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7/30/2011

Closet Flooring

We’ve spent a lot of evenings and weekends trying to finish up the new flooring project that we started back in late May.  We never expected that it would take us this long to get ‘er done.  But I guess we hadn’t realized just how difficult large projects like this can be with work, a child, and summer traveling.  We also didn’t realize that we’d have so many unexpected obstacles in our way. 

One of the biggest obstacles was in the coat closet in the hallway.  You see, our coat closet was home to a curious little surprise.  We’ve known since we moved in that there was a metal panel bolted to the floor in the coat closet.  We weren’t quite sure what was under it (buried treasure?  Jimmy Hoffa’s body?  or maybe traces of some lost civilization?), but guessed that it was probably covering an old vent from the home’s former heating system.

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Unfortunately, the metal panel stuck up about 3/4 inch above the old parquet flooring, which meant that we wouldn’t be able to simply lay the new flooring over top of it.  Instead we would have to remove the panel (unlocking the secret hidden beneath it) and hope for the best.  So, Craig got to work removing the panel while I stood curiously behind him with my fingers-crossed that it wouldn’t be something too big for us to handle/fix.

Thankfully, our suspicions were correct (that’s right… no treasure or bodies).  It was covering a very old, nasty, rusted return vent which we removed to uncover a very, very LARGE hole (2-3 feet deep) in the floor. 

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At this point we had to just stop and think for a while about what the heck to do next.  Our final solution was this:

  1. Build a frame out of 2 x 4’s to place inside the hole.
  2. Peel back the metal sides of the air duct to form a lip. 
  3. Cut a square piece of plywood to cover the hole.
  4. Fill the metal lip with concrete (to help secure the plywood square).
  5. Place the plywood square on the lip and tap into place.
  6. Finish things off by using concrete (left over from the floor repair work we had to do in the kitchen) to cement the plywood square in place and level things off in preparation for the new flooring to be laid.

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Once things were left to set in place we were ready to lay our new bamboo flooring.

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What a HUGE improvement over what it looked like in there before!  Now our coats have a pretty floor to enjoy!

7/24/2011

Shut the Back Door!

In an effort to finish our flooring project in the living room we decided to install a new back door this weekend.  You see, the old door was in pretty bad shape.  It had gaps around it (which let a lot of cold air in during the winter), the frame was rotting in places, the deadbolt wouldn’t lock, it had water marks on the bottom of it from where the previous owners never sealed/painted it, and it was all scratched and ugly.  And before laying the last couple of pieces of new bamboo flooring at the back door we figured “if we’re going to rip out the old door and replace it, we may as well do it now before we finish the flooring at the threshold.”  So we did!

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We chose a 9 lite fiberglass door, which is supposed to be 5 times more energy efficient than a steel door.  And this particular door wasn’t that much more expensive than its steel counterpart, so we figured what the heck… why not give it a shot!

The installation process was relatively easy since we had installed a new front door a few years back and knew exactly what to do with the back door.  Once we got all of our supplies home Craig began demo-ing the old door and casing. 

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Next we popped the new door (complete with new casing) in place and secured it with nails (being sure to shim it in places so that everything would be level and plumb).

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And then “voila”… after just a couple of hours we had a new back door!

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As you can see though, there’s still a bit of detail work to be done inside… like adding the trim to pretty things up a bit.  But we’ll tackle that another weekend.  Maybe the same weekend that we install all of the other trims (crown, base boards, 1/4 round, shoe molding, etc.) throughout the renovated portion of the house.  Oh what fun that weekend will be!

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I would like to dedicate this to a very special reader out there… one who’s been patiently awaiting a house-reno-related post (as opposed to all of the ones about the adorable baby or recent travels)… you know who you are (Mike!)… and this one’s for you!

7/22/2011

Wallabies!

Thursday, Bailey and I joined Misty and Maelen at Wallabies in Johnson City for some playtime before going to dinner.  None of us had ever been to play at Wallabies and we were excited/curious to see what all of the fuss was about.  And let me tell you… it didn’t take us long to figure out that it really is as much fun as we had been hearing!

Maelen and Bailey played and played and played… while Misty and I talked and talked and talked!

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So much fun!  Definitely the break I needed from my week!

7/20/2011

Weekend in Columbia!

We spent last weekend in Columbia visiting with the Marsh family and other friends.  Friday we celebrated Grady’s birthday (although his actual birthday was Saturday).

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Saturday we played outside with Ross on the swing set (Bailey tried out the big swing and slid down the slide unassisted for the first time!)

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Later that day we headed off to the EdVenture Children’s Museum

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…where Bailey and Ross did a little shopping,…

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…worked on the farm,…

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…became honorary fire fighters,…

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…learned to drive a car,…

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…and had fun playing!

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Sunday we did more playing at the Marsh house and even took a trip to the neighborhood pool.  What a fun weekend!

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Can’t wait to get these two cuties together again!

7/13/2011

Pickin’ Veggies in the Garden…

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…and collecting them in a basket…
 
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…can be a lot of fun!
 
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But it can also be a lot of hard work!
 
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Thank goodness I have my wonderful little helper!

Happy (Belated) Fathers Day!

Craig and I love traveling and love collecting art that reflects where we’ve been.  We’ve even been known to frame vintage maps that depicted places that are special to us.  We’ve always loved the idea of having a large map on the wall with dozens of pins in it to mark our travels, but we were never quite able to find a map that would fit the bill. 

So Bailey and I were very excited to stumble upon a scratch map of the world.  We were even more excited to present this map to Craig for Fathers Day this year.  Did I mention that Craig loved it?!?

A scratch map is exactly what it sounds like… a map that you use a coin to scratch off the places you have visited.  How cool is that!  Definitely a new and interesting spin on the old map and pins idea! 

We decided to use the map to chronicle only the  trips that we take together… for a quick snapshot of where we’ve been and where we’ve still to go!  Craig and I share a goal to visit all 50 states and all 7 continents (yep… Antarctica included!), so this map should definitely help us along our path to goal-fulfillment!

We dropped the scratch map off at the framing shop and picked it up after returning from our trip to Bermuda.  Once home we ever-so-carefully got to work scratching off the places where we have been.  

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We were able to scratch off several U.S. states and a few other countries.  Here’s a list of what made the map (keep in mind places we have visited individually are not marked… we’re only going to mark places that we have traveled to together):

  • Spain & France (from a trip we took following our senior year of high school many, many moons ago)
  • Puerto Rico, St. Kitts & Nevis (from our honeymoon)
  • USA

Note: A couple of countries we have visited together (Bermuda and Monaco) are too small to be shown on the map… what a bummer!

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Currently, all of the places we have traveled can be easily spotted within the shot above…

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…which means we still have a whole lot of world left to discover before we can truly be as well-traveled as we would like to be. Fortunately, we have the rest of our lives to scratch away at it one trip at a time!

Bermuda!

Craig and I recently traveled to Bermuda to visit my sister, brother-in-law, and two nephews.  We had not seen them since our wedding four years ago, so we felt we had the perfect excuse to take a break from the house renovation work and go on a little tropical vacation!

I won’t bore you with our daily itinerary or all of the 800+ pictures we (as in mostly Craig) took… but I do want to share few (okay… maybe about 40 or so pictures) of the highlights!  Sit back and get comfy… because you’re in for a loooong post!

Beaches… there are definitely more than enough gorgeous beaches to choose from on the island!

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Historic Town of St. George’s (eastern end of the island)… the first settlement on the islands of Bermuda

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Somerset & Royal Naval Dockyard (western end of the island)

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Somerset Bridge… the smallest drawbridge in the world

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Hamilton… the capitol and only incorporated city on the island

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Boating & Water Play…

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Snorkeling at the Vixen shipwreck

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Feeding fish off of the Vixen

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Surprise jet skiing trip for our 4th anniversary (note: we didn’t take our camera out on the water, so I’m using a picture of a random group of strangers jet skiing as a substitute)!

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Other Sights & Scenes… again, way too many to choose from!

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4th of July fireworks on the beach!

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A visit to the Bermuda Aquarium, Museum, & Zoo

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Time with Family… by far the best part of the entire trip! 

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It was so nice to finally get to introduce Bailey to the “Wojo” branch of her family tree!

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We all had an amazing time and we can’t wait to do it again!  I want to send another HUGE “thank you” out to my sister, brother-in-law, and nephews for being the wonderful people that they are!  Love you guys!

And, I highly recommend that if any of you are presented with the opportunity to visit Bermuda you jump right on it… I guarantee you won’t be disappointed!