Friday, April 3, 2009 in all about me, renovations

And the birthday fun has started!

Ron had to run to town for a quick something, and I figured it was flowers. It wasn’t.

It was a new pedestal sink for the bathroom! It’s a joint gift for the both of us. his birthday is in two and a half weeks. And YAY! We got to start ripping apart the upstairs bathroom! the sink up there is *nasty* with who know what on it that now amount of scrubbing or harsh chemicals would remove. And actually, a part of the enamel had been removed so that tells you how bad it is.

Then we got to moving thing and Ron took down the fake wainscoting, partly to see what’s behind it, partly because it;s ugly, and we’ll have to touch up the plaster a bit too. And then we realized that we should paint the wall before we put the sink in.

And then we  had to decide on what color to paint the bathroom. Oh, and the floor.

Ron is currently napping. For some reason he has a headache.

Saturday, July 26, 2008 in country living, renovations

Living the high life again

Yesterday we got a dumpster delivered. It was very exciting. :)

No, really it was, come back!

The guy came early, like I just got back from my walk early, and his truck was a wee bigger than I thought it would be. I got him to leave the extremely large container right where Ron told me to tell him to put it. He kind of had to wrangle the truck a bit.

And then? We noticed he had the lifter part of the truck caught on some overhead wires. Thankfully not connected to anything (I think) but wires nonetheless. So when he asked is he could borrow a shovel or stick or something to move the wires, well of course I said “OF COURSE!” and frantically looked around helplessly.

The guy and I had just finished saying to each other that neither one of us has any caffeine yet that morning either.

So that’s why I got to move the lever on the truck, see, because he was up under the back part that lifts, holding the wire up out of the way, and he couldn’t reach the levers on the side of the truck, so he showed me which one to pull to bring the level back down. All while he stood ther with it coming slowly towards him and both of us watching to make sure the wire got out of the way.

After that I was pretty much awake.

***

Today after my morning walk, I wandered around to look at the dumpster (it has a door) and saw MRS gopher runnign under it. I say MRS gopher as babies have been spotted.

This weekend we’ll be tossing things in a dumpster again, making a ton of nose and pleasing the neighbours. (They love it when we work in the yard – really.)

Monday, June 9, 2008 in renovations, working at home & loving it

This house sponsored by yourwebsite.com

I got paid last week.

And when the email came in (because I use Paypal), I noted the amount and it sturck me right then that it was just over the amount needed to buy a window. Ron and I have been discussing windows and the replacement thereof. Summer is a good time, since then we can actually, you know, *use* our windows. (Unlike last year.)

Then I had a brainwave. And since I have to World’s Best Clients (hush, I do too), I immediately sent an email back explaining a little more about my house.

Sidenote: My clients love my transparency. Transparency is business-speak for the fact that I can’t seem to separate any aspect of my life and will tell anybody everything. And I’m sure some of them read my blog. (I totally worked on your stuff today.)

Anyway, to get back to the story – roughly one site or one billable-hour workday is enough to buy one window. Yay! We’re using the money I make to go towards much needed work on the house. (Remember, I live in a falling-down country farmhouse last renovated by someone whose mind went downhill.)

Wouldn’t it be awesome if we had a little plaque on each window saying “This window was sponsored by suchandsuchasite.com”?

At least, I thought it was an awesome idea until I re-counted the windows that need replacing. Twenty-two.

Twenty-two.

That’s a lot of freakin’ web sites.

Saturday, March 1, 2008 in renovations

Let’s argue over paint colors

That’s what Ron said to me yesterday, when we were discussing what to do today. So this morning he and I set off in the wind and blowing snow and hit a few hardware stores. We got a LOT of paint chips. In one store, we were huddled next to another couple who were also trying to find the right paint.

“Let’s ask her,” the woman said, pointing to me, “She seems to know what she’s doing.” And then I explained that even though they wanted an eggshell white color, picking the can that *said* eggshell was not the same thing. It refers to the finish. They almost looked dismayed when I showed them how many whites there were to choose from, and how the lights affected the color. Eventually a clerk came round and I told her she could take over now. :)

Ron and I then went to Tim Horton’s for coffee, tea and a couple doughnuts. We sat inside for a change and poured over the charts, discussing which ones were which, what we didn’t want, and how much blue you could put in grey before it was, in fact, blue.

On the way home, we kept track of the house colors near us and discovered they were white with colored trim (usually green), beige, grey or blue.  So we are not painting our house any of those colors. Shades of orange and purple never even made the list.

After lunch we headed down the other way into town and with the children this time. Meaghan had written in her blog this morning how she “wasn’t invited”, so this made it up for her. Little did they know, one of the places we stopped at, all we bought them was dirt. They have wanted some potting soil for a month or so, after finding some herb seeds somewhere, and they both have wanted to start them. So we picked up two bags of dirt for them. It kind of bugs me, having to actually buy dirt, but seeing as our waist-high compost barrels are now level with the snow out back, we won’t be seeing real dirt for quite some time.
Again, Emma hugged a clerk. This particular clerk thought it was awesome, as she was studying to be a landscape designer and for this week’s essay she had to write about a famous gardener and their particular quirk. Well apparently Louis Somebody from out West was known for giving hugs out, and that’s who she wrote about. And then was hugged by Emma.

After that, I told her about my plans for the front garden in our house, which she thought was great, and we discussed (as the line grew a little longer) how most people try to pull off formal with a house like ours (turn of the century American foursquare) and wind up too formal. So the English country garden feel I want to have going on sounds great to her.

Since we had been discussing paint colors all day, by the time we got home we were itching to do something. One of the “mistakes” we had made in the last two houses was putting up with small things that bugged us, sometimes for years. Like leaving a simple job until the end because to redo everything was big. WELL. My kitchen, which I mostly love, is not going to be changed for a long long time. The wallpaper and paint color however is UGLY. Now instead of waiting until we redo the whole thing, it is a simple job for us to repaint the kitchen now and like it now and for the next few years until we get around to doing something else with it. I mean, enjoy it now right? Especially if it is a small job (relatively) to change it into something more livable. There is not a lot of wall space in this room. It also frees up some mental room from thinking about it if we just do it now.
So while I cooked supper, I ripped off wallpaper. Ron wandered in and started to help me, and we both said how therapeutic it was. Now, while there’s a big open window area above the sink overlooking the craft room, this has been blocked off by blankets to keep the cold out, so it’s been rather dark in there. The late 90’s country blue gingham checked wallpaper makes the room seem really dark on top of that. So does the dark beige ceiling. No idea what they were thinking there.

Within the month, I expect to have the kitchen walls stripped clean of the old wallpaper. Thankfully, the previous owner still had most of his wits about him then as the new-ish paper was only one layer applied to properly primed walls. It’s coming off beautifully and we haven’t had to wet it. Which is good, as it’s the scrubbable kind… I’m thinking this will also help to deal with the rest of the winter and the endless snow we’ve been having.

Regular readers will be tickled to know that the chosen color for the kitchen is a brilliant yellow. I mean, we still have half a can left from the last house and the last kitchen… (You can reminice over it here.)

At the very least, regulars can rest assured we will *not* be painting the outside of this house in the same color scheme as the old one. Even though there are no green houses around for miles. :D

Monday, February 18, 2008 in renovations

Kitchen drain re-do

When we moved in, we quickly discovered there was a teensy bit of a leak uner the right-hand kitchen sink. Specifically, where the end of the basket screwed onto the rest of the drain pipes. One look at the setup and we knew it was not going to be a quick fix.

kitchen drains - before

So we deferred it till now and just used one side of the sink. The other side could still be used, but not if you put the plug in and filled it. Then it leaked. The picture above shows a total of thirteen fittings including six elbows, some of which are hard to see.

Ron made sure he had all he needed and only had to get a couple new fittings. The job took five hours with him counting down the last bit with Meaghan, so she could get the dishes done and go watch her tv show.

The final result:

Kitchen sink drain - after

It took some less because we didn’t hook the broken dishwasher back up, but it still would have been better than what was there. Now our strainer baskets are all shiny. Before, they were white plastic. (???) This time, we even managed to make the pipe level, although in the picture it’s a bit tilted as I was tired and in a hurry.

In Ron’s version, he used 2 elbows, a trap and 2 45 degree angles. The bend and pip between the two drains is all one piece and came in a kit.

As a side note, ABS plastic pipe and the ABS glue is an interesting science experiment.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007 in House stuff, pictures included, renovations

Some discoveries are good

Sometimes, when we are working on the house, we find that shock us (not literally thankfully), bewilder us, and confuse us. Other times, sadly not so often, we find things that bring a smile, a little slice of the past poking in to say hi.

While running wires again last night, we figured out a couple things. The holes in the joists where the wires ran through were made with a hand drill. This was evidenced by all the chunks of wood chips which were half circles and slightly angular. This also explained why the holes were not quite level. Made it hard to pull on the wires. :)

Drilled

So I was comforted a little, that eighty-some-odd years ago, some guy in overalls had to contort himself across the floor, just like we were. Except we were undoing all his hard work and replacing it.

Inside the floor, between the joists, is the aforementioned wood chips, some dust & dirt, some plaster chunks and the occasional bit of interest, like that tag we found. This time, I found a neat square of plaster face down almost under the wall. Must be from when they cut the first hole for the first lightswitch, I thought. I flipped it over and noted there was a bit of brown paper, or wallpaper backing, obscuring what was underneath. I gently pulled it away.

Wallapaper & plaster, art deco

Original wallpaper. Faintly art deco. The only down side is the piece is so small.

At least it’s better than what I found in the downstairs bathroom. The bathroom which is a DIY bad dream. The tileboard is installed sideways in there, and yes, you can tell. The floral sprays every other tile are certainly sideways. In one spot, since it goes up the wall halfway, I can pull on the edge a bit to reveal the wall underneath.

I kinda wished I hadn’t, for there was the wallpaper of the renovation before that. Brace yourself, it was probably from the late eighties, early nineties. It is hunter green and cream plaid.

I think we’ll leave that room for a while.

***

We will be off to Aunt Boo’s for the afternoon, so here’s hoping Uncle Leroy will give us lots of blog fodder. Or tomorrow I could tell the story of Grandma Betty. She’s not our grandma and her name’s not Betty, but there you have it.