Tuesday, April 29, 2008


I love gardening. At home, I always looked forward to buying flowers in the Spring and planting them with my Mom (she did it without me this year :-( ). A while back Nathan surprised me with this book about creating small gardens. I’ve looked through it a ton and dreamed about what I wanted to do when we got our own place. Unfortunately, with the timing of this purchase and the vast amounts of work (and money) spent indoors, I realized early on that my garden would have to wait until next year.

Then Mommom started bringing me these beautiful hostas a few weeks ago. I was so thrilled because I now had those in a two flower beds and loved them. Well, last night, mom came over. We painted for a while and then she needed to go to the grocery store. Before she left, we were all standing around outside talk and I decided to dig up weeds in my new (thanks to Papa) flower bed around the mail box. A few minutes later, mom noticed something off in the side yard.

They were peonies! Yes! I love peonies, too. Then we found another peony plant. As if that weren’t exciting enough, after looking around more, we found purple irises starting to come up. When mom and dad left, I started weeding around one peony and put some of Papa’s wood shavings around it to keep the weeds down. I was a happy girl. It’s so fun to experience these little blessings from God.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Another Saturday

Yesterday, my uncle Keith (son of Papa and Mom-Mom) and cousin Allen (son of Keith) came over. Keith has some experience patching holes, cracks, and joints in drywall, so he went to work finishing off the kitchen soffit-hole repair. He did a fantastic job, and by mid-afternoon, the kitchen was ready for painting. Jessica and Tammie tackled that job, and the first coat was finished rapidly.

You'll notice in the pictures that the kitchen floor is radically different. Last week, Papa worked on taking up a couple layers of the floor in preparation for tiling. He took up the top layer of linoleum and a layer of thin plywood. There are two more layers left, and Papa suspects that the bottom layer, the one underneath the beautiful linoleum you see pictured, may contain asbestos, so we're leaving both of these alone; I'll put backerboard and tile over it all.

We're going to try to get kitchen tile ordered this week...and by "tile" I likely mean "slate tile". Jessica has really latched onto the idea of having big slate tiles on the kitchen floor. If we can find the look we want at a price we can tolerate, we'll order it next week and hopefully start laying it in a couple more.

Though I forgot to take pictures of it, Dad put primer on the walls and ceiling of the master bathroom; we're not remodeling it for quite awhile, but we hope to get it looking decent by the time the home is re-appraised. I'm about 70% done tiling the shower in the hall bathroom, and I really hope to be done by this time next week. Thanks yet again to the help of family, things are shaping up nicely, and I expect things will be finished on time.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Jessica's Addition

I do have a few things to add. I feel that a wise career choice would be to stop teaching and become a painter. They have to get paid quite well because the work is so tedious. I am tremedously greatful for the help of Lisa and MomMom. My hope is to get the livingroom near finished and to paint the kitchen this weekend.

We went back to the tile place today, and I'm hoping to get Nathan to jump on the slate bandwagon. We're looking at two slates: African Gold and California Gold. I am earger to get this decision made. When we bought the house I was really excited about making all of these design decisions. I still enjoy doing that, but there's just so much tile and paint you can look at before going nuts.

I am looking forward to getting all of the paint cut out of my hair tomorrow!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Catch-Up Blog

Last week was a busy one. Mom-Mom and Papa came down again, and a lot of little things got taken care of. Papa rebuilt the brick flowerbed that surrounds the mailbox (it had apparently been run over a couple of times), and it looks much better; it is now worthy of flowers. He also worked a lot on fixing holes, cracks and imperfections in the walls to prepare for painting, of which a lot was done. Jessica finished painting the hallway and the living room. Mom-Mom and [plain] Mom worked on painting baseboards, trim, window frames, and crown molding. I continued work on the shower tile.

Friday, Jessica and I went to a tile place in Hixson to try to select bathroom and kitchen floor tile. We spent two hours there and barely decided on tile for the bathroom, which we ordered, but we're now indecisive about kitchen tile. (I don't know why, but I forgot to write about our ordering the granite for our countertops. It was a couple of weeks ago. We thought we had decided on granite a long time ago, but when we went to order it, we got to looking around and changed our minds. The granite we ordered is pictured below with the tile.)

We're trying to decide between "River Gold" (the second one from the top) and a much lighter, brownish tile. Jessica says the darker one goes better with the granite, but is afraid it might make the kitchen seem a little dark.

I thought I would be able to spend Saturday working on shower tile, but, to make a fairly long story fairly short, I ended up working on my aging Jeep all day with Wayne and Sam, father-in-law and brother-in-law, respectively. We replaced the radiator, replaced the alternator, and changed the oil. I am extremely grateful to them for helping me out; if I'd been working alone, the Jeep would probably still be in the driveway, but now it's running beautifully.

Yesterday Jessica had schoolwork to do, so I was at the house by myself working on shower tile for a few hours. It was slow going, as I had to cut each end piece as I came to it in order to get them to fit exactly right between the back wall and the door facing (and it sure was a pain cutting around that light switch).

This week, we hope to do a lot in the kitchen. It would be great to be able to get the walls in good shape so we can paint, and maybe bring the island back in. If we do that, we can get the granite people in to measure for countertops. I also hope to get [at least a few layers of] the old flooring torn up in preparation for tile in a couple of weeks.

I'll try not to wait so long before the next update. :-) Jessica, do you have anything to add?

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Sunday and Pictures

Today it was just me, Jessica, and Dad. I worked on the tub surround, of course. Jessica painted some ceiling and then worked on the living room wall; she got one coat on nearly the entire room. Dad painted for awhile, then worked on filling the joints in the sheetrock put in where the soffit had been. In fact, that job is now almost finished; I think only a little sanding remains. I am extremely grateful to Dad and Papa for their work on that task. It was something I was worried about a couple of weeks ago, but they got it done beautifully and I didn't ever have to think about it. Thank you both!

I've uploaded pictures taken today. A few are shown below, and the rest can be seen on the House Pictures website. They show the end results of this week's work, but they don't really give you a good idea of the amount of effort that went into everything shown. This has been a very productive week, and we owe that largely to loving family members who are incredibly generous with their time. Another 'Thank you' to all of you!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

A Big Week

I really should have blogged before tonight; there has been so much to write about. Mom-Mom and Papa brought their RV down on Tuesday and will leave early tomorrow morning. They have spent nearly the entire week working at the house.

Papa worked on a huge variety of tasks, including: working on the sheetrock in the kitchen and bathroom; filling innumerable holes and cracks in the ceiling and walls throughout the house; installing light fixtures; and mowing the lawn. Mom-Mom did a lot of painting--doors, hallway, bedroom, trim, etc. She also fixed dinner for us several nights. I cannot begin to express our abundant gratitude for their help.

Jessica worked on paint stuff almost exclusively. She was having trouble finding exactly what she wanted for the living room and hallway, and decided that what she really wanted was the color of the living room in our duplex. So I called our landlord and asked about the paint he used. It turns out he had kept the label that had the paint's formula printed on it, so we wrote that down and took it to Home Depot. They mixed up a gallon of it, and it looks right, so I think that's what we're going to use. Crazy, huh?

We also worked on finding a green that we like for the back bedroom which we'll use as an office. The first attempt looked like a florescent mint chocolate chip ice cream (sans chips), so we tried again today and "Zen Mist" turned out to be a winner.

Most of my time was spent working on the tub surround. I finished tiling the back wall and did some work on the other walls to prepare them for tile.

Unfortunately, I forgot every day to bring the camera to the house, so I don't have pictures to prove I'm not just making all this up. Surely tomorrow I'll remember to bring it, so check back tomorrow night for further updates and new photos!

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Visible Progress

We're getting to a point where almost all the progress we make is readily apparent, and it's pleasing. It's so nice to see instantaneous and highly visible results of your work. I continued tiling the tub surround, and I've almost finished the back wall. Jessica and Mom painted ceilings and walls. Dad tackled putting up insulation and drywall in the hole in the kitchen. We got a lot of work done this weekend, thanks to the help of some wonderful parents and grandparents. Thank you all so much!

We've been buying a lot of paint lately, and Jessica is concerned over color. The biggest problem is that what you see on the sample swatch thingy and decide upon is not really how the paint looks once you get it up on the wall. I suppose that's common, and even expected, but it's still a problem, and we don't really know what to do about it.

By the way, the pictures of the painted bedroom make the walls look strange (almost greenish in one picture), but they're a nice light brown color called "Cookie Crumb":

(Actually, they're supposed to be that color, but actually they're quite a bit darker. What to do...?)

Saturday, April 5, 2008

A Big Day

When we arrived at the house this morning, Mom-Mom and Papa were already there. After some thought we decided that, since the cabinet painting is pretty much done, we might as well start on one of the bedrooms. Papa helped fix holes and cracks in the wall and ceiling while I went to buy paint. Jessica and Mom-Mom began painting the ceiling and doing edges and corners on the walls. Papa later worked on making boards to go in the toe space below the kitchen cabinets on the floor, and also made further progress on the soffit-hole patching project.

I finally began tiling the shower today. I've spent so much time in preparation that it was exhilarating (and a bit nerve-wracking) to actually start putting tile on the wall. I used my wet saw and was very pleased with it; I can't imagine not having bought one. Things went reasonably well, though I almost wish I'd have built a wall to practice on first, as I've learned a few lessons during the process that I wish I'd known at the outset.

Wayne and Tammie came for a few hours this afternoon. Wayne put up a new piece of particle board on the garage ceiling to replace the one that was rotted (The brevity of the preceding sentence belies the length and tedium of the task; it was not an enviable job.), and Tammie helped paint in the bedroom.

My parents also came by, though briefly and not simultaneously. Mom brought her camera and took some of the pictures you see in this post (we forgot ours). Dad helped Papa install the new light fixture in the bedroom after the ceiling was painted.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Pipes and Wire

Yesterday the plumbers finished up their work while the electricians began theirs. This evening, the electricians finished. Among a few other tasks, they consolidated our many dilapidated fuse boxes into one big breaker box; installed GFI protected outlets in the bathrooms, kitchen, and garage; and, most notably, installed five "can lights" in the kitchen:

Jessica is very excited about the can lights, as they really brighten up the kitchen a lot and make things seem just that much closer to finished. I am very pleased with the work our electricians did.

On the way home from work today, we stopped at a lighting store and bought a chandelier for the kitchen and a fixture that Jessica says may replace the one she bought for the living room. She's very happy with the chandelier, but I think she's unsure of the style and configuration she wants for the remaining lights (living room, hallway, bedrooms).

We have a lot of sheetrock work to do, a ton of junk needs to be hauled to the dump, and I still haven't laid a single tile in the shower yet, so this weekend is sure to be a busy one. I'll try to keep the pictures and updates coming your way!

(I've uploaded pictures from the past couple of days, so check the "House Pictures" link in the right-hand margin to see them.)