Under the Category of…

Condo Chronicles, February 21, 2015: The Dust War

Saturday morning assessment: the bathroom work needs clean-up work. Drywall and sanding and flooring and painting in a 7 x 7 space left a fine film of dusts and almost minuscule plops of mediums… everywhere.

 

Under the Category of “If You’re Gonna Do It, Do It Right.”

Me (to nobody in particular, well, actually to no one, at all):

“Do I really need to wipe down all the walls?”

Walls (mine do talk): “Yes.”

Me (halfway to pretty sure I don’t): “I’ll take a swipe.”

Me (still skeptical): “I can hardly see a difference.”

Sponge (scientifically): “I can confirm that.”

Me (noting the blue is more lightly beige): “Eh, I’ll rinse and swipe once more to be sure.”

Bucket (with a list of its own): “I can confirm that.”

 

Under the Category of “Ear Worm – Get It Out.”

Me: (in an endless loop as I one-way wipe away dust, sidetrackedly stuck by unexpected ancient paint blotches) “If You’re Gonna Do It, Do It Right.” “If You’re Gonna Do It, Do It Right.” “If You’re Gonna Do It, Do It Right.” “For the Love of George– I’m doing it right! Get out of my head.”

Me (rational alter-ego): “Music would help.”

Me (scrambling for the phone and charge): “Slacker, Slacker! I’m no Slacker – but I’m glad I’ve got Slacker.”

Me (rational alter-ego): “You just ear wormed yourself again, didn’t you?”

 

Under the Category of “One Down, Two Down, Why Bother Counting?”

Me: Four hours later, winning the war against bathroom grit and numerous swipes of tell-tale sloppy decorators’ toilet tank paint. Obviously without any realistic notion of how long total de-dusting takes, and annoyingly burdened with weighty acknowledgement gleaned from having moved the ceramic-ton toilet and the unassembled shower door assembly, out and back into the shower.

Me: Two hours later, winning the war against kitchen grit and appliance atrocities. Reliving lessons previously not learned; recognizable (late) as errors. The Magic Eraser affair continues – removing grease and rust build-up, re-whitening (as much as possible due to previous neglect) appliance seal strips, door knobs (eventually slated for retire and replace-ments.)

 

Under the Category of “Oh, Yeah.”

Me: (years ago) Scoffed at the mother who allowed her toddler to play with the mysterious cleaning product and then complained when, after rubbing it all over his face repeatedly for an extended period of time the child developed chemical burns. It’s a cleaning product, lady, and why weren’t you supervising your kid?

Me (years later): Scrubbing a rental floor to a less dull shine, dissolving my fingernail tips and stripping the pads a bit, crashing into membership as an unfortunate inauspicious of the same “Duh” group.

 

Under the Category of “I’ve done this before.”

Me (lazy): “Oh, this should just take a couple wipes.”

Dishwasher Seal: “You don’t really believe that, do you?”

Me (in discovery mode): “There’s some more, and there’s some more and…”

Me (doing the whole thing, without a single intelligent consideration despite the incompletely eradicated worm-bastard): “If You’re Gonna Do It, Do It Right.”

Refrigerator (orange-ish-ly snarky): “Hey, what about taking another go at mine.”

Me (playing fair, addressing the other sealants in the room):  “If You’re Gonna Do It, Do It Right.”

Me (frantic for an antidote): “Argh! The phone’s not registering my really tender fingertip taps!”

Me (sheepishly sore): “Foolishness. You’ve done this before.”

 

Under the Category of “Break-Time!”

Me (finely, remembered): Finally remember to lift the yogurt lid away from my face, thus avoiding facial, eye-glass and wardrobe splatter.

Me (again): “Break Time!”

Me (not so long after) “Break Time!”

Me (the heck with this noise): “Nap Time!”

 

Under the Category of “Finished.”

Me (uncomfortably and somewhat numbly bumbling along my Android keys):

“An hour and a half in the kitchen. Two and a half hours in the living room/dining room/hallway. One hour in the bedroom. Forty-five minutes in the office, and one broken window shade: finished. I will likely do nothing else this weekend.”

 

Under the Category of “That’s Not Likely.”

Me (realistically, for a change): “That’s not likely…”

 

Quote for the Week:

I've done this same thing before  02 24 2015

Enjoy this Week’s Discovery Links:

Chemically: http://home.howstuffworks.com/magic-eraser.htm

Wormifying: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6W0d9xMhZbo

De-Dustify: http://www.howtocleanstuff.net/removing-interior-construction-dust/

 

Extra Extra: The Dust War Pictorials

20150221_080137 Dust line wall Slide2 Slide3 Slide4

Duck Soap

I can’t remember what I said, but I remember the gesture that accompanied it. I didn’t understand the extent of my mother’s anger. I was standing with my back to her, rolling my eyes, mumbling something. The crowning of the moment was a jerky thumb point over my shoulder, a cock of my head and the implied “can you believe this idiot” hand motion. Like an angry, squinty-eyed Fonz using his trademark thumb as a way to say, “Get out of my sight.”

I don’t remember how I got there: ushered or dragged. I can remember being boxed into the tiny half-bath, meeting my mother’s eyes in the mirror. I remember the beige pedestal sink, the golden-toned soap, the taste, the tears and the gagging, the towel and the rinsing. And, unfortunately, I can remember this happening more than once.

I never had a dirty mouth. The problem was emphasis and tone, and a consistent failure at feigning innocence. Cursing, though, has never been my thing. My clever young-teen friends and I developed the opposite of an acronym. Not at all antonyms – but rather elongation of words we weren’t allowed to say. I don’t think the words would even make it onto a list of preferential parental no-no words for the last quarter century.

Sugar-Honey-Iced-Tea. Somehow, we even managed to justify dragging it through an ignorant impression of a southern draw; exaggerated, quite uncharming and probably fooling no one. Carp-Eggs was another; a tad more obscure. Flip around the two between the C and P. ‘Eggs’ was just added as camouflage; weak camouflage. Skating and twirling around the real phrases, I chose to go with close-ers: Son of a Monkey’s Butt.  Door knob.

Somewhere between there and here, I acquired comfortableness for playful cursing, for restricted use only in emphatically appropriate situations. A phrase involving a sexual act and ending in “a Duck” slipped out one day, in the presence of someone who should have never heard that, especially not from me. Despite our agreeable amusement, I insisted we be sworn to secrecy.

Somewhere in my recent timeline, the real McCoys have taken over. I’ve absorbed these words my whole, sponge life. Even saturated, I never intended to use them often and commonly. Behind the wheel, in the living room, alone, in private and public conversations, the nastiness rolls out as easily as the next breath rolls in. I enjoy the volume and shock. It feels good. It feels angry, and I’ve been very angry lately, mindlessly injecting inappropriate adjectives, repetitively

This reminds me of a story my father would tell, ending in a subtle menacing point. Having returned home from a teenage testosterone filled Boy Scout Camp summer, where boys do and say what coming of age boys do and say, he matter-of-factly requested that his father pass him the fucking salt. He didn’t get the salt. He did get a strong backhand. I got the message.

I have been emotionally caught myself up in my own net. Thrashing and shouting, getting meaner and meaner, and I’ve finally figured out that isn’t going to help and that it doesn’t feel as good as it did when I first allowed it. I don’t need to cut and slash myself loose. I just need to stop, sit still and wait for the moment to pass.

Going cold turkey isn’t on the schedule, yet. Maybe at the end of the Condo Chronicles I will revert back to the lady-like impression I strive to project. Until then, I’ve coined a few playfully offensive you-know-what-I’m-getting-at words to hopefully be used less frequently and more sparingly than I have been the real ones. Bumblefluck. Fidiot.  Maybe later on down the line, for lesser situations, I’ll tone it down to a more commonly feminine Ratsafrass or Dilligaf.

In the meantime, I have no intention of sucking on soap, and I’ll do my best not to disparage any more ducks.

Quote for the Week:

If you can’t find an appropriate word for the occasion 02 10 2015

Enjoy this Week’s Discovery Links:

Science Supports Swearing: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/why-do-we-swear/

History of Soapy Mouths: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Washing_out_mouth_with_soap

Bad Jokes (some about ducks): http://www.recreationtherapy.com/tx/trajokes.htm

Catch Up

Truth is, I no longer have the energy to go back and recount details. It’s actually unfathomable to me that this adventure is still a work-in-progress.

I just wanted to hire someone who would do what they said, when they said they would do it, finish when promised, and for the amount agreed upon. So far, only one has come through – ProTect Painters. They’re awesome; I’d recommend them. There’s still potential for others, but I find I’m adjusting my shoulders a lot, signaling defeatism. Shrugging up and down is hard on the neck  muscles. As is toting purchases to and from Lowe’s, Home Depot, World Market, Sherwin Williams and The Tile Shop. In and out of carts, car trunks, up flights of stairs and ramps, down flights of stairs and ramps with the only upside of having downsized.  At this point, I’m willing to magnify every tiny plus, and this exercise in returns has helped lower me down few pounds.

The unhappy prospect of reliving the past two month, coupled with face-to-face requests announcing others simply don’t want to hear any more about my trials, and the suggestion I stop talking about it. The first was just selfish forthcoming of a regularly single-minded person. The second may have had a bit of validity. The internet’s been abuzz with reasons, data and charts exclaiming, vent as an anger dilution-solvent does not dissipate the strength of bad feeling; rather it perpetuates them.

Temporarily subscribing to this theory, rather than torture myself or you, I’ve decided a pictorial  might be the best way to track the ups and down, the good, the bad, and the unfortunately permanently ugly. I say “permanently” mostly for the drama effect. Of course I can correct these things, as soon as I win the lottery, or perhaps get an amazing tax return for having established ownership.

So here goes: Part One – a bit of a re-cap, just to remind myself that things were actually worse. Closed October 29th. Interviewed contractors November 5th. Projected move-in date: December 17th.

First Up: Bathroom Demo.

Buying into self-demolition wasn’t hard. The estimated savings was a $3,000.00 chunk of labor, and the excitement of an easy DIY. After a while, (about two weekends) of painfully slow progress, I determined I was being a little too careful  with my destruction, and I wasn’t all the comfortable working with plumbing. A few You-tube sessions later, I called in reinforcement. Two days, and a good deal of laughter later, the bath was as bare bones as possible, except for the tub. The original cause of concern was what may or may not lie beneath the old chipped steel behemoth. I figured the contractor was going to have it easy: take out the tub, inspect the floor, install a shower. Boom, done. This would be preceded by flooring, followed by flooring, followed by painting, followed by fixture replacing, and moving.

Progress Pictorial:

starting point                                     concern

20141105_090119 beginning 20141115_181402 tile concerns 2

tile # 1                                                   a few more

20141115_181745 20141115_183512

 um, that’s my putty knife                     what’s left of putty knife

20141119_124240 20141119_123738 (2)

um, there goes my mallet                  shower shark

20141119_125109 (2)  20141128_122959 shower shark

piles of tiles                                                         down to studs

20141123_151946tubday3 20141128_173242 to the studs

sink                                                      less sink

20141128_173341 sink start 20141129_135417 minus toilet

no sink                                               5 layers of floor

20141129_135724 sink out 20141129_141332

less layers                                           un-finished floor

20141129_152316 5 layer floor 20141129_172227 Down to the end

what was found                                     new shower

20141130_164404 under tile 20141202_164750 shower in 1

                                                                       plumber: all done and tested!

 wait, what’s with the bump-out?                 me: really? how’d ya do that w/o hardware?

20141217_085556 shower in wall bump  20141204_090609 shower in tested

what bath floor was supposed to look like      left side =  hall / right = supposed bath match

 20141119_112615 floor # 1 20141231_104627 no match

ordered new floor of solid-ish grey…   delivered with a “slight dye-lot issue.”

 20150107_132712 floor # 2 20150121_130949 more floor

sink, I think                                         still trying to choose paint to replace

                                                               the seafoamingatthemouth color

 20150123_170441 sink i think 20150123_171954 paint samples

 Quote for the Week:

Question as frequently as needed 01 27 2015

Enjoy This Week’s Discovery Links:

ProTect Painters:  www.protectpainters.com/

Shower install $ : http://www.homeadvisor.com/cost/plumbing/install-a-shower/

How to Try on Colors:

http://www.sherwin-williams.com/homeowners/color/try-on-colors/color-matching-services/

Dear YouTube

Thanks to you, YouTube, the renovation of one tiny bathroom seemed like a workable solo project. A few simple prep steps, and I’d be on my way to easily saving three hundred dollars off a last-minute quote that came in at half the near $6,000 price of two others. Thanks to you, I could have what I wanted within a 10 x 10 space and within my budget. I got glittery-eyed when I realized I would not have to decide which elements of condo repair to put-off indefinitely. I bought in.

It’s not like I was going in with my eyes closed. Demolition in an unsafe environments, covered in Tyvek suiting, a construction helmet, steel-toe boots, long pants, safety goggles and working in 100 degree temperatures with 100 percent humidity had me envisioning November’s delightful little cool, easing into Michigan winter as a blessing. No sweat required, and even if I happened to break one, it wouldn’t come close to the New Orleans soakings post Katrina.

Thanks to you, YouTube, I gathered enough I-can-do-this confidence to tackle removing 1978 tackiness. Thanks to you, I knew I had to know what was underneath it all. Obviously water-soaked cabinet bottoms, the view from the basement up, cracked tiles and chips in the steel tub forewarned of scary issues that were better known than un. Scenes from The Money Pit and Mouse Hunt had me terrified of stepping into a fall scene.

Fears rallied commitment; commitment rallied knowledge. Knowledge decided YouTube would be the way to go. Numerous DIY tile removal blips demonstrated quick tap-taps scoring and popping off tiles in rapid succession, no special tools required. Any old putty knife and mallet would do. Did I mention with ease? Because, truly, YouTube, your guides were perfect and thorough, promising ease of removement as if life were a PG rated Disney movie, and wearing a ball gown would only aid my efforts.

Less than a dozen tiles in, my YouTube visions crumbled, unlike my walls. There was no firm tapping to score grout. Full blown arm and hammer swings sent miniscule shards flying, caused flint-arcs, smoke puffs and concern. Somewhere around a dozen and half down and three hours later, the putty knife gave up. The handle withdrew, but a major piece of flimsy metal remained lodged behind another stubborn tile, leaving the tool with some wicked curved edges and sharp points I theorized would make the goings easier.

My dear YouTube, the recommended rubber mallet scuffed up the neon turquoise walls a bit when I tried to come in at a closer angle, or when I full-out missed the shortened putty knife. I rarely missed, though. I mean, before the mallet head bonked me in my head and the handle flew past me in trajectory. It was a rather old mallet. I’m estimating its demise at 40 years or so.

After four hours, according to YouTube time, I should have been much further along, and not nearly tool-less. Resolute in non-deterance, YouTube savvy once again, proved not every demonstration employed a rubber mallet, and that the removal of tile is truly a cinch. My ancient ball-peen and I continued pounding brittle, yet indestructible, porcelain. Imagining life without the use of the top two digits holding the smooshed plastic putty knife handle I’d been less-surface-area-with-which-to-hit-the-target miss/whacking out of sheer won’t-quit stubbornness called an end to evening one.

Quote for the Week:

The smallest thing can be our biggest challenge

Enjoy this Week’s Discovery Links:

Every Tile Was Like The First: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ML3wo4vYPI

Comedic-born Fear: https://www.google.com/search?q=gif+from+money+pit&rlz=1C1CHFX_enUS483US483&espv=2&biw=1600&bih=775&tbm=isch&imgil=25O7Wt8LxHp6uM%253A%253BRqHT1-5NDap3kM%253Bhttps%25253A%25252F%25252Fwww.tumblr.com%25252Fsearch%25252Fthe%2525252Bmoney%2525252Bpit&source=iu&pf=m&fir=25O7Wt8LxHp6uM%253A%252CRqHT1-5NDap3kM%252C_&usg=__WFryHpZnZPiOcOR9JiSFL3xzUF4%3D&ved=0CDEQyjc&ei=Vc2QVPrHE9LZsATfvoGIBQ#facrc=_&imgdii=_&imgrc=rRk-Xf0S3tOxhM%253A%3BRqHT1-5NDap3kM%3Bhttps%253A%252F%252F38.media.tumblr.com%252Ftumblr_lp5puciWMi1qze9ylo1_500.gif%3Bhttps%253A%252F%252Fwww.tumblr.com%252Fsearch%252Fthe%252Bmoney%252Bpit%3B500%3B256

 

Owe and Own

I own and owe; for the next 30 years.

The last time I made a long-term commitment , it turned out to not be so long. Still, the fact that I was prepared to honor that commitment is mighty considering my track record of temporariness.

My un-commitments have been more a more solid bet: jobs, towns, hair color. Not only have I never been bothered by change, I’ve looked forward to it, craved it. The forward-to part hasn’t always panned out positive. When you’re beginning an adventure, and everyone else has already been stuck there for years, your point of view isn’t always appreciated. I’ve found myself an unwelcome short-term outsider who only now can appreciate how my just being there could upset a hierarchical apple-cart, especially one of the preppy-kind. Doesn’t make me feel any better about that year, but I can teeter-totter rationalize forgiveness; some days more than others.

I’ve only recently concluded there are more minutia commitments than grand-scale. We commit every day. Sometimes it’s a job, or a promise to study harder, or play harder, or practice harder. We commit and recommit to exercise, intelligent eating, saving money.

We commit to brushing our teeth in the evening, showering in the morning, and something doesn’t feel right if we don’t. Rote is solid; solidity is commitment. I’ve moved so many times, I don’t despise it. It’s a habit. I might miss that moving feeling in short-time, weigh-in will come later.

This is long-term true. I want to get it right. Once. I don’t want to have to go back and rework. I don’t want to be paralyzed by having to get it exactly right, either. These days define as ups and downs. Some sway longer than others.

“Now” spends a lot of time fighting with “whenever,” which is completely irrelevant because resources are limited. I am uncomfortably staring down a 14-year sprint to retirement savings. “Have-to” is going to win over “want-to,” because I still haven’t ever matched more than one number in the Mega Millions lottery.

I’m spending so much time arguing with myself that I simply don’t have the energy to argue with anyone else.

Some people are liking this new trend; others appear to be loving it.

Quote for the Week:

There’s an art to successfully arguing with yourself 11 18 2014

Enjoy this Week’s Discovery Links:

Keeping Commitments: http://elitedaily.com/life/stop-breaking-commitments/

Historical Mortgage: http://www.mortgagecalculator.org/helpful-advice/american-mortgage-history.php

Arguing Opposites: http://www.unlearning101.com/fuhgetaboutit_the_art_of_/2009/12/argue-with-yourself-its-not-debatable.html

 

Stression

The Season of Stress Sessions and Shoulder Tension has arrived. As if a late Thanksgiving followed by a quick-moving Christmas and a must-squeeze-the-last-minute-out-of-this-year pre-New Year’s resolution weren’t going to prove challenging enough, just for fun, I’ve thrown a condo, repairs, renovations and moving into the mix.

I’ll be sitting still most of the day a week from now monitoring contractors. Although, I’m still self-arguing that block could be used for bathroom demolishment, I’m also thinking it would be prime  for addressing Thanksgiving and New Address cards. Just so you won’t be disappointed, fair-warning there will be no individually assembled masterpieces this year. I have photographically employed my signature artistic creation, though, so I’ve at least that satisfied a modicum of individuality and a little of my buck-the-norm sensibilities.

By default, my previous no-idea-where-to-begin list from h e double hockey-sticks, has been trashed. I still may grant privy, just to show where my thought wandering comes from.

I may also need to live with the powder blue, sun-bleached, salt-stained, mud-run 35-year-old carpet for a bit in favor of a new electric panel from a company without a class-action lawsuit, re-replace copper or pvc piping replaced with polybutylene, and procure a more efficient furnace than the 1978 needs-so-much-work I should just ease my mind and get a new one which also means re-piping due to previous gas leaks.

There’s an interesting story from The Condo Chronicles. On the second tour, accompanied by and agent and an inspector, I thought I smelled gas. No one else did, but (the story goes) the property had been closed up for a while, it’s not unusual, blah blah blah. An hour and twenty minutes later, we trio-ed the basement. Another thirty-five or so minutes checked out the electric panel, the hack plumbing and for the final assessment, the furnace. There’s this nifty little wand thing that gets waved around the furnace and water heater. It detects gas leaks and sounds an alarm. I really loud alarm, experience has shown. Off with the gas, out with us, utilities notification and that was that.

On my way to researching the cost of a magic peace-of-mind wand, I reviewed the inspection details and realized, replacement was the recommendation.  That worst-case-scenario mentality and I probably wouldn’t have slept well wondering if it was leaking now, or leaking now, or leaking now?

I’ll sign off this week announcing my intention to spend every free moment moving something, unpacking something, possibly painting something, while hosting contractors. I should also probably announce the already creeping overwhelm. Yup; Stression.

Quote for the Week:

magic peace of mind wand

Enjoy this Week’s Discovery Links:

Bob Vila, Where to Begin: http://www.bobvila.com/articles/2232-home-additions-and-renovation-projects-where-to-begin/#.VGKnLfnF-RE

Don’t Worry: http://www.positivityblog.com/index.php/2014/02/19/stop-worrying/

Be Happy:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oo4OnQpwjkc and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mACqcZZwG0k