Wednesday January 5th, 2011

The exercise:

The prompt today: boarded up.

I wasn't feeling very well today, so I didn't get anything done around the house. I think my body was telling me I needed to rest, so I did.

Life doesn't always have to be complicated.


Once again, only one before picture of the living room. But it's okay this time, as Kat (without realizing it, since we didn't look at the before pictures until we had moved in) had the same pose in an after shot. Here's what we started with:

Yeah, the sawhorse was in the living room. It's sitting out front still, as I'm not quite done with it (along with an impressive pile of garbage that needs to go to the dump). The coffee tin on the ceiling is blocking the stove pipe, so that dirt and... I don't know, wild animals, wouldn't get in. That's the bathroom door you see leaning against the right wall in the background.

Our initial intention was just to paint the wood on the ceiling, but later we decided to step things up a notch. Here we go:

See? Same pose. This time with her painting pants on. Here's a better look at the ceiling:

The problem with just painting it was that there were cracks between all the boards. We could have just filled them, but that was proving to be a pain (the filler kept falling out before it set). So we decided to put baseboards over the cracks and make it look pretty.

It was a lot of work but I think it's totally worth it. Here's the finished (for now) project:

What's new: the flooring, paint on the walls and ceiling, baseboards, the used fireplace we bought, the window, the light fixture, and the baseboards on the ceiling.

What's old: well, the fireplace is technically old I suppose.

What's left to do: a curtain rod above the window and the fireplace needs a fresh coat of paint, but we need it to be off in order to do that. And it's way too cold out to not have the fireplace going. Also: a bookshelf is likely in the near future.

Tomorrow we end with the kitchen. And at some later point I'll have to take more pictures once we have stuff on the walls (both art and shelving) and we've basically settled in.


Greg said...

Wow, that living room has undergone a serious transformation! It looks so inviting and warm now; all I think when I see the before picture is that it looks like a good space to do something with. Which you've done nicely!

Boarded up
Wretched builders, thought King Hatsuphet. He was getting grumpy now, having spent the last twenty minutes trying, and failing, to find the secret door that was supposed to be in one of the walls. You promise not to kill their families if they do a good job, and they still get it wrong. He eyed the walls speculatively.
Although... something was wrong with the tomb too, he was sure that he'd specified brick, and that it should have been quite a lot smaller. This felt like... well, storage for want of a better word.
Never mind. He was awake now, and he had places he wanted to go to, and quite possibly an afterlife to conquer. He set off, lumbering at the wall at a credible pace for a mummy that had woken up just thirty minutes earlier, and crashed through in a clatter of broken boards and plaster-dust.
The workmen on the other side, who had been tasked with boarding up the entrance to the store room and then cutting a new one from the other side, stared in horror as the mummy lurched towards them.

Watermark said...

Marc: Amazing transformation!! I absolutely love the ceiling - great work with the boards :)

Greg: Yikes!! I wouldn't want to have been one of those workmen :)

Here's mine:

Boarded up

The taxi drove down the long dirt track. I could feel the pebbles beneath the car’s tyres being crushed further into the ground, a testament to the fact that they were here to stay. I looked outside the window at the strip of land that used to be our old driveway. When we finally reached the location where our old house still stood, I could see that the windows were all boarded up. The taxi’s engine whirred silently as the driver pulled at the handbrake and waited. I stepped out of the car and tried to take a mental snapshot of the place where I grew up. The house had been deserted for years and this would be the last time that I would see our old house again. In a few days the house would be knocked down and the place would be part of the nearby nature reserve. That was my one and only true consolation as I said my final goodbye.

Zhongming said...

Heather - thanks for your comment. I really appreciate that. :) *Smiles at my OMW*

Marc - I can't believe you did most of the transformation of your own house. If you never mention, I’ll be most likely under the impression of the fine work of a perfectly hired contractor. I think Kat has an amazing big smile and she looks cool on the photograph! Great work! :)

Greg - I always feel that your writing has some sort of mysterious feeling to it. And today it's no surprise that it shows up again. Cool stuff! :)

Watermark - was that a true story? Anyway, i think i can relate to that feeling of yours, well written! :)


Boarded up (Continuation from the snowy woods)

Memo of day eleven, 8:20am Saturday, 30th Jan 2000.

This time round, the airplane makes no mistake in transporting me over to the snowy woods. I boarded up the helicopter since ten hours ago. And it saw the fast moving helicopter headed safely to the ground. The safety officer Mike got up and releases the door with a strong push while the propeller is still rotating at a speed that is strong enough to blow off the icy snow.

My butt feels numb after sitting for nearly ten hours as Mike offer his hands to my service. I smiled and straighten my arms to accept his support as I get up from the seat slowly. I walk down the rope stairs and then finally arrive at the destination!

It was a tough decision to come back again. I know that it’s between life and death and that I might not go back home in one piece. Yet the guilt is what drives me on. Anyway, I’ve written my will in black and white about what I’ll want to do if something really happens to me...

Without further I’ll do, I took out Ronnie’s letter from my waist pouch. I read the letter once again in hope that I’ll get the most hints out of it. Then I stare at it for awhile and found some strange stains on it. So I flip the letter over and face the sun and to my amazement a “map of skull head” shows up. It even has mandatory hints about how to get to the place.

I imagine that it could be a trap or the place where they hide Ronnie. I decided to take a risk even though I am quite reluctant to the idea at first. In order to force myself to move on, I recited the mantra of “no pain no gain” in my own mind. I tell myself that it could be the only chance to free Ronnie from the sufferings.

*The first hint from “map of skull head”

"If you wish to discover my whereabouts, walk through the surface of great amplitude and humidity. You’ll have to find a pearl of amulet in the throne before the great map of empire will be revealed to you.”

morganna said...

What a change in the living room, Marc! It looks great!

If you're interested, I expanded the poem from Monday (mainly working from the last line) into a full-fledged cascade poem and posted it on my blog:

Today's response:
The old house sits, boarded up. It has been many years since the woman made pies in the warm kitchen and the children ran in and out, bringing their mother wildflower bouquets.

The woods are much closer now, leaning down towards the roof and taking over the old vegetable garden.

The man pauses at the property's edge, leaning on the remains of the old fence. He smiles, remembering. It's been too many years since he was last here. Perhaps he should make some changes.

summerfield said...

love that ceiling, marc! can't wait for the kitchen! what transformation that house went through. wonderful.

boarded up

Kalan ’s jaw drops in surprise and confusion at seeing Father Richard, or whoever it is that looks like the dead priest, as he hugs in greeting the figure in heavy coat. They stand in the middle of the yard talking, their boots buried knee-deep in the snow, the snowy woods in the background. He sees Father Richard glance towards him at the window, doffs his hat, smiles and waves. He completely forgets about the door behind him that has opened. He tries to lift the levers of the window when he hears a click and he feels the cold touch of the barrel of a gun against the back of his neck.

“No, you’re not going to do that, my boy.” It is the white-haired woman.

As Kalan turns around, he finds two huge men looming over him and quickly hold him by the arm. He tries to fend them off without success.

“What the f*** do you want from me? Who the f*** are you?”

“Just call me Mrs. Doubtfire, my boy.” Mrs. Doubtfire smiles and Kalan realizes that indeed the white-haired woman is the spitting image of the movie character.

Presently, Father Richard and the figure in heavy coat enter the room.

"Lose your gun, Patty," Father Richard says smiling. "The boy's harmless when he's unarmed."

"Stop calling me 'boy', you idiots!" and Kalan pushes Mrs. Doubtfire, or Patty, before the large hand of one of the men could grab him by his neck.

Father Richard waves the man off and motions for everyone to leave, as he settles on an armchair covered with a heavy tarp. He lights a cigarette and blows smoke circles towards where Kalan stands.

"Who the f*** are you?" Kalan asks.

"I'm Father Richard, Kalan. Don't you recognize me?"

Kalan bobs his head, in disgust. He knows this guy is a fake. He knows Father Richard. He has known him for as long as he can remember. He knows the lines on his face, and of course, he has, or had, a birthmark which this guy doesn't have.

Kalan turns towards the door in an attempt to leave. Father Richard holds his right arm up, palm facing Kalan.

'Yup,' Kalan thinks, 'he's a fake!'

And as Kalan walks back towards the man who claims he is Father Richard, the incident at the boarded up brick house in Cabbagetown comes back to him. Now he is positive. Father Richard is dead and this man is stepping in to walk in the dead priest's shoes.

Marc said...

Greg - haha, I rather like this mummy fellow. Will we be hearing more from him?

Watermark - thanks!

I like that it's being knocked down to become part of the reserve - I was expecting a mall parking lot or something :P

Zhongming - thanks very much, we worked really hard to get it that way :)

I like where your story is heading. Keep it going!

Morganna - wonderful descriptions, I could picture it perfectly.

And I'm very excited to see what you've done with the poem! I shall be over there momentarily.

Summerfield - a fake! An imposter! Love it. I'm eager to see where you take this next :)