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Confessions of a closet decorator!

November 20, 2014

Finishing off the hall closet took a little longer than planned but eventually all the stuff in the spare room closet was moved to the hall so I could start on the last closet. Before starting on that there were a few diversions, like picture hanging. What should have been a simple exercise turned into a bit of a marathon mainly due to the utterly useless so-called masonry nails. They bend almost as soon as they are hit and only penetrate about 2mm into the wall. Consequently each hook requires a hole drilled with a hammer drill and then either filled with softer material or a plastic wall plug. Quite like old times except that back in the day the wall plug was a concoction of fibrous material (containing asbestos) that required wetting and moulding, inserting into the hole, piercing and then screwing into.

The next diversion was rewiring the main telephone socket which was an ancient GPO box with severely corroded terminals. I purchased a genuine BT Openreach terminal box and a second phone/ADSL outlet asI decided I needed the phone and router out of the lounge and into the spare room which is doing dual service as the office. First problem was the length of wire in the wall – about 1 ½” – making connection almost impossible. Then of course it broke off being old & brittle so I had to chisel out the wall and insert a small junction to lengthen it. Then I connected the new BT socket and tested the phone – great, it worked so I buried the junction and just left a cable coming out of the wall and temporarily hooked up the phone again.  All was good so when the plaster dried I mounted the BT box and tested again – still good. Then I ran a wire to a second phone outlet and from there to the office, all was working fine until I hooked up the computer to the router at which point the phone stopped working! It also stopped working in the other main outlet in the lounge!  There followed several hours over a few days in tracing all the connections and testing, with the net result that the phone would only work if the router was not plugged in to phone line but the internet would work regardless. Eventually (having dismantled everything at least twice) I found the router cable to the phone socket was faulty – replacing this fixed everything so it was all put back properly and connected up.

Back to work on the closet in the office which has sliding doors. Well in theory, but they were hanging on crookedly and gouging a groove in the carpet. By a strange twist of fate the sliding mechanism is identical to that used in our house in California so I knew how to fix them – or so I thought! First problem was I think they were fitted and the closet built round them as they would not lift off the tracks – normally tilting the bottom outward and lifting releases them but not these ones; they would not tilt far enough. So I had to remove the doors from the hanging runners and then remove the runners from the tracks. Some surgery to the trim around the closet took care of this problem but the doors still would not fit properly – I ended up cutting ¼” off the bottom and then all was OK. Next I made mounting spacers for the gun safe and drilled and filled the walls. I needed a new floor guide and found one on eBay for a couple of pounds but it is being sent from the US. Anyway after a few coats of paint, fitting a new piece of carpet and mounting the gun safe I was ready to paint the doors. At which point disaster struck. A wheel came of the small trolley I was using, a new tin of paint fell and of course the lid came off and spilt paint all over the closet floor – oil-based paint naturally! I scooped most of it up back into the tin then demounted the gun safe and removed the new piece of carpet I had fitted. I also had to cut away another bit right to the edge of the closet so now I will need a carpet gripper and joiner to manage the join properly. I don’t know how this will work with the new floor guide so I will have to wait until it arrives to experiment.

Eventually I did get the doors painted, the smell and fumes from this paint are quite overpowering and I suspect that I will switch back to water-based paint when this job is done – which is a pity because the oil-based covers better and is a much better finish. To cap it all off, I got a note from ParcelForce saying a package from the USA had arrived and if I would simply pay the customs charges of ₤17.86 they would deliver it. Imagine my surprise when they said they had two packages from the US neither of which is the floor guide. One was an item I had ordered some time back but the other was a surprise gift from a very dear friend. All three US items arrived on Thursday and the gift turned out to be a handmade cross stitch picture of an old English cottage – brilliant!

Anyway, enough work for a while, we are off to Layham to spend a few days with our old neighbours and I will be going to Edgware on the Saturday for a Youth Club reunion – looking forward to meeting up with some friends from a long time ago!

David & June

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