2:37 p.m. Tuesday, February 1,
Dad came back Saturday to help me install the tile in the guest bath (he installed, I helped...in case there was some confusion), while Ryan completed random tasks that had to be done for our framing and insulation re-inspections. We ended the day with a great sense of accomplishment, the likes of which we haven't felt since we finished the electrical.
I had a lot of fun helping my dad and learned a lot more about tiling. I was especially fond of the gray-green mortar color. Yes, it figures I would be watching him spreading and grooving the mortar while I daydreamed about how it would look smeared on my walls.
After a long day's work of fussing and nudging the tiles into just the right place and making sure we didn't miss any spacers, here's how it came out:
The first photo above was taken from the hallway, and the second shows the nook where the toilet will go. A view of the vanity area is below. The vanity has yet to be installed. And purchased. And um, picked out. But we measured the depth of standard Home Depot vanity kick plates and they were all the same (18.5 inches from the wall), so we set the tile accordingly and will make sure that's the size we get.
Now the question comes down to grout...what color grout do we use between the tiles? At the store, when we had a couple tiles and the border in our hands, we had thought a linen-colored grout would look nice. Not too white, not at all pink, and light enough to visually separate the individual tiles. But now that I'm looking at the whole floor in place, I'm wondering if a darker, brown-tinted grout would look better.
To All Experienced Grout Color Picker-Outers:
10:07 a.m. Friday, February 4,
Grouting of the guest bath is complete!
Dad did the dirty work — smooshing the grout into the cracks.
Mom and I followed 20 minutes later, gently cleaning off the tiles and scrubbing the grout lines down to the desired thickness. This of course caused more smearing of the grout and more cleaning off of the tiles. We went through several rounds of this process.
A few hours later, after the grout had stiffened quite a bit, Ryan and I went back over the floor once more with wet sponges to remove another white layer of powdery grout, disturbing the grout lines as little as possible. As we were putting our sponges away for the night, we slowly saw the white powder reforming on the surface of the tiles (top right of the photo), and I'm thinking I'm going to have to wipe it down again tonight after work before sealing it this weekend.
But we're so happy with the finished product!
11:42 a.m. Monday, February 7,
Please don't look at the following post if you are: A.) eating, B.) thinking of eating, or C.) have recently eaten. Consider yourself forewarned.
Yes, that is mold. On EVERYTHING.
Seems I was a little naive when we went into this whole home renovation thing. I thought we'd somehow find a way to keep the fridge plugged in the whole time, and so thinking, never bothered to empty the fridge of condiments. Or mayo. Or cream cheese.
In the end, our flooded basement was not the only victim of our power loss. We were well aware that our fridge lost power. But 4 months later...hmmm, what's the strange smell coming from the dining room? Guess we forgot to put the fridge back on a working outlet.
I cannot even begin to describe the smell. If Lori wasn't there to push me along in the purging of all refrigerator contents (just before we all, um, went out to eat), I probably would have just run away pretending I never saw — or smelled — a thing. Lah dee dah dee dah...what fridge?
Here's Lori, briefly escaping from the smell. Wearing masks was the only way we could get within arms-reach of the fridge without gagging. That good idea was hers. I hear she approaches her kitty's litter box with the same logic.
Flowers from our wedding being preserved in the freezer were now wrapped in a blanket of mold. It was very sad having to throw them away, and I did so with much hesitation and much prodding from Lori.
Somehow, the ONLY THING in the whole fridge unaffected was the butter and the butter dish...anyone care to explain this? The butter got tossed (you can see it in the photo above), and the butter dish was the one thing we were able to salvage.
We sprayed the entire inside of the fridge with Clorox bleach and let it sit for a few days. After this initial purge, I received a lot of advice to just put the fridge to the curb and forget about it. And to look for a new one on Freecycle. But this fridge is older than me! It was in my parents house in the '70s before I was even a thought in their minds and had been in my house my WHOLE LIFE. After all, I was the reason for its current condition. It had survived so long and I had failed it. And I felt I owed it to the fridge to save it.
Yes, I know, I sometimes have strange attachments to inanimate objects...
So this weekend, Ryan's mom led the charge to restore the fridge to its former goldenrod glory.
She scrubbed the insides as I scrubbed all the removable shelves and drawers outside in the snow, as we still have no sink with running water.
I was pretty proud of my ingenious snow-scrubbing plan, which was working quite well, until one very cold shelf slipped from my hand and shattered in the snow.
Picking moldy shards of glass out of snow is not my idea of a fun Saturday activity. At least the weather was beautiful all weekend.
After a lot of elbow grease (I sacrificed my toothbrush to the cause) and even more bleach, the fridge came out sparkling clean. I can almost say with confidence that I will be putting food I plan on eating back in it. Almost.
Thanks for all your help, Mom and Lori. And for keeping me motivated
as I scrubbed and soaked the shelves, Heidi. I couldn't (and wouldn't)
have done it without you!
12:11 p.m. Tuesday, February 8,
This weekend, we installed greenboard in the bathroom. Greenboard is like sheetrock but is used in moisture-prone areas, like a bathroom. We took a trip to Lowes Saturday morning and quickly found out this stuff aint light! Ryan and my dad were doing OK loading it all into the trailer, but when a couple Lowes employees offered to help, of course we let them. I mean, they looked so eager, we had no choice, really. ;)
Once we got the stuff home and upstairs (thanks for helping, Jay!), our bathroom ceiling turned green pretty quickly.
The first piece of greenboard to go in had three cuts in it (two round recessed lights, one square ceiling fan), so Ryan and Dad had to deal with precision measuring/cutting right from the start.
I love watching them work together, my husband and my dad. They're both so easy-going and yet such hard workers. They joke around with each other and take instruction easily. And boy are they a good team — their first piece fit perfectly!
Heidi and I were the supervisors of this project.
It's a good thing Opa wasn't around, because then he would have been the supervisor, like normal, and I wouldn't have been able to take so many breaks from Mold Remediation.
Ryan's dad also came by to help, and by the end of the day, we had greenboard on the whole ceiling and 90% of the walls.
Last night, I cut a few more peices to go around the top of the tub (after researching exactly how to deal with the lip of the tub surround — just put greenboard down over it), and now we're almost ready for spackling and priming behind where the toilet will go, since that should really be done before it can be installed.
12:11 p.m. Tuesday, February 8,
Yesterday, I e-mailed Ryan letting him know I updated the site and he should take a look. I got an e-mail back and all it said was, "Where's the light?!"
So now Ry, you can be happy: I'm finally showing your handy electrical work to the world.
Oooh's and aaah's all around. It makes our entrance feel so inviting! Here's a close-up:
It took us a while to find a traditional front light we liked that didn't cost a fortune yet still fit with the faux time period of the house. And more often than not, when we DID find one we liked, we weren't too crazy about the matching wall-mounts to go with it. But we're really happy with this choice, the price, the matching fixtures, and how it looks in place.
The lights are Kichler Olde Copper models from Lowes. They are black with "antiqued" copper edges. Now that we've settled on a front light, we can finally buy our matching black front door hardware. And house numbers. And mailbox. Sheesh — it's amazing how much depends on the color of a light!
Black is good. Matches our roof.
1:42 p.m. Monday, February 21,
This morning, I brought my old iBook to the house to work on some client projects while Ryan worked on house projects. For kicks, I checked my Airport settings for nearby wireless signals. And to my surprise, I discovered that our kitchen is within range of THREE local wireless networks: one was unavailable, one was password-protected, and one had no encryption set up at all.
So thank you, neighbor across the street, for leaving your network unprotected so I can get online.
And lest you think I am in some way defrauding our local internet service provider, let it be known that we have been paying for cable internet without an actual cable hookup since NOVEMBER. So since we're paying for it anyway, we might as well use it...even if t comes from across the street.
We've done a lot of things to the house since I posted last, I just haven't had the chance to get pictures up. In short, we've installed the new kitchen subfloor, addressed some issues brought up by the framing and insulation inspector (yes, more delays...), hosted a family workday, insulated the upstairs bathroom walls, built the shower seat, and had a toilet installed. Yes! Indoor plumbing!
We haven't had a working toilet in the house for many months, so by now, I am intimately familiar with the interiors of all my neighbors' bathrooms. When we came home and found Roland had put in the toilet, we stood there staring at it for quite a while, as if it was the first toilet installed inside anyone's house, ever.
1:42 p.m. Monday, February 21,
WE FINALLY PASSED OUR INSULATION AND FRAMING INSPECTIONS!!!
It only took four tries. Yes count them FOUR. Otherwise, I might not be so excited and overwhelmed and relieved all at once right now.
The third time we failed because we unlocked the side door for the inspector and he only checked the FRONT door and left us another RED STICKER. On our front door. For all the world to see. We had spoken with this guy on the phone multiple times by now. He knew we were proactive, at least partially-inteligent homeowners and he seemed like a decent guy.
But come on — you can't check the side door? Or pick up the phone?
Bygones...So we PASSED. WOOHOO! Time to get excited about the house again!
This is a little hard for me because *confession time* lately, I have been feeling pretty defeated by The House. It seemed no matter how hard we tried, we just couldn't get anywhere. One step forward and two steps back. For months. Amidst the mounting frustration and rejection, it was really hard to see all the progress made since that cute little backhoe showed up in October. That feels like years ago.
But now we can finally move on. And with what speed we will be moving! We've gathered a few estimates and have come to the conclusion that we are hiring out the sheetrocking and spackling. Yes AND THE SPACKLING. So that means one fine day within the next few weeks, we will come home from work to a house with walls ready to PRIME.
Wow, this means I can finally let myself start thinking about paint colors! And trim! And and......phew, getting a little overwhelmed again =)