Best Day Ever

Friday night was just terrible. I won't go into detail - but I will say that someone got very doom-and-gloom and then lashed out needlessly and pushed us all down in a hole. Anyway, it wasn't a good scene and by the time I got home, I just felt like sh*t.

Plus I had to break the news about the necessity of the washer/dryer... and man did I feel terrible about it. Just call me slave driver, cracking the whip on the sick kid.

But amazingly, Mike was in high spirits and feeling pretty good. He even offered to do everything that very second and started right away. My jaw just dropped and all I could manage to say was, "Ok!"

There was one small hole in the drywall, but rather than taping and patching and mudding and then waiting 24hrs for it to dry, Mike decided to use bondo. (An automotive body filler that hardens within minutes.) For a small patch, it was probably a pretty smart idea - though the smell of it was so strong I had to open all the windows and freeze the night away. I could even smell it a bit into the next day, but it disappated in the early afternoon.

Anyway, that hardened quickly and Mike had the closet painted before dinner. Then he pushed the washer into place and hooked it up. He even wanted to lift the dryer on top all by himself, but I stopped him there. (We wrangled our neighbor into helping lift it on Saturday morning and I successfully did a couple loads of laundry by Saturday's end!)

The next morning came and after a night of bad-Friday related dreams, I still felt off. And then there came the icing on the cake. So I was standing in the bedroom getting dressed. Our silver tabby was sitting on the bed next to my pillow when all of a sudden she just exploded - 1/2 her weight in projectile vomit - everywhere.

And I just lost it. Completely lost it. It's funny now just how upset I was. Mike cleaned it up for me and then I managed to calm down enough to go with him to the dump and then out for breakfast. I suppose I should thank the cat because it was good to get it all out... well, good for me. She, it turns out, had eaten a giant bug, which seems to have made her sick.

At breakfast we went back and forth on what to do - this was the first day in months that Mike had to spend with me and me only. No work to do - no neighbors to help - no nothing. But despite that fact, we were completely at a loss at what to do after breakfast. Finally we decided that we may as well just do the hardwood in the mudroom. Mike honestly said he wouldn't mind doing it - we already knew how to and it was an easy thing and a small room. I had no better suggestions and wanted it done, so who was I to argue?

All we had to do was hit home depot and rent the floor stapler - simple. Then we just got to work and soon enough we were back in the groove. I laid out the peices and cut them while Mike stapled. We had the whole job done within a few hours and were able to return the stapler within the 6hr minimum charge period... although they still charged me for the full 24hrs. God I was pissed but I didn't want to go back and argue at that point because we wanted to grab dinner before we went home.

The room looks amazing - so much warmer and larger. We had fun and we got something done by ourselves, just like the olden days. It felt great. Plus we had just enough hardwood, and even a little leftover.

We were going to purchase the closet doors as well, but they only had the 80" height and we needed the 78.5." Too bad - another time. Maybe this weekend?! Who knows - oh yeah, it's Friday. I keep forgetting.

My weekend goal is to put up my curtain rods and try to figure out that whole make-your-own-double-rod plan of mine. We'll see how that goes. Other than that, I'll be just doing some party related work - T-minus 7.5 days until the annual halloween party. I think for now I'll get a cheapo rug for the newly wooded mudroom (I may even steal the one from the guest room) and put the loveseat and coffee table from the guest room in there. That will complete mudroom party preparation with minimal budget requirements.

No Clothing!

It's Friday and we've officially been stepping on the new tiles since yesterday. It's great to finally be able to come in and out of the correct door, but now there's a new problem.

Mike hasn't been able to paint the closet and get the washer/dryer back in. He's come down with this terrible cold and should be home in bed right now. But no, he's been going to work for the past couple days despite feeling absolutely terrible.

Unfortunately, I'm leaving for a business trip to FL (woo-hoo warmness!) and I really need to do laundry before I go. Not mostly for me because all my warm weather gear is clean, but so Mike will have sweatshirts, socks, and underwear while I'm gone.

I'm so frustrated because I'd love to just paint the closet. I keep thinking, well what if I wear a respirator and open both windows and both doors... but I know that's just stupid. I can see myself with the doctor now...

Dr. - Well, these birth defects could have been caused by exposure to dangerous toxins!
Me - But I wore a respirator and opened both windows and both doors!
Dr. - Well, it just wasn't enough.

This is why all this stupid stuff just needs to get done ASAP - it all gets so frustrating when your body is so susceptible to, well, everything! Ah I remember the good ol days, vacuuming up bat sh*t and taking a hammer to horse hair plaster.... then there was the cutting of insulation to fit in the non-standard wall holes, burning of old wood in the back yard, taking down of the asbestos siding, digging out the basement, tarring the foundation, painting everything, demo-ing the old chimney, inhaling all that drywall dust.

When I start to think about it - nothing is really safe.

Anyway, I'll have to see how Mike feels tonight and tomorrow. I was hoping we could just chill out all tomorrow... but the whole laundry thing is just out of control at this point.


All my concerns about grout color flew out the window last night when I got home and saw the awesome awesome results. The tile looked incredible - the grout color was perfect, and even my dad commented that it was a great choice.

Just a couple more days to dry and we can officially cross mudroom tile off of the project list. It's nice to have a quick and painless project once and a while, don't you agree?

This pic was taken this morning before I sponged down the tile. You can see the dried grout dust mostly in the corners of the tiles. Shortly after this was taken, I wiped them all down with a damp sponge and then with a dry dish towel to get rid of that.

Here you can really see how great that grout color matches up with the tile. We're really happy with the look of it all. It's perfect.

Next order of business will be to get the washer dryer back in... laundry is piling up already.

Summore Floor!

Dadoo came early early Saturday morning to start on the mudroom tile. Mike had borrowed a tile saw from a friend of ours, and my dad brought the rest of the tools and materials, so after moving the washer, dryer, and everything else, he could start right away. And he didn't want any help, which was fine because Mike had to head over to TJ's place anyway to finish up his driveway. Me? I set upon the task of getting out all the Halloween stuff out of the attic and pulling out a few select decorations.

Here's a shot from around the middle of the day. We went with three rows of tile by the door - so you can get a good couple steps in on tile. The laundry closet would be completely tiled. (On the right hand side of the picture - but you can't see inside the closet from this angle.

Because we're transitioning from tile to hardwood, we were very conscientious about the meeting point between wood and tile. We wanted to make it as smooth as possible without having to use a threshold piece. So my dad picked out a tile adhesive as opposed to the traditional grout, which can be very thick. And it seemed to work, the tiles laid pretty flat as far as I could tell.

Despite the small amount of tile area, it took all day to get it down - till about 5. We locked the french doors to prevent accidental entry through that door - before grouting between the tiles, the adhesive would have to dry all of Sunday and Monday at the least, especially in these colder temperatures. (No, I haven't turned on my heat yet - I'm really trying to grin and bear it until it's freezing.) But at least the pitter patter of cat feet weren't enough to upset the tile, because it's always impossible to keep those two away from the action.

(We call Kamikaze "The Inspector" because he always has to survey all home improvements carefully.)

Here's the inside of the closet, all completed. Notice how the tile comes to the center of the closet frame, this way, when the bi-fold doors are on, they will completely conceal the tile when closed. Coo, huh?

Also, and I hated to admit it with Mike being as busy as he is, but the closet needs a coat of paint before the washer and dryer go back in... and I can't paint right now. (Which is so frustrating because it would be so easy for me to paint some night this week!) Anyway, we have a limited time before our clean clothes run out, so unfortunately for him, it needs to be done ASAP. You can even see in the picture all the scuff marks and lint grossness from moving stuff around in there so much.

I can't even tell you how many times we've moved the washer and dryer since renovating this house. I bought the set before we even had walls up and they sat in the kitchen in their boxes for months. Then they were finally installed only to be removed several months later when we lifted the house and they sat in the kitchen for months again until we finally got a floor in the mudroom. Then we had to add another layer of subfloor - so the washer dryer needed to be moved in and out - again! And now we had to move them for the tile.... so you can see why we'd like not to have to move them again.

Here's the finished part at the door. I decided to carry the tile all the way to the left wall instead of cutting in with wood just because there's no room to cut in with wood on the other side of the french door - the closet comes right up to the edge of the door. So I figured it would have looked lopsided to only have it on one side. I was nervous about that decision, but now I'm really happy about it - I think it's going to look good.

And I love the tile itself. Mike told me initially that it looked like "old people tile." But when you put it up against the blue of the walls and the white of the doors - it really coordinates perfectly. Plus it will be a great contrast to the cherry hardwood.

Speaking of which:

Look how close the matchup is. The wood is still a little teeny bit taller, but may not be once it's nailed down. As is, I don't think we're going to need the threshold.

Mike and I went last night to buy the grout and caulk, which will be used at the junction of tile and wood and tile and french door flashing. (Allowing for expansion and contraction, whereas grout in these areas would crack.) My dad will be over this afternoon after work to grout. Then after another period of drying - we'll be ready to rock on paint and wood and everything else needed to finish up this room.

Speaking of which, we had an extra extra box of tile leftover on Saturday. (I kept one box of tile in case of broken tiles, and still had one leftover.) So I brought that back to Lowes on Sunday morning. And would you believe, lo and behold, Linens 'n Things was going out of business. I couldn't resist. I high tailed it over there and went straight to the curtain section - where I had been eyeing these cool string curtains for months. They were still in stock, so I grabbed a couple. Then I went to the hardware section and grabbed some rods. I would have gotten the other curtains I needed too, but they were already sold out of the size I needed in the color I wanted.

It was so exciting, and pathetic. But now I had my mudroom curtains and rods! One thing I couldn't find was the double rod kit that I needed... You know, allowing you to hang two sets of curtains on one window with a rod behind a rod. So while Mike and I were at home depot I picked up a couple of cheap brackets and rods for the back rods. I've got an idea of how I can make them work without having to buy a more expensive double rod kit. We'll see how that goes. I can't even attempt it until the tile is finished - the washer and dryer are currently in the way of the windows. But I couldn't resist, I was just so excited after getting the curtains I had been wanting - at a discount!

And the Halloween decorating? That was fun. I got all the lights on the farmer's porch and most of the ones around the living room, kitchen, and hallway. Plus some of my favorite pieces.

The Microwave

The Kitchen Window Sill

The Hallway (Looks like it's on fire!)

A Good Sign

I may be jinxing myself here - but I haven't received any callbacks from the home insurance co after placating them with a couple tasty improvement morsels. I really expected them to schedule another visit, but no news is good news in my book.

And I'm sorry to say that despite last weekend's three day length, nothing much got accomplished. Mike has more work to do for everybody else that's been helping us out this summer - fabulous trade offs, I love it. But that means now that our roof and porch are done, it's time for him to really spend time with our neighbors and friends. And that's ok.

I managed to clean up the rest of the roofing mess from around the yard and tidy up tools that were strewn around the house. So everything looks kosher, and I feel good about that.

Dadoo will be over this coming weekend for some mad tiling. I think it'll just be he and I, as Mike has more obligations to fulfill. That's ok - it's not a lot of tile and we'll manage just fine. As for the wood portion of the show, I'm not sure. Mike's been so tired from his misc jobs every night and weekend of the week, I feel horrible asking him to do anything. I might just wait until next weekend, or even after that, depending on how he feels.

Like I said, the room is small, so I imagine we could even bang out that floor some weekday evening. I'm not too worried about it. We already have the wood, and the home depot rental department is just minutes away for the stapler. I will be upset if it's not done by the Halloween party on Nov 8th though.

I'm not even worried about the closet doors. Although I have a 10% off coupon at the home depot that expires tomorrow. I was really thinking about using to at least purchase the doors. Again, I can't do it without Mike, so if he's tied up or tired out, I'm just going to let it go. He's really just been exhausted!


The roof is finished - 100% done. The guys finished it up over the weekend - even Mike worked his butt off, despite looking like a chipmunk and feeling very shitay. I must say it's quite a relief. We still need to do some cleanup around the yard - small stuff. Luckily one of the guys had a magnet, so I think we managed to get most of the nails out of the yard.

And as if on cue, I got a call from the home owners insurance company, checking up on our progress. I was proud to tell them they could come by whenever they wanted. True, we were not able to complete everything on their list - but we put $10,000 or more into the house this summer, so I don't think anyone could argue that we've made no progress.

Let's see, the roof alone was $2700 total - materials and labor. The farmers porch was at least $6,000. Interior stair railing materials came to $1,000. Then there were little things like paint for the garage, misc home depot trips, storage stuff, etc. that probably add another couple hundred bucks. So, yeah - $10,000 is a pretty reasonable estimate. Wow - isn't that crazy? We would have never been able to do all that without the sale of Mike's motorcycle, all Mike's side jobs, my injury settlement, and psychotic winter saving.

I am just so proud! I can't wait to really show everything off at the upcoming Halloween party.

And in case you were all wondering, I was able to make it over to dadoo's house on Saturday with my one tile and pieces of hardwood for him to inspect. The good news is - we think it's going to fly. He's going to try and make the tile as flush as possible with the wood, so we're going to use a tile adhesive instead of traditional grout, which can be thicker. Unfortunately, we don't really know how it'll turn out until we do it. So much depends on how you lay down the adhesive and all that too. But worse case scenario, we'll just have to put a little wooden transition piece between the tile and hardwood.

So we scheduled that install for the weekend of the 18th! Purchasing the tile is no biggie, since it'll only be for under the french door and in the laundry closet. Turns out, we don't even have to rent the tile cutter - our friend TJ has one that he'll probably let us borrow for the day. Too coo! We'll definately be able to crank down the tile in a manner of one day - probably less.

If I can motivate Mike a little, I might be able to get him to install the hardwood the same day. All we'd have to do is rent the stapler again and I'm sure once we get our hardwooding system down again (he staples 'em, I cut 'em and lay 'em out for him) we'll have that one small room done in a matter of a couple hours or less!

I mean, come on, we did the entire upstairs in just two days - and the only reason it took us that long is we had to keep moving furniture around as we completed the rooms. Plus we were new to the whole process, so it took us a while to really get going with our system.

This weekend hopefully Mike will get to have a break and do something fun. Either that or he'll be working at TJ's house. Either way, I won't make him do anything after this past weekend... well, I might make him take out the window air conditioner....

Officially Oct Reality Check

Happy October 1st. Can't say that I'm all that happy about it. This week is all about it's own crazy end. It's like the world is imploding around me. And it all starts tomorrow!

Mike's getting all four of his impacted wisdom teeth pulled tomorrow morning. Lucky for me, his mom could take him and bring him home, since I have my own first baby-related Dr's appointment at 2:00. So he's been nervous about teeth complications, pain, and the thought of eating nothing but oh-so soft stuff with no beer. (The no beer will be the toughest part, I'm sure.) Meanwhile I've been nervous about my own appointment - what if they tell me something's wrong? What if it's multiples? What if I can't go to Czech for Christmas? I'm preparing myself for the worst of bad situations.

Then there's the roof. The guys are coming by, starting today, followed by tomorrow, and then the next day and possibly the weekend to finish the final side. Mike and our neighbor Rich set up the scaffolding last night, but after tomorrow, Mike will be of no help and feels terrible about it.

Friday night, right after I get out of work, we have to high tail it to a bday party... that is, if Mike even feels like going. Even if he does, we'll be a barrel of fun since neither of us can drink. Double Designated Drivers - WooHoo! It's almost funny! Normally, I'd say forget it under these circumstances, but this is a very very very good friend of ours. Even if Mike can't make it - I will definately still go.

Then Saturday morning I've got to grab my Halloween invite supplies and go back down Cape to meet up with my gals so we can get these things done and in the mail.

While I'm at it I should grab my single tile I bought last weekend. Yes, I bought a single tile from Lowes to see how it would match up in the mudroom and to see how it would line up with the 3/8 hardwood flooring we have. Good news, it matches perfectly. Better news, it appears as though after the grout is in place, the tile will fit perfectly with the hardwood. But seeing as how we're no experts, I have to have my dad look at it. So maybe Saturday is just the perfect time to get that taken care of.... and perhaps schedule him to come down and do an installation?! I would just love it if he could come, say the weekend of the 18th? That would be ideal!

Now, of course, with the roofing finished this weekend, the next order of exterior business becomes siding. The usual questions come into play - how much, how much money, how long etc etc. Against my normal procedure, we'll probably have to Home Depot the siding. After the roof, our savings is pretty much nill. (Except for that approx. $5,000 cushion I hold in there - that's in case of emergencies and I don't advise anybody to ever empty themselves completely. It's just not a smart idea.) Plus you have to remember that the holidays are fast approaching, and we've got a Halloween Party in just over a month, a possible Thanksgiving trip to Baltimore, and of course the big Christmas trip to Czech.

The next three months are going to be soooo tight. After the siding and the mudroom floor and in place - that's IT until January. We may be able to finish the rest of the stair railing because we already purchased the materials for that - but seriously, no new projects. In addition to the money, Mike needs a break. He's been working like a dog all summer - home improvement projects, helping friends with their projects, working mad side jobs.... he's exhausted and asking for some R&R time.

When the first of the year hits, we've got to start worrying about the baby room. We need to put in a new floor, fix the drywall, and paint in there. (When I say "we" I mean Mike because I'll be completely useless at that point.) Nevermind stuff like furniture and other supplies. But I'm not going to even worry about that now. My goal is to make it through the rest of this year - get as much done as possible and have as much fun as possible on all our trips.