Finishing Finish Work

It's been nearly a month. The contracts are signed, the deposit is made, the forms are filled out. There's no stopping the fast train to solar.

I emailed just yesterday to check on the status of the project... and we're waiting on final approval of our first rebate. It could be tomorrow, it could be a couple weeks, I was told. After that, we'll be notified and probably scheduled.

In the mean time, we're laying low. That's right... we're not starting anything huge. Mike hopes to wrap up the skid steere before we get our first snow. I have a small to-do list that I'd like us to start pecking away at after that's done. I see this down time as an opportunity to finish off some of that little finish work that we've never finished.

For example, last weekend Mike found the screws to the doorbell buttons in the garage and finally screwed those in. How many years have they been just loose next to the doors now?

Then there's window bottoms - I think we have at least 4 windows that are trimmed out... but we neglected to purchase and install the bottom piece. Oversight.

And what about the mudroom bead board/chair rail? We have a ton of bead board in the basement. We used to have similar bead board up in the mudroom, but then had to take it down when the house was lifted... and it got moldy and ruined. That was 8 years ago or so... and we haven't replaced it yet.

What about the basement closet doors that are still unstained?

What about our bedroom closet that is not trimmed out?

The attic crawl space, which has no doors. We had to stuff a box and some pillows in there to keep the cats out.

I could go on for days. Just let me walk around and I'll find a slew of other items.

Oh, and the fact that there's no threshold between the kitchen and living room?

Baseboard heater end caps?! Anyone?! I doubt that'll ever get done. We've tried again and again to find ones that fit without luck.

Did I mention we have a hot water tank downstairs that is as of yet uninstalled?

Ok, I'd better stop now before I get overwhelmed.

Falling for New Projects

Wednesday, July 24th. And I quote, "Now for a much deserved break from the house..." 
And for once, we pretty much made good on that promise.

Summer Report
As you may recall, we had been feverishly completing exterior siding and stair railing updates in preparation for a lucrative refi in the early summer months. I'm happy to report that we completed that refi and are now saving about $300 per month. Woo-to-da-hoo

As to how we've been spending our summer vacation - let me just say that it's been a whirlwind of kids' activities, weddings, get-togethers, mechanical side-jobs, Fridays off, and so much more. I can't say it was boring - Oh no. It was never boring.

So, where does that leave things today, at the start of the fall season?!

Fall Fall FALL
Hey, we're installing SOLAR!

What?! You just drop that bomb here on the blog after nothing all summer long? Pretty much. The solar ball started rolling some time ago and continued to gain speed through the entire summer. At this point, we're flying like you wouldn't believe.

It all went down like this...

I saw a lawn sign (of all things) advertising SolarizeMass.com. Curious, since two of our neighbors already have solar, I visited the site and contacted someone for more information. Some time later I received a response and an initial proposal based on Google Earth photos of our house. Looked promising... very promising. We went ahead and scheduled a site evaluation.

The site evaluators looked at the main house as well as the garage, took some measurements, and some time after that, I had another more official proposal that was even more promising. Panels on the garage and house would cover all of our usage and pay for themselves in under 4 years. Federal and state rebates would save us around 40-50% off the total cost of the project... then, there's the electricity you sell back to the grid... and the fact that the electric bill would be pretty much gone. (Nevermind, my extreme hatred of NStar. Besides having the #1 worst customer service on the planet, did you know they've decided to blanket Cape Cod with toxic herbicides, the effects of which could poison people and animals as well as damage our fragile aquifer?! All of which could be avoided by the simple and safe method employed for years to control excess vegetation: MOWING.)

Anyway - Solar! It's a no-brainer. To finance the project, we're in the process of getting a home improvement loan product specially designed for Eco-Improvement Initiatives. It requires no home equity and all the interest is tax deductible. Rates are fairly good, and although we're getting a longer term then we might like, we need the flexibility of a lower payment right now. When we can pay more, we will - that's the plan. Plus, once the rebates come in, we have the opportunity to re-amortize the loan for an even lower payment.

Double no-brainer. And did I mention that the entire system is warrantied for 25 years? At which point, I'm just the technology will be such that we'll be ready to upgrade anyway. And the roof, which is relatively new now, will be ready for a re-do too. Very little maintenance... snow is supposed to slide right off. And they can install the whole thing in a day. A day!

The only wrench in the works is trees. Or, I should say, the only wrench in the works was trees. Everyone agreed that with it's expansive roof space and easily accessible attic, the garage was an idea place for solar panels. Problemo - it was shaded. Solutiono - remove trees.

That area on the hill next to the garage was a problemo for us anyway. Dense trees, vines, poison ivy, prickers, and other invasive plant species were abundant, making the area completely un-useable. The shade was nice, with large overhanging maples, but it contributed to the growth of all these ground covering fringe plants. Mike had been talking about clearing out the area for ages, but being a tree lover, shade lover, I was skeptical.

But this project was just too good to pass up. A couple weekends ago, Mike cut and chipped trees. So many trees, I was nervous that it was too many in fact. The hill is looking much different now. And with trees and vegetation cut down on the hill, we now can get a better view of our side yard structure. It's lumpy at best, with a weird up-slope. This looks like a job for... du du duhhh - Super Skid Steer!

But what you also have to know is that the skid steer is another project that Mike began over the summer, in preparation for another hard winter, if we happen to have one. A work-horse for us for nearly 8 years now, the little John Deere skid steer has been on its way out for quite a while now. Motor - done. Toast. Mike found himself a new one, a diesel, and has been working on the change-over whenever he has time.

So - no grading and smoothing until that's completed.

The solar folks came back to the house and visited us again to check on our tree-removal progress. They use a nifty meter to measure sun exposure on the garage roof, a meter which also shows which trees are shading us. Turns out, there were a few more that needed to come down to get the most out of our proposed system. These were marked just last night and Mike will get to them.... when he gets to them.

Once we have our funding, which should be sometime next week, we will continue to move forward and hopefully set an installation date for sometime in December.

Stairs - They Just Happened All of a Sudden

Hello crazy kids. I can't even describe to you the last nearly-two months. You would have to have lived through it to totally appreciate the insanity of it all.

Back at the end of May (like, seriously?) we completed siding on the last un-sided side of the house along with singling on the back, the re-installation of windows, the installation of an octagonal window, and the painting of much trim work outside. It was all a maximum effort put forth to get the biggest appraisal value possible as part of a refi effort.

Well, I'm happy to report that the appraiser came and the value of the house turned out to be very favorable. But our initial elation turned sour when the underwriter came back and told us they wanted a railing on the stairs before they would close the loan.

Mike, already exhausted from his exterior efforts, was not happy. But rather then put up something half-ass and temporary to satisfy the loan folks, he decided that he wanted to do it up right.

The stairs from the first floor to the second have always caused us issue. They were temporary to begin with, I spilled paint on the treads that could not be cleaned off, every step squeaked - loudly, and to top it all off, we had all the materials to create a railing - the railing, the post, the balusters - everything already purchased years ago and just sitting in the basement.

"We just need to do it," Mike said. "And then it'll be done."
I couldn't argue. The trouble was, it needed to be done in about two weeks... counting the 4th of July holiday. (Which bought us a few extra and much-needed days.)

The day after we heard from the mortgage company, we were ripping off the old stairs. The first step, (ha ha, thus begins the stair-themed puns) was to take off everything so that the treads could be sanded and re-stained and the risers could be painted. (They were previously just clear-coated, which didn't work well for us. They showed scuff marks like crazy and couldn't be cleaned.)

Risers Off

Since we still needed to access the upstairs, the next step needed to be done quickly. (And yes, on a couple of occasions, we just had to plop the treads on just so we could oh-so carefully walk upstairs.) Second Step - trim. Once all the treads were off, Mike and I carefully marked and cut a piece of wood for the wall-side trim. Some tricky cuts and angles there... Tense moments, for sure.

Third Step, eliminate the squeak by building stronger stairs. Mike cut treads out of pine board to underlay the oak ones and caulked/nailed them in.

Pine Underlayment

Mike also cut a hole in the bottom one for our railing post - already in stock - and installed it in place. Walking those stairs without squeak for the first time was amazing... so quiet! The increased height of the pine boards also made for a more natural stepping height, especially at the top of the stairs, where stepping from the old landing to the second floor had previously been an unnaturally larger step.

Step 4: Exterior Trim - more measuring, marking, and cutting. And, while all this building was going on, Mike and I were simultaneously painting and staining treads and risers. Within a couple of days, they were also all ready to be put on... Or at least ready to be tested and tweaked. Most of the risers needed to be trimmed due to the newly decreased, trimmed-out length requirements.

Stairs with Exterior Trim and Treads Back On
Treads and Risers, Painted and Stained, Not Nailed On Yet
Step 5: Paint the trim. It's self explanatory. Trim was painted in the same color as the risers... which, by the way, I somehow screwed up on. I have no clue what color white that is, but it's not the white I thought it was. I thought this was the antique white you see in the wall stripes.

*No, that's not wallpaper, that's paint. Yes, I painted perfect stripes on my hallway. How? Painters tape. Painted one color, let set. Marked plumb points at top and bottom of the wall, taped from point to point with 2" tape for a nice straight line. Put a small piece of tape next to ceiling to floor line of tape to gauge distance. Marked for next piece of tape. And so on and so forth until the whole wall was taped. Then, I painted the next color - two coats. I removed the tape immediately after the second coat, pulling slowly and evenly to prevent drips and marks. Came out beautifully! Most people think it's wall paper.

*Note - I ended up painting after failing horribly at trying to put up wallpaper. That stuff sucks!

Trim Painted
 Once the trim was painted, all the risers and treads were nailed on for good.

Step 6: Fix the landing. Mike cut and stained oak boards for the top landing, further evening out the landing to 2nd floor step height. It feels like a natural step now! (Although for a while it was a little weird... we both kept high stepping like idiots! We were both too used to the old, too-high step.)

Step 7: Install railings. Yes, railings. Just to be safe, in addition to the hallway-side railing, which would die out into the stairway ceiling halfway up, we purchased a cheapo wood rail for the wall-side. No one would be able to say we didn't have a railing on this set of stairs!

Step 8: Install balusters. This was a painstaking process, but didn't take Mike too long once he did a couple of them. Measure, cut, install, repeat - all the way up to the ceiling, where the railing and balusters die out. They look beautiful - and we had plenty in our basement stock to do the job, plus a few extras.

After those were up, the final step was to stain all remaining wood pieces, the two railings and the post. Those were all stained in place. A little stinky for my liking, but at least we could open all the windows and fan it out.


All Railed Out

And it was done in the knick of time! Mike finished on a Sunday. The following day, the appraiser came back out, photographed the improvement, and made his report to the mortgage company.

Of course, we're still waiting to close due to some other technicalities... but luckily, it's not on us. It's all on their side. (Phew) 

Now for a much deserved break from the house - although, the lawn needs to be mowed, weeds need to be whacked.... A break is never really a break.

Calling It Done

Here we are, just about 10 days since we last chatted. And what a 10 days. The evening of my last post, I returned home to find the guys knee deep in side-siding. Even with only a couple hours of work-after-work, they managed to complete the right side siding up to the bottom of the windows.

Going Up the Side

Going Up the Side - Close Up
That Sunday, we all really got down to business. I finally made good on all my promises and started painting all the trim work along with the nasty 'ol blue basement door. (Man is it hard to change dark blue to white! Especially on old wood... old wood that you didn't bother scraping or priming first. Yes, I know. Bad bad bad. But this door's not for keeps, so why should I spend forever on it?)

The Door Color Previously Known as Blue

White Trim!
While I was busy painting trim during baby nap times, the guys worked on the siding. With rain coming in for the evening, it was a do-or-die scenario, and they were determined to get it done for good! Luckily, the clap boards go up so much faster then shingles. Despite numerous interruptions, they made it to the top in the nick of time, just before the sun set and the rain set in. (You can see it's drizzly even in this photo.)

All The Way Up

What a Different Rear View!
Scaffolding mess aside... what a view. I mean, striking really. This day was a long time coming and we're so proud to have finally accomplished the exterior. A big thanks to everyone - and I mean everyone - who helped. We couldn't have done it in such a short time without help.

Octagonal Love
And I just love this window... have I mentioned that yet?

Back Done

Status report - all went as it should have Wednesday and the tippidy top of the back of the house is finished and shingled. We'll need some trim along the top - but it's a small matter. I'm hoping to be able to do some trim painting tonight.

Last night Mike really did a super clean up job. Better then usual! See in this wide shot how those pieces of plywood are underneath the scaffolding? Though Mike put those there originally to help protect the new grass we just planted, they also worked to contain the mess. Mike simply went out there, swept the plywood, and even used a dust broom and pan to gather up all the nails and other small bits.

More great news - last night our neighbor dropped by. He and our carpenter are going to come by tonight and begin installing the siding on the right side of the house. This is an unexpected offer, but we'll take it! Mike prepared all the tools they'll need, since he'll be taking our son to the circus tonight and can't help out. Then, Sunday, they'll be back again to help Mike complete the job.

A little trim paint (which I have not gotten to yet) and a little more clean up... call it done. And they haven't even called me about the appraisal yet. In fact, I'm getting a little annoyed at my refi gal. I've called her and left messages - she is not getting back to me and I want to get her all these documents ASAP so we can close on time. I don't think she's put in for the appraisal yet either since my card hasn't been charged. If she makes us miss our rate-lock closing date, I'm going to be rip-shiz.

Anyhoo, good thoughts for the weekend.

One last note of note... after this is through, we're taking a break. Yes. Us! Taking a break! We are not starting on anything new and huge in terms of home improvement after this is done. Instead, we are looking to get everything paid off for what we have done thus far while making this a fun family summer. Beach - boat - playgrounds - maybe a BBQ or two. I think the two of us can afford a vacation.

Keeping Up With The Us's

No, seriously, you can't keep up with us. Don't even try. We're in a time warp mach 7 warp speed 10 black hole cheetah jet plane race car rocket ship... thing. It's fast.

Yesterday, while Mike and I were working, the guys were back at our house... well, working. (Strange to leave people at our house working while we're not there. I know normal people do this all the time.)

By the time we got home, there was a ton accomplished.

Stripping at the tippidy top of the house was completed. The right side upstairs window was removed. Plywood was installed. TyVek was stapled. The window was re-installed. And shingling continued - now up to the half-way point of the upstairs window.

On the side of the house, the mess is gone! Unfortunately, Mike forgot that the dump is closed on Tuesday. But our guy went there anyway with a truckload to get rid of... and paid $40 to dump it. Gulp. Our dump sticker is only $30 for the year and that covers all construction debris free of charge. Ugh! What's done was done and the good news is, it's all gone now at least.

Inside, the octagonal window is in! And oh my god do I love it! I look out of it and I see the beautiful japanese maple we planted a few short years ago and I can imagine what it will be to look out and see the tree, large and beautiful over the side yard. I love love love love it.

Today, the guys were due back over to finish off that tippidy top portion of shingling. And then we're done with the guys. Mike is going to do the siding on the right side of the house himself over the weekend. If I can manage to escape outside, I may try and do some of the trim painting.

Manic Monday

The insane plan that I outlined yesterday worked only partially. (What do you expect? It was insane.) Kudos to the guys for putting forth a great effort and accomplishing all that they did!

Here's the wide shot - as you can see, that living room window is back in place and shingles are up all the way past the top of that window.

The very tippidy top near the roof has yet to be completed. 

The other side is where things get interesting. As you can see, the entire thing has been stripped. What you can't see? We avoided a HUGE step in the process... The plywood! We assumed that like the rest of the house, this side's original barn board exterior (that had been covered first by shingles and then blue cement board siding over that) would be in such poor condition that it would need to be re-covered with plywood. Like the house's back side, adding plywood would mean removing the two windows you see pictured and re-installing them post-plywood. Pain-in-the-butt.

Removing and re-installing those two windows would also have screwed up the interior window trim, which would have to be thrown out and re-done as well to accommodate a new plus-plywood depth.

Luckily, this is the one and only side that the barn board was in good enough condition not to require plywood. The guys stripped it down and stapled up the Tyvek.

Also what you can't see, the octagonal window hole has been cut on the outside side. The guys had to move a stud and make several pain-in-the-butt changes to get it to fit where we wanted it to fit. Inside, the drywall is the only thing left that needs to be cut before the window can be actually installed.

Before Shot - Window to go above that table

Window Ready to Go
Mike is at work today, but his guys are back at our house to work on that tippidy top portion. Mike picked up some more shingles at the DeepHo last night... gulp. I know this little spending spree is almost over - and we'll be able to return a heck of a lot of plywood that was meant for that other side. I'm looking forward to having it done and taking a much-deserved break to catch up financially, mentally, physically.... I know Mike is too.

Wow, Other Wall

The crazy pace continues relentlessly. Sunday, Mike tackled the other side of the outside basement door. Starting early in the AM, he had plywood up and half the shingles before lunch time. We went to the Home Depot and picked up more trim boards, white paint, and flowers for our moms.

After lunch time, his parents came by and he and his dad completed shingling on that portion, set up the scaffolding, ripped off all the old stuff off the next portion, took out a living room window, plywooded, and put up the Tyvek. Oh, and did I mention our carpenter came by and finished up some flashing on the left side, up at the top? Yes, it was that kind of a day.

Shingling is done here

Adios Window - Hello Plywood
Much like the upstairs window right above the living room, this particular window was crooked. Not because we installed it incorrectly, but because we installed it in a crooked house. Then, we lifted the house to add a basement (this was years ago now). We leveled the house (as much as we could) when it came back down on the new foundation, but that made the once straight windows crooked! Especially on the back wall of the house.

As you may recall, the upstairs window on this side was leaking water into the bathroom... and kinda started us on this mad shingling spree. Though the living room window wasn't leaking, it was still crooked. And, as such, it was difficult to get out. It was just wedged hard in there! But it needed to come out so that new plywood could be installed behind it.

The plywood will be cut and the window re-installed. But by the time the guys had reached this point, it was the end of the day.

TyVek Up - No More Window
 So what could be more insane then a Sunday like that? (Happy Mother's Day to me, by the way. I got to go to BJ's... woo? hoo? It is what it is. Renovation life.) Anyhoo - more insane? Today. Today Mike wrangled a couple of his friends into a do-or-die re-do-all-the-rest day. Last night we talked logistics... shame that I can't be there today to oversee, since I helped him plan the most efficient course of action. On the goal list:
* Strip the tippidy top of the back side of the house, near the roof line
* Re-install the living room window
* Plywood and re-shingle the remainder of the house backside
*Strip the old siding off the entire other side of the house (pictured below)

*Install an octagonal window (that I've had in my basement now for four years, awaiting this moment)
*Remove those two windows you see pictured
*Plywood and Tyvek that side of the house
*Re-install those two windows
*Put up siding (that we've had under that blue tarp you see in the lower right hand corner of the photo)

Holy shamolies.

Why on earth do we think this can get accomplished? A. There's four guys. B. So much work got done on Sunday. C. That other yucky blue side, it's the shortest, smallest side of the house. D. The siding, as opposed to the shingles, goes up upber quick.

My brilliant logistical plan that I came up with to get it all done efficiently?! Here it is:

*When the first guy (G1) arrives, start him stripping the blue part where the new octagonal window will go. While this is happening, Mike and his dad continue shingling/put in living room window.
*As soon as the octagonal window portion is stripped, put up plywood in that section.
*While Mike is putting up plywood, send G1 to the tippidy top of the back to start stripping there.
*At noon, G2 arrives just in time to begin installing the octagonal window
*By the time the octagonal window is in, G1 should have finished stripping the tippidy top - send him back down to stripping the blue side.
*Once the octagonal window is in, send G2 to the tippidy top of the back to install plywood and shingles.
*While this is all happening, Mike and his dad continue to shingle the back.
*If back is finished, send Mike and his dad to help strip the blue side.
*Once blue side is fully stripped, Mike and his dad remove the two windows and begin plywooding.
*G2, once finished with the tippidy top of the back, go down to the blue side to help plywood, re-install  windows, or siding - depending on where the other guys are at in the process.
*Any back shingling that needs to be done can be accomplished by Mike, by himself, later in the week

This all might be a fruitless mission impossible. Typically in an old home, there's always something that goes awry and screws up even the best laid plans. Nothing to do but try your best and hope for some luck.

Wow, Wall

Mike is impressing me with his aggressive exterior schedule thus far. In the past couple days, he purchased all the plywood and trim boards, plywooded the area on one stripped side, and then completed trim and shingling on that same side!

There's all the wood.

Newly shingled.

And he also brought home scaffolding from work tonight in preparation for a big working weekend. Monday, he's enlisted some friends to come over. They're going to try and bang out the entire thing in one days time. 12-7pm. Wow just doesn't say enough,

You're Doing What Now?

Rewind a couple weeks... the bathroom sink was out of the living room and the lights were up! With just about a week before our son's 4th Bday party, we needed that bathroom at least semi-functional, ie, a working sink. We were pretty sure we had purchased the supply lines for the sink ages ago - but of course when it came time to install them, they were no where to be found. (I totally wish I could take over the renovation organization, but when you don't know what half the stuff is... it's a little tricky to organize it.)

So, after purchasing new ones, it was quick work to get the water running and hook up the drain. With all the prep work having been done ahead of time, it all took less then an hour. There was even time left for Mike to put up the mirror. It all looked awesome... worked awesome... no leaks. We couldn't have asked for more!

The only task left - pre party, that is - was to install the shower door, which was still in the living room, much to my discontent.

Well, the week flew by as we both worked feverishly on other party preparations. Favors, decorations, cookies, snacks, activities... And the shower door just hung out in the living room. The day of the party came last Sunday and the door was still there.

"We still need to put that door on," I said to Mike just two hours before party start time. Ok, no problem, quick install. Except we couldn't find the hardware! Mike searched high and low as I continued my mad pre-party last minute prep. No dice. I told him to forget it - just put the door in the basement - I needed his help on other matters.

Last night, I finally set about finding it. I just had this sneaky suspicion that the hardware had been stuck in the installation guide, which I had put away upstairs while party cleaning. And lo and behold, there it was. But we still didn't install the door.


You're not going to believe this. We're semi-randomly replacing the rest of our siding this week. I say semi-randomly because this project is completely unplanned. Long story short, we're refinancing to a lower interest rate and need a great appraisal value to help. Mike, after talking it over with his dad, decided to make the push and complete the siding - on both the back and the side of the house. What's more, he thinks he can have it all done in less than a week.


That's the remainder of the back of the house - stripped, prepped, plywooded, and shingled. The left side of the house, stripped, prepped, octagonal window installed, and sided.


I originally thought he only planned to complete the back side... but when I heard all the details last night, I pretty much just stood there, mouth agape. "You realize they could call me tomorrow and want to appraise on Friday, right?" I said. He wanted to press on anyway.

So last night Mike stripped the rest of the basement entryway in back of the house:

We'll see where this goes over the coming week.

Also on the plus side, our grass is coming in over on the area where we dug for the chimney last fall.

The Sink Is Out of the Living Room

Ah yes, that renovation life. The things I have had to do over the years... sink in the living room, doing dishes in the bathtub, living out of one room, step stool as front step for about 3 years, and so on and so forth.

But I'm proud to announce that as of Wednesday night, the bathroom sink is out of the living room and in the bathroom!

So as you might imagine, we completed wall color painting on Monday and Tuesday night. It turned out fabulously!

And now here it is with the sink and vanity lights installed. Mike caulked around the sink and also around the shower, where he hadn't been able to put in drywall mud because of the low clearance.

Last night, Mike put on another layer of caulking, sink and shower. Then, he installed the fan trim and light switch plate. (Although that's temporary. We'll be getting a multi-function switch soon enough.) He also put up the shower enclosure, although did not fully install it. It's really starting to look like a bathroom now! And now that the sink and shower enclosure are out of the living room... that's really starting to look like a living room again.

Next up - sink plumbing, shower enclosure installation, mirror hanging, and trim work. Oh, and I have to find time to paint the door. It's absolutely disgusting.

Is that Peacock on Your Ceiling?

And the answer is - Yes. Yes it is. Two coats, as a matter of fact.

Mike brought home the paint as scheduled on Friday and put on one coat that night and a second one on Sunday morning. I'm looking forward to slappin on some wall color soon - the ceiling looks incredible!

Primed and Ready

We nearly had another moment last night. Yes, Mike purchased roller and brushes yesterday and brought them home as planned. The issue came when we opened up the primer and found it was all dried out!

Hating to wait yet another night, we added water to the can and stirred. And stirred. And stirred some more until it kinda sorta felt like paint again. Then, Mike put it through a paint strainer to remove lumps (he does auto body work too - worked in auto body for years and has all the gear) and we attempted to put it on the wall. Bad idea. It was just like water. Lumpy textured water, despite the straining. No good.

For a few minutes, we thought we were screwed... then located another can of primer in the basement. We opened it up nervously, but this one looked good! No water needed, just a little stirring. Phew! How frustrating would that be to have to wait another night and buy yet another primer?

Painting could finally commence! Mike manned the roller and I manned the brush, cutting in as he hit the walls and ceiling. The bathroom is looking like a real live room at long last!

Wall/Ceiling by the shower

Vanity and window wall
Today I sent Mike to work with my two paint swatches - ceiling in a color called Peacock tail, a beautiful and deep teal, and the light, nearly white wall color with a tinge of mint that I didn't note the name of. (I'm SO excited!)

You Can't Build A Brick House Without Bricks

Turns out, we are fresh out of rollers and brushes. No painting last night. Instead, Mike cleaned up the entire drywall mess - vacuumed the bathroom and the living room, and cleaned up all his tools from inside the bathroom.

We'll be ready to go for tonight!

Me Time

On Monday, Mike sanded the bathroom. On Tuesday, Mike sanded the bathroom again. And now it's time for me... to paint! Yes, I just said paint, or, technically, prime. Tonight I shall be priming! And I couldn't be more ecstatic.

Come to think of it, I hope I have at least one roller and a brush kicking around. I feel like it's been forever since I did any painting and I have no clue what we have in stock anymore.

I already have the colors picked out for Mike to pick up on Friday. A dark teal for the ceiling and a near-white (tinge of mint) for the walls. If I'm painting color by Saturday night, I will be one super psyched lady!

Mike will have to do some caulking around the top of the shower where they just couldn't squeeze any drywall compound in. It's that tight. After the paint is complete, the shower head can be installed along with the glass enclosure. (Which was of course, removed for drywalling.) A little baseboard trim to do, then the vanity can go in and the sink plumbing hooked up. Oh, and of course the lights, recessed trim, fan trim, and mirror can go up too.

Amazing how fast stuff can happen once a stubborn roof leak is fixed!

Meanwhile, before that...

I completely forgot about madness Sunday! Wow. Yes, last Sunday there was actually too much happening. Even for me! Our carpenter was over first thing in the morning to finish up the shingling up on the tippidy top of the house where Mike dared not go, ladder or no. Later on that morning, our chimney sweep (do we not have a friend for everything?) came by to clean our blocked chimney.

I don't think I've even mentioned that in the midst of all the craziness we've been going through, Mike awoke in the middle of one night a few weeks ago to a house filled with smoke! There was no chimney fire, thankfully, but it was definitely plugged up. And there was Mike in the middle of the night with a bunch of box fans, opening up all the windows and airing out the entire house.

It took weeks for the smell to dissipate. The basement still stinks.

So, enter the chimney sweep. After much cleaning, the chimney was clear again. While he was here, the guys checked the stove and tried to run it again. Our sweep confirmed - it does not run hot enough. And he couldn't give us any solutions on what to do. A few things to try perhaps, but we all pretty much agreed that the stove is too old and inefficient.

New wood stove. Add that to the shopping list. Luckily, there appear to be some tax credits available if we were to purchase a new, highly efficient wood stove. Not a bad idea. How much does it cost to fill an oil tank now-a-days? For the price of two fills, I bet we'd have the price of a new stove right there. But we'll have to shop around, see what's what. To the list it goes!

After those two guys finished up, it was yard cleanup time. Mike brought home the blower the night previous, and, after moving a buncha logs out of the back yard, blew the entire thing thoroughly. Looks great! No more sticks, less leaves, and no logs.

I took Zaida in the stroller with a bag (I had the bag, not her) and picked up all the trash I could find. (Being on a relatively busy road plus track pickup Tuesday, we get a fair share of garbage on the lawn.) After Mike was done out back, he and Mikey cleaned up all the construction/shingle debris from just outside the downstairs bathroom. I had no clue it had been such a mess over there! Glad that's taken care of, pre-bday party.

And thus concluded the busiest Sunday ever - I won't even mention the fact that I was pumping out 30 handmade bday invitations and that there was a salamander loose in the kitchen. Just that kindofa day.

Dry Room - Drywall

The shingling did the trick - the bathroom is living high and dry after at least two rain storms. (At long last.) Notice how we waited for a couple rainy days before we re-started the drywall? We were itching to do it, but knew better this time around. Thankfully, there was no need to worry after all.

So last weekend, Mike really set about finishing the job. He hung the remaining drywall, put in the over-the-shower light, and cut a hole for the sink drain plumbing. This week has been all about the taping and mudding. Mike roughed in all the seams and our neighbor will be over tonight for the next step, which is... I dunno. I'm not sure if we're at pea coat stage yet. You'd think I'd know the drill by now.


Plus, with our son's 4th birthday just around the corner, we started cleaning up the outside. Mikey and I began over the weekend, picking up sticks around the yard and putting them in the wheel barrow. Last night, Mike brought home a chipper and took care of the big stuff. (No chipper availability over the weekend, those things are renting out like crazy right now!)

This weekend, Mike is hoping to get a blower to really clean things up out there. I put another bug in his bonnet today about ordering more blue stone for our side driveway. We got the stone for it last year... but didn't order quite enough to complete the job. We need just a big more to round the corner near the back garage addition.

And I think that will be more than enough to keep us busy inside and out for the next week or so...

Hello April, Goodbye Leak?

In like a lion, out like a dinosaur. March. And we New Englanders thought February was harsh. We're due for another 1-3" of snow tonight along with gail winds.

Luckily, this past Sunday was nice enough for Mike and our carpenter to make progress outside - hopefully water-proofing the bathroom at long last. They trimmed out that portion of the house and then shingled as much as they could in the time allotted.

I feel like this quick and dirty bathroom remodel has been one of our most aggravating.

Meanwhile, both Mike and I are itching to get started on something else. I found the coolest idea for a tie wall for the hillside:

Can't you just imagine that bottom step full of nice plantings? (Not that I have the slightest idea what to plant and how to plant it.)

Mike, inspired by all the cool pallet upcycles online, has decided to pallet the interior of the garage. Fricken brilliant if you ask me. Some of the images of a pallet wall online are stunning:

So cool. So incredibly cool. Just search pallet anything on the web - or, better yet, Pinterest, and you'll come up with a whole slew of amazing ideas. And I'm psyched at the thought of garage walls because it would force Mike to organize. (Plus, let's face it, it sucks to open the garage door and be faced by a bunch of insulation.)