I'm keeping a record, so:
Not so modest improvements begun. Very nice man in jeans, lovely shirt, came and made estimate for removing hedge, making two modest flower beds (silver ferns, daffodils). Discussed land: swamp on one side, rocky down back so beds go on one good side. Don't want all sorts of drains and stuff. Discussed turning screened porch into room. Carlos asks what did I have in mind? well, walls, windows, floors that sort of thing. Heat and air-conditioning to come out of ducts. Suddenly Admiral making difficulties, all becoming very complex. No it's not. Window in present room stays. I like window, looked at it for over 30 years. Doors to porch stay. Maybe clean, replace glass, paint: fix up. Then like the rest of house a window in each outer wall, since one will be big, then have 2 windows.Brick walls, wooden floors like rest of house again. No door from porch to outside. Admiral looks dubious. I ignore. Carlos pleased. Will send estimate for room later today. I admit there is one statement in all W's years I actually liked. I did not hear him say it, but was told he said "I am the decider." What's the use of being duchess if I don't get to decide and get the thing done. Realize unspoilt nature of house will be lost. Ah well. Sobeit. Carlos says an Occupy demonstration nearby. Hurrah! I say. Bad for traffic. so nuff for today.
House improvements resume, if not exactly apace. Signed contract with believable man. Will come, will really remove huge hedge with deep roots, put down gravel, plant grass, make flower beds. So back up to attic, ruthlessly emptying out shelves. Tell Admiral who agrees to stand at bottom of ladder and put stuff coming down in place. If any is his, and he wants it, he must be the one to re-shelve downstairs. Some Algebra books with Russian authors from Math Ph.D. spotted. Notice he pitches these too. Getting more ruthless with own stuff. Notice oddities in attic like vile pieces of cardboard stuck in places to keep out drafts and wonder if anyone ever lived up here. House 63 years old after all, & attic once held at its center in big frame a huge huge fan. Done for day.
House improvements (re-organizations) slow down. Cats decidedly adverse to up and down ladder; do not like footsteps in attic either. Last 2 days also became convinced should not pitch everything. Need to select. So 5 valuable folders on Henrietta St John Knight (Lady Luxborough) stay (project several years on hold to write a short biography and make a tiny etext edition of her poetry). Some teaching materials. Point is not simply to throw away but discover what's there! So inroads slighter for a while.
House improvements. Having decided yesterday what to pitch, what keep & put in attic, and what keep downstairs, I went great guns today for a full hour. Emptied half a top shelf, and most of a long bottom one downstairs, put up. Almost fell trying to save time. It's too much to ask not to heave-ho upstairs files down (& more ruined and/or obsolete books), so threw down ladder & into whatever bins there. Admiral does not like this: his law-abiding spirit against throwing so I proceeded alone. But then he wants to divide stuff into right colored bins so participated by beating me to the punch on the stuff that belongs in the blue bin. Did take one file downstairs. Cable company technician visits & reveals how horrible the people on the phone really are, what total shits, liars, thieves. Have to call gardening people too but will put off until tomorrow. Loathe this, beginning to become aware it was not the lack of money that stopped me all these years, or not altogether. Subside into reading now. Tired.