Archive for the 'House Renovs' Category

Dec 19 2011

Another month gone.

I’m trying to remember what I’ve done since I last updated. I guess that’s kind of the point of keeping a regular blog, but as you can see, I fail in that as well.

Well, first of all, the boy is doing fine. I had a checkup last week and his heart rate was right where it should be. I have a growth check after Christmas, so I’ll get to find out if he’s still on track to average size or if he’s working his way into behemoth territory. We also started childbirth classes. The first one was kind of ho-hum, not a lot of new info covered. The second was more interesting, since the instructor was talking about pain management techniques and fetal monitoring. Hey, those scalp clip things are not so awesome, huh? Also, I really could have done without the play by play breakdown of how an epidural needle goes in, but I know they want us to be aware of what’s involved in all this stuff. It’s not their fault that I wanted to throw up. Our third class was canceled, so this week is our fourth. We have one more after that, which is when we’ll tour the birthing center and see where all the magic happens. I still need to register for Infant CPR and breastfeeding classes, but for some reason they won’t let me do that until after New Year’s. The boy’s room is slowly moving along. It’s insulated now, and the windows have been ordered and should be here by January 6. The Man is bringing home drywall in batches, so pretty soon there might actually be a ceiling and some walls in there.

I got 99% of my Christmas shopping done, and the Christmas cards got sent out, too. So, that’s our holiday cheer in the bag. We are not going north to Dr. Mom’s this year. I’m too pregnant for that long of a trip. Instead, we’ve decided to treat ourselves to a little overnight trip in a town about an hour away from us. We found a package that includes dinner and breakfast. It will be our last trip as a childless married couple. Freaky to think about it that way!

We’ve done two Christmas gatherings so far – one at Mom and Stepdad’s house and one at The Man’s stepdad’s house. Both were totally fun, although everyone wants me to sit down all the time. Mom especially cannot take me standing up. She wants me to sit! Sit down! Here’s a chair, why don’t you sit? This chair is more comfortable, why don’t you move? It’s cute, but I have to keep telling her that if I’m standing up, it’s probably because my back is killing me. The Man’s brother Lucky graduated university last week, and we went to the ceremony. You know what that means – bleachers. Halfway through I had to stand up (we were all the way in the back, so I wasn’t blocking anyone’s view). I got quite the sympathetic look from the woman at the end of our row. She knew EXACTLY what the problem was.

Destiny the Brain Damaged Cat had a small episode on November 30. No one is really sure what caused it. She was being chased by her sister, and then just lost the use of her back legs. She was on the floor yowling for about 3 minutes while I tried to keep her calm. After that, she was able to get up and move around, and she seemed fine. I took her to the vet anyway. They did some tests and determined that it wasn’t her heart, at least. That was the big fear – some kind of heart arrhythmia that left untreated could cause her to die whenever she got a little too excited. They wanted us to keep doing tests on other organs (of course), but since the cat was acting totally normally, and it was an isolated incident, we declined to do that. There have been no repeats since. The worst part of the whole experience was that they drugged her up to do the EKG, and for a good part of two days she seemed to not know where she was or who we were. Then I guess all the drugs left her system and she was A-OK. She’s sleeping on the couch next to me now, as usual.

That’s really it. It’s been quiet, which I enjoy. I have some crafts I really need to finish – some stuff for the boy and one thing for my sister’s birthday present. With that in mind, I need to get off the computer. But first, here are some pictures.

31 weeks pregnant.


Our Christmas card picture.


Our Christmas tree.


The boy's room, wired and ready for insulation.


The boy's room, all insulated and ready for drywall.

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Dec 07 2010

Non-80s style sponge painting.

Published by under House Renovs,The Man

The last time we were up north, I was seduced by a Designed to Sell marathon on HGTV to find an inexpensive way to spruce up my kitchen. I had heard somewhere before of people painting their counter tops, so I turned to Google. Google directed me to Giani Granite Paint, which intrigued me mightily. I knew that actual granite counter tops would be a stupid thing to buy, both for financial reasons and because we still don’t know yet what – if anything – we’ll end up doing to the kitchen in the long run. I needed a temporary and inexpensive fix, and this looked like it. I mean, the kit only cost $60! And that included everything you would need – the paint and the tools (well, not things like painter’s tape or paint pans, but rollers and sponges). So, I ordered the kit. And then it sat around for a few months, because I am pretty good at conceptualizing but not so good at follow through. But, a couple of weeks ago I decided I’d better just GET TO IT. So, I did. And here’s what happened:

First, I degreased the counter tops using 409, as recommended in the instructions that came from Giani. Then, I taped off all of the “delicate surfaces” (otherwise known as the painted walls and the brick) with painter’s tape. Then, since it was most definitely below 70 degrees outside, I opened all of my cupboards and turned the heat up to 74 degrees. Giani recommends 72 degrees, but my house is drafty, so I hedged my bets. I let the counters warm up for a few hours. Giani recommends letting them warm up overnight, but I am impatient once I get going. I wanted to paint!

Although covering up that pinky-peachy-tan color could be a crime in the eyes 0f Miami Vice-era Don Johnson.

Once the counters were sufficiently heated, it was time to apply the primer. I chose the Chocolate Brown color combo, so my primer was black. I’m not sure if they all are or not. Anyway, I got out the primer, shook it and stirred it, and then poured some out and used the included roller to start painting. The primer is thinner than normal latex paint. I would call it…runny. And I’m not sure if it’s just me or what, but if I went over the same spot too many times, the primer would start to come up or smear, revealing the original counters beneath. So, it also is not as sticky as normal paint. After some trial and error, I found a light touch was best. This holds true both for the roller-ing, and for brushing on the backsplash (Giani also included the foam brush to do edges and corners). So, you roll this black primer on in about two-foot sections, and then you backroll over it to kind of smooth everything out. Soon, your counters look goth.

Leave us alone, stupid conformists.

At this point, you have to stop and let the primer dry for eight hours. That sounds like “overnight” to me, so I went to bed.

The next day it was time to tackle the sponge painting part. Giani sends you one sponge that you have to cut up, and three different color shades, depending on which kit you ordered. As I said, I ordered the Chocolate Brown kit, so my colors were kind of a taupe brown for the first color, a gold-brown for the second, and a dark brown for the third. Giani also sends you a piece of black poster board so that you can practice your sponge technique for awhile. You are supposed to sponge in two-foot sections, doing all three colors one right after the other while they are still wet, so that they blend and look more natural. And this is pretty easy to do…on a flat surface when you’re not dealing with a corner. However, I found the vertical backsplash and the area where the backsplash meets the counter EXCEEDINGLY difficult to get into, no matter how small I cut the sponge. And, no matter how much I “dabbed” the sponge to get most of the paint off, I couldn’t keep the paint on the backsplash from running down. I think the problem is that, as you go on, the sponge gets more and more saturated with paint. You’re supposed to dip the sponge into paint, and then dab most of the paint off using a paper plate or something, and THEN dab it on the counter. But, like I said, I think that eventually, no matter what, the sponge gets too full of paint for that to work well. If I were to do this again, I would buy two or three back up sponges to use when the first one got gooey. Live and learn. But, even with the running, things ended up looking pretty good. I was quite pleased when I was all finished.

Excuse the crusty pot on the stove. I had to make candy for Thanksgiving, and couldn’t wash up because I didn’t want to splash the counters.

After getting all the sponge paint on, it’s time for another eight hours of drying time. Are you starting to see that this is not a fast process? Actually, the painting itself goes pretty quickly. It’s the drying that takes so long. And, once this drying period is over, it’s time to roll/brush on the top coat! Giani sends along a clear topcoat that they say is automotive grade polymer resin. Okie dokie. This is pretty easy, you just use the brush to get the edges, and then roller in the middle, making sure that your roller is loaded up at all times, because you don’t want any dry spots. The instructions make it very clear that three coats of sealer is the MAX you can put on. I only put on two coats, because I thought (and the instructions seem to back me up) that two coats is plenty. Each coat of sealer has to dry for four hours.

And, because I don’t know when to stop, I also bought under cabinet lights and had The Man put those into place. So, once the counters were dry and the lights were in, I was very, very pleased with my “new” kitchen.

Not too shabby for sixty bucks!

A closer look.

I have to say, the pictures don’t really do it justice. People who haven’t seen the counters ask me all the time if you can tell it’s paint. All I can say is that my Dad came into the kitchen the day after I did the sponge paint – before the topcoat was on – and asked when we got stone counters installed. When I told him it was paint, he said “No way” and put his face right down next to it to check. To him, it still looked real close up. So, there you go. I’m very happy with it, and so is The Man. It really changes the entire room.

5 responses so far

Sep 12 2010

Here comes the fall.

Published by under House Renovs,Snippets

I can tell it’s getting to be fall, because I have a whole bunch of projects simmering in my mind, and I want to bake things. In the summer, I don’t even want to touch the oven, because no one needs a 350 degree box in their home on a 90 degree day. But I want to make cake, and bread, and pot roast.

The projects all involve things like caulking the windows shut with seasonal caulk, sprucing up the kitchen counters, painting the bookcases, turning the dining room into a library, and things of that sort. Nesting type of things. We did finally buy an electric fireplace and get that into the living room. That required removing the (rather large) loveseat, but I think the whole room looks nicer now.

The countertop spruce up I’m kind of interested in – I bought this paint which is supposed to make your counters look like granite. I can’t afford granite counters right now, and even if I could, I wouldn’t want to put them in without redoing the WHOLE kitchen.  I can spring for $60 paint though, so I did. The paint hasn’t arrived yet, but when it does, I’ll post some before/during/after pics.

Bookcase painting is a smaller project. That one I hope to get started on tomorrow, and I’ll post pics of that, too. I’m going to start with our small, crappy, particle board bookcase just to see how it goes.

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Jan 21 2010

New entrance tile.

Published by under House Renovs

This month we finally got around to putting tile in by the front door.  There used to be some weird faux tile there, kind of laminate-like, but when we put the hardwood floors down, that came up as well.  For months, there has been a square of bare sub-flooring at the front entrance.  Not any more!

Here’s a close up of the tile and border after it’s been glued into place.


Right after grouting. The grout is much darker than it should be, because it’s wet.


After drying for 24 hours, the grout is the color it should be.


This is how it looks finished.  Well, the baseboards aren’t up, which is why there’s that nice color stripe at the bottom of the wainscoting. We also bought the shoe bench to contain our many shoes, but unfortunately, boots don’t fit in the rack.  Oh well.

2 responses so far

May 28 2009

Summer Mayhem

Published by under House Renovs,Outdoors,The Fam

It seems like we’ve been busy, busy, busy lately, and that’s probably because it’s creeping up on summer, and life gets hectic in summer.  Hey, we only get a few nice months every year.  We have to make the most of them.

It doesn’t help that The Man and I have voluntarily revamped our weekends, or at least revamped our Sundays.  Sunday is now “Go to church then go visit family” day.  We try to get out to Grandma’s and his dad’s at least twice a month.  One Sunday is already taken up with his monthly D&D game, and sometimes the other Sunday gets appropriated too.  But mostly, 3 out of every 4 Sundays we are trekking into the Thumb.  And that’s OK with me.  I prefer to have a day dedicated to family and visiting.

We are also trying to get the septic field tilled and planted with grass.  Well, the tilling and planting is The Man’s part of the job.  I’m responsible for watering.  The mosquitos are so pleased to see me at evening water time!  I have reserved a spot on the field for a little flower garden.  This one will have props!  I’m planning on putting an arbor back there, which will have sweet pea vines climbing it (sweet peas should be in the mail soon).  Also, a small bench.  And the rest will fill in as I see plants that I must have.  I want it to be kind of a wild little patch.

Not much has been going on inside the house.  We are saving up money to do the trim in the dining room, living room, and spare room.  And we’re also eyeing up Retrofoam for the downstairs insulation.  We don’t want to have to tear the walls down if we can help it.  But, that is months or years in the future.

I’ve been getting very antsy to go up north, but since Dr. Mom’s area is still in the heavy part of Tick Season, there is no chance of seeing them before late July or even August.  Stupid ticks.

Dad is up here for a couple of weeks, but he left today to spend the week up north at Grandpa and Grandma’s.  No ticks for him, though…or at least not a big infestation of wood ticks.  I guess they have deer ticks, but not so bad.  Anyway, when he gets back I’m thinking we’ll have to get together with him, J-bird, and her husband for a barbeque or something.  Mmm…barbeque.

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