Friday, October 31, 2008

More Paint and Plumbing

Big Steve has been busy! The bathrooms and ceilings are all painted and look great!

Steve stayed out of Big Steve's way and stuck to what he's good at, stripping paint off the old chiffarobe detailing (the washer and dryer will go in here).

With the bathrooms painted, the plumbers were able to come! The Steves had to spend the day with no water and I hear they were washing brushes in the toilet tanks...ewww! Sinks and shower heads and toilets and the tankless water heater were all installed.

Master bath on 3rd floor:

Master bath faucet detail:

In our effort to be as green as possible, dual flush toilet in master bath:

And the master bath shower:

2nd floor guest bath sink:

And another dual flush toilet in the 2nd floor guest bath:

And finally, the tankless wather heater. It took my Uncle Joe 3 days and 6 trips to Home Depot to get his installed last year...our guys had this thing installed in a couple of hours!!

And now we're headed out of town for the weekend to go to Steve's cousin's wedding reception tonight in Youngstown. Its a Halloween costume party reception. I wasn't up to creating new costumes with everything else I have going on so we're reusing our Joe Dimaggio and Marilyn Monroe costumes from a couple years ago...luckily found them right away in the storage unit! Then Sunday we'll be in Cleveland for the Browns game. I'm not really a Browns fan, I like the Lions and the Bills and I like to see the Ravens win as well (I know, I know, I'm psychitsophrenic when it comes to my NFL loyalties) but I'll put on the orange and brown for a day and fake it!! If for no other reason than to not have a beer thrown at me!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Big Steve, the Painting Machine

Big Steve was painting for us till 7:30 last night...with no heat, no radio, no food, and most atrociously, no BEER! And after that we dragged him to watch us play broomball before we finally took him to the bar for dinner. It was so bad that Steve's former roommate, Graham, offered to step in and help Big Steve get unionized to get better treatment! That’s what we get for procrastinating and packing too much into a too short weekend and not having things ready for him. We were able to get all but the first resolved today and luckily the house has been holding around 65 degrees.

Steve stepped in to help Big Steve this afternoon. I think the day can be ruled a success as no one was injured and there was no obvious damage. By the time I got home, he was tasked with clean up...not too bad!

P.S. Broomball was awesome! It was so much fun! Of all the sports Steve and I dragged our parents to while we were kids, I think Big Steve might agree that broomball is one of the better spectator sports...he got to watch Steve run around an ice rink in tennis shoes and fall on his ass repeatedly for 40 minutes!....sorry, no pictures.


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Waiting for paint to dry...

That's what we've been up to since Friday. I finally got to go into the house Saturday morning to see the floors...they look gorgeous! Sorry no pictures for now...tonight, I hope.

The weekend was errand-full. I painted the outside of the claw-foot tub with two fresh coats of glossy black. We did the American Cancer Society's Making Strides Against Breast Cancer 4 mile walk Sunday morning (it was a beautiful day for it!). Then we headed down to the boat to clean it out. It was kind of sad to pack it up! We confirmed what we suspected all along; dog fur and boat carpet are a bad combination. The boat is maybe 300 sqft but it took over an hour of vacuuming to collect all of Ferris' fur!

Monday the final coat went on the floors…more waiting.

Monday night brought us our favorite handy-man, Steve’s dad Big Steve! Big Steve was instrumental in remodeling our kitchen back in 2005. As I previously mentioned on here, Steve is not very handy. When Steve tried to help Big Steve with the kitchen remodel, he nearly electrocuted himself sticking a giant screwdriver into an electric box in an attempt to remove the electric box from a stud….saved us all a trip to the basement to flip the breaker! Big Steve is here this time with his paint sprayer and will be spending the next 3 days painting for us. Steve was very happy to tell Big Steve last night that he managed to get all day Thursday and half of Wednesday off from work to help Big Steve paint….I’m not quite sure how to describe the look that came across Big Steve’s face when he heard he’d have an assistant….definitely not one of joy!

Speaking of paint, Steve thought I was crazy when I told him that we needed to pick out a bedspread before picking out paint for the bedrooms so that the paint and the bedspread would coordinate….he’s had 2 people tell him that of course I’m right so far. Please feel free to echo!

And finally, in our usual style, we’ve overcommitted ourselves yet again and are signed up for broom ball, first game is tonight. I played broom ball a couple times at Ohio Univ but never sober. We were advised to invest in shin guards to protect against ex-field hockey players….yikes. Drinks beforehand sound like a good idea!

Friday, October 24, 2008


I've been out of town since Saturday at a conference in Denver. Which means I've missed an entire week of work at the house! I want to go see what changed, hopefully a lot in a full week (though we have suffered through a few painfully slow weeks over the past 3.5 months...oh my god, has it really been that long since this started?!?) but Steve tells me I can't go in and check it out cause they refinished the floors this week and the floors are drying. ....But I think I'll take a peak through the front door!! That can't hurt anything!

Monday, October 20, 2008

All better

New floor was laid. Problem corrected!

Other details that have been added the past few weeks:

The new master vanity installed

In other housing news, rumor has it Big Steve is making the turnpike journey down to help paint in one week. We always learn so much from each other, like the time I showed him the easy way to flip the breaker without going to the basement...

Thursday, October 16, 2008


Notice anything wrong with this picture? Look closely. See the little black hexagons? They should be in a pattern that makes sense....they're not. We didn't notice the problem till after they started grouting. We were torn as to whether or not to tell JD, the project manager. Part of me wanted to becuase I know it would bother me everytime I walked in there. But part of me didn't want to say anything becuase of what delays or costs would be involved in fixing it. We decided not to say anything and live with it.

BUT THEN! JD called Steve on Tuesday and said "Steve, we have a problem." After Steve's heart resumed beating, JD told Steve about the messed up tile pattern and informed him that the tilers would be out this week to rip it all up and start all over again! Which is good that it'll be right...but bad that to me this says delay. And my desire to be in by election day is quickly approaching!

Marathon Party Pics

Monday, October 13, 2008

Why NOT throw a party during a renovation?!?

For the past 2 years, our block has hosted a marathon party...marathon party in two senses really, we cheer on the crazy people running the marathon as they run past and the party lasts all day! There was no doubt in my mind, regardless of the state of the house, the party must go on! The party is mostly outside anyway.

Steve skipped the party this year and instead headed back to Cincinnati for UC's homecoming weekend. But with the help of neighbors, we were ready to go at 8:30am! Bloody Marys, mimosas, lots of cow bell, and our neighbor blasted the Rocky theme song, Chariots of Fire, the Olympics medal music, etc. There's nothing better than drinking before noon on a beautiful fall day. And this year was especially great because we had several neighbors run the race. I'll post pictures camera ended up at our neighbors during the clean-up effort!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The light at the end of the tunnel...

We can see it! The house is looking like a house again. Trim, and tile, and base boards, oh my! Unfortunately, no pictures because we still have no lights and we've both been getting home late the past few days...combined with the days getting shorter, doesn't make for great photos.

Sean, the carpenter, has been putting up trim all week and it's looking great. He does amazing work! In fact, we'd like to talk to him some day in the future about adding some shelves to the den and modifying the staircase.

Yesterday and today the bathroom tile went in. The guest bath has all the tile down. They ran out of the master bath tile so its almost complete but it'll be a week or so till they can finish it. The grout still needs to be done so we can't walk into either bathroom which is killing us! We're using this special (read - expensive) grout Mapei Opticolor that never has to be scrubbed and doesn't stain or discolor.

The tile, by the way, looks great...and I'm the one that picked it out! I haven't picked out many of the fixtures or design elements that are going into the house cause I don't care about that stuff as much as Steve does. He's form over function, I'm function over form. Plus I trust his taste. ...And if it turns out awful, I can blame him! Ha! ...just kidding.

So all that's left to do is finish the trim, finish the tile, install lights, install plumbing fixtures, re-porcelain the tub, paint inside and out, refinish the floors...ugh...maybe that light at the end of the tunnel isn't as bright as it first seemed!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Beer, BBQ, and Paint Stripper

As true procrastinators, we didn't even begin with the stripping till after 5:00 today. We had signed up to pour beer at the Fells Point Fun Fest and that's an event neither of us would miss! We have volunteered at the beer garden for the past several years and it’s always a blast. Great people, beautiful weather and as much beer as you can drink! The beer garden was pretty quiet today because the Ravens played at 1:00 so we poured a few and drank a lot from 11-3.

After the Fest, and with a nice mid-afternoon buzz, we headed to our neighbors for a BBQ...pulled pork and pit beef and all for a good cause. Mike lost his mom to breast cancer earlier this year and was raising money for the clinic that cared for her in her final days.

A quick siesta at Kelly's followed the BBQ and then we finally headed to the house to start stripping! ....And believe it or not, the soy gel actually worked! I was shocked! and relieved that a visit to Home Depot was unnecessary.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Strip tease!

No, not by me! Steve and I will both be stripping this weekend...stripping paint that is!

Back in July the contractors uncovered some lead paint on the floors of the 2nd floor and rather than pay them big bucks to remediate the problem, we decided to tackle the project. I naively thought Steve would take care of it over the summer while I was in Canada...ha! Wishful thinking I suppose. Almost 5 years of marriage have taught me that he's just as much of a procrastinator as I am....maybe even worse. This week the contractor told Steve that we have to get it done ASAP cause the floor refinishing is coming up quick on the schedule. So we're finally taking action.

Steve and I both try to be environmentally conscious in the way we live our lives (yes I commute 45 miles to work each way but hey, I work in the nuclear energy industry! which I would argue offsets the carbon I generate during my commute!). Steve takes his environmental stewardship a bit further than I do. To strip the paint, he's selected Soy Gel Paint Remover which I picked up for him at a great environmental home store Amicus Green Building Center near my office. I'm skeptical....very skeptical. I envision a trip to Home Depot in our near future to pick up the good, strong, non-environmentally friendly, chemical version that smells like my Nano's wine!! But we'll give it a shot and let you know how it goes....

Thursday, October 2, 2008

You are what you eat

I was going to start this off by saying OUR, but Marisa is actually working out in the mornings, so let me phrase it like this. MY dietary and exercise program has taken a back seat to the house. Not sure why since I am not doing any of the actual work. Needless to say, I have been absent from the gym and the past month have broken down and stocked the freezer full of microwaveable instant meals.

So much for Maryland's Buy Local campaign, or the great picks at the Sunday market. I hit the Costco frozen food aisle like nobody's business and picked out every savory calorie laden item I could find. After a month and a half, I'm starting to feel and look like a Hot Pocket!

My personal top five:
1. The Jamaican Style Beef Patty (best after a night of drinking, you can eat 20 they're that good)
2. Hot Pocket Pepperoni (tried & true, this was the original hot pocket)
3. Kirkland Signature Sausage/Bacon/Egg Muffin (great for mornings, although heating is tricky)
4. Lean Pocket Chicken/Spinach/Artichoke (Marisa bought these)
5. The Cheese Burrito (better have sick time accrued to ride this one out)

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Where are they now...

I guess it's been a while since we actually mentioned the cats, but they are doing well on Kelly's third floor. I think they have enjoyed Marisa's return as a frequent overnight guest to the room. Hopefully they should be back in the house by November, although they won't recognize any of the rooms and probably be freaked out by it. Cats are neurotic, Vote Dog!