after waking up at 10am and eating some leftover kentucky fried chicken, i headed over to the house with my father to strip away 100 year old paint armed with nothing more than a heat gun and a metal scraper. if you've never stripped paint before with a heat gun, you don't know what you're missing. the heat gun is like a mini hair dryer, except you'd never want to hold this device close to your head unless you like the smell of burning hair. you basically point it at the painted area you want to strip, wait for the paint to bubble, and then use the scraper to push off the paint. it's very easy if it weren't for the smell as you cook the paint. in our case, the aroma of 100 years of home improvement, which smells like burnt plastic mixed with paint varnish. we didn't wear masks but we should've, who knows what kind of poisonous fumes we breathed in today. i can still smell the stench on my hands even though i must've washed them 20 times since this afternoon. when the paint comes off like a strip of bacon, it's also quite hot and we have to quickly peel it off of the scraper otherwise it hardens and can't easily be removed. all this stripping was very educational because we could actually see what other colors the house was painted before, as each successive owner applied his or her own paint color over the previous layer. although the paint is white today, at one point it was brown, then tan, another time green, and the earliest color (the layer that's all the way down at the bottom of everything before we see original wood) was a light creme color. fortunately, we only have to scrape the door frames, doors, and windows. unfortunately, there are at least 6 doorways, 11 windows, and 3 doors that need work, and despite all the effort, we weren't even able to get one door frame done today. i heard there might be such a thing as fast acting paint remover in the form of a citric smelling gel, i might have to give that a try.

zuka and his crew did a great job friday night. besides adding baseboards and trims to anywhere that needed it (including the perimeter of the kitchen walls), they also caulked the seams, including the bathroom. they added a lock to the new coat closet's door and stripped off the striped wallpaper that was in the foyer. before they left, they vacuumed as well.

i brought over my cicada/bee lamp today. that item is special because it was the very first thing that i made a conscious decision to buy just for the new place. purchased in provincetown, i still haven't tried it out yet, even though an unlit scented tea candle sits inside its metallic exoskeleton.

i hooked up the new linksys router. the setup was effortless with the one exception of my handcrafted ethernet cable, which didn't want to fit into the ibook's ethernet port. everytime i make an ethernet cable, i think about the first week that i was working at screen house, where they taught me how to make these cables. right then and there i fell in love with the company. anyway, eventually i switched cables (that's what you get when evolution has blessed me with a bigger brain) and everything worked. not sure yet how to set up a single machine to be a server, but i'll figure it out in time. bigger brain, remember?

and the last thing my father and i did at the house was to finally figure out where to put the recessed lights in the kitchen, and which switches they'd be controlled by. we used pink post-it notes as placeholders for where the lights would be. there was a lot of climbing up and down the ladder and repositioning the pink markers. we also tried to simulate a recessed light through the use of a lamp attached to an extension cord. finally we figured out there'd be a total of 9 lights controlled by 3 switches, 6 baffles, 3 eyeballs, all arranged in a nice grid pattern. (potential bad news though, talking with an electrician, my father was informed that there might be a possibility i can't have recessed lighting because the housings might be too close to my upstair's neighbor's floors, which means he might have spots on the ground where it'd be warm from my lights downstairs. stay tuned for further details.)

finally, spent two hours at the watertown home depot where the highlight of the trip was buying a 24"x36" stanley bathroom mirror (it's called a vanity mirror). i've been buying a lot of mirrors recently, and really big ones no less. we also got another heat gun, so father and son can do tandem paint stripping in the new house.