Friday, October 26, 2012

Catching Up

We had a baby!

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We finished the renovation!

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And we drove down to Alabama for Rob to take SOS.

We are living in the Residence Inn by Marriott and it’s really very nice. There’s a lovely patio area with tables, umbrellas, and a grill, a basketball court, a pool, and a hot tub. Plus, a free breakfast every day. Two or three days  a week there’s a reception in the evening with free food. Plus, the staff is lovely and offer services akin to the Ritz Carlton (grocery pick up, dry cleaning, and other errands). If I liked Marriotts before, I love them now!

It feels a little like I’m on vacation. It’s really very nice to know that this weekend, all we have to do is watch the Aggie game on TV. With the renovation, every weekend and most evenings were devoted to the house. Since Easter, we haven’t had much of a break. From time to time, Rob would gaze off toward the horizon and sigh longingly, “One day, I’d like to go fishing again.” And even though he has homework and things to do with the school here, he will have more free time than if we were at home. Yay!

So here’s to a relaxing autumn in Alabama!

Birth Story

Note: Do not read this unless you are really interested. There is oversharing and plenty of TMI. I know I appreciate warnings from my friends before I start reading and realize what I’ve done far too late.

Another note: Readers shall not envy my labor and delivery.

Rob was TDY in Vegas for Red Flag until week 39. With my firm belief baby Moore would arrive after my due date I was absolutely behind his going to this training. And I think I would still make that decision today. Because I honestly think his presence was all I needed to start labor.

He came home a day or so early because he flew a jet home. So, Friday evening I welcomed my hubby as only a sexy preggo can.

Friday night I had some small labor pains that made sleeping a little difficult. But seeing as I had not had trouble sleeping previously during pregnancy, I figured this was the beginning of that.

Saturday, I continued some little labor pains. It didn’t impede me though – I just stopped what I was doing and breathed to relax and it passed fine.

Just as dinner was being served, though, at about 8 or 9pm (it was a late dinner because we were doing things around the house – renovation is never done) I entered into the active labor stage with contractions of increasing intensity. Consequently, I declined dinner (what previously smelled delicious assaulted my nostrils during this labor stage) and regretted later not having more to eat that day.

I tested positive for the bacteria that makes them give you an IV as soon as one’s water breaks. I wanted to avoid as many medical procedures as I could – I figured they’d give me an IV for the antibiotics, labor would slow, they’d give me something to speed it up, I’d end up with an epidural, then a c-section after 26 hours of labor. That was my worst case scenario and I feared it greatly.

Resolved to labor as long as I could at home, I sat in the comfy recliner just breathing and drowsily enduring contractions.

As they gradually got more intense, I asked Rob to rub my feet. Ahh! So good! We should have been doing this the whole time! Immediately after the first rub, at 1:38am, POP! my water broke! OH! Hospital! We have to go to the hospital!

Of course labor pains rapidly got more intense after that and my entry into the emergency room looked like this: “Okay ma’am welcome to the emergency room. Congratulations.” (they’re really friendly in South Dakota) “If you could come over here and fill out these forms…”  “Okay…. give me a minute. Oooooo…”

Once in the room, I gave them my birth plan and told them I didn’t want to know how far along I was. My thought process was this: when I’m running (and I hate running) I prefer not to know the distance as I cover it. So, when I’m laboring (and I rightly forecasted I would not really enjoy laboring) I just wanted to plod along. So, they honored that and whispered it to Rob. Later, I found out I was already six centimeters dilated.

Contractions rapidly got more intense but honestly there were only about two that would have made me think, “I can’t do this anymore.” And then my body decided it was ready to push.

I knew this because I had one big contraction and my body shot forward on the bed from my back to my hands and knees. The poor nurse freaked out a little bit and made me lie back so she could check my dilation. When she checked, she mouthed to Rob (out of my view), “I can see the head!” So the doctor was immediately called. This was only a little after 3am.

At this point, I was keeping my eyes closed to better concentrate on relaxing through the contractions but I did notice a lot more bustling about in the room and one of the nurses was setting up this big table with instruments and such. They kept assuring me the doctor was coming and he doesn’t live very far. I remember wondering why they were telling me this. I had no idea the baby was on his way!

I remember having energy that I didn’t know what to do with and appreciative one of the nurses started focusing me once again on breathing. I didn’t know at the time they were trying to prevent me from pushing until the doctor could arrive.

About 3:30am my doctor arrived and I was finally able to push! I remember it feeling good and painful at the same time. And at 3:47am Titus Walker was born!

Worried I would have an alien baby (you know the ones I mean, cone headed, eyes too big for their faces, blimp foreheads…) when they placed Titus on my chest, I was so pleasantly surprised  I exclaimed, “Wow, he’s actually kinda cute!” And he was. And he is.

So all that trauma putting the book in the freezer reading about the worst that can happen during pregnancy was needless. All the fears I had at having a horrifying birth experience were misdirected. I feel super blessed  to have had such an easy pregnancy and birth.

The first six weeks of having a baby are an ENTIRELY different story though!

Note: I actually tried to write a blog just now about the first six weeks of Titus’ life and starting crying just remembering how awful it was. While parts are funny in retrospect, I could not (at least not yet) make it lighthearted enough to be blog-appropriate. There’s a reason why none of that is in the “prepare you for having a baby” books!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

On Being Pregnant

Note: This blog entry was written while still pregnant so some of the verb tenses and such may be off slightly.

Pregnancy treated me very well and I really have very few complaints. I’m especially grateful because I’ve appreciated the energy and mobility amid the home renovation.

The following is a list of things I’ve observed in myself during my pregnancy.

I first noticed my body changing when the folds in my belly button became less deep. “That’s interesting, I thought.” Now, they are non-existent. I had no idea.

I first noticed my mind changing when Rob observed I have pregnancy-induced ADD. I left the room on a quest for a hammer from the garage and Rob found me pressure-washing the siding. Yikes.

Over the pregnancy, I have gained empathy for those with an ADD mindset (Rob included). Formerly, I was frustrated with others’ lack of linear thinking. “What do you mean you can’t trace your train of thought??” NOW, I get it. Thought is NOT linear to those with ADD, it’s like thought bubbles coming from all sides.

Having possessed a powerful ability to focus throughout my life, I must now make a concerted effort to keep my mind from being pulled into a curly-q by the assault of thought bubbles. But I can and do overcome with practice!

I continued to notice my body changing as my attempts to bend over and reach something were thwarted by a beach ball under my shirt that is far less squishy than an actual beach ball.

My mind never absorbed the transition from pregnancy to baby will happen and I constantly forgot that baby will be on the OUTSIDE of my body soon. For example: “Oh, we’d love to go to your destination wedding in in Hawaii in September!” “Uh, McKay, we’ll have a newborn baby.” “Oh RIIIIIIGHT!” Or… “We can’t bring kids to Alabama for the training in the fall.” “Why is that a problem? Oh. Riiiiight….” 

The baby in utero is really very convenient. He eats when I want to eat. He’s quiet. He doesn’t need any toys, soothers, or special equipment. It’s really a nice situation.

And now a note on what I’ve observed from others.

People LOVE a pregnant woman - total strangers will strike up conversations with me and ask sometimes rather personal questions about me and the baby. Why? That is so weird.

People compulsively touch my belly. I don’t mind as I’ve not been too picky about my personal space, but it’s just so amazing to watch – they actually can’t stop themselves.

Normally, I like researching and getting lots of information about places I’m about to go, etc. But my minimal reading (a lighthearted little book from my SIL – The Girlfriend’s Guide to Pregnancy) was so terrifying I wanted to put it in the freezer. Rob would frequently see me thrust the book aside with a look of horror on my face after reading about yet another awful symptom of growing a human. And this was lighthearted reading. I decided it was better not to know and just wait to learn about things as they affected me. I am much happier.

I noticed that women love looking at me with this all-knowing look that says “YOUR life is never going to be the same” and I honestly can’t tell if they mean it like a good or bad thing.

On that note, sometimes mothers trying to give me advice only make me never want to be a mother. “You’ll never sleep again.” “All the intimacy with your partner will be gone.” “Pregnancy brain doesn’t go away! Just wait for baby brain and motherhood brain.” You’re not selling me on motherhood, ladies.

Once it began to show that I was pregnant, I very often got looks from women (in the 50-65 age range) of a condemning nature. I receive these looks while lifting “heavy” things. Apparently, there are some people who believe VERY strongly that pregnant women will harm the baby if they do any of the following: lift more than 20 pounds, lift one’s arms above one’s head (seriously – people think that!), participate in any sort of strenuous activity, or linger outside in ANY kind of sun or heat.

By the way, I checked with my doctor and a pregnant woman can participate with peace in any activity she was doing prior to becoming pregnant… and she can CERTAINLY lift her arms above her head.

And the following are some things I vow never to do as a mother (although no guarantees).

I vow to never say the above awful things to a pregnant woman who clearly can not reverse her decision to be a mother and to only provide her with encouraging words that she might actually WANT to hear (NOT about getting no more sleep ever!).

I vow to NOT share with relish and delight, like a scary campfire story, the tales of 30-hour labors, tears from end to end, and awful complications in delivery.

I vow NOT to share with gloating and pride, tales of 2-hour labors and completely painless deliveries.

I vow to never put those family stickers on the back of my SUV. You know the ones I mean - the stick figures with the dad, mom, three kids, and a dog. Even though I heard they came out with Star Wars ones…. still never.

I vow to keep my facebook profile about me and not ALL about my baby. I scroll through my friends and at least 60% of them have their offspring as their profile pic. (Don’t worry, grandparents, you can learn all the details about baby’s life through another venue).

On Doing a Renovation

Now that Rob’s on TDY, I have a little more time for processing and thought. Here are some notes on doing a home renovation.

Take your timeline, multiply it by three. Then, multiply that by two. That will give you a more accurate idea of how long it will take.

I know you don’t believe me. I wouldn’t either. But it’s true.

If you’re doing a project that tears things all the way out, just take it all down to the studs! Don’t worry about saving the drywall. No drywall makes electrical a million times easier (no, really it’s actually a MILLION times easier).

Remember to support your dedicated husband as he’s crawling in the tiny spaces of the attic muttering to himself words you can’t understand through the ceiling (and probably don’t want to) while pulling electrical wire. That’s not a fun job.

Hire out the drywall!! It’s a big fat pain! And you still see your mistakes, even if you do it well.

Making concrete countertops sounds glamorous and creative, but that part is only a sixth of the actual time involved. The meat and bones of it is lots of math, lots of perfection, and lots of prep.

When doing a kitchen, you will be happy to have any type of functioning kitchen as much as possible. If that means balancing the old kitchen sink on the new cabinets and prepping dinner on a piece of tile, then do it. Frustration is thinking “I can cook this for dinner… oh wait. No I can’t. Well, I could make… nope, that won’t work either…” Funny and sad.

Overall, we’ve been SUPER happy with what we’ve done. We’ve learned a lot and it’s SO rewarding to see the progress and know that WE did that!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Adventures in DIY: Concrete Countertops

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We are not newbies to this process. We started with tabletops and practice pieces, preparing for a full kitchen one day. Last year, we did a bathroom counter and it turned out lovely. But that still did not prepare me for the HUGE amount of TIME involved in doing an entire kitchen. We’ve always done one piece at a time. This time, we did five (one coming in at 11 feet long). It multiplies the time involved significantly.

That to say, I know they’ll be worth it (actually, I haven’t calculated our final cost figures, but I’m certain it’s cheaper than granite).

The following is our process (for those of you interested in building your own concrete counters):

We made the template for the counters out of 1/8” composite board. Stapled it to the cabinets with a staple gun while laying it out, then glue-gunned it together, took out the staples, and voila a template! (about 3 hours)

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We then cut the melamine for the sides of the pieces and began our mold-building. (about 6 hours)

Note: you need a protractor to do this.

Second note: if it’s NOT school-supply time, the only place in town you can find  protractor is an office supply store.

Over the next few days we continued building molds. Saturday, I remember thinking “Yay, we’ve only got one more mold to build, then we’ll caulk them and let them sit while we take a break the rest of the day!” Many hours later I was thinking of which fast food joint would still be open by the time we finished. :-)

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After the molds were built, we vacuumed them, cleaned them with vinegar and water, taped them, and THEN caulked them. 

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Then, we removed the tape.

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THEN we built the reinforcement. We used remesh and some rebar in front and back of the sink, as well as behind the stove. (about 5 hours)

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Sunday! The day of the big pour! Our molds prepped, Rob arrives with the cement mixer. He starts filling it with water to be sure it can hold the amount of cement we want so we only have to make two loads. Oh NO! It is too small for our planned two batches. Since the rental place is closed we decide to make it work. Rob re-does the math to find out how much of each ingredient to add for each batch. He decides on four batches. I begin to portion some of the ingredients and we begin.

The first batch goes into the molds about 3:30pm. I begin pushing it into the corners and vibrating the mold with the orbital sander to make sure there’s little or no air bubbles, especially on the edges.

My station for the next (unbeknownst to me) six hours is at the molds, pushing the concrete into the molds and trying to distribute each batch evenly and on top of the next layer in an effort to keep the color as consistent as possible. As the fourth batch goes in, we both realize that we don’t have enough!

Later, we decide the reason math failed us is that our water reducers worked extremely well and Rob didn’t add as much water as originally calculated, as well as the 3% air in the mixture was very likely absent as I found very few air bubbles. Either there will be tons of air bubbles because I was completely ineffective (although I doubt it) or we’ll have very very few air bubbles.

At any rate, Rob made a run to the store about 7:30pm for more concrete. We thought it wise to get the countertop mixture from Menards, but in retrospect we wish we’d just gone for quikcrete 5000. Four bags of countertop mixture and $63 later, we still needed more and the pieces were setting up! Crisis! I phoned a friend who VERY sweetly picked up four bags of quikcrete 5000 for us and brought it over while we screeted as many pieces as we could. Of course I don’t have any pictures of that process because documentation was not high on my list of priorities. (Screeting is when one slides a straight piece of wood or melamine back and forth across the top of the pieces to scrape off any excess and make sure the entire piece is level with the sides). Right about the time we couldn’t finish any more pieces with the screeting, the new concrete arrived and Rob mixed up another batch. Whew! Pieces all filled in and setting. (6 hours plus of hard work)

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We celebrated by going to a 24 hour diner and enjoying a hearty late brinner.

Today, I have decided to deservedly take a day off and I shall be doing my nails, which are in a very bad state and have been pretty much since renovation began.

Next week, we’ll take the molds off and grind a little down, then fill in any air bubbles. Can’t wait!!!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

A Day in the Life of a Renovating Couple

Of course every day is different. But here’s a sampling of our days the past couple weeks.

After I spent most of the week sanding and mudding drywall, Rob textured the ceiling while I attended a bachelorette party Friday night.

Saturday morning, we met the landscaper at the local Menard’s to chose our paver color – sienna tumbled holland stone – woo hoo! Later, we met him at his nursery to pick our perennials for the new flower bed. Yay!

Then, we went to brunch. Because we deserved it. And brunch is awesome.

After prepping the backyard for landscaping, we attended a wedding in the Black Hills. That was Saturday.

Sunday was church and more landscape prep – Rob digging lots! He had to move the sprinkler valves so they wouldn’t be in the middle of the new patio (he did a great job, by the way!). He dug a giant hole around our basement window well so we could replace it before the patio went in (one would have to tear out the patio to replace it later, so now is the time to change out the rusty well).

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Monday, Rob painted the ceiling with the paint gun.

All this week was “spring cleaning week” at the local landfill so dumping was free all week. I kept Rob’s truck during the day and went four times! Loads of drywall, carpet, carpet padding, broken pavers from our old patio (sold the good ones on craigslist!), and other renovation trash. The people at the landfill know me now and I can only imagine what they say! “There’s that crazy pregnant lady heaving rolls of carpet out again. What a nut!”

When I wasn’t making landfill runs, I painted the trim on the shed so it would look pretty for the new patio (what a difference it made too!! Just a little paint and it’s brand new!).

This past weekend, our progress stalled when unexpected projects cropped up. We installed the pantry and a couple base cabinets. When the sink cabinet went in, I discovered that the hot water line didn’t leave enough room for my plan – I ordered a sink with one drain on the side so that I could put trash cans under one side of the sink (I always find the under-sink area is terribly under-utilized). Thanks Tucker and Rebecca for the inspiration!

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Well, Rob accommodated my crazy and moved the hot water line, soddering like a pro! Additionally, when the sink cabinet went in, we discovered that the vent into the kitchen would come out under two cabinets, not just one. So Rob moved that. I think he was excited to use duct tape for its original purpose – we hardly ever do!

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Monday, the landscapers arrived and began work on the new patio!! Unfortunately, they gave us some unexpected projects as well. Rob needed to raise the sprinkler valve cover so it would be level with the new “ground” next to the patio. That evening, he also set one post of the future pergola so pavers would go around it.

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Tuesday, we discovered that the landscapers were unable to remove the garage landing (from the garage back door to outside) without taking some time to break it apart at extra cost to us. After taking a few swings at it, I figured I would price renting a jackhammer. WORTH IT!!! Not only did it make short work of our way-too-thick slab of concrete, it was simply AWESOME.

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Rob also repaired the hole in the floor from the original furnace chimney. After almost three weeks of living with it quite well, I stepped into it yesterday and am very happy I didn’t break a leg!

Hopefully, today we have no more surprise projects and can continue installing the base cabinets. Whew!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Renovation 2012

The Big One.

Then:

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Now:

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By the numbers: (you can sing 12 Days of Christmas, if you like… I like)

1 roll of plastic sheeting

19 hours of ceiling scraping

10 trips to Lowe’s

9 muscles we didn’t know could be sore

8 swings with the sledge hammer

7 piles of debris

6 surprises found

5 bags of ceiling popcorn… from the 19 hours of scraping

4 days without a kitchen

3 really sturdy soffits… really really sturdy

2 exhausted people

1 huge truck load to the landfill

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Demolition pretty much complete. After the texture and paint go on the ceiling, the carpet can come up and we’ll have a nice empty space to work with. I can not wait.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Many Little Projects

In addition to the cabinets coming together in the garage, this pregnant wife decided she wanted landscaping added to the renovation schedule. I know, she’s crazy!

Anyway, my amazing husband accommodated and spent his afternoons last week preparing the new place for the backyard shed, digging dirt and moving rocks. I leveled the flower bed and moved the rose bushes ( I hope they live!) and yesterday, our backyard opened up beautifully as the shed was relocated!

The contents of the shed are still in the sunroom.

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My leveled flower bed – Rob moved the big rocks.

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The backyard so much more open after the shed is moved! 

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Before (for comparison)

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We’re on the schedule for a landscaper to come out and do a patio, a retaining wall, and some planting beds… SO excited!!

Other little projects:

Planted seeds

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Finally added mirror and hardware to the downstairs bathroom.

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Finally cleaned out the basement. The lighting in the basement still drives me crazy. The paper lanterns worked well at first, but were never meant for long term use and many of them have disintegrated. Will be finding another cheap solution soon.

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Demo’d the wood boxes in the basement (as we’ve finally used all the firewood) and this space can now be utilized as a guest bedroom! How do you like that rockin’ 70s style basement?

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Last but not least, Rob and I poured the concrete samples trying out options for the concrete countertops in the kitchen. We have to wait a couple weeks before we can polish them and really see what they’ll look like. Left to right, they are: adding white, normal concrete grey, adding black dye, and swirling the black and white…

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Thursday, March 1, 2012

Kitchen Beginnings

My amazing husband has just finished the structure of the future base cabinets! This is the layout of our new kitchen!!!

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Above: I’m standing about where the refrigerator will be. The dishwasher will be to the right of the sink, and the oven/stove will be in that open spot on the right (see below).

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Below: What the view will be from the dining room. The faces are made of cherry wood. I plan on staining them natural, leaving them a nice medium shade. Underneath the “Rob” banner will be a fridge, then on the left a huge pantry!!

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I’ve been polyurethane-ing the shelves on the base cabinets and decided to build a little storage while I was in the garage (with the heaters on for a few hours, it’s about 50! Yay insulation!). I used some of the leftover barn wood to match the work bench and attached hooks according to what we most often needed to use in the garage. Rob appreciates his new storage shelf.IMG_7397

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Thursday, February 23, 2012

Bathroom Complete… Mostly

I’m gonna call it complete because all that needs to be done is some caulking around the shower door, cabinet hardware, and a mirror. But you can just visualize that, right?

I’m open for suggestions on the mirror – I’m thinking framed in the tile from the shower accent or framed in hickory wood to match the cabinet… what do you think? Other ideas?

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Tiling always takes SO MUCH LONGER than I think it will. Every. Time. But the grouting is fun and easy. Just be sure to wear plastic gloves or your fingertips will crack painfully. I know.

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We decided to border the bathroom in the darker tile because we thought it would look cool… and there wasn’t enough to do the whole floor in one color… but ALL the tile in the bathroom was less than $40. Horaay!

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I LOVE when the cabinet goes in! It feels like it’s almost done! And I love our daring paint color! It really does a lot to update the whole look and make it more “current.” I also love our tile baseboards! So cool!

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Even though this new shower is not much bigger than the old fiberglass one… it FEELS a lot bigger. I love the shelf and the accent really spices up the boring tile.

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I love that the electrical is a lot more organized. Light, light, fan, plug.

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And a close up of Rob’s beautiful handiwork! I adore the glow of this hickory cabinet!

And the big reveal

Before

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After

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What was entailed in this tiny bathroom remodel:

floor scraping, floor grinding, concrete pouring, researching, shower base shaping, concrete board wall installing, mortar spreading, tile setting, grouting, more grouting, more tile setting, electrical wire running, taping, mudding, sanding, texturing, priming, painting, exhaust fan installing, ceiling tile installing, cabinet making, countertop gluing, sink installation, plumbing testing, toilet installation, shower door installation, shower door adjustment, shower door re-installation, 98 trips to Lowe’s, 8 more trips to any hardware store for just one item, sitting back and admiring…. aah.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Adventures in Bathroom Renovation

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Because I felt a little bad about making guests use the ugly bathroom with the gold flecked sink and teeny tiny fiberglass shower…. because I know one can make a bathroom look SO much better with just a little tile and a new countertop…. and because I got plenty of nice tile at the auction for a grand total of $17.50 (as well as a cultured marble sink/countertop for another $17.50)… the downstairs bathroom renovation has begun!!

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I tried really hard (okay, not that hard) to salvage the gold flecked sink… but it just refused to relinquish its hold on the cabinet…

The laminate flooring, of which I don’t have a picture, bested me with its grip on the floor. I spend a few hours pounding the scraper with the hammer only to release a few square feet. Rob was my savior with his strength and technique and defeated the evil 70s floor in less than a day, using our concrete grinder to get all the remnants.

So beautiful!

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When Rob removed the shower, however, we discovered a rather large hole in the floor where, presumably, the previous owners didn’t like the placement of the drain and just left the gaping hole. So, Rob filled it. But before that could happen, the poorly joined pipe broke loose and Rob had to dig it out and replace the plumbing. First time to dig the dirt UNDER our foundation. Check.

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Next came the first shaping of the shower base, the curb for the edge of the shower, and the shower pan liner. Have I mentioned my husband is extremely talented? He did all of this!

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Last night, he finished putting up the concrete board for the shower walls. He even designed a shelf (based on my largest shampoo bottle) along the back wall of the shower.

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Even though this project has already taken longer than expected, I think the difference will be worth it. Rob is eager, however, to get started building the kitchen cabinets! More to come!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

El Salvador

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Have I mentioned that my husband is so good to me? I have??You’ve heard it over and over again? Well, it’s a fact.

Last week, he swept me away to the beach in El Salvador. We arrived on Sunday and drove our rented car to the beach house. We were greeted with warm sun, sea air, and local cuisine (pupusas). A pupusa is a corn tortilla filled with something (in this case beans and cheese), then topped with carrot and cabbage slaw and salsa. Wonderful!

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The house came with a caretaker, cook, and housekeeper (who all spoke only Spanish, by the way). I was thrilled to practice, but completely saddened by how much comprehension I’d lost over the years. Still able to say what I needed to say, I found myself having to listen extra hard to recognize words and was often completely lost without sufficient context clues. But of course they have plenty of non-Spanish speakers come and stay so the staff is great with communicating past language barriers.

You might think “won’t three more people there cut into your privacy a bit?” Yeah, I thought that too. But they have their own house and we really had plenty of privacy – it was like they only showed up when we needed them.

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And as for a cook… well I’m completely spoiled now. It’s wonderful! After a long hard day of lounging by the beach or the pool, you are summoned with “todos son listos” to an already-set table laid with DELICIOUS food. Afterwards, they take the dishes away and wash them! I was in bliss! It’s only been a few days and I REALLY want Rosi to come get me from the living room for my beans, rice, and chicken tacos. Sigh.

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This is the house where we stayed. Found it on VRBO.com. It’s mostly open air and you close it up at night, with air conditioners in each bedroom. The bedrooms are to the right through the doors.

The grounds are beautiful. And the pictures don’t do it justice.

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We took a day trip down the Ruta del las Flores. If you’re planning a trip to El Salvador, I recommend this day trip for a weekend as the Thursday that we showed up, many things were closed.

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On the weekends, I assume there are weavers at these looms.

In the town of Juayua, you can walk down to the waterfalls. I don’t actually know the correct way to get there because we drove our rental car down this very bumpy, narrow, and steep road until some cops at a road block told us we had to park there and walk. A ways down the path, we walked through the gate that read “private property” and something about a hydroelectric power plant to find the waterfalls. That might have been the correct way to do things, but since so few people were out and about on that fine Thursday, I had no cues. So… who knows? But the falls are pretty and worth the ten-minute walk!

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The most frightening part was this path that you were to cross to get to the second waterfall. The picture makes it look harmless enough, but the drop-off to the left is really quite substantial. My heart was racing!

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Overall, this vacation was SO relaxing! We watched the sunset every evening. I did yoga. We laid on the beach. We got massages. We drank fresh coconut water. We read our books in the hammocks. We listened to the sound of the ocean. It was just what we needed.

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