Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Continued Home Improvements

How is it that you have success with one home improvement, look forward to the next home improvement, and start wishing you never went there!

Second on the list was the First Floor Bathroom and Master Bath. Both had a deadline to meet...Monday, 11/12, as that is when the tile was being installed.

Well, the 1st floor bath required removal of the carpet & tack strips, removal of who knows how old wall paper, prime & paint. Well after a two- day process of removing the wall paper...they must have used all the glue in RoHi at the time of installation, I find out why they put wallpaper on the walls to start...not only were the walls painted avocado green (like most of the rest of the house at one point), but they must have had umteen items hanging on the wall where they didn't even bother to patch. So then came the three days of patch, sand, repatch, sand, repatch, & sand work.

In the meanwhile, Richard is upstairs in the Master Bath with the sledge hammer performing demolition work....we have to get the black tile platform removed, fill in the walls, remove the carpet, and the linoleum underneath the carpet...just took out the top layer of the subfloor. The tile guy is removing the tile wall surround.

Now it was Sunday before d-day...we had finally gotten as much glue off the walls as we could and were ready to paint. Well, have you ever wondered why in the world the color-swatch pieces were really small for paint color...so when you go for it and buy the paint and paint your walls...then you start thinking you made a horrible mistake and you can go pick out more paint...I think it's another conspiracy theory right along with the spices.

So, I told the tile shop that I would be home by 10:00 am. I had to make sure I had another torture session of Hydro Training before they get started. I rush home...still smelling of chlorine and make it home by 10:05...then the waiting started...called the shop at 11:00 to find out what time are they arriving...they call back at noon stating 1:00 p.m. So at 2:30 I open the front door finally to meet my tile guy....spend an hour with him on all the highlights of the project and since he doesn't have everything ordered/prepared, guess it's not going to be a two-day job after all...bloody buggers.

So Steve, the tile guy, gets the tile installed in the 1st floor bath & entrance way off the garage in two days, one day to lay the tile, one day to grout...on the 3rd day I get the paint back out and tape off everything, toss the drop cloth on the floor, and get back to work...still thinking I don't like the color. I get the second coat up & then on the 4th day I get the glaze up....and I'm still thinking I made a mistake on the color...Touch of Italy...more like Tuscan...and NO, I didn't learn my lesson and went with another yellow type of color.

The tile guy starts with the master bath, first he has add a subfloor, then he has to get the heating coils, then he has to install them, then he gets to tile, then he gets to grout, then he gets to start all over on the tub surround since the tile wasn't ready at the same time...and we are still working out of one bathroom as the toliets haven't been installed yet.

So over the past weekend, just when I went to get new paint swatches, I ask Richard to install the light, maybe I'll like it better if I see the planned lighting. By now, I'm just plain tired of being in that 1st floor bathroom so I decide I can live with it....lighting changed everything. Whew, what a relief, now we can spend all day Sunday installing the vanity! Still need to find a mirror & some other accessories. Pictures aren't the best...guess you need to see it in real life.

So now it's the week of Thanksgiving...Richard's mother flew in on Monday, I cut to the chase with tile guy & tell him toilets have to be in before he leaves on Monday! Mission accomplished. He spends Tuesday doing some grout work, hooking up the electricity to the heating system, and then calls it a day, as he doesn't have the other stuff he needs....he'll be back on Monday or Tuesday after Thanksgiving.

So my two-day tile job is now a full two weeks...and things are not all in place so we can move onto the next home improvement & the program timing calendar needs to be readjusted with all the rest of the "hired help"....but on the bright side, I'm best friends with the tile guy now and although he doesn't clean up as well as I would expect (being the customer), he does fabulous work :)

On a side note...I don't think I've spent so much time in a bathroom in my whole life...

Friday, November 9, 2007

Myth of Water Aerobics

So, part of the deal with leaving my job was for me to exercise & get healthy...no more stress. My friend, Kathy, and I started the first Monday in October to get back into the exercise groove. We began with just using the Elliptical machine, increasing our time as we went along...also helped that we got pulled into "Who Wants to be a Millionaire" and made us stay longer.

Now that we know who will be our "Phone a Friend", we decided to spice up our routine with Cycling classes on Tuesday and Thursday....so if we went on M-W-F we'd do the Elliptical, T-T we would do the cycling class.

Last week we decided we needed something more as we felt we needed to start working our arms. So this week we added water programs into our schedule for M & F. Monday's class is called Hydro Training & Friday's class is called Aqua (water aerobics).

We show up Monday and we are thinking: water programs use the resistance of the water to give you a good workout without the strain. Well, this is a big MYTH! Not only did Monday's class run me ragged...drank my whole bottle of water and probably some pool water too, but I couldn't walk for 2 days. Now, I know you are laughing...and I was too, but I laughed more from thinking of "what the *&%^ did they do to me", as well as my next house will never have stairs.

As I crawled up and down the stairs...working on my current house project...guess what, it was time to go back to Lifetime. Fortunately, we didn't have school on Tuesday & I had Doctor appointments on Thursday, so we skated out of doing Cycling this week. But Wednesday we did the Elliptical...much to my regret, and then today (Friday), we showed back up for more torture in the Aqua class.

Well, this Aqua class had a lot of arm work, so now I'm wondering if tomorrow I will be able to lift my arms. The only benefit is Fady, who teaches the Aqua class, is a male instructor....I'll keep this at a "G" rating, and let your own imagination assume the worse (or is it the best). Unfortunately, I'm not allowed to take pictures at the gym :)

Friday, November 2, 2007


Some people are glad that Christmas comes but once a year and are relieved when it's over...well, I feel that way about Halloween. I never could dream up a great costume growing up or even now as a grown up (for myself nor my kids). My kids are responsible for dreaming up their own costumes and this year was an adventure. I thought this year with taking time away from the working world, I'd have all month to get ready for this event. As my kids know, if I can't have it prepared in a timely fashion and everything becomes last minute, things can get pretty ugly in the Smith household.

So, early in the month I start annoying my kids with "what's it going to be this year?" Andrew knew right away...Evil Jester! Perfect...the costume store a mile away carries it...we're good to go. Emily isn't sure yet. That's fine, Emily has a day off of school on 10/19...we'll have a good Mommy/Daughter day of running all over to get things all set up. We stop at the costume store, I get Andrew's Evil Jester and I tell Emily check out the wall and pick a costume. She proceeds to tell me that she and her BF Emma are going to be Ice Cream Cones. I'm looking at the wall and I don't see an Ice Cream Cone. So I ask her which website did she see this because it's 1.5 weeks away and mommy needs to order it now. So then she tell me the words I started dreading..."We have to make it." AAAGGGHHH!

So 1.5 weeks away the panic starts...so I do the typical mom thing (drink heavily...just kidding, maybe)...I tell her, "so when did you plan on tell me this...on 10/30?" and then continue with the mom thing..."do you even have a picture, what supplies do we need, Aunt Jane arrives tomorrow, you have a band concert, when do you think we are doing this?" I am getting the typical kid response...I don't know.

So, I call up Emma's mom in a panic and THANK GOD she is nothing like me! She is Carol Duvall as I am Betty Crocker...together we might put Martha Stewart out of business. She takes in my Panic Mom, got to make a costume spiel, and says no problem...she is the Queen of last minute projects at her house. Then she sends me the link from the magazine with the picture and directions.

Now don't think I'm totally pathetic...I can sew; I have made a quilt; I have made needlepoint projects; I made my own barbie doll clothes when I was a kid (well, only 3 outfits). If I have directions, I can follow them. Well, I looked at the directions and the supply list seemed to go on forever. HELP!

So, I do the next best thing...buy the supplies and send her over to Emma's house on 10/26 for a sleep-over/costume creation night. Emily is going to be a Vanilla Ice Cream Cone & Emma is going to be Chocolate. The kids dive into their project and when I pick Emily up on Saturday morning, costume is 90% complete...the headpiece isn't sticking to the headband...so need to find a hat that it can get attached and then the t-shirt to be worn needs to have the "sprinkles" (cut up neon straws) attached. I can manage those tasks...you would think.

In the meanwhile, Andrew's costume hat doesn't work...can't get the jester horns to stay up...Richard tries on the hat, it's too big for him...and I start thinking of ways to jury-rig his hat...not working...he's going to have to get a different costume...which then presents an unhappy child. So we go back to the website and start searching what options the store has...he picks out Zombie Skeleton....I tell him it looks really scary...and he's happy child again. I exchange the costume and wonder why Emily's couldn't be this easy.

So down to the last couple days...and wouldn't you know it...I can't find a white/cream colored hat anywhere (reasonable cost, mind you..cheapest found was $14...forget it, we'll glue it to your hair first). Emma's mom picked up an extra brown one...and so we go with the "it blends into your hair" speech...and run with it since it's now 8:00 pm on 10/30. Which at this time I ask Emily what pants are she wearing underneath it....she of course says a pair of khakis...well we never bought those! So now I'm thinking, forget the glass of wine, just put the straw in the bottle....and I get out the phone book and thank my lucky stars that we have a Gap 10 minutes away. I call first before running over... "Khaki pants, 12 slim?"...YES!!! "Great, hold them at the counter...I'll be over in 10". I didn't want a chance of any other LAST MINUTE costume makers grabbing them. Get home at 8:50...and all is right in the world.

So 10/31 arrives...Emily & Emma are wearing their costumes to school (there is a contest). I drive them both, thinking they won't fit on the bus...let alone their classroom desk. They end up winning 1st prize for 6th grade...$15 GC to the new Nestle store...boy, I wish I had that last week when Jane & I stopped in for a snack.

Time for Trick or Treating...the hat keeps falling off...I end up carrying it the whole time...the cone is all twisted around from running...it is was determined that it wasn't easy to run with the chosen costume...but still out of the group...the boys gave up first, and girls were still on the go for that one more piece of candy...that I'm sure I'll be tossing out next summer.

So here are the first place winners & Andrew...Andrew is the scary Zombie Skeleton & Emily is the Vanilla Ice Cream Cone & Emma is the Chocolate Ice Cream Cone.