Wednesday, August 31, 2005

The End is Near!

We now have a beautiful new plywood floor. We do nice work, if I do say so myself! While laying the plywood, we discovered that our bedroom is only 1/4 inch off of square. That's not bad compared to a LOT of rooms we've worked on. We're now busy prepping the room for painting. Can anybody tell me why the prep and cleanup takes longer than the actual painting? We have a 3-day weekend coming, so we're hoping to be all settled in our finished bedroom by Monday night.

We've had a few setbacks. The motor on our table saw burned out. It would cost $140 to repair it OR buy a new, upgraded saw for $179. THAT decision was a no-brainer! The day we screwed the floor down, we ran down 3 rechargable screwdriver batteries AND overheated our 1/2 inch VSR electric drill. Periodically waiting for the drill to cool off really slowed us down!

Hairry will be happy when we get the carpet down. He's leary of the new floor. He gingerly walks across it like it's 10 feet higher, rather than a 1/2 inch higher.

I LOVE wood! I cringe every time someone paints over a beautiful woodgrain. I've been enjoying myself as I stain and poly our new trim. It's turning out beautifully! I only wish the weather would cooperate so I could get a second coat of poly applied. The last 2 days have been beautiful and sunny; UNTIL I get off work. THEN it starts to RAIN!

Thursday, August 25, 2005


I read the blogs of a few other homeschoolers. I'm relieved to find that I'm not the only one that gets anxiety attacks over our son's education. Don't get me wrong; homeschooling can be very rewarding. It's just that it's such a HUGE responsibility!

I worry over his Math education. I'm a Math Whiz. I actually GET Algebra AND use it in everyday life! I was 2 points off a perfect score for the whole year in Geometry! Why do I worry? I'm afraid that I've forgotten too many of the basic principles and that I don't have the time to refresh my memory. I'm worried that MY explanations won't get through to Z and there's nobody else to turn to in this subject.

I'm scared to death that the school district won't understand why our progress has been so slow to begin with. With Z's learning disabilities, we've had to do a LOT of research on alternate learning styles. We're working by trial and error to find what works for HIM. Z was in Special Ed for 3 years and they NEVER tested him for any of this. Nor did they try to work around his disabilities.

I worry that Z won't do well on the standardized test he's required to take yearly. If he has a bad day, ALL his concentration flies out the window.

After the initial nausea and breathlessness of my anxiety passes, I can usually talk myself out of worrying. Z has a 131 IQ. Z is my Math Whiz; he usually catches on to math concepts with ease. Z has been reading at a post-college level since the 4th grade. Thank God dyslexia ISN'T one of his disabilities!

The BIGGEST comfort to my anxiety is the fact that he was failing miserably in our clueless local school system. I KNOW we can do better than that!

A BIG THANK YOU goes out to my homeschooling friends Alix and Monica for making me realize that I'm not the ONLY scared parent out there!!

Monday, August 22, 2005

Bridget's Tag

7 Things you plan to do before you die.

1. Learn more computer stuff.
2. Have all the rooms in my house clean at the same time!
3. Meet my husband's brother that was adopted out.
4. Write a book. Probably a how-to book.
5. Build a garage.
6. Finish painting our house.
7. Teach my guys how to close the toilet seat!

7 Things you can do.

1. Make beautiful babies.
2. Train a dog.
3. Sew
4. Knit and crochet
5. Cook.
6. Geometry
7. Drive a stick. Hell, I can drive anything!

7 Things you can't do.

1. Sing
2. Play an instrument.
4. Ride amusement park rides
5. Be unfaithful
6. Lie
7. Run a circular saw.

7 Things that attract you to the opposite sex.

1. Voice
2. Butt
3. Eyes
4. Intelligence
5. Compassion
6. Sense of humor
7. Love of children and dogs.

7 Things you say most.

1. Are you ready to order?
2. Thank you.
3. I know.
4. Shit.(I say this so often that our dog answers to Shithead)
5. What?
6. Hairry!
7. Deal with it!

7 Celebrity crushes.

1. Ben Murphy
2. Neil Diamond
3. Robert Redford(before he got so OLD looking)
4. Mel Gibson
5. Timothy Dalton
6. Pete Duel
7. My Husband(he was a celebrity in the Twin Cities before we married)

7 People you want to take this quiz.

I'm gonna be nice and only tag ONE person: SME

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

What a Fine Mess!

Cozy Bedroom?

Welcome to our boudoir!
We MUST finish this project and move our bed back where it belongs before I kill my poor husband! I've always slept on the right side of the bed since we moved into this house. My alarm clock is on my nightstand, also on the right side. Our bed is now in our living room and I'm sleeping on the left side. My alarm clock is on an end table at the end of the bed. When my alarm rings at 4:55 a.m., I swing my arm over to the right to smack off the alarm clock. Unfortunately, my husband is now where my alarm clock SHOULD be. Enough said?

I've been removing trim, and idiots with air nailers are my worst enemy! It's WAY too easy for a bozo with an air nailer to quickly shoot 20 nails into something when 3 or 4 will suffice. I removed a 1/2 inch wide, 7 foot long piece of trim with 32 nails shot into it; 6 of them were in the top 3 inches of the piece! I'm SURE that I'll use no more than 5 small finish nails to rehang this piece, but I'll still have to fill the other 27 unnecessary holes! I'd LOVE to get my hands on one of these so called professionals and choke them with their own air hose!!

I received a manilla envelope in the mail today from our local school district. NOW WHAT? I was AMAZED to find a homeschooling packet in the envelope. Does this mean that they finally realize that Z is homeschooled? Time will tell!

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Sunday Fun and Games!

Yesterday was my Saturday to work, so we got a slow start. L spent the morning mowing the lawn. The old water heater has now been mowed around once. YIKES, we're more redneck every day!

Menards' sale of the week is a coupon for 10% off EVERYTHING in the store. Only one coupon per address can be used, so we spent the afternoon making a shopping list for today. We want to buy everything that doesn't ordinarily go on sale, like trim, stain, screws, and hardwood shelf material. We also finished figuring how our plywood floor sheets would fit on the floor. We want FULL sheets to lay across the soft spots and patched areas. Plus we don't want large seams running along the main traffic paths of the room. We also need to have the seams butt together on the floor joists. LOTS of figuring and measuring, but we came up with a plan that SHOULD work. Four more sheets of plywood should do the trick.

We don't have a garage, so we have to run our table saw outside. It rained all afternoon yesterday, so it was a good day for figuring. Hopefully the coming week will be nice so I can start to cut, stain, and polyurethane the trim. In case anybody's interested, I've found the world's greatest poly for furniture and trim. It's Minwax's Rub On Polyurethane. You rub it on with a rag(I use old socks), eliminating all the little bubbles you get from applying poly with a brush. This means that you don't need to sand between coats. Two coats of this product gives you a durable(washable), satin finish, that gives you the look of hand rubbed wood. As long as I'm giving advice, don't EVER use the all in one poly/stain products! Yes, you save time, but you don't get a nice even coat of stain. With the poly in the stain, you can't wipe off the excess like you can with regular stain, and you wind up with a blotchy looking project. When dealing with the expense of real wood, take my advice and apply your stain the old-fashioned way.

Our water heater is STILL leak free; HEEEHAW!!

It's sunny and clear outside, so I'd better finish the laundry and get cracking on our project!

Thursday, August 11, 2005


We're now OFFICIALLY rednecks. We've had a water heater in our back yard for 6 days now. We're hoping to recycle it, for free, at a scrapyard that sells recycled metal. We don't know if this place is still in business as they don't have a phone. If not, we'll have to pay $10 to take it to the white goods section of the landfill. For those of you unfamiliar with home improvement projects; getting rid of what you tear out of the space takes at least half of your time.

Our drip magically disappeared today! I'm skeptical, so we'll keep our eye on it. Yesterday a friend told us that his leak quit after a couple of days. He thought that maybe the teflon tape finally settled into place.

Z's math lesson for the week is helping me figure out how to lay the new sheets of plywood so the joints don't fall in the heavy traffic areas of the room.

L and I are hoping that, by this weekend, we'll be able to start the construction phase of our project. So far we've just been tearing everything up.

The biggest thing we've learned so far is that it's a LOT easier to carry a water heater while it's still in the box! Once out of the box, it's all round and slippery with NOTHING to grab onto. We also got a lot of bruises, in weird places, trying to get a 19 1/2 inch water heater through a 20 1/2 inch opening and over the top of the cold water connection, without breaking the water heater or the connection.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Life Goes On?

Today we have good news and bad news. The good news is; we have PLENTY of hot water! The bad news is; we still have a drip. The good news is; we now have 1 drip every hour, we did have 1 drip every 5 minutes. The good news is; we're making progress. The bad news is; we still have a damned drip!!

The problem is in the 90 degree cast-iron elbow. We WANTED an elbow with a 3/4 inch male connection on both ends. The only 3/4 inch elbow in town, has a male on one end and a female on the other. This requires a transition piece, that my Dad calls a nipple, that has 2 male ends. The drip is occurring where the nipple screws into the cast iron elbow. We have 5 layers of teflon tape on this connection and it's STILL DRIPPING! We can't get the connection any tighter as the wrench keeps slipping on the smooth surface of the nipple. ARGHHH!!! The good news is that ALL our other connections have been drip free from the start. I think it has something to do with the cast-iron.

My question for today is: Why does "normal" life have to continue when you're in the middle of an important project? Doesn't life know that we don't have time to cook, do laundry, wash dishes, take the dog to the vet, mow the lawn, buy groceries, or get a haircut? Can't the Keebler elves take a break from baking and take care of our everyday chores for a month? The good news is that we don't have to vacuum, other than shop-vacuuming the sawdust in the bedroom. With our bedroom furniture scattered throughout the rest of the house, we don't have ROOM to run the vacuum!

On Sunday Z asked about his homeschooling. With Z's learning problems we need to homeschool year-round. He needs all the time he can get. He also needs the steady routine and structure. I told Z that we would be covering building trades class for the next month. It's not one of the things we're required to teach, but that's TOO BAD! Right now, Z is our "gofer". I was my Dad's "gofer" from the time I could walk and talk. This is how I learned all the carpentry and homeowner's skills that I have today. So far Z has learned that wall studs are 16 inches on center(which is 1/3 sheet of plywood), our floor joists are 16 inches on center (some are 18 or 24), 2x4's are actually 1 1/2 x 3 1/2, plywood comes in 4ftx8ft sheets, and fittings on a water heater are 3/4 inch. Hey, that's a LOT of math and technical stuff! I also KNOW FOR A FACT that he will use this knowledge in the future! Now if he'd just learn the difference between a phillips and slotted screwdriver AND the difference between a slipjoint and pipe wrench; we'd be happy (for now).

I really MUST be going! I still have to take down ALL the trim in our bedroom AND throw together a turkey pie for dinner.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Water Heater Day

Our server has been on/off a bunch the last couple of days, so I haven't done much posting. Hopefully it will stay on long enough to post this today. That's what we get for living in the sticks!

Our floor repair project is coming along quite well. L has most of the swelled area of subfloor under our windows cut out and squared up for the replacement pieces of 3/4 inch plywood. His back is killing him from this grueling job! L and I do one-person jobs during the week and save the 2man jobs for the weekends. It's my weekend off, so we have 2 whole days to (hopefully) accomplish a LOT.

I've spent my spare time researching and purchasing materials for our project. As long as we've got our bedroom emptied out, we're going to do ALL the redecorating and repair projects that need doing in there. So far I've picked out the paint colors for our accent wall and ceiling, bought wall cupboards that we'll install full-width over the wall our computer desk is on, and purchased our carpet. Next week I'll be cutting out an access for our master bathroom plumbing in our bedroom wall. We have an access in our walk-in closet, but all it accesses is the bathtub drain. Our house is 19 yrs old and I KNOW, from experience, that the bathtub faucet will be going one of these days. There's no sense painting the wall and then cutting into it a couple of months from now. This way, we'll be ahead of the game for a change.

Monday night I woke up in the middle of the night with a HORRIBLE thought. ALL the trim in our bedroom needs to be removed and cut off 1/2 inch to accomodate the new plywood subfloor. YIKES, another putzy job. Hopefully I'll be able to remove and reinstall all the trim without breaking any of it.

This weekend's project is the replacement of our 19 yr old water heater. We've been living with 1 working element in our water heater, for the last 3 yrs. This hasn't been too much of a hardship. We've just had to plan our baths and clothes washing to match our hot water output. We didn't see the point in replacing the element in a 16 yr old water heater. We KNOW that we won't be able to remove the old heater without sloshing some water, so we want to replace the water heater before we lay the new plywood floor.

Yesterday we purchased the ONLY 40 gal, electric water heater in town that didn't have to be special ordered(with a 3 week wait). Sears had one too, but the warranty is voided if you install it yourself; forget that! We're hoping that the connections on the new water heater won't be TOO FAR off where the old ones are. If not, I've scoped out the plumbing section at Menards and we should be able to extend the new connections with relative ease. My Dad's an electrician and is on standby today, in case we have problems with the electrical connections.

I've already got a load of wash going. I want to get our work clothes washed before we turn off the water. With our luck, this project could easily turn into a 2 day span with no running water. We've learned to plan for the worst in any home improvement project!

Well, I guess it's time to wake L up, give him some coffee, and carry in the new water heater, so we can see what we're dealing with. Wish us luck!

Monday, August 01, 2005

Good News!

Our bedroom floor is carpenter ant and water-leak free!!

We've had several water leaks in various spots over the last few years. One leak was from a bad washing machine hose, another from a leaky T-joint under the house, and yet another was from poorly installed windows(the one and ONLY time we hired a contractor). Apparantly particle board subfloor doesn't recover well from water damage. Keep this in mind when doing new construction.

L cut a couple of small holes through the subfloor. There's no damage to any of the floor joists and the area underneath is bug and mold free. This means that we won't have to rip up ALL of the 3/4 inch subfloor in our bedroom. This will save us soooo much time! We only need to cut out an 8 ft X 1 ft section that is domed up and replace it with 3/4 inch PLYWOOD (not particleboard or OSB). Then we'll be able to cover the entire floor with 1/2 inch plywood which will reinforce the soft spots. Then we'll be ready to install the new carpeting.

We bought our carpet yesterday and received more good news. Last week the carpet we selected was $1.39/sq. ft. Yesterday we purchased the carpet for $.91/sq. ft. I LOVE SALES!!!