It’s HERE…. Again

You know how we finally got the back-ordered ceiling fan a couple weeks ago?  We went to put it up the other weekend aaaaand it was missing a part.  Awesome.

Not gonna lie, my first thought was holy shit Matt just threw away part of my fan.  He had been cleaning up all the excess packaging that’s been taking over our living room between baby-related deliveries and home improvement crap and he already threw out the styrofoam packaging from the ceiling fan box.  He insisted he checked everything he threw out for stray parts beforehand and I have no reason not to believe him.  Buuuut I still may have went slightly catatonic and then decided I wanted ice cream (Izzy’s!) for dinner.

First I called Lowes, because that’s who we ordered it from.  They then contacted Hunter (the company who made the fan) who gave them a reference number which they passed on to me so I could call Hunter back.

The first person I talked to didn’t care about my reference number and seemed very confused as to why I was even calling in the first place.  She eventually said she was going to transfer me over to parts but instead I got trapped in the Automated Phone System From Hell.  If you keep pressing zero enough times you can usually get to a real person and thankfully that worked this time. I may handle automated phone systems rather badly. The second live person I talked to was actually helpful but apparently shipping just the missing part was impossible and then had to send a whole new fan.  Over-night shipping was also apparently impossible but she eventually caved and requested it be sent out as 2 day shipping (which translates to 2-5 days).  We did end up getting the new fan on Saturday though–score!

Matt handled the installation by himself (I may have possibly been napping….).  I went up to check on things as he was nearing the end and he had a laundry list of complaints.

Some of the screws provided did not actually fit, but he was able to scrounge spare screws from fan #1.

One of the screw holes for attaching the fan blades was miss-threaded making it damn near impossible to get the screw through.

The biggest issue though was installing the plate with the socket.  It attached with 3 small screws that were practically impossible to line up correctly.  It seriously took him a solid 1/2 hour to get that one piece in, it was also accompanied by a level of swearing straight out of the beginning of Four Weddings and a Funeral.

The lesson learned from this is pretty much whoever designed this fan only designed it to be pretty.  They also possibly designed it to give electricians more business because it is a giant PITA to install on your own.

But daaamn is it gorgeous!

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It came with an LED Edison bulb that’s pretty wussy so I’m going to try and swap it out for one of these pretty LED globe bulbs from IKEA.

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It’s HERE!

No, not the baby, that would be waaaay too early, but my ceiling fan for the nursery is finally here!

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I ordered it back in February, knowing it was back-ordered until the end of March.  Ok, I can wait.  At the end of March I get a call saying it won’t be available until the end of April.  Arghhhh.  We were ready to paint at this point, but I couldn’t pick out the paint until I had the fan.  At the end of April my already vivid pregnancy dreams started feeding off of my design neurosis and I had a nightmare in which I got shipped a broken and decrepit version of my fan and was told I couldn’t exchange it because it was the last one on the planet ever.  The next day I called up Lowes asking them to check on the status and they assured me it would be ready for pickup the next week.

Sure enough, I got a call last Thursday (also Star Wars Day, our 3rd Wedding Anniversary, and the official start of my third trimester) saying it was FINALLY ready for pickup.  The employee who called me was officially my BFF of the day.

Matt was hoping we could just pick up paint while we were already out.  Nope, sorry, hardware stores are possibly the worst place to choose a paint color.  That’s why they have all the swatches, so you can take them home and look at them in the same light you’ll be using the paint in.  Luckily for Matt, I already knew roughly what colors I wanted, I just needed to narrow down the exact shade so we were able to pick up paint first thing on Saturday and get to work.

Matt started on the ceiling while I started prepping the radiator.  My spray booth game is really improving.

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How awesome is that ceiling???? The color is Breaktime by Sherwin Williams (flat finish). I think it’s bright and fun without being too candy-colored like sooo much kid stuff.

The radiator was currently a flat beige-y color.  Once we get everything painted and the bright white trim installed it was going to look really dirty.  I went over it with 3 coats of white spray paint* (satin finish). Soooooo much better!

The ceiling and radiator took up all of Saturday, then Sunday we were able to start the walls! Painting goes MUCH faster when you don’t have trim to cut in around so we were able to finish the walls in one day.

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We have paint!  It looks pretty white, but it’s Palest Pistachio by Benjamin Moore (eggshell finish) and has a very faint gray/green tinge to it.  The next step is getting all the baseboards and casings primed, painted, cut, and installed.  Ooof! Our goal is to have the baby room looking like an actual room (instead of a construction zone) by my baby shower at the end of the month.  I think we can do it!

 

*Don’t worry, I had open windows and a full respirator.  I would have pawned it off on someone else, but spray paint is a technique and I have trust issues.

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We have WALLS!

And a CEILING!

It’s kind of amazing actually.

A few weeks back my dad and brother-in-law joined up for an Epic DIY weekend.  My dad and I kicked it off with some custom door and window casings.  Matt’s brother, Isaac, got in later, so he and Matt were going to tackle the ceiling on Saturday.

Matt and I had already gotten drywall up on the walls, and all the seams taped and mudded.  The ceiling was going to be a far more intensive job though and a little college boy labor goes a long way. The first step was to rent a drywall lift.  My dad was telling me that he and my mom drywalled a ceiling without a lift back in the 70’s…oof!  It cost us $15 to rent a lift for the most of the day (from Menards).  Totally worth it.

I may have mentioned before that my dad and I make up team Crazed Perfectionist.  We watched Matt and Isaac for a little bit to see if they would need extra hands.  They didn’t really, but we started getting a little twitchy about the lack of crazed perfectionism, so I suggested (firmly) for a division of labor.  Team Crazed Perfectionist would handle the measuring and cutting, and team Grunt Labor would handle the lifting and installing.  This actually worked out pretty well, especially since doing anything on the ceiling gets tiring pretty quickly so this gave team Grunt Labor a bunch of mini rest breaks.

We’re still pretty new to drywall so I’m not going to do a tutorial (I’m sure they are far more knowledgeable people out there who have already written them).  I do have a few useful takeaways we learned though.

  • Suck it up and rent a drywall lift!  We didn’t bother with it for the walls because we installed the sheets vertically, but it was MUST for the ceiling.  If you’re installing sheets on the wall horizontally, you’ll probably want it too.ceilingDrywall1
  • Align the factory edges of your drywall as much as possible.  The edges of a sheet of drywall have a very slight indent in them to help compensate for the thickness of the tape and mud.
  • Mark the ends of your joists on the walls, then use a chalk line to connect the marks to show you where to put your screws.  It’s MUCH harder to eyeball a straight line when you’re balanced and bent on top of a ladder.

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  • THIN coats when mudding.  Seriously. Yes, if it goes on too thick you can sand it down, but drywall dust is horrendous. Thin coats should mean less sanding AND less dry time between layers so you can get more done in a day.
  • Once you’re at the sanding stage, try and tarp off the room as best as you can.  We hung plastic sheeting over the door and kept the door closed at all times.

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  • We didn’t try this, but had multiple people suggest a drywall sanding sponge.  Wet sanding should help control the dust and joint compound is water soluble so it’s supposed to be faster.
  • We tried a sanding attachment for our shop-vac.  Awesome in concept, but according to Matt it was a little unwieldy.  The head would spin unpredictably making things a little difficult.  He did notice an improvement in the dust control though, so it probably depends on the person if they like it or not.
  • Get a bag filter for your shop-vac!  You for sure want one rated for drywall dust because you will be vacuuming up a LOT.
  • Wear a mask and full goggles when sanding.  I really can’t over-state how awful drywall dust is.
  • Make sure you keep a good moisturizer handy.  Drywall is incredibly drying on the skin.

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You can see we ended up with a tiny little strip of drywall, which is usually frowned upon.  Based on where our joists were positioned, this made the most sense for us.  We were able to screw the edges of the second-to-last board directly into the joists and the last little strip was light enough adhere with construction adhesive (because we were drywalling over existing plaster instead of bare studs).  We screwed it in too, but there wasn’t a joist there which we would have needed to secure a larger piece.

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After making it though the weekend without killing anyone, Matt kept working away on the mudding/sanding the seams.  It’s a process and, quite frankly, it sucks.  Actually, the mudding’s not so bad, but the sanding is possibly the worst home improvement task ever.  I was really happy to have solid excuse not to help.  Once Matt got things sanded, he would call me in to give the Crazed Perfectionist opinion and then I’d go around with a pencil and circle all the areas that needed more work.

Two weeks later we were ready to prime!  I’m specifically holding off on installing trim until the room is fully painted.  Painting goes SO much faster when you don’t have to worry about cutting in!  We knocked out all the walls in about an hour one evening after work. Unfortunately, it was starting to get a little dark at that point and the “fancy” bare drywall primer is nearly impossible to see until it dries so our first coat turned out super crappy.  Oops.  It also highlighted some spots that still needed a little extra smoothing (though not as many as I expected!).

The next evening we tackled the touch-up spots and the ceiling.  We’ll take another look at everything in full daylight, but it seems to be going well.  I’m planning another coat of regular primer just so we don’t get any surprises when we paint.  And when will we get to the actual paint?  Well, my ceiling fan is now back-ordered until the end of April and I need the fan to decide on the ceiling color and I need the ceiling color to decide on the wall color.  Matt just sort of shakes his head and asks why we can’t just get a white fan.  I tell him he because he married a crazy person which he really should have been aware years ago.

Until my beloved fan comes in I’ll be sanding (with a mask!), priming, and painting all the trim pieces.

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Nursery Inspiration

Who’s excited???  It’s been a while since I put together a mood board and possibly the best part of pregnancy is brainstorming decor!  I had a few ideas floating around, but wanted to wait until we knew if we would be having a boy or girl.

Well, it’s officially a boy!

So here’s what I’m currently thinking:

Nursery Mood Board

I wanted something fun and child-appropriate without being overly cutesy.  Baby won’t have any opinions on decor for a while (if ever), so the nursery is really more for mom and dad.  I also wanted to keep the basics of the room pretty gender-neutral so if we have a girl sometime in the future we can reuse our baby gear easily.

As I mentioned before, my starting point was a set of Zoo Portraits–fun and whimsical without being sickeningly cutesy. The ceiling fan I fell in love with early on and nearly talked myself out of it! Everyone thinks I’m nuts when I start gushing over a ceiling fan, but isn’t this one just fabulous?

I didn’t want to fall into the muted, monochromatic trap that a lot of baby rooms fall into.  Bold colors and high contrast are easier for a baby to focus on, so I wanted pops of brights, especially in the mobile. Plus, it’s just more to my personal liking. The lime and redish-orange I plan to work into some more accessories and storage pieces.

My current thoughts on paint are to paint the ceiling the same minty-aqua as the light fixture and then go pretty neutral on the walls.  I think by the time I’m done there will be a lot going on around the floor and walls that will be better balanced by a bolder ceiling.

The Eames elephant probably won’t make it into the final room since it’s definitely splurgy, but a girl can dream, right?

 

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Shit My Husband Broke This Weekend

Matt decided to get his DIY on this weekend, which is general is awesome!  This time though… he was a little off his game.

Project 1: Fix the leaky radiator

The radiator in our dining room had a small leak.  Nothing super noticeable, but it was causing some rust on the pipe and, because radiator systems rely on pressure, was also causing some issues with the radiators on the upper floors.  So Matt did some research and decided to try a fix with epoxy putty and fiberglass tape.  “I don’t know if it will work, but it can’t possibly make it worse” was basically his mantra.

Except it made things worse.

I wasn’t supervising watching his progress, but he had to chip off some paint to get the putty to adhere.  Paint that had been partially sealing the leak.  And then the epoxy and fiberglass didn’t really do anything (except look awful) so we just ended up with a slightly larger leak.

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I don’t have a before picture because I wasn’t expecting this to be a big deal, but this is the aftermath.  I told him he wasn’t allowed to “fix” anything else this weekend.

Project 2: Study Demo + Outlet Replacement

We’ve been steadily ripping out the paneling in the study and were down to the last wall this weekend!  The only annoying thing so far is that the outlets in the room were installed over the paneling, so they needed to be removed in order to take the paneling off. Which means once the panels were off we had to put the outlets back in, but properly this time.

Matt picked up new electrical boxes that could be secured to studs (so they wouldn’t be wibbly-wobbly).  To reach the studs he had to cut through some of the old plaster and lath.  He was pretty excited because he got to bust out the reciprocating saw we got for Christmas.

The first outlet went smoothly… but the second.  Well, I was downstairs and heard a crash.  I shouted up that I didn’t want to know about it, but I found out anyway.  He was cutting a new opening for the outlet on the wall that runs along the stairs.  The wall where we had recently hung a gallery wall.  A gallery wall I was planning on photographing that same day.  If you’re unfamiliar with reciprocating saws, they create a lot of vibration.  Vibration doesn’t mix well with wall art and one of the pictures came crashing down off the wall.

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Yeah. There goes my project for the weekend.  I made him take down the rest of the art before continuing and he made it through the rest of the project without destroying the house.

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Let the Demo Begin!

Now that Matt has moved into my study, we’re ready to start tackling the demo work on his study (well, he’s starting the demo, I’m still trying to tame all my crap in the other room).  The main reason we decided to work on this room next is because it is currently the grossest room in the house.  While we have plenty of rooms that still need a good ‘ole paint-and-style, this is the room that actually needs WORK.

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Whomp whomp.

Do you see that trim?  Matte-black, skinny trim in a 115+ year old house?  Are you kidding me?!  Half the reason I love old houses is for the big, chunky, amazing trim!  This makes me want to cry.

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And the ceiling… we had this same nasty acoustical tile treatment happening in our dining room.  I’m terrified of what we’re going to find underneath it… but it absolutely HAS to go.

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We’re also missing a closet door in here…. and it’s currently Matt’s closet.  We’re planning on getting a wardrobe for the master bedroom so he can keep is clothes in there, but I still want this closet to have an actual door.  Thank god it’s a standard size at least!

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What you can’t really tell from the pictures is that these walls we also all paneled at some point.  It’s actually fairly hard to tell in person too so I think the paneling may have gotten skim-coated too.  We’re a little on the fence about what to do about the paneling.  And by “we” I really mean me (Matt doesn’t want to deal with the walls at all).  It’s honestly pretty inoffensive in person so the tentative plan is to leave it alone unless it gets damaged as we rip the trim out.

This past week Matt already got started on the demo and took out all the ceiling tiles.

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Wow… that is nowhere near as bad as it could have been!  We’re a little concerned about some of the bigger cracks causing issues when we rip out the furring strips, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed for the moment!  Hopefully all it will need is some crack repair and a fresh skim coat…hopefully!

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We also found some more awesome electrical work!  And “awesome” I mean wtf?  It’s been a total crap-shoot if fixtures here have an electrical box and/or modern wiring or not and this one seems to be another not on both counts.  I want to get this light wired to a switch anyway and adding an electrical box isn’t a huge undertaking.  I am a little concerned that an electrician will want to redo the wiring as well.  It’s not a bad thing by any means, just a more expensive thing.

We spent Christmas in Wisconsin and then brought Matt’s mom and brother back with us.  If there’s one thing college boys are great for, it’s manual labor, so we put him to work with Matt.

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The furring strips were soon removed. And the ceiling stayed up!  I was a little concerned that the furring strips might be propping up some of the cracked areas, but so far so good!

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The offensive trim soon followed the ceiling into the garbage.

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The paneling took a bit of a beating in the process so Matt is finally coming around to just taking it all down and re-drywalling.  It may be a lot of work, but I think it will be worth it in the end.  I’m hoping the ceiling just needs a skim-coat.  I do NOT want to deal with the ceiling so I’m hoping for a budget-friendly project that can be hired out.

Most of the demo was done with pretty small pry-bars, about 1 foot long or so.  They’re better for getting into tight spots.  We’ve got a 3 footer too which is better if you need a lot of leverage.  As sissy as the tiny ones look though, they’re super useful to have around.

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Here’s to ending 2016 on a destructive note! If we had a fire pit we’d probably be ending it with a bonfire as well.  Hopefully we get it all put back together next year.

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Via Twitter, @HeatherGenua

More IKEA Adventures

Ok, so I took more than a week off.  It’s full on cold and flu season here in Minnesota and I’ve been feeling a little under the weather.  Plus, I finally had an appointment with an Endocrinologist right before Thanksgiving.  She supported the first Doctor’s conclusion that my wacky thyroid was only a temporary/viral thing but ran some more tests (have I mentioned I HATE needles? This fall has been miserable) and found that in body’s attempt to fix the situation it had over compensated and now my thyroid levels are too low.  So now I’m being medicated for that. Yeah, it’s been fun (and hopefully, still all temporary… I go back for still more blood work after Christmas and will hopefully be able to stop the drugs).

Now onto the house stuff! If you follow me on Facebook you may have seen me have a small IKEA breakdown a couple weeks ago.

Basically we’re putting the hallway work on hold for the winter.  It’s too cold to work on the porch and I don’t relish the idea of stripping and staining inside with no ventilation.  Instead we’re moving on to Matt’s study.  It’s a bit of an anomaly in the house–I think the floor, the radiator, and the door are the only original elements remaining.  The ceiling is the same gross acoustical tile that we had in the dining room, the walls were paneled (and possibly skim-coated?) at some point, and all the trim was replaced with boring, modern, builder-grade trim…. then painted matte-black.  The closet door is also missing.  Pretty much, I have no clue what in the hell happened here, but it’s not pretty.

This weekend we started moving all his crap into my study (we need to empty out the room in order to basically gut it).  His study will be uninhabitable for quite some time so we’re trying to make my study functional for 2 people.  We tried a few layouts for 2 desks, but ultimately liked the idea of shoving them together… the only problem was my existing desk was a smidge shorter than Matt’s.  Yes, I was neurotic enough to care. Plus, we figured a quick trip to IKEA for a (cheap!) matching desk would solve the problem.

Unfortunately, this particular desk was discontinued.  There were however 3 different models from the same line, and we assumed the one with the closed shelving would be the same size.

Wrong.

We got it home and it was six inches too short.

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We brainstormed a few different options, including trying to hack the new base onto my old desk top, except the top was too deep.  Finally we agreed to suck it up and go back to IKEA for a matching one since it’s a pretty cheap desk.  Neurosis for the win!

Apologies in advance for the crap-tastic photos… this lack of daylight during the week is killing me.

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Matt also hung artwork while I was taking a nap.  To his credit he googled the correct height to hang artwork…. unfortunately google is wrong.

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Or at least Google is wrong if you search “how tall to hang pictures.” How tall? I’m not a grammar nazi, but that just sounds wrong. I googled “how high to hang pictures” and got an answer of 60″ to 66″.

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My go-to height for art work is 60″ on center. If you’re taller than average you may want to go a little higher, but I wouldn’t go lower unless everyone in your household is incredibly petite.  Matt caught me glowering at the too-low artwork (my desk is the one facing them) and insisted that he is not adjusting them for two inches.  Fine, I understand.  Really.  But someday when I’m bored, I’m sure I will re-do all of them.

Because I’ve already shown I have no qualms about embarrassing myself online… here’s what the other half of the room looks like.

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Yup, this is my life.  Just keepin’ it real, yo.

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Checking in on the Hallway

I had visions of being completely done with the hallway by now!  Unfortunately life and a pissy thyroid ate up a lot the time I had planned for this so I’ve very much not done yet. I thought I’d share my progress anyway though.

If you need a refresher on what I started with, check out this post.

The Staircase

One of the first projects I had planned was replacing all the busted newel caps on our staircase.  I had a good start on it but petered out.  So right now I have replaced…. one.  Yes. One.  But that one looks good!

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The chunky post at the base of the stairs in all original, but the second post has a brand-spankin-new newel cap.  Is a it a perfect match?  No.  But is pretty darn good?  I think so!

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Even in old houses I think it makes sense to weigh every investment.  Is it 100% historically accurate?  No.  Is the cost of a 100% historically accurate reproduction worth it for this particular house?  Sorry, but no.  It’s a pretty basic, standard old house for St Paul (heck, there’s even a near-perfect doppelganger house a couple blocks away!).  It’s sort of like trying to make an average 1950’s ranch a high-end MCM masterpiece. We’re also not restoring this house, we’re renovating it.  We’re just renovating it while still trying to be mindful of it’s origins.

Ahem.

Anyways… one newel cap down, 5 more to go!

The Doors

Oh the doors!  I had such high hopes that they would have been done weeks ago!  Unfortunately barely being able to get off the couch for nearly a month set me back a bit.  We’re 1/2 way there though!

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I posted about my love of black doors a while back, but Matt was adamantly against it.  He also didn’t want to paint them white (so picky!) so we compromised with a darkdark stain.  It’s a shit-ton of work, but I think it looks pretty fab.  Please ignore the orange-y railing, I’m working on it.  Slowly.

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I also ordered glass knobs to replace the black ceramic ones.  Yeah, the ceramic ones were probably original, but they just disappeared into the dark stain (the brass back-plates are more noticeable in real life, but I’m still thinking of cleaning them up a bit).  Half the upstairs door knobs were already glass anyway and I wanted continuity.  I ordered these beauties from House of Antique Hardware.  It might be my new favorite place on the internet.  I could make a shopping list a mile long from this place if I had the budget for it, but alas. I still may get the dust corners at some point because they’re super cute and cat fur clogging up the stairs is a legit problem in this household.

The Cat Tree

Why is pet furniture so often really ugly?  I mean, where are the homes where the standard fleshy-beige cat upholstery fits in?  My best guess is that it’s designed to hide most fur colors.  These are the sorts of things I tell myself to make sense of this crazy world.*

Regardless of the reason, the fleshy-beige had to go! The scratching posts sections had also gotten pretty beat up over the few years we’ve  had it.  It’s seen a lot of love from the cats and needed  a makeover.

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I dissembled the whole thing, wrapped the flat pieces with a faux sherpa fabric, and wrapped the polls top-to-bottom with jute.  I did a bit of reconfiguration of the pieces too to make it visually lighter and provides the cats with a taller section they so they stretch out and scratch. They usually only hang out on the top section anyway, so it really didn’t need the extra bulk. I still am not sure what to do about the top basket yet (helloooo weird blank space and lonely screw), but I’m working on it.

Still Working on:
  • Newel caps
  • Staining the railing
  • Refinishing the doors
  • Planning a gallery wall
  • Lighting
  • Building a new cabinet for the entryway

 

So that’s the current State of House address.  I’m planning on doing a check-in with the kitchen too to let you know how my temporary fixes are holding up. I just need to clean it first…

 

*At least I’m not alone in my “Why does pet furniture have to be ugly” thoughts.  There is a shop in St Paul called–I shit you not–Custom Cat Purrinture.   Yes, Purr-niture.  Believe it or not Matt and I haven’t checked it out yet.

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And Then We Found a Dead Body Under Our Garage

Well, part of dead body.

And probably not a human body… but other animals still have bodies and if you only find a part of it it’s still very clearly dead.

Matt pointed out that title is rather misleading, but that’s just how headlines work.  Sure, I could have said “And then we found part of a dead body under our garage.”  or “And then we found a bone fragment that was probably some dog’s chew toy under our garage.” But neither of those is very click-baity and my SEO app is already yelling at me about the length of my current tile (that thing is horribly judgemental).

Perhaps I should start at the beginning.

Our garage is… sad.  When we bought the house the inspector couldn’t even get the garage door open so for the past year we’ve basically had a giant storage shed that will fit anything that would fit through the smallish side door.  Awesome, right?

Also, the whole structure was leaning and wonky, and we weren’t even 100% sure that we would even be able to get a new garage door installed or if the entire thing would need to be torn down.  Yeah, it was just that good.

Recently we had a garage door company take a look at it, and thankfully they said they’d be able to add a functioning door.  Not only that, they even said they’ve worked with worse.  They came, they installed, and left us with a functioning garage that was still incredibly wonky.

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For the past couple weeks Matt’s been working on adding extra supports, sistering split or rotting studs, and digging out around the base to replace decaying boards.  I told you it was is pretty sad shape.

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On Saturday we dug a trench along the final side of the garage to expose all the rotting boards.  This wasn’t quite as bad as I anticipated, except for the tree roots that are clearly trying to eat our house.  And our garage.  And possibly us.  Hell, I think from now on I’ll just refer to the big tree in our backyard as Audrey II.

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About 10′ away from the tree there were still roots as big around as my wrist.  There were also TONS of the little spidery roots that had invaded everything.  As I pulled them out I also pulled up chunks of rotted wood that they had clearly eaten.  They were also starting to work their way up the side of the garage.  Awesome.

Also while digging out our trench we came across other assorted randomness.  A straw, tons of broken glass, plastic bags, rusted wire, and a coffee can lid.  Once I found the coffee can lid I was really hoping to find the rest of the can (filled with someone’s buried fortune of course), but it never turned up.  A short time later I exposed a strange, lumpy thing and was mildly taken aback.

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I thought it was a small vertebra but it ended up being the deformed top of a metal spike.  Bummer.

Me: No coffee cans filled with money, no dead bodies…. it’s like all those books I read when I was little lied to me.

Matt: Um, sure.

Me: I bet the Bobbsey twins were really the murderers/robbers/whatever just so they could set up crimes to “solve” and then cunningly frame other people.

Matt may have stopped talking to me at this point.

Later that afternoon I was standing by one of the dirt mounds, waiting to be useful, and I see something buried in the dirt.

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If you’re wondering if I can tell the difference between a stick and a bone in a random pile of crap the answer is apparently yes.  I have no clue what kind of bone because I’m not a boneologist…. er, wait, Latin… osteologist?  Maybe I should Google this…

…omg I was right!  I even spelled it right! (although spell check disagrees and suggests Meteorologist).  It’s like taking all those advanced Bio classes paid off… but only a little since I still can’t identify the stupid bone (but at least I’m still better at science than spell check).

Anyway, I found part of a bone buried under our garage which means I at least found part of a dead body.  Or the remains of a dog’s chew toy…. but dead body sounds much better.**  And just think, anytime you give your dogs pigs ears or beef bones to gnaw on you can refer to them as dead bodies.

“What’s Buster doing?  Oh, just burying a dead body in the backyard to save for later.”

“I had to get Fido a dead body so he’d stop eating my shoes.”

“Rufus hates being left home alone, but if you leave him with a dead body as a treat he does much better.”

Sadly, this is still not as exciting as the time I found a skull in Chicago.***

 

*Whether or not I can tell the difference between a bone and twisted piece of metal is an entirely different story.

** Or maybe it’s just me?

***True story!  And no, not a human skull.  It was probably a deer skull…. but it was just randomly in a locker in the train station.  For realz.  It was a little before Halloween and I was having  a party so I brought it back home with me.  I was maybe 12?   And possibly a bit different from other middle school girls….

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The Great Door Compromise of 2016

It’s been a little quiet around here lately.  My actual, money-making job has been insanely busy–we’re operating at about 1/2 staff between vacations/medical leave/maternity leave so stress levels have been through the roof and my energy level once I get home hits the floor (or rather, the couch).  We’re still working away, just slowly, so I thought I’d give you a little sneak peak at my current project.

A while back I mentioned that I was sort of swooning over the white trim + black door combo.  Matt, however, was Not a Fan…. but he didn’t want me to paint the upstairs doors white either and I certainly wasn’t leaving them honey oak.

Ok, I can stain them super dark, it will be almost like my beloved black doors, right?  Only re-staining is rather a giant pain in the ass.  But wait, there’s this magical gel stain that is all over the Pinterest!  I bet it’s a miracle worker.  I bet its secret ingredient is unicorn snot.*  I bet it…. doesn’t do a damn thing to these doors.

Yup.  I tried the General Finishes Gel Stain with minimal prep (mineral spirits and an abrasive scrubbie) and it did absolutely jack.  Sure, some of the inside corners got a little darker but otherwise it was very underwhelming. Sorry, no pictures, I was too distraught.  Just imagine a door that toddler wiped a brown ink pad over.

And Matt still didn’t want me to paint the doors.  Matt, I’m continuing to try because I love you.

Now it was time to try what I had wanted to avoid in the first place–stripping and refinishing.  Ugh.  It’s not that it’s a difficult process, it’s just time consuming–strip, sand, wash, stain, poly, with waiting or dry time between nearly every step.

I had already taken 2 of the hallway doors down while I was painting the trim, so I used one of them as my guinea pig.

DoorCompromise

I’m on the fence if I think it’s really worth the effort (that’s about a week’s worth of work right there!) but Matt really likes it and marriage is about compromise or some such crap.

Actual conversation we had as I was pondering the door (which by the way, is currently just leaning in place and missing all hardware, just FYI):

Matt: We should really try to get together with some people this weekend.

Me: Sounds good, go ahead and email people.

Matt: Why me?

Me: Because I’m busy stripping and refinishing your damn doors!

I’m going to try and start door #2 tonight and try a slightly different technique once I get to the stain.  I like the final color on the one I have done, but the finish is a little splotchy.  It’s also worth noting that the staircase railing is going to get darkened up (and de-oranged) too, and we have dreams of refinishing the floors to be much darker (although the latter may not happen for quite a while…).

 

*Because unicorn tears would make it too runny to be a gel stain.  Duh.