Monthly Archives: January 2015

Windows, Tubs, & Doors

Hello, friends!  This week I feel like I have been wrestling with my ever-growing to-do list, and even though I planned on posting this Monday, here it is on Thursday!  Like most people I’m sure, I have a love/hate relationship with my to-do list.  Without it, I’d be lost; but with it, I can get so overwhelmed!  Sigh…

[Y.O.G.A. @ 2pm.  Breathe.]

First off, how ’bout that new blog header, eh?!  My wonderful friend Aubrey whipped that up for me this last week (literally, she’s so talented I think she just wiggled her nose and it was done), and I adore it!  I’d love to hear your feedback on the design, too, so please leave your comments and let me know what you think!  Also, if you need your own graphic design services, let me know and I will get you in touch with this dear friend of mine.

Now, on to a house update!  With the nice(-ish) weather that we had last weekend, Mr. Fixer started putting in more windows at the back of the house.  These windows were a little more time-consuming because they weren’t just replacement windows — we (cough, cough, I mean, he) actually had to pull off the siding and cut new openings.  Saturday he was on his own while I hung out with sneaky surprise visitors (thanks again, Mom and Mike!), but on Sunday we had some great help thanks to our friends Jamie and Caleb.  What troopers, too — Jamie was coming off night shift as a nurse at the hospital and hadn’t even napped before she came over to dig in!

Meanwhile, I feel like I have been all over town looking for one piece shower-tub units that do not cost an arm and a leg.  One piece units are not commonly found at your run-of-the-mill hardware store (like Home Depot or Lowe’s) because those types of stores mostly cater to remodels, not new construction.  In a remodel, for instance, it is almost impossible to get the one piece units inside your home.  For us, though, since we have exterior wall openings that are moving (and a one-level home), we have a good opportunity to drag them through the house. In the end, the search will have been worth the trouble — no ugly caulking lines and mold/mildew build-up at the seams.

Behind the scenes, Mr. Fixer and I have also been discussing doors.  Yes, friends, doors. Fascinating stuff, really (ha!).  Seriously, though, do not pass over this design detail and make hasty decisions, because an annoying door can be, that’s right — annoying!  Consider the way it swings, what it will be running into, whether a pocket door/barn door/bi-fold door/double door/etc. might be a better option, and so forth.  Cost, of course, comes into play, too.  Who knew doors could be so expensive?!  Our initial quote from Home Depot was over $4000! We’ve since found less expensive (and better) vendors, but it has been a process.

Well, that’s about it for now!  I have to get a move on with the rest of my to-do list, so I hope everyone has a wonderful Thursday! 🙂

Hugs,

Mrs. Fab

New bedroom window

Mr. Fixer enjoying a smoothie break.

Pile of siding

Guess who got to clean up this pile?! 😉

 

Future kitchen & bathroom

Walls are opening up! Our future kitchen and bathroom space.

Jamie on bucket

Post night-shift worker bee. You rock, Jamie!

 

 

Caleb

You too, Caleb! 😉

 

 

Battlewound

Eeek, blood! Caleb’s battle wound.

 

 

Mr. Fixer framing new window

Mr. Fixer is framing our new tiny bathroom window.

 

 

Lumber difference

The age difference in this lumber is amazing! The piece on the left is from the original 1950s house, and the piece on the right was just purchased.

 

Insulation

I worked on removing old insulation from the addition done in the 80s. We will update this with warmer, up-to-code insulation.

Ants

A yucky surprise that I found in one of the walls!

 

 

Corroded pipe

More corroded pipe. Seriously!

Jamie and Caleb

They made amazing progress and were such a huge help! Many, many, thanks!

 

 

 

 

Odds & Ends with Friends

Hello, friends!  Happy Wednesday!  I am still playing catch-up with my photos, so these are from two weekends ago.  This last weekend was Mr. Fixer’s birthday, plus it poured outside, so we didn’t do a lot at the house.  Birthday breakfastBut we sure did have a nice day celebrating Mr. Fixer and eating lots of yummy food!

Have I mentioned how wonderful our friends are?  Truly, I cannot keep saying it enough — we have the best of friends!  Whether they are helping us at the house or doing something entirely different, we simply have incredible friendships that I am so grateful for.  Okay, I’ll stop gushing… 🙂

Enjoy this quick update!  I hope everyone is having a great week and getting an opportunity to enjoy the sun that’s been peaking out the last couple of days.  I hear that it is supposed to be 60 degrees on Monday! (Can anyone say beach trip?!)

Hugs,

Mrs. Fab

Attic view of new beams

This is an attic view of the two big beams we put in.

 

Nick & Limin removing electrical

This fantastic duo is helping to remove old knob and tube wiring.

 

Samantha removing window

This lovely lady can do anything, whether it is helping to remove electrical or knocking out old windows!

Guillaume removing window

Guillaume should be a pro window guy by now! 🙂

 

Nick & Limin removing nails

Our deck has to be removed so we can replace a bad sewer line. Great…

Deck screws

Helpful hint: leave your screws in until you are finished so you know where you’ve been!

 

Mr. Fixer holding rotten pipe

And this would explain why EVERY fixture in the house has a leak.

Guillaume & Nick holding header

Loading up!

 

Don’t Worry About It

First off, I’d like to say thank you to everyone who read my last blog post.  Mr. Fixer and I have received an overwhelming amount of support, encouragement, and prayer in response to our loss.  We feel incredibly blessed to have such wonderful family and friends in our lives!  Starting this conversation has been especially cathartic for me, giving me hope and courage to continue to move forward on this adventure of future parenthood.

Not only was writing about my miscarriage cathartic, though, it was also an eye-opening experience for myself as a “blogger.”  As any blogger knows, the statistics graph on your website can be incredibly interesting to monitor.  In the grand scheme of things, Mr. Fixer and I have a relatively small number of people who consistently read the blog (hi Grandma!).  With the last post, however, readership jumped to about four times our normal traffic!  I’m not really sure why this is, however I have my theories.  The overarching theory is that we are simply very curious (voyeuristic?) creatures.  The title of the post — Burly Beams and Shattered Dreams — was compelling enough for people to click, and I mentioned a “heart-to-heart” in my Facebook link (who wouldn’t be drawn in by that?).  On a deeper level, though, I think we are all just yearning for a little bit of personal connection.  We love to hear personal stories, and we love to tell them!

The huge proliferation of the blogging world is testament enough to that, and I am certainly not excluded.  Which is why (yes, I am getting to a point) I don’t feel terribly awkward including more personal posts on the site.  Yeah, yeah, I know this is supposed to be a DIY, home improvement type of blog, but the subtitle is “and everything in between,” so you certainly can’t say you weren’t warned! 🙂

Well, friends, now that we got that out of the way, onward and upward!  Yesterday, two weeks into this bittersweet new year, I finally decided on my new year’s resolution. [Drumroll, please] I don’t want to worry anymore!  I know for some of you Whole30/quit-smoking/run-a-marathon/win-the-Pulitzer-Prize type of folks, you are probably rolling your eyes right now; but believe me, there were choir bells and angels singing in Mr. Fixer’s head when I told him my idea.

Because, well, I worry about everything.  Yesterday, today, tomorrow, everything.  And then I get grumpy.  And then I sulk and cry and whine to Mr. Fixer (now you can imagine why he was singing hallelujah).  Example: last night I decided to make chicken pot pie for dinner.  I have never made this recipe before, though, so one, I underestimated the amount of time it would take to actually assemble everything and get it into the oven; and two, when I finally did get it in the oven, the butter in the crust started dripping onto the bottom of the oven, creating massive billows of smoke to come rushing out!  And this is what is happening in my head the entire time — everyone is going to be so hangry (hungry + angry) that dinner is taking forever, and everyone is going to hate me, and our wonderful hosts are going to kick us out of their house for ruining the bottom of their oven and smoking up their kitchen, and the crust is going to turn out terrible, and I’m going to have to throw everything away and order pizza, which is going to make everyone even more hangry… and so on.  Meanwhile, what everyone is really doing is keeping busy with chores around the house, laughing about the mess I am making, and not even realizing that it is creeping past 8pm and we haven’t even eaten yet.

After it slowly dawned on me what was happening around me, I gave Mr. Fixer a hug and told him that I wanted to worry less in the new year.  [Hall-e-lu-jah, hall-e-lu-jah!]  Wouldn’t I be so much happier and less stressed if I didn’t feel like the weight of the world (or maybe just dinner) was resting on my shoulders all the time?  Why yes, yes I would.

Again, some of you are probably laughing, shaking your heads, and thinking, DUH, right? Einstein said the definition of insanity is doing something over and over again and expecting a different result, but I think I’ve been on the crazy train for so long the obviousness of the solution was, well, not-so-obvious.  The clouds have parted, though, and I have seen the light, so here is to a worry-free 2015!  I hope that many of you will continue to follow along as I share my adventures in making this a reality.  Of course, there will be plenty of house updates, as well!

Hugs and Happy Thursday!

Mrs. Fab

Anyone else hoping to worry and stress less in the new year?  I’d love to hear about it!

 

Burly Beams & Shattered Dreams

Well hello friends!  I bet you were beginning to think Mr. Fixer and Mrs. Fab ran off to live in a new house, didn’t you?!  (Believe me, the thought crosses my mind from time to time…) Alas, that is not the case!  We are still plugging away on our little project, it is just that life has a funny way of sneaking in and messing up your blog-writing plans.

I know many of you can relate to this season of life right now.  You got fired (okay, maybe that’s just me); you are going through a breakup/divorce; you are dealing with the death of a loved one; your child is diagnosed with a condition you have no control over; your best friend is heading down a destructive path; and so on [insert life’s curveball here].  For Mr. Fixer and me, our curveball came screaming in at high speed last Monday when my doctor told me that I had miscarried our very first baby.

For most anyone going through a difficult situation like this, one of the hardest things is beginning to spread the awkward news.  Mom and Dad, I need a place to stay for awhile until I find my own place…  Daughter or Son, Grandpa was just admitted to the hospital and they say he’s not going to make it…  Friends and Family, that adorable baby announcement we just made… just kidding.

And then of course come the equally awkward responses.  What do you say in situations like these?  What do you say to someone in the throes of a grief that you oftentimes cannot relate to?  In our most recent experience of miscarriage, one of the most common things I heard was, “It is actually really common, people just don’t talk about it.”  But as I think about these words and reflect on their truth, I realize this is true about most any hard situation, not just miscarriage.

Why this is true, I am not quite sure.  I can surmise, certainly.  We are embarrassed.  We don’t want to relive the experience every time we tell someone.  We don’t think anyone will understand.  The reasons could go on and on.  Well, friends, I am here to offer this humble suggestion: just do it!  Whatever your “it” might be, grab it by the reigns with a firm grip and own it!  Start the conversation.  Because you know what will happen?  A line will start forming behind you.  And then all that embarrassment, awkwardness, loneliness, and grief will start to diminish.  People will look each other in the eye and say, “I’ve gone through this, too.  And I’m okay.” Or they might say, “You know what, I have no idea what this is like, but I am going to be here for you every step of the way.”  Let’s stop the cycle of not sharing our common human experiences!

So, I guess this is me starting the conversation.  Miscarriage is an incredibly heartbreaking thing to experience.  It has left me sad, discouraged, angry, and with lots of questions.  But this is not the end of the story, my friends.  I also have an incredible amount of thankfulness and hope stored up inside me, as well.  I have an amazing group of supportive and loving family and friends.  I have the gift of overall health and vitality.  I have food to eat and warm clothes to wear.  I have blue skies and sunshine in the middle of dreary winter days.  And I have hope. Mounds and mounds of hope!  For I know that I have a faithful Father wanting to bestow upon me wonderful gifts.  Gifts that I cannot even fathom!  And I know that this same Father is always going to be at the front of my line, knowing my heart and enlisting His Son to carry my burdens.

Friends, if you are experiencing a tough time, please know that I too am in line to offer you support and love.  Whatever it is you are going through, you are not alone.  Start the conversation.

With many hugs,

Mrs. Fab

I will sing the LORD’s praise, for he has been good to me.  Psalm 13:6

And what’s a blog post without some pictures!  The week of New Year’s day, Mr. Fixer took some time off and my mom and her husband came down to assist with putting in our giant new beams.  Thanks, guys!  We couldn’t have done it without you! 🙂

Big beam

This guy is a beast! Almost 18 feet long, 13.5″ deep, and 5.5″ wide. 

Tiny beam to be replaced

This is the tiny little beam that we are replacing. The original house built in the 50’s had a wall under this beam, which was removed at some point (eliminating the 3rd bedroom!).

Tiny beam removed

The small beam has been removed and the ceiling braced with temporary supports.  My wonderful step-dad, Mike (to the right), was a huge help the entire time!

Cutting the beam

This end of the beam will be tucked up and bearing on the exterior wall. Mr. Fixer is cutting it to follow the slope of the roof.

 

 


 

 

 

 

Door stop

Door stop, anyone?

 

Mr. Fixer holding beam up with a finger

Geesh Mr. Fixer — you’re so strong!

Beam on ladder

This almost-400 lb. bad boy was slowly hoisted into place with the help of some ladders (Mr. Fixer is always coming up with such clever ideas!).

Beam in place at one end

One side is up!

Beam in place

Ta-da! Mr. Fixer is admiring his handiwork.

Smaller beam to replace arched header

A smaller beam is going in here. This will replace the large header over the archway.

View of both beams

Both beams are in! A huge amount of work was accomplished in just a couple days!