Thanks Indeed

Turkey Day. A time to remember how thankful we are for family, friends, food… employment. And a big fat check from the MG guy! He’ll be here the first full week of December to load it up and take it away – thus ending our long long journey with that little red monster.

With money in hand, we were quick to disperse it. Mike paid off his friend for the purchase of his motorcycle. I paid off the credit card and repaid our savings for paying the credit card. I also paid off the fridge on the DeepHo card, bringing us back to a $0 balance on all fronts once again. What a great feeling! Much of the pressure we’d been building up over the past few months was gone immediately.
And, with our new found financial and obligatory freedom, we got right back to work on the house. I put up the tree and all the Christmas d├ęcor on Black Friday. (Staying as far from stores as humanly possible.) Mike picked up the Pex for the radiant heat on Saturday. Sunday, we really got down to business.
We didn’t get started until after lunch. (Notate that.) Then, Mike drained the heating system and disconnected the pipes downstairs. Upstairs, I moved the furniture in the kitchen and mudroom and disassembled the baseboards in both rooms. Then, it was off to the DeepHo for strapping and 2x6’s.

Upon our return, Mike quickly nailed up the strapping underneath the mudroom and drilled all the Pex tubing holes. Then, the difficult part. We both unrolled and tugged and pulled and fed and twisted and pulled and tugged and connected the tubing in and out of the floor joists. Not as easy as it sounds, since the tubing isn’t so flexible when hot water isn’t running through it.

We removed both baseboards from the kitchen and mudroom and put the former mudroom baseboard into the kitchen. (Wow, this means we finally can have an end-cap in the kitchen… no more no-name brand baseboard that we can’t find the ends to.)
And finally, around 6:30pm, Mike reconnected all the copper connections and pressurized the system. Kudos for re-using so many fittings too… although I wouldn’t advise doing such a thing. We had a couple leaks on first pressurization, but they were quickly fixed and the system was working beautifully by 8pm.
The whole job is made even more unbelievable when you take into account that we had to clean out and move just about our entire stock of lumber – which was all in the absolute worst spot ever. We had to remove it all from the saw horses, stack it, move the saw horses, and then put it all back on. What a pain in the butt… but good in helping us take stock of what we have. Lots of good sized trim pieces, for example. Plus, it was good reason to get rid of all the too-small or crappy bits. We threw those out the window.

Of course, that left us with a big mess outside to clean up at 8:30 at night. We were so toast, tired and achy at that point, but managed to clean at least the driveway.
And all those 2x6’s we also bought at HD? I bet you were wondering what those were for. Bathroom, baby, bathroom. Mike will begin framing TONIGHT. Boy, are we going to push forward with this one. It’s a Christmas gift to us and long time coming at that.

Most of one wall is up!

Out of One Pool of Hot Water, Into Another of Cold Water

I’d like to report a momentous occasion… champagne at the ready? THE MG RESTORATION IS COMPLETE! Yes, this project has consumed nearly all of Mike’s free time over  the past year. His few spare moments waiting for parts were spent in complete exhausted frustration. This car has been nothing but what it was supposed to be – a simple put-together-the-pieces and hook-up-everything project. Instead, everything fought him. A million parts were needed. Work done by others was incomplete or incorrect. Mike’s own high standards frustrated him. He did many things he hates in the name of keeping things high quality and cost efficient, including all the upholstery.

Now, we just await final payment and approval from the owner. Check’s in the mail, or so we’ve been told. It was supposed to be overnighted Monday, but didn’t arrive Tuesday. It didn’t arrive Wednesday. It didn’t arrive Thursday. Nerve racking.

But despite the missing money, we have our lives together back! (Don’t forget, I’ve been practically a single mom for a year.) What a good feeling that is! Back to normal.

This weekend, I’m hoping we can move the mudroom baseboard. We won’t get many more 60 degree days now, but we’ll have one on Sunday and I’d like to put it to good use. Just bite the bullet and get it out of the way before my piano is ruined. I’m not going to run into a free piano I love more then this one.

After the heat is good to go and the money arrives – we’re starting on the bathroom. Gulp. Just got to jump into that one head first, no matter how cold the water is.

Oldy and Now Officially Moldy

For a while now we’ve known that our lone (single) bathroom was leaking water from the shower/tub onto the floor. The problem became all the more obvious when we covered the old floor with a cheap sheet of linoleum. Water continued to leak… and get under the linoluem! Squish squish squish – discusting.

Mike finally got around to purchasing a tube of caulk and re-caulking the entire tub at the end of last week. Unfortunately, after my first long shower after the caulk dried, squish squish squish under the flooring again. The problem seemed worse then ever. Mike removed the cold water handle and discovered that the inside was all corroded. Not a good sign. He removed the access panel next to the toilet and confirmed our fears.

The water wasn’t leaking outside and running down the shower and tub. It was leaking inside the wall. And has been for quite some time judging by the amount of MOLD in there.

I literally had a panic attack. Could this be the cause of my random onset of severe allergies?? (After never having had allergies before, I suddenly began suffering terribly during the winter of last year.) The very thought of it sends chills down my spine. And our two year old… I was petrified at the thought of any more serious health problems cropping up.

We closed the wall that night. Nothing to be done about it then. We only have the one bathroom, after all. But soon enough, as soon as MG money comes in, we have no choice but to build the basement bathroom and completely GUT the upstairs bathroom.

I began researching bathroom fixures on the cheap. (And might I just say that Home Depot’s website is just about the most useless thing ever. You can’t find anything on there and the navigation leaves much to be desired. Lowes website is much more user friendly, although I’ll probably end up buying at the Home Deepo.) 

Fixtures alone:
Bathtub/shower kit (with wall surround): $477
Small single vanity with sink: $100
Toilet (water savign): $100
Sink faucet (decent looking): $40
Shower fixtures (head & control): $100

That brings us to a total of $817 for the basic set of researchable fixutres. (And these are all near bottom of the line cheapest – without going completely ugly.)

Beyond that you have to take into consideration building materials:
Pocket door (maximizing space)
Tile (for floor)
Electrical, including outlets, wires, etc.
Plumbing, including pipes, fittings, and don’t forget this is all in a basement so we need a pump
And all related hardware and supplies

Then there’s all the stoopid stuff you always forget to tally:
Shower curtain and rod
Towel racks
A mirror
Possible linen closet or other storage
Bathroom fan
Heat (cause there’s none downstairs currently)

It’s been a while since we built something from scratch. We’re even trying to finish things now that we started from scratch years and years ago. Although, I’m looking so forward to demolishing the old bathroom. I’m going to personally wreck that thing and every single tile and fixture in there.

Nor'Easter Blowing Out Irene's Bad Luck

Doom and gloom update - literally, because at this date, this are looking up. I have not had any weird or catastrophic bad luck in the past four days... not since I broke part of the kitchen track light on Saturday. Yes, I was cleaning the fixtures that hold the bulbs when one came crashing down and exploded into a million pieces. At the time I was really broken up about it. (no pun intended) I bought this light years ago, what are the chances I'll be able to replace just that one fixture?? There's a good chance they don't even make ones to fit anymore... forcing consumers like me to buy a whole new track light. Companies just love to stick it to you like that.

But as I said, now I'm feeling more optimistic. The bulb to that particular fixture still fits in and lights up and there are still 5 other light fixtures on the track. I can live without for a while. Plus, after that incident, the weekend was great. The day previous, Friday, our neighbor came over and fixed the kitchen drywall. Mike even painted on a coat of primer for me in the same evening. That Saturday night, during the Nor'Easter, I painted the newly fixed drywall with the plenty-of-kitchen-paint we had left over from our last kitchen drywall adventure. (Fixing a hole in the wall.) Believe it or not, we even had kitchen ceiling paint leftover from the last time we painted the ceiling... which was the first time we painted it years ago.

Yes, we opened up that can 'o brown, expecting an unusable mass of chocolate colored goo. Instead, we found something that still sort of resembled paint. It was just a little thick. Mike added some water, stirred, added more water, stirred some more, and there ya go. Enough paint to paint what little ceiling there needed to be done.

I have to admit, I got carried away in the excitement and painted until after midnight. (Storm raging outside, lights flickering, and everything.) I painted the new drywall fix around the new window. I painted the ceiling where drywall had been touched up around the newly fixed wall. I touched up and lightly painted the adjacent walls. I painted the two doorways where it was yucky from fingerprints and furniture moving. I even chipped off a bunch of the crumbling paint from the area around the stove - ceiling and wall - and painted that. I even moved the stove, vacuumed up all the crud that was in there (tots gross by the way) and painted behind the stove where it had not been painted before! I went nuts and had a blast.

Then, I cleaned and rearranged some of my kitchen elements. I re-positioned the Mocha sign so that it would cover the phone jack on one wall. (I always had fond memories of a wall phone in the kitchen at the house I grew up in and installed one in my own house... Too bad home phones are outdated and I don't ever want to pay for one in this, the age of the cell phone.) I also re-hung my canvas martini signs and re-arranged some things on the countertop. It looked great.

Sunday, Mike purchased and prepared the trim for the kitchen window. (We spluurged, $25.) He shimmed the window opening, measured for and cut all the trim, and stained it. On Monday, he installed it all and boy does it look beautiful.

Meanwhile, I spent my Sunday fixing the printer and putting stuff on Craigslist. By late afternoon, I was actually able to print pictures to fill my art wall. (I was very satisfied with printer quality, by the way.) Now, minus one enlargement that I have to buy, that project is complete as well.

I couldn't have been more satisfied unless we had porch steps going in.