Daily Life, Remodel

More Demo

What a day. I started it out with helping a friend with something and then I was planning on fixing the outside of the house. Alex had other plans. I came into the kitchen to find him poised to take down the ceiling. The kitchen ceiling in our house was lower than the rest of the house by about 10 inches to accommodate for a fluorescent light fixture. Problem was that above that ceiling was a lot of blown in insulation. A lot.

We pulled the ceiling down and most of it fell down in a big fluffy, dusty mess. Luckily, due to covid, we have “masks”. Bandanas, we have bandanas. We used giant 42 gallon garbage bags and a snow shovel to contain the mess. We ended up with 15 bags full. And I am glad we had masks but after wearing them for several hours I had had my fill and don’t have to wear one for quite a while.

This is one of the smaller piles we shoveled up.

Alex and I were both covered in insulation dust. We had nowhere to store all the bags except to put them back up in the attic. Michael and Benjamin were small enough to get up there and help move the bags around and they had fun getting up there. Once we get the sheetrock up we will have them get back up and spread the insulation around.

The kitchen looks so much bigger now that the ceiling is the right height and the closets have been taken out. Alex asked if I wanted to draw the cupboard lines on the wall so I can see what it looks like. I said no because I can see the whole finished kitchen in my mind. It is just a matter of making it a reality. I don’t necessarily mind the work but I will be so glad to have it done and over with so I can enjoy it and get back to normal life and not spend every spare minute working on this project. There will always be a project but I don’t think I will do this big of one for a long time

Daily Life, Remodel

Under-Construction

Pretty much all I have been doing every day is demolition. So much work! I keep going all day. And just when I think I can take a break I get a phone call. The window company wants to know if they can install the windows the next morning. Of course. Wait! I’m not ready for this yet! I figured I’d have a weeks notice not a few hours. I called Alex to tell him the news and then I got to work.

Armed with wasp killer spray and a crowbar I ventured out to dismantle the facade on the front of my house so we could remove the windows. My neighbor was watching, of course, but so were all the construction workers that were replacing the gas line on my street. My neighbor tells it that he saw me slightly lifting one board and spraying some wasps. He thought I was just out there to kill the bugs. The the next time he looked out his window he saw I had ripped off a bunch of the house. Kind of a bit much. I am great at tearing out the old. Putting up the new? Not so much. But I really have to because as nice as the new windows are, it doesn’t matter if the rest of the house looks awful.

The problem is that a lot of it got destroyed in demo and taken to the dump so I can’t put the old stuff back on. It is a veritable can of worms that I have opened. Not sure how to put it all back together. Well, I have an idea but executing it might be a little bit of an issue. I guess I haven’t learned to have a back up plan yet. Pretty sure I should because renovations always have unexpected setbacks.

I will say this for the new windows and door- Awesome! The yellow 70’s glass is gone and there is so much more light and view. I walk into the room and because there is so much light I think the door is open. It isn’t. It is just new windows that let in so much more light. I love it. The kids say they miss the yellow windows. Really kids? They’ll get used to it quickly. They have no choice because I am not switching back.

Now that the windows are done I think it is on to the electric. If I can get that squared away quickly then I can get the drywall back up on the walls and back to a sense of normalcy. Wish me luck.

Remodel

Demo Time

This is what we’ve been up to this week. So much work! I spent the week cleaning out all the cupboards and moving back into the basement kitchen and then Friday and Saturday was spent ripping it all apart. The more we tear into the house the more we see how much it needed it. Wood that has seen better days, mismatched paneling, paneling, plastic trim, wood trim, fiberboard trim, moldy subflooring, non-working electrical outlets, burned out outlets, worn out cabinets, mismatched cabinets, and so much more. My son’s friend was over and asked why we were taking it out (before we’d done any demo) and I drew a blank. I couldn’t remember why we were doing this whole thing. Oh yeah, electrical issues. The rest was livable but when some outlets just stopped working we got worried the house would burn down.

As we planned I thought it would be funny to put a plastic skeleton in the walls when we put them back up. I’d leave a note on it but it made me laugh. While we were taking the walls down we actually found skeletons. Mouse skeletons. Lots of them. Ugh. You can guarantee it that I am going to make the walls mouse tight.

Alex and I didn’t do it alone. We gave the kids gloves, chisels, hammers, screwdrivers, and drills and told them to get to work. It was a “fun” family activity. It was good to work together and I hope that they, like me, will be proud of their work and when it is done they can say what parts they did and helped with. Turns out Lauren is lot like me. Give her a task and she will keep going until it is done. Alex had to tell us we needed to stop to go and eat.

I am going to call the electrician on Monday and get the electricity all fixed so the walls can go back up in the next week or so because it is difficult to live in a construction zone with exposed studs, insulation and wiring.

One thing that came to mind as Michael and I were dismantling a 70’s decorative fixture is that trends and decorative fashion doesn’t last forever. It was a big pain to remove. Luckily it was just nailed in (with 100 giant thick decorative nails). I look at the farmhouse shiplap walls that are so in style right now and I cringe. I love the way they look, don’t get me wrong, but I can see how big of a pain it will be to remove years down the road when it is no longer the style and everyone tries to remove the glued on boards. I guess everything is like that. Styles come and go and eventually stuff wears out and needs to be replaced. But I would rather just change paint color and curtains than rip off shiplap and wallpaper. Just sayin’.

We’ll see how long the style I pick holds up.

Daily Life

Plans on Hold

Yesterday morning I was prepping to go camping for the weekend. Yesterday afternoon I got a call that the house appraiser was coming Monday morning.

Plot twist.

Okay, it was all good. Just a slight panic because I was excited to just get away from everything and have fun with my kids. I thought we’d have another week at least to prepare for the appraisal. Nope. Just a long weekend. I changed gears and got to work. I cleaned the boys bathroom (it was so gross and I don’t know why they think it is acceptable) and then I cleaned the little boys bedroom. I moved furniture around because that’s what I do.

The big boys said they cleaned their room. They clearly don’t know the meaning of the word clean. I took everything out of their closet. Random piles of paper and art supplies and just stuff. I took some of it and told them to put away the rest. What do you bet they just shoved it back into the closet willy-nilly?

I moved tables and wardrobes and exercise equipment, beds and piles and piles of laundry. Actually I made the piles and had everyone help. I vacuumed and vacuumed and dusted and then I was pooped. Only to have to get up and start in again.

I planned on painting the stairs this morning but instead I am writing. I don’t want to paint them. They need it but I just would rather fix them right but don’t have the time or materials for it yet.

And the camping trip? We are still having it. In the backyard. Because why not.

Quick funny story. Last night I was tucking the little boys in. They are in the basement and out of the corner of my eye I saw a shadow move in the window. I calmed myself thinking it was just our cat, but realized it was huge! A ginormous black head was in the window looking at me. My neighbor’s great dane had gotten out and was looking at me. I was startled but figured out what was going on. I went to put her back in her yard because I knew the neighbors had gone camping. I don’t know how she got out. The fence gates were all zip tied and blocked. It is a mystery. But having a huge black animal blend into the night staring at you through the window is a little disconcerting.

Okay, fine, I’ll get to work. It is going to be a very long day.

Daily Life, Sunday

Start the Week

Sunday was a good day. Very slow. Rainy.

For the kids singing time at our home church I asked them each what song they would like to sing. Noah said the sun song. I don’t know what that is so he picked another one. Elizabeth said she wanted the raspberry song. Again, I don’t know what that is. Turns out they were going by what they thought the picture was on the songbook page. No raspberries. I told her to go through the book and find it. She came across a page with palm leaves on it. I told her the song was called Hosana. Oh, she said then proceeded to sing, “Hosana ooh na-na.” Um no. That is not how the song in the book goes. I got a chortle out of that and corrected her. The other song says Havana, not Hosana. Hopefully we cleared that up.

Around dinner time I didn’t want to cook. The kids said they wanted donuts. I said if they made them then they could have donuts for dinner. Everyone ran upstairs as fast as they could. I believe they all helped Alex and only one bowl was broken. I found remnants when I cleaned on Monday.

Benjamin wanted to make the frosting/ glaze for the donuts. I told him butter and sugar milk and vanilla. I didn’t specify powdered sugar because I thought it was obvious. It wasn’t to him and the regular sugar didn’t work. After the failed batch he asked what kind of sugar to use. The second batch was good. Alex said he saw him using the wrong sugar but figured it was an easy lesson for Benjamin. Benjamin asked why Alex didn’t stop him. I asked if he would make that mistake again. He said no. Okay, lesson learned. And the donuts were good.

Monday wore me out. With the appraisal looming over my head I need the whole house decluttered and cleaned. I cleaned the whole day. Bedrooms dusted, vacuumed. Bathrooms cleaned. Laundry room cleaned. Laundry washed and put away. Front room cleaned. All the upstairs vacuumed and mopped. The basement cleaned. All the dishes found scattered throughout the house washed. All that’s left is the kids bedrooms and the garage. And the basement bathroom. I don’t want to do that one, it is gross – five boys use it. But I’ll do it anyways. If I could I would ban my kids from the house. I’d set a tent up in the backyard and have them camp out there for an extended period of time to save the house. I won’t but it is a nice thought.

Once the cleaning is “done” (is it ever done?) I need to mud and texture the girls’ bedroom ceiling then paint it and the walls. I haven’t moved the little girls into the room yet because I want to get that done first so I am not dodging furniture when I mud. It is just easier that way.

Last night Alex should have been mudding the drywall on the new closet he build but he spent hours finalizing drafting of the renovation plans. He loves drafting. We made sure the measurements were correct and moved a couple things that we’d wanted to change, added a few more lights, etc. The good thing about being able to redo a house is that we’ve lived here for eight years and know how we’d make the space work better. A good thing about taking our time is we’ve been able to think and rethink what we thought we wanted and try and improve it. Things that have bugged us we can change. Things that we have always wanted we can add. I am looking forward to ripping the whole thing out but not necessarily putting it back together. It will be worth it. I hope.

Alex did stop working on it long enough to join us for scriptures and prayer. It was fun because the story we were on is an exciting one and Michael was practically on the edge of his seat. He loved it and said, “Ammon is awesome!” I have to agree.

Well, I need to start the day. It is the last day of June. I’ve got lots to do including fortifying myself for July because if it follows the first half of the year we need all the help we can get. Can we just pretend that 2020 is over? Just me?

Daily Life

How to Make Friends

We actually got out and did something yesterday. There is a park/playground about a half hour away that looked so fun. It is huge and the playground equipment was massive. I haven’t seen playground equipment that tall since the 80’s. These toys let the kids climb over two stories high. Possibly three. I stayed on the far side of the park in the shade talking with my sister-in-law and just let the kids play. I’m glad I did because thinking about it now I probably would have panicked the whole time if I had been paying attention. I just let them be the wild monkeys they always want to be.

Alex said he learned something from Elizabeth. Elizabeth got to the park and jumped right in and made a friend. She brought her over to introduce her to the family. Elizabeth told Alex, “You know how you make a friend? You just ask them ‘Are you a friend?’ and then you play.” It works, I guess.

Alex and I tried it last night. We went for a walk around the block and my cat, Piper, followed me. As usual. The next door/across the street neighbor mentioned it as we walked by. Now we have lived in our house almost 8.5 years. We have never talked to the man. Isn’t that awful?! I always felt bad about it but never did anything about it. So last night after our walk and since I’d just pulled a batch of cinnamon rolls out of the oven, we took a couple rolls over and introduced ourselves. He is a nice older guy and he and Alex talked. I didn’t say much and Alex, my sweet perceptive husband who knows me so well knew why. I am partially deaf and I couldn’t hear most of what the man said. It is so frustrating being deaf. It honestly is easier just to stay to myself. But, we followed Elizabeth’s example and made a new friend.

And if you are wondering, there is an update on the house situation: the appraisal is in two weeks. That gives me a timeline to work with but now I am dealing with a deadline. So much to do! And do I schedule the windows to be installed before the appraisal so the house value goes up but we have windows to trim out (more work) or after so we don’t have to do that extra work? Ridiculous choices.

Daily Life

Long Weekend

It was Memorial Day weekend and we used it but I didn’t have much fun. It was a lot of work. It was raining on Friday and Saturday all day both days until it finally cleared out Saturday night. Sunday was very slow, I even got a nap in. Monday I managed to sleep in until 7.We did a bit of yardwork- I weeded an insane amount but 1-inch weeds are tedious to pull.But the bare ground looks good. (No picture of just dirt- sorry.)Alex worked in the house on the rainy days finishing the closet we wanted built. We have decided that when we do the remodel that we are hiring drywallers. We can do it but we are so slow at it. This closet that we built will be nice though. It will not be some awkward empty room. The kids are still deciding who gets the room. I want none of them to have it. Guest room, folks!We have two cats and zero mice. We wondered where the mice went. Did the cats eat them? We never saw proof, we just guessed. On Sunday morning I found proof. Yellow feathers in the garage. Mostly eaten bird carcass. Apparently they take care of mice and birds. I’m sad about the bird part. I love birds. But the cats are good hunters so I’ll take the occasional bird casualty if it means no mice.We watched a few movies over the weekend. The kids enjoyed Sonic the Hedgehog. They said it was one big commercial for various companies. Kind of lame. Alex and I watched the new Emma adaptation. Other than one maybe two quick scenes-that were entirely unnecessary- we loved it. It was quirky but well done. I’d buy it and watch it again.Monday afternoon we had a picnic in our backyard. The grill was out of propane and so was the town. Alex started a fire in the fire pit and we cooked the meat that way. We set up all the hammocks (I’ve collected 3 over the years) and all the kids had fun swinging in them. It was a fun night topped off by watching Jurassic Park. Our friends stopped by for a bit and it was good to see them. It was weird having people knock on the door again. After almost three months of not having anyone over it throws a body off. The kids loved it.Earlier a neighbor also stopped by to drop off a bunch of rhubarb stalks. The kids were excited. My friend made a rhubarb crisp for us one year and my kids loved it. So do I. I will have to make it for them soon. I chopped the stalks up and put them in the freezer for later. I have a rhubarb plant but it isn’t nearly as big as my neighbors’ plants are. I guess I need to find a sunnier spot?It was a pretty productive weekend. Now maybe we can relax a bit now that summer and warmer weather is here. Maybe. There is a giant project looming. The kitchen. Oh well, work is a good thing. We’ll make time to play.

Daily Life

Off Day

The day started out meh. It was cold and windy and possibly rain. I wasn’t in the mood. I did my usual at home workout anyways while the kids slept around their blanket fort. Yes, around, not in.

My plan was to just clean today. So fun, I know. I got one room emptied and vacuumed and them cleaned out the heating vent. Then I cleaned all the vents and washed their covers. I found out why my room wasn’t as warm as it should be. Some kid had shoved a giant wad of toilet paper into the vent. No freaking wonder it wasn’t working right. What would possess them? It was back in there so it wasn’t easily seen and it is quite creepy to shove one’s hand into a vent. I’ve taken my phone and put it in the vent to take a picture prior to sticking my hand in vents before. I just went for it this time. Luckily I lived through it and found about $.40 in odd change. Payment for my work. I’m highly skilled and invaluable, I know, hahaha.

The rest of the day was just off. I was dropping things all day, missing when I threw stuff into the garbage, sucking up aliens that messed up my vacuum. It’s true. Little boys and their little junk toys all over the place. And don’t vacuum up raisins because it might clog the vacuum and you’ll have to take the vacuum apart and untangle raisin coated hair off the beater bar. Yes, that’s the kind of day I had.

Alex came home and it looked like I’d done nothing. It was depressing.

After dinner Alex did do something and it stayed done. Lucky him. I helped him drywall the new closet in the downstairs bedroom that now hopefully counts as a bedroom. Alex told the kids to figure out who gets the room. I told him I’d rather have it be a guest room so when family comes to visit they don’t have to sleep in the family room on couches. I have a feeling I won’t get my way.

I did get the little boys room cleaned and vacuumed and rearranged. Now to decorate it and have them keep it clean. They said they would keep it clean forever. Hmmm.

I guess this post is a little down but we’re allowed to have a down day every once in awhile. I’d rather it not be that way but what can you do?

Tomorrow should be better. Sam got a coupon for a dvd rental so it should be something to look forward to tomorrow.

Daily Life

Power Outage

I sat in the basement listening to my oldest son try to play catch up with his band homework from the last two months. Hard lesson to learn. But it is something that I have been learning. Keeping up is easier than catching up and life is really just work. The piper will be paid at some point.

I was weeding the other night and i was thinking that life is work. You can’t really cheat. You can’t really take the easy way because you miss out when you go that route. You really just cheat yourself.

The boys got all their work done and passed their classes. One subject with one child left.

Wednesday morning I got up and the forecast was raining. It wasn’t dumping rain, it is Idaho and it never really does and only for a few minutes. It was dry enough so I was up and at ’em. It started to sprinkle as I walked and the sun peeked through the clouds. A rainbow before 7 a.m. it was a good start to the day.

I thought my washer was level but it wasn’t. One sure way to ruin a washing machine is for it to not be level. Ugh. I had Alex help me before he left for work. The front couldn’t go any different so I had to fix the back. Alex had to go and I was left to figure it out. I pulled the washer out and found out that the rear legs are stationary. I had to problem solve. This all happened before my walk. I needed the walk for time to figure this problem out.

This is what the floor looked like under the washer. Its messed up, right?! (Sorry for the blurry picture.)

I did my workout and then got on my knees and prayed for help to know the best way to fix the problem. I figured that since I am going to be gutting the whole thing anyways I might as well start by ripping out the section under the washer. The exact tools came to mind and how to do the whole thing. I got up and went to the garage to look for the crowbar. The tools are usually not where they should be. I looked for a minute and then called Alex. Before he could answer I saw the crowbar across the garage. It took me maybe 15 minutes to get the floor out and the thing leveled. Talk about prayers answered. I have about 10 more loads of laundry to do so I am glad it didn’t take long to fix.

The gas lines are being replaced or fixed or something in my neighborhood and so there has been construction going on. All day it was rumbling and loud truck and backhoe noise. It will continue as they do the road in front of our house. They were working on the side one first.

It was a chilly rainy day. I’m not a fan of the cold but it was pretty.

While I was putting the little kids down for a nap the power went out. I found out because the kids emerged out of the basement. Cloudy rainy days make the basement really dark with no power. The power was scheduled to come on at 5. Okay, 2 more hours to go. The kids were bored because it was cold and rainy so they were stuck inside. I said cleaning is a good cure but they wanted nothing to do with that. I cleaned the best I could without power. Washed dishes by hand, washed some walls, cleaned up the “classroom” since we didn’t need it for at least 3 more months, cleaned the little boys cave dump bedroom, and then we went to the store to find food for dinner and to get out of the house. Taco salad was on the menu.

We got home and I checked the power status. Not scheduled to come on until 8. What?! Ugh. Fine. Alex said to ser up the gas camping stove to cook the meat. I did. He cooked the beef in the garage when he got home. We ate and then had ice cream cones. I looked at the status again. No power until 10 p.m. No!!! My phone was dead, all the flashlights are in the 72-hour kits and I wasn’t willing to drag them out. So we read scriptures in the fading light, the kids built a blanket fort and we all went to bed with the sun. I got 9 hours of sleep. It was wonderful. In total the power was out for over 8 hours.

It was comical yet sad that the kids were so bored. I had to explain that electricity is a very modern invention and that people before it managed to survive. I am not bothered too much when the power goes out. Just an inconvenience. I am glad for it sometimes because gives us a chance to see where we could improve. I do love having electricity though. It makes everything so much easier.

So that was the last couple days. Power is back on and I have the laundry from yesterday to catch up on as well as a huge stack of dishes. Schoolwork and who knows what else awaits me today.

Daily Life

Plan to Fail

You know that saying, “If you fail to plan then you plan to fail”? It felt like my motto lately and I was tired of it.

Yesterday I was tired and a bit ornery. I did not want to get up and walk. I did not want to get up and exercise. I’ve been down this road before and I knew where it went. Skip one day and it turns into two and then you stop all together. I got up. It’s why I walk on Sunday- it is just something I do no matter what. I’ve been at it for a month now and I don’t want to quit. I even exercised and it was hard but it didn’t hurt. Until this morning. Then I thought about it and realized that I did at least 60 push ups. They weren’t all the way down and I was on my knees but I did them and I have never done close to that amount before.

I am starting to grow up. Is it fun? No. Is it hard? Yes. Can I do hard things? Yes.

Yesterday Benjamin was assigned a video to watch for geography class. He didn’t want to watch it. What else is new? These kids fight me every step of the way. As hard as this homeschool thing is, I am starting to figure it and the kids out; when to push and how hard. Now that it is almost over.

This speech is so good. I made him watch it. I had seen a bit of it floating around Facebook weeks ago but the whole thing is worth the watch. It was motivating for me and applicable since I’d been thinking along those lines lately. I needed to change up how I was operating.

I bought a planner yesterday. I gathered my stuff together and started listing what needed to be done. On an old schedule I had made I had a deep cleaning task assigned to each day of the month with the idea that if everything is deep cleaned once a month then it only takes a little chunk of time rather than hours. I looked and the days task was living room baseboards. Hmmm. They weren’t painted yet. Wiping primed baseboards is a pain. It wouldn’t look clean if I did it. So I got the sand paper out, sanded down the nail holes Alex had filled when he installed the baseboards and then found the paint. What?! You read right. I not only painted the baseboards (the half that had been prepped- I have the other half of the room to do still) but I washed all the trim around the door, entry, and windows and put a fresh coat on them. It looks so nice! It had been looking worn down and dingy. No more. I was so proud of myself. I felt so accomplished. I made a plan to finish the rest of the room this week.

I used to do projects all the time. All the time. There isn’t a corner of this house I haven’t done something to (for better or for worse) and I had lost my steam, my motivation, my desire to do anything really. I just did the bare minimum and was just getting by and passing time. It is a bad rut to be stuck in. But I think I am finally clawing my way out.

I realized as I was thinking over all the little things that are slowly changing and shifting, that my prayers are being answered. They aren’t all lighting and thunder bolts, heavenly visions or anything. Just an idea here and there, a shift in perspective, little changes, course corrections that make a big difference in the long run.

Noah is a funny kid and lately he has been saying this phrase in a funny voice akin to Roz in the Monsters Inc. movie. He uses the voice and says “God is always watching you. Always watching.” It is so random and so funny. And so true. God is invested in us, in our lives, the little things. All we have to do is pay attention and we’ll see it.