Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Easter

I woke early today because the puppy decided it was to nice a day to sleep in at 6:30 this morning. In some regards, I suppose he was correct. The air is cool and crisp.  Everything smells of rain and earth. The landscape  is greening up and there are little pockets of sprouts popping up with my various bulbs poking through the soil.

I decided to have a cup of tea, sit on the porch  and enjoy the sights and sounds of this Easter morning. The dogs were happy to sniff about-and in Frazzle's case-dig what is probably his 100th hole in my yard. And as a side note-where exactly does all the dirt from the holes go because when push the soil back they never quite fill back up? My cat Sam-Sam was busy running through the yards and bushes, mainly to annoy the dogs, I think. 

I watch the antics of squirrels as they performed like furry little acrobats to pinch some goodies from the bird feeders. And if I had been awake enough to to think I would have grabbed my camera to take what would have been some great pictures...oh well. I was serenaded with a wonderful harmony as all the various birds chirped and tweeted. It is so relaxing and my mind freely wanders, often recalling memories of my youth and especially those of my daughter as a small child.

I can recall all the sights and sounds, as the memories of Easter's past play like a movie in my mind.  Our house is empty as our daughter is grown and married. There will be no brightly colored baskets filled with toys and candy. No high pitched squeals as she discovered the Easter bunny has brought her gifts. No blue eyed little girl dressed in her frilly Easter dress, tights and patent leather shoes. No little face and hands covered in chocolate. Thinking back to those days, I didn't appreciate the joy and wonder they brought. I was to busy cooking or trying to keep her dress clean. We were always in a hurry to go to church or the in laws for dinner. We didn't take the time to savor the moment.

 I am, perhaps, a touch sad for not appreciating what once was,  I am happy because I did have the experience of a child's wonderment. The child-like joy has been replaced with companionship as my daughter and our son in law will join us for dinner today. We are fortunate to actually be friends with our daughter and son in law. I prefer to think of it as trading up. While it was wonderful to experience the time of my daughter's childhood, it immensely more joyful to see her blossom as an adult. 

So while I might be nostalgic for the past I am grateful for the present and eager for the future. And all the memories it will create.

Happy Easter everyone!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Seeds...Glorious Seeds

What's this?

A present? For meeeeee? hehe

Yes yes it is...

All my wonderful heirloom seeds 

It was almost as nice as Christmas. I have been waiting for 2 weeks for this package! 

Now to set up the seed stations. YAY!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Going Postal

I was on the naughty list for the post office. Not naughty enough to be on a wanted poster or be charged with crimes by the postmaster general. My mail was stopped because of one of my dogs.  Tovah to be specific. She was un-tethered (with me), at least 20 feet away from the post carrier (who arrived an hour and half early) and she barked at the carrier.

I told Tovah to "SIT" (she did) and I clipped her on her line. I immediately apologized to carrier, indicating she had caught us off guard because she was early and she said it was no big deal. Cool. Except it wasn't cool. She reported me. And they stopped my mail service!

Does this look like the face of a troublemaker?
Except I didn't KNOW they had stopped my mail service until after a week of no mail when I called. This is when I was informed of everything.  I asked them WHY I wasn't informed earlier of the issue and they told me they sent me a letter.

DOOOHHH! (That is our tax dollars at work folks.)

I was not happy, obviously, but need my mail service. I asked what was I required to do. I was told to write a letter indicating my dogs would be tethered.  No problem!  A short time later I take my happy ass over to the post office to deliver the letter and get my mail. THEN I was informed  , tethering the dogs wasn't good enough. I need to either move my mailbox or rent a PO box. WHAT??!! Suffice it to say I was FURIOUS! 
How I felt
According to the post mistress, the carrier felt "threatened".  The reason I am so angry is because there are dogs constantly running loose on my street and the next street over. ONE TIME I am caught off guard with one un-tethered and I am punished. 

There is a back story for all of this. This particular carrier has had a multitude of issues. She has complained there was snow on the path (when it was still snowing). She has complained the stepping stones were slick (the same morning we had sleet). She complained my dogs frightened her by jumping up on the inside of a LOCKED storm door--yes that is right they were inside my house at the time--and she complained. 

All she had to do is talk to me. Be reasonable. I would have made accommodations. Instead things escalated to the point of hostility. I would never downplay work safety or the potential for an aggressive dog. ANY dog can become aggressive given a particular set of circumstances.  Yes, it is true my dog was not tethered at that moment but I had been running her in the back yard. We were 20 feet away. I had control of the situation. Tovah only barked. She was excited from running and there was someone in the yard. (According to my neighbor, a complaint was also made about their 14 year old toothless dog being vicious...guess if he could hobble that far he could gum her leg...)

So back to the post office I went, to to lock horns with the post mistress, who suggested I fence my back yard. Gee why didn't I think of that? Unfortunately that is not on the top of my MUST do list. That is a would be nice to do when when I have a few extra thousand dollars kind of project.  We argued over where the mailbox would be located. The carrier wanted it on a post by the road. Not gonna happen. Turns out we can't do that anyway because on one side of the property there are water and gas lines (so we can't dig there). On the other side of the driveway it is the neighbors property. Our previous mailbox location was on the house (on the porch) but our porch sets further back than the neighbors. 

The only place we could move it was the end of the carport (which is the opposite side from original location). There is a line of sight from the road for the mail carrier, a line of sight from my living room window and even better for me-I can get my mail without going through the house first to get to the main entry (since we use the back door off the carport).
The driveway is shabby and on our never-ending list of repairs!
Although I did discover a slight issue with this location (on this lovely second day of Spring). I think I may need to install a clear deflector (not sure what the correct term is) to protect the mail from getting wet during driving rain or snow. The hubbs had planned on "toenailing" a board between the studs so the mailbox sets flush instead of recessed.  Maybe that wouldn't be the best ideal after all...

We need to spruce it up a little. I am not sure how yet. Maybe painting the interior wall of the carport? We will add some new house numbers over the carport. Reflective ones? Or maybe I can talk the hubbs into adding a solar spot light. and I can order some snazzy french enamel sign house numbers

Or how about this?

Or this?

Regardless we are gonna roll with it. The funniest thing when the mail was delivered Monday-we had a new mail (male) carrier, he said he was taking over this route for a while. Then he wanted to know why the mailbox moved....

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

May the sun shine, all day long,
everything go right, and nothing wrong.
May those you love bring love back to you,
and may all the wishes you wish come true!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Bathroom Remodel-Floor Plan Options

Well I think I have all the floor plan options mapped out for the upcoming de-uglify bathroom and laundry room remodel.

Here is the original layout when we first moved in until 2 months ago when we downsized from a pair of mis-matched full size washer and dryer to a compact, stackable washer/ dryer combo unit.
Here it is slightly modified with the stackable washer/ dryer
Now for the fun stuff!

This option would require minimal modifications and no division of the bath and laundry. The foot print is reduced by installing a curved  shower and the plumbing for the sink is rotated 90° from the original location
Option 1
BIG Changes with these 2 options! We keep the full size tub and sink for options 2 and 3. The laundry hook up remains in the same location for both options.  Here is where the money comes in because the toilet is moved to the opposite side for both options. The floor plan makes more sense and there is a direct path and open line of sight. Although the room will still be compact to house a full bath.
Option 2
Option 3 has the bathroom separate from the laundry with the installation of a full dividing wall and separate entrance (maybe we can install a pocket door). Additional electrical when need to be ran to have separate lights for both rooms. The door is removed for the laundry (FYI-this is a kitchen adjacent room-the kitchen would be on the side where the option is written)
Option 3
BIG BIG changes with these 2 options! Option 4 is a small powder room and a large laundry room.  The plumbing is moved for the powder room sink and toilet. A full dividing wall and door is installed.  The laundry room would require plumbing moved for the installation of a utility sink. The entrance to the laundry room could be open to the kitchen or maybe we can install a pocket door.
Option 4
In option 5 a full dividing wall and door is installed (maybe a pocket door). Additional electrical when need to be ran to have separate lights for both rooms. This option requires all of the plumbing to be moved but we retain the function of a 3/4 bath. The bathroom has more of an open feel. The bathroom is larger, resulting in a compact laundry area.  The laundry access would be open to the kitchen.
Option 5
KA-CHING!! Option 6 is by far the most aggressive and the most expensive. Everything is moved. The laundry and bathroom swap locations. All electrical and plumbing will need to move. 2 dividing walls are installed and a new entry from the kitchen aligns with the window. On the left is a compact laundry room (complete with a pocket door) and on the right is a powder room (most likely that too would have a pocket door). The small corridor would have a shallow cabinet under the window for additional storage. Or maybe the dogs pet bed can live here.
Option 6
I didn't show any options to completely move the laundry room because there is no place to move it to barring the unheated detached garage or building on to the house. The cellar is to dark, creepy  un-ventilated and unsafe to use.

Whatcha' think? How do you vote?

Monday, March 11, 2013

Another Ugly Bathroom

I think the previous owner must have been on drugs when they remuddled renovated this house. 

My downstairs bathroom is a full bathroom and laundry room. All in the same space. Classy right?

The walls are a sickly peachy yellow plastic coated fiberboard paneling with blue flowers. The ceiling is covered in acoustical tiles which are stained and always have mildew no matter how many times the hubbs wipes them down with bleach. The floor was once white hexagon tile  print vinyl flooring but is dull, dingy and decrepit. The vanity is a medium oak veneer and the veneer has cracked off on the side closest to the bathtub. The medicine cabinet is a faded golden oak, the mirror is etched, the light is non functional and in order to fit the mirror the previous owner notched the window molding. Did I mention there is only a mere 12 inches of clearance between the toilet and the sink? And only 15 inches between the toilet and the tub! Are you jealous yet?

I used to have a full size (side by side) washer and dryer (mismatched) combo. You couldn't open the door more than halfway because it would hit the washer.And above it were some very grungy coated wire shelves.

I have a compact stackable now  that has since been moved back and to the right. You can open the door two thirds of way--we are making big strides here, haha

There is approximately 12 inches between the washer/dryer and the side wall. There is an additional 8 inches behind the washer/dryer and the wall. We need a longer cord in order to move it over to the right and need to move the vent. The unit gas a "V" in the back of it where the vent can rest and then the unit is almost zero clearance to the wall.

I tried to slap some lipstick on my pig of a bathroom by installing a new shower rod, shower curtain and towel rack. It really did nothing more than highlight the sad and decrepit look of the bathroom.

I found this adorable bird baker's rack at TJ Maxx for $49. It was more than I would have liked to spent, so it was a bit of an impulse buy but I couldn't resist. And I can always re-purpose it elsewhere later on. As you can see, I use the commode for the laundry basket since there is no room in here...well, for anything.
This is the view from the other side of the room. Once the washer/ dryer can be tucked back the door will open more.

I need storage. I need function. I need to not hit my damn knees or hips on the vanity every time I shimmy through to use the shower or give the dogs a bath!
So there you have it--my very ugly and dysfunctional bathroom/ laundry room!

I am working on few different layouts by trying to answer my questions...

Do we keep it as a full bathroom, 3/4 bathroom or change into a powder room?
What is more important- a 2nd full bath or a large laundry room?
How feasible is it to separate the laundry/ bathroom?
Can I move the laundry anywhere else?
How much money do I need to allocate that results in an optimum layout and on budget project?
Why can't I win the lottery?

Materials already on hand for 2nd bathroom remodel
  • I have ceramic floor tile (extra from the upstairs bath remodel) and is more than enough to redo this floor. Although I still like the ideal of linoleum.
  • I have a brand new vanity (still in the box)  that was originally slated for the upstairs bath but wouldn't fit...and it is a beautiful cabinet!
  • I have white porcelain under mount sink slated for the other bathroom but we didn't use because it went with the vanity that didn't fit.
  • I also have towel rods, tp holder and a light fixture that I had purchased on clearance. They are a "shabby chic" finish but I can always paint them the oil rubbed bronze (ORB) to match what I have. 
  • I have a mirror (clearance find). It is a chrome finish but I can de-laquer the frame and paint (ORB) to match everything else.
  • The toilet is only 2 years old, so we can keep it.
What do I need
  • A decision for the floor plan!
  • Possibly the services of a plumber to moving plumbing (depending on floor plan)
  • If we keep it as a full bath,we will need a new tub or shower
  • Wall tile
  • drywall
  • insulation
  • plywood for sub floor
  • 2x4's for framing (again depends on floor plan)
  • faucets
  • A counter top
  • A door or 2 (depends on layout)
  • Crown molding
  • baseboards
  • primer and paint
You know...this isn't so bad...Maybe we can finish the for a reasonable cost AND within a reasonable time frame...hmmm

I am trying to use an online bathroom planning tool to determine the layout, so next post should include those visuals. Whatever plan I choose will have a direct impact on the kitchen remodel. I know I had talked previously that the hubbs said we could move forward with this; however, I am glad I didn't pull the trigger. It turns out we had some very expensive and unexpected contingencies. Had we used the savings for the remodel, it would have been disastrous. So in the interim I will do what I have always felt comfortable with...and that is buying a few things each month to save until we have enough material to begin the project. It makes me (and my bank account) much happier.