Monday, December 27, 2010

Happy Holidays!

Here I am, dear blogger. I know you thought I forgot about you. Life has been hectic and crazy as per usual around the Christmas holiday. We've had parties to go to, presents to wrap, and of course, our never-ending shower renovation.

No, the shower is not done yet. It's close though! Travis has put up almost all the tile. Unfortunately, Christmas festivities put a halt on tile installation and we will likely not finish it until we get back from our vacation. But I'm ok with that, and I think Travis is ready for a break.

We have been nothing but blessed this holiday season. I had to work a half day on Christmas Eve, and my boss called me first thing that morning. We had talked earlier that week about a new (but sort of old) position for me, working as a junior rep for the company again as well as doing my current job. We played phone tag for awhile, but he eventually got a hold of me so that I could accept and negotiate a $10K pay raise. Sweet! He also offered Travis a job as the custodian at the new office that we'll be moving into in January. Not the most glamorous job, but just a starting off point until something else comes open for him. It pays great, and is full time with benefits. He accepted!

Christmas Eve was spent at Bear River Lutheran Church, where most of the pews of the small church were filled by our family. Afterward we went for dinner at Grandma Fran's house and got to spend time with family from all over Minnesota. Christmas day saw us going back to Bear River to spend the day with Trav's parents and family. His brother took a shift on Christmas day for another coworker with kids, so they waited until he got home at 4:00 to open presents. We received lots of wonderful presents this year, the big ones include a circular saw, a wooden folding table with 2 chairs, a new set of silverware (much needed!), a vacuum, steam mop, and a beautiful new peacoat for me!

As I write this, we are currently waiting to head out on our trip to Florida. We're driving the entire 30 hour trek, taking about 2 and 1/2 days. We plan on leaving tonight around 8 and driving through the night and tomorrow until we stop tomorrow night. We're hoping to make it to Dalton, GA which is just an hour north of Atlanta. If we don't make good time, we'll power through until we get to Chattanooga, TN. Then we'll finish the rest of the trip on Wednesday. I am so looking forward to see my parents! So far our plans include mani/pedi's with my mom, a New Year's Eve dinner cruise, and dinner at a Japanese steak house on New Year's Day. Let's not forget lots of shopping! We'll be there for a week, and then take a day to drive to St. Louis to visit my brother's and their families. I'm ready to get a move on!

So naturally I will be neglecting my blog while on vacation. But I hope to have lots of pictures to make up for my disappearance! Stay tuned!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Shower, week 2

I'm so very glad that my husband has the Mr. Fix-It aptitude that I so obviously lack. Here I thought that we'd have the new shower installed and tiled in a week. I am so naive.

In the words of my brother, "Every home improvement job takes at least 3 trip to Lowe's." In our case, Lowe's has been a daily occurrence. We need more screws, more cement, more stuff that I don't even know why we need it but it goes in the shower somewhere. But hubby has been trucking along, slowly making progress.
Here is it is after putting up the tar paper and putting in one layer of cement. Apparently that stuff has to dry for at least a day. Notice also the little step out that will be tiled and hopefully act as a water barrier.
Here is most of the cement board up and taped. Once we've water tested the pan liner and added another layer of cement to the bottom, Travis will fill in the bottom areas with more cement board. Then we'll be ready to tile. Which is a whole other story. Of course we can't agree on a tile we like. I think it comes down to good taste (me) and not so good taste (hubby). Hopefully we'll eventually compromise. I'd like to have my bathroom back by Christmas!

I also have to include a picture of our new lined curtains for our weird family room window. It is extremely long and short.
You'll notice our Diva Dog on her new favorite blanket. That's the electric blanket we got on sale on Black Friday. I believe that I have used it a handful of times, and Travis has used it a handful of times. Maya? She sleeps on it every day and every night. She will no longer sleep in her crate because she believes her rightful place is on her electric blanket on the couch. It's not on, but we're in trouble if she figures out how to operate the hand held control. She'll be nice and toasty all the time!

I guess Maya has a good idea though. As I write this it is currently -6 degrees. We're expected to have a low tonight of -27. Our Florida trip can't come soon enough! 14 days until we leave!

Monday, December 6, 2010

I love my house, I love my house...

Really, I really do. But sometimes I want to throw something at it. Or give it a good, swift kick. You know?

We have lots of projects planned for this house, but nothing that is super urgent or needs to be done right now. Or, at least, until this past weekend. While most families are preparing for Christmas, decorating their homes and shopping for gifts, we are dealing with this:
What is this, you ask? Well, this my dear readers, is my 2nd floor shower. Sure not looking like a shower right at the moment, right? So let me tell you why it looks like this right now.

Friday morning I'm quietly taking my shower, minding my own business, when I hear a small little "crack" under my feet. Hmm, not so good. Ever since we bought this house, our shower floor has always felt like you were standing on un-solid ground. The previous owners put in a fiberglass shower surround and floor. Lo and behold, we discover that they bought the cheapest one that has foam underneath it. Foam!??! What good is foam!?!? Maybe if I weighed 50 lbs then this wouldn't be a problem. While I will not disclose my actual weight on a public forum such as this, I can tell you that it's not anywhere close to 50 lbs. So my big fat butt broke our shower floor.

We do have a full bathroom on our first floor, thank goodness. We really did not need to attack this problem right before Christmas. However, I hope to have an employed husband come January, so we're utilizing his free time now. So now I'm sure you're thinking "has Travis ever replaced a shower before?" Well, umm, no. But this is a learning experience! He's already doing a great job.

After looking at our shower options, we decided to put tile in instead of another fiberglass surround. The reasoning is that a surround cost just as much, if not a little more than doing tile. Surprising, right? So far Travis has ripped out the old shower, and the drywall they put up. Honestly, whoever put it in was an idiot. They used plain old drywall instead of the cement board that won't get wet and moldy. We also discovered that they used regular insulation behind that, instead of the plastic protected insulation which we replaced and you can see in the picture. (That was my idea! Hey, I watch HGTV - I know what I'm talking about!)

The biggest surprise so far? The sub-floor actually had a hole in it right underneath where it cracked. No wonder it always felt like you were standing in a hole! Today he got the new sub-floor in, and put in a new drain. Tomorrow is cement board and hopefully cement over the sub-floor. Somewhere in there goes a water proof membrane too, but at this point that's all up to hubby dearest. He's pretty ambitious, that man I married!

Hopefully by early next week we will have the tile laid. Please pray for us.