Friday, June 24, 2016

When Construction is like Lasagna

We're making floor lasagna!

Seriously, there are so many layers in this floor. I have a whole new respect for the hidden depths of floors.

Already in place:

Layer 1: Insulation
Layer 2: Plywood

The next step is to lay down the moisture-resistant tile backer board, which needs to be mortared into place. So... I guess in my lasagna metaphor, that makes it the tomato sauce?


Layer 3: Mortar

Mix it up

Spread it out

Layer 4: Backer board

Measure and cut.
(We actually did this step first. But putting it here works better for the lasagna metaphor. DON'T JUDGE MY ART.)

Plunk (and screw) it down


Wipe the seams and any excess mortar with a damp sponge. Wait 24 hours for the mortar to set. Then go back through and grout the seams.

Celebrate with love! Very dusty love.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Don't Step on my Blue Silkie Shoes

It's been a while since I provided an update on our bullied beau Henry. A few weeks ago, we discovered some scrapes on his feet, which wouldn't heal because the girls kept pecking at them. So - after some shenanigans - poor Henry went into solitary confinement until he was mostly healed.

By that time, he also completely hated our guts. He still runs to the other side of the coop when I come in. And I'm pretty sure he's learned to glare.

But when we released him back into general population, we quickly saw new peck marks re-appear on his toes. Apparently the ladies weren't just reopening the wounds; they were causing them. I don't know whether they're picking on him because he's small (silkies are bantams, about 1/3 smaller than standard) or a dude, but either way I'm betting Napoleon didn't do well with chickens.

We can't keep him separated permanently, and I couldn't even bear to do it again temporarily, so we had to get a little creative. The solution: chicken booties.

The veterinary bandages we have are blue, so Henry spent several days wearing blue shoes.

We watched a bunch of YouTube videos (yes, there are video tutorials on this) about how to bandage up a chicken's foot. We cut thin strips of self-adhesive bandage and wrapped them around and between his toes to make little foot protectors. I held Henry upside down while Brett wrapped. Brett figured he basically already had practice, since it couldn't be that different from wrapping tefillin. He did a pretty good job, so I'm thinking someone may want to alert the Rabbis about this highly useful transferable skill.

Henry does manage to get himself free after a while, so we replaced the bandages a couple times. And now that the girls can't get a rise out of him, they seem to have given up trying. So Henry is barefoot again, and will hopefully stay that way.

But if not... the blue silkie shoes will be waiting to make a comeback.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

This Post is Uplifting

The drywalling phase of our master bathroom has begun. This means we will soon have floors AND walls. I ask you, how much excitement can one woman stand?

To drywall a room, you start with the ceilings and floors before the walls. I wanted to do the ceiling before the floor. Practically, I was worried that if we did the floor first, we might damage it while working on the ceiling. Emotionally, I like to get the hardest part of any project over with first.

And our ceiling was going to be hard. It's vaulted. There's a skylight and an unusual type of chandelier mount. And like everything else in our century-plus-old house, all the angles and joints are slightly and oddly off-kilter.

We tackled this project over Memorial Day weekend. And let me just tell you now, we really needed that extra day.

To even get started, we had to get the moisture-resistant (read: extra heavy) drywall from our carport all the way up to the second floor. And have I mentioned that the carport is up a hill from the house? And that we have 18 sheets of drywall?

I helped Brett get one sheet all the way upstairs, then promptly collapsed and had to take a nap. Miraculously, we were rescued by a friend with significantly more impressive muscle tone. (THANK YOU, MICHAEL! I owe you cookies, or whatever people without my flabby arms like to eat.)

Yet somehow, I assumed I'd be perfectly capable of holding these same pieces of drywall over my head, on an angle, for extended periods of time, with one hand, while screwing them into place. I've decided to chalk this up to my charming optimism rather than to total idiocy.

After measuring and cutting the first piece of drywall, it became clear very quickly that this was not going to work. We couldn't find anyone to help out on short notice. So we went to bed on Saturday behind on our work and feeling pretty crabby.

First thing Sunday morning, we called up Home Depot and rented a drywall lift.

I'd never seen a drywall lift before, but Brett has used them. It's a winch on wheels that lifts the drywall up, and then just holds it in place while you work. The one we rented was lightweight enough (about 100 lbs, and disassembled into 5 pieces) for us to get it upstairs easily, and it took less than five minutes to put it all together.  So simple, but an absolute game-changer.

I won't say the rest of the project was completely without incident - we did still have to do a lot of recalculating as we found crooked areas or had to work around an obstacle, and in one particularly dramatic moment a piece of drywall fell on my head - but it went from impossible to about normal for us.

One particularly interesting part was how we worked around the skylight. I assumed we'd cut small pieces and frame around it. But instead, we put a solid sheet over that whole area of the ceiling and covered the skylight entirely. Then Brett went back in with a rotozip and cut out the opening. No seams. Slick!

Now, let the flooring begin...

Saturday, June 4, 2016


Awww, cute doggy butts. So pudgy and waggy. In our house, you are likely to find a wiggly behind:

a. directly in front of your face and or/feet when you're trying to get something done
b. in any sunny spot on the floor
c. making a permanent indent in the back of the couch, or
d. mounted on the wall.

Wait, what?

A friend who was moving offered us a lawnmower he didn't need anymore. When we went over to pick it up, he asked if we wanted any of a few other odds and ends. We took a look and quickly found... DOGGY BUTT WALL HOOKS.

I couldn't resist.

So cute!

Double cute.

The cutest!
(Hermie and wigglebutt buddies are being walked and photographed by Aunty Min's Specialized Pet Care, Inc.

Okay, I just had to squee about the intolerable adorableness of it all. Now back to my regularly scheduled bitching and moaning about the upstairs renovation.