Sunday, February 22, 2015

Bathroom Remodel: wiring finished, bit of structural engineering and a start on the drywall

Wiring is finished!:

GFCI recep. to 3 function switch to...

...bath fan with light, nightlight and vent fan:

Second GFCI recep. to switch to vanity light:

I noticed that this ceiling joist was becoming twisted and so, while I still had access to it (I am about to install ceiling drywall), I thought I'd do a bit of "structural engineering" by bolting it to the adjacent rafter section (left):

Step one: drill through both:

Run long bolt through both boards and install flat washer, lock washer and nut, tighten....slowly and carefully!:

Note that I did not pull them all the way together. I started hearing a bit of creaking and so stopped. The main goal hear was not to completely fix the warping, but to keep it from getting worse. I achieved that and also provided stability for the drywall that will soon be attached.

Speaking of drywall: here's the first couple of pieces (5/8 inch thick, water and mold resistant).!!!

Monday, February 16, 2015

Washington D.C.

A work trip for Steve took us toWashington D.C. this past week. Due to my newly-switched employment status (employed to self-employed) allowed me to tag along and enjoy the sights of our capitol. We enjoyed a few sites together before Steve attended his work retreat. Our Ohio winter-weary souls sought out some warmth and growing plants at the U.S. Botanic Garden Conservatory where we enjoyed the humidity of the tropics and the smells of the U.S. deserts.

Since we finally left the dumb phone world, we made use of our sassy smart phones to document each other in-situ. Do I sound like NPR?!;-)


Seriously though, note the National Museum of the American Indian behind me. We visited this museum for its fabulous Native foods cafe and huge collection of all things American Indian. It's an equally inspiring and heart-wrenching piece of history and present.

The White House is getting a makeover, but it's still always a cool place to see.

Steve spent two solid days here with some other inspiring, driven, conservation-minded individuals.

While he worked hard, I visited more museums including the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History and the National Gallery of Art. Though I wasn't allowed to take any photos of the Monets, Van Goghs, Gauguins, Renoirs, etc. they were fabulous to see and to stand with my nose almost touching those famous pieces of art.  I did take a photo of this interesting formation in the Gems and Geology section of the Smithsonian.

Check out where it was collected and what it is! Cool!

This collection wowed me. We always talk of traveling to Bisbee, AZ and this entire section on Bisbee mining reminded us it's a great place to go in winter! 60s-70s and sun sounds pretty fabulous to us right now.

While walking through the Smithsonian gardens, I noticed this fantastic gate made out of natural materials, which very much seems like something we need to make!

The city wildlife made us laugh with their posturing and....

begging! While I enjoyed my lunch outside the Museum of Natural History in the brilliant sunshine, the local house sparrows and starlings found me and my sandwich quite intriguing. At one point I had at least 40-50 birds around me begging for food. Two starlings tried to snatch the sandwich out of my hands! Bold birds. The scene cracked me up and obviously others as I was approached twice to see if I would mind having my photograph taken.

The week rounded out with an incredible visit with an old friend of mine from college. (14 years went by before our most recent visit!) What a gift of time this next adventure Steve and I are embracing is offering us! We are on this path of time creation and will highlight our progress as we go.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Remodelings worst specter:The Full Bathroom

Remodelings worst specter: the full bathroom. You have sink, toilet, shower and related plumbing, bath fan and venting through the roof, wiring for bath fan, lights and GFCI receps. Not to mention drywall and, given the large proportion of seams and corners to flat spaces, LOTS of mud and sanding. Then there's caulk, priming, painting, floor issues, shelves and cabinets. Lets just say that I'm (Steve) glad I got a wide variety of delicious micro-brews for my birthday....that helps.

Our original plan was to try and salvage some things so we started to disassemble and investigate:

But, as with most such naive hopes, this one was dashed as we pulled up the toilet to reveal some yummy rot:

We also found various issues behind the walls and decided that removing the ceiling would allow us to insulate the attic space above that entire part of the house so gut-it we did:

Gutting a room often yields other possibilities such as the expansion of openings in a corner that will allow much more natural light to flood into this room. Why not shower and get Vitamin D simultaneously!?

Having removed eveything except the tub, we insulated the attic and then started doing the wiring. We will have two GFCI receps, a switch controlling a light above the sink and a switch controlling a vent/light/nighlight combo bath fan. 

Last of the old un-grounded wiring: some will remain entombed in the attic space.

Next: wiring and venting the bath fan. Gotto go up through the roof so this will have to wait for a clear and warmer day!

Friday, January 30, 2015

And the Next Adventure Begins...

Today marks the beginning of our wildflower farm and the alternative life we are crafting and we like to think the 60+ cardinals in the photo celebrate with us! Where we go from here is not yet certain, but the path is exciting..beyond exciting, really. It's as though we are finally starting to claim our own lives! Here's a few quotes scratched down over the past year that we return to over and over. 

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."
– Mark Twain
“Your problem is how you are going to spend this one and precious life you have been issued. Whether you're going to spend it trying to look good and creating the illusion that you have power over circumstances, or whether you are going to taste it, enjoy it and find out the truth about who you are.” 

-Anne Lamott

“Make a radical change in your lifestyle and begin to boldly do things which you may previously never have thought of doing, or been too hesitant to attempt. So many people live within unhappy circumstances and yet will not take the initiative to change their situation because they are conditioned to a life of security, conformity, and conservation, all of which may appear to give one peace of mind, but in reality nothing is more damaging to the adventurous spirit within a man than a secure future. The very basic core of a man's living spirit is his passion for adventure. The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun. If you want to get more out of life, you must lose your inclination for monotonous security and adopt a helter-skelter style of life that will at first appear to you to be crazy. But once you become accustomed to such a life you will see its full meaning and its incredible beauty.”
-Jon Krakauer
Let the adventure begin!