Monday, January 30, 2012

Next Up.

See that running ticker over there? The one that says I'm supposed to run 350 miles this year? ---->

That's a big part of the reason why today, just 2 days after my first 5k, I signed up for this bad boy:

Or, I guess, good boy? Either way, it's 4.2 miles in the end of April, which hypothetically is totally doable seeing as how I'm up to about 3 miles on my evening runs.

I'll be following this training schedule, loosely. I know, I know, it's a bridge to 10k and the run in April is only 4.2 miles. But I figure I might as well be SURE I am prepared.

Wish me luck?

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Renovation in Progress.

Remember a while back, when I posted this list? Well, here it is updated, with steps we've since had to add in blue:

- Call insurance and file claim
- Remove baseboards
- Remove toilet and cover hole
- Remove tile
- Remove subflooring below tile
- Remove tub surround (also involves removing showerhead and closing off that pipe)
- Pull out and discard tub (also involves removing and covering drain into floor)
- Have insurance assessor look at damage and determine if it's going to be covered by insurance
- Cut away water-damaged drywall in garage ceiling
- Put in new insulation and replace drywall.
- Potential repair/replacement of subflooring in bathroom
- Potential refinishing of cabinets
- Sand, stain, buff, and poly cabinets, doors, and drawers
- Removal of current counters and cabinets
- Removal of hardware (towel rack, light plates, etc.)
- Spray paint hardware to brushed nickel
- Buy new globes to cover bathroom lightbulbs
- Spray paint cabinet hardward brushed nickel
- Clean ceiling to prepare to paint
- Repaint bathroom ceiling and walls
- Move existing drain and pipes for bathtub to accomodate new height
- Build support box for tub to sit in
- Installation of new tub and surround
- Buy and install new greenboard drywall for shower surround
- Tile new shower surround
- Hook up plumbing to bath and shower
- Paint room
- Reinstall fixtures on walls
- Installation of new flooring
- Installation of toilet
- Add risers to cabinets to increase height
- Move up bathroom mirror 3 inches to accomodate higher cabinets
- Reinstall bathroom lights
- Installation of cabinets (either refinished old ones with risers or new ones)
- Paint and install new baseboards OR use tile as baseboard
- Installation of countertops (either current one or new)
- Put in new faucets
- Add new shower curtain and bath mats

So, yeah. We've done quite a bit more work than we'd planned and added some additional steps yet to be done. I guess you could say this was much more work than we'd planned. I'm excited by our progress, and will share pictures soon!

We Did It!

Color Run is DONE!

We weren't able to run the whole thing, but that was more logistics than a lack of trying. The race was sold out, with 6,000 people packing the trail. We had to walk through the color zones where you get colorfied, which meant 3 stops (we ran around the outside of the 1st of 4 zones), but still...WE DID IT!!!!

I couldn't have done it without this group - co workers and amazing friends who trained with me, slowed to my pace when I needed it, and made sure I got plenty of birthday wishes on the run courtesy of the decorating they did to their shirts in my honor:

Team ROYGBIV, lovingly named after my neurotic desire to color coordinate my closet.

And I couldn't have done it without my amazing friend Elizabeth, who inspired and encouraged me through training and met me on race day to cheer me on. LOVE her!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Bathroom Lights.

From brown:

This image, by the way, is NOT my bathroom but is eerily similar colors and shows how the oil rubbed bronze looked in there. From here.

To satin nickle and opaque lighting covers:

This is so much more my style than all that brown. The walls haven't been painted yet, so I need to take these back down to do that, but I wanted to see how they looked. I love it. We sprayed them with 3 thin coats of Rustoleum Universal Metallic Spray in Satin Nickel.

Also, even though I swore we weren't going to pull out the cabinets to stain them, I lied.

More on those some other time. Right now I'm being asked to 'play games', so off I go!

On a January Morning.

This morning our alarms didn't go off, so I woke with a start when Darrick alerted me that we had 20 minutes to get everyone ready and our of the house.

"Shit!" I grumbled. And next to me in bed, a tiny voice mimicked, "Shit?"

Shit, indeed.

Walking downstairs, I realized I didn't smell coffee brewing. Turns out I forgot to set the coffee timer before bed, which usually isn't a big deal but when I'm running late making coffee isn't always doable. I quickly put some coffee on and went back upstairs to get clothes for the kids and me. Luca peered at me from under my own blanket which I'd just vacated a few minutes prior, and let out a hearty cough. She'd struggled to fall asleep through that same cough last night, and for a minute I couldn't figure out what to do. I called her over and she took my hand, her long, thin fingers lacing between mine. They were warm to the touch.

Downstairs again, I tucked her under a big blanket and she let out a little "Muuuuh." Not letting on what I was doing, I ran a hand over her forehead pretending to brush her hair out of her eyes, and she was warm to the touch.

An hour later, the three of us (Luca, Rohan, Mommy) were snuggled on the couch under two blankets, watching Disney Junior. We decided we needed Munchkins to get through the morning, so in our jammies and no shoes we ran to the nearest DD and went through the drive through, adding 2 small hot chocolates (with whipped cream and 2 ice cubes each, please) and a coffee to the order.

And now I'm sitting here, quickly sifting through work emails and watching my kids use stickers and markers to create art, feeling torn between soaking in a free day with my kids and doing something productive. I think, for one day, naps on the couch and kid TV are going to win out.

Monday, January 23, 2012

It's Official.

I'm a graduate of Couch to 5K!

The Color Run is this Saturday, which also happens to be my birthday. I'm more than a little nervous and super excited just to do it. And I cannot believe I finished C25K!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Break It Down.

Over the 3-day weekend, we got a lot of work done in the bathroom, and yet there's still much to be done.

After removing the tub, we made some clean cuts to the green board behind it so that it'll be easier to replace.

Darrick also cut the copper pipe that fed to the tub spout, since our new tub is a bit deeper and therefore requires a higher spout. And I don't have pictures of any of this, but I pulled out the toilet and sink faucets (yeah, I felt pretty bad ass doing that by myself) and we removed the remaining tile. Also, Darrick and his step dad built the front of the frame needed to support the tub. You can see there were already horizontal supports nailed into the 2"x4" beams, and fortunately they seem to be the correct height or close enough to stay, which meant that we didn't need to build an entire frame, just the front part. That's been assembled and will be screwed into the walls and subflooring as soon as we're ready.

We briefly considered just leaving our countertops and replacing the faucets, but then I changed my mind. It's 20 years old and, well, it looks 20 years old. Originally we thought we could cut it away from the wall (we did without a problem) and lift it out of place (also not a problem), then slide it out of its resting place and take it downstairs to add to the 'donate' pile. But we quickly realized that it was too snug in its place to slide out without us having to remove at least one medicine cabinet and a piece of bathroom door trim. Darrick was really torn over the idea of breaking it, but I wasn't. So I said to him, "Just give it one swing with the sledgehammer and see what happens. If it doesn't break, we'll try to get it out in one piece."

So, two pieces it was. And honestly? I am pretty confident we would have needed 2 more people to help carry this thing had we tried to get it down in 1 piece.

So there we had it, and it was a perfect place to pause since we don't have many hours in which we can do work in that bathroom during the week. Anything the kids can't be around for has to wait until bedtime, and anything loud can't be done after bedtime...which rules out about 75% of the work to be done at this point.

So, I took it upon myself to start work on the bathroom cabinets. We decided we don't want to go through the hassle and expense of replacing them, since what we have works fine. We decided to try to spruce them up with a stain mostly because they are still held in place by a 1/2" layer of subfloor that would have to come out first if we wanted the cabinets out, and it's just not worth the time, work, and expense right now. These are no high end cabinets, though, and they are 20 years old, so we also decided to try our hand at something neither of us has done before, figuring if it looks horrible we can always change our minds and replace them.

This picture is best considered before-ish, since this is not the bathroom cabinets. This is a shot of the kitchen, which is the same finish as the bathroom, but with better lighting.

And this beauty is best labeled as in-progress, since this is post sanding, cleaning, and 1 coat of stain. I need to let it dry at least 6 hours, buff with steel wool, and do a 2nd coat. And this is only the doors and drawer fronts (which just screwed right off) of one cabinet. I figured I'd start small with this first to test my method, and if it worked I'd know we were good to go to do the other cabinet as well as both bases. So far, so good. I simply sat down with some 60 grit sandpaper (really course) and newspaper under the doors and sanded them by hand. I started with the sides and then did the fronts, keeping with the grain as much as possible until there was no shine left and the doors looked dusty. Then I used a rag with a minimal amount of water to clean them up, borrowing one of the kids' stiff bristled paint brushes to brush the dust out of the grooves and corners. I set them out back on trash bags to dry. I used a brush made for oils and stains to apply the poly, starting with the sides and working with the grain to do a thin coat. There are tons of good tutorials out there on this process, so I'll leave that to the experts, but overall it was really easy and pretty intuitive.

Our new bath fixtures are all a brushed silver finish, so I got some spray paint in the same finish to attempt a cheap re-do of the towel bar and light fixtures. Both are an oil rubbed bronze finish which I know is really popular right now but which I am not 100% in love with none the less. The light looks a lot like this one, but the glass things over the bulbs are not only beige but also have darker brown swirls in them. It looks good with the existing paint, but not with what I've got in mind. So if the spray job works, we'll probably end up with some white or clear light pendant things to replace the brown.

And speaking of 'what I've got in mind', I did a bit of browsing at Home Depot last night, and came home with a sample palette to show Darrick. This floor tile is inexpensive, and so is the mosaic tile (relatively), which is always nice. I would actually prefer a different mosaic tile carried at Home Depot, but the cost is twice as much per square foot, so I'll have to try to convince Darrick of that. Just to see if he likes the overall colors and feel, I bought a sample of the cheaper mosaic and the floor tile, and grabbed some paint chips too.

So there we have it. Darrick's been out of town since yesterday, but he's coming back tonight sometime, so I'd be willing to bet we'll have some more progress in there tomorrow!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Da Mean In Your Eyes

Over the weekend, Mo skipped a nap. This was a first for him, for the most part. He fell asleep for about 6 minutes in the car, was carried to bed, and woke to use the potty a few minutes later. His little toddler brain decided that constituted a nap, and he couldn't be convinced otherwise.

With Luca and Darrick asleep, Mo and I prepped dinner for the crockpot and settled in to a snack and a movie under the blanket on the couch. It was sweet, for sure, but not nearly as sweet as a nap would have been.

And here's how I know the kids still needs to nap:

A few hours later, we made a Home Depot run, and somewhere between the home appliances and the bath fixtures, my patience ran thin. The entire time we'd been there had been spent with me trying to curb his impulsive two year old behaviors, which include but were not limited to touching everything in sight, running in the store, and intermittent hyper screeches the likes of which only little kids can manage. I must have asked him to 'use walking feet' and 'keep your hands by you' and 'hang in there because we're almost done' a quatrillion times, and here's where I acknowledge that as his parents we should have recognized imminent meltdown and removed him from the situation. But I had Just One More Thing to find, and meanwhile Darrick took a detour to the far other end of the store. Just as we passed the fridges and washing machines, I knew we were in trouble. Despite the fact he knows the rules, he ran over to a front-loader, opened the door, and attempted to fold himself inside.

I intervened before his foot had cleared the opening and, in my best patient-mommy-suffering-the-kid's-madness moment, bent to his level and said in a calm voice, "Sweetie, we need to keep moving and stop touching things. We're almost done."

As I stood and took a step away, he looked up at me and said, "I'm sick of you, Mommy!"

::deep breath::

Let me just say, I've been here before. During one particularly stressful night with Luca nearly a year ago that had me convinced that all other parents are assholes for not telling you that 3 is really worse than 2, Luca said the exact same words to me. Being new to this kind of thing, I had scolded her and put her in time out to cool us both down. A few minutes later, I went over and asked her to explain to me why she said that. It took a while, but eventually it came out that it was a phrase she had heard before. When I dug deeper, I suddenly became aware that she had no idea what she was saying. "What does that mean, Luca? Do you know?" I had asked. "Yes. It means...I'm sick. Like I my nosy is all sneezy for you?"

Right. Toddler = literal. Sick of you = my nose is sneezy for you.

So I didn't flip. Oh, I know that old couple who was lingering near and evesdropping was probably waiting for me to throw him over a knee and give him something to cry about for such blasphemy and talking back. But I knew he didn't know what it meant, so I reattaced my invisible Mother Perfect tiara, and, ignoring the words I knew he didn't really 'get', bent to his level once more. By now he was in a sample kitchen, sort of peering at me with a resolute disapproval that told me he was pissed at life in general.

"Rohan," I said while gently putting a hand on his arm to get him to look at me, "I know you're tired - - -"

And here he cut me off with an "OWWWWWWWWWWWW!" that echoed through the entire store, and a glare at my hand on his arm. Which is where I sort of dropped that Mother Perfect tiara and lost my patience with this whole bit because there was no way I was hurting him. I mean, I couldn't have killed an ant with the amount of pressure I was(n't) applying.

"Look, buddy, I know you're tired but you CANNOT act like this. You need to say sorry for using mean words with mommy." I said more sternly. Because, you know, NOW he was going to know I was serious.

"Sowwy!" he stubbornly mocked my request.

I decided this wasn't the time, nor the place, to work a proper sorry out of him, so I stood and started to walk again.

"Mommy," he said, stopping in his tracks. And for a brief and incredibly naive second I almost thought I was going to get a legitimate apology.

Instead, he raised his hands so they were by his eyes and, with his best jazz hands, informed me bitterly, "When you say dat, you got da mean in your eyes!"

Monday, January 16, 2012

Week 9

Tonight marks the start of C25K, Week 9. Also known as the last week. Or, alternately, "Holy crap in less than 2 weeks I need to be able to run 3.1 miles!"

It took some talking-to-myself to get out there tonight and brave a 30 minute run. I know it's only 2 more minutes than I ran all last week, but it seemed big. Monumental. Scary.

At 6 minutes into it, I was feeling good. "Ok, you did that. Now just do it 4 more times." I told myself.

At 12 minutes into it, I was still feeling pretty good. "My legs are burning, but I can do it. 3 more times."

At 18 minutes into it, I was starting to unravel a bit. "Ok, Katie, keep going. It does not matter if you're slow as long as you finish. But why is your butt jiggling so much? Do you feel that?" :::feels with hand and butt is indeed jiggling::: "What the hell? You've been running for 8 weeks and your butt just NOW starts jiggling like that? That's it! No more snacks for you! It's time to buckle down and stick to salads!"

At 24 minutes into it, I just tapped out, mentally. I went to that dark place no one wants to talk about, where the only thing going through my mind was numbers as I counted my foot falls and tried to predict how close I was to done.

At 29 minutes, when the podcast I used this week (which, by the by, I definitely recommend in terms of better music for running, and which came from here) notified me I only had 1 minute left, I was resolved and determined to finish it running. "You can do this. So what if your butt is jiggling and your time probably really super sucks. Just. Finish."

At 30 minutes, when I stopped running and started my cool down walk, I took back all the promises of salad and daily whippings to myself if I ate bad foods and felt nothing but sheer relief and accomplishment.

If I can do 30 minutes, I believe it's really possible I can finish this 5k running.

And to top it off? I logged my run when I got home, and I've finally, after 9 weeks, broken my own personal goal for speed. It's a pretty pathetic goal, really, but I truly don't give a shit. My goal was to get under a 12-minute mile, and tonight I finally did!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Because My Husband Is A Badass.

My bathroom currently looks like the picture above. Tile and mortar board are out everywhere except under and directly surrounding the toilet. And the only reason we didn't remove the tile there is because that entails taking out the toilet, and we're too lazy in the middle of the night to use the hall bathroom.

But I digress.

You might notice in the picture above that there are two kinds of flooring showing, and that can be explained quite simply. The board at the upper right side is the floor itself. The lighter colored flooring in the lower left section is a subflooring that was fit in on top of the floor itself to help support the tile that used to be there. That subflooring is all going to stay, save for a small piece that will probably be about 6' long by 1' wide and currently sits in front of where the tub has been for the past 20 years. That section's got some water damage that needs to come out, so the plan is to buy a small piece to fill that gap after the new tub is in.

But I sort of got ahead of myself there. So let me back up, because after Darrick removed the tile and mortar board and before the tub ended up on its side leaning against the wall, we had to do a lot of work. At the drain end of the tub, there is a wall that separates the tub/shower from the toilet, and the bottom 15 or so inches of that wall had rust on the edge piece. I attempted to just remove the very bottom, where rust was visible, but once we started to remove that, it just started to make sense to remove the whole strip, all the way to the ceiling. At least, that's what my husband apparently thought, since I had removed just the rusty part nearest the floor and was downstairs watching the kids, then later came up to see this:

So, in case anyone ever wondered what the inside of a wall looks like, there it is. The left side of this picture is the shower/bath side, with plumbing running up through the wall. Starting from the furthest layer out, you have paint, Greenboard (looks like drywall, but is water resistant and sometimes used in tub and shower surrounds when covered by another waterproof layer), then the stud. The side of wall facing me shows more drywall covering the broad side of the stud, as well as the paint which is peeled back from the edge piece being removed.

Once that was done, we had to finish removing the shower surround, which was easier said than done. We'd already removed the piece at one end, but before we could get the back wall off, we had to remove the end that all the plumbing fed through. That meant we needed to remove the fixtures in the way, including the shower head, faucet, and spout. And if you're already in there doing that, you may as well figure out how to take out the overflow and the drain, right?

FYI, regarding the drain, you need a tool. If you're like me, you'll go online and watch some videos of people removing the drain in their tubs and google the tool name only to find it costs $70. And you'll want to cry. And THEN you'll realize that the same thing is sold at Home Depot for just under ten bucks.

The upside: It cost $60 less in store than online prices had me believing, which meant we didn't feel bad about going ahead and purchasing new tub/shower fixtures while we were there.

The downside: There is no way to get a picture of yourself holding this thing (intended to show anyone who may be wondering just what kind of tool one needs) without it looking phallic. I mean, c'mon...

Am I right? Of course I am.

Anyhow, once that was taken care of, we tore out the rest of the shower surround, which had to come out in pieces. And then we were ready to yank out the tub.

Which is about as easy as removing a 5 foot long, almost 2 foot deep fiberglass beast sounds. According to YouTube, we just had to get a hammer's claw between the tub's edge and the open space in the vertical 2"x4" beams in the room. Except, of course, it wasn't that easy. first off, the Greenboard was in the way. Second, there was a horizontal beam around the top edge of the tub in many places, meaning there was no gap through which to place the hammer. And third, have I mentioned how huge this tub really is?

Long story short, after trying the hammer, the pullbar we used to install the floors downstairs, a shovel and a metal bar for leverage, and a large metal file tool, we weren't really getting anywhere. The most Darrick could do was shimmy the tub about 5" off the floor on one end, and it would get stuck.

In a moment of desparation, I went down to the garage to get the car's jack in hopes we could fit it under the bottom of the tub and jack that fucker out of its spot. But it was not necessary, because while I was downstairs Darrick took the sledgehammer to the tub's corner and popped out some fiberglass so it would come out without getting caught.

A piece of the tub that got beaten into submission.

And at long last, we return to that picture up top, with the tub victoriously propped on its side and officially removed.

Aside from watching in awe and attempting to stay the hell out of Darrick's way, I also started removing the countertops so we can pull that sucker out as well. The end pieces are separate from the remainder of the counter, and with a little finesse with the utility knife I cut through the caulking and used a putty knife (improperly, no doubt) wedged behind one edge to pop it away from the wall.

It came off relatively easily and clean, leaving just a little adhesive which was easily pried away without damaging the drywall behind it.

Sadly for the other end of the countertop, my husband got a bit antsy and worked some 'magic' on that piece while I was out of the room. And herein lies visual evidence of why my husband should be trusted with sledgehammer-style demolition and I should handle the finer details:

I know this picture sucks big time, but in case it's not clear, he tore away two large chunks of drywall in the process. So much for the hope we might not need to patch any drywall on this side of the bathroom when all is said and done.

Next up, we need to haul out the tub and remove the faucets and countertops. Then the Greenboard gets replaced. The replacement tub we bought for a song and a dance at the Habitat for Humanity Re-Store needs a surround to be built before we can drop it in. In the meantime, however, we'll be searching for a new countertop and finding a way to add a riser to the top of the cabinets so that the new counters sit at a more erasonable height for us both.

Thursday, January 12, 2012


I had an emotional break about something I'd rather not put out there into the internet. I almost cried in a bad place to cry. I stopped on my way home at Sprouts to get something to cook for dinner. I threw wine, brownies, and chocolate covered almonds in my cart.

I didn't buy them.

I wanted to check out. To make my husband agree to going out to dinner. To order an appetizer and stop for ice cream on the way home. To drink enough wine to forget that I was supposed to run tonight.

I didn't do it.

I got home. I vented. I got hugs. I cooked healthy 'pizza' for the kids and me while Darrick ate leftovers. I skipped the wine.

I ran.

I finished week 8 tonight, and it was a tough run. My heart wasn't in it and that slip of time between 14 and 21 minutes was out to get me. But I kept running. One foot. Two foot. Feet, feet, feet.

I finished week 8 tonight.

I came home and thought about making Rice Krispie treats. I stared longingly at the circus cookies in the pantry. I imagined hot chocolate spiked with Kahlua.

I had some water and Greek yogurt.

Tonight I gave myself permission to be self-indulgent, but it wasn't with food. I complained. I curled under the world's softest blanket with my Luca and let her tell me about the games she made up in her head for us to play this weekend and who said what at school while I reveled in the peach of her cheeks and the silk of her hair. I took a hammer and chisel to some tile and subflooring. I read a long Dr. Suess book to my kids. I had tunnel-vision tucking in Rohan, lost in his sweet smiling eyes and the way he puts his hands on my cheeks and says, "Oh, you are MY mommy."

I haven't hit my stride in running. I don't love it yet. I am not dropping weight like I expected. Sometimes, I disappoint myself or others. But, at the end of the day, I didn't let myself let myself down.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


Now that we've been visited by our insurance adjuster and given the blessing to cut and paste away in the bathroom, we sort of can't wait to get going. So in addition to Darrick ripping out about 90% of the tile (all except that under/around the toilet) and starting to piece apart the subflooring, we're addressing the tub/shower and surround.

The long and short of it is that it's all got to come out and it's all got to be replaced. We've been eyeing tubs and have plans to scope out a deal on one with the same width/length dimensions but a bit more depth. We're limited some by the placement of the drain and pipes, as the master bath shares a wall with the hall guestbath and we're not in the business of attempting any major changes in plumbing layout or structure. We're also limited some by being on the 2nd floor, as concerns over weight limits of the tub mean we can't invest in a a steel one that will last forever...not that we'd be likely to do that anyhow.

The other thing this means is that we're sort of stuck with the placement of all the major fixtures. The toilet in this bathroom shares the same major plumbing line, so we can't get a longer tub because not only would we need to move the wall of tub/shower plumbing, we'd have to relocate the toilet.

With all that said and done, we're eyeing ways to freshen things up and make the bathroom feel brand new without making those major changes. This is where the shower surround comes into play.

We briefly considered removing it, cleaning it, and re-attaching it to the walls after we get a new tub. In fairness, it's in really good shape considering it's possibly 20 years old (the house was constructed in 1992) and seems to be solid. But that's not enough for us. We've decided we want something a little more updated and custom, and our insurance adjuster has generously graced us with some funds to be able to make it happen.

Something like this:

From here.

From here.

From here.

From here. (Just the walls, and just in the shower area. The idea of cleaning that floor makes me feel tired.)

From here. (I like the thick line of colored tile, but not sure if we'd do the whole bathroom like that, or just the shower/tub area.)

But before I get too carried away admiring beautiful and probably insanely expensive bathroom ideas, we had some practical work to be done in removing the shower surround. We'd cut away one side when the water damage first happened, but hadn't removed any. And I guess I was itching to remove something.

(The color on these is all kinds of wrong, but I didn't feel like making it better.)

The wall behind the first piece of fiberglass surround we removed. Darrick sliced the caulking and tonight while he was out I removed this piece.

Yeah, that's going to need to be fixed.

The back of the surround.

A close up of the fixed points.

Kids standing by it for scale. NO they weren't really that miserable. In fact, they are pretty into this whole thing.

Oh, yeah. This. We also took a sledgehammer to the bottom of the tub where the crack was to check out what condition the floor was in below it and allow maximum air circulation in case there was still moisture build-up down there. It looks like there was some level of tomfoolery happening here, with compressed particle board under the center of the tub, which otherwise would have sit a few inches above the floor. We're no experts, but we're pretty sure the half-assed job someone did here contributed to the tub cracking near the side, where there was no support to speak of.

Next up, we need to remove the back wall's surround, but I knew I wouldn't be able to do it myself. It's 5 feet long and the shorter end piece was probably between 50 and 60 pounds, so it's definitely going to be a 2-person job. We also borrowed a shop vac to suck up the dust from tile demo. This weekend has some serious work in store for us.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Success In All Measures.

I thought I'd start running and hate it. I thought I'd keep running and learn to deal with it, even if I still didn't like it. I thought I'd keep going a few more weeks and run a 5k and smile and feel proud. And I thought, somewhere in the middle of it, that I'd be melting away pounds like nobody's business.
Well, technically it IS nobody's business, but that has not happened. I did start running and hate it, then keep running and learn to deal with it. I kept going, and in just over 2 weeks I'll be running a 5k ON my birthday, which is all kinds of amazing and pride-inspiring. And yet, 8 weeks into this new goal of mine, I'm down half a pound. HALF a pound is not exactly melting away, you know?

Shit, at this rate it will only take me 508 more weeks to hit my goal weight.

So there you have it. And this morning when I stepped on the scale and saw that I'm barely floating half a pound below my start weight and I'm running 3 days a week, I went into self-sabotage mode in my mind. For breakfast I was good, but by lunchtime I was tempted to scrap my healthy low-point lunch and run out for something delicious and indulgent. I wanted cookies and chocolate bars. I contemplated wine with dinner and an ice cream cone after.

But I didn't do it. I stuck to my planned breakfast and lunch and opted for a salad with dressing on the side for dinner. I even skipped dessert and went for a run.

And I guess it paid off, because while I was logging my run tonight I discovered I HAVE made progress. I log my miles and minutes, so an easy math calculation can tell me how fast I'm running, and it has been pretty underwhelming so far. I mean, I knew I was slow, but I didn't know I was running around a 14 minute mile until I found the map my run site. But tonight I did something different: I ran on main roads. Usually I run in my neighborhood, up and down residential streets. I prefer it that way because I almost never see anyone while on my run, so I don't feel self-concious about my speed or how I look while running. Tonight, though, I did about 80% of my run on main streets around my neighborhood. It not only made me keep going a bit faster than usual, it also felt a little safer to me.

And the results are real: my running time was just over a 12 minute mile today. That means that while I've barely shed half a pound in 8 weeks, I have managed to increase my run time by about 2 minutes per mile in just over 2 weeks. At this rate, I might just finish that 5k in under 40 minutes!

And, yes, I promise I will be happy with that!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Updates in January.

I just completed Week 7 of C25K, and it was really, really hard. All 3 runs were 25 minutes, and according to the podcast I use, that's supposed to equal a 2.5 mile run. Can I just take a minute here to point out how insane it is to think that I'm supposed to go from 'couch' to 10-minute miles in just over 6 weeks? I came home after each of this week's runs and mapped them, and I'm not quite clocking 2 miles in 25 minutes. I'd be embarassed to admit that it takes me more than 12 minutes to run a single mile except for the fact that I've never in my LIFE run for 25 minutes straight, so while I'm a little disappointed in my distance, I'm really trying to focus on the positives.

Week 8 will kick off for me tomorrow, upping the runs from 25 to 28 minutes. So far this year I ran 5.26 miles (and I added a ticker right up top on my blog, over there --->, to keep me accountable), and on top of it? I may not be seeing the numbers on the scale changing yet, but I am feeling a difference in my body. I definitely feel the burn in my legs while running, and can feel my muscles tightening up. The other night, after my first 25 minute run, I even made Darrick feel my calves to see how strong they are getting. Nerd.


In bathroom news, our insurance adjuster is going to come out this afternoon to inspect the damage and let us know whether any of it's covered under insurance. I'm not optimistic. Honestly, they've already tried twice to have us pay for someone to come out to set up fans in the garage and 'remove moisture and humidity from the walls'. Um, great...except we're talking about just enough water to bathe two little kids (half full tub?) that leaked on a day that was 80 degrees with almost NO humidity. I'm thinking it's not likely worth several hundred to several thousand to pay someone to do that.

In the meantime, while we waited for the insurance people to come out, we started chipping out tile. Darrick figured out a new way of removing it without the pieces breaking so small, which definitely helps minimize dust and other messes. As of the other night, when these pictures were taken, he'd only chipped up a small section of the floor. However, in preparation for the adjuster's visit today, he chipped out the whole area in front of the tub. Under it is a tile subflooring we also need to remove, then the tub will be ready to pull out of its place!

These pictures are crappy and the colors are funny, but you can see the work he did in here in them.

***Update*** I took a few pictures to show what he did in here last night.


In other news, Rohan has discovered his Mastocytosis spot. The other day, I witnessed him telling Luca he had a 'big ouchie' and pointing to his arm. She took it in stride (we've prepped her for this, explaining it to her in kid-terms from very early on so it would be a normal thing when it came up), telling him it wasn't an ouchie, it was just a spot that turns pink and puffy if he eats kiwi. I laugh because she must have heard us tell people this many times, that kiwi is the only food we know of so far that he has bad reactions to, and she picked it up and fed it right back to him. I did ask him if it was hurting, and he said no, so I think he was reacting to it looking like an ouchie more than it feeling ouchie. His spot is always a bit red and is about the size of a quarter, so I knew it would be a matter of time before he caught sight of it and asked about it.

He has since pointed it out to me a few times, and I just say "Oh yep, that's your little spot. It's ok right now though, so let's just leave it alone." With Masto, if he messes with the spot itself it could possibly trigger a histamine reaction that would cause him some irritation, so we're opting to just encourage him to leave it alone to hopefully avoid that. He still remains largely unaffected by his Masto, rarely having reactions like some kids with Masto do have, so I'm optimistic we can just approach this in a way that normalizes and minimizes it for him.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Drip. Drip.


That was the sound of water leaking through our garage ceiling and landing on my car hood, the washing machine, and the floor. The sound of our master bath tub cracking, a tub full of water draining down the pipes and also into the floor and through the ceiling below.

That's our garage floor. We cut a few holes through the drywall that makes up the garage ceiling to be sure no water was pooling up there and to let it ventilate so it would dry faster.

And then we followed the ceiling beam to the end and sliced some more openings into the drywall, because water travels the path of least resistance and there were drips coming out that spot as well. For their part, Luca and Rohan dumped out two plastic bins full of train table pieces all over the floor upstairs so they could bring us the buckets to 'catch the water'. Ah, young helpers.

Once we were sure the water wasn't pooling in the ceiling and all the drips had ended, we went upstairs to survey the damage. And there it was in all its fiberglass glory:

Darrick decided to do two things right away (well, after a brief freak out and a lot of profanity): remove the baseboard by the sides of the tub to check for moisture and pull back one side of the tub surround to let it ventilate more.

He used a utility blade to cut through the silicone cauling around the perimeter of the surround, then grabbed the sides and pulled back. It came unstuck pretty easily, but rather than removing it entirely we left it affixed to the back wall and propped open, to let air flow behind it.

Removing the baseboard was simple enough with a hammer used to pry it away from the wall. Once we had that removed, we could feel a little moisture around the bottom edge of the tub. At this time, it's hard to tell if the moisture there means that water has soaked the subfloor and is causing damage, or if it was just damp because the kids had finished their (splashy) bath in there less than an hour earlier.

The good/bad news is that we have to remove the tub and replace it, but to do so we have to remove the tile in the room. The bathroom has saltillo tile, just like the entire downstairs used to have, and we remember all too clearly how un-fun removing all that tile can be. The tile sits on top of the front lip of the tub's apron, so there's no choice but to remove, at a minimum, the tiles directly in front of the tub. And if you're removing that, you may as well remove all of it. Which also means taking out the toilet until new tile is put in. And while we're in there, we may as well remove the countertop and cabinets, since the counters are a bit short for us (they only come up to my pelvis) and what better time than now to either get new ones or refinish and put risers under the current ones?

Do you see where this is going? Because I do. Which gets back to why this is good/bad news. On one hand, I'm not excited to spend the time and money removing the tile and tub and putting in new tile and tub and possibly replacing the countertops. On the other hand, the opportunity to maybe put in a deeper tub and raise the height of the counters and freshen up the look in that bathroom is pretty exciting.

For now, it's looking like our steps will be:

- Call insurance and file claim
- Remove baseboards
- Remove toilet and cover hole
- Remove tile
- Remove tub surround (also involves removing showerhead and closing off that pipe)
- Pull out and discard tub (also involves removing and covering drain into floor)
- Have insurance assessor look at damage and determine if it's going to be covered by insurance
- Cut away water-damaged drywall in garage ceiling
- Put in new insulation and replace drywall.
- Potential repair/replacement of subflooring in bathroom
- Potential refinishing of cabinets
- Removal of current counters and cabinets
- Removal of hardware (towel rack, light plates, etc.)
- Repaint bathroom ceiling and walls
- Installation of new tub and surround
- Hook up plumbing to bath and shower
- Installation of new flooring
- Installation of toilet
- Installation of cabinets (either refinished old ones with risers or new ones)
- Installation of countertops (either current one or new)
- Installation of tub surround

That's quite a to-do list, and that's an optimistic one based on the hope that there is no extensive damage to the subfloor, drywall of the garage ceiling, etc. If there is, this could get a lot more complicated (and expensive!).

Monday, January 2, 2012


Today marks our 8 year wedding anniversary. In 8 years, we've sold 1 home, moved 3 times, gotten pregnant twice and had two kids, started new jobs, traveled, camped, fought and made up, faced some hard times and been blessed immeasurably.

I would say I love my husband as much today as I did the day I married him, but that's not exactly true. I love him just the same, and more, as I did 8 years ago when we stood up in front of friends and family and promised our lives and our futures to each other.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

New Years Tradition: 2012.

The past two New Years Days, Rohan has woken me before the sun was up, and before Darrick and Luca were up as well, and we've ventured out in the apricot and rose morning to take a photo.

January 1, 2010.

January 1, 2011.

This year, we all slept in until about 7, when I grabbed him in his jammies and ran him outside for our photo op. He's almost too big to hold on one hip while taking a picture, so I ended up in this one. I can't believe the difference in him year to year. And I'm more than a little sad to think that this time next year I probably won't be able to hold him on a hip for our first photo of the new year. And how many more years before he won't even humor my love for a good photo op anyhow?

But, for now? For 2012? We stood together in the middle of the same street and smiled our hearts away. I love this sweet moment we steal just for us. What a way to kick off a new year!

January 1, 2012


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