Wednesday, April 30, 2014

I got in a fight with a mouse....

Yes, you read that correctly....

I got in a fight with a mouse, and I lost.

Let me set the scene for you and maybe it will help stop the laughter.

3 am.
My bedroom.

I needed to go to the bathroom, so I left bed and headed to the bathroom.  I know the path so well that I did not turn on the lights.  

BIG MISTAKE.  HUGE.  (bonus points, name the movie)

I reached the end of my bed when I stepped on something furry and mushy.  The furry and mushy item did not react well to my foot and tried to squirm its way out from under my foot.  Needless to say, my reaction was to yelp and go vertical.

This is where the real fun began.

I went vertical and a little to the left and landed on my bed.

Upon landing on my bed, due to the velocity in which I hit the bed, I bounced.

I bounced up and right off the bed to the floor.

With a thud.

Scraping my left elbow, bruising my entire torso, and knocking the breath out of me.

I now hurt.
A lot.

And even worse, I think my cat played a role in this, because when I made it back to my room with the lights on...Meeko was there with her whiskers in play mode and meowed at me like I had ruined her fun.

It's ok,
you can laugh at the fact I got in a fight with a mouse
and lost.

Setting traps....

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Unexpected Gifts.

Alternate title--Phase 2 of the Remodel

I was more than a little terrified when I started phase 2.  The were two major parts in this phase-taking down a 3 foot by 6 foot mirror and removing wallpaper and then the  minor parts of changing the light fixture and painting the walls.  After the cork adventure, I really did not know what to expect

This is what I found....
only nail holes and no wallpaper under the mirror!  IT'S A MIRACLE!
First of all the mirror is old school....thick and heavy and of an amazing quality.  :)

Second, they did not wallpaper under the mirror.  For once, not doing a complete job is going in my favor.  It cut the amount of wallpaper I needed to take off by over half!!!!!

Third, thanks to Pinterest (I know, I know) I found a wallpaper removal mixture that in a little over a hour and a half had the majority of both layers of the wall paper off!  It had water, vinegar and fabric softener in it, so my bathroom smells April fresh right now.

Fourth,  except for the holes for the that held the heavy duty mounts for the mirror, a couple of other nail holes and a little gap around the light box, there is absolutely nothing wrong with the wall!!!

Fifth, with the help of a master electrician that I know, I learned how to change light fixtures.  Not that scary and not that hard.

Sixth, if you live in the Sugarhouse area and need a mirror cut, Sugarhouse Glass is wonderful!  $5 per cut.  Custom mirror without the cost.

And finally, after a bad day and a regrouping of my sanity, my wounded wall is healed and looking good.  WAHOOOOOOOO!!!!

Unexpected Gifts that were sooooooo very welcome.

And got this project back on track.

Seeing the light at the end of the tunnel....

Monday, April 21, 2014

How Not to be an Idiot...

Alternate title:  Simple steps for your next home improvement project

This is one of those posts that you are going to need some context to know why I am giving steps on how to avoid being an Remodeling Idiot.

Extra, Extra, Read all about it.. Get your Context, here.

The majority of today's post is sponsored by the National Sarcasm Society, of which I am a long time member.

Tip #1.  DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT paint over hinges.  Just say no.  Abstain.  Stay clean, your hinges, that is.  Take the pledge.  What?  You've never heard of the pledge.  I'll let you in on it.  Raise your Right hand and say the following resolutely, "I, (state your name), do so promise never, let me repeat, never to paint over hinges of any kind."  I promise you, your life will be enriched and my sanity saved, if you will just take the pledge.

Tip #2.  Agree ahead of time what you are calling your tools.  I believe the item below is a paint stripper, but others call it a putty knife.  Avoid confusion, talk before hand, it will save time in the long run.  FYI, you do not have to call them by their proper names, as long as you are in agreement of the name.
The tool in question....if you call it a stripper, refrain from tucking dollar bills in it...

Tip #3.  If for some reason, you encounter a hole in your wall, or thru accident or otherwise, you create a hole in your wall, DO NOT use cork to cover it.  Also, DO NOT use a mirror, painting, photographs, wallpaper, or any other flat item that can be hung on a wall.  Just to be on the safe side, DO NOT use non flat items as well.  After my adventures, I am not leaving anything to chance.  Your only acceptable option is this--Patch the hole.  I promise it is not scary, hard, complicated, or a 20 step process that only a genius with a PhD in home remodeling can do.

You can do it.  I believe in you.  And just as importantly, I am going to show you how.

Take that in for a moment, I, Melissa, am going to show you how to patch a hole in your wall.

And what is even better, you do not have to have a bunch of expensive, never to be used again tools to do it.

Are you ready?  Mentally prepare yourself for the steps in a hole less experience for your walls....

Step #1.  Swear, cry, and bemoan your fate at finding or creating your hole in the wall.  Let it out.  Remember that kid that made you cry when you were five, take this opportunity to let that out as well.

Step #2.  Feel better now?  Good.  It's time for a trip to the Home Depot, Lowe's, or hardware store of your choosing.

Step #3.  You've battled traffic and made it to the store.  Congratulations!  The hard part is over.

Step #4.  Find the paint area.  Locate the following items
              1.  A Patch, large enough to cover said hole.

Turn your head sideways and see the patch  I used.
            2.  A Spackling Compound.  It will be near your Patch.
Added bonus, this one goes on PINK!!!
             3.  Something to spread your spackling...  I used an old paint stripper and a spatula.
             4.  Sandpaper to smooth said spackling.
             5.  Oh, wait, you don't need anything else.

Step #5.  Read the directions on your patch.  Are you ready for what was on mine?  Sand around the hole and make smooth.  Remove the paper backing from the patch and apply over hole.  Press firmly.

Oh, the horrors,  it was awful.  I had to take multiple breaks.  I need therapy from the hardship of it all.  Truth be told, going to Home Depot took longer and was more trouble.

Step #6.  Apply your Spackling over the patch.  You do not have to apply it with the skill of an Italian Master working on a chapel ceiling, but on the other hand, complete lack of care does not work either, moderation is the key in this step.  The key is to cover the mesh on the patch and attach it to the wall.  It doesn't have to be pretty or even, in fact the more you mess with it, it will start to fall off, it does not have to be perfect.   My one tip, go at least an inch past your patch and taper as you go out.  After saying all of this,  Do not stress over this step.  I slather it on pretty thick, because I would rather have more to work with when it dries than not enough.

Isn't this just lovely.  Notice the pink!  It's ok it's not even.

Step #7.  Go to bed.  Take a nap.  Ponder your life.  Kill some time.  Call a friend.  But most of all, leave your spackling job alone.  It needs some time to itself.  Ok, it just needs to dry.  Minimum time of 24 hours drying. The one I bought turns white when it is dry.  Idiot proof.

Step #8.  Are you hanging in there?  Do you still believe you can do this?  I BELIEVE IN YOU!  Don't give up.  And prepare to get a little dirty.

It's time to sand your spackling.  Smooth it out.  Go slow.  Take your time.  When you are done, the area is ready for primer.  You are creating the illusion on a single piece of wall, but don't be intimidated, because it is not hard.  I promise.  And if worse comes to worse and you do not like your results, go back to step #6 and add more spackling.  It's ok, and I won't tell, and if it makes you feel better, it took me 2 applications to get it to look right.  I am still working on it because after I patched the wall, I realized that the area where the hole was was not level with the rest of the wall, so I am building it up, but the hole is done.

Step #9.  Celebrate your new status as a PhD in Home Remodeling.  Throw a party.  But then, paint your wall!!!!

Ok, it's time to end this tangent and go back to the tips....

Tip # 4.  Apologize for the tangents that you go on during your remodeling projects that drive your friends and family members to roll their eyes when they unsuspectingly ask how it is going.

Tip #5.  Do your homework.  Ask questions.  Find out how to do it right the first time.  I am not afraid to ask multiple and quite possibly very dumb questions at my home improvement store.   Stalk your family and friends who have tackled the project you are undertaking, actual experience is more valuable than any book or Pinterest (which probably gave you the insane notion you could do the project in the first place).  In asking a fairly simple question today, I got an amazing tip for the tile portion of my project and a time saving one for sanding.  Just ask.

Tip #6.  Consider hiring someone to do it for you.  If after asking all of those questions, making a plan, looking at your schedule, making a shopping list of EVERYTHING you need so you don't end up running to the store every 5 minutes, and figuring out your budget, you may find that this DIY project is not for not feel bad about hiring someone to do all of the project or parts of the project.  I am terrified to do anything involving electricity, so I am having a handyman install the new light fixture.  I also do not have all of the tools necessary to cut my mirror and build a shelf in my cabinet (it's going to be so cool, a way to use otherwise wasted space), so he will do those as well.  Sanity, time, and money saved in the long run.

Tip #7.  Do not ever forget that this is supposed to be an enjoyable experience.  Hard work, yes.  A little time consuming, you betcha ya.  But don't be miserable and become an Idiot by your behavior.

Tip #8.  Do not expect this to go exactly as planned.  I was having a frustrating day with this project yesterday and complained about it on Facebook and a friend of mine gave a great piece of advice.  Home improvement projects are like onions....they have many, many layers and not all of them are in great shape.  Keep your sense of humor....  Breathe... and write multiple blog entries about it....

Are you ready to call be Bob Vila now? or whoever is hot on HGTV?  I've got home improvement skills and I am not afraid to use them.

Finding humor in it all.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

I am Surrounded by Idiots...

Alternate Title:  My bathroom remodel update.

I am finally moving forward and making progress on my bathroom remodel.  Remember when I blogged about it here?  July of 2013 was the start date. hahahahahahahaha...

First, I ran into problems getting the hinges off the bathroom cabinet.  Some Idiot had not just painted over the hinges, but with multiple coats.  It took 3 applications of paint thinner to be able to get a screwdriver head into the groove and loosen the screw.  I took a very long break from the project during this time and started to wonder if I could really do it or if I even wanted to.

painted over hinges, DO NOT DO THIS!

I don't want you to take this the wrong way, but in my opinion, if you do not tape off, cover, or remove hinges and the like and you paint over them, you might be a remodel Idiot.

Jump forward to today and I am finally ready to sand and prep the cabinet for paint!  Happy Day, right?

Not exactly.

I got my handy little sander out and went to town.  I did two applications of sanding with two different grits.  If the Idiots who had painted the cabinet, in the most unfortunate color of pink/peach, had done ANY prep and had taken even the least amount of care, a sanding with a grit in the 180-200 range just to get the gloss off would of been fine, but are you starting to see a trend here?

Yep, you guessed it, there were different numbers of coats on different areas; there were dribbles of paint that they did not even try to smooth out; you name a painting error and I ran into it.

After staring at this project for months now, I was prepared for most of it.  It still drove me crazy, but I was at least prepared for it.

What I was not mentally prepare for was the next issue I ran into.  (hold me, I'm still traumatized.)

Have I mentioned that the Idiots painted the door molding the pink/peach color too?  I still do not understand the logic of this one....But at this point to question the Idiots would be pointless, so I'll just continue.

A little description of the bathroom needs to happen now to understand what happens next.  It is long and fairly narrow, so when you walk in, the cabinet and counter space are right next to you, and if you keep going you will run straight into the tub.  Above the length of the cabinet is a mirror.  It is wonderful and large. (handy, for doing hair and checking outfits in different angles).  It is going to be modified during the process, but that is a story for another day.  What you need to know now is this, right as you walk in the door to the left above the counter, the wall was covered in cork.  It basically turned that little portion of the wall into a cork board.  I hung my calendar, headbands, quotes, and other fun stuff from it rearranging as I wanted without damaging the wall.  It was one of the few items in the bathroom I sort of liked.  It ran right up next to the molding on the door, so when I planned this adventure, I knew it would be going.

How bad its leaving was going to be, I had no idea.

The cabinet was now sanded and ready for primer, so I turned to the molding and soon realized that the cork was going to have to leave immediately.  I couldn't sand the molding with the cork bumping up next to it.  I naively assumed that some care had been taken in putting it up on the wall and that it would be a quick and easy removal.

They took adhesive and slathered the drywall with it and then attached the cork.  By itself, this would of been bad enough, but the Idiots were not done with testing my sanity.  They had used the cork to cover a hole in the wall.

Can I cry now?
the discoloration is the adhesive, the gaps are an added bonus.
the butchered remains of the cork.  Notice the awful color of the tile in the background.
Here is the thing that sent me outside for a moment of meditation and breathing, patching a wall is a simple, SIMPLE process.  Most of the time of the project is in the drying of the compound.  Trust me, it is not hard and you can learn how to do it by reading the 4 step process on the package.  Don't be an IDIOT and cover a wall with cork just to cover a hole.

A trip to Home Depot was now in order, partially to give me more time to calm down, but mainly to get the material to get the adhesive off and the patch kits for the wall.  I had no idea how to get adhesive off drywall, so I asked for help in the paint department and the guy said, "What Idiots..." and told me the stuff I would need.

I'll finish the post with this,
home projects can take a lot of time, but the key to success and not becoming an Idiot, is this.

DO NOT SKIMP on the prep work.  Yes, I know, it is tedious and sometimes not very fun, but if you do it right, your final results will be amazing.

(a little side note about the photographs, I shot in full auto mode, so they are not the best quality.  I prefer to save beautiful photos for people and landscapes.)

Oh, and one more little detail, if you come over in the next couple of days, this is your bathroom door.
notice the mickey mouse duct tape...
For added fun, it does not reach the floor.

Looking for my sanity and a little privacy.

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