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, Remodel

Things are Starting

The last few days I got serious about the house project. All the papers were done and appraisal was good and done so there is only waiting for the bank’s process to get finished.

Since it was inevitable I got a move on and started taking stuff from the upstairs kitchen to the basement kitchenette. Let me tell you, it won’t all fit. When cooking is a big part of my job (as a parent) and baking is a hobby I tend to collect a lot of tools.

Yesterday Alex moved the basement oven up to the garage and the upstairs oven to the basement. The oven we took to the garage was a “vintage” oven from the 70’s. The oven stopped working and finding parts for it is detective work I don’t think is worth it to me. I’ll sell it to someone who wouldn’t mind the work.

When I went to plug the oven in to make rice krispie treats the kids have been begging for I realized that the oven plug didn’t match the outlet. Great. First thing this morning I got the tools out and looked up how to switch the plugs on YouTube. I got it figured out and did it! The stove works!

I also weeded the front flower garden. I needed to fertilize it and I wasn’t about to fertilize the weeds. That is the last thing I need is more weeds. This spring when my tulips came up they were pretty but I didn’t like how they were planted so I dug all the bulbs up this morning so I can replant them this fall in a different arrangement.

Then it was back to the house project. I think moving would be less work. I made lots of trips up and down the stairs and had to find a new home for all the stuff. Alex came home and he was so good and got right to work pulling the cabinets off the upstairs kitchen wall and putting them in the basement kitchen. I was wondering where I was going to put all the stuff because there weren’t any upper cabinets in the basement. Alex saved the day and we reused the old stuff.

I did take a break in the middle of the day. Gideon and Sam had coupons for free sundaes from McDonald’s and we finally went and used them. I needed a few things for the “new” kitchen anyways so we made a quick trip for ice cream cones. It was a fun time with the kids. On the way home Michael and Benjamin spent the entire ride home trying to figure out the chemical sign meant that was on the outside of Walmart. It made me laugh how much they wanted to know and how they went about searching for it on the phone.

I need to finish the kitchen and fridge tomorrow and hopefully move on to the laundry room and bathroom. And I need to see about getting a permit. That is an ordeal I will write about tomorrow. For now I am exhausted and need to get to sleep.

Daily Life

Weekend fun and Future Planning

Wow! I haven’t written in ages! Summer has been so busy and yet it hasn’t. We don’t go anywhere. Okay, not many places.This weekend Alex’s family (half of them) got together. We sat outside and ate and visited. The kids all ran around like crazy for hours. I’m glad they have opportunities to get to know their cousins. Michael and Benjamin stayed home due to having a cold. Yes, just a cold. It is still possible to have just a cold.Saturday morning I got up and did my usual workout and then since I was already sweating I went out to weed the garden. So many weeds. Gardens are so much work. As soon as I got a blister on my palm I called it quits. Luckily I had finished 85% of it. I had Alex come and do the last row. We got two wheelbarrows full of weeds. It looks so much better now.Once that was all done my sister and parents arrived. They had some business nearby and so we had some fun planned while they were here. We all piled into the van and went to the river. Luckily the last person who stayed overnight at our usual spot was just pulling away. We set up some shade and chairs and enjoyed the view while the kids and Alex played in the river.I got in the river right at the end and it was fun. I wasn’t out very long but I guess since I have kept out of the sun for the most part this year the one time I am out I get burned. Fifteen minutes is all it took.As soon as we got home from the river the kids jumped into the pool. Of course. What else would one do? They said they were glad we have the pool. They mentioned how a couple years ago I gave them an option: home pool or community pool pass. The home pool was cheaper and they chose that. I’m glad. It is easier to just go out back and swim than it is to pack everyone and everything up to go to the pool.I know you are wondering how the house project is going. It is still just a waiting game. I did go through some things to move to the basement and I have a pile of stuff for a yard sale and to donate to charity. The pile gets larger and larger (but not huge). I have baby stuff that I don’t need anymore and that is a sad thing. But a good thing at the same time. Babies are beautiful and cute and adorable. Babies are also so much work and I’ve been doing that work for over 15 years. It is a happy/sad transition. But I’ll just enjoy every stage and hold on to the memories but not the stuff.Alex said I should start tearing things apart. I would rather wait until I have all the contractors lined up and materials bought. I don’t want to live in limbo any longer than I have to.So a curious thing has happened this summer season so far. Our neighbors are dying. Yeah. It is a sad fact that when you move into a neighborhood where a lot of the inhabitants moved in 40 plus years ago that they will have aged. They were all really good people and good friendly neighbors and now they are gone. Three of them have passed away and their families fixed up the houses quickly and now they are all for sale. Plus two other families are moving out. We will have five new families moving in. I told the kids to pray for new friends to move in. All the kids friends are on the other side of town. Some new ones closer would be nice. I told Alex that the longer we stay here the higher our chances of watching all of our retired neighbors pass on and then we’d be the old people on the street. Isn’t that an interesting thought. It is bound to happen eventually.Life has a way of moving on even if the world is in chaos. I chose to ignore the mess and I’m glad I spent the time with family.

Daily Life

I’m Still Here

So I’ve been MIA for a while. My fun holiday weekend wasn’t all that fun. The appraisers called and where I figured I’d have another week to accomplish my tasks I had the weekend. It was good that it was a long one so Alex and I could both work on the projects and cleaning but that means we didn’t get to have fun. We did finish all the projects on our list though, so yay for that. But that is what procrastination gets you- not enough time to do what you should have done earlier.

The kids were helpful here and there. My 11 year old daughter wanted to help with projects so much. I gave in and let her help me mud and texture a ceiling and she was better at it that my son who was helping. I let her paint some of it too. They all helped clean up the house and yard, as they should and the appraisal hopefully went well.

We did do some fun stuff over the weekend. We had a cookout and ate in the backyard. The kids went swimming even though the water was cold due to the cool week we had last week. I did not participate. I don’t do cold.

Benjamin had shown signs of growing up; he helped around the house without being told. I love when it finally clicks for them. Alex decided to reward him so we took him out to eat and had the chance to talk to him.

Then we went to the local firework stand and spent way too much for what we got. The fireworks were a disappointment. Big time. Evangeline wasn’t scared of them and clapped at every one. We didn’t go see any fireworks show but a lot of the people around town had bought some big ones and we went to the high school football field and watched them go off all over town. It was fun and the kids declared it was the best day ever. I’m glad we’ve set the bar so low. The moon was really full and big and bright which did add to the beauty of the night. The dog hated them all and hid under a bed.

On Sunday we got up early and went to my parents house. My whole family was there and it was so much fun. I wish it wasn’t a five hour drive round trip but it is what it is. We visited and the kids played with their cousins. We are making plans for the kids to stay for a week (or a few days) at Gramma and Grampa’s house. It will be a fun break for all of us. Well, maybe. It will wear out my parents. I’d keep the baby with me though.

Monday morning I got up and had to finish cleaning for the appraisal. I was up at 5:30 because it started at 9:00. Dishes, sweeping, vacuuming, decluttering, etc. I went to the basement when there was fifteen minutes left only to find the two teenagers asleep in their dirty smelly room. I had had the kids sleep outside in the tent so I could make their beds and nor have them in the way but the big boys dis what they want. Fine. I told them to jump up and help me. I went around shoving things. Pile of wet clothes in a couple rooms? Thrown into the washer. Pile of mattress pads and sheets? Thrown in the dryer to jus TV get it out of the way. Then as I was sweeping the basement floor there was a knock on the door. I threw the broom at the boys and told them to finish.

I think it went okay. I got a cleaner house out of the deal and a bunch of needed projects done. Now I can start tearing it all apart. Sheesh. I think I am going to recruit my son’s friends for demo. I figure it could be fun for them and I’ll give them a pizza party at the end. It is a proven fact that teenagers do almost anything for food.

I spent a good chunk of Tuesday researching contractors and subcontractors. I think I’ve decided that I am going to be the general contractor for this and I’ll hire and schedule the subs. It could save me money but could be a pain. I’ll find out. I need to call the window guy and see when those are going to be installed.

Two of Alex’s sisters are here for a couple days so that should be fun for the kids. Elizabeth was so excited because she gets to have her nails painted by her aunt. Fun stuff for a five year old.

It should be another busy day. I’ll get to it and let you do the same.

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.

Thoughts

Father’s Day (For My Dad)

I thought I’d write a note to my Dad on here rather than the obligatory post on Facebook. I’ve been mostly off Facebook for several weeks so why get back on now?

My dad was raised an only child. He grew up, married my mom and together they had eight kids. It can’t have been easy going from being an only child to having eight kids because eight kids is a lot, and very loud, and very busy. I know because I am in the middle of it with my eight kids. It is loud, chaotic and messy and busy. But at least since I was the oldest of the eight kids I knew what was coming. He didn’t.

My dad grew up all over the world. He went to high school in the Philippines. He joined the military and continued to travel the world while the family all stayed home. He also flew for two different airlines and he was gone a lot. But when he was home he would spend time with us.

The memories that stand out the most are watching movies with him and projects. When I was little the Star Wars movies and Indiana Jones movies were new and I would sit on his lap and watch them with him. When I got older it was house projects. I would help a little but it was mostly keep him company and stand on boards to hold them while he screwed them together. Stuff like that. A couple weeks ago when I was visiting he was working on fixing a rental and as he was screwing a couple boards together that kept moving, I got up and stood on them to hold them still. Just like I had over 20 years earlier. And there was always the traditional run to the gas station to grab a soda. Can’t do construction work without one. Well, I can but he can’t. Haha. I learned a lot about construction from him.

My dad really was a great dad. He was there to listen to my inane prattle (I now have a husband for that and he’s awesome cause he actually likes listening to me talk which is good because I talk a lot!). My dad taught me a lot of things. He’s pretty darn patient and I learned a lot about cooking from cooking with him. We made dinner a lot together and we’d bake, too.

He is a great dad and now he’s an awesome grandpa. He has twenty-three grandkids and there will be more (not from me, don’t get any ideas). He hangs out and watches movies with the little ones now.

My dad is probably the coolest person I know. Maybe someday he’ll get to writing his life’s story and you can get to know him. He’s a really good writer also. (Hint, hint Dad.) There are millions of things I could say about him, he’s been such an influence for good in my life and I am so grateful for him.

I love you Dad!