Reno

…as in “renovation”, not the city in Nevada. Last year we had a lot of damage due to a leaky roof. The damage spanned across the house in the upstairs rooms and it was awful. It’s never supposed to rain inside the house through the ceiling or fire alarm. We had the roof replaced but we never got around to fixing the damage because we were planning our wedding.

Then one fateful day in May, I was holed up with a summer flu — and I never get the flu. It hit me like a ton of bricks. And at that time, the curtain rod fell and clocked Kevin and he decided it was time to fix the upstairs at last. I couldn’t help. I wasn’t even going to work, I was so ill.

Kevin’s friend, Rodger, came over and the two of them started the process. There was a lot of scraping walls and ceilings, patching with spackle and drywall tape. A spray sealer was a great idea too. When the damage was mostly fixed, it was time to prime the room. It took two coats of primer to cover over the blue I had put in a few years ago. This in itself took two weeks, there was so much to do.

The room needed new colors. (And I may be getting the order wrong here.) Kevin wanted a warm beige with a dark blue accent wall. It’s a similar concept to our living room and I was all for the change. We painted — well, mostly Kevin painted because I was still weak. I got two walls done, but I wasn’t able to help with the rest of the room or the ceiling. Or the second coat.

The moldings needed to go also because we were going to put in laminate floors and apparently they need the molding gone to do so. Well, ok. And to help with everything, Kevin and Rodger had moved most of the furniture out of the room. When I could, I tried to pitch in moving the rest.

Then Kevin started ripping up the rug. It had to go. It’s been here for about fifteen years — though I like saying twenty for some reason. Our cats sometimes cough up a furball, so Kevin had gotten a spot cleaner to help. And using it in the same spot several times still picked up a lot of muck. Clearly there was a ton of dirt under the carpet. Time to go indeed.

I was starting to feel better, so I helped by ripping up the carpet padding. And then… the dreaded staples. They were certainly up to code, less than two inches apart all the way along every edge of every strip of padding. I sat on the fooor with a screwdriver in one hand and needle-nose pliers in the other. Not hard work, just tedious. And for whatever reason, there were so many padding fragments that the number of staples was unbearable.

We’ve been told we could hammer them down but every staple had a nub of old carpet pad under it. We wanted those gone, so dig, lift, twist, pull. Repeat. Ten thousand times. (That might be an exaggerated number.)

The dust and dirt! Hooey. Thank goodness for the shop vac!

Then it was off to do the closet in that room. The bedroom is large but the closet isn’t, so that made it a one-day, one-person project. I was able to get the carpet up, the padding, the staples, the carpet tacks, clear all the clothes out and the cabinet, and then paint it all. It took about eight hours on my own but I got it done.

Kevin’s dad came over at some point and showed Kevin how to replace the electrical outlets. That was cool because all the outlets were that almond beige color which never matched the moldings or any part of the room. The two worked a while and then Kevin finished up replacing every socket and light switch.

 

Curtains.jpgThe floor itself was one thing we were not comfortable doing ourselves. We had someone come to put that in for us. It was just one guy and he did an awesome job, though it took a couple hours longer than he had anticipated, mostly because the room is an odd shape and there were many, many cuts he needed to make.

Then it was off to curtain quest. We wanted to balance the new colors and I think we picked a great match set. Kevin also got new high hats for the ceiling that would complement the new floor.

Not done yet… new moldings were needed. Rodger was a godsend for this task too. He and Kevin took care of it all.

From there, it was time to bring back the furniture. Kevin was sorting things out before returning them to the room, taking the opportunity to pare down some things.

So that’s it… nope. We wanted to do all the rest of the upstairs too. We let the bedroom sit in its finished glory for a few days, maybe a week, and then we started clearing out the rest.

Kevin has a few antique pieces of furniture, one of which is cumbersome and hard to move. I used three sets of those moving men sliders to get it from the spare room, across the hall, and into the bedroom, where I switched from the plastic movers to the felt ones. I really didn’t want to risk scratching the floor. I also moved another heavy piece of furniture into the room, but that wasn’t nearly as bad.

Then it was time to rip up the carpet, padding, staples, strips, and moldings. What an ordeal. We also wanted to go with a new color there too. I was picturing a deep red. We went through several possibilities and got stuck between two. At some point, my gut said one thing and everyone else either said the other or didn’t know. So I went with No More Drama. Um, yeah… it was pretty dramatic. It was a vibrant lipstick color. Pretty… but not at all what I was going for.

Well, at least we were certain now. Dark Crimson was next. And we also needed multiple coats of it. I really didn’t have a good time with the Behr paints this time around. Even the paint and primer cans needed two to three coats. Anyway, I still want to bring the color down into the stairwell, but that’s going to wait for now.

The new red looks awesome. It is a lot darker than the faded peach that was up there, so we may need to consider other lighting options, but still… I love it.

Kevin tackled the ceiling in there in between the red coats I was applying. And the length if this ordeal was wearing on me. I was making messes all over the place and needed to patch lots of paint splats up.

Two more rooms to go… one of them had a lot of water damage from the original impetus for this project. It took me two days and a lot of trips to the basement to clear the rooms. A few things went to the bedroom but everything else was relegated to the basement, which is a disaster zone of its own now.

Kevin continued his work with all the spackling and sanding and spackling again. The dust! White sand everywhere. But there was a lot to fix in the ceiling and the wall, so it was needed.

Next up — you guessed it — carpets. This time I had a dresser and a treadmill to work around in the one room. My trainer, David, helped me to move the sofa, chair, and bookcase out of Kevin’s office, so that was a great help. Kevin tackled half the carpet in that room and I took care of the rest while he was at work.

Jared came over and though we were supposed to be hanging out and playing games, he wanted to pitch in, so he helped with the moldings in both rooms and a handful of other stuff. Meanwhile, I was pulling up carpet staples and then tearing the other carpet out of the final closet. 

With the carpet all gone from the entire upstairs, we found the cable and phone wires coming up into Kevin’s office. They weren’t off in a corner, tucked away. No they were a few inches from one wall and a foot away from the other. That would really interfere with the flooring and it would look terrible having a hole in the floor for that in that location. We debated it but then decided we didn’t need either wire upstairs. We don’t even have cable TV in our house, nor a phoneline. So, sorry future owners of this house in twenty years… you will have to live off wi-fi. Merlin was a big help with untangling the wires.

This past week was all about paint for me. Of the seven days, I painted for six of them. Monday was Kevin’s office, and the mustard yellow we picked was perfect! I wanted to get that done first because we still had to get the flooring upstairs and I figured it was the best place to put it. But I was so frustrated with that paint! It just refused to cover. I started getting really sloppy with it, which meant fixing things later. (Grumble, grumble) 

We had almost 900 pounds of flooring that needed to be moved from the garage, up two flights of stairs and into the office. We asked for help with this. James was willing to carry the cumbersome boxes up and he came on Tuesday and shifted it all for us. Huge help!

My painting day on Tuesday was the spare room. We went with a deep green for it. Funny enough, it is called Garden Cucumber, and I’m allergic to cucumbers. In fact, three of the four colors on the swatch were poisonous to me. But it was a great color, so I’ll just have to avoid eating it.

Wednesday, I went through both rooms and gave them each another coat. I had to start with a second gallon of Saffron Strands because I had used a whole gallon on Monday. I should have gotten more Garden Cucumber but I hedged my bets and lost. Halfway through the extra coat in the green room, I ran out of paint.

Thursday, we didn’t do much of anything. Then Friday, it was time to do the rest of the green room’s additional coat. Saturday was ceiling day. Kevin handled the bulk of the ceilings with the roller while I worked the edges. And in doing so, I saw a lot of yellow and green places that needed patching, which was today’s task, along with the window trims. I’m officially tired of painting.

Merlin, our dear Project Kitty, was around for all of this, while Monty kept his distance. Merlin likes to know what’s going on, so he lingers. Well, today he jumped up onto the dresser, where I had out the tray of white paint. I just didn’t interrupt him in time. He scampered out, ran down the stairs with a white trail behind him, and sauntered into the living room, trekking across the area rug. When I went down to nab him, he shot off awkwardly — sticky with paint — onto the rug in the dining room. Fishing him out from there, he ran back into the living room and up the stairs, into the finished bedroom! White footprints on the new floor and the area rug. And he hunkered under the bed and needed to be chased out. His chest had taken paint, so squeezing under the bed made some white paint drag marks. Kevin teased him to the other side of the bed and I dragged him out — sorry kitty. Then it was a deep bath for him, while Kevin started the paint-paw cleanup process. This whole ordeal took almost an hour. He’s all back to normal now.

Returning to our tasks, Kevin switched out the other outlets in the rooms and he installed Nest smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and a thermostat. The number of outlets upstairs is wild — yet not a one in the hallway somehow — and there’s an alarm in every room. Oh, and I almost forget, he did the light switches too.

We then emptied everything out of the three rooms because tomorrow is floor installation day! I carried the boxes and ladders down, and Kevin vacuumed everything once we replaced the filter on the shop vac.

After the floor goes it, we have to reset the rooms, which should be easy enough. Then we’re calling Rodger back to help us with (read: do for us) the moldings in the hallway and two rooms. Then we sort through the stuff in the basement and then we finally call this project done. 

But what a project it has been!

 

 

 

Nearly_empty.jpg

Reinventing the Wheel

I can’t seem to help myself. Whenever I need something new, I tend to create it from scratch instead of looking around and using something that already exists. I’m always reinventing the wheel, even though there are so many great wheels already out there.

I do this with teaching all the time. If I need a new worksheet, I don’t search the internet for one. I create a new one. And I try to change it up and ask different questions from those I’ve used before and I try to mix up the format. Too often, when I’m searching for worksheets, I find it takes forever to narrow down the search to something I like and then it often asks for things that I don’t feel are relevant. In the time it takes to do all the searching, I can usually just make a new one.

I’ve done it with writing too. Some scenes or chapters need more work than simple tweaks and I find it’s better for me to hold on to the essence of what I want to say and start over, writing a new scene. Trying to rework a scene is much more tedious and makes it feel like I pulled all the limbs off a stuffed animal and sewed them back on in different places. It may make for a cuter teddy bear sometimes, but why not just grab some new fabric, thread, and stuffing and start it over fresh?

Right now, I’m engaged in a massive teaching project. For the first time ever, I’m trying to teach my kids coding. I’m not an expert on higher architecture, but I always loved programming the Commodore 64 and now that I’m married to a genius in the field, I’ve got the coding bug. I wrote a C# applet to calculate heat equations and even included an option to dream up random questions for students to solve. I also created an applet that will determine an atom’s ground state electron configuration, though I needed Kevin’s help with getting it to draw the Bohr models. He was also instrumental for helping me change them over from C# to JavaScript and HTML. 

I still want to create a Factor Label converter but I don’t understand the breadth-first search Kevin had showed me a few months ago and I haven’t taken the time to try to figure it out. Granted, that’s a way upper-level coding strategy, so I won’t need that for what I’m planning to teach, but I intend to spend some time this summer figuring it out.

But with all the experience I do have, I recreated a Disney Wii game, Guilty Party, in C# and got all the logic to work correctly in figuring out culprits and doling out clues, etc. I have also started crafting an old style RPG to tell Dariak’s teenage story. That’s been on hiatus because of wedding planning and getting ready for my teaching of coding.

And this gets me back to where I was headed in the first place. There are plenty of sites and tutorials and options out there for teaching coding. There are plenty of languages to choose from too. I had to narrow it down, and I’ve decided to go with JavaScript because of its link to HTML. I believe I can get the students to do some cool things with it.

But I need reference material. Yes, of course, I should teach them how to find the information online. And I will. But that’s after getting them started. That’s after showing them the basic concepts. And so I’ve been working on a slideshow for the past two months, editing and updating it as I read through it and adjusting the flow of which topics to cover when. 

I also want to have a basic note sheet they can keep nearby for reference. Something that reminds them of proper syntax for typing the code itself and for using various common statements and keywords. The majority of my searches have shown me great websites for upper level programmers and great resources if you know what you’re looking for. 

So I’m doing it again. The type of worksheet I’m looking for may be out there, but I haven’t found it yet, so it feels more worth my time just creating it myself.

Maybe I just like wheels?

Numbers

I love numbers. I see patterns in them everywhere. Like today is 4/4 and there are 4 more days to our wedding. Today was also my 41st workout session with David and I’m 41. On Thursday, my last session before the wedding will be number 42 and I will spend my entire 42nd year and beyond as a married man. Plus 42, as we all know, is the meaning of life. Today is also 38 days away from my birthday and that’s just four days less than becoming 42. Four days ago would have been 42 days away from my birthday and that would have been 8 days away from our wedding which is on the 8th day of the 4th month.

Ok, I’m getting carried away.

I’m so excited for this Saturday, to be standing with Kevin, to exchanging rings, to taking him as my husband. It’s going to be so much fun (and I will not bore you with the detail that the ceremony is at 4 for the 2 of us…)

Omg, ok, so on April 8 at 4, the 2 of us become 1. Powers of two! Binary code! This post has four paragraphs so I’ll stop now. 😜