First Day of Demo!

Well we closed on the house Tuesdays, Wed I was by myself at the house and I got just  little work done tearing down the drop ceiling in Beth’s bedroom. But today was super productive. I had Daniel, Megan, BJ, Thomas and me all working most of the day. We almost filled the dumpster.

Thomas started on the pile of concrete bags and empty paint cans. He moved, all by himself, 3780 pounds of concrete today. It was quite the workout!. The drive way looks so much bigger with all the junk gone. I can’t wait to get that van towed away!


While Thomas was working outside I started pulling up all the nasty pee stained carpets. They were so old and thread bear that they came up easily. But thanks to all the spills and/or pee the pads were all stuck to the wood floors. Megan got there just in time to work at scraping the pads off the floors.


I then spent the rest of the day (when I wasn’t helping the boys with their projects) slowly lifting up all the tack strips and pulling all the staples out of the floor. I’m still not done, it will keep me busy for awhile tomorrow too. But I did take a picture just to prove that I was actually doing something, not just following the kids around with a camera.


Once Thomas moved inside the house he tackled a wall in the kitchen that I wanted removed. Megan jumped in and helped for a few minutes before she had to leave for work. I love this picture of them both going at it. By the time I grabbed my camera Megan was cowering in the corner, just a little scared of Thomas with a crowbar. I made her jump back in for the picture.



Bj was nice enough to come over and help even though he had school last night from 5-10pm, then he worked from 10:30pm- 6:00am, he was at the house by 10am with no sleep. He worked until 3, then only got a couple hours of sleep before he had to head back to work all night tonight.

Him and Daniel removed the very heavy cement washtub in the basement then got to work in the bathroom gutting it down to the studs.  The only thing we’re saving in the bathroom is the bathtub, hopefully it will survive the renovation.

IMG_3990 IMG_3991



When it was time to start tearing out the ceiling BJ got out the heavy gear. He had his firefighter gear in his car and thought that it would do a better job of protecting him from the falling cement ceiling than having no gear at all. He looks so official in his uniform!

The kids were amazing today, they all worked hard and kept at it until we finally called it  a day. The dumpster is 3/4 of the way full and we still have a full day of demo tomorrow.




How’s that renovation coming along?

It’s been more than a year since this madness began (read more here and here) but we are finally in the home stretch. The end is in sight and our construction calendar only has a few more weeks of tasks. Granted they are HUGE jobs…

This weekend: strip all the aluminum siding from the exterior of the house, scrape the flaking paint off the existing wood siding and then paint the house (yes all in one weekend, is that even possible?)

next weekend: install 7 new windows

the following weekend: insulate house

next: finish up framing

the next 2 weekends after that are for punch out (for you non construction types that means finish up all the loose ends)

Which puts us into Dec and then we can finally have someone come in and install the drywall (before Christmas!) Since we’re paying for someone to install the drywall it will be up but we will probably work on the mudding and sanding ourselves, so that may not be finished for a week or so.

Then we’ll sand and finish the wood floors.

In the mean time this is how the house looks with all these jobs going on: Construction supplies and tools have permanently taken hold of the kitchen floor!


The living room also has a wall of construction stuff piling up. Well it looks like I also have a few things lying around that need to be taken care of.


One of the job that has been completed is all new duct work. Dan LOVED the HVAC guy he brought in to help him with the job! Sam O’Neil from Best Price HVAC Solutions, LLC. He actually was the best price and he gave us great ideas on ways to fix some of our problems and he was really easy to work with. Since Dan did construction for many years he is very picky about anyone he hires and he was more than happy with Sam’s work!


new duct work going upstairs to our bedroom, we can already tell that everything is working much better upstairs than it has previously. Not only were we replacing all our duct work but almost all the vents had to be moved and rerouted.


We also replaced all the electric in the house. That was one of our main reasons for starting this renovation and again Dan was extremely happy with the electrician he brought in to help. He was very affordable and knowledgeable. If you’re looking for an electrician we highly recommend Tom Oettinger.

We still have some remnants of the plastic up. It will all be down soon to make way for the new windows.IMG_4290

Also on the list of things that needs to be done is replacing that massive (bowing) header that spans the living room. I’m a little concerned that the house will collapse during that job but Dan assures me that house don’t generally just collapse.


The living room still feels cozy even in this state of disarray.


While I was in LA Dan (with help from his dad, Daniel and Thomas) tore up our top level of wood flooring, to expose the original oak flooring underneath. Dan has always wanted to have this wider planked floor instead of the thin cheap looking floor that was covering it. It still needs to be repaired (lots of holes from all those relocated heating vents) sanded (I’ve already gotten several slivers) stained and sealed. I can’t wait to see how it looks when that’s all done!


We’ve saved one of the original built in cabinets and we’re hoping to find a new home for it somewhere in this renovation. I don’t want to lose all the old charm of my house by replacing everything with something new.


This used to be a bedroom, it is now our dining room and the wall has come down to open it up to the living room.


I really can’t wait to finish the office and finally declutter and set it up all nice and pretty. It’s always been a big pit but that’s about to end.


Even when all these room are completed the job will not be done. This winter we need to do the bathroom then next year we start the demo on the kitchen, we even have out idea board up to keep us inspired.


Daniel’s class schedule

So what classes does a student at OSU in a computer science major take going into his junior year? A bunch of classes that make no sense to me. Well I do know what Tai Chi is, hopefully that helps calm his mind after taking all these other indecipherable classes.

Seriously, when I read these descriptions I still don’t know what these classes cover. I think they made up some of those words!

CSE  321 – Case Studies in Component-Based Software

Case studies using: tree and binary tree components and binary search trees; context-free grammars; tokenizing, parsing, and code generating components; sorting components and sorting algorithms.

CSE  360 – Introduction to Computer Systems

Introduction to computer architecture at the machine language and assembler language level; assembler language programming and lab.

MATH  366 – Discrete Mathematical Structures I

Mathematical formalization and reasoning, logic, and Boolean algebra; sets, functions, relations, recursive definitions, and mathematical induction; and elementary counting principles.

EDUPAES  169.16 – Martial Arts Forms: T’ai Chi Ch’uan

An introduction to T’ai Chi Ch’uan with emphasis on an exploration of body/energy awareness.

The wood is on the move

Ha! a good portion of the pine tree that had been dropped in our front yard has been moved back to the wood pile (take that you naysayers.) Due to some unpaid debts Daniel has become our indentured servant, during his days off, for the rest of summer. He has a long list of things that need to be done and that wood was moved to the top of the list. I was expecting some complaints about chopping the wood but he actually said he wanted to do that, go figure.

Apparently, Daniel’s idea of chopping wood is actually tearing it apart with his hands. I can just imagine my BFF Melissa saying “homeschooler!” (her favorite response whenever my kids do something dumb, and of course it’s said with love and said quite frequently.)


He was surprisingly successful with his bizarre methods. He actually split all this wood by his Herculean attempts. Some of it really needs to be split a bit more but it’s a start.


This piece did not get thrown down, it was crazy heavy. But it was impressive watching him lift it.


He managed to roll the 6 foot log just a bit…


but try as might he could not lift it up.


Dan and Thomas built this totem pole like structure up in the front yard. Can you guess what they’re using it for?


Yep there’s that throwing ax yet again. It’s been sharpened and is ready to throw.


I’m so happy this is in the front yard so all the neighbors can watch the kids use a throwing ax.



No trip to Seattle is complete without someone getting a tattoo. This trip both Beth and Daniel got their first tattoos. It was a family affair with Dan, Thomas, my sister, Aunt Chris and me all there to witness the event. In the end my sister also decided to get a tattoo. I was feeling very left out but I had left it up to fate (meaning I didn’t make an apt) and the tattoo artist didn’t have any more openings that evening. No worries though, Dan and I have a tattoo artist in our neighborhood and I am already scheduled for my orchid tattoo.

Daniel was first on the table, his design ended up being a little larger than he anticipated meaning it took about 2 hours and cost a bit more than he was expecting. I think he was a little shocked by how much it hurt but he held up just fine, not needing any breaks.



Everyone was getting orchids to show their solidarity to Bethany and Isa. Both the girls share a genetic mutation that Shauna and I are carriers of. While it’s not a life threatening condition it is life altering and this was our way of showing our support. I think it is incredibly sweet that Daniel wanted his first tattoo to be an orchid and that he was doing it just for his sister.


Bethy was more than a bit nervous when her turn came up. She was really excited to get a small tattoo and had been talking about it forever. But after seeing her brother’s pain she started questioning it. After several attempted starts only to have her stop the tattoo guy it wasn’t looking like she would go through with it. But she finally pulled herself together and let him begin.


Eventually, after the initial pain, she didn’t think it hurt too bad after all.


The picture doesn’t show it but she’s giving me a peace sign for the camera.IMG00250-20110718-1433


Here’s Beth sporting her new orchid tattoo:


She decided to not have a black outline (thank you cousin Nicole for that idea.) Since it’s in her bikini area and will not ever be exposed to the sun it should not fade away.


Shauna has several other tattoo’s so this was no big deal for her. I think this was the first time that I’ve been with her for one of her tattoo’s though.



Everyone was very happy with their tattoos and there are many plans for future tattoos…far, far into the future!

A massive renovation!

It all started with a bedroom that was turning into a dining room and being opened up to the living room.


Our house is over 100 years old, so the walls are all lathe board and plaster. It was also originally heated by coal so add in lots of black dust that got into the walls and you have a big mess!


Dan is very good about plasticing off a room to keep the mess somewhat contained!


After everything was down in the dining room, it was time to move into the living room. Good bye really cool wall treatment, good bye built in shelves…


Thomas has helped at each stage but only before it gets too dusty and only when there isn’t lead paint involved.


Yes, that is a throwing star in the wall. The boys like to use alternative methods to start tearing down the walls.


Now 1/2 of the living room has been taken down to the studs and cleaned up. Which means its time to start on the other side.

Dan is very good at getting the rooms clean enough for us to use them. I thought living in a house that was being completely gutted would drive me crazy but it really hasn’t.


The other side of the living room, before…


Good bye Dutch door, you have been very handy at containing dogs and small children. Good bye cabinet, we will try to use you somewhere else in the house.


Daniel (begrudgingly) agreed to spend his Memorial Day break from school helping us get the second half of the living room gutted.


Back to those alternative methods, a throwing ax (being thrown by Dan.) it’s not just Daniel and Thomas that like all the Ninja weapons!


It’s a very dirty job. I do not like to get dirty. Thus you will not see me tearing down these walls.


The wall to the kitchen, its coming down too. We are a house without walls! The kitchen will be remodeled next year, I thought that was a bit much to add in right now. The living room, dining room, bathroom and office all at once is plenty!


My new view from the kitchen. I love it! The brick chimney will stay (it kinda has to, plus we love it) it will either be sandblasted and made to look pretty or it will be tiled.

You’ll also see Dan’s dad in the background, we would not have been able to get this job done without him. He has kept it moving along even when no one else wanted to work on it.


We still have a small section of wall to tear down along the hallway in the kitchen and the bathroom. Since we only have 1 bathroom that part really has to be done quickly. Luckily we have great neighbors that I’m sure will let us use their bathroom when we need to. I have visions of my new bathroom being like a spa, all natural tiles with a nice deep soaking/ whirlpool tub. Very Zen like and peaceful. I can’t wait!

I’m excited to see the end results but it is still far away. We still need to replace all the electric, duct work, windows, front door, flooring and add insulation, then the walls can finally be dry walled! Oh and strip and refinishing all the original trim (that’s my job.) Then I finally get to decide what colors to paint it all.

Sewing a pouffe

pouffe:a large firm kind of cushion used as a seat.

Daniel is really into his Hookah, so much so that he was decorating his bedroom in an Indian/ Turkish kinda vibe. When we were out shopping on Black Friday he really wanted me to buy him some floor cushions at World Market, but I reminded him that I had 2 big couch pillows at home that I could recover and make him 2 pillows. We had bought a cheap black sheet back in September for that very purpose but it and the cushions just sat. Finally today I could take them lying on the office floor no more.

I think the problem was I really didn’t want to mess with making piping and for the pillows to look good they would need more definition than just sewing 2 pieces of material together. So I looked for ideas on-line and finally decided to turn them into round pillows and do a parachute type of cover.

I VERY crudely sewed the corners on the square cushions into a roundish shape.


Next I needed to make a pattern. So I searched the house for a tape measure, finally giving up and just folding a piece of paper until I had a pie shape that I thought would work, I then drew it out right on the pillow. I had picked 3 colors to use and my pattern made 10 pie pieces, which meant 1 color would end up butting up against itself. So I made my pattern an inch bigger and hoped for the best. Without a tape measure it was done rather haphazard.


Then I just started piecing it all together. The black material is from the sheet, the brown is a suede-like material that I’ve had in a bin for about 10 years, and the purple is a velvet that was part of my bedroom curtains (also for about 10 years) that I recently cut shorter so they would hang better.



I very carefully followed the same pattern so the colors would match up when I sewed the 2 sides together, and yet look what happened. Oh well I decided I like how the black segments come together and the colors reverse. Its almost like I meant to do that (I didn’t on the first pillow, but I did on the second.)


This is how the cushion started and what I turned it into. I love how it turned out!


I still need to add the zippers and I want to put a button in the center that will squish the centers together. Ahh… it just occurred to me that if I sew a button in the center I wont be able to take the cover off so there is no need for the zipper. Maybe I’ll just hand sew the opening together add the buttons and be done.


I think they both turned out really cool, although not really big enough to use as floor pillows, unless you have a tiny rump. Hopefully, Daniel will like them and if he doesn’t he’s got a brother, sister and mom that would all like to keep them.