April 17: The Current List of House Projects

I like reading back on my post from 2013 when I was 'itching for some house projects' because just a few months later, we updated the fireplace (check), finished our back hallway (check), and then a year later we finally finished the basement (big fat drawn-out check). So does this mean that whatever I discuss on this newest To Do list will magically happen within the next year? NICE.

But first: our house was built in 1925. We are just the third owners and we have done a lot of cosmetic work to this place, living here for a full three years now. Actually we did a majority of the work from the time in February 2012 when we bought this house, until April 2012 when we moved in. But either way, we've definitely made it our own and it feels very much like us. I have shown many before and after pictures on this blog before, but here is 'the big room' in all it's glory from the relator pictures.


And here is that room this morning. Just a few changes, right?
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And we won't even talk about the changes in the kitchen.

From the first day we laid eyes on our beloved house, before we even placed an offer on what would be our 'forever home' (probably), I disliked a few things: 1. The disgusting blue wool carpeting in every square inch of the house, 2. The radiators, 3. The tile in our full bathroom. Actually there was a lot more that I didn't love but we'll stick to these three for now for the sake of a succinct post.

We pulled up the carpeting (and by 'we' I mean Tony and Nate, I was super pregnant with CC and got out of a lot of manual labor because of my Cecelia bump) and had the original floors refinished. Best money we've spent on the house, for sure. But the other two bad boys on my list? It's time.

To be fair, I don't actually hate our radiators themselves. In fact, radiant heat is pretty amazing and I kind of love not having forced air ducts in our house (no central AC though, not my favorite but also not worth the $$$$ to add it currently). The radiators have grown on me but initially I thought they were very very ugly. Now I like them, we use them to store items on top (i.e. hand sanitizer, towel warmer in the bathroom, etc) but I just despise the color they are painted currently. Originally I was looking into making radiator covers for everything in the house and now I just want to paint the things and be done with it. I painted the one in Porter's nursery and it turned out really well to completely TRASH a paint brush and make the radiator match the wall color.

View More: http://andreaweissphotography.pass.us/porterfinal

Things I notice about the above picture: TINY baby Porter (ouch, my ovaries), my gigantic breastfeeding-prime boobs (miss you!), and then the radiator color with nice topper thing for storing my owl family.

Anyway, the rest of the radiators in our house are in rough shape. Pretty sure the previous owner painted them at least a dozen times over the year or something because they are caked with paint and parts are chipping off, and parts are just really freaking dirty.

The cream-isn color radiator in the background doesn't look too awful when these dudes are in the foreground, right? Everything in our house was cream or a yellowish when we moved in--all walls, all ceilings, and all radiators. They really liked cream and yellow.

If you look past these three characters you can see my number one nemesis radiator: and the corner where the sanitizer rests is basically black or rusty or something awful. This will be my first Operation Paint the Freaking Radiators project.

That is one thing I truly despise about our radiators: they trap dust in those nooks and crannies like none other. Nate bought a specific long-handled duster thingy that helps but still really bugs the heck out of me with how dirty they become. I looked into more 'low profile' or European radiators online and they are alright, but apparently our original cast iron ones are super expensive which makes me want to keep them. BUT! I am putting 'Paint all radiators' on my list of things to do. Because it really won't take much time and it will significantly improve my happiness level, I'm sure. I want to just match each of the radiators to the wall color for now. Except for the one in our full bathroom. More in a bit because...

THE BATHROOM is my most prominent dream for The List right now.

This was one of those projects that we originally wanted to do right away, and we *did* do a few things to this room to update it. We changed out the light fixtures, painted the walls, painted the woodwork (from the yellow to white), got a new sink and console, new medicine cabinet, and new shelves above the laundry chute. So what remains? The speckled yellow tile. I've always hated it but chose to ignore it, buying a shower curtain that sort of helped pull it all together somehow. But no. I hate it so hard. And that yellow radiator, too.


This is very 70s and I'm sure the owners before us replaced whatever was the original tile at that time. Oh, how I wish we could somehow pull up the floor tile to see what the 1925 original would be, but I'm pretty sure we can't take one layer of tile off to restore the first layer. But the tile on the walls? (pay no attention to Cecelia drinking bath water, okay?)

At first I was adamant that we tear it all out and redo the entire room with new tile. But as soon as I mention this, Nate and his dad claim that we'd then need to replace the actual walls and we should add insulation and (really intense) stuff like that. So then I got a quote for having the tile re-glazed and it was something like 2k and wow, that's a lot of money for some ugly bathroom tiles.

Then Nate saw an episode of This Old House that showed a DIY version for painting tiles. I can't find the episode now but here is some talk about it. Basically you have to use a special kind of epoxy-based paint after some hard core cleaning. This sounds both horrible and awesome to me as I really just want plain white tile in there. I'm certain life would be much better with white tiles and I would happily toss all of the extra speckled stuff we have stored in the basement, too.

I suppose we will have to leave the floors although they are also not my favorite. The radiator would maybe need to be sand blasted to get all of the chipped paint off and perhaps it would look alright without paint? I'm not sure but I would also be fine painting it white, assuming the tile behind it is also white.

My vision: white tile, freshly painted walls and ceiling, new shower curtain, and brand new towels because ours are from our wedding and are despicable. Wish me luck getting Nate to help me with this one!

Other things on the list:

-Landscaping. Because it's finally Spring, Nate will likely want to spend every second of our 'house project' energy outside. In fact, he has decided we need to tear out the patio under our tree and replace it with a larger, more sturdy type patio. Tony and Truman took out a few of the pavers today to see what was under neath and the answer? Nothing. Nothing to anchor it down or level it out, so I'm sure Nate will want to redo the thing even more. How cute are T and T?

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-The buffet: we love our built-in buffet and will totally keep it unpainted, don't worry. But it needs to be stripped on the top and refinished. We might like to either lighten it up to match the floors or else go really dark to match our wooden furniture. Also could use new hardware and not sure what we'd do to refinish the windows above. I love those skinny little windows that swing in to open up. Could never replace those with anything modern.

Again, look behind the subjects in the foreground to see the buffet. Spring chickens added across the top for seasonal effect.

-Retouch all woodwork. Apparently in three years, painted woodwork gets very chipped with small children. Sigh.

-The Big Dogs (aka If We Win the Lottery or Someday When We Both Work Full Time)(aka Probably Not Going to Happen). This topic encompasses all of the exterior work that we discuss ad nauseum, but we likely won't complete in this lifetime. But maybe! Because I also tied the basement remodel into the 'would be nice, but probably not happening' category time I posted about this! And that did happen so maybe the rest of our big dreams can, too.

It would be amazing to have another bedroom and a master bathroom in this house. We are fine sharing one full bathroom right now and it's no issue for Truman and Cecelia to share a bedroom. But as the kids get older? Not sure all of this sharing is going to run as smoothly as it does when they are small. If we could build an addition onto this house for those two rooms we would absolutely be set here 'forever.' It would be feasible to either finish off our attic into a master suite by pushing out the roofline in back, or more likely build an addition in our backyard going straight up. Nate has dreamed of tearing down our garage (it's going to need some repair someday for sure) and creating an attached garage onto the sunroom. Then above that new addition would be the master bed and bathroom on the second floor. Sounds freaking expensive, right?

Also expensive? A new roof, new windows, and new siding. Or at the very least, we will need to repaint our wooden siding and I truly cannot imagine painting it the same color. So then I like to dream about all that could change: dark gray roof, white windows and trim, and then shades of gray for our siding and the cedar shakes. I mean, those projects would surely cost more than our entire house but it's fun to think about!

That is pretty much The List for now. Mostly I just want to paint the radiators, update the bathroom tile, and then Nate can do whatever he wants outside with landscaping.

Better get to work!

April 16: Daily Blogging is Hard

I'm struggling to write something each day. SOS! Please suggest topics for me, dear readers!

Also it's the last day for you to submit your Day in the Life post to me. I'm adding the posts to my draft as I get them and holy smokes, we're up to 30 posts right now. So much to read, so little time;)

Perhaps I can just stop Instagramming for the rest of the month, put one picture up over here each day and elaborate on it a bit in the name of 'daily blogging.' Yes? That works?

Alright. Here are my two big kids on their bikes today. Spring is awesome. Bikes are fun. Truman is nowhere near getting rid of his training wheels and Cecelia hasn't figured out the balance part of her 'balance bike', so she just walks it everywhere. But being outside is still the best and it was a great day full of fresh air and a significant amount of deep cleaning the house. Not really sure which of those makes me happier: being out in nice weather or an extra clean house. Hmmm.

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April 15: Today

Mornings in this house hinge on Cecelia's very unpredictable mood. All of yesterday was tainted by a crabby, emotional, demanding little lady who began her day entirely too early and just couldn't push past a crappy start.

But this morning? She walked downstairs with a huge grin, ran over to me, and hugged me authentically. It was a fantastically normal morning without the three time outs before 8:30 am. I liked this morning 100x more than yesterday, plus there were pictures like this:

Who knows, Porter. Who knows.
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The boys sort of worship her/love to push her buttons
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Ducks were spotted next door shortly before I left for work, which also means Cecelia's day was made. High fives all around for an above-average morning.

And then something happened at work that yanked my head down from the clouds. Driving to my 11:00 patient's house, I passed the Walgreens that's just two blocks away from my patient. It's a Walgreens I've used as a bathroom break plenty of times and it's not in a particularly rough neighborhood, not a place that makes me stand on attention or where I feel uncomfortable or overly concerned about crime. Which is important to note because when working in home care, I am not always in the safest areas although I try to stay close to home.

As I passed this familiar Walgreens, I saw police tape around the entire perimeter. Cop cars were everywhere, blocking off the street, dozens of people lined the outside of the tape. There were news reporters, helicopters in the sky, and a 'incident command center' truck from the Milwaukee police department, too. At first I thought somehow it was a really awful car accident but I didn't see any smashed up cars. Once I arrived to my patient's home a few minutes later, she was watching the news and there had been a shooting at Walgreens. An undercover cop shot a masked and armed robber who was planning to rob the pharmacy for prescription drugs. It happened about an hour before my appointment with my patient and I could have easily seen her earlier in the day and might have taken a pee break at that Walgreens.

This was the first time in my four years of doing home care that I was really freaked out about crime. Just another reminder that life can change in an instant and I'm going to have to push my bathroom breaks even more now.

Truman and I picked up Cecelia and Porter a little early from Lori's, since she called me to say CC's eyes looked red and gunky again. <Sigh> No clue if this is pink eye round two or what but this is getting really old. I took all three kids to Target on our way home which was *definitely* pushing the limits of a work day witching hour. Two potty stops for Cecelia, busting open a can of baby cheese puffs for Porter (clean eating!) mid-trip, and a mostly-complete Target list? I call that a success.

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Dinner was touch and go for awhile, but once Porter ingested more calories than both of his siblings combined he was much happier with life. And the siblings somehow plowed through their potentially critical attitudes, ate their dinner, and hopped over to the school playground as their reward. I drilled them before we left with the facts: fifteen minutes, no whining when I say it's over, and get out alllll of your energy pre-bathtime!

The clouds were pure insanity. Breathtaking, really.
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Thank you God for clouds, for sunshine, for sunsets that happen later and later each evening, and for lightweight jackets. Winter sucks. Spring is the best.

Also, clean babies are the best. His personal goal is to soak me with incessant splashing throughout the duration of the bath. He usually achieves this goal, obvi.
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Bedtime was fairly painless for all involved, and Truman asked me to read two stories from his children's Bible storybook. This reminded me that a lot of Biblical stories are INTENSE and full of death and fighting and scary stuff (i.e. Satan as a snake in the Garden of Eden, and then David and Goliath). Truman is now officially obsessed with the giant Goliath and pretended to be dead after our story, just like the giant. Very intriguing subjects of discussion for a five year old! Thanks, Old Testament!

Nate arrived home shortly before I laid Porter down for the night, and to see that baby's face when he recognizes his dad. I heard the sweetest sound of, 'You're the best mommy ever,' from my darling Cecelia. And now that I think of it, Truman also randomly told me in the van today, 'Because I love you, mom.'

So yes. A good day today indeed.
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