Monday, November 18, 2013

Living In Transition!

We are constantly in transition here. We haven't really been able to get anything fully accomplished yet. I can tell it's driving Hubby a bit bonkers, lol. We are probably (with my expert opinion) 55% done with the furnace installation. They are in the upstairs rooms now and just have one more room to do downstairs. As I'm writing this, I believe I heard them say, "Uh, oh. That ain't good." Oy!

So right now we have huge metal pieces lying on the floor and also hung on the ceiling in different levels of installedness, lol. And there is a permanent layer of dust from them cutting into plaster and pulling down the drop ceiling tiles.

We've also still got a ton of boxes to unpack, but have no closet downstairs yet, so we are putting our clothes wherever they can stay without getting dusty.

It's also cold. Why? Because the furnace guys are here and they are in and out a lot and they were getting really hot working up on the ladder where the heat had risen to. So I turned the heater off for now. Gus and I can cuddle for warmth! : )

On the positive side, we are making progress. I am really hopeful that we can get this furnace done in the next two days. They'll probably stay another 4 hours today and will get in 6 or so hours tomorrow, although they did miss yesterday due to a heat emergency elsewhere. I know things always take longer than you expect, but I can still hope!

Also, we are just waiting to get some wiring done in the bedroom and we can finish up the drywall and then start doing the mud and tape and sanding. After that, the hard part is done!

Oh, but did I mention that we don't have a ceiling? We took down all of the drop ceilings in the downstairs, except the kitchen and bathroom since those were big enough for the vents.

But I am focusing on the positives, right? Right! We've been here a month and are slowly turning this house into exactly what we want. We'll get there!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Finding Support

I mentioned that I am doing my new program along with other people. I'm doing a fitness mix of P90x and Fitness Blender and walking with my brother's girlfriend. I'm doing Whole30 with Hubby. 

Just recently I was talking to a lady at church and how she was doing on her program. She started about a week before I did. I posted (on Facebook) that I loved her daily updates. She was afraid that she was getting annoying because she was posting every day and she didn't want to bother people. I didn't think she was really bothering people, although there is always someone out there who will be offended by something little and will make a comment about posting every day. 

I know. It's happened to me. I used to be a part of a discussion board on a wedding planning website. I was doing well with my workouts and losing weight. Many of the girls were very supportive and joined me in checking in each day. But there were a couple of girls, for whatever reason, that decided to complain and let me know that it was annoying to them that I posted every day. 

I never complained when they posted something that I wasn't interested in, but maybe I'm just not as vocal and I chose just not to read those posts. No big deal. It may not seem like a big deal, so what they don't like your posts. But when you are doing great and feeling good and then all of a sudden someone is criticizing you for how well you are doing, you can lose that steam. Maybe I'm just insecure, but when someone criticizes me for that, I start to wonder if maybe I'm being cocky or arrogant or maybe I'm rubbing it in their face when they are struggling? This is what goes through my mind. Where do you draw the line from being proud to being arrogant? 

Well, this lady from church and I decided that it would be wonderful to have a space that we could check in as often as we want and not have to worry about annoying or bothering people. So we decided to make a Facebook group and open it up to anyone from church or surrounding area that would want to participate. I was thinking it would be a few people maybe that would participate, but we've got quite a few people checking in daily now and it seems to really be helping people. 

It's so helpful to have a safe place to be able to go and share your experiences, to ask for motivation, to share recipes, and to support others in their journey as well. And we don't have to worry about posting too often or anything like that. If someone doesn't want to see our posts, they just don't have to join our group. 

It's already been very helpful for me because I get to where I don't want to work out or just want to be lazy and have something not on my menu, but then I think about those people and how I can't check in with good news if I go off my plan. It has helped me stay on track each time and it feels good to be able to say that I had another successful day. 

So there's an option if anyone wants a support group, to make a Facebook group or join a specific discussion board geared towards that particular subject and find people who are on the same journey. It's amazing how much more motivated you are to do well when you know other people are counting on you and are looking forward to your check in. I think that may be one of the biggest tools to success! Good luck!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

New Beginnings

I don't know if this is a true beginning or if there was ever really an end, but my motivation is back and I have teamed up with a few friends and family to get a grip on my nutrition and fitness before the cold/holiday season starts.

I have, especially the last couple of winters, had a hard time dealing with the changing seasons. I would say last year was the hardest of all. It doesn't really make sense to be depressed when you are a newlywed and have so many exciting things happening, but for months before that wonderful day that I married my best friend I dealt with all of the planning. I am so happy it turned out the way it did, but I am so happy to be done with it. Never again. Wedding planning has been the second most stressful thing I've ever done in my life. Buying a house was #1. Luckily, I made it through both without committing any crimes and with all of my hair intact.

But the stress of the wedding, the stress of holidays, the stress of gaining weight due to the stress of everything else... it all takes a toll on your body. Add on a horrible diet and it's really no wonder I wanted to stay in bed and do only things that required no thinking or emotion for the entirety of last winter.

This winter, I want to get a handle on things before it gets to that point. This year I'm doing things a little differently. First of all, I'm taking vitamin D. There's nothing that can substitute for the real deal, but if you can't get out in those rays, then vitamin D does help. Also, I'm going to make sure I stick to a fitness routine. Exercise has also been shown to help with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). I even moved our treadmill into the house (by myself, I might add) in an attempt to make sure that I have no excuse not to do SOMETHING! Thirdly, I'm going to make sure to stick to our Whole30 nutritional plan this winter. I feel worlds different when I follow the plan, so I know it will help me to stay more positive, more energetic, healthier this snowy season. And the last thing, for now, that I plan on doing is to keep in touch with people. Interaction goes a long way to keep you from those winter blues. I have Gus and I have Hubby, but sometimes just giving a friend a call when you are feeling a little out of it, can really liven you up and help you keep your chin up.

So, my brother's girlfriend and I have decided to do P90x together. We started yesterday! I have a backup plan. Because Tony can get a little obnoxious. And sometimes I just don't have 60 - 90 minutes to devote to a workout routine. Plus a shower! So I am going to keep some Fitness Blender videos handy and have my treadmill cleared off so I can jump into those on days when I know I should do something, but just can't get on board with P90x.

Hubby and I are also doing the Whole30. I have to admit that we did indulge a little more than a little at our friend's wedding this weekend, so we are starting it over again. It is going to take us past Thanksgiving, but we're planning on putting together a few Whole30 friendly turkey day recipes to keep us on track and maybe even make a believer out of some of our family members!

So I've got exercise with my some-day-sister-in-law (come on bro!) and then a nutrition plan with Hubby. I've got the support of my friends and family to keep me busy and socializing. And Gus of course! : ) And I'll be taking my vitamins too! So with all of those tools under my belt, I plan to show Winter who's boss this year!! Wish me luck! I'm considering taking measurements and posting them, in an attempt to hold me accountable and on track. I'll be updating either way though! Hope you all had a great weekend!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Tearin' Down The Walls!

Ok, time to get to the real meat of our DIY projects to date! We tore apart the bedroom!

It started out looking like this:

And we decided that we had to take down the lathe and plaster to put up drywall. We discovered at this time that they had used horsehair in the plaster. It was both disgusting and fascinating. 

Then we decided that the old drywall had to come down because they hadn't sealed the crawlspace so moisture had gotten up and into the drywall. Not good. So we took that down. 

That meant that the walls were completely gone. Down to the studs. And it looked like this:

So now comes the easy part, we just put up drywall, right? Wrong! Apparently the studs are not flush at all. Some leave 1 inch indents and some stick out 1 inch from the rest. ALSO, there were no corners, so those had to be built so we could support the edges of the drywall. AND then we found out that the there were no top or bottom supports. So we decided to fill in gaps and add 2x4s to the corners, tops, and bottoms to create a level work surface. 

This would be my mom, helping us to get the room finished! : ) 

This was no easy task, especially since the existing studs seemed to have petrified and it was nearly impossible to get a screw or nail into them without it bending or just getting stuck half way. But we finally managed to get three of the walls completed. And it looked like this:

Here Chris was shaving off a bit of wood that was pushed out and would have made the drywall sit uneven against the rest of the studs. Tough job, but someone's gotta do it! And below he is cutting out a square for the outlet. 

So at this point it was time to put in the drywall. The drywall was much heavier than I had expected. My mom and I carried it into the house and we about broke her knuckle because we were moving it and her hand became smashed between door and drywall. But we eventually got the hang of it, and we now have almost 3 full walls up.

We have had a few setbacks. We were waiting for my dad to finish putting in new wiring. That's a whole other topic right there. And we have had a few issues getting the corners flush. But we have made some really good progress and it's starting to feel more like a nice room with potential rather than a creepy, abandoned, crime scene. I exaggerate, but there are a lot of pointy instruments in that room right now. 

It's been slow going. Hubby doesn't get home until 6 and then we have dinner and we unwind and get ready for the next day. So we have mainly been working on the weekends. I would try to get some of it done during the day since I get off earlier, but I'm afraid to use power tools by myself. Don't think I can rely on Gus to drive me to the hospital if I were to saw off my finger or put a nail through my foot. (I am not the most graceful person on this Earth, lol). 

We're hoping to get the rest of the supports up on the top and bottom and then to get the rest of the drywall up this weekend, but we're also going to a wedding on Saturday (of which Hubby is in) so our time will be limited. We're going to see what we can do though. My parents have been amazing throughout this whole process. I can't even describe it. We decided we want to DIY as much as we can with this house. It saves money, it's a good skill to have, and it's a sense of pride for your home that you just don't get anywhere else. They have been through a lot of this already since they did the same thing when they bought their home 25+ years ago. And they have been teaching us, and letting us learn first hand, and really supporting us financially whenever they can too. We would definitely not be getting this stuff done without their help. So we are so grateful to have them helping us throughout all of this process. Thanks, Mom & Dad!! : )

Anyone else working on a DIY project right now, anyone tearing down walls or putting up drywall. It's a long progress and always more time consuming and more expensive than we think, but it will be so worth it! 

Oh, I almost forgot to mention. We have an issue on the fourth wall. There is a little chimney in the wall. And from what we've seen so far, we can't tear it down. So instead we will be building a column around it and just closing it off that way. Wish us luck! We'll share the progress as we get there!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

We Are Not Alone In This House!

I thought for sure I had conquered any fears of our new house the second night I had ever slept in it. We barely had any furniture inside, we were sleeping on an air mattress, and Hubby was at his mom's getting a trailer loaded up with a bunch of his stuff to bring it to the house. I had stayed behind so I could have my parents come early and start working on some fix up stuff.

So I was alone. Except for Gus. I am so very thankful Gus was with me. Although, he did add to my fear of sleeping alone in a creepy empty, old house. He was comforting because he was with me, but at the same time, he is active at night. And he was sleeping in the office, which butts up against the family room where I was sleeping. There are no doors either so I could hear each time he knocked something over, hopped on something, or took off running (he does that sometimes). And I probably woke up every fifteen minutes between him and our space heater kicking on and off. It was a rough night, and I slept with a hammer beside my bed. I even put in some Disney movies while I went to sleep to keep my mind off the shadows and what might be in them. I'm a tad dramatic, but the dark scares me and being alone in a house/apartment scares me, lol.

Anywho, I made it through. And ever since then I haven't been afraid to stay here alone... well, except for going upstairs. That part is still empty and there's a blanket covering up the entrance, so it's still a little creepy when I'm here alone. It's also 20 degrees colder up there so it feels like an old abandoned house still.

I'm getting off topic. The point was to talk about my recent scare. And now I am back to nightlights and checking corners before entering a dark room.

We had an invader. I was the one who found him. He scared the pants off of me. I never saw it coming!

I went into the bathroom to blow my nose, didn't turn on the light because it was a quick trip and the kitchen light lit it enough for me to see what I was doing. Well, I get to the tissue and a little dark "something" takes off running between my feet and the wall, which is about a 1 foot gap at that point. It then slides into the wall, changes direction, and races under the sink.

I did what any rational adult would do. I jumped into the tub and started yelling for Hubby, lol. He deciphered my high pitched mumbo jumbo and realized the little guy was trapped under the sink still. The little guy was a cute little mouse.

I am not normally afraid of mice, but he was SO FAST and I was definitely not expecting something to come running at me in the dark. So I recovered and went to get a box. It was a little big for the job, but we did managed to get him into it. We were too slow though, so he ran right back out and ran under the door, into the bedroom, never to be seen again... that night.

We gave up looking because Hubby was irritated. Why was he irritated? Because when little mouse decided to run back out of the box, he ran between me and the wall again and I screamed. Directly into Hubby's ear. Oops. He doesn't like to be scared. Makes him grumpy, lol.

So he talked me into getting some traps and we went to bed. The next night we were watching a movie and little mouse shows up again. In our family room/bedroom. We got him trapped again, but again he managed to escape. He also managed to find our traps. And in a very 007 manner licked the peanut butter right off without a single snap.

At this point Hubs decided it was unacceptable to be beaten by a mouse. I swear I could watch his testosterone levels puff up as he plotted and planned the poor mouse's funeral. I don't understand why guys get into that so much. He figured out that if you use tootsie rolls, they have to actually dig in to get it, and that leads to triggering the device. Poor mouse.

So that's what he did. And it only took a day before little mouse joined the other mice in mousy heaven. I hate to see animals die or be hurt, but Hubby swore it was going to be quick and he'd never know what was going on. I also made him promise that I wouldn't have to see the poor thing.

So Hubby now feels accomplished because he achieved his goal and our house is no longer threatened by little mouse man. So far it seems like he was a loaner. Hubby left the traps out and we haven't had any more snaps. So either the other ones are eating something else or maybe we're lucky and we only had one? Who knows.

Anyone ever had a mouse scare? Or a scare of a different color? Are there any safe ways to remove them? I've heard of live traps, but everyone says you basically destroy the thing trying to get it out and it's more suffering for the creature. Hopefully that's the last of the invaders. I'll be sure to update you if I catch a glimpse of any more whiskers or tails!

Since I have no mouse pictures, I'll share one of my favorite white Rabbit, Gus! : ) 

Friday, November 8, 2013

My Failed Project

Ok, I was really excited to do something on my own, but I am not very experienced in DIY stuff just yet, so I wanted to start simple. I thought, "What could be easier than putting on a new shower head?" Right? Wrong!

Well, this shower head was a gift to us for our wedding. The attachment was plastic, not metal, FYI. I will just say that from the beginning. So I took off our old shower head, which looks like it has been here for 100 years. Easy.

Then I read the instructions and get to the part where I am supposed to tighten the new shower head attachment onto the existing pipe. Well, I got a little Hulked-out I guess because I tightened it too much and cracked the plastic. So when I turned on the water, there were little streams shooting out the side. No bueno.

So I showed Hubby, in hopes that he could fix my oops. But no, we just have to get another part or maybe just another shower head. It was a nice shower head, but now it is back to sitting in its box until we figure out what we want to do with it.

I don't have any pictures either because I got frustrated and deleted them. I wasn't going to share this story, but decided to just own it and admit what happened. It wouldn't be very REAL of me to hide it, lol. I am sure I'm not the only one who has failed on a DIY project! Anyone? Ok, maybe it is just me then! ; )

Anywho, I'm over it. I'm ready to move on. We will just live with the old shower head until we get around to replacing the part or buying a totally new one. Either way, I will show you, with pictures, the next time I attempt that. I thought about letting Hubby tackle it for me, but I am now determined more than ever to take charge of the tub and show it who is boss! lol.

Ok, I'm done. But I did go back and take pictures of the old shower head, the new one, and the broken part with my phone to give you some visuals. So never mind that comment about no photos! : )

Our old shower head. There's a knob on the side, but I haven't really played with it to see if it does anything. 

 The new part ... the one that I broke. You can't see it very well, but it's definitely cracked.

And the new shower head that we were hoping to install. Nothing fancy, but an improvement from the old one, for sure. 

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Crawl Space Dilemma

I mentioned before that we are getting a forced-air heating system put into our new house. And they have to put it in the ceiling because of issues with our crawl space. That issue would be that the crawl space is practically non-existent.

When we were buying the house, we had to go through a whole bunch of inspections. One of those inspections included the crawl space. That's when we found out that there is a reasonable amount of room to crawl around under our kitchen and bathroom (the addition built on to the 1900's-built house). But then there is a stone wall separating the kitchen/bathroom and the rest of the house... and we couldn't find an opening to get under the rest of the house. So we had the owner cut one. And then it still doesn't go all the way around the bottom. But that part of the house has like 1 - 1.5 feet clearance. That means that it would be impossible to do duct work and still be able to move around down there (if they could even get in to begin with).

So our only option to get a new heating system, since ours is not-so-great, is to put it in the drop ceiling. It's really not a bad option, but means we have to lower three rooms to make sure there is enough clearance for the system.

Another issue with our crawl space is that there are no vents. We've learned that in 1900, they weren't all that concerned with ventilation, standing water, mold, etc. Luckily we do not have standing water and so far no mold, but the ground does feel damp after it rains (does not help that we don't have gutters yet). So we're going to hopefully find a way to put in some kind of vent so we can open them in the spring and close in the winter. We'll have to see what our options are.

We were going to have an appointment with someone who does crawl spaces for a living, but he basically called and said he couldn't come give us a quote because as narrow as our space is, he can't do anything.

So we still haven't completely figured out what we are going to do, but we do know that we need to put gutters on ASAP! Even with winter coming and the rain being less frequent, it is still high on our priority list.

So that's the situation with the crawl space. We are finding out more and more that being home owners of a 100+ year old house means that you are likely to start hemorrhaging money and each project is 2-3x harder, more expensive, and takes longer than you thought. But I know that we are going to love it once we get some of the big things done. I'll talk about more on our Dream List! later.

Hope you all are having a good day!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Under The Weather

Monday night I went to bed feeling cold, achy, and exhausted. I had a massive headache and just felt like blah! On Tuesday, I felt much better, still a slight headache and a little bit of a runny nose, but not too bad. I guess I probably should have listened to my body a little better, but instead of resting I decided to bring the treadmill and exercise bike into the house. By myself.

I managed to roll the treadmill from the garage to the house and then realized I had to turn it side ways to get it through the door. But the part that you walk on had to be held in so it didn't catch on the door frame. So I really needed another person to help me, but if nothing else I am stubborn, so I decided I could do it myself. I managed not to break anything and I got it in the door. Then realized I couldn't put it where I wanted because it was too wide. So I decided to put it in our living room/bedroom. Then it was too long. So I decided to move the bed. After moving the bed I realized that it still wouldn't fit. So I moved the bed back and decided to move everything else in the room instead.

By the end, I had moved half of the things in the living room/bedroom upstairs, moved the bed twice for no reason, and finally found a home for the treadmill, only to realize that the cord was an inch too short to fit in the plug. Arg!

So I moved some more things around and now I can't see out the window, but at least it is in, it's settled, and it plugs in!!

I considered that my workout for yesterday and I felt like crud after I got all the way done with all of that, so I took a shower and that helped and then made dinner and that helped more. But I was still feeling bad by the time bedtime came around and this morning I am paying for my stubbornness. I have a headache again, I feel cruddy, my throat hurts, I keep sneezing, and I currently have tissues shoved in my nostrils because my nose is too sore to wipe it anymore. So I'm staying in bed to work today.

I do have to get up after work and take down some ceiling tiles though. We need to have them down before the furnace guy comes. I'm really hoping it won't be a long job and I can get back in bed and take a nap.

And speaking of being under the weather, the weather today stinks. I think it feels as bad as I do. Grey (or gray, don't know the difference) and cold and supposed to rain. Yuck! So this post is all for me to complain, lol. I don't get sick all that often anymore, thanks to my hypothyroid pills, but when I do I can be quite a big baby about it, lol.

Hope you all are having a better day than I am! Hopefully I am feeling better by this weekend and hopefully Hubby doesn't get sick. We have to go to a wedding and he is one of the groom's men, so hopefully he avoids it and I get over it quickly!

And since every post deserves a picture, here is one of Hubby and I for Halloween this year. They were costumes we reused, but still fun times. I am Mrs. Potato Head (I made it myself) and he is a pirate (goods from Good Will).

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Feel The HEAT!

We are still waiting for the furnace guy. He has our furnace ordered, but is waiting to finish up a job before he can get to us. He said he would give us a day or two notice when he is ready. We are hoping it will be this week. Fingers crossed!

So the plan for heat is to get rid of our current system, which is more of a joke, really. It is a large, very large, and very ugly, propane space heater. We had our current propane company come look at it and he said it's probably about 65% efficient, which isn't great. Plus, it's loud and it takes up a TON of space. The guy who installed it also put it too close to the wall, so it's dried out the horrible paneling and so now that is cracking and peeling away from the wall. 

We had several different companies come and give us a quote to put in a new forced air system. It's funny because they all said something completely different about where the furnace should go and how the duct work should be placed. One wanted to put the furnace in our bedroom, one wanted to put it in our entryway, and one wanted to put it in our utility closet. We ended up choosing the one who recommended putting it in the utility closet, but also because his price was more affordable and we felt like he was more genuine than the others. I'm soft spoken so he has a hard time hearing me, but he's been in the business for 40 years and hopefully he will get the job done right! 

We just have to wait for him. But while we are waiting, we are keeping busy. He said we could go ahead and put up drywall in the bedroom, so we are 2/3 to 3/4 done with that. We've had issues there, which I'll discuss in another post, but we are making progress. Also, we have drop ceilings in every room downstairs except our bedroom, but we are planning on putting one in there too. Since our ceilings are only lowered about 5 inches in the dining room, family room, and office, we are going to have to lower those three rooms to make sure he has the 9 - 11 inches that he needs for the duct work. So we'll be getting to that soon. I am really hoping we can do it and keep the different rooms organized and not end up with a huge puzzle to piece back together when we're all done. We'll be taking some of it down and then putting it back up once he's done, that way we don't have to lower it any more than necessary. 

Typically, it's nice to have forced air go through your crawl space, but I will explain THAT mess in another post too. 

But there's the skinny on our heat... or lack of. We've been supplementing with a little propane heater on wheels that my parents got us for our anniversary. It is amazing!! Especially on those really cold, windy days when I just can't get warm! I am so looking forward to consistent heat though!! Hopefully he will get to us soon! Until then we are keeping the entire upstairs blocked off and the bedroom blocked off (we're sleeping in the family room currently until the bedroom is done). So no heat going to those rooms means our jumbo space heater doesn't have to work quite as hard. 

Gus doesn't mind. Lucky duck has a nice coat to wear to keep warm! All he needs to be happy is food and some cardboard to chew on! : )