Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Catching Up - Part 1

Home renovations and blogging don't seem to mix well. There are so many things happening that I want to share, but never seem to have the time to sit down and post anything. Not to mention the computer was down for almost a week. I will try to do a quick chronological recap. We last left off with bare concrete floors, painted walls and the pickup of 38 boxes of laminate flooring.

We had to do a little bit of leveling of the concrete. The concrete slab our house sits appears to have been poured in 3 sections. Where the sections join isn't exactly level and has a "crack" between them. My husband had to grind down the high side a bit and use this leveler to bring them together.  I really should have used the restroom before I left work because this was the scene right outside our bathroom door. Good thing my sister lives nearby.
A little later when the leveler was drier my husband made a little bridge. So I could use the restroom during the night if needed. I happy to announce my middle of the night balance is not too bad.
Once that leveler had completely dried it was time to lay the vapor barrier and underlayment. I came home from work to find my tiny kitchen stuffed with a couch, loveseat and a table. That is one creative husband!!
I wasn't home for the following few pictures. My husband was under strict orders to take some pictures to share with you all :)  The concrete has to covered first by a thick plastic vapor barrier. It comes in strips and is a little tricky to roll out straight. But he did a great job. 
 Later in the afternoon he had a lovely assistant - our niece/tape holder. I would trade the tapeholder in my office in a hot second for this one...even if I had to feed it lunch :)
 I can't confirm that she is really helping at this time, maybe she was in charge of boosting morale/
By the time I arrived home from work the vapor barrier was finished and my husband was starting the underlayment. When he wasn't looking, I took the opportunity to leave this duct tape message on the vapor barrier. Hopefully no one will see it for many years to come. It is right under our desk in the Command Center. Technically, it is backwards because I sit on the right side.
We chose this underlayment because it is supposed to be more thermal. Hopefully, it will help keep our tootsies a little warmer in the winter.
Finally the flooring starts to go down. About 3.5 weeks since we started. Somehow I pictured the planks being much closer together :)  In this picture, there are about three rows finished on the far wall. The rest of the planks are holding the underlayment flat.
Friday night I did get away for a few hours. My sister arranged a surprise birthday party for my niece. We took her and 7 of her girlfriends to the drive-in. There were some tense moments waiting for the movie to start. Thankfully, a sprinkle was the worst we got. The movies were Inside Out and Tomorrowland. Inside Out was cute. I didn't even pretend to try to stay awake for Tomorrowland - it was about 11 p.m. when it started and this old lady can't stay up that late.
My FIL brought his table saw over and we set up shop in the front yard. Incidentally, the house next door is being flipped after being vacant for at least 8 years!!! I had hoped they might share a little dumpster space with us, but they are expecting to need all the space for what they are ripping out.
Putting together the puzzle.
My FIL made these handy dandy blocks to hold the planks - then you tap against the block to push the planks together. It made connecting them easier. He is a genius when it comes to that kind of thing. As always, we are so grateful for all his help and expertise. Our DIY would be a complete nightmare without his guidance.
My expertise was called for in the hallway. My assignment "stand here, focus your weight and try to be as heavy as possible". I am not sure how I should feel about being called in for this task. Thankfully, it worked great so my slight humiliation was not in vain. Note to self: this is supposed to be a weight loss blog.
The guys have figured out how to lay the flooring in such a way that it is all in one big "piece". I love how it looks going down the hall and through doors without transitions.
While sitting in the command center keeping my husband company I noticed the bottom of the cabinet still has some of the old green paint at the bottom. It only took 8 years to notice :)
The last couple of rows in the Command Center were a beast. We were both so tired and frustrated. I wanted to just stop for the night, but my stubborn husband persevered and finished it :)
I love how it is looking :)

I think my niece and her friend would like us to leave the room as is...

You may or may not have noticed the dogs seem to be missing from the latest posts. Much to their chagrin they were spending a little more time than normal in their crates. When it came time to put the vapor barrier and the underlayment down they (and their toenails) had to go. They are currently on vacation in the country. We went out to visit them last night and there seems to be a pretty good chance neither of them will ever want to come home. My MIL makes them eggs for breakfast, takes them for walks, lets them sleep on princess pillows, etc. Apparently, Millie has worn out Arry (thier young dog) or vice versa. So Millie spends time laying around on the porch with the old lab, Happy. My MIL said Millie is turning into a retriever - she swims into the pond to chase sticks - I haven't seen it yet, but hope to soon. Zommie spends most of her time following my MIL around waiting for snacks to drop - which they seem to do on a regular basis. Even if the dogs agree to come home with us at some point we are going to be dealing with some major spoilage :)

In unrelated news, I have a beautiful little eggplant coming on. I am going to need suggestions what to make with it....
And the pot of miscellaneous flowers on the porch is still alive. The petunias are taking over a bit. And a second color of snapdragons have bloomed - white - really? I actually don't mind - there is plenty of color going on.
I will post again in the morning with part two of this catch up. Hopefully, we are to a point that I can blog more regularly again. I have missed it.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Reno Update

Disclaimer - sorry for this ragtag thrown together post. I have limited time on another computer, but I wanted to get in an update. Hope all is well in your worlds :)

After the initial demolition phase the progress at the house has not been quite so dramatic. At least, not until we finally broke out the paint. The following pictures are from day one of the painting. We did a second coat, so the colors look a little nicer now, but this will give you an idea what is going on in our world.

Getting started. Notice all my sample swatches around the room - every wall made the paints look like a different color.

My husband picked out a new color for his command center. We have always loved the orange, but it didn't really go well with our new desk and wood floor - too much of the same tones. I will say, when we started the edge paint it was a pretty hideous look :)
 Much prettier now. 
Choosing a color for the living/dining room was agonizing, but we are both very happy with the end result. Once all the madness dies down I will need to adjust our decor. The pictures I previously had on the walls don't really work now. I have some ideas using some of the gazillion pictures I have taken.

We took a little break from our labors to go to a Survivor Luau held by some of my husband's co-workers. The hats our attempt at a little island flair - thanks Dollar Tree - two dollars well spent :)

 The best part of the day was being rowed around the pond by this handsome guy. It was a kinda romantic.
The hosts divided us into teams to play a few Survivor type games. We drew "buffs" - the fabric for my team was an Elvis Blue Hawaii print. I tied my buff on my wrist and ended up with this slightly creepy look.
I made Coconut Lime Macaroons and took a couple of coconuts to share. The idea was to represent Survivor with the plain coconuts and to show gratitude for not really being on Survivor with the macaroons. When the coconuts were sitting on the counter I noticed this crazy face.

There was a very scary moment on Saturday. My husband and I were getting ready to head to Home Depot for the 800th time. I switched off the light and it broke in half. It started sparking and sizzling. I felt total panic that our house was going to burn down. Thankfully, my husband threw the main breaker and removed the switch. All the drama was contained in the metal box around the switch - and that is why all switches should be in metal boxes! At Home Depot I insisted on buying all new outlets and switches, which have been now been safely installed :)  Crisis averted!

Have you ever seen a Komondor? They are a Hungarian breed of dog used for guarding livestock.
Picture courtesy of www.ibitimes.co.uk
This is more or less what my husband and I would look like if we were Komondors.  New mops and home improvement projects can have some pretty crazy affects on your sense of dignity :)

I confess we have been eating horribly. I keep telling myself we have to do better. This is one of the moments when I did eat better. I added a couple of handfuls of snap peas to my frozen Smart Ones Tuna Gratin and added a side of delicious watermelon.
After all the prep I think we are finally ready to actually start the flooring. 38 boxes of laminate flooring have been received. That is 1200 pounds of flooring!  Thank goodness for forklifts, pick up trucks and a super strong nephew (and husband, of course).

We (minus me - will be at work) plan to start laying floor tomorrow. Fingers crossed that the Command Center will be finished and reopened this weekend. I have missed being able to blog more regularly. And of course, I miss keeping up on all the other great blogs I follow.

Until next time....

Thursday, June 18, 2015

5 for Friday (on Thursday)

Today's post is 5 for Friday on Thursday in case I am incommunicado tomorrow.

1. We are getting to the point in the reno project when the computer access will be limited :(  We will have to completely empty the command center (office). Our custom desk can't be moved around enough to paint and lay flooring. We will have to take it apart and store it in another room for a couple of weeks. I am hoping I can find some creative ways to get in a few posts - maybe I can go to work early and use that computer. I have tried to use a laptop in the past, but for some reason I could never get the pictures to load into Blogger posts using it. I am sure I will have to try again.

This weekend we will be painting - that is assuming I don't have a complete meltdown by then. I have discovered the small paint samples you can buy for a couple of dollars. You get enough paint to paint  a small section at home to verify the color is, in fact, perfect. Well, about a hundred paint chips and 5 samples later, I don't know that I even care anymore. I am buying 2 gallons of one of these colors today (I know which one, but you will all have to wait and see). Tomorrow we are painting the first coat. If it weren't so rainy and humid we might be able to do both coats tomorrow. We will just want to see how quickly it dries. Maybe it is a good thing we won't have computer access so there won't be blow by blow evidence of my freak-out if the color goes tragically wrong. Fingers crossed!

I know the problem is that we are going about this a bit backwards. The walls in the living/dining room have never been painted since I lived there. They were hideous and dingy when I moved in and that has not changed. I kept putting off painting because I wanted to buy furniture first. Well, the furniture never seemed to be the priority - there is always something you need more when you own a home and cars, right? I was looking for a color that was neutral enough to go with the yet to be determined future furniture. I finally decided there is no way to know for sure, so I might as well paint what I think I want now and worse case scenario we repaint when we get new furniture. 

2. I love to bake. My husband always says he loves how happy I am when I am baking. Of course, he likes the treats he gets too :) However, I can't control myself around the baked goods, so I always end up feeling guilty. Yesterday I had some too ripe bananas that I didn't want to go to waste, so I broke down and baked blueberry/banana muffins. To save myself, I took them by my husband's work. Over the summer the drivers wash (inside and out) and wax all the buses. It is hard work - they definitely deserved a treat. Hopefully, their hard work burned off the extra calories, so I don't feel guilty about feeding them what I didn't want to eat. I did keep a muffin home for myself - one muffin is okay - the other 1/2 dozen I could have eaten is NOT okay. 

3. You can certainly tell Star Wars in owned by Disney now. Their marketing was always huge, but no I see it everywhere. I wanted to buy this cereal "for my husband", but he is not a fan of the marshmallows in cereal. I might have liked the cereal too much so I left it at the store and took a picture to show my husband. I do try to be good, I promise!

4. Yesterday, my nephew graduated from high school. I would have liked to have been there. Thankfully, internet live stream bridged those 2000 miles a little bit.

5. It has been raining for days. I am desperate to get out into the garden. My tomatoes plants are going crazy and I need to get them tied to their support fence. I finally sucked it up and picked peas and beans in the rain. The harvest just can't wait and I want to eat fresh peas and beans :)
I will post as much as I can, but in the meantime wish us luck :)

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

One Weekend Closer

We have to do most of our work on the house on the weekends. Those pesky jobs of ours keep us from getting it done faster, but so far I am holding it together :)

My husband is off on Fridays during the summer. While I was at work last Friday, my flooring project became a wall project too. Seriously, we are replacing flooring and somehow have ended up with roofing and wall issues. Our living/dining room had a weird little partial wall that sectioned off a little entry way. Truth is we didn't use the front door and that little space would become a storage space. Basically where we stashed odds and ends. We placed our love seat in front of it - partially to hide the heap and partially cause we had no choice spacewise.

My husband suggested taking out the wall. I was very hesitant at first because the coat hooks are on the back of that wall - we don't have a coat closet. On the front side I had my grandmother's cabinet with a nice little wedding display above it. Since I was waffling and he was sure, I agreed the wall could go. We thought the wall had a steel frame, but after tearing up the steel-cutting saw blade on a two by four  (who knew a steel-cutting blade can't handle wood) we had to change strategies.

Removing the drywall revealed they had built a wall around this little architectural detail. Any idea what that is? A wall within a wall? A weird 1950s design feature. We can't figure it out. My carpenter FIL thought it looked a bit like a furnace room with the vent at the top, but obviously there was never a furnace there. Our house is such a "box on a slab" it is quite a shock to find that it has a mystery we haven't been able to solve.

Removing the wall of course left a wound on the ceiling and wall where it had been ttached. It also revealed an unattractive mustard yellow wall color we will not be reviving.

Taking out the wall definitely opened up the room. And exposed our shameful green door with red trim. I think I am going to have to have a new door. There would be a much better flow if the door opens into the room instead of toward the wall. My grandmother's cabinet will probably relocate to that little wall next to the kitchen. And the coats, well they will probably just be in a heap on our bed. I need a better plan for them..

Patching the wall and ceiling will take some patience and several coats of mud. I was at the ready to clean up all the globs of mud that fell - thank you, gravity!

After the first layer dried it already looks better. As the mud dries it shrinks so we will have to do a couple more layers. Then we have to figure out how to match the texture on the ceiling on the wall (which are also different from each other).
The dogs are non-stop underfoot. Apparently, we need constant supervision. So far this is the only "crack" in the concrete slab that we are going to have to fill. It appears our slab was poured in three sections creating seams.
My husband has spent several hours scraping adhesive off the concrete. It hasn't all come off, but it I think it will work. The scraping is a chore, but my husband got this new toy which hopefully made it more tolerable.
I have become a non-stop duster or should I say I need to be a non-stop duster. This piled up on our dining room table in just one day. We are getting close to putting the vapor barrier down which will definitely help with the dust.
Friday night we had a date night. Translation: We spent hours picking out flooring and all the extra installation necessities - vapor barrier, underlayment, etc. We found flooring we are both excited about. Originally, I wanted to go darker. But we realized that every little footprint would show up on a darker floor...and with 8 dog feet that would be a nightmare.After our shopping extravaganza we had a nice dinner at Outback Steakhouse (finally used a gift card my husband got in November.). I didn't make the best choices of food, but I did well with the amount of food. I left the restaurant feeling good - not like an about to explode butterball. Incidentally, have you ever had a waitress sit down next to you in the booth to take your order? It was such a surreal experience for us to be out to dinner at 9 p.m. We are more often seen at the "early bird special."  Driving home at 10:30 p.m. made us feel like such old fogies.
Warning - gratuitous pizza pictures ahead. We had his and hears pizzas for dinner on Sunday. I am not showing a picture of my husband's - it would be cruel to tease you all with that pepperoni-palooza. His favorite homemade pizza has pepperoni, green olives, onion, peppers, cilantro, jalapenos and pineapple. His and hers pizzas are perfect for us. We both get what we want and there are leftovers for lunch. For the record he despises mushrooms so much I can't even put them on half the pizza...mushroom germs might creep to his side of the pizza. What I wanted this time was to recreate the veggie pizza I made last week.I brushed the crust with garlic olive oil (no sauce) and loaded it up with fresh spinach, mushrooms, peppers and onions.
Of course, it had to have cheese, but I tried not to go overboard with the mozzarella. I am telling you this is a pizza you must try :)
Last night we had one of my husband's favorites - General Tso's chicken. I don't make it very often because the sauce is high in sugar and calories. I try to make up for that with unbreaded chicken breast and a ton of veggies. The yellow squash is the first squash from our garden. The peas are from the garden too. Still no signs of my broccoli, but I remember that is how it went last year....plant grew like crazy and then when I had given up hope, suddenly there was broccoli everywhere.
Finally, my snapdragons are starting to bloom. I picked up a box of mixed colors and so far I only have yellow blooming. I still love making the little snapdragons bite things :)
The other evening it was raining yet again. Suddenly I saw sun, so I grabbed my camera and dashed outside to look for a rainbow. I was not disappointed. Nothing is prettier the vibrant colors after a rain.

It is a good day when you can fit into something of your 12 year old niece's. Not quite as impressive when it is shoes though. I love these hot pink Converse she loaned me while she is on vacation!
And I leave you today with a blast from the past. I think I am about 9-10 in this picture. I am pretty sure that is not the age of accountability for wearing those yellow knee highs with a pink dress. I was always considered a chubby kid, but looking at this picture I just don't see it. If that is chubby - sign me up!
I posted this picture to celebrate my baby sister turning 40 yesterday. Where does the time go???  Happy Birthday :)