpster with all the garbage in the house and had at one time cleared the entire yard -- the picture below is what our yard looks like today. It's been a dumping ground for too many contractors. You can see Jim at work through the tree on the left.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

A Renovation High

I got the floors of my dreams by sheer luck.
The front part of the The Jewel of Hollywood is built on a concrete slab. The minute I found this out, I started dreaming of polished concrete floors. Lofty, industrial, distressed concrete floors.
And voila. That's what I got. We pulled back the tiles (NOT asbestos, as previously thought) and undereath found a thick layer of black adhesive. So for a while the floors were black, which wasn't terrible, but I wanted concrete! We called on a flooring "expert" who couldn't get the black out. But then our painter, Julio, said he knew how to do the job. It takes serious chemicals to cut through 50 year old adhesive. When the workers showed up to do it, they said, "We're going to get HIGH today!"
Maybe I should have stuck around.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

One Room Down, Eight to Go

The upstairs bathroom is officially finished. (Well ... basically.) Here is what we did:

We bought the claw-foot tub from the Santa Fe Wrecking Company for $175 and paid to have it re-glazed. The tub we chose was a rusted P.O.S., but they put a gorgeous new finish on it, which I have already damaged by dropping the very heavy drain stopper on its rim. (Ah well, it's only money, right?) Hardware on the tub we ordered over the Internet. It's all Sign of the Crab. (Could that name be more fabulous?) Pedestal sink from Home Depot. Kohler -- nothing special. Tiles from Mission Tile. Hex tiles on the floor, subway tiles for wainscoting, and 4-inch square tiles surrounding the tub from the wainscoting to the ceiling.
The piece de resistance is the toilet. A Toto model which Jim claims is uncloggable. He researched it to the hilt, so he should know.

What you can't see in these photographs is the big mistake. The big mistake is that the plumbers put the tub in without centering it under the window. It kind of makes me long for a tub like the one Brooke has been hauling from house to house. It's a rare 6-foot model, where ours is the standard 5-footer. A 6-foot tub would have really made this bathroom sing.
But as it is, I can't complain. An oval mirror, a couple covers for the outlets, and we'll call this room DONE.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

America's Ugliest Door

Sure this door is ugly. But is it the ugliest door in America? I sure hope so! I entered our door in a contest called just that, the Ugliest Door in America contest, sponsored by Therma-Tru doors. The grand prize is ... you guessed it. A brand new door.

Today is the last day to enter, but they're accepting submissions through 11:59 p.m. (because midnight would, I guess, technicallly be tomorrow, generating untold confusion.)