Rendered Fat Content



George Julius Poulett Scrope: Artist's impression of the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD 79, depicting what that eruption may have looked like. Lightning is depicted around the rising column of ash and gas. This eruption produced massive volumes of pumice.(1822)

"We could always use the wishes coming true."

We are not so much remodeling the Villa Vatta, but Repurposing it. I learned from a note scribbled on the back of some wall-to-wall carpet I removed that the middle upstairs bedroom had at one time been referred to as "the girls' room." Carpet replaced with vinyl planking, that room will proceed to fulfill another role in our lives. The kitchen, once a testament to misplaced mid-century modern design seems more timeless since we repurposed it three years ago. The dining room will remain the dining room after repainting, reflooring, and replacing light fixture and crown moulding, but it should appear a bit more formal than it did when carpeted. Along the way, various items find new purposes. A door, for instance, is no longer just the door it was, once I've contributed a little sweat equity into refinishing it. It becomes a work of art, an expression of adoration, infused with fresh meaning for me and this little rag tag family.

Kurt Our Painter mentioned earlier on that in the old days—he's a living bridge between the way it used to be and how its become, just like everyone our age—painters refinishing doors and anything with small mouldings used a piece of pumice to sand those fine surfaces smooth.
He explained that the stone, being extremely soft and gritty, would quickly conform to the shape of the moulding, allowing even pressure to be applied along the length of the detail. This struck me as brilliant Repurposing. I set my head to find myself some pumice so that I could try out this old timer's trick. I found a piece of pumice in a foot manicure set at a local drug store and even paid eight bucks, receiving a bunch of tools and gizmos which I passed on to The Muse. I slipped my piece of pumice out to my workbench in the garage.

I later noticed, when perusing The Home Despot's site, that they carried small pumice sticks which people bought to scrape away mineral deposits on swimming pool tile and to scour out stained toilets. These sticks seemed properly sized for door refinishing. I bought a half dozen and set to work. Not only did the pumice work, it worked as if sanding door detail was its right and proper purpose. The stone disintegrated as it conformed to the detail shape. It sanded uniformly. It even left behind a satisfying grit which I could use to roughen up the door's painted flat surfaces to prepare them for priming. It was the perfect tool. I used up one stick sanding just one side of that door, so I calculated how many I might need to finish off the whole shebang. After work that evening, I slipped over to The Despot and walked out with dozens of them sticks. I felt as though I was channeling clever ancestors.

Having recently moved back into The Villa, I noticed as we were prepping and painting that we have a distinct lack of empty containers suitable for Repurposing to hold partially used paint thinner and similar stuff. I had considered heading over to the ranch supply to buy empty mayonnaise jars or something because we were experiencing a definite lack of raw materials for Repurposing, to the point that this shortage threatened our larger purpose. Repurposing seems a definite and necessary ingredient of any significant change such that considerable old stuff remains after the change, but it gets used for different purposes. I'm reasonably certain that our tumble-down garage was once a stable and that the side yard sinkhole for which I had fabricated a steel manhole cover was once upon a time a privy. I'd used it for a handy place to stuff lawn clippings until we decided it might be dangerous and repurposed it into a conversation piece. If I was handier, I might have built a faux wishing well over it. We could always use the wishes coming true.


Friday at last! I didn't mean that, for my weekdays lately have not been filled with regrettable work, but satisfying discoveries and repurposing. When The Muse thought of using an awl for removing tiny carpet staples, she carried that aura of inventiveness only true geniuses ever show. Repurposing might be the highest form of invention, better even than from scratch construction. I use a pair of wire fencing pliers as a bottle opener and feel terribly clever for doing so. Our reinventions perhaps best exemplify us. We're huge mason canning jar users. We sometimes even use them for canning. Since we started this grand Repurposing, it's been Thank God It's Monday. Fridays feel more like the end of the party than the start of one right now.

My writing week began as it ended, with
Paint prominent in my thoughts. (Am I writing too much about our repurposing remodeling work?) "It's apparently never too late to try again to get closer to the ideal you'll never achieve."

I next described how I manage to manage with the iconic memory of a flea in
AttentionSpanning "The Rationalists would insist that we're flying by the seat of our pants. I might counter that we're flying pantsless."

I next told what I hoped would be the final story of my transition from nicotine addict to unaddicted in
Blowin'ItUp. I'm pleased to report that my newly-acquired non-addiction seems to be working! "Our attempts at betterment make things worse before they get better."

I next discussed what I think in means to be an expert at NOT being an expert, my primary mode of operating, in
Experteazing. "I do not want flawless execution, I want The Warts And All Special, and by God, I get it!"

I then attempted to determine if a change had occurred, if this was how it felt to find myself on an
OtherSide. Significant changes seem to just work better when the expected process falls into pieces. "I first felt betrayed, then cheated, before finally feeling blessed that fate had left me no recourse."

I told the story of how I've been haunting—preincarnating?—this place with evidence of my presence in
Haunting, the week's most popular posting. "I'm signing my name on the backs of boards and the bottoms of doors I've refinished because I want to leave explicit mention of this refurbishing and my humble role in it."

I ended my writing week speaking of insignificant increments, the means by which all change and progress manifests in
Insignificants. "We engage almost exclusively in humble, humbling work."

How should I summarize this writing week? Let me just say that I was Repurposing, learning different if not necessarily learning permanently. It's difficult to say where any of this might be going though we're well on our way, with both this writing and the Repurposing of this place, this once and future house and home which currently seems like a gritty under construction zone. I dare not tread barefoot for now. Delivery delays emerged this week which will probably stretch this Repurposing beyond the autumnal equinox. Certainly some window hardware won't arrive until almost Thanksgiving. Tony at the glass shop reported glass shortages. Kirk the Flooring Guy says our second floor planking's backordered and not yet even in this country. He's hopeful it might arrive by mid-September. My purpose seems continuously emergent, subtly Repurposing into something different than I first expected. Thanks for following along!

©2021 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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