Brilliantly Stupid

A few weeks ago, we (ok, that’s a royal we. It’s more like decided and then wore PW down until he finally agreed surrendered) that it was time to paint our house.  Like the whole house. Our paint had been battered, bruised, slapped with pureed spinach, scraped, sunburned and whatever else happens to a house with a collective 3 dogs, two kids and countless shin digs over the last 7 years. The breaking point was when I went to hang our new Jake Early  pictures, only to discover that the prints that were already on the wall had left discolored squares behind them.

But how? When? I had a vision of Auggie and Mac walking through a paint tray and then finally getting some actual progress made during nap time only to realize it was time to pack up and go get Baylor from preschool. PW acknowledged the only way to do it was to either hammer it out over a few free weekends (which we don’t have) or hire someone.

But how to organize a full house painting, drywall touch ups around nap time, lunch time, dinner time, play time? And then it hit me – Disneyland. We had our trip to Disney planned a few weeks out and the painter agreed he could get it all done (and then did, which is amazing in itself). The plan was both brilliant and insane because on top of planning and packing for our trip, we were literally moving out of our house. Everything off the walls and that was near a wall that could be lifted went out the door to the garage. You never know how much crap you really have…

Long story short – neither the painting nor the trip could have gone better! Peter said a few times “man, your planning has totally paid off!” which is the best complement from mister “we’ll figure it out”.  House pictures to follow when someone finishes my mirror…get that PW?

But first – Disneyland!



Some day it will be a common diagnosis. Someday it will be recognized as a real disease. Someday there will be a support group where individuals declare that they too, fell prey to an episode about re-tiling a bathroom and they now have to bathe in the kitchen sink because they only have concrete board on their shower walls.

That illness? That problem? It’s called HGTV. It’s a dangerous drug that sucks unsuspecting and often crafty but mostly completely unskilled people in. It convinces them that they too can redecorate their living room in an hour and for $10. They CAN lay a new tile floor. They WILL repaint their house in a day and that full scale remodels happen in a weekend.

And I’m here today, standing among my peers to tell you that I too have HGTVaTosis. I drank the Kool Aid. I took the bait…and while my results were good, I’m afraid it’s a gateway drug. Because now that the living room is done, I want to paint the  kitchen cabinets. And the sideboard. And make a headboard. And add on a room to our house. And and and…

Pictures to follow once we move back into our house.  Because when the painting gets tough, the tough go to Disneyland.

That will make sense too, promise.


Handy Home Improving

Any homeowner will say that the job of improving, maintaining and updating a home is never done. Even friends of ours that live in brand new houses are always doing something. Our story is the same – it’s always something.

That something (besides the dishwasher) was the master bathroom toilet. For weeks it would fill. STOP. Fiiillllll. STOP. Fiiiillll some more. STOP. And on and on until it was done filling. And because our water pipes are in the attic (yes East Coasters, they are in the attic because we don’t have to worry about them freezing) the process was heard throughout the house as the pipes banged with each pause. Not exactly what you want to hear at 3am – or worse, at 5:30am because the sound will inevitably wake up Baylie.

Now when Peter and I were both working, we would have certainly called a plumber and gladly handed over the $100+ to fix the toilet. We were both working 60+ hours a week and it made sense not to waste the precious time we had outside of the office on trying to fix something we know nothing about. But now that we only have 1 income, that’s no longer the case. And after a quick pep talk from my mom – the woman who can fix anything – Bay and I ventured out to the plumbing supply store. After a quick explanation and a new flush valve, we headed home to fix our commode.

Fixing a toilet is a challenge. Fixing a toilet with a busy, curious and eager-to-help 20 month old is an Olympic sport. Thankfully she was very content to play with the extra parts that came with the new valve (yes, there were supposed to be extra parts, I asked) and hand me rags to mop up the water. 20 minutes after we started we were calling everyone we knew to make them listen to the toilet flush without pausing. Yes, we fixed it and fixed it right in one try – $20 worth of parts, a patient salesman at the plumbing supply, some elbow grease and a blind eye to the fact that there was toilet water leaking onto the floor and we did it. The best part is that when we called Peter, A. he was stumped by what the hell I was asking him to listen too and B. was convinced I had called a plumber. When I actually showed him what I had to do to fix it, he was most impressed.

I contemplated taking pictures of my work in anticipation of a blog, but realized that pictures of the back of the toilet was pushing it. However, this goes down as my new “best” when it comes to home improvement. Next up: sprinkler repair!