Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Blogging about the dishwasher

It has been two years and two months since I last touched this blog...  I can try to explain, but I won't bore you with excuses, no matter how good they are.  Let's just suffice to say that we have a lot of catching up to do!

So happy 2017!  One of my New Years resolutions is to start blogging at least once a month.  This is certainly less of a commitment than finishing my book or sticking to some sort of regular exercise routine and way more fun than the chores I should be doing like laundry or cleaning or driving a child some place.

What a better way to start the new year off than with a post about the dishwasher.  Yup, the dishwasher.  It is a point of contention in this household.  Did you know there is only ONE way to do it correctly?  I live with a master dishwrangler who has turned loading dishes into an art form.  I have to wonder if "dishwasher" comes up in divorce proceedings if it is a top unreconcilable difference? The main conflict being one partner just doesn't care enough and the other cares too much.

If we really want to analyze this deeper, and we probably don't, I would say it all comes down to control issues.  And people if there is ONE thing that should be under your control, it's your dishwasher!

So here are some tips for those of you who are confused or uninformed about dishwasher etiquette. Yes, I admit not all dishwashers are the same, there is no one size fits all.  If you would like some help learning about the correct way to load yours, I have a spouse you can borrow.  He doesn't even mind being video-taped.

For all you dishwasher control freaks out there (you know who you are!), this one's for you...the rest of us just smile and wave, boys...just smile and wave. (Madagascar)

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Insulation and Wallboard

Fitting and stapling moisture barrier to ceiling
Notes from the upstairs reno...

The bathroom fan is in.  It has a sensor and comes on and off when it needs to remove moisture from the room.  This is a great way to fix the problem of folks forgetting to turn it on and off.

The walls and ceiling are insulated.  This was no small feat, and required lots of custom cutting.  The walls have faced insulation and the ceiling is unfaced, which requires a plastic moisture barrier.

We are ready to put up the rest of the wall board. We are using green board which now also comes in purple and is supposed to be even more moisture resistant in the bathroom.

We are using regular drywall (or white board) in the bedroom.  We will be taping, mudding, and painting both rooms.

Moisture barrier in upstairs bedroom
Just FYI - on drywall, sheetrock and wallboard:

Drywall is compressed gypsum panels, covered with paper facing, that installs directly on wall studs. Read more.  Sheetrock is a brand name for a particular manufacturer's drywall. To make things more exciting, drywall can also be called wallboard.  It comes in white, green, and purple.

To add a level of confusion, we are also using cement board (also called blue board or plaster board) downstairs in the main living area.  It is gray.  We plan to hire a plasterer to come and plaster those walls.

It is cheaper to tape and mud yourself, but in old houses, the walls and ceilings are finished smooth which takes a certain amount of skill (or lots and lots of practice).

We are using the cheaper method upstairs in the bedrooms and plan to have a professional plaster the living room, dining room, hallway and someday maybe even the kitchen.

Wall board on ceiling
Right now we have to get the wallboard or sheet rock up on the walls.

The upstairs ceilings are nine feet high.  It took three of us about four hours to install the moisture barrier, cut and install sheetrock on the bedroom ceiling and the angled wall.  Angles are tricky.

Now we need to go back and buy more to finish the job.  

I can't tell you how nice it is to have walls!  

Blogging Ketchup

I realize that I have left my fans and readers in the lurch.  I hate to leave you hanging, but the truth is that we have been sucked into the dark whole vortex called home renovation.  It can be a very dark, scary place.  A place where there is never enough time, money or progress.

I haven't been blogging because the projects are just too overwhelming.  The progress that we have made has been swallowed by the list of things yet to-do.  I think maybe we took on WAY too much this summer.  The finish line is still hazy, a milestone that we don't dare attach a date to.

The truth is that it is hard to balance work, the house, and life.  And it is not always fun.  The house is sucking up every spare cent and looking for more.. It has chewed up my husband and spit out a stressed snarling beast.  

So now you know why I have been neglecting you. I was trying not to drag you down with me.  We are too far in to do anything but trudge on, for better or worse.

Perhaps what we need right now is a break.  Or a vacation.  Or a winning lottery ticket...  Or just a very long nap with the cat.

Monday, July 7, 2014

A lull in the bathroom storm...

While we pause in the bathroom demolition and wait for the next stage called "dismantling the current plumbing", we decided to take a day (or two, or three) to tackle our summer to-do list.  Maybe your summer to-do list is filled with fun things like:

  • go to the beach
  • go on vacation
  • go to camp
  • have a cookout
Our to-do list has some little gems on it like:
  • rip apart three more rooms
  • throw the stuff that was in the rooms everywhere
  • walk around in a dust cloud for eight weeks
  • finish painting the side of the house
  • finish painting trim on the front of the house
  • re-order window grills that some dummy (me) broke three years ago
  • re-order window screen that some dummy (husband) tore when replacing front siding
I will stop get the point.

This past weekend, while also celebrating the 4th of July (on the 5th of July) we managed to get the first coat of paint on the west side of the house.  We actually have replaced all the windows on that side of the house and all the siding, but you can't tell.  You can't tell because the siding came primed in gray which blends with the rest of the existing house.  We could have had it primed in tan to fool you that it was finished, but that cost more money, so gray it is.

Here are some pictures of the progress.  We need to do a second coat and then all the trim work, but now it looks like we DID SOMETHING!!
The west side with new siding...but you can't tell!

The paint crew - they lasted about 15 minutes...

You want help...we'll give you careful what you ask for!

It is a family project. T said "thankfully it's the back side of the house"

The master painter, inspecting the work...

And body coat #1 is done!

Friday, July 4, 2014

The Bathroom Floor

The bathroom floor unfortunately deserves a post of its own.  Whomever installed the tile, did a good job. The flooring tile pried off fairly easily with a hammer and a crowbar.  Underneath was a thick layer of adhesive plaster that the tile was set in.  It was level and seemed to have been poured as one side was thicker than the other.  Under the plaster was a thick layer of plywood.  The trouble with that is that it was nailed and screwed down in random constellations.   You could not see where the nails/screws were because they were covered in the white plaster.  It took about FOUR hours demo day five to pry up the floor and it came up in small splinters.  We still have a corner to go over by the toilet (the tub is going to push back against the taller corner wall.
The bathroom floor with tile being removed

Tile removed, down to adhesive
Prying up the plywood sandwich

Demo Day Four...

Welcome, come on in...

Trying to catch insulation as it falls out of the walls from the ceiling
Demo day four was spent upstairs, mainly in the bedroom.  I thought I hated dusty horse hair plaster until I encountered itchy foul rock wool insulation.  I don't even have words for how I feel about that!

This demo job was disgusting.  It was hot outside. We were covered in plaster dust.  The ceiling was full of loose insulation that had been used by mice for years as nests and toilets.  The smell was awful.  And it itches.

I had to keep running my arms under water to try and remove the particles.  We should have had long sleeves tucked into our gloves.

It took all day to chuck lathe out the window, haul to the burn pile.  We started filling buckets with plaster and T hauled them down the stairs and out to the dumpster.  After about the 20th trip, we just started chucking the plaster out the window too.  We had buckets set up below, but a lot missed.  We also filled bucket after bucket of insulation and hauled those down to the dumpster.  At least those were lighter.

Here are the fabulous surprises that we found:

  • The outer walls had insulation!  Some of it was moldy though as moisture seems to be getting in from outside.
  • We found an inscription in the wall from the Chalifoux's in 1973 which must be when the bathroom was created upstairs See it Here
  • We found the original divider between the two rooms (the bathroom was created from taking space from each upper bedroom)
  • Mice skeletons and fully mummified mice carcasses covered in what looks like creosote (found near the chimney)

What a dusty mess!

The back wall with funky electrical wires - some live and dead-ended in the wall
 If I NEVER EVER  have to demo any upper room with horse hair and insulation again I would be happy...  Unfortunately, we still have two bedrooms and a hallway to deal with (not including the back part of the house)...
The insulation and cobweb filled ceiling

Bathroom sink vent
 The husband also wanted to rip out the hallway over the stairs but I talked him out of it.  We have just created months (years?) of work to now finish these rooms and we still would have to demo the upper hallway and two bedrooms so if we couldn't finish the job I didn't want any more mess!!!

I have enough mess.  Almost a week later, I am still dusting and sweeping and vacuuming up plaster dust. Fun.
The double layer ceiling in the bathroom - gutting around the tub

Removed outer wall leaving angled sink and tub for now...

More of the ceiling...

More of the wall

more of the gutted walls

The EVIL ceiling

The gigantic light fixture

More ceiling

The outer wall

Bathroom ceiling and chimney that runs through it

The MESS!!!!

More of the itchy awful mess...

And still more - this all fell out of the ceiling from the attic

What didn't fall and had to be knocked down with a broom...

Bathroom ceiling

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Demo Day Trois...

Demo Day Three consisted of the dining room.  I know, some thought this was the nicest room in the house. Alas, no longer!  I have to say that I hate horsehair.  It served its life of 114 years, but it is so dry and crumbly, it falls apart in your hand and has become a permanent part of the wall paper.

Yes we did put up plastic and attempt to seal off the room, but the fine dust makes its way everywhere anyway.

Dining Room before

More dining room BEFORE

Dining Room interior wall BEFORE

A close of of the wallpaper which had faded to a preppy pink and mint green...

The wallpaper underneath the wainscoting

What was under the wainscoting on the wall that backs up to the kitchen

The 1970s wallpaper under the "wainscoting".  The kids wanted to keep it!

114 year old horse hair plaster ugh.

The hauling crew...transporting wood lathe and trim boards.

The "beams" are actually boards sandwiched together and difficult to remove!
The gutted and very dusty room...

Funky wiring - you can see an old doorway that went into a bathroom that was carved out of the kitchen space.

More dusty dirty house.

We did find two interesting things in the ceiling...

1980s clearly...not sure who...