Putting the Bedroom Back Together

So, you might have heard that we had an election here in these United States. And now it’s a month later, and I still don’t know how to compose a sentence to follow that one.

As you can probably imagine, the result of said election was the opposite of what I wanted. Incidentally it was also the opposite of what the majority of voting Americans wanted, but unlike every other modern democracy on earth, we leave the election for the highest office in the land to a severely outmoded system wherein the loser can still win and…well, it sucks. And I’m not going to be ashamed to admit that it’s been really, really tough. There are so many people who are likely to experience much, much more severe ramifications to their lives and rights than I am as a result of this election, but that doesn’t exactly make it easier when those people are my friends, family, and neighbors. Watching the transition unfold over the past few weeks has been horrific, and it’s just the beginning. Is it even the beginning yet? So many people are so afraid. I’m so afraid. The whole thing has cast such a heavy shadow over…everything.

Whichever side of the aisle you fall on, we’re taught to meet this kind of challenge with action instead of resignation. We’re told to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps and keep fighting for what’s right, and retool the tragedy of our defeat into motivation to be better—better activists, better volunteers, better donors, better Americans. And that’s very useful and pragmatic advice, because shutting down and wallowing doesn’t actually accomplish anything except for maybe providing some passing relief from feeling horrible about everything. Right?

That doesn’t mean I don’t want to shut down and wallow, though. Not all the time, and not for the next four years, and not at the expense of trying to do what I can to affect positive change moving forward, but you know what? Sometimes, you just need to do what you need to do to get yourself through. Sometimes, it’s OK to disconnect, curl up, and—in the words of one commenter on this blog—make yourself into a blanket burrito. This is, at least, what I’ve been telling myself to manage my guilt about my relative lack of action over the past month. When overnight you feel you’ve become a stranger in your own country, when previously-settled battles for your own rights and the rights of those you love are suddenly reignited, and enormous hurdles are erected in front of so many things that had long felt attainable, I think Blanket Burrito Time serves its own kind of function. To reflect, regroup, get your bearings, and gather your strength. To put things in context and perspective. To allow yourself to feel whatever it is you need to feel, because relentlessly trying to push away panic and distress and sadness is also not the most effective strategy for dealing with panic and distress and sadness. Being silent is not the same thing as being silenced.

It might sound like I’m reaching here, but even renovating my own house has taken on a new kind of…vibe. With a long-term, labor-intensive and expensive project like my house, I’ve always found it motivating to keep some kind of picture in my mind of what living here will be like when much of the major work is completed. I don’t really think in elaborate fantasies—they’re more like snapshots. Hosting Thanksgiving dinner in my dining room. Making breakfast on Saturday mornings in my renovated kitchen. Hosting a damn garden party and picking perfect little tomatoes off the vine. Showing a houseguest into a bedroom that I don’t have to apologize for.

I’ve realized that central to all of these someday-snapshots is the presence of other people. Entertaining friends. Hosting family. Welcoming strangers. Right now, though, all I really want is a space for me. I still want those other things, too, but blanket burrito-ing surrounded by construction mess sucks. It feels extra sad. I want a bedroom. I want to go to sleep and wake up in a space that feels safe and clean and warm and cozy and nice, which isn’t really something I’ve ever had in this house and hasn’t before felt like such a huge priority. Now it does. So I’ve been trying to really make it happen!


You might recall that my bedroom looked like THIS a couple of months ago, having gotten pretty torn apart during the whole side-of-house-restoration-project. The plan for this room pretty much started and ended with adding another window, but then I got a little more than I bargained for in losing a whole wall of plaster. I’ve had to focus a lot of time on trying to wrap the exterior project up, but otherwise I’ve been in here as much as possible. My plan, sad as it was, was to just hang some sheetrock and move my furniture back in and keep living in this room as a utilitarian, un-renovated space while I worked in other areas of the house, but that was before having a nice setting for Blanket Burrito Time felt like such a big deal. I kept sort of adding things to the list until—whoops! I’m just renovating the whole room.


Of course, nothing is ever easy! One thing I didn’t really account for in adding the fourth window is that the panel molding under the windows doesn’t come as far out into the room as the baseboard that used to be on this wall. I’m not sure why this seems like such a hard thing to explain, but basically if I had left the flooring as-is, I would have had a large gap between the end of the floorboards and the window moldings, and that would not be nice.

The easiest solution to this would have been ripping off the ends of the boards in the area in question to create a clean line, and then putting another floor board in perpendicular to the rest of the flooring, just to fill the gap. It would have been fine but it also would have been an obvious patch, and the whole point is to have this window not look like it was added in 2016! Feathering in boards is much more time-consuming, but once these floors are eventually refinished, it should be pretty seamless.

(I also kinda-sorta considered just removing all the flooring, which definitely isn’t original to the house, and going down to the original wide-plank pine subfloor, but that seemed insane? This glimpse of the pine subfloor is beautiful but the wood is also pretty soft, damaged from the second layer of flooring, has wide gaps between the boards that collect dust and crap…the more modern hardwood is one of the few “upgrades” to my house that I’m actually totally thankful for and OK with, even though it all needs to be refinished down the line.)

The span between the outer edges of the window casings is almost four feet, so that’s the area of flooring I had to extend so the boards would run right up to the wall and under the casing. I’ve had to feather in new floorboards in other areas of the house where radiator pipes used to be and stuff, and I think the most effective tool is an oscillating tool fitted with a wood blade (I have this one, highly recommend!). It’s made specifically for plunge cuts, so I start by making the short cut across the board, following a pencil line, and then the longer cut down the length of the board’s edge, cutting through the tongue. From there it’s fairly easy to pry a floorboard up. I particularly like the oscillating saw because the blade is thin enough that the removed board can still be reinstalled—using a circular saw, you’d lose 1/8″ off the width of the board from the saw blade. I just eyeball where the new butt joints should land—the goal is to keep the new cuts looking random and staggered.


Once I had all my cuts made and boards removed, I took the nails out and lined up all the removed boards in order of height. That way, I could more efficiently re-install them in new locations by selecting the shortest board possible to finish off each run. This way, my only waste was a small pile of off-cuts that were typically a couple inches long or less. With the tongues removed, it’s generally pretty easy to finagle the boards into place and secure them by face-nailing a few 2″ finish nails on each board. Boom! I think I only needed two boards for the longest runs, which I sourced from a bucket in my basement.


Once the floor was all put back together, I began working on the casing! IT. TOOK. A. LONG. TIME. If you scroll up to the first photo in this post and look at the original casing, you can see that it’s fairly elaborate. To my knowledge exactly none of the components are widely available (although it’s possible I could have found decent matches at a millwork place with a large catalog, but $$$), so I got pretty friendly with my router and table saw!

This isn’t my first rodeo trimming out a window or having to get a little creative to produce a period-style molding, but prior attempts have been in places like the laundry room where I was aiming to get close to the profiles of the remaining original moldings in the adjacent kitchen. In a space like that you can be a little more lenient, but since this new window is in a room with three original windows and three original doors, all with their moldings intact, I was aiming for perfection. Otherwise it would look amateurish and stupid and make me so angry. We’d all be so disappointed and sad and I could never show my face again.


Here you can get a sense of how the patched in flooring turned out, by the way.

Just to make trying to reverse-engineer a complicated antique molding extra special and fun, the window itself is slightly different than the originals and so is the framing supporting its installation. For instance, the new window sashes slide up and down on a modern balance system, so there aren’t any stop moldings to keep the sashes on track. The stops are pretty integral to the overall look of my moldings, though, so I had to make some purely decorative ones to tack on in front of the plastic balance system.


That panel part under the window was especially difficult, because there was framing in the way of making the panel as recessed as it’s supposed to be. To compensate, I kind of framed out a miniature wall and used a super thin piece of plywood for the backing, and then had to create some large rabbets in the surrounding molding to fit over the framing but still be appropriately recessed and level and plumb.


I realize this really neither instructive nor easy to understand what the hell I’m even talking about. I guess my point here is that this kind of thing is a lot of work, but doable! If you think of a normal no-nonsense window, you basically have a sill, an apron below it, and a piece of molding on each side and the top—5 pieces molding total. By my count, this has 30! But with enough head-scratching and patience (and shims), I kinda think I nailed it!


Check it out! Can you even tell which is the new one?! I’m kidding—of course it needs a lot of primer and patching and caulk and paint, but still! I feel like it looks really legit.


My favorite part is that aside from three lengths of cheap pine lattice boards from Lowe’s, everything else is salvaged! I love the challenge and gratification of finding the right piece of scrap, milling it to size, and giving it a purpose while simultaneously de-cluttering my hoard. I know it’s only fun to me, but this window molding is now kind of like a scrapbook of renovation projects past…there’s leftover material from Olivebridge, the backing of a kitchen cabinet, a bed slat, pieces of molding from the doorways into the now-demoed solarium, the jamb from the (now-demoed) door from the (now-demoed) upstairs kitchen out to the (now-demoed) fire escape…I get a kick out of it, anyway. Cheap thrills! I need more excitement in my life.

Also, drywall! You might be asking yourself why the sheetrock is in so many small pieces, and I have a decent reason! I had this idea, which was maybe a good one and maybe wasn’t, that I’d put up two layers of 1/2″ drywall, one right on top of the other. This first layer in the photo above was—you guessed it—scraps from the living and dining room ceilings (indeed I have been holding onto offcuts of drywall for over two years!), and a second layer with full-sized sheets will go over top. INSANE, RIGHT? The goal here is to achieve a close approximation of the original plaster wall that was here—I find that a normal 1/2″ drywall installation looks too flat and perfect and feels/sounds hollow when compared with a solid plaster wall, so I’m hoping that a full 1″ thickness plus a skim-coat over the entire thing will give me the look/feel I’m going for. I know that seems unbelievably nit-picky and stupid, but hey! That’s never stopped me before.

ADDENDUM: Comments on this post are now closed. Thank you, everybody, for your thoughts, words, input, and respectful conversation! As much as I would like to continue the discussion, this is a sensitive topic for many of us (the 2016 U.S. election, not my walls!) and one that requires a significant amount of time on my part to moderate, respond, and ensure a safe and respectful atmosphere. Therefore, after 5 days, I am choosing to close comments so that I can move on and dedicate my blogging time to writing more posts! 

(For those interested, I can happily report that many interesting and valuable viewpoints have been expressed on both sides, and I think the comments below are worth a read! Out of almost 200 comments, many specifically regarding the election, only a negligible few were moderated due to what I considered to be either flagrant factual inaccuracies or the use of potentially offensive language. Once again I am blown away and exceedingly thankful for the consistently respectful, intelligent, and generous conduct of commenters on Manhattan Nest!)


  1. SO, SO WISE for a young man!!!!! YOU are a SURVIVOR and will make it through these most difficult times!!!!! Thank Heavens for your Blanket Burrito when you feel like you need it. All the best!!!!!

    • Thank you, Rob! Back at ya!

      • I was here often, checking up on you, as I was worried about you. Glad to see a new post. (Sorry, that sounds stalkerish, but really I am just more like your concerned grandma.) You are describing “post-tramatic election disorder,” and believe me, everyone I know has it. I am happy to see that you are moving on to your bedroom because you need a place to get away and be safe. I love what you are doing with the house. Your avid fan, Gramma Bee

  2. Daniel…you have a wall and windows!
    Up here in the great white north, where our country’s leader is actually not an idiot, we are just as shocked and stunned by what happened on Nov 8th. I had to turn off the tv by 9pm and just go hide under the covers, all night thinking…it can’t really be happening…but it was.
    This will be a grim 4 years.
    In the meantime…you have lots to keep your mind off it. #vanjones2020 #joebiden2020 #notmypresident

    • Joe Biden 2020, ha! He’ll be 78 years old! But we can dream. I love Joe. :)

      • Whew, there you are Daniel. Lovely windows, good job! I must say, that yellow house seems like a pretty nice view.
        Debbie said it. We Canucks are shocked and sickened by the election result. But we’re still your neighbours and we’re not going anywhere.

  3. Yasss blanket burrito!

    This election really has me second-guessing my grasp on reality when every morning I have to remind myself that this dystopian future is not some episode of Black Mirror but, in fact, alarmingly real.

    However, reading your blog and seeing the fruits of your hard labor of love really is a balm for the soul, so, thanks.

    • Same. Reality is so…bewildering right now.

      Thank you for saying so; that’s very kind! :)

  4. I’m still in denial. It’s all just so absurd and disturbing. You, however, are as amazing as always, and I’m looking forward to photos of your house in the snow.

  5. AWESOME!!!!

    (I actually woke up the morning after & reached for my ipad to check election results. I thought I had dreamed the previous day)

  6. I love the whole first part where you put real words to what we are feeling so deeply, I was in tears. But, I am in tears a lot lately. Like almost everytime I hear that name and any news that follows it, my immediate reaction is either a string of curse words or tears depending on the rest of my day and where I am at the time. But, then the segue. Masterful. Love you so much. Come home so we can make one big double, triple, quadruple or quintuple burrito blanket! Oh, and I think it is de-cluttering, not de-clutting. That sounds dirty for some reason.

    • Thanks, Mommy. Don’t cry! That’ll just make me cry!

      (fixed! That does sound dirty. Sorry!)

  7. I am totally on the same page as you. Having a place to recharge and refocus is VERY important. You can’t be active and work towards change if you are exhausted all the time. Picking your battles and focusing your energy will help you do the most good you can. Having a place to go and become a blanket burrito (especially in the winter!!) sounds wonderful. I know my cats are all about snuggling these days.

    Oh! Also, here is my new Hudson Valley house obsession that I want to make pretty again. http://www.zillow.com/homedetails/24-Van-Wyck-Ln-Hudson-NY-12534/30004156_zpid/ They even have a picture of the house from way back when! Though no pictures of the kitchen or bathrooms that I can find which is worrisome.

    • Oh hey, that mini stove looks like it’d fit the fireplace in Daniel’s kitchen! Wonder if that’s what was originally there?

    • oh my what possibilities in that house…
      the price probably belies a lot more issues that are not noted by the realtor

      • Gasp! That house is gorgeous! I’m sure it’s a huge project but GAH! the potential! Buy it! I’ll help ;)

  8. This window and sheetrock work are ingenious! Bravo to you for continuing to be so resourceful and dedicated to the original integrity of your home and its design. I can’t wait to see how this room turns out! And on the election front, I am so sorry that this was the outcome, and I am ashamed that someone so bigoted is about to be our President. Please find some comfort knowing that you have many fans who support the LGBT+ community (and so many other minority interests) and will join in the fight to protect your rights.

  9. Can’t wait to see what it looks like finished, and your kitchen! Don’t know where you get all this energy btw…

  10. (indeed I have been holding onto offcuts of drywall for over two years!) = living your best life.

    I’m always impressed by your attention to detail, it shows in your finish work and really takes this from “homeowner special” to “professional”, which of course you are, but we get to see the hard work that separates those two things.

    As for the rest of it…I have been attempting to come up with a philosophical basis for avoiding despair when victory cannot be achieved, and I haven’t done it yet. But it boils down to some things are better started than not, even if we can’t finish them. It took 72 years from Seneca Falls to the 19th Amendment. It is our duty to work to make the world a better place, and we’re still relatively privileged. That could change VERY quickly, as history teaches us, but staying silent will not avert anything, and it won’t be of any help to our fellow citizens who are going to bear the brunt of the public hatred. Even if we only change one life, or help one person, the work is worth it. Stay visible, stay involved, and try to strengthen the community however you can. Run for office! Someone has to.

    I’m happy to see you back, and you aren’t the only person who woke up that Wednesday with a sinking feeling that hasn’t stopped. We’re here for you, if you need us to be.

  11. I am utterly in awe of people like you who can make your vision reality with your own hands. I read your posts multiple times in hopes that something will sink in or rub off. Congratulations on the job so far and I can’t wait to see the next step.
    Re The Guy Who Lost the Popular Vote (aka TGWLtPV), mourning and disbelief. Inwatched the debate between Fillon and Juppe, the center-right candidates, and they were falling over each other about who was a bigger defender of gay marriage (they were against it at first but now back it), women’s rights, the right to abortion. Fillon said that as a catholic, he was against abortion but that as a man, he had nonright to tell a woman what to do with her body. Just to say where the “right” starts here. The left is even more liberal. Of course we have LePen for the racists, and I hope she and the FN do badly, though the Socialists have done such a crappy job that the FN will probably be #2. But like TGWLtPV, the FN would be terrible not just for individual rights but for the economy as a whole.

    • I feel like the whole world is kind of a mess right now, ya know? I’m really not familiar with French politics, but the resurgence of white nationalist, anti-immigrant, otherwise bigoted political movements across Europe is really upsetting. I guess I foolishly thought it couldn’t *really* take hold in this country, and continuing to find out how wrong I was is pretty brutal.

      • This is a big problem I see with the Left — they insist that every aspect of politics must be viewed thru the lens of race. Please take step back and realize what kind of accusations you are making about millions of honest normal people who simply want to see their lives and the lives of their American (or European) brothers & sisters protected and improved. What if the Right started constantly calling YOU a racist and bigot on absolutely no grounds at all except your request that immigration be done legally and to prevent terrorism.? Please look at things from the other side, you’ll find that you probably agree, and that it’s not fair to assume people are bigoted or anti-immigrant because of the way they vote. (I am neither side, just a classical lib who’s had enough of it all!)

      • Caroline—it is not true that the left insists that every aspect of politics must be viewed through the lens of race. I think it IS true, however, that left-leaning voters, politicians, and policy-makers try to be conscious of continued racial inequality in this country and act accordingly. They are not perfect by any means, but there’s a big divide between that and denying that racism exists while pandering to Neo-Nazis, appointing white supremacists to top-level positions, and consciously working to enact policies that would adversely and disproportionately impact people who aren’t white.

        I, for one, do not assume that Trump voters are racists and bigots. I’m sure some of them are. I’m sure many of them aren’t. But do I think they voted for a racist and bigoted man, who has said and done racist and bigoted things for years, who is now in the process of appointing an alarmingly racist and bigoted cabinet? Yes, absolutely.

  12. Dear Daniel, been thinking about you among others ever since the horrible election and wondering how you were doing. Same as many of us, sounds like. Glad to see the awesome progress in your bedroom. Yeah it is hard right now to imagine any kind of future not overcast with a pall of doom but in the meantime it’s good not to let the bad guys or the mere thought of them ruin the the things we love in life whether it’s friends and family, art and beauty, or meticulously recreating complex antique window molding out of the remnants of wooden odds and ends salvaged from a multitude of previous projects (and I completely get how satisfying that can be to you). Do whatever you can to keep your spirits up and remember, midterm elections are just two years off.

  13. I’m SO excited for you to have a nice space for yourself, especially in these times when Blanket Burritoing is needed!!!! Also I’m so glad to see a new blog post, I really missed your writing and hilarity and attention to detail on all your wonderful projects :)

    I had kind of a weird reaction after the election… after ~1 day of immense sadness and crying, I started taking action on a whole bunch of things that probably seem really unrelated to most normal people but they are me finally taking the stuff I mark with a “sad” or “angry” emoji on Facebook and trying to do something about it, even a little thing, or find other people IRL that can help me do something about it. Soooo now we’ve had our first foster dog at our house for two weeks and also I went to church (the really great kind, not the mean hateful hypocritical kind) and also to a meeting of a group that helps people communicate with/influence their legislators to make our state budget not so fucking fucked up (the immense sadness for me waking up on November 9th wasn’t limited to our atrocious presidential election result, but also to the fact that Oklahomans re-elected every fucking worthless incumbent on the ballot even though this state comes in last in pretty much every measure of a functioning society and OMG don’t even get me started).

    • That’s fabulous, Rachel! I wish I had that kind of resilience. Plus, DOG! Dogs make everything better. I think the biggest thing I’ve actually done since the election is set up a monthly donation to Planned Parenthood, but I’m gonna try to follow your lead and really get to work, at least in my own community. <3

      • You guys literally made me cry – in a good way.<3

        (Also, if politics is making you tired and sad, I highly recommend the movie Wattstax. Always reminds me of all the things I'm fighting for, and also makes me want to dress up and dance.^_^

  14. Been waiting for you to update, and can totally understand why it took you so long. I am an American ex-pat living in Canada, and I can tell that everyone up here is also in shock, and a little worried about what might happen down south. Anyway, don’t want to dwell any longer, and just wanted to tell you that it is looking so good! I am completely in awe of your ability to teach yourself how to do something and then just do it, almost flawlessly. Can’t wait to see what your bedroom will eventually look like, all painted and pretty. Lovely work!

  15. I cannot thank you enough for your words right now.
    As a fellow blogger, I’ve really struggled with how I should handle the way I feel right now, and whether it’s “appropriate” to share my fear and disappointment with my readers. Ultimately, I’ve just kept silent, but not because I fear losing readers over my beliefs, but just because I can’t put my feelings into words without wanting to curl up into a ball (or a burrito). I’m just not ready, but (unfortunately) I’ve got 4 years to pull myself together and start fighting for what I know is right. Reading this post has restored my faith. In myself, in the blogging community, and in like minded souls all over the country. So, thank you, seriously.
    This election has rocked me to the core and has made me question all of the freedoms and opportunities I’ve taken for granted over the past 8 years. The first days after the election were a mix of horror, depression, and cautious hope that maybe the screaming blood sausage our country has chosen to lead us might not be as bad as he made himself out to be. Maybe he really was just pandering to the worst of the worst because he knew it could work, but when it came to leadership, maybe he’d be… okay-ish? But since those first few days so many people have been given positions of power that could do so much harm to so many good americans, that I know things are going to be very, very bad for the next few years. While I’d like to say that I’m fighting all day every day, the blanket burrito is definitely a very necessary coping mechanism and I can certainly understand why not having a calm and welcoming space to properly wrap yourself up in would be so difficult.
    There are so many unanswered questions, and it scares the hell out of me. Will my marriage be dissolved? Is it safe for us to even consider having children? Will I lose my healthcare? Will my family lose their (government) jobs? Will my neighbors be removed from their homes and deported? Will my friends become victims of harassment and violence? How far backward will be be forced before we can move forward again, and how long will it take to repair the damage this man and his appointees can do over the next four years?
    Here in New York, the entire subway car was silently crying on their commutes to work the morning after the election, and it somehow seemed like a comfort to know that so many people felt the same way I did, but unfortunately it didn’t last. Living in the “liberal bubble” of Brooklyn made me feel safe at first, but every day I read stories about nazi graffiti, new york based white supremacist groups, and muslim women being pushed down subway stairs, Now even Brooklyn feels unfamiliar and unsafe, and I’m curious about what things have been like in Kingston since the election. My husband and I still dream of some day buying a house there (we were married across the river at Clermont and absolutely fell in love with Kingston) but now it almost feels dangerous to dream of ever leaving our liberal little bubble.

    • Thanks for this, Tux. Such a part of this blog, for me, is purely for the diary aspect, and I don’t feel like I can separate anything that I’m doing right now from what’s going on in the country and the world. For all the same questions and concerns you’re raising above, this is what’s on my mind constantly. It just feels disingenuous to act like everything is normal and fine and proceed with business as usual. I don’t read a lot of blogs and I don’t have a great sense of how other bloggers are handling this (to me at least) enormous elephant in the room. It’s tough, I get that.

      I CAN happily report that, at least within the city of Kingston, I guess I don’t feel like the election has had a profound influence either way? I haven’t experienced or heard of any Trump-motivated hate crimes or anything like that (which doesn’t necessarily mean they aren’t happening, but I don’t know about it…). We have a pretty progressive city government (progressive Democratic mayor with a background in environmental issues, a large majority of Democrats on the city council…). I can say anecdotally that in the days following the election, the “tone” in Uptown was incredibly somber. I’m very glad to live where I do right now. Upstate New York is a diverse place and certainly has a large conservative contingency, but I also think it’s a population that’s good at respecting each other. For instance, my neighbor voted for Trump and when he brought it up to me, we had a fine conversation which basically ended with him being surprised to find out about Pence’s track record on LGBT issues…he had no idea because he got his news from Facebook and never heard that. So, ya know. Not everyone’s a wingnut.

  16. You are not alone.

    Millions of us are reeling in the wake of 11/9. Which doesn’t mean we’re down and out. In fact, many of us are beginning to rally, we’re refocusing, organizing, reaching out and are determined to build strong, united and tolerant communities, cities and states.

    Here’s hoping Blanket Burrito Time gives you comfort, solace and — resolve! We need people like you to fight, resist the right, and prevail.

    Which we will. But it will take all of us and it will take time.

    Cheers and kudos on the extraordinary work you’re doing on your house.

    — A reader.

  17. Daniel … oh so with you on the SHOCK and DESPAIR (yes cap letters)
    i have stopped watching all news (esp cnn) and listen to BBC News – where only the more crazy things dribble up – listening to the lovely tones and the staid words from them makes me believe i live in a sane, dignified and responsible country. alas going outside and wham back to reality.
    oh well. back to burritoburrowing – my apt is very cozy and my fav time of day is on the couch sandwiched between my cats purring away and watching Gilmore Girls (THE REVIVIAL YEA) and FAWLTY TOWERS – i can only do comedy these days. hang in there.

    love the new window and your as always wonderful ability to piece together (thats a compliment) the means to achieve your ends – you will survive – we ALL will survive (and if we keep saying it and believe it, like Dorothy it will come true)

    • I hear you on the news! I get to be kind of a news junkie around election season especially, but there are days here and there where I really just can’t. I try to catch up on what I missed the next day, but it’s just too much to take day in and day out. I’ve been binging on The Americans but I’m almost caught up so I need a new show!

      • If you haven’t been watching the new tv series “This Is Us”, give the first couple episodes a try online. I’ve been feeling the same way as you about the election and wanted something to take my mind off things at least for a hour each week. I found this program, caught up with it online, and now look forward to it each week.

  18. I read your blog all of the time and could have figured who you would vote for, I guess. I think what you said was true but I also wanted to say that there is a huge majority of us that would have felt the same way, had the election gone the way you wanted it to. This country is full of very different people. The fact is, people were ready for a change. I was anyway. I respect your thoughts though.

    • Hillary Clinton won the popular vote; “there is a huge majority of us [Trump voters]” is incorrect.

      Furthermore, it is disingenuous at best to say you respect someone’s thoughts but still actively voted to enable career Republicans’ ability to remove our rights.

      • Without weighing in on either side, just want to point out that when one says, “Hillary won the popular vote,” you have to remember that the strategy of both campaigns was to win electoral, not popular, so you can’t assume the outcome of the popular vote would have been the same had the campaign strategies been different. I live in DC but was in San Francisco the weekend before the election. There were a ton of HRC commercials, ads, etc everywhere but nothing for Trump. So naturally one would expect more votes in heavily populated areas for the candidate that ran a strong campaign there.

        Daniel, adore you and your blog and here’s hoping and praying there are brighter days ahead. xoxo

      • Joanne, I totally understand what you’re saying, but I think it’s way more complicated than that. One of the big complicating factors in this election was the big divide between polling data prior to the election and the actual election results, so I think it could also be easily argued that Hillary would have received many more votes—and flipped some of those swing states—had people understood how close the election results would be and not chosen to either stay home or cast a protest vote for a third party candidate…both of which I think a lot of people did because they felt confident that Trump couldn’t win the election. But! Flipping various factors and hypothesizing about how it might change a result in this election or any other one is a game we could easily play allllll day, but it’ll always be total conjecture.

    • Thanks, Sarah, for choosing to approach this the way you have. I wish there was more of this attitude, on both sides.

      It might seem nit-picky, but Cassandra is right that factually, there is not a huge majority of people who would feel like this if Hillary had been elected. Not if you’re using the popular vote or pretty much any reliable poll going into the election, and I’m not really sure what other metric you’d go off of.

      On a less nit-picky note, I’ve thought a lot about this…what it would be like if things were reversed. And I gotta say…I don’t buy that Trump voters would feel “the same way” if Hillary Clinton had been elected. What Trump and his cabinet appointees represents—among many other troubling things, which I think are perhaps less objectively clear—is a pointed, determined effort to strip all sorts of Americans of their basic rights. I fail to see how a Hillary Clinton presidency could POSSIBLY elicit that kind of real fear among those that didn’t vote for her.

      Can I ask a real question? Is this shaping up to be the kind of change you wanted? If you could describe that change, what would it be? What do you think about Trump’s anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim rhetoric? What do you think about his appointment of Steve Bannon, or Jeff Sessions, or Betsy DeVos? What about the sharp uptick in hate crimes specifically citing Donald Trump’s election as justification, and that Trump has done nothing to condemn or diffuse these acts? I really, truly don’t mean any of these things to sound like digs—I just really would like to know because it’s not a perspective I’m familiar with. If you don’t feel comfortable expressing this stuff here, feel free to email me at daniel@manhattan-nest.com. Open ears.

  19. I haven’t read or looked much at the room work yet; I’ll save that treat for this evening. I just want to say that I am so in agreement with you and your sadness and fear for our world and our friends and families. I wanted to send you love first and foremost. XO

  20. I feel your pain about the election. I would have liked to crawl into a blanket burrito as well, but less than a week after that fateful day, we were given a two-hour notice that we would be receiving foster children. The idea of raising two African-American boys in this new climate is daunting, but luckily the exhaustion of caring for twin, five-year-old boys keeps me from thinking about it too much. I just have to remind myself that this too shall pass, and the the world grows ever more progressive despite momentary lapses backwards.

    Your bedroom is going to be beautiful. Don’t give up the fight!

    • Holy cow, Jessica! How wonderful and exciting and, yes, scary given the climate of this country right now. You’re doing an amazing thing and a brave one. Also, TWINS! I’m a twin so I may be biased, but it’s kinda the best. Huge congratulations to you and your newly expanded family! <3 <3

  21. Thank you for your silence followed by wonderful words and inspiring work. You did and continue to do exactly what you need to do, and what we come to read!

    -Admirer since the beginning. Mega fan since that hot August day you found yourself naked and knee deep in pocket door excavation.

  22. I feel the same way about the election. Sending you good karma and strength to get through the next four years. The bedroom is going to be beautiful and I can’t wait to see the final reveal, but the in the meantime, this is so interesting! It really made my day to get a new installment on this blog. Thank you!

  23. The replicated moulding really looks excellent. Well done on bringing all together and keeping the look intact. As for the drywall approach and concern about hollow sound, I definitely know where you’re coming from. I think the two layers will work fine, you’ll just get some head scratching in 50 years or so when someone decides to do some work.

    But, and this is a big but, can I convince you to try plaster skim instead of joint compound? Tape the joints with mesh, do one pass with joint compound, then paint the Drywall with Plaster-Weld, then Finish coat of lime plaster. I’m now totally a convert. One coat, spray bottle and smooth when it starts to set up, no sanding, no mess, no air bubbles, and looks exactly like you want cause it’s the real thing. It’s something to consider. And knowing you did fine with the joint compound you’d love like plaster.

    • I think about that head-scratching all the time! I should have written “I DID THIS ON PURPOSE” in Sharpie on the first layer before covering it up, ha!

      OK so TBH the JC skim-coat is done and, as usual, sucked to do and was is/was incredibly dusty and I only feel so-so about the results, so YES I am going to try plaster next time. Plenty more rooms to get to! If that doesn’t work out, I’m hiring out skim-coating from here on out, and they can use horse shit if it takes paint decently and I don’t have to do it myself. I hate skim coating!

  24. Thanks for speaking out about the election. So many bloggers are opting to stay silent, least they alienate any of their Trump-leaning readers. While I understand that on some level, I disagree with it. This is too important. We need people with public voices to use those voices to explain how this election affects real people on a real level. I have friends who I knew to be supporters of LGBT rights and other minority interests, who shocked and disappointed me by voting for Trump. I’m still struggling with it and I don’t know that I will be able to move past it. I know that they didn’t vote for him because of his views on immigrants or muslims or because of his running mate’s views on LGBT persons, but I also know that they voted for him in spite of all that. It disgusts me. But, I will not disengage. I may never see these people the same way, again, but I absolutely plan to be in their faces, saying things like “hey, remember me – your lesbian friend? Well, I’m getting married next year and your president’s administration wants to take that right away from me. As a wedding present, please donate to [SPLC][HRC][Planned Parenthood][Trevor Project] or any number of other organizations that are going to need lots of help protecting minority interests from Trump and his disgusting cronies.”

    P.S. – your bedroom will look amazing. I can see it.

    • Thanks, Laura. I totally understand your frustration. It’s impossible not to take personally, even though people have all kinds of reasons (or non-reasons) for voting the way they do. NEVER have I been happier to have taken myself off Facebook (it’s been almost two years since I had a profile! I have to keep an account to manage the page for Manhattan Nest, though) than during this election season, I can say that! I think there was a big pervading attitude in this election that Trump was supposed to be taken “seriously but not literally,” which is how a lot of his supporters defended his many off-color and offensive remarks and policy positions. That liberals who might be trying to hold him accountable for his blatant lies or divine an actual policy proposal from his outlandish rhetoric had it all wrong, because holding him to the same standard of any other presidential candidate was not a reasonable thing to do. Unfortunately I think we’re now seeing that we were absolutely right to take him literally, but much of the fallout remains to be seen…ya know, given that he hasn’t actually taken office yet and all that. I hope that people, including bloggers, who just aren’t talking about it at all will begin to speak up when shit really starts hitting the fan. These issues affect nearly all aspects of our daily lives, and at some point I don’t think it’s going to possible to just pretend it’s not happening.

  25. Daniel, thanks so much for posting. This post-election life has been such a sad struggle and every day I awake with a heavy heart. But seeing a post from you today brought a smile to my face and made my heart feel a bit lighter. So, thank you.

    The work you are doing on your home is amazing and inspiring.

  26. I knew there was a reason I was hoarding all the “reasonably” sized leftover materials from my projects! I can’t wait to see the new window panel painted – I bet it looks just right. I’m so curious to see how you feel about your sheetrock plan – I have a lot of this in my future and could use any hints possible. Also, a lot of millwork, so I guess I better start looking for a router. Please keep sharing your progress, it’s incredibly motivating! I have such a hard time finishing the details once the mains work is done (still don’t have baseboard or painted trim in my remodeled kitchen, but I’m working on it).
    Thanks, also, for the words about the election. I’ve been at a loss as to how to improve the situation, but looking for ways to make sure we don’t go backwards. We can do it!

    • I’ll definitely let you know about the sheetrock situation! Also routers are great. I have this one and have it on this router table. The table felt kind of extravagant until I got one and makes things SO MUCH faster and easier and much more precise. As for the router, I HIGHLY recommend getting one that can accept 1/2″ and 1/4″ bits, as you will have more bit options available to you—I made the mistake of purchasing a small Bosch a couple years ago that only accepted 1/4″ bits, and had to upgrade my router when I needed certain bits that seem to only come in 1/2″. That’s what I know!

  27. Maybe Master of Plaster might help with your wall? Another blogger talks about it here:

    • And Alex himself commented above – ignore me.

      • Ha! No, thank you! I read Alex’s blog and have followed his plaster adventures with great interest! I’ve resolved to give it a shot. I kinda just went with the devil I knew on this one, but I’ve got a lot of walls to fix up. :)

  28. That window looks amazing and focusing on the bedroom sounds like an excellent plan. I think many of us are guilty of putting a lot more effort into the “public” rooms of our house, even when we could all benefit from having a beautiful blanket burrito sanctuary! My current desires occillate between wanting to hibernate and wanting to join Hillary on her walks in the woods. I hear she can be found somewhere in your part of the country.

  29. The sheetrock part is next level perfectionism! I respect the hell out of that – all I do is stress about all the stuff that needs to be done around here and how I will probably not do this or that because of what it would actually take to do it RIGHT. You’re living my dream!

    • OH, gurrlllll. I’ve lived here for three and a half years! I currently have about 2 rooms that are approaching cute and livable! Talk about stressing about all the stuff that needs to be done all the time! I think what’s helped is trying to keep in mind that any little progress IS still progress…maybe I won’t check off every item on my to do list for a given day…or week…or year…but as long as I keep going, I’m at least moving in the right direction. Houses are a lot of work!

  30. I totally agree with you about the election. It has me wondering what has become of America. Where has human decency gone? Why do so many hate those who are different than they are? It is indeed a very sad time to be an American. But, you are doing a wonderful job with your home and I look forward to you posts even though I just recently discovered you. Please show some close ups of the windows as I have been wanting to do this exact thing to my modern home to make it look more vintage. I look at windows just like yours wondering how how it was done and how many layers of wood are there!

    • Will do, Phyllis! Building up moldings with different combos of lumber and trim is really fun. I wish it was more common in newer construction! Then again, I think about how long this one window took and then I remember that there are three others (and three doors, with the same casing) just in this room ALONE and that it was all installed before modern milling and power tools and caulk and I can’t believe it was even done in the first place! But it’s totally doable as a DIY, and inexpensive if you’re not paying for someone else’s time. And can have such an impact!

  31. My heart cries for you and the world! It’s like a sick joke has been played. Here in Australia (a constitutional monarchy!) we often have had leaders and parties who run government without a majority of votes.
    You must be very proud of what you’ve done. I applaud your attention to detail and resourcefulness in making your dream come true

  32. ummmm…… dramatic much???

    • I am glad for you that Daniel’s fears for the future seem dramatic. You must be living a safe, privileged life. But for the rest of us, there is real fear, and Trump’s cabinet appointments and continued bizarre tweeting are not allaying any of those fears. I would suggest that even Trump supporters should be concerned about his climate change denial. Next time, maybe ask yourself before you post if what you’re writing is adding to the conversation.

    • ummmm… seriously??? Hardly dramatic at all given the circumstances.

      Rock on Daniel.

  33. The election results were shocking for sure……..I’m still reeling. You’re in good company kiddo.
    It’s great that you are pouring yourself into the house. I think it’s the best therapy :) And since you mentioned Olivebridge, how is that coming along? Did the work finally end over there?

    • Pretty much, yeah! Now I just have to put a LOT of blog posts about it together! I was seriously afraid to write about it anymore for fear of jinxing what seemed like a totally cursed job, but everyone survived to tell the tale. :)

      • Oh, that’s good news about Olivebridge, Daniel! Can’t wait to hear the final chapters. I just figured you weren’t mentioning anything about it until the lawsuits were settled!

      • Amazingly, no lawsuits to settle! Which is good because then it REALLY could have gone on forever!

  34. Hang tough Daniel. You’re still my and my daughter’s favorite blogger. (Image of safety pin icon)

  35. I hear you. I myself am seriously upset about this election. And I live far away in Sweden..in no immediate danger of having my rights taken/obstructed/delayed.
    But I fear that this will have far reaching concequences. :( Potentially terrible concequences.


  36. It looks great — I love finding just the right scraps in the hoard pile. Can’t wait to hear how the double sheetrock turned out — audio files!?

  37. As an American who lives in China, I watched the election fall apart during my work day. I’m a school teacher. At one point, I left my class because I was so upset. There was lot of numbness in the American and International Community over here. I think we are still numb. Blanket Burrito-ing is what a lot of us are doing or wish we were doing. All over the world people are shaking their heads and wondering about what kinds of people we really are. Having lived abroad for a few years, I can tell you that this is not us. We are better than this.

    I have enjoyed reading your blog for several years. Although I grew up in constant fixer-uppers, I now live in a small apartment. I enjoy being nostalgic without the sawdust everywhere.

    • Wow, I can’t imagine what it’s like to be an American in China right now, watching this unfold (particularly after last week!). Yikes. I keep holding onto the faith that this is not us and that we’re better than this, too. I live in upstate New York and feel the same way. Hopefully it will be short-lived and Americans on both sides will learn some valuable lessons.

  38. With you on election misery. But thank you for persevering. And we will win it back.

  39. I am just going to cross my fingers and repeat “it will be alright” until it’s over. (just like the pin in door sixteen’s instagram!). Your bedroom looks so good–strong and sturdy. I like the idea of 2 layers of sheetrock.

  40. It is so strange, this sense that almost half the population is asleep in the poppy fields of Oz, while the rest of us look at each other, wondering what’s happened, down in the dumps but determined to preserve beauty and reason in our lives. Take that window casement, for instance: what a miracle of patience, cleverness and conservation. Really, Daniel, bravo.

    • Aw, thank you, C! And yes, it’s totally surreal. I can’t IMAGINE looking at his conduct before or, maybe especially AFTER the election or his cabinet appointments as anything less than alarming (let alone variably horrifying, explicitly bigoted, psychopathic, illegal, unethical, dangerous…etc.), even if I were a Republican or even if I had voted for him. It’s just not something I can comprehend beyond understanding how under-informed, mis-informed, or disengaged from national politics many Americans are, because I still have a VERY hard time believing that such a large population of Americans would really think any of this is OK if they were really paying attention.

  41. This is so damn impressive. I am in awe of the amazing preservation you do, and your attention to detail gives obsessive people like myself reason to be jealous. Keep on fighting the good fight – in all the ways.

    • Thank you, Alison! The jealousy goes both ways!! Your bathroom is turning out so pro and nice—I don’t think I’ve ever seen a more well-executed subway tiling job in my life! (don’t think I didn’t notice how the bond is perfectly aligned center with the sink, shelf, and mirror, you jerk!)

  42. I like to add Xanax to my blanket burrito with a sprinkle of your wonderful writing. I am in full denial about our new blind-leading-the-blind-leader, and have instead focused on decluttering my place so I’m ready for a quick exit once the supreme court seat(s) are filled. Ugh. Make that a Clonopin and Xanax and a large bottle with my burrito… So I am going to switch topics before I fade into oblivion and instead focus on your awesomeness… The windows look amazing! I have so many questions! Will you be stripping the original window trim or trying to match what I’m sure is layers of paint? And what colors [read: shades of white/gray/black] are you using? Blinds or something softer for the boudoir?! What would Martha do?!!

    • Ha! Decluttering and Xanax seem like maybe a bad mix. You need your energy and your wits about you when getting rid of stuff and fleeing the country!

      I have a lot of those same questions!! So I know I’m NOT stripping all the trim in the room. For the new casing I’ll see how it looks…maybe thicken up a coat of paint with plaster of paris to fake more layers. As for colors…I THINK I’M PAINTING A COLOR ON THE WALLS! I know, insane. It’s called Oil Cloth (Ben Moore) and it’s this mid-tone green-grey-blue kinda deal that I think I’m into? But I’m not really sure about the trim, because I’m worried my normal Simply White will be too bright, but I don’t think I want a monochrome thing…maybe a softer white? And then I still think I’d like to carry the black doors throughout the house. And then I’m totally lost on windows…options are limited because my jamb depth is so small and I want to get interior storms, which I think means I can’t have anything that mounts to the inside of the jamb (like my solar shades)…and hanging something on the casing itself makes me sad…and curtains make me anxious…but maybe curtains? Stop stressing me out!!! :)

  43. is it weird that i badly want to caulk and paint that masterpiece of a window? you did such a beautiful job. it’s SO satisfying to watch you work! and with salvaged materials?! the best.

  44. I’m sad for you that you were so hurt over the election outcome. I really believe that our country is going to prosper if we all try to keep our love for our country at the forefront of our minds. We cannot let an election divide us! I think the days of turning on the evening news and trusting that the news anchors are telling us the unbiased truth are over. Thank God for social media! We’re going to be great and if we’re not, we’ll elect somebody else. Four years will be gone in a flash. I LOVE reading your blog and hope you’re ready for the winter!

    • Thanks, Katherine. I wish I shared your optimism, but unfortunately I think it’s very hard for the election to NOT be divisive when the winning candidate has based SO much of his appeal on denigrating many different types of Americans and actively fanning the flames of hatred and fear that can only serve to unite a select group of Americans against other Americans.

      News anchors and mainstream media may be imperfect in many ways, but I feel like not addressing this could amount to a tacit agreement, so I’ll say that I disagree. Social media can be a force for great social good, but we’ve seen—undeniably—in this election that it can also be a vehicle for the easy, unaccountable spreading of “fake news” (also known as lies) that seeks to mislead and profit greatly off of misinformation. Social media can be a fabulous way to talk to each other about issues of mutual importance, but disregarding newscasters and journalists who are bound to various laws and ethical standards to disseminate accurate information is very dangerous. Journalistic standards and non-partisan fact-checkers exist for a very good reason.

    • Oh dear God Katherine, please, please please don’t tell me you get your news now from social media the absolute source of the MOST FAKE NEWS possible. Anything anyone wants to say as news becomes news through social media sites. It is the absolute demise of news in this world. If you don’t like TV news, try different channels or mix it up so you get different sources. OR HERE is a novel idea try reading an actual newspaper or two (NOT BREITBART–that doesn’t count as an actual factual news source) –you can even do this online. And by mixing it up here too, you get a variety of opinions, but PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE–SOCIAL MEDIA is NOT a NEWS SOURCE.

  45. Thank you for posting about all of this. It’s important.

  46. It looks amazing! Can’t wait to see how it ends up. Sending so much love across the Atlantic for you and all your friends and family. You can ALWAYS come to Norway if you feel like escaping the Trump-O-mania. <3

  47. You can’t be too nitpicky for this blog; it’s all part of the enjoyment. I can’t wait to see the reveal.

  48. Trump supporters lost the election too, they just don’t know it yet.

  49. thank you Daniel, for your courage and eloquence. You’ve clearly expressed what many millions of us are feeling out here post election. You are not alone and we must all take action to mitigate the horror of this man and the sickness that surrounds him. Stay strong and keep creating – it’s needed more than ever.

  50. Yes, he who shall not be named is our nightmare now. And Sonia, you are right, they were sold a bill of goods. I love my fellow NYers who gave him the Bronx cheer at the polls. Small lights. Probably older than your average reader, have insurance but agree with Obamacare. Leave SS and Medicare alone, geez, I am almost there! And the EPA pick, SMH. And all of the generals. Gosh I am stopping now because it is only 9AM and going to have hit the gym again to deal with the stress.

    Anyway, Daniel, those windows are gorgeous!!!

  51. Thank you Daniel for your expressiveness – and willingness to actually put your views out here!
    Behind you all the way, as soon as I can untangle from these blankets.
    And soooooo in awe of your skills….
    Also, thanks to Old Town Home for tip about plaster skimming. I stare fearfully at my cracking walls and ceiling thinking: I wish I were Daniel, I wish I were Daniel, I wish….

  52. Amazing that our election process has worked just fine up until the point when your candidate didn’t win. Now it’s broken? There is a reason for the Electoral College. Read about it while you are in your blanket burrito.

    • You might actually want to do some research yourself. There hasn’t been much backlash on the electoral college in the past because it’s almost always aligned with the popular vote. Prior to this election, only 4 presidents had been elected through the electoral college after losing the popular vote. Three of them were in the 1800’s and it didn’t happen again until 2000. Gore had about 500,000 more votes and there was talk of examining the importance and use of an electoral college in today’s society then. Clinton is now at almost 3 million more votes than Trump. That’s a HUGE margin!

      Plus, like it or not, a big reason for the start of the electoral college was slavery. Southern states whose population was largely increased by slaves (that couldn’t vote) wanted as much power as other large states that had a higher voting population. (Hello Three-Fifths Compromise!!) What’s so wrong with one person, one vote? Everyone in our country can vote now and every vote makes a difference. We use a popular vote to elect governors, why do we still rely on an electoral college for our president? Today there is a big margin between the impact of a vote in say, Montana, than in California. California has about 18 million registered voters and gets 55 electoral votes. That means that every electoral vote in California represents around 330,000 votes. While Montana has about 700,000 registered voters and gets 3 electoral votes so every electoral vote represents about 14,000 of their voters! That really can’t seem like a good representation of the population to you, does it? You can make arguments about the more populous coasts having more of a say over the less populated middle of the country but that is why local elections are so important, so the needs of each region is represented in their state or in our Congress. Why shouldn’t the majority of America get to decide how they want to be represented? Times change, needs change, laws get amended. It’s time to change or get rid of the electoral college altogether.

      • Bravo, Rachel, for your succinct clarity as to why the Electoral College needs to be abolished. I think that what the Trump regime will inflict on the average American (i.e., those of us who are not billionaire buddies of his or billionaire donors to be rewarded) is quite likely to change the minds of some of his (former?) supporters in the next 4 years.

    • Please try and have a little empathy for others, particularly for groups that stand to be the most marginalized over the next four years. Let’s not forget that the VP-elect, a proud homophobe, has a very troubling record of support for conversion therapy (i.e. electrocuting gay youth into “straightness”). Because you read this blog, I’m sure you can understand why that may be distressing. And yes, while the Electoral College may have been established to prevent the election of dangerous demagogues to the Presidency who had majority support, the argument can certainly be made that it’s failing at even that.

    • Thanks so much for adding your voices, Rachel and Chris. You’re exactly right. Even Trump himself has publicly noted that the institution of the electoral college is at odds with generating fair election results. I’ve never heard a cogent argument in favor of it except for what’s written in the Federalist papers—which lays out pretty clearly that the Electoral College is designed to prevent the election of someone matching Trump’s description. From one of the 538 electors, who also happens to be a Republican: “Federalist 68 argued that an Electoral College should determine if candidates are qualified, not engaged in demagogy, and independent from foreign influence. Mr. Trump shows us again and again that he does not meet these standards.” In practice, the Electoral College does not operate the way that it was designed to, plain and simple. This is why we also have mechanisms built into our Constitution to change or eliminate laws and systems that prove to be at odds with our core beliefs and values of liberty and equality.

    • Here’s an interesting article from a non-liberal paper written in April of 2016 that is well worth a good read on “why it’s time to dump the electoral college” http://www.thefiscaltimes.com/2016/04/12/Now-We-Know-Why-It-s-Time-Dump-Electoral-College

    • Amazing that you obviously read and support a blog written by an openly gay man and yet you obviously support the election of a man who wants to abolish gay rights. Daniel is good enough to entertain you, but not good enough to enjoy the same rights as you?

  53. YOU’RE A GENIUS! I’m actually just as excited about the salvaged moulding as you are – and even MORE excited about your brilliant idea to use two layers of drywall to mimic the original plaster. That had me perplexed for awhile, thank you for your brilliance in our currently dull American era!

  54. Daniel, I just want to say… You are not alone. There are many of us who feel similar at this point in time. The one bright point I have felt is how much we’re coming together. It’s like the love is amplifying. Sending love your way XOXO

  55. I am trying to figure out what my own resistance game plan is. In the meantime, what’s going on with your other projects? Olivebridge, Bluestone?

  56. I have loved your blog for years. Your renovations are my dream so I look forward to your new posts and admire your courage. It feels so good not to be alone in grief over the election. I have quit facebook, twitter and watch ZERO news because it was making me so depressed. So, life is quieter now and I focus energy on renovations of our 1889 home. Life now is about putting what good we can into the world and you, Daniel, bring joy/good to my life and I thank you for that.

    • Thank you, Bethany! And I feel ya. I’ve been struggling between trying to stay informed and needing to step back from it all. I quit Facebook a long time ago (SO GLAD I DID THAT OMG), but I find that links from Twitter is a good way of getting the news in doses I can handle. I can’t manage an hour or more of TV every night, but I can read several articles throughout the day without feeling totally overwhelmed, ya know? It’s not easy. But I know that action, when it’s really needed, is going to start with awareness, and the reason that you and I are so depressed is the same reason that we should know what’s going on…particularly with an administration that is shaping up to be historically difficult for the press to cover and exceedingly slippery with the truth. We’ve gotta pay attention! Now it sounds like I’m lecturing when I was just trying to commiserate. :)

      • That’s another totally refreshing thing about Trump –he communicates DIRECTLY with the American people. I really appreciate this about him and have never seen a President do that in my lifetime. Yeah I agree–Twitter is a great way to get news in digestible chunks. :) ….Trump agrees too and that’s why he uses it to communicate to the American people directly bypassing the media spin…can’t get more accurate or transparent than that!

      • Caroline, it may be the case that Trump communicates directly with the American people via Twitter. He also routinely uses it as a means to lie directly to the American people and attack any source from which he perceives a threat to his agenda or a personal insult. Trump’s use of Twitter might be refreshing to many, but that doesn’t make the information he dispenses “accurate” nor does it make his motivations to do so “transparent.”

  57. this. is. crazy. and i love it so much. god bless your enthusiasm!

  58. Daniel, I have read every blog entry that you have written. Never have I heard you talk politics and that it is how it should be. However, exceptional circumstances call for exceptional actions so I am proud that you have spoken out. This isn’t about regular politics, this is about an aberration.
    I moved to this country from France in August of this year; before I arrived, people would ask me ‘but what if Trump gets elected?’. I laughed it off and told them that I had faith that the American people were good, intelligent people who would not let that happen. It turned out differently than I had imagined, much to my great sadness. I am not an American but I am a human being and as a sane human being I am shocked and dismayed that this man and what he stands for is now (or soon to be) in a position to do much harm to humanity. All we can hope for now is divine intervention (think lightning bolt, sink hole, etc…)

    • …and now let’s cross our fingers and hope that the French people don’t make an even worse mistake and put Marine Le Pen in power. This wave of ignorance and populism is global and the potential implications are horrifying.

    • Thanks, Luna! I know it’s a touchy thing to bring up, but I actually *have* talked politics before (here before the 2010 midterms, here in 2012, and I’m a loud-mouth on Twitter). When I don’t, it’s just because it doesn’t feel pertinent to, ya know, renovating and stuff, which is primarily what this blog is about. That said, public policy affects nearly every aspect of our daily lives, and I wonder if the notion that it’s impolite/improper to talk about politics is part of what creates the deep divisions so many of us feel right now with people who we may not agree with. It’s weird, right? That something that literally affects all of us and that we all have a stake in is the very thing that’s inappropriate to discuss openly? I was talking with my neighbor recently who voted for Trump, and he was really surprised and dismayed to find out that Trump/Pence et al do not have a good track record on gay rights issues (to say the least) and repeated a “fake news story” (LIE. IT’S CALLED A LIE.) about Hillary Clinton as his main reason for not voting for her. I try to keep that in mind, because I don’t believe that all Trump voters are crazy lunatic bigots, and sometimes all it takes is a simple conversation to give somebody a different perspective or correct a falsehood or at least establish a common set of facts to work off of.

      And yes—I think part of what’s been so hard for me about this is that I was COMPLETELY unprepared for it. I follow politics pretty closely, especially around elections, and never did I ONCE seriously, actually consider that he would win. I thought he was the best thing that ever happened to Hillary Clinton, because despite her historic unpopularity as a candidate (merited or not—I would argue not), she could handily beat him whereas the same might not have been true with a more “normal” candidate like Cruz. I was in Germany and Austria in September and so many people asked us about the election, so puzzled about what the hell was happening in our country, and I told them with great confidence that YES it was all insane but he wouldn’t win, and then we could all get on with things. Having to accept overnight that literally the rest of my life will be spent under a Trump presidential administration and then living in a post-Trump-presidency world has been just so damn…sad. It sounds dramatic but I really do think it will take many decades to pick up the pieces of this mess we’ve created.

      Welcome to the USA!!! Omg, I’m the worst. I don’t think I knew you moved! Welcome, sincerely—sorry it had to start out like this. Here’s to brighter days ahead!

      • Ooops, my brain must have fogged those out ;)
        In spite of Trump I’m glad I’m here. We’ll be here for 3 years (diplomatic posting)
        If you’re ever in Atlanta please stop in for tea:)

      • A big reason the election was so shocking for a lot of people is because the mainstream media was been in favor of HRC and in collusion with the Clinton camp since the primary against Bernie. Not to mention most of the pre-election polls that were reported by the media had oversampled Dems by +8-10 or more.

        This was a movement, a wave, that the media refused to report and the establishment could not squash. I wasn’t surprised in the least. It’s been brewing for decades. Back since NAFTA killed millions of US jobs, since workers haven’t seen a raise since the 60’s, since college tuition has skyrocketed out of control, since home ownership is down, debt is ten fold, borders are not secure, and Islamic terrorism is becoming the norm.

        So trump was inevitable well before the recession and Obama’s shortcomings –But running the most corrupt candidate in history and labeling half of American’s racists & bigots sure didn’t help the DNC. Hopefully they will learn from this. You also wouldn’t have been surprised by the election results if you followed a range of different people on social media / or spoke to people in the rest of the country outside of the metropolitan Northeast & West Coast. Just watch some of Trump’s campaign speeches and listen with an open mind to what he was actually saying –he communicated a really inspiring message (and I say this as a lib).

        Sometimes people can get trapped in a comfortable little bubble or ‘echo chamber’ and fail to see what is happening right around them and fail to seek out new information & facts.

      • oof, typo – *has been in favor

      • Caroline—I have watched various Trump campaign/rally speeches, as well as his performances at the Republican primary debates and the general election debates. I find them to be incredibly short on substance, long on conspiracy theory and promises he will not be able to keep, consistently factually inaccurate (I am not alone in this, independent fact-checkers agree!), and persistently demeaning to many types of Americans. I find none of these things inspiring or reassuring about his presidency.

  59. . I’m scared of where America is headed too. I’m worried about the division happening. Everyone here seems to think that all the trump supporters are a bunch of bigots and racists. But many of them voted out of fear of Hillary’s economic policies, not against her social policies. I didn’t think either one was remotely close to being the candidate we needed, and I know many others felt the same way. All this election did was bring out fear and division among the people. If anyone truly wants to bring good change to America, I hope they will simply try to be more understanding and loving towards those around them.

    • I agree that people need to try to understand each other, a lot more so than what’s been happening. I don’t think everyone here thinks all Trump supporters are bigots and racists–like Daniel said above:

      “I was talking with my neighbor recently who voted for Trump, and he was really surprised and dismayed to find out that Trump/Pence et al do not have a good track record on gay rights issues (to say the least) and repeated a “fake news story” (LIE. IT’S CALLED A LIE.) about Hillary Clinton as his main reason for not voting for her. I try to keep that in mind, because I don’t believe that all Trump voters are crazy lunatic bigots, and sometimes all it takes is a simple conversation to give somebody a different perspective or correct a falsehood or at least establish a common set of facts to work off of.”

      I totally share this perspective–my dad voted for Trump, and I love him and I know he’s not a terrible person! I really am trying to be optimistic that people of all viewpoints can work on communicating without rhetoric that’s divisive and just plain mean, which unfortunately there has been so much of this year.

    • Whitney, Amen. Absolutely. These past eight years have brought the biggest change in division I have ever seen. America had, actually, been coming together prior. To see this was very sad. I agree that neither candidate qualified. The social and economic policies of Clinton would have crippled many families. Americans needs to quit wanting everyone else pay for everything for them. It is impossible. They have their own families to raise and their own debts. I paid my own way through college and had lots of debt to pay off. I DID IT ON MY OWN. THEY CAN, TOO. I cannot pay for everyone else’s everything.

    • “But many of them voted out of fear of Hillary’s economic policies, not against her social policies.”

      That may be the case, but a vote for Trump was a vote for ALL of his policies, not just the ones you liked. By voting for him out of economic fear, you told the country that you believe money is more important than respect and human rights. If you don’t want people to think of you as a bigot, do not make bigoted decisions.

      • Sarah V, +1 to your comments! The hypocrisy of individuals “supporting” gay (and really, insert any minority and female here) rights and then actively voting for someone who seeks to abolish those rights is just baffling. I hope this disaster encourages MANY more people to become active in politics and to vote in the next election.

  60. I kept checking your blog for updates, knowing in my heart that your absence involved election aftermath. I’m so glad you decided to speak out because I’ve felt very similarly. Just this huge weight on my chest, of suddenly not recognizing my own country, having to accept that the racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic bigots who had been chased to the fringe and under rocks, suddenly have control of things. Every damn day, the news is dominated with HIS behavior, HIS bizarre cabinet appointments, HIS tweets. I can’t bear to listen. Stephen Colbert, Samantha Bee, and Bill Maher are sitting on my DVR and I can’t make myself watch them. I quit Facebook because I realized I was going to hate the people I love (aka family) if I kept having to see their smug posts and memes, poking fun at how upset liberals are and telling us to suck it up and move on. I am scared and frustrated. I’m not quite ready to dust myself off and get to work yet. I’m still in the “could I bury my head in the sand the entire four years?” phase. All this and I know that I am one of the least affected by his presidency. I’m white and I live in a solidly blue state. My heart hurts for the kids who cry that their parents will be deported, the Muslims being assaulted in the streets, and anyone who is being or will be targeted and discriminated by this heinous pile of garbage that is the Trump administration.

    I agree with the other commenters that your blog is a bright spot in my day. I love watching your progress and your meticulous attention to detail. I recently took forever painting an old hutch, knowing that if I wasn’t a lunatic about getting it perfect, I would never want anyone to look at it again! Thank you for sharing your projects, your thoughts, and your perspective with us. <3

    Lastly, if you haven't found this blog yet, I think you would find it immensely enjoyable. I've learned a ton about architecture. There are like, three posts about the structure of a window! http://www.mcmansionhell.com

    • Just because someone voted for Trump doesn’t make them racist, sexist, homophobic, or xenophobic bigots. If so, that makes everyone who voted for Hillary a liar, corrupt etc. I think Trump won because people are tired of they way the country has been going. They have not liked anything about the last 8 years and Clinton not only represented corruption, but also more of Obama. Before you bash me, Trump was not my choice, so let that be. You cannot blame rednecks, etc for this. I know many people who make 6 figures in the corporate world that voted for him. So, why is that? Perhaps people do not want to live in a socialistic society? Perhaps people believe in many things that our government does NOT represent and they do NOT believe in the things that it currently does. Perhaps Trump won because people are tired of being taxed to death. There are many quality, educated people of all races that voted for Trump. For anyone who has ever had their desired candidate lose, we all know that you have to sit back and see what this person will really bring to the table. The hysteria is ridiculous. Put your big girl/boy pants on and get back to living your life.

      • G3—Kate didn’t say that. Neither did I. Some people who voted for Trump, I’m sure, easily fall into those categories, and others don’t. I think what Kate is referring to is Trump himself and several of his cabinet appointments. Whether you agree or not, a great many people find the views expressed by those individuals as “racist, sexist, homophobic, or xenophobic.” Going back to Whitney’s comment above that you agree with, I think a good place to start is that when SO many people are consistently pointing out that they find particular views racist/bigoted/offensive/dangerous/etc., perhaps listening to those concerns and taking time to consider those perspectives is much more constructive than rejecting them and persisting with the same behavior.

        As for everything else…I guess we’ll see. I hope the hysteria is ridiculous, I really do. That’d be great.

  61. Thanks for your wonderful perspective on the election. I am still in shock and as the not-my-president-elect selects his cabinet appointees, my fears are confirmed. There is a lot to do over the next four years!

  62. If this election has taught you anything, you should know better than to keep believing the media. Every single thing you believe about the new president is a lie. More will be done for you in the next four years despite yourself. This is just so sad and disheartening to read and realize so many people are so ignorant and blind. You might think this sentence is harsh and disagree, but then again it just shows your ignorance and lack of education on so many levels.

    • Ok! I’m listening. What will be done for me (or others)? What specifically should I not believe?

      • Good question, I would like to know aswell what is going to be done and what the lies are. Seems like a very vague statement if you ask me. Sorta like the way mr Rump sounds when he is asked a question..about anything.

    • Where do you get news from, if not the media? Unless you are personally present at a given event, you rely on journalists to report news to you. Everyone does. I would love to know where you get news from that doesn’t involve the media.

      • Sara V, I’m confused. Are you responding to Eliza? or to Daniel & Elin?

    • Eliza,
      Education (including life experience) have taught me a lot. And I think you have a LOT to learn.
      Point 1: we don’t have a new President, we only have a president-elect.
      Point 2: when the media reports VERBATIM clips from campaign rallies and candidate speeches, why is it that you think we should distrust the media?
      Point 3: when the candidate pivots in position 180 degrees (i.e., says they did NOT SAY the thing that the ACTUALLY DID SAY), why do you say that is the media’s issue, and not the candidate’s LIE?

      • Definitely responding to Eliza. I have been told by Trump supporters not to believe the media many times. Every time, I ask them where they get their news, and every time it’s either crickets or they mention a news outlet. It is incredibly frustrating when so many people are not only ignorant but proud of it.

  63. Well, neither was my desired candidate. However, I will say that Hillary is very corrupt so maybe we have a 50/50 shot with him. I will just sit back, wait and see. No burrito necessary, because I am old enough to have had my candidate lose many times. I say to everyone out there, just breathe and keep moving forward. God is in control and He uses people for His will. So, Trump is in office for a reason.

  64. Daniel, thank you for your beautiful honesty. I too have been slogging through this post-election Slough of Despond. I have cycled again and again through most of the stages of grief. I will NEVER arrive at acceptance of that man/child. The thoughts of my two grandsons, one very newly minted, kept me going until I could find my way.

    For many days after the election the line “how can I keep from singing?” from an anthem from my church choir days kept playing in my mind, only I was asking how can I keep *on* singing? And then I remembered. In 1995 I had the privilege of visiting Terezin/Theresienstadt and Lidice in the Czech Republic. At Terezin I learned of how the prisoners of that unspeakable atrocity kept the arts alive by performing plays and symphonies, creating literature and any other art they could manage. I was humbled then, and will seek to honor their spirits now by carrying on in the face of evil. Yes, it is evil. I will NOT go gently back to the Dark Ages.

    When my oldest, a Marine, was serving in “Mission Accomplished” Iraq an acquaintance told me of how her mother coped when their son/brother was in Viet Nam. The mother literally hewed an azalea garden out of the piney woods behind their home. Time for me to actually start the garden I have been planning for far too many years now.

    Peace and Courage, Daniel. Courage and Peace.

  65. What will be done for you and every American? Enforcing our immigration laws! If you are shaking your head at this then you do not understand why EVERYTHING hinges on immigration! If you don’t have immigration policies you don’t have a country, and if you don’t have a country no amount of bitching about this or that even matters!
    For most Americans, our most precious possession is citizenship in this amazing country. That endowment is being bartered away by our elites in exchange for votes, for profits, or for campaign dollars. Everyone needs a son of a bitch in their life, and America is that son of a bitch for the rest of the world. You take away America and the world will be in a very scary place…it will be every man for himself. America is the lighthouse, you put out that light and everyone suffers. America is the only country that comes to the aid of anyone who is in a scrape. When you are on a plane before take-off, you are instructed to put your mask on first…why? because you are useless to anyone until you make sure you are strong first.
    The left has been trying to dimantle and weaken this country for decades and they are doing a pretty good job at it. This acceleration really took off in 1965 when Ted Kennedy pushed through the Senate the Immigration Reform Act. Liberals had tried convincing Americans to vote for them, but that kept ending badly. Democrats have not been able to get a majority of Americans to vote for them in any presidential election since 1948. Their only hope was to bring in new voters. “Okay, fine. You won’t vote for us, America? We tried this the easy way, but you give us no choice. We’re going to overwhelm you with new voters from the Third World.” This is why the electoral college is so important now.
    We should be asking the left: Why is it so vitally important to keep bringing in new workers to compete with Americans and drive down their wages? All of this has had a snowball effect, and links to all of the ills in our society today. If anything, Trump will at least be staying the hand of the left for four years, the left that wants to accelerate our destruction. He will be your son of a bitch, doing for you what you are unwilling to see or do for yourself. You know your country is in a bad place when people actually label someone as racist when they dare suggest putting America and the citizens of this country first! Unbelievable! Thank God we have been given another chance in spite of yourselves!
    Now on a lighter note, I think you are a genius and love everything about you. My life Is seriously richer by being able to come to your blog and see you in action. You are one of the great ones Daniel! Thank you for sharing yourself with all of us! I can only wish that one day you will offer tours of your house…ahhh….

    • So, after calling him ignorant and uneducated he’s suddenly a genius. Wow, that was a quick turn around. Thank you for seeing the light on that one. I had tried to post a Mama Bear kind of response but Daniel censored it and wouldn’t let it through. Let’s see about this one. So, in answer to what this president will do for us it mostly has to do with immigration? Close the doors and don’t let anyone else in and then kick everyone here out who may be in some kind of legal process of obtaining their citizenship out? And where do you stand on the Muslims who have lived here for decades and ARE American citizens? What if they want to go home and visit a family member? How about those Jews? The Gays? Aren’t we the original melting pot? Or were your ancestors on the Mayflower? How far back should one have to trace their lineage to be a TRUE American? Or is it just patriotism you are after? Or have we just become close our doors, the hell with the rest of the world, self first at all costs. Because the truth of the matter is we need the rest of the world, we need them to buy what we make and we need to buy what they make. We may need fairer trade deals. But, we still need them. This world has become more of a global economy and a global intersection of all sorts–even journalism. Do you know that after that second debate, more tweets about DT winning that came from Russia in the first twenty minutes than from anywhere else? Check it out, its a fact. So, closing our doors is interesting, in concept. Bad guys will still get in, just as they did on 9-11. And being rude and dismissive to Muslims and other minorities in this countries, is just giving all those bad guys just more ability to recruit. Think about it.

    • Eliza, thank you for your willingness to respond. I know this might not seem like a place that will be the most open to what you have to say. Regardless of whether somebody agrees with what you’re saying, I think it’s at least informative for those of us who really just do not even remotely see anything appealing about our president-elect and are trying to figure out what happened in this election and how to find common ground moving forward. Reading between the lines a bit, your concerns about having a strong economy, comprehensive immigration reform, mutually beneficial diplomatic arrangements, fair elections, and good-paying jobs for working Americans are things that we share. It might, or might not, surprise you to know that these are concerns shared across the political spectrum and issues that Democrats have been working on for many decades.

      That said, I’m guessing it won’t come as a surprise that I soundly disagree with almost everything you’re saying, and I hope you won’t take that as an insult. I think this amounts partly to an enormous difference of opinion, and partly to a misunderstanding of facts. I’ll take a stab at it.

      “EVERYTHING hinges on immigration! If you don’t have immigration policies you don’t have a country”
      Immigration is important. And to be clear, we do have immigration policies. There’s this truly confounding idea on the right that gaining citizenship to the United States is some kind of total free-for-all, and that’s just factually far from the truth. I can introduce you to some immigrants for whom those policies affect their daily lives, work opportunities, ability to keep their families together, and much more, if you’d like. NOBODY—left, right, or center—would argue that our immigration policies are perfect. Big improvements must be made. But trying to close all the borders, casting all people of a particular nationality as “criminals and rapists,” calling refugees terrorists, conflating terrorism with the entire Islamic faith, many followers of which are American citizens just like you and me—this is not a solution. This is fear-mongering, race-baiting, scapegoating, incredibly divisive, and destructive. When you misappropriate blame for a variety of complex and multi-faceted issues to a single group of people, you do a disservice to complexity of those issues or the hope for a solution. You incite violence. You justify brutality and inhumanity. We’ve seen this before. This kind of thinking has resulted in the deaths of millions of people the world over. This country, as we know it, was built on immigrants. Unless you are of American Indian descent, you are the product of immigrants. I am the product of immigrants. Donald Trump is the product of immigrants. If you seriously feel that your life is richer because of this blog, please understand that it is written by a person whose Jewish great-grandparents immigrated to this country from Russia. This site was designed by somebody whose mother immigrated from Sweden and married the son of a Jewish immigrant. MUCH of the more recent content on this site is due in part or in full to an immigrant named Edwin, one of the kindest most hard-working people I know, who is an immigrant from Guatemala who is not yet a citizen but pays dearly to live and work and participate in this country. I cannot—and don’t want to—bar you from enjoying this blog, but I also cannot allow you to think that you can do so without recognizing that it’s created by the very people you’re seeking to demonize with your words.

      Moreover—and this is very important—immigrants are not causing the problems you’re seeking to solve. Immigrants are not the reason that people are out of work (though far fewer than were when the last Republican President left office), or the reason that wages are lower than they sound be. Bad economic policy is, and despite decades of demonstrable evidence that various economic policies championed by Republican leaders DO NOT WORK and—as we saw in 2008—can cause real economic disaster, Republicans keep trying them. Cut taxes on the rich and wait for their ever-expanding wealth to trickle down (spoiler—it won’t!). Deregulate Wall Street. Privatize social programs administered by the government. Wait for the free market to just take care of it all! It’s magical thinking. Under Barack Obama, the stock market has more than doubled. Unemployment is down dramatically. 20 million more Americans now have health insurance. The economy was in absolute crisis when he took office, and now it isn’t…and he didn’t have to rip families apart and deport millions of people and demonize anybody who isn’t a natural-born citizen of the United States (not to mention a great number of people who are) to get there. Democrats are also largely in favor of increasing the minimum wage AND working to actively create more sustainable American jobs rather than relying completely on an unregulated free market to just make that happen.

      “The left has been trying to dimantle and weaken this country for decades and they are doing a pretty good job at it.”
      Which decades? How? By my count, Roosevelt did a pretty bang-up job of getting us out of the Great Depression, and the New Deal basically created the foundation for the country we have today. Post-war America achieved economic greatness (is that the time when America was great? Honest question, because I don’t know what this “great again” is actually referring to) because it was the most heavily subsidized period in American history, allowing for a robust middle class. Kennedy championed civil rights. Clinton left us with a booming economy and a budget surplus. Barack Obama, in the face of the most obstructionist Congress this country has ever seen (by a mile), managed to bail us out of a recession, create steady economy growth for 8 years, pass the Affordable Care Act, invest in clean energy, AND enact some common sense immigration reform.

      “Democrats have not been able to get a majority of Americans to vote for them in any presidential election since 1948”
      This is factually inaccurate. In every election where a Democrat has served as President in that time, the Democrat has won the popular vote. In 2000, Al Gore won the popular vote by over 500,000, though George Bush was elected. In 2016, Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by 2.7 million, and counting. What am I missing?

      People are not calling Donald Trump a racist because he’s “putting America and the citizens of this country first.” PLEASE, if nothing else, please try to hear me out and understand this point. Putting America and its citizens first is NOT AT ALL a controversial stance for Democrats—either the electorate or the representatives. People are calling Donald Trump a racist because he has said racist things and acted in racist ways for many years and continues to. Because he has done nothing to condemn the explicitly racist behavior of his followers, who are daily invoking his name while committing race-motivated hate crimes. Because his cabinet appointees are racists. Steve Bannon is a racist. Jeff Sessions is a racist. Is there any way around these facts? I don’t know how there could be. If you reject that these people are racists, can I ask if you believe racism exists at all? What WOULD qualify somebody to be called a racist?

      “Now on a lighter note, I think you are a genius and love everything about you. My life Is seriously richer by being able to come to your blog and see you in action. You are one of the great ones Daniel! Thank you for sharing yourself with all of us!”
      That’s very kind. Factually, I am not a genius by any commonly accepted metric that I know of, but as a hyperbolic compliment, thank you. However, please understand that this thing that you claim brings you enrichment and pleasure is built in large part on the backs of immigrants, with content often produced using foreign-made materials, and is made possible through the financial support of both domestic an international readers and businesses. It would not exist without those things. It is written by a person who feels comfortable openly expressing themselves on the Internet because I live in a country where my rights, as a homosexual Jewish person, are the same as yours—and that is because of Democratic leadership and explicitly, increasingly opposed by Republicans.

      • Thank you Daniel…

      • Thank you, Daniel (and Daniel’s mom!) for such a thoughtful and well-reasoned response. I wish more people would take the time to break down the rhetoric and really examine the issues and positions. (Side note, and I know you already have a very full plate, but…. have you ever considered adding in citations for your factual statements and sending in your thoughts to a newspaper as an op-ed piece? You have a great voice that would be a refreshing addition to political writing.)

      • Dear God yes. Thank you, Daniel.

      • Exactly. Thank you Daniel

    • Eliza, I couldn’t agree with you more. Amazingly well said….and exactly why I–a liberal female Berner–proudly cast my vote for Trump. :) #maga

  66. “Being silent is not the same thing as being silenced.” Amen to that.

  67. Your ability to respond to rude, uninformed comments in a kind, respectful way is AMAZING!!!!! Your ability to connect history with the present shows wisdom FAR beyond your years. Your parents must be SO proud of you!!!!!! What a remarkable young man you are!!!!

  68. Hey Daniel, I am a reader from the very beginning and now this is my first post.

    To allow a election related discussion is an unexpected step you made.
    My respect for that and for the patience you show answering even challenging posts.
    This discussion gives a new insight to me as an European reader.

    Today everybody can make a lot of friends, followers and supporters just by pouring out an opinion within social media. Therefore too many people feel strong and believe their opinion is right for the wrong reason. Facts don’t seem to count anymore.
    To read someone arguing with facts is just such a pleasant thing.
    I am very tempted to join the discussion but will quietly just read along.

    Love your blog, share and understand your positions.


    P.S.: Your Mom seems to be really great and loving! Does she have a blog too? Like: “How to DIY a great kid”

    (btw: I am not a native English speaker, therefore I apologize if things may read a bit awkward)

  69. Love you Daniel, but the Electoral College worked the way the framers intended. We are a Constitutional Republic, not a pure Democracy. The EC ensures that people in less populated areas are able to influence the outcome of an election if they are sufficiently banded together in their positions. This election proves the wisdom of the system. That being said, relax and trust in the good intentions of the majority of your fellow citizens.

    • The Electoral College was born as a concession to slaveholders, and its existence still skews the weight of the older White, rural, Conservative voters who tend to live in less populated states. I am a Californian, and my vote is technically less important than a vote in Montana or Idaho, which I think depresses voter turnout. My personal belief is that our voting should be ranked choice, and states would award electoral votes proportionate to popular votes, rather than the winner-take-all system in place in most states.

      • Donna, but when the ‘banded together in their positions’ is the result of Republican jerrymandering, then democracy has been subverted to something that was not intended by the Constitutional framers. And THAT is the current situation.

    • Not buyin’ it. The electoral college has some ugly roots in classism and slaveholding. It has expressly failed to reflect the “good intentions of the majority,” since the majority voted for a different outcome.

    • Donna—First, regarding the “majority”of fellow citizens, I believe you are talking about Trump voters who were a voting minority in the election. Calling them a majority is factually inaccurate. Regarding the electoral college, I completely disagree. If the electoral college does, indeed, elect Donald Trump, I think that clearly demonstrates the failure of a system that (among other things that Sarah points out) was designed to protect the American people from electing somebody like Trump. I’ll link to this Time article that I think explains this very clearly and objectively, and include this excerpt:

      “…the Electoral College was designed to prevent a demagogue from becoming president. It serves two purposes. One of them is to give small states power as well as big states and the cities. The other is to provide a mechanism where intelligent, thoughtful and statesmanlike leaders could deliberate on the winner of the popular vote and, if necessary, choose another candidate who would not put Constitutional values and practices at risk.

      In other words, the electors are not supposed to rubber-stamp the popular vote. They’re supposed to do the opposite—to take their responsibility gravely, to subject the winning popular vote candidate to exhaustive scrutiny, and, if the candidate does not meet Hamilton’s standards, to elect an alternative.”

      It’s worth noting that many states have passed legislation that binds their electors to the popular vote of their state. Even though such laws are likely unconstitutional and generally carry fairly minimal penalties, the EC as it stands in 2016 is already subverted from the intentions of the framers.

  70. Thanks for the house update. So with you on the sadness over this election- where do we turn, where do we deal with this mess?
    Thanks for addressing all of this, and you definitely nailed this latest reno.

  71. Firstly, amen on the first part… as a gay man (and going off your birthday post, just a month older (sorry not sorry) than myself) I’m right there with you.

    Also, as a person that once made a passable replacement TV mount using wood from an old ikea couch, steel from a Nordic Trak, and scrap 2x4s… your feat of trim replication is impressive!

    Great work and enjoy that new insulation/air sealing with this cold ass weather!

  72. I have nothing to add to the political discussion except that I agree with Daniel and Daniel’s mom. I join the millions of sane Americans who are horrified by the recent turn of events. And this is an owl on a roomba. https://vine.co/v/eHZIrK9uret

    Other than that…I continue to be amazed by your progress on the house and your various other projects! Stay strong, and we will all make it through this.

    • Thank you, Erin, for the owl on a Roomba posting. It is the only thing that’s made me laugh in weeks. I may need to return to the image in the weeks to come!

    • I think everyone needed that owl on the Roomba, Erin L. :)

  73. The flooring patch looks great. Wish my professional floor finisher (everyone said he was THE guy) had done as well on my floors. Gah!

    I can’t wait for the crap sandwich that is the ACA to just die already. I finally dropped health insurance after this month because the 2017 choice I had was $700/mo with an outrageous deductible. And none of my doctors and very few local hospitals were in the few plans available in my county. And the beauty is I can’t be fined because I couldn’t find affordable health care. Wth? Thought this stellar legislation was supposed to get people insured. EPIC FAIL!

    Democracy is 2 wolves and a sheep voting on what’s for dinner. That’s why we have a representative republic not a true democracy.

    • And I know three people who are alive because of the ACA. It’s a good law, not a miracle. If the Republicans had any better ideas, they would have implemented them by now. I am scared for the people I know who will be left without any health care options because Trump is eager to repeal Obamacare but has nothing with which to replace it.

      • To the best of my knowledge, no one is denied health care in this country, (unless you die waiting at the VA) so to claim they are alive because of the ACA…? Are you currently buying your own insurance and dealing with the nightmare of an exchange plan? The ACA was supposed to increase health insurance affordability, lower the uninsured rate and reduce the costs of healthcare. I guess 1 in 3 isn’t bad for a govt program. Just because you have health insurance doesn’t mean you have health care. I had a good time reading the document comparing my current, semi affordable, discontinued plan to the new plan most similar to it. Full of what they no longer covered and how much more it was going to cost me to use the few doctors and facilities who signed on to it. Thanks, but no thanks. I’m not playing anymore. & they can’t fine me because I don’t have access to affordable insurance. Isn’t that ironic?

      • If the ACA goes, so goes my insurance and my son’s, and that of half my coworkers. It’s been good, affordable coverage for all of us, in Colorado. I also know people who are alive because of the ACA. Previously, they were uninsured and forced to wait until their health was in ER-level crisis to not be turned away from care.

        Pat, below, please note that denial of care to the uninsured absolutely does occur in the U.S., below emergent care level. All. The. Time. At that point, sometimes, the baby’s dead or damaged, or the person whose cancer symptoms might have been caught and treated has gone metastatic.

        The ACA isn’t perfect, by any means, and it’s tough to navigate without a broker (they’re free, btw), but it’s solid effing gold compared to waiting till you need the ER.

        No matter what ACA plan you go on, your preventive care and catastrophic care is included. No exceptions. There’s still time to find a broker and get sorted out before the 15th, and it could literally save your life. Until it’s taken away, of course.

    • And right now the two wolves are Donald Trump and someone from Goldman-Sachs, and the sheep is Ben Carson. That’s why we don’t have a true democracy, because they’re either billionaires, or befuddled (or maybe just asleep?)

  74. The room is looking great so far! I’m currently serving in the Peace Corps in Eastern Europe. On the day the election results rolled in, I was in a room with 14 other volunteers at a training. As the results showed on our phones, in the middle of a session, it was as if all the air was sucked out of the room. People left their seats to have a moment alone in the bathroom, the older woman sitting beside me was sobbing silently in her seat, and we were all so stunned and horrified and scared. I think in many ways, I’ve had to separate myself at least a little bit from what’s occurring in the United States, because I have to in order to do my job here. But I still feel this constant sense of dread. I imagine that when I return to the USA in about 1 and a half years, I will be utterly unprepared to adjust. My thoughts are certainly with you and everyone else in the United States who is afraid and trying to make sense of America right now- I hope that your “new” bedroom brings you comfort and a feeling of safety. Hugs to you!

    • Oh man, Beth, I can only imagine. Thank you for the work that you’re doing, and we’ll try to hold down the fort over here so you and your fellow volunteers can have a peaceful transition when you come home. <3

  75. D.,
    It helps me to remember no matter what, God’s in control! Glad you’re out of the burrito, and love your process-and progress. Salvaging shows your artistry- way to go!!

  76. Daniel, I have been a follower since your early desk-makeover posts, and have always respected the way you’ve chosen to integrate or separate the personal aspects of your life from the ‘public’ DIY renovator side. It’s your blog, your life, your choice what you choose to share. This post is the first in my memory in which you’ve expressed specific political views. I’ve read through all the Comments—and responded to a few!—but I want thank you for allowing the Comments focus to shift to the political (and Mom for her infusions!). More importantly, I want to appreciate that your responses to the political comments are as careful, respectful, thoughtful, solid, and grounded in the hope of beautiful outcomes as are the labor and love your pour in to your beautiful house. Thank you.

  77. It has never been the governments job to provide healthcare. Isn’t it amazing how instead of discussing how the government has their hand in way to many aspects of our lives now, we are choosing to be ignorant and complain about their role in providing healthcare? The founders of this country would be mortified at what we believe now to be the role of our government.

    • Life expectancy was also about 35 years in 1776 and people essentially had no knowledge of how diseases were transferred or reliable means to treat them. The founders also thought it was OK to enslave other human beings and deny women the right to vote. They had muskets instead of AK-47s. Lots of things have changed with the world and this country, and it would be doing an enormous disservice to the wisdom of our the founders if we didn’t also recognize the ways in which the Constitution provides mechanisms to adapt our government to the changing needs of our nation.

      The fact remains that the United States is THE big outlier among almost all developed countries, whose governments administer some sort of universal healthcare plan for its citizens. The Affordable Care Act is FAR from a perfect solution, but just scrapping it and letting the free market control healthcare unilaterally is not the answer.

  78. Hillary won the popular vote by more than 2,840,000 votes. The short-fingered vulgarian lost, but manipulated the results by colluding with the Russian government and lying to the American people (lock her up, build a wall, take down wall street — if you voted for him because of those “positions”, you were conned). It’s possible that as more information about how he rigged the election comes to light he will not be elected by the electoral college. It’s more likely that he will be inaugurated then impeached/resign once the Republicans have taken control of the executive, legislative and judicial branches.
    The damage that his administration can cause will inevitably be catastrophic. He’s no leader and he doesn’t have the intellectual capacity to do the job, nor does he have any government experience. Much like George W Bush (who at least had been a governor and was likable enough though not particularly smart), who’s presidency began with ignoring information that could have prevented 9/11, and ended with the most disastrous financial crash since the Great Depression. Those were not coincidences, but the results of an incompetent, corrupt leadership team. We are really in for it this time unless the electoral college miraculously votes against a demagogue who is influenced by the money he owes to foreign governments and temperamentally incapable of the office of President.
    Ways we can fight back once we are ready to emerge from our respective blanket burritos:

    1. subscribe to at least one great news source to support journalists, because they will need it
    2. join commoncause.org
    3. join the NRDC and/or Sierra Club
    4. volunteer locally to support people who will be marginalized by this new repressive regime

  79. I love you Daniel and your wonderful blog. I own a 1850 Greek Revival as well, and can relate to soooo much of what you post.

    I would have preferred this post without the politics….as I come here to escape exactly that, lol, darn you! But what I can say is that I’m also lib –a lib fed up with empty promises and the decline of this country for the last 30 years. I proudly voted Bernie and then Trump, and feel like we got an even better deal with Trump :) A “super Bernie” of sorts who isn’t afraid to back down to the establishment, the media, the failed policies of the past. …Please do take a glance at how much Bernie and Trump actually agree on– jobs, trade, immigration, etc.

    Trump has been demonized and blown out of proportion by the same corrupt media and Dem establishment that rigged the primary against Bernie. They both had to fight so much. I’m eager to see what a true populist will do in office…we haven’t had one since FDR!…sorta historic. I’m also hopeful that Trump’s liberal tendencies will resurface…he’s always been pro-choice and for single-payer healthcare ;) Please be willing to at least give Trump a chance and look at all sides with an open mind.

    “Take the risk of thinking for yourself. Much more happiness, truth, beauty, and wisdom will come to you that way.” ~Christopher Hitchens

    • Caroline, I can’t say I’ve met or spoken with anybody that I know of who would consider themselves liberal, voted for Bernie Sanders, and then voted for Trump. I’m…fascinated? I think it’s maybe most interesting that your comment doesn’t seem to reflect an Anti-HRC vote nearly as much as a Pro-Tump one. I voted for Bernie in the primary and I just can’t IMAGINE making that pivot. I guess there really are ALL types out there, haha!

      I’m sure you could deduce by now that I disagree wholeheartedly that Trump is a “true populist,” and that I have no faith that any “liberal tendencies” he may have once had will resurface, and that I think he is a dangerous demagogue who actively threatens not only the rights and safety of many types of Americans but also the national security of the entire country and any hope of a stable or improving economy, or expanded rights for historically disenfranchised Americans, or hope for improving literally anything that I or, for that matter, the majority of his followers actually care about, but HEY! Assuming he is elected by the electoral college, I won’t have any choice but to give him a chance (you won’t hear “not my president” from me, as unhappy/disturbed/confused/angered I may be about it), and I sincerely hope to be proven wrong. I gotta say that so far, though, watching this transition? Not feeling a lot of confidence in that possibility. We’ll all find out together, I guess! :/

  80. WOW…my comment(s) were not rude or anything…just had a different view. They were censored out. That really saddens me as I have been following your blog for a long time. I did not expect that.

    • G3—Plenty of comments in this thread expressing different views! Yours were not censored, but incorrectly filtered as spam (something that happens every now and then—it’s usually quite accurate so I don’t frequently check it). You should see them now.

  81. Why’d double-boarding a wall be stupid? It’s actually required for load-bearing frame walls and especially attic ceilings by fire regulations in most European countries! Also strongly recommended for soundproofing interior partition walls.

  82. Comments on this post are now closed. Thank you, everybody, for your thoughts, words, input, and respectful conversation! As much as I would like to continue the discussion, this is a sensitive topic for many of us (the 2016 U.S. election, not my walls!) and one that requires a significant amount of time on my part to moderate, respond, and ensure a safe and respectful atmosphere. Therefore, after 5 days, I am choosing to close comments so that I can move on and dedicate my blogging time to writing more posts!

    (For those interested, I can happily report that many interesting and valuable viewpoints have been expressed on both sides, and I think the comments above are worth a read! Out of almost 200 comments, many specifically regarding the election, only a negligible few were moderated due to what I considered to be either flagrant factual inaccuracies or the use of potentially offensive language. Once again I am blown away and exceedingly thankful for the consistently respectful, intelligent, and generous conduct of commenters on Manhattan Nest!)

Comments are now closed for this article.

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