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March 21, 2013

You know the old adage…  “If something ain’t broke, don’t fix it!”  Well, I am packing my bags and heading back to blogger.  I have to say I am a bit disgusted with WordPress’ ad policy and the content that they tack all over your site…

So, I am fickle and changing my blog back to the original blogger site.  Don’t worry I was able to import all of my posts and I can still push content through to twitter and facebook so most won’t even notice I bet…

If you do subscribe here though, please join me back at   There is a link at the top to subscribe via email or rss.  So please, go sign up now and read the latest posts! I would hate to lose you.



Office – 97 Percent completed….

February 24, 2013

The white pine floor has been refinished and it came out beautifully. We removed the previous dark brown paint/stain and opted not to re-stain or paint and just poly.


Starting first coat of polyurethane on sanded floors.


The poly really brings out the grain and color of the old floors. They were pretty dry and soaked up quite a bit.


The final coat… three coats of satin finish were applied and sanded in between.


Priming and painting the baseboard trim and door and window trim. We found Maki to be the best source for trim, they have what we need in stock and were very helpful. We used poplar which was cheaper than the clear pine and since we were painting the woodwork it made sense to go that route.


Trimming out the window. I broke the wooden grills and I tried to get a replacement, but they sent the wrong size. At some point I need to bring the broken ones to Home Depot and see if we can order a replacement…


The finished floor and walls and almost finished trim.

This room has been a bit more time consuming than we anticipated, but no real surprise there, pretty much par for the course. Some challenges:

  • trying to reset the door and then realizing that the door NEVER fit.   They put a 30″ door on a 29.5″ frame. I think we are going to shave it down a bit to make it fit now that things are leveled…
  • picking all the crud that had settled between the floor board gaps and decided to get out what we could, but not go too crazy…
  • Trying to put 1/4″ quarter-round where the floor meets the baseboard and realizing that one wall was so out of plumb that it wouldn’t cover the gap…  Talked husband into using 1/2″ on those two walls instead of trying to plane the baseboard to fit flush and run the risk of it looking like it didn’t match the other wall (the height would be lower in some spots).

So now, what’s left…

  • cutting the door to fit, sanding, re-painting, replacing hardware and re-hanging
  • reordering window grilles…trying to get the measurements right and painting and installing those
  • finding a ceiling fixture
  • trying to get husband to build a built-in bookcase…
  • moving Internet line
  • hooking TV back up
  • etc…

Back to the house…

February 3, 2013

Progress is being made in the office.  The walls are painted and the floor has been sanded down.  It took longer than expected as the first machine (borrowed) wasn’t working well and so two sanders had to be rented plus sandpaper purchased.  The floor is original to the house, from the 1900s and there are gaps and lots of nails that needed to be tamped down.

Next the poly will be applied as a top coat.  We know that these floors were often painted in the past.  This one was covered in a dark brown paint/stain.  We like the look of the natural wood so we aren’t planning on staining it.

Once we are done, this room will have been entirely re-done.  T reframed all the walls, we removed a closet door (to make it into a bathroom), insulated, moved the baseboard to the outer wall, replaced the window, rewired everything, put up wall board, skim-coated, painted…



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Partially sanded, the rectangle in the corner is where a hearth used to be.

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Can no longer see the rectangle

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Pine flooring from 1900s

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Sanding down to bare wood

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More Sanding…

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More Sanding…

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Preparing for the final sand

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Pounding in the final nails…

What’s next… sealing the floor, resetting the settled door frame so the door will close, adding door and window trim, building a bookcase and then the fun parts…getting the desks out of the dining room, and actually hanging some pictures!!! Stay tuned…

Fortune Cookies…

January 31, 2013

fortunecookieLast weekend we found ourselves with a free Saturday night…quite a rare event in our busy household.  The boys lost their playoff game (by one goal in overtime) so we were able to skip the rest and head out early.  Everyone was hungry and so we decided to go out to eat.

Relying on GPS to find a restaurant isn’t always ideal.  If you aren’t looking for a known restaurant, it’s always a gamble.  We vetoed a few hole-in-the wall mostly take-out Chinese places in favor of sit-down dining.  We almost ended up at Mezcal, but the wait was too long and it was nearing couple, date-night time so we opted instead for ChopSticks, which was perfect for family dining.  They sat us in the back room near a large birthday party with kids and adults of all ages.

We didn’t have to worry about disturbing anyone’s dinner, were surrounded by other families and everyone found something they liked to order off the menu.  The food was delivered quickly, two pots of tea were consumed (with lots of sugar) and my son even tried actual sushi and fish eggs!

At the end of meal, they delivered the fortune cookies.  I know most of you have played that silly game of adding “in bed” to the end of your fortunes.  Looking for a more G-rated version, I suggested we add “on the toilet” to the end instead.  My three children love nothing more than potty humor so this resulted in bouts of laughter as we read fortunes such as:

A wise man says nothing…on the toilet

One who loves to sing will always find a song…on the toilet

The fastest and easiest is not always the best way…on the toilet

As we went around and read our altered fortunes, all of us were giggling and being quite silly.  As we left the restaurant I was thinking about how much fun we had, just being together.  Time goes so fast, already my oldest son is as tall as my chin and has the same size feet as me.   Saturday night was a reminder to take the time to unplug, get out of the house, away from the projects, turn off the phones and electronics, and just have fun being together…on the toilet.


January 30, 2013

My Mother tells me interesting stories that I usually dismiss because they just seem too crazy to not be true…  For example, she recently told my husband and I that after her Mother had her third baby she refused to get out of bed.  Apparently my Grandmother said that her legs wouldn’t work and she could not walk.  I believe that she was suffering from a severe case of postpartum depression, but that has no bearing on the tale.

My Grandfather decided to help.  While she was sleeping he took two live electrical wires, crossed them and shocked her feet.  Wait a minute, yes he basically sent an electrical current into his wife’s feet on purpose.  Some would call this electrocution.  The husband interjected to ask if these were 220 volt wires.  Deemed irrelevant to the story, my Mother continued that this shocking of my Grandmother awoke her and made her so furious that she jumped out of bed and chased my Grandfather out the room presumably to kill him.  He ran out of the house where he hid until she calmed down, feeling very smug about curing her leg problem.  Yes, she did get out of bed and start taking care of the house and the children again.

So these are the geniuses I am descended from which only makes it more ironic when she starts telling the husband about how intelligent I am and did you know I has a “MENSA level IQ”.  Really?  How do you know?  Well apparently she had me IQ tested before starting kindergarten, at the tender age of four.  What exactly does an IQ test for a 4-year-old look like?  Are you a genius if you know your colors?, can read?, ponder the cosmos?  The whole thing seems suspect to me…although I do think I can use this to my advantage during arguments.  How can the husband not concede to my wishes when I am the one with the MENSA level IQ.  I did marry him.  I must be brilliant.

To answer the MENSA question once and for all, I decided to take an online IQ test.  Coincidentally, the normally $18 pre-screening “so you think you are smart enough for to apply to MENSA” test is free during the month of January.  You have one more day to take advantage of this special offer at:

The test is four parts and timed.  You have 8 minutes to complete about 20 questions in each section.  The first section was weird partial pictures of hands and forearms where you identify right or left.  Seriously.  The rest was logic and math questions, which I happen to like.  I took the test amidst distractions and probably would have done better if I focused a little more, but part of me just wanted to prove Mother wrong.  Yes I still have not outgrown my tendencies toward teenage rebellion…and unquenchable curiosity.

These are my results.  I am convinced that I botched the right/left questions…


You scored a 69 on the Mensa Home Test.

Scores between 63 and 70 from the online test are above the 86th percentile and indicate an approximate IQ range between 116 and 125. This high score indicates a strong possibility that you may qualify for membership in Mensa!

Pretty inconclusive actually.  What the next step requires is paying $40 to take a 30 minute test.  If you score in the top 2% you are eligible for MENSA membership.  Then you get to join and pay dues for the privilege of wearing around an I am Smarter than You pin.  Ok, not really, but I can’t help thinking about it that way.  When I was in college working as a waitress I would occasionally have the privilege of waiting on the MENSA meeting.  They were pretty eccentric and did not tip well, despite their grasp of high math.

So I think I am going to leave my little MENSA experiment at that..let’s call it a draw…within the realm of possibility but certainly not definite. I still should win all the arguments though!

TOH Reader Remodel Contest

January 15, 2013
The finished bath room - view from hall way door opening

The finished bath room – view from hall way door opening

Good News!!!, the downstairs bathroom made it into This Old House 2013 Reader Remodel Contest. You can view the entry here:

TOH Reader Remodel Contest 2013

If you really want to review all the nitty gritty dirty work that went into this project, click here.

A shout out to everyone who made this room possible,

  • the husband the demolition man, tile man, painter man, wood-working man
  • my Dad the BEST PLUMBER EVER who saved us about $7K
  • Pammy the wallpapering maven
  • James Smith Contracting who built the built-ins.

Winter Office Project Update

January 15, 2013

The winter projects are moving forward after a slight holiday set-back…  The office walls have been rocked and mudded and primed.

The Professional Paint Crew has been hired…


This one is having way too much fun…

This one looks a little dangerous...

This one looks a little dangerous…


Partners in Crime…

The wall color has been chosen…
Benjamin Moore Mistletoe

More coming soon…