August 29, 2013

The Snowball Effect of Home Remodeling

Still walking on splintered wood floors and glue stuck to the slab here. I finally got our third bid this morning to replace the damaged floors. We also decided that we might as well rip up the last of the original tile in the foyer and do wood there too. We had a bid for the hardwood right after the leak, but a few days after the water restoration company removed their fans and dehumidifiers, I noticed a musty smell when I came in the back door. I placed bowls of vinegar and activated charcoal in every room but it didn't help.

Hubby replaced a section of sheetrock in the kitchen that had discolored and still the smell remained. Then I noticed in the hall bathroom that where they pulled out the baseboard there was mold on the sheetrock. So Hubby ripped out the panel and sheetrock there too. But that wasn't the source of the smell either. Even with the spots on the sheetrock, that room smelled fine.

Then I turned off the air conditioner, closed the doors to every room, and left for the day. When I came home, I noticed that only the master bedroom had the musty smell. So we moved all the furniture into the family room (who needs a coffee table when you can have a bed between your sofa and tv?), ripped up the carpet and pad, and shoved it out the window. I mopped the floor with Pinesol, and then bleach but the room was still musty. Finally, I got down on my hands and knees and smelled the floor. Bingo. There are hairline cracks in the floor caused by the foundation lift we had several years ago. The biggest one was only a sixteenth of an inch or less, but that's where the smell was coming from. I can only guess that the water got down into the crack and began growing mold or mildew.

Hubby's solution was to cover all the cracks with an epoxy sealer, but it was too thin to cover the bigger crack, it just drained to the bottom. I suppose if I filled it every day it would eventually fill to the top, but I don't have the time or patience for that. So now we need to fill it with a concrete filler and then seal over the top. Just another delay in getting the floor done.

Then one day, while I was standing in the empty room, I glanced at the ceiling and thought to myself, "there probably won't be a better time to scrape the popcorn from the ceiling" and I had that done before Hubby could come home and tell me not to. (I did the hall too.)

So now, in addition to fixing the floor, we need to get someone to spray texture on the ceilings. And since a pro will be out here for that, we might as well get all the sheetrock cracks filled at the same time. Nearly every room in our house has at least one crack over a door or window. I thought I had caused them but nailing curtain rods near the corners, but when I was searching for how to repair the cracks, I learned that (according to the pros) sheetrock seams should never be at the corners of windows and doors, and of course that is exactly where Larry, Moe, and Curly put them when they built our house. The pros say that the best thing to do is to remove sections of sheetrock and replace with "L" shaped pieces that wrap the corners so the seam is in the center of the window or door. Since that isn't going to happen here, we'd like someone who knows that they are doing to replace the tape and refloat the joints. Maybe that will last another thirty years before having to be done again.

Between tearing out sheetrock and crawling around on the concrete floor, we finally finished installing the beadboard ceiling in the kitchen. We went with 3/4 inch unfinished pine board after seeing other ceilings done with it, and talking to some of the owners. Biggest mistake we ever made. We should have used primed panels. Not only is the 3/4 inch more expensive and more labor intensive, it warped before we could get it all up, and it had to be painted. Ay yi yi on the painting. I had learned my lesson on the dining room ceiling and demanded that the wood for the kitchen ceiling be painted before installing. And that would have been great, except Hubby found that he needed to shoot the nails through each board in several places, not just inside the groove. So all those holes need to be spackled, primed, and painted. Plus caulking between each board and painting over that. But worst of all, the knot holes bled through even with primer. So now I have to use a shellac based primer on all the knot holes and paint over them. This ceiling is going to take forever.

******** In February, I told my doctor I didn't want to take cholesterol medication because I thought it was causing my hip pain. He agreed as long as I watched my diet and started exercising. I promised. But I didn't follow through. After a few months, my hip pain was still there, though not keeping me awake at night. The real benefit is that my hot flashes went away. But a few weeks ago, a lab test showed my cholesterol was higher than ever (almost 300) and he put me back on the meds and insisted I count calories and exercise. He wants me to walk thirty minutes every day and limit calories to 1500 a day.

That calorie counting thing, well that's not as easy as it sounds. I have no ideas how many calories are in most of our favorite recipes or even how to figure it out. So I have been searching out new recipes and hoping whoever put them on recipe websites figured the calories right.

I've been doing pretty well with the walking though. At first, ten minutes wore me out. Now I'm up to forty five minutes and I think I am going to set a goal of doing a 5K. I don't really like walking though once I get going it's not so bad. I do better with goals and schedules, so a 5K might motivate me. I need to know more about them though. I don't want to sign up for something and be the only walker in a race of runners, and it would be nice to walk with other people too.

So that's about all that is new with me. I sure am ready to have my house back in order and spend an afternoon sewing again.

Oh, yes. I am rereading some old favorites and am currently reading the Sackett series from Louis L'Amour. This paragraph made me flip back to the front of the book to see when it was written. It's an observation about people, which apparently is timeless.

Right then I (Tyrel Sackett) felt sorry for Martin Brady (a bad guy), although his kind would outlast my kind because people have a greater tolerance for evil than for violence. If crooked gambling, thieving, and robbing are covered over, folks will tolerate it longer than outright violence, even when the violence may be cleansing.
It made me think of what is going on in other countries today, and even in our own government.

And now I must get back up on my stepstool and start caulking the ceiling again.


August 01, 2013

Dog Days of Summer? Should be Sweat Box Days of Summer

I had to mow the yard yesterday. I know you're thinking "So...?"  But you see, we usually don't have to mow the yard between mid July and September. But it rained this month. You're thinking it again. "So...?" But it just doesn't rain here in July and August.  Oh yes, we have gotten rain in July before, but it's kind of like this:

Two people are walking down the sidewalk. One says: "Something hit me!"

"What was it?"

"I don't know. Wait, there it was again. It was a drop of water."

"Where'd it come from?" Looking around, no one in sight, not even a bird.

"I don't know. It's kind of cloudy, maybe it is going to rain."

"In July? Not likely."

"No wait. There was another one. Did you feel it? Look, there's a drop on the sidewalk."  They walk a few feet. "Look, there's another one."

"Hey, I felt one. And I see drops on the sidewalk too."

"Oh, I think it's over now; the sun is out. But wow, it rained."

"Yep, rain in July. I never would have believed it."
In the last several weeks, we've gotten over two inches of rain. Real rain that you can see falling, fills rain gauges, turns dirt into mud, and makes grass grow.  It seems really odd to have green grass in July.  I even got bit by chiggers yesterday.  I thought the heat and drought burned them out for the rest of the year.

But now it's hot, and thanks to the rain, it's humid.  The local weather station predicts highs over 100 for the next two weeks and lows over 80.  That makes the great outdoors a sweat box, even at midnight.

On the upside, I have flowers blooming that normally only bloom in spring and fall.  They love the humidity.