Monthly Archives: November 2014

Thanksgiving Eve Update

Happy Thanksgiving Eve, friends!  I don’t know about you, but I have tons of food to begin prepping, so this is going to be short and sweet!  We have a 22 pound gobbler and 12 people eating, which means lots o’ slicin’ and dicin’ in my future!  I’m really looking forward to it though, so no complaining here!

Since the flooring demo finally finished up last week, Mr. Fixer and I have moved on to general clean up in preparation for replacing all the old electrical wiring in the house.  For Mrs. Fab, this means lots of vacuuming; and for Mr. Fixer, balancing between ceiling joists while he removes the old blown-in insulation in the attic (this will make it easier to run new wiring).  In between, there has only been a teensy bit of whining from yours truly — “Honey, are we DONE yet??”  Yes, I admit, it does happen from time to time!  But I digress…

Enjoy this wonderful holiday before us!  I hope everyone takes a few moments to reflect on and give thanks for all the gifts, blessings, and privileges that we are able to enjoy!

With Thanksgiving hugs,

Mrs. Fab

Leaky toilet

We bid adieu to the last remaining toilet (yes, it was leaking too!). Now my body likes to play tricks on me every time I go to the house — I walk in the door and immediately have to pee!!!

Nick de-nailing

Our friend Nick has been our most faithful helper through this huge project of ours. Many, many thanks Nick!


Our most generous house-mate, Gaurav, came to check the place out and give us a hand. We think he finally wants us to get out of his place ASAP! 😉

Another leak

Oh look — another leak! This is where the 1980’s addition is meeting the original portion of the house.

Mr. Fixer removing insulation

Mr. Fixer begins the process of bagging up insulation. Good thing our house is pretty small!

Bags of insulation in attic

These three bags of insulation are only the beginning! [The hole in the floor to the right is from the chimney we removed.]

Wrapping up Demo… Again

A couple weeks ago when I wrote Wrapping Up Demo, I thought Mr. Fixer and I were finally on the cusp of the rebuilding phase for our bare-bones house.  Goodness, was I wrong.  But now I can say that we truly are!  The flooring has been completely removed, and we are ready to begin replacing electrical and plumbing.  Yippee — one step closer in the process of fixer to fab! 🙂

Addition subfloor

Starbucks gift card to the first person who can tell me IN A COMMENT what is missing from this picture (other than the floor – duh!).

So what was the holdup, you might wonder?  Well, the [probably well-meaning] geniuses who put the beautiful yellow linoleum in the living room not only glued it on top of the hardwood, but they first glued down a layer of tar paper.  In addition, the way the hardwood was originally nailed down made it extremely difficult to pry up.  Mr. Fixer used his circular saw to cut the flooring into smaller pieces, which then made it easier to pull up, but also a bit more time-consuming.  We then had to painstakingly pull off both the layer of linoleum and the layer of tar paper from each individual piece of wood!  [Well, we didn’t have to, but we wanted to salvage what we could and reduce our waste at the dump.]  Talk about tedious work!  Combine this with an absent Mrs. Fab (yay for beach vacations!) and the cold-to-the-bones weather, and you’ve got a bit of a delay.  That is the way the construction game goes, though–it always takes longer than you think!

Hope everyone has been staying warm these last several days!  If you have it in your heart to donate some food or clothing to the Oregon Food Bank, there are lots of folks who could use the love!  Visit for more info!


Mrs. Fab

Mr. Fixer pulling up linoleum

As difficult as it was to remove, I sure am glad to see that linoleum go!

Removing tar paper

Mrs. Fab’s job was to remove the tar paper from each piece of wood and separate the pieces into a good pile and a bad pile. Super fun!

Hardwood flooring origin

One of my favorite things about this project so far — finding remnants of history beneath the rubble.

Mr. Fixer with large demo bar

Mr. Fixer bought a fancy pry bar to help with the rest of the flooring demo. It sure made quick work of it!

Mr. Fixer preparing to pull up floor

Ready to tackle the parquet flooring in the addition.

Parquet removal

Goodness, if only the rest of the flooring had been this easy to pull out! Mr. Fixer was awfully proud of himself! 😉




Bags of trash

Loads of garbage — tar paper and linoleum mostly. This doesn’t even include all the junk already in the truck!





Lessons in Hospitality

One of the things I am most excited about in terms of finally being a homeowner is the opportunity to serve others in my own home.  Ever since I was a kid I have been drawn towards the idea of “hospitality.”  For example, one of my favorite movies growing up was Dunston Checks In.   Aside from the endearing relationship between the little boy and orangutan, I was most fascinated with the luxurious hotel and accommodations in the film.  I was only eleven at the time that the movie came out, but the concept of providing such opulent comfort for travelers really drew me in.  (Okay, so living in such opulent comfort might have had something to do with it too!)

As I got older, I became more and more convinced that I would somehow end up in the hospitality industry.  I shadowed the general manager of a high-end hotel while I was in high school and spent countless hours researching the best programs to apply for in college.  I envisioned myself wearing power suits and living in the penthouse suite of some fancy resort, catering to big shots a la Barney Thompson in Pretty Woman.

At this point, some of you who know me personally might wonder why these dreams never materialized.  The only thing I can point to as the principle reason — fear.  Fear of leaving my hometown and close proximity to family; fear of putting myself into too much student debt; fear of what others would think; fear of making the wrong career choice… just plain fear.

I would like to think that I have no regrets, though.  My path definitely took me elsewhere, but my desire for hospitality is still a huge part of who I am.  Of course, my idea of hospitality has certainly evolved since then, too.  My dreams have changed from luxury hotels to homey B&B’s, from 5 star accommodations to generosity, humility, and grace.  Steaming cups of coffee. Warm-from-the-oven muffins.  Cozy kitchens and crackling fireplaces.

A major contributor to this shift in thinking — Jesus (and the people He put in my life to show me His love).  One person that taught me a great deal about Jesus’ idea of hospitality has been a dear role model of mine since high school.  Thelma has Jesus written all over her mind, body, and soul.  She exudes grace and gentleness and peace.   Every Thursday morning throughout my high school years (and for years before and after!), Thelma would open her home and feed a multitude of girls from church and school the most amazing breakfasts.  Yummy blueberry muffins.  Sweet and sticky cinnamon buns. Fresh fruit.  Creamy egg casseroles.  All on the most beautiful dishes.

Those breakfasts went beyond the delicious food and lovely dishware, though. It was during that time that I learned hospitality is not about 1000 thread-count sheets, but fellowship with one another.  It was a time to enter into each others’ lives, grow in friendship, and pray for one another.  Those mornings in my angst-filled teen years are certainly some of my fondest memories.

So here I sit on a Monday morning, following a wonderful beach getaway weekend with dear friends, reflecting on hospitality and wondering how I can fit more of it into my life.  How I still have so much more to learn about the subject.  How I can be more like Mary than Martha and not get caught up in the preparations, but focus more on relationships and God’s love. How I can use my new home to serve others.  But most of all, how thankful I am that Jesus moved me beyond the luxury of a resort to the humbleness of His table.


Mrs. Fab

P.S.  Has a movie or book or someone in your life inspired your concept of hospitality?  I’d love to hear your stories!

Design Revisions

Happy Wednesday, friends!  I don’t know about you, but I am especially looking forward to this coming weekend.  I have a wonderful beach getaway planned with 10 awesome gals, and I can’t wait!  I feel a teensy bit guilty that I am leaving Mr. Fixer to work on the house all by himself, but quality time with girlfriends is so important for Mrs. Fab’s soul!  And maybe some of my gal pals’ hubbies will join Mr. Fixer and have their own manly-man time (hint, hint). 😉

For the last couple weeks, I have been meaning to update you all on a couple small changes to our design plan.  As Mr. Fixer and I were discussing the mechanical/electrical plan for the house, we decided that it would be less cumbersome to figure out a venting strategy for the range if it was on the exterior wall where the sink was originally planned.  Here’s an explanation for why this decision was made:

  • Every range needs to have a ventilation system to get grease, smoke, and moisture out of the air while one is cooking.  For ranges that are not against a wall, the ductwork has nowhere to hide except in the cabinetry and/or flooring below.  This creates a space issue, and when you are short on space like us, it just doesn’t make sense!
  • The ubiquitous microwave.  I am not a big microwave user, so it gets forgotten in my design programming much of the time.  Mr. Fixer, though, thoroughly enjoys zapping his food, so he was the one who pointed out the issue of where we were going to put it!  In a large kitchen with plenty of cabinetry, the days of the microwave being over the range are pretty long gone.  However, in a small kitchen like ours, that really is the best location for it. [Because, ugh! — who wants a microwave taking up their entire kitchen counter-space?!]

The second small change we made was simply flipping our built-in at the new back entrance to the opposite wall.  We chose to do this because of the future desire to have that back portion of the home a lovely master suite (instead of its current designation as a rental unit).  By locating the built-in on the other wall, therefore, that leaves room for future french doors to lead into the master.

Take a look, and please let us know if you have any questions, comments, or suggestions!


Mrs. Fab

Changes are noted in red.

Changes are noted in red.

The new design, with the aforementioned changes.

The new design, with the aforementioned changes.

Wrapping up Demo

Oh my goodness, friends — can you believe that it’s November already?!  Personally, I am absolutely amazed at how time flies.  Mr. Fixer and I have now been homeowners for a whole month; and lo and behold, that first mortgage payment is due in about a week.  Yikes!  It doesn’t seem right that we have to pay a mortgage for a home we’re not even living in yet, does it? Hmmm, donations… anyone?

I am finally seeing a tiny bit of light at the end of the tunnel, though.  Heading into Saturday with a bit of a sugar hangover from Halloween revelry, Mr. Fixer and I began to tackle the final bit of demo — flooring!  Our friend Pat, who happens to be a general contractor (yay for experienced help!), helped us get that started, along with removing the last bit of drywall from the laundry room.  I was basically useless with the floor demo, I must say.  Busting out each individual plank is tough work!  Mr. Fixer told me I needed to work on my upper body strength and then sent me along to another project! 😉

Our other dear friend, Mike, came by for shift number two, and by the end of the afternoon, two bedrooms were finished!  The remainder of the floor demo will consist of a large expanse of hardwood (with linoleum glued on top) in the living room.  Good thing Mr. Fixer is so strong!


Mr. Fixer and Pat making quick work of this floor demo!


I know this would make a killer bonfire, but we’re hoping to salvage some of it. Mr. Fixer thinks that he can try to refinish most pieces, so I will be thinking of some fun ways we can re-purpose it!


An easier job for Mrs. Fab — removing the cedar trim around the ceiling of the addition. We hope to reuse some of this, as it is really tongue and groove bead board flipped upside down!


Mike is letting us borrow his shop vac. He’s an amazing worker and cleaner-upper!


Speaking of cleaning up, I would say half our time is spent simply loading the truck for runs to the dump/salvage yard.

I hope everyone is having a wonderful start to their week (and month)!  I have a feeling it is going to zoom by, so enjoy the gift of these days ahead!


Mrs. Fab