1902 Victorian

Bringing our old house out of the disco era and back into the Victorian.

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Monday, February 19, 2007


I switched to Wordpress and moved to www.1902victorian.com/blog. Thanks for sticking with me! :)

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Recipe for Painted Walls

2 scrapers
1/2 can of Bondo
Palm sander
6 sheets green extra-strong sandpaper from 3M
9 tubes of caulk
2 3/4-inch nap rollers
2 cans of primer
1 can of paint, Benjamin Moore "Mauve Desert"

Use scrapers to remove loose paint. Bondo the many cracks and nail holes, taking breaks between each smelly, awful batch to gasp for fresh air in the hallway. After it's all dry and the scraping is all done (this will take approximately three eternities), sand with palm sander, using extra-strong green sandpaper.

Sweep floor and wipe down walls. Prime first coat with a worn-out old roller that you will later realize is wasting time and must be trashed. Now you will see the multitude of cracks between the beaded boards. When it dries, sand and half-heartedly wipe down again.

Apply 9 tubes of caulk to said cracks until finger gets a strawberry and/or gets stuck with a splinter and bleeds on the wall. This will take approximately one eternity.

Give the caulk time to dry - a day, a week, a year, whatever works for you. Apply second, much thicker coat of primer with new 3/4-inch nap roller. Rolling sideways helps get the paint in the grooves of the horizontal beadboard.

Forego the sanding because you are so tired of looking at and touching sandpaper and your fingers feel worn down to nubs. Realize that the one gallon of paint the paint store lady recommended will not make it through two coats of paint. Decide to paint the first coat on thick, so maybe you'll only have to touch up a few spots.

Hesitate before painting because the newly caulked and primed walls look so fresh and bright white it seems a shame to cover them. Paint anyway, while listening to Backtrax '90s on the busted-up radio/cassette player you've had since second grade. Argue with spouse over whether paint gets darker or lighter when dry. As the paint dries darker, smugly point out that you were right.

Paint your initials on the wall to make up.

When the painting is finished, stand back and see that it is darker than you expected and grayer and purpler. But it will do because you are tired of thinking about it, and it will look better once the baseboards are installed, and it will look better once the trim is painted Glacier White, and it will mostly be covered with massive times-three shower curtains and sinks and towel racks and medicine cabinets.

And the final step: Show off to neighbors and blog readers.

More painting photos

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Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Hoot's Happy Ending

When I got home from dance lessons last night, I changed into pj's, donned my hoodie - zipped to the chin, hood up - and ventured out into the cold to take Millie for her walk.

We began our usual circuit - down the back steps, between the posts of the half-finished fence, stop for pee break (her, not me), then around the corner of the porch to the front yard. In the evenings, I usually get the mail before circling around to the other side of the house, where Millie often poops near the holly tree.

Last night when I approached the mailbox from our sidewalk, I saw a dog across the street. I reined Millie in and fell silent, hoping not to encourage it to cross the road, fearing it might start a confrontation with my pooch or get hit by a car on his way across.

The dog came on over anyway. He gave Millie a cursory sniff and headed right for me, where he moved in quick for the kill - a doggy grin and a handshake to introduce himself. He was mellow and friendly, just the sort of dog I love to meet.

I'd never seen this dog before, but my first thought was that it might belong to my part-time neighbor Denise. He was an Australian Shepherd, and I thought I'd heard her say she had one. Maybe he had escaped out the door or wandered off earlier in the day.

So I cinched up on Millie's leash, and away we went through the dark past the tennis court and beyond.

I admit I was a little nervous, out there in the cold, in the dark. But Eutaw is a tiny town, and there wasn't a soul to be seen on foot or in vehicle. And I had two dogs for protection.

But as I got to Denise's house, I saw she wasn't there. And then it dawned on me that Denise's dog was a girl, and this one kept hiking its leg to pee on tufts of grass and clumps of leaves - a very boy behavior.

By now the dog was wandering off through the neighbors' yards, so I headed home, hoping he would do the same. But when we paused at the corner, he caught up with us again and sidled up to me. In the pool of light from the streetlamp, I pushed back the thick fur on his neck to look for a name or contact information.

On a bright orange collar written in black were the word "Hoot" and a phone number.

"Go home, Hoot," I tried, but he followed us back across the street into our yard.

Millie and I finished the circuit, and as I headed for the back steps, Hoot came, too.

"No, no," I said at the door. "Go on home."

I admit my tone of voice wasn't very authoritative. Understandably, Hoot didn't listen.

But I figured he would leave once we were inside. I've had dogs try to squeeze into my house before; I even had a pair of Labrador Retrievers climb into my car with me at a yard sale. But if they have a home to go to, they eventually just go.

Not Hoot, though. He stared at me through the glass of the back door, his eyebrows knitted together and ears pricked. Puh-puh-puh-please, his brown eyes said.

Millie joined in with a whine. "Let him in, Ma! It's cold out there!"

The thermostat read 38 degrees.

But I turned away. "If we leave the hallway, if he can't see us," I told Millie, "he'll go on home."

And when I peeked my head back into the hallway a few minutes later, he was gone. I relaxed a little, though my tense stomach told me all was not well.

Then Hoot came back. This happened several more times, and I started worrying about him in earnest. This was not normal behavior for a dog who so obviously had a family.

Finally, I decided to call the number on his collar, though it was 10 p.m. and I was afraid of disturbing someone's sleep. All I got was voicemail, so I left a message.

But I wasn't satisfied. So I called an expert - my sister. Resisting a possibly lost, lonely dog is even harder for her than it is for me.

She agreed with me that he sounded lost, especially when I told her his fur was caked with mud. He was obviously a house dog, since he seemed so convinced he needed to come in my house.

But I was afraid to bring him inside in case he really did belong to someone and might wander home at any moment.

Finally, I spread a towel out in the sheltered corner of the stoop and brought him a bowl of water and a jerkey strip. The next time I came to check, he was curled up on the towel.

Now I was convinced he was lost, so I called the number again and left a second message updating the owner on the situation. I told him he could call any time, but I didn't hear from him all night.

I went to bed with a heart full of worry for poor, sweet Hoot.

So when the phone rang at 5:33, he was my first thought. I sat bolt upright, instantly wide awake.

It was his shocked and happy owner, who said Hoot had disappeared Sunday afternoon. The puppy he was with had returned, and when Hoot was missing two nights in a row, they'd feared the worst.

I told him Hoot was on the back porch and I would bring him inside to make sure he stayed put until they could come get him.

Before we hung up the phone, I had to ask, "Where are you?"

"Boligee," he said.

"I'm in Eutaw!" I answered.

And we both marveled over how - and why - Hoot made it 11 miles from his house to mine.

After we hung up, I brought in Hootie, fed him some of Millie's food and shut him inside the bathroom for the cats' protection, just in case, though he'd shown no signs of hostility at all.

When a family friend came to pick him up an hour later, I was a little disappointed. I was hoping to witness the joyful reunion of dog and family, the doggy kisses and those brown eyes winking with satisfaction.

Still, I am filled up with joy for this small, miraculous thing. What if Hoot and I hadn't met on the sidewalk last night? What if we'd missed each other by moments, and he was gone, left to wander another 11 miles, or worse?

I couldn't be happier if I'd invented a teleporter. How precious to almost lose something and then get it back.

*In memory of Sophie and Toby, who were lost and never found.*

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Friday, February 02, 2007

Let's See if This Works

It appears the problem was with each individual post having no .html extension. Okay, I may have fixed it for future posts, though I'll have to fix the old ones individually ... or else they're impossible to fix.

Work, blog, work!

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Help - I Need Somebo-o-ody

I've heard from several readers that my blog has been acting up in Firefox. People have had trouble opening my posts on Houseblogs.net and commenting. I downloaded Firefox myself and checked it out - yes, this problem is terribly annoying, and I apologize! I wondered why my comments have slowed to a trickle recently, though I blamed it on my conversion to Blogger Beta last month.

I think the problem does have something to do with Blogger Beta and Yahoo (my site host) not cooperating fully. I've been trying to get some help from Yahoo on this, but my e-mails to their various help departments keep coming back undeliverable.

When I finally got through, I received a response detailing all the steps to correct problems with publishing via FTP from FrontPage. I don't use FrontPage and didn't mention FrontPage in my e-mail.


Why can't the help department just HELP me?

I'm hoping to resolve this in the near future. In the mean time, if you are having trouble with the site, try viewing it using Internet Explorer. I know that's a lot to ask considering most Firefox users are rabid haters of IE. If you simply cannot do that, I understand. Just please keep checking, and come on back when it gets fixed!

Here's what I wrote to Yahoo, in case any of you web geniuses out there see a magic solution:

I switched to the new version of Blogger a few weeks ago, and ever since I've been having trouble connecting via FTP with my Yahoo! domain, 1902victorian.com. (My blog goes to the address 1902victorian.com/diary.html) I get error messages such as:

"server: ftp.1902victorian.com, username: kissyplusr@1902victorian.com, reason: 530-Your FTP session could not be opened. 530-If you continue to have problems, please visit: 530- http://help.yahoo.com/help/us/webhosting/gftp/ 530"

and I think a 550 error message.

My ftp address, user name and password are all correct. Eventually, it will
publish more-or-less correctly.

But then I have a second problem. I've been told by several of my blog readers who are Firefox users that the site pops up this message when they try to comment or open individual pages/posts:

"You have chosen to open this-is-my-crude-drawing-of-bookshelf which is a: application/octet-stream from http://1902victorian.com. Would you like to save this file?"

Mozilla says this is a "misconfigured file server":

"Sometimes a misconfigured web server will send a file with an inappropriate
MIME type and, instead of the file automatically opening with the browser
plugin, an "Opening" dialog box will appear, asking you to either save the
file or open it with a chosen external application. This may happen with .wmv
(Windows Media Video) files sent as "text/plain" instead of the correct "video/x-ms-wmv" MIME type (see bug 250914, probably related to the fix for bug 220807, outlined
here). A Google Groups search shows that this can also occur when downloading .swf (Shockwave Flash) files and, most likely, other types of files for which a plugin is installed, when the inappropriate "text/plain" MIME type is sent. A similar issue can occur with the "application/octet-stream" MIME type [2]. (Note that the
MIME type of the file being downloaded will appear in the Mozilla Suite and SeaMonkey "Opening" dialog box, but not in Firefox.) If the problem occurs
with some downloads of a particular type file but not others, it is likely
that the web server is misconfigured; unfortunately there is nothing you can
do in such cases except to contact the website about the problem.

Advanced users can use the Live HTTP Headers to detect the MIME type being

That sounds about right, hence this e-mail to you at Yahoo!

Can you tell me what's up with these problems? If it's something on my end,
please let me know so I can fix it. If it's something on yours, please fix it
for me.

In a search for application/octet-stream, I found a blog post saying your site's Content-type needs to match what it is (in this case text/html - not application/octet-stream), but then I checked my site, and it DOES say text/html.

The same post tells me application/octet-stream is an http specification that means "force a download."

So where's the application/octet-stream crap coming from?

Okay, I'm off now to seek out answers.

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Thursday, February 01, 2007

Express Yourself

How did I get on the mailing list for this catalog?

I don't have much need for a book titled Caramel Flava.