Monday, June 18, 2012

Random Monday sunset from our office overlooking the Intracoastal Waterway. Just thought I'd share...

Thursday, June 14, 2012

master bath construc[tion] - Part 1

hi all - brian here - y'all recall our mostly unfinished master bath, arranged hotel room style? well we have thoroughly enjoyed our "GODMORGON" sink cabinet from ikea (did you know "god morgon" means "good morning" in swedish? (that's what it says to me every morning as i splash my face, but more in a norwegian accent).

And we have certainly put our new American Standard dual-flush toilet to good use, since installing that back in March, even though it's sitting on unfinished plywood floor with bare white sheetrock walls, and across the room, two rough-in pipes for hot & cold water poke out of the wall reminding me of their one-day purpose to steam up a beautifully-finished fully-tiled master shower (preferably w/ glass door and a bench and soothing ambient spa music playing sounds of the costa rican rain forest). One can dream, right?

So with November right around the corner, and our personal goals quickly moving to the back burner, and a little help from tax returns, we placed the order for tile, shower faucet and the DIY shower kit, and started 'learnin up' on how to do all this ourselves!

It may sound easy enough, but I quickly learned that we had some 'undoing' to do first before we could start 'doing' - meaning DEMOLITION! The sheetrock walls around the shower must be replaced with cement backer board (to support the tile), and of course the plumbing for the shower faucet must be installed in between.

Jennifer cleverly chose Demolition Day to go upstate for her niece's first dance recital (who can blame her?) while I sweat away breaking down the sheetrock that was just so freshly installed last year by the pros. If you didn't already know, demo-ing sheetrock makes for a white, dusty, mess! Even though the door to this room was closed the entire time, we had to replace both our central air filters in the house soon after to clear the dust!

At the end of the day, I had it pretty well cleaned up and gotten down to the studs where the new backerboard and tile would go.  

Next I needed to frame out the "wet wall" where the shower faucet would go, for a couple reasons: 1) this wall needed horizontal framing supports for the faucet and the showerhead; and 2) furring out this wall would bring the overall width of the shower to just under 60", which is a standard maximum width for glass shower doors (more is cu$tom); plus 3) the existing framing in that location was slightly off-square and out of plumb; not to discount 4) backer board comes in 60"x36" sheets, and narrowing the width from 64" to 60" would allow me to run the backerboard horizontally on that back wall rather than piece-mealing them vertically... enough reasons to warrant the purchase of (7) 2x4's and a little time framing (which i rather enjoy anyway).

Once the framing was in place, I could get to plumbing! As mentioned before, the rough-in water supply was already in place; so that leaves me to install the shower faucet and connection to shower head. For the shower faucet we were looking for a clean, chrome, contemporary fixture for a reasonable price (cheap, which is why we're doing all this ourselves).  The "Parma" collection by Danze appeared to satisfy our needs and have good reviews.

I am not an experienced plumber, but I can follow instructions and research google, youtube, and DIY forums like nobody's business. Plus I regularly expect to make multiple trips to the hardware store with each step of the process. Here I am assembling the connections for the water supplies to the shower faucet (1/2" pex to 1/2" threaded brass at a 90deg. elbow in this case). Side note: This photo actually shows the 2nd round of assembly after the first trial resulted in a leaking system. The first time I used only a minimal amount of teflon plumbers tape at the threaded connections, and got slow leaks (i.e. a drop a minute = no good). After speaking w/ the plumber dude at Lowe's, I learned I'm better off using "pipe dope" in conjunction with teflon tape; so I went with his favorite dope called "RectorSeal" (gotta be good with a name like that ... gives me constipation). 

While the threaded brass connections get the double-duty tape & dope treatment, the pex and copper pipes get the "Gatorbite" fitting - a much more simple plug-and-play connection - which concerns me ever-so-slightly about the reliability in the long run, but so far I've seen not a single drop of water back out of one of those push-fit fittings. Let's hope it stays that way once it's sealed up inside that tile wall!

Next comes screwing the backerboard to the studs - sounds simple but this stuff is heavy!! And cutting it down is also labor-intensive. 

Stay tuned for our next installment of Master Bath Construc[tion].

Wednesday, June 13, 2012


We moved the bookshelf and the glider into place, but you'll notice that I'm only showing this corner of the room because the rest of the room is filled to the brim with STUFF!

The layout for the room is pretty much figured out, based on how I think things will work most efficiently in the space. Crib right when you walk in, changing table to the right when you walk into the room (near the closet for proximity of "changing"), dresser near the closet and changing table (for the same reason), rocker between the two windows in the room for natural light for reading, with bookshelf next to the rocker for ease of reaching for books. Now, I'm sure that layout will change many, many times before we settle on anything, but for now it's fun to imagine!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

valedic[tion] to our beloved sleeper sofa

We sold the couch, we sold the couch!! I should say, Brian sold the couch! It was much-loved, very comfortable, and helpful to pull out the bed when we had guests, but it was taking up a lot of much needed space in the future nursery, and hindering us from arranging any other furniture in the room. Finally we can start laying out the nursery! 

The couch was sold on Craigslist to a very good home, so even though it was hard to see it go, Brian took solace in knowing that it would be loved in it's new home.

Monday, June 11, 2012


18 weeks, 1 day
Today I went to my first aqua aerobics class! The doctor says it's the best exercise for pregnancy, and since I need all the help I can get, I figured I'd give it a try. One of our city pools offers classes for $3, and they offer it Monday through Thursday after work, and Saturday mornings, so it's perfect for my schedule and close enough to my office.

I must admit that I was a little intimidated walking in there, not knowing what in the world I was getting into, which in actuality was a very cold pool, but in the end I made a friend, albeit a kind elderly woman who explained all the exercises to me in detail as the instructor called them out. Yep, I was the youngest, the smallest, and probably the only pregnant woman there (as far as I can tell).

Unfortunately the hour-long class was cut in half due to thunder (even at an inside pool?), better safe than sorry. Hopefully these summer showers will hold off from 6:30 to 7:30 each night from now on. I gotta get my $3 worth!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

linen closet organiza[tion]

As Brian has been working diligently on the bathroom, I thought I'd start organizing some closets. The closet in the future nursery is filled with boxes that were never unpacked, as well as gift wrap and greeting cards, while the guest bedroom closet is shelving that is stacked with miscellaneous building materials, drop cloths, blankets/pillows, etc.

I decided this should be strictly for sheets, blankets, pillows, and the air mattress, and if there was room, we'd see what else made sense, but first I had to clear it out.

The blank slate really helped, and after a little cleaning it was ready to fill up again!

Much better! Organized, and with things that belong in a guest room no less! Let's take a closer look...

top shelf: extra pillows, quilts and blankets
sheet sets (left), comforters (right)

beach towels (left); miniature hotel toiletries (center); blankets (right)
air mattress (left); gift wrap (right)

That last photo shows where I had some extra room in the bottom of the closet, so I put it to good use, getting the gift wrap, gift bags, bows, etc out of the other closet and all into a contained place in the guest room.

Also, I must admit, I watched an internet tutorial on 'how to fold sheet sets', otherwise they would NOT look like that! 

Phew! Glad to have at least one closet done! Now if only I could get the other one unpacked, along with the boxes that are currently stacked in the wardrobe. The wardrobe will not only be a place for guests to hang their clothes, but it may hold Brian's guitars, amp, microphone, etc. That's the plan!

Friday, June 8, 2012

work sta[tion]

The future nursery has slowly become the catch-all room of our house, so we are desperately trying to find a home for various pieces of furniture, books, and miscellaneous items.

Today was the first step in what will surely be a long line of attempts at clearing out this room. In an effort to keep the dresser in the guest bedroom, we shifted the bed over to allow for the dresser to work double-duty as a nightstand. Thus, clearing a space for the desk to move into this room, so that it is now not only the guest room, but the office as well!

Well, we finally moved my grandfather's desk, as well as the computer and desk chair into the space! It was a little more effort on Brian's part than anticipated, since he was forced to spend a significant amount of time on the phone with our internet provider. The cable is actually on the wall with the bed, and rather than have a cable going across the room, he hooked up some sort of wireless connection, and got it all working. Thanks Brian!

So one small step closer to setting up the nursery!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012


17 weeks, 3 days
By now it has been 3 weeks since my last doctor's appointment, so needless to say I was very anxious to hear the heartbeat again! Brian was able to make it this time, so that too was exciting. The first two times I heard the heartbeat, he had scheduling conflicts. Although after missing the first time, he insisted on me recording the heartbeat the second time, so now we have audio of that!

The point of this post however is to say that the doctor took a 'guess' at what she thinks the baby could be, and based on the slower heartbeat of 141 (typical range is 120 - 180), she thinks it's a BOY! Apparently boys typically fall below a heart rate of 150 and girls above. She also says that it sounds like a lot of movement going on in there, and more movement typically means boy as well. But hey, just a few more weeks, and we'll hopefully know the gender for sure. That is IF the baby cooperates in giving us the viewing  angle we need!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012


I'm going to try something new, since writing on this blog hasn't been my top priority lately! I'm going to try to write each day or as often as possible, especially if there's something new going on, and in my "condition" there is most likely something new going on!

17weeks, 2 days
Today I felt the baby move for the first time! I was sitting at my desk at work, and started feeling the 'fluttering' that I've heard so much about. It was awesome, and I didn't want it to stop. I was awe-struck, such an incredible feeling.

FOLLOW-UP: I spoke with my doctor and she said it could be up to five days before I feel it again, that at this point in pregnancy, you don't always feel the movements, and to not be alarmed if it were a while before I felt it again. She also said that Brian should be able to feel kicks in the next 3 weeks or so.