Monday, November 30, 2009

Wherein I Curse 19 Seconds. I MeanTwenty.

What's up with all you nut-bags out there? I say that lovingly, of course, since I may as well be the biggest nutter-bar out there. Ha! Well, maybe not, but, weird, I am still.

I think I mentioned that I had been busting my hump in the weeks prior to Thanksgiving in an attempt to get a good time in my local 5K Turkey Trot. That's basically how I began my 4 day vacation - with 26 minutes of discomfort. Or rather, what I had hoped would be 25:59 minutes of discomfort which ended up being 26:19. Who was aggravated? Yep, I missed my goal by 20 seconds. Stupid 20 seconds. However, it was the fastest I have run in four and a half years (woefully far from high school but "whatever"), so I am taking some solace in that fact. 26 minutes is seriously some kind of retarded 5K hurdle that I can't seem to cross and I'm sure if I busted my ass a little harder, it may have happened.

Anyway, those paltry 3.1 miles seriously kicked my butt because Friday I did nothing. NOTHING. Can you imagine? I just sat on the couch all day, watching TV. Didn't leave the house. I had visions that I would make serious progress on molding this vacation but none of that happened. And I slept. Oh boy, did I sleep. I napped pretty much every day, slept till 8:30, etc. I must have caught up on months of sleep deficit.

Saturday I did manage to paint two of the doors bright white (from the dingy off-white that no longer matched the new trim) and yesterday we constructed the box mantel for the fireplace from two 1 x 8 x 8 boards of select pine. Now I have to distress it (i.e. beat the crap out of it), find a decent stain match to the floor (tell me that's not going to be annoying), antique it up with glaze, coat of polyurethane, and finally mount the sucker. Still lots to do on that front.

Alright folks, time to wrap up. Pats game is starting soon and I'm still here at the office.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Conditioner is Not Just for Your Hair

Turkey-day in t-minus 2 days! I know, none of you people are even reading blogs right now - you're probably going crazy prepping and buying and what-not. Me, I'm "lucky" enough to have work start getting hectic in the last week or so. Not that it's bad to have stuff to do (hey, I'd rather be busy than not busy - we've had enough layoffs for one year, thank you. Even my BIL's girlfriend got laid off last month).

Anyway, lest you think I've let my home improvement projects go by the wayside, I am here to tell you "fear not!" I have been trying to get stuff done here and there. On Saturday, we hit up Lowes, since I had an almost expired coupon from Discover Card for $10 of $50 and on top of that they are giving me 10% cashback on Lowe's purchases through the 30th. Seriously - don't they understand home improvement stores are my kryptonite? Sneaky bastards. Anyway, so we dropped about $200 on baseboard and one more pack of door casing, wood for the fireplace mantel (exciting!), stain for the mantel, and some awesomeness called Floetrol.


Now, if you've ever dealt with latex paint on wood trim or furniture, you know about the whole brush marks and never getting a smooth finish. No Floetrol is not paying me to sound like a commercial. Trust me, with a readership of 16, sponsors are not knocking down my door. Anyway, after reading a post the Nester linked to about this blogger that painted her dining room furniture black and insisted that you should only use oil paint for this type of job, I remembered that oil paint is getting phased out across the country due to the fact that it's kind of nasty and caustic with the fumes, and it only cleans up with equally smelly stuff like paint thinner and mineral spirits (how can something with such a nice name like "mineral spirits" smell like such ass?). I thought: how could the EPA ban something like oil paint if there is no other viable alternative? This led to getting sucked into the Google Vortex searching for information about paint. I found out that you can add paint conditioner to latex paint that will help it lay flat! Holy Smokes! Where was this information when I attempted to paint my stools with high gloss paint only to end up frustrated with brush stroke marks all over it?

Here is a close up of a section of casing I did with the Floetrol. Maybe not the easiest to tell - but the finish is quite smooth.

One thing to note is if you use this stuff, it does make the paint a little more viscous - meaning, loading up the brush can sometimes lead to paint dripping everywhere. But it's a small price to pay for nice flat finish.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Hump Day Update

Quite honestly, I don't know what to say anymore about all these blogger ladies* I follow popping out the babies (not to mention non-blog friends). Seriously. Lots of pregnant-ness going on. Starting to make me all atsy like I'm going to miss the train or something. Y'all are making me nervous! But, again, quite honestly, I don't know that I want munchkins yet. I am the only butt-head in my household working (yes, I know the argument of "there is never a good time to have a baby" but this is very much not even remotely close to a "good time"; it's not even a "just ok" time). I will not give into the baby peer-pressure yet.

* Katie, Tooj, Sherry, WI, Dooce

Speaking of peer pressure, I did get pressured to join the good cause of donating my cheek skin particles to the bone marrow donation registry at the beer festival we went to this past weekend. Nothing like getting accosted by do-gooders at the beer garden entrance and told sad stories about children with leukemia when all you really want to do is get in there and get some tasty brews and instead are kinda bummed out for the next half-hour. But it is a good thing to do, so I said, "why not?" and signed up. Is it wrong to now hope that my good karmic gesture get returned to me in some form, like, maybe a job for The Husband? I know, (a) it's very un-karmic/disingenuous of me for that to think of that way, and (7) I've likely just repaid some previous karmic bad-debt I had. Feh.

The house stuff is moving along, slowly. We installed casing on the doors and I've been caulking up the gaps and such over the past two weeks. The plan is to buy baseboards and fireplace mantel wood this weekend so maybe we'll have that stuff done before year end.

Alright, good folks of the interwebbings, I had a little too much Diet Coke, and pee fairy is calling.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

A Post With Lots 'O Pictures

In case you were just sitting on the edge of your seat, wondering where I am in my fireplace revamp, I am here to assuage your anxiety. Right. Yes, I am sure you were just writhing in agony from the unknown.

Well, I am here to tell you: it ain't done yet. It's a really fiddly update. Everything is taking forever and requires a patient hand. A reminder of what this bad boy looked like, pre-destruction.

After I installed the stone veneer, notice the scratched up area near the stone courtesy of the brick mortar that was removed, and the drywall mess on the sides:

First step was to get me a can of black high heat paint. Spray paint was not really an option - it would be damn near impossible to tape off and cover all the stone and still reach all the nooks and crannies. So paint and little brushes (cheapo brush kit from the Depot) were the plan of attack.

I removed the doors and, holy living cripe, they were filthy. Gave 'em a good cleaning and two coats of that paint (before reading the instructions that said additional coats were not recommended. Oops. Whatever, looked like dog terd with only one coat).

I also replaced the old, partially broken, handles with rustic pulls from Lowes, $3.97 each. Better than a poke in the eye with a stick.

Then came patching up the drywall. I am not sure that was better than a poke in the eye with a stick. That part took 3 days, with all the coats and waiting to dry and such. After sanding:

As for the texture, again, the spray can orange peel stuff would have been hard to apply without spraying the stone and we already talked about taping off jaggedy edged stone. Good luck with that, because I'm not doing it. I still have half a 40 pound bucket of drywall mud left over from the kitchen reno so I watered it down in my mud pan:

Then took an old kitchen sponge and applied it randomly to the wall:

Hey, it's not a perfect match but it's close enough. I also caulked (with the clear, paintable variety) any gaps where I wasn't able to get the drywall mud into.

Then I got to painting (which, by the way, friggin' Glidden changed their formulations midway through the painting of this room, so this area was the old formulation and then I got a new can of the same color and it is just different enough that it's kinda noticeable. In the dining area, I basically have to repaint two walls so that it's not all splotchy. Meanwhile the Depot paint people were like "Glidden has said it will look the same". Right.).

And here is where I'm at today. Notice the dusty floor. Fabulous. We still have a mantle to create and stain (matching the floor), molding around the hearth to hide the flooring expansion gap, and baseboards. And also new blinds. It never ends.