Wednesday, May 21, 2014


Most people would be appalled at covering hardwood floors with carpet.  Those people probably don't have 3 very loud little boys.  My kids sound like a herd of baby elephants who even make their elephant mama say "what the what the?" with all the noise.  

Our oldest is a very early riser and thinks that the only way to get out of bed is to launch himself out of the bed, shaking the entire house as he hits the ground so that everyone, including the Richter Scale knows he's awake.  It immediately wakes his younger brothers and then the trio is off to wake mom and dad.  After 5.5 years of sleep deprivation it was time to take action.

When we bought the house we knew that the flooring would all have to be replaced.  It was badly damaged from the prior owners' pet(s) and had been refinished so many times they couldn't be sanded down any further.  At this point in our lives carpet makes the most sense.  Quiet, economical and provides a little cushion when the boys fall/jump/push each other out of their beds.  We chose a nylon carpet from Shaw in 'perfect beige.'   It has a subtle checked pattern.

Water damage from a bathroom leak behind the wall.  Now you see it... you don't.

Morning #1 post installation we all slept 1/2 hour later.  Even if it never happens again that 1/2 hour was amazing and will have been worth every penny :)

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Looking Up

We're still in the mad dash to get the projects completed that will become messier post-new carpet installation.  That included recessed lighting and crown molding in the two remaining bedrooms.  Sean's done so many of these projects now that he gets them completed relatively quickly and without too much cursing.  I can't say enough good things about the Kreg Crown Pro tool.  Worth every penny of the $30 price tag.

The lights are 4" LED recessed cans.  Forgive the bad photo - lighting is tough to photograph.  Even though they're on the warmer spectrum of LED's they're still pretty white and take some getting used to.  Saving the world is full of sacrifice.  

Even better - the crown is up in Matthew & Evan's rooms!  It is amazing what a 3.5" piece of crown does for a room.   Squint your eyes and you can barely tell I haven't putty'ed the nail holes or painted it yet.  That's my strategy until I get the energy to get that done.

Sean finished the installation 12 hours before the carpet guys showed up and I was frantically caulking at 6 AM that morning.  

Detour.  As I was checking out the updates I realized I don't think I've shown you the boys bathroom.  I live with lots of men, short and tall.  Even the dog is a dude.  I'm embracing it and have decided the boys' bathroom should be uber masculine.  Navy and white stripped shower curtain from West Elm.

So those are the last 2 big projects we wanted to complete before the carpet.  Finished just in time!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Just because you can DIY something doesn't mean you should

I don't like to have things done for me.  If I'm on the NJ/PA border and need gas I'll wait until I get to PA so I can pump it myself.  I can count the number of manicures I've had in my life with the ragged fingers on one hand.  I have a hard time sitting still and I figure if I physically can do something why let someone else do it for me?  Turns out my idea of "physically can" is unrealistic.

Let me back up to how I learned the lesson in this post's title.  We are having carpet installed in the boys' bedrooms and hallway this weekend which lit a fire to do all the things that will become more difficult or messier post-installation (patching walls, baseboards, etc.).  Feeling confident after replacing Brady's baseboard heater I thought I'd tackle it again in Matthew's room.  There was a strange gap where an awkward door used to be, end-caps were missing or falling off.  It was a mess.

I took my measurements and bought the materials.  Just like in Brady's room I used a reciprocating saw to detach the existing heater cover from the wall.  A reciprocating saw is a powerful tool that will demo just about anything using a back and forth motion (like a jackhammer) and a blade on the end.  It can be dangerous.  To ensure I didn't damage my eyes I used goggles.  To ensure I didn't damage my hearing I used ear plugs.  To ensure I didn't dislocate a shoulder or cut an appendage off I decided to use my entire body weight to control it since my arms are not considered impressive at any gun show.  Well my "entire body weight" is 92 lbs.  So while I was successful in replacing the baseboard cover with my fingers and feet in tact I did not take into account the damage that the full body shaking would do to my head.

I woke up the next morning to a headache and a blind spot in my vision.  Thinking a migraine was starting I took some Aleve and continued on my day.  Then I noticed an inability to read my book on my train commute.  A dull headache and a feeling of being carsick followed me for about 5 days.  Finally I saw a doctor to discover two retinal hemorrhages in my eye and a frayed blood vessel due to oxygen deprivation in my eye's blood vessel.  I had given myself a concussion.  Or my unprofessional diagnosis, I was a complete dumb-dumb.

While I was having 9 vials of blood drawn to rule out other causes all I could focus on was a spot on the doctor's dry wall that was badly patched and I wanted nothing more than a spackle knife to scrape it all off and fix it.  The first step is recognition right?

I'm retiring from reciprocating saws because what good is home improvement if you blind yourself in the process and can't see it anyway?