Wednesday, July 27, 2011

There's a list for that.

As I've mentioned before, I like lists. Scratch that, I love lists. They help me think things through, remember stuff, and stay on task. So in the earliest days of my relationship with our house, I made a lot of lists.

There were lists for projects, project supplies, small tasks, "someday" wish lists, things for which we needed professional assistance...I even considered making a list of lists so I wouldn't forget any of the lists.

When you come to the point where you're making lists of lists, you either spiral into a recursive hell or you step back and try to find a better way. I stepped back, took a few (thousand) deep breaths, and came up with a better system.


This is my "better system." Each one of those index cards represents a room in our house.  The list on the left side of the card is stuff that needs a-doin' and the list on the right side is stuff that needs a-buyin'.

Over time, we've added to the lists, crossed stuff off when it's done or bought, and once or twice, we've scratched parts of lists out when our plans changed.

Take the workroom, for instance...I know, it's the example for almost everything...but it really has been a microcosm of the house as a whole.

So, please, take the workroom (formerly called "Utility Room"). The list used to be 3 items. Then the plan changed. We decided to gut the room, and redo it. So we added a fourth item:

That scratched-out word is "Gut." I made the mistake of writing "Gut & Re-do" as a list item. Looking back, I probably should have just written "redo," not just because it shouldn't have been hyphenated, but apparently DBF stopped reading at the first word.

So one Saturday in January, I'm sitting in the dining room, figuring out what projects to tackle today, and I hear very loud noises coming from the basement. When I went downstairs, this is what I found (DBF has been grayed out to protect his "innocence").
Does that hammer look familiar?

That's the ceiling on the floor, by the way. Fun!

Yes, I know the demo needed to be done, but I hadn't thought the whole project through. Which meant I hadn't made a list for it. And I had hoped...well...I had hoped to make a list for it.

One of the best things about DBF is that sometimes he saves me from myself. 

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Happy birthday to me.

What I really want for my birthday is for Mike Holmes and crew to come take care of some stuff around my house.

The mystery pipe.
This is the shutoff valve for a hose bib. On the bottom left, you can see that there are 2 90° branches. One of those branches goes to the hose bib. The other one? We're not sure. There's no extra water flowing anywhere (we've checked and rechecked), so we're hoping it's capped off. But again, we're not entirely sure.

The sagging ceiling.
There's nothing quite like a powder room with a ceiling that screams "cave-in imminent!"

The exposed power cable.
During the workroom demo, DBF discovered that the built-in shelves were hiding the power cable feeding the laundry room electrical outlets. Awesome, no?

No, not really.

The wall of shame.
Not my shame, but the same of whoever decided to put a carpeted bedroom along the wall with the main water shutoff, the front hose bib shutoff, and the master drain for the house. As I've mentioned before, being able to access your pipes is a really, really good thing. 

During the home inspection, Inspector Bill had to break out an angled mirror and a flashlight to find the front hose bib shutoff. The main water shutoff had an access panel, but the hose bib did not. So I had to install one. The wall now has 2 access panels so we can get to the shutoff valves, but the master drain is still behind drywall.

Moment of bragging (it is my birthday, after all), that's my very first drywall patch. You can see a pencil mark (we've not yet painted that room), but no seams. Go me.

The super-high kitchen floor.
Our kitchen floor is noticeably higher than it should be...we question what they actually put down before laying the tile. Our back door is in the kitchen, so that door had to get trimmed in order to clear the super-high floor.

Hey, is that daylight under that door? Yep, sure is.

Since I don't think the Canadian crew is going to make it down to the US to grant my birthday wish, I'll make do with a subscription to Mike's magazine and the company of DBF as we relax in our very own project-filled home.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Strippers in aisle six.

What better way to celebrate Independence Day than by tackling the oiliest, most annoying, and painfully tedious jobs around the house?

Okay, I can think of a few, but that's not the route we went.

...starts out with me oversleeping and DBF sending me off to work with the question, "You know you're leaking oil, right?"

Why no, in fact, I did not know that for the past six days my car was dripping oil onto our 3-week old, several thousand dollar concrete driveway. But I'm so glad I know now.

Fortunately for the car and my wallet the oil drip was a result of a messy mechanic. Unfortunately for the porous concrete, the oil sat for a few days before someone decided to share the news.

So Friday ends with Jill scrubbing her brand new concrete driveway. Know how to get oil out of concrete? Dish soap and a nylon scrub brush. If you act quickly (preferably in fewer than six days), the soap should be enough to emulsify the oil and a few rounds of scrubbing should get rid of the spots.

Sadly my concrete isn't quite as good as new, but it's certainly better than it was. I'm pretty sure that the day of the leak can be deciphered by how dark the spot still is. So, please, if you drip or spill or leak oil, clean it up ASAP. And if you notice that your significant other is dripping or spilling or leaking oil, please speak up immediately.

...DBF is off at work and that means I can paint without him telling me I'm doing it wrong.

Has this ever happened to you? You get done painting your door frame but when you remove the tape, you find (dun dun duuunnn...) PAINT BLEED!

(I'm living out a FrogTape® commercial here, bear with me a sec...)

That's what my painting looks like with generic blue painter's tape (see why I do this when DBF is away?). Last time I was at the MegaHardware Store, I threw caution to the wind and spent way more than I thought reasonable on 2 rolls of FrogTape®. Supposedly it has this patented stuff that coats the thing and magically stops the messy schmutz from ruining your life...or paint job...depends on how seriously you take your paint.

Guess what? It works.

That's a pretty, clean paint line that does not need touch-up. Ribbit.

Sunday, Sunday, Sunday!
...DBF titles this entry.

Sunday we started on the workroom floor. The whole workroom is an entry in and of itself, but the floor was the Sunday project. Or it was supposed to be. We have old vinyl may or may not contain the tile stays. But we need to seal and paint it, which requires scuffing the surface.

I know, I know...sanding VAT is a heinously bad idea...airborne particles...can't do it. My idea was to wet scuff the floor to prevent airborne particles. Unfortunately the floor has about as much paint on it as the walls in the room.

Enter the strippers.

DBF went to the MegaHardware Store (I refuse to go on weekend afternoons), walked up to an associate, and said "I'm looking to strip a floor."

"Strippers in aisle six."

Happy Independence Day, ya'll!