Saturday, February 27, 2016

Accepting Chaos

Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.

- Reinhold Niebuhr

Yes friends, we've come to that time in our renovation when I resort to comforting platitudes in a desperate bid to hang on to my sanity.

If you know me in real life, you're probably aware that I. Hate. Clutter.

 I consider weeding my closets or cabinets a relaxing Saturday morning activity. I'm constantly reorganizing for more efficient spaces and storage, so everything will land happily back in its place. Usually, when the construction trash piles up too high or we excessively neglect normal tidying to get some building work done, I have a mini nervous breakdown and we have to stop everything and clean up for a while. Brett refers to my huge-mess-to-giant-panicked-cleanup cycle as Hurricane Audrey.
Overall, we've managed to keep this pretty well under control during our renovation. We did the major downstairs work to the kitchen and mudroom fairly quickly. Both of those ended in a big increase in usable storage space. And up until this point, we've kept the upstairs renovation mess contained there.

No longer.

Now that the serious work of adding a bathroom is underway, chaos reigns throughout the main level as well. All the large bathroom fixtures - bathtub, vanity, shower pan and hardware, sink, everything - have been brought upstairs. At the same time, we've ripped out the entire bathroom floor, and the plumber needs additional clear floor space to work. So we've essentially lost 3/4 of our upstairs storage in one fell swoop.

We're also unboxing all of the fixtures, so the cardboard and packing materials are piling up. It is astonishing how much packaging all this stuff comes in. A neighborhood kid knocked on our door today and I literally could not see him over the mound of cardboard and foam.

Normally we'd take everything out to the carport until we could recycle or trash it. Except the carport is about to be full of pipes and plywood. So there it all sits in one corner of the house, as does all the normal recycling which also no longer has room to go outside.

On the other side of the house, we have the main pathway for bringing said pipes and plywood upstairs. To keep that clear, all the furniture is shoved into the center of the room. Art has been taken down and laid on any available flat surface. And with everything so disrupted, the normal day-to-day detritus is piling up in weird spots rather than getting put away in suddenly-inaccessible places.

Whichever way you look, total chaos.

And I am determined to live with it. No clutter-induced panic attacks this time. Right now, the important thing is getting work done fast enough to stay ahead of the plumber and electrician. And if I just wait a couple weeks until some of the work is underway, we can get everything clean again with much less time and effort than it would take today.

This will be great. *deep breaths* I will do this. *deep breaths*

Thank God for dogs. There's no better path to serenity than a warm pup on your lap.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Off the Wall

In preparation for the new upstairs bathroom, we needed to do some work downstairs. The pipes have to make it down to the crawl space somehow, after all.

We'll be running the drain pipes through a wall in what we're currently using as our bedroom. I really want to keep the mess in that room to a minimum while we're sleeping in it. So we're just opening up a single bay in the wall. And if I may say so myself, we did a lovely job!

That's probably mostly because Brett banned me from using the sledgehammer or the drywall saw. I think he said something about this being delicate work and avoiding mass destruction,  brute force butchery, giant messes, blah blah blah. My reputation precedes me. 

Scoring the drywall

Safety first!

Open wall, with the first pipes installed!
Hopefully this will be all we need to change in this room until our master bedroom is finished.*

*Edit: In the 24 hours between when I wrote this and when it was time to post, we'd already come up with several more things that need to happen in the bedroom. Messy, dusty things. New plan is to completely cover the room in dropcloths, and then spend the next month pretending I'm living in Misselthwaite Manor.

Where did the bedroom go?

Found the bed!

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Oh, Joi (-sts)

It happens about halfway though every home renovation show. Everything is looking peachy; the design is final, the budget and timeline set, the work begun. The contractor begins demo and ... disaster. It might be black mold, or insane DIY wiring, or an ancient Indian burial ground beneath the subfloor. Then the hapless homeowners, who have not budgeted one cent for this sort of thing (apparently they never watched HGTV before appearing on it), now have to make some choices.

Well, apparently we're 12 minutes into the 30-minute show of our renovation.

Since a photo cannot express the colorful language that accompanied this moment, I'll just say that this subfloor removal was brought to you by the letter F (plus three other letters), and the word WHYYYYYYYY??

 We opened up the floor upstairs so the plumber can run the pipes for the new bathroom. And we thought we knew what we were going to find. Brett had previously drilled some exploratory holes so he could assess the size of the joists and the space between them. 

Of course, that was based on the assumption that these would be uniform across the whole floor. Very silly of us. 

We uncovered this odd hodgepodge of beams that are too short and sistered to extra supports, joists of different widths, spaces of different sizes, large vents where there shouldn't be any at all, you name it.

Brett is doing a little extra shoring up, but has determined that it's all actually safe - just odd. The plumber thinks he can work with it. So we might actually avoid any major delay or expense... but I wouldn't say we're out of the woods yet. Knock on some wood for me, please! 

Hermie does her part by sitting on wood.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Sink Bowl 50!!

I hear people are excited about some kind of sportsball thing this weekend. Since my hand-eye coordination means that the only sport I'm good at is competitive napping, my game day participation will be limited to eating all the nachos. But I've still found a way to get into the competitive spirit!

Welcome to SINK BOWL 50, competitive bathroom remodeling!

Hubby said we could get the master bathroom done "by spring." Spring officially starts Sunday, March 20. So I have unilaterally decided that we are going to interpret this statement as "the bathroom will be complete by March 20." Brett doesn't think that's going to happen. So now, that game is on!
Our challenge to ourselves: 1.5 months to go from empty studs to moved-in master suite. I'll track our progress here. May the odds be ever in our favor!

But, since nothing is getting done while the game is on, for now I'll just kick back and watch puppies run around on a football field.

My loves open for the puppy bowl.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Cracking the Case

The days are getting longer, and our chickens are loving it! The ladies are back to laying in full force. We're actually getting more eggs now than we were last spring; 3-5 per day instead of 2-3. The olive-colored eggs are new completely.

For the first time, we had every girl lay an egg in the same day. So we were finally able to make some highly scientific guesses about which hen is laying which size and color.

Henry continues to stubbornly refuse to lay any eggs at all.

Surveying his harem.
We have quickly overloaded our egg storage system. I love having a hard boiled egg for breakfast on workdays - healthy and fast! If you want to buy any eggs, or if you can share some great recipes that use lots of them, let us know.

Well. for now there's just one thing to do...