Monday, March 26, 2012

This is getting exciting...

[caption id="attachment_811" align="alignleft" width="225" caption="Grouted floor and start of green board."][/caption]

According to TOH August 2011 article called READ THIS BEFORE YOU MODEL A technically need an 11 square foot spot to fit a sink and toilet and meet national building codes.  However, that is one SMALL bathroom - they recommend an area that is 3-4 feet wide and 6-8 feet long.

Our under-the-stairs half bath is 35.5" wide (just a half-inch too small) and 71" (almost 6 feet) long.  We *almost* just make the minimum recommended dimensions.  Our ceiling (the part not sloped under the stairs is 8' high which helps it to feel a bit bigger and the door swings outward which is key (it is a big door).

Our plumber won't install our fixtures until we finish the walls, and with good reason, the sink is up against the corner and the toilet doesn't leave much clearance either.  Better to get the walls done first.

The good new is that the floor is finished and the green board is up.  The seams are taped and we are on night #2 of sanding and joint compound.  One more to go.  Then we can prime everything.

[caption id="attachment_812" align="alignleft" width="225" caption="Where we hide the bodies (future site of cat bathroom, well litter box)"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_813" align="alignleft" width="225" caption="Sanding and joint compound - night 2"][/caption]

The carpenter comes tomorrow to build a built-in over the toilet into the stair cavity to allow for some sort of storage space.  He is also going to build a door to access the narrow space under the stairs (behind the toilet) where we plan to put the litter box.  The door will open into the hallway and be disguised behind molding.  Yup, a secret door.  Don't worry, the door will be big enough for a child to enter and yes Harry Potter would feel right at home there...

[caption id="attachment_810" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Wall niche from TOH August 2011 page 88"][/caption]

We also decided (tonight) to add bead-board wainscoting to the lower walls.  Yup, one more step, but we both like the way it looks.

I am busy researching wall paper patterns.  I know what I want in my head and am trying to find it in reality and not pay a fortune.  Thankfully, it is a small room!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Let me Explain...

Lest any of you think I am complaining, let me elaborate on my post about the bathroom floor.

Whenever you attempt a DIY project you need to be realistic about the time estimates for completion.  Especially with an old house.  When the magazine you are reading says you can "tile a bathroom floor in a weekend"  or "about two days", do not believe it.  They give you a best-case scenario estimate and it is usually not realistic for the average DIY home owner.

For example, the two-day estimate for tiling did not take in account the following:

  • adjusting for the height difference between the hallway floor and the bathroom floor - the original purchase of 1/4" backer board - the discussions about tacking on another layer of 1/4" backer board or going back and doing one 1/2" layer

  • drive time to and from the home improvement store to pick up extra backer board, missing trowels, and something to cut tile with

  • spreading the adhesive on too thickly so that it squished up between the tiles where the grout needs to go

  • hand chiseling out the extra adhesive (about a 2 night job)

  • the tiles that popped out during the hand-chiseling that needed to be re-stuck down

  • consultation with the wife about where the floor meets the thresh hold and deciding that she might be right when she said she didn't like the idea of a gap being filled with caulking and that the tile should meet the thresh hold.

  • hand laying the edge tiles and snipping in half to make a straight edge at the thresh hold

  • having to watch three kids while tiling so the wife could go away for a weekend cruise

  • fitting the job in amongst all the other curve balls life throws you (like kid activities, social events, working late, buying a new truck, etc. )

In reality, projects are going to take a lot more time than they say they should.  Especially if you do them right.  Since you have to live with the results the extra time is worth it.

Our bathroom is coming along and no one is happier about that than me.  My wonderful husband has logged many hours in there and I am very grateful that his is willing to do the work.  He threw out his back last week and there were some very scary moments of "uh what do we do?"  Thankfully he is feeling better and ready to take on the next stage of our never-ending to-do list.  Stay tuned...

Elusive Tooth Fairy

We have  a big problem in our house with the tooth fairy.  She has been very delinquent in her duties lately.  My 10 year old's tooth fell out in gym.  It was so loose it basically jumped out of his mouth when he caught a ball.  The school nurse put it in a little plastic chest, taped it shut and sent him back to class.  When he arrived home he showed us his tooth and dutifully put it in the tooth fairy pillow.

Then he waited, and waited.  He waited so long he forgot to check each morning to see if she had come yet.  After about a week he said, "Mom, the tooth fairy still hasn't come".  I asked him if he had done anything to make her angry.  He said "I don't think so..."

So where is she and where has she been?  Maybe now that he is 10 he is at the bottom of her list and she is busy the younger kid's teeth...   I asked the kids where they thought she might be, but they had no idea.  We were wondering if she booked a flight on Direct Air and was stuck in Florida (badda-bing).

Finally after nine days, she showed up and left a $5 bill.  I think it was guilt money or perhaps your tooth accrues interest every day it sits and waits for her...

What is up with the tooth fairy anyway?  I can't find a picture of her online and even Wikipedia has little information.  The section on her origins starts with a note that "this section needs expansion".

Just what does she do with all those teeth anyway?  According to the Internet, these are possible scenarios for what the tooth fairy does with teeth:

  • collected, neatly labeled and filed away in a museum-like castle

  • put in special boxes and used for building things

  • ground up to make fairy dust

  • boiled until soft and make sugar puffs (???)

  • put in spray cans (that thing that rattles, that's a tooth)

  • donated to people who are missing teeth

  • made into new teeth for babies

  • put into the sky and become stars

  • planted and grow flowers

I don't know about you, but I will never feel the same about a can of spray paint...

I found a plastic day of the week pill dispenser in the top drawer of my husband's dresser filled not with pills, but baby teeth.  So I think I know what she does with them in my house.  The bigger mystery perhaps is what does HE do with them...

There also is a big discrepancy from one house to the next.  Fairies seem to make up their own rules - the amount of money differs, some only leave coins and silver dollars, some spill glitter everywhere.  My daughter learned on the bus that if you leave a cup of water by your bed she will dunk her wand and the water will change color...

Our theory is that there are many tooth fairies assigned to different families.  We just so happen to have a cheap, forgetful one :-)

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

This would almost be funny...

if we weren't booked to fly during April vacation.  Ever get the feeling that the Worcester airport is a lost cause - good in theory, but the reality falls short every time...

Worcester Telegram - Tuesday, March 13, 2012
Uncertainty continues over Direct Air flights

Direct Air, the only passenger airline serving Worcester Regional Airport, abruptly canceled all its flights yesterday at the peak of college's spring break, leaving stranded passengers wondering how and when they'll get home. In a brief statement this afternoon, the South Carolina-based airline said "operational matters" forced it to suspend service until May 15.

"We are currently evaluating strategic alternatives for Direct Air," the company wrote. The airline did not specifically say it would resume flying after May 15.

For people who have purchased tickets from Direct Air, the company said: "Passengers holding reservations for Direct Air flights departing between Tuesday, March 13, 2012 and Tuesday, May 15, 2012 are directed to contact their credit card company to arrange for a refund."

The airline apparently ran short on money to pay for fuel. Direct Air's marketing manager Ed Warneck told The Sun News in South Carolina that the airline missed a fuel payment and the fuel supplier cut it off. That left it no choice but to ground its fleet.

...need I say more?  You can click on the link to read the full saga and don't forget to check out the comments.  Lots of happy customers out there.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Bad news for you...

I was somehow possessed with the mad idea to join the NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month) for March, which means I committed to posting once a day for the entire month.  I have no idea what I was thinking and  if I can come up with enough content every day to not bore you.  If I run out of things to write about I guess I can always take some pictures.

I am already failing my goal, since I took off to the Bahamas for the weekend and the satellite Internet connection on the cruise ship cost money and did not allow uploading or downloading photos.  Oh well.  Set the bar high.

Anyway, I just wanted to warn you that my activity level may increase this month, so be prepared.   I leave you with one of my favorite photos from my trip:

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Bathroom floor


Good news...I came home to a tiled floor! It still needs to be grouted, but progress is being made.

BTW this it the formula for calculating how much time it takes to complete a project:

what they tell you * 4 + 5 (days)

So realistically, the two-day bathroom floor job should take:

2 days * 4 = 8 days + 5 days = 13 days

See, right on schedule...

Friday, March 2, 2012

Small Bathroom News

It's good new this time, really!  The basement posts are finished and the bathroom can commence.


The sub floor has been screwed down, the thin set troweled on and the backer board screwed down over the wet thinset so the board adheres to the subfloor as it dries. The screws serve to tighten the board into the thinset.

[caption id="attachment_760" align="alignleft" width="150" caption="First Layer of Thin Set"][/caption]

Now we are ready to lay out the tile and then thin set that in place over the backer board, then grout. I caught my daughter in there stroking the tile (it is glazed and very smooth) and exclaiming that it was the same tile as our bathroom in our previous house. It is actually.

The husband said the tile will be done upon my return (I am going away for the weekend). We shall see... I heard him complaining (to himself) that he would rather deal with insulation or dig holes in the basement than tile. Perhaps, THAT partially explains the delay...

Thursday, March 1, 2012

That's How We Roll

[caption id="attachment_740" align="alignleft" width="150" caption="Snow Chair with Cup Holders and Snow Eggs"][/caption]

Wouldn't you know it, the day I am supposed to leave the airport we get hit with a winter storm.  Not including the freak October nor'easter, I think this is the first significant snowfall this winter.  After the dry, green winter we have had the timing is just perfect.  Perhaps the universe is conspiring against more than just my house...  Hmmm...

Anyway, school was canceled and the husband left early for work.  I called in late and after confirming with a baby sitter so I could get to work, I realized that I had to deal with the driveway.

Our driveway is much longer now and is not paved so you get the added fun of scooping up snow and dirt.  It doesn't melt as quickly either as on black top and forget about bouncing a basketball.

The snow is wet and dense, great for snow forts, bad for shoveling.  Unfortunately small temperamental engines are not my forte either so the snow blower is out, but I know how to wield a shovel.  After about 20 minutes though I started getting tired and sweaty in my work clothes so I called the kids over to help.  This is their idea for "shoveling" the driveway.  What do you know, it worked!