Home Remodel

Cracks in the new shower

Last year (yes, as in 2014), we paid a large sum to a plumber to replumb our entire house and put in new tub/shower.

As we neared completion, I was FINALLY wiping the drywall dust off of the shower.

My rag caught.  I stopped breathing.  Not our brand new, never been used shower!

Yep, there it was.  I checked the other tub.  Uggh!

Crack in Sterling Vikkel shower

You couldn’t see the cracks, but you could feel them.  I took a pencil and the cracks emerged.  Six to seven total on in both bathrooms.

To make a long story short, the Sterling customer service said it wasn’t “economically feasible” for them to come to our area to fix the new, very been used tub and shower.  “Get us a detailed estimate from the plumber to tear out the shower walls and put new in.”  “Let’s just void the warranty and pay you $1,000.”  “It’s not a vinyl patch- you could at least use the correct term.”

To make a long story short, I was not impressed with the friendliness or speediness of the company.

The Tub Doctor finally came and drilled out the cracks, filled in the new patch, and sanded to a smooth surface.

I’m so glad we are done with cracks/leaks.

Oh wait, I forgot… our roof is leaking.

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Why don’t people listen?

My pet peeve is when people don’t do what I ask.  I have usually researched, or thought over, multiple options.  Tried to pick the option with the least problems down the road.

Damn that contractor for lifting the side of our mudroom so Newt “would have more head space”.

When I left that night, there was to be slope to the roof, at the expense of 6 inches on one wall.  The next day, I came back to “higher” ceilings in a nearly completed room.

Now our house roof and mudroom roof are flat.  The contractor fixed it with caulking and swore it would stay leak-free for decades.

Leaky roofSee the bubble just right of the cabinet.  That is a paint bubble surrounded by speckling of mold, due to water leaking in from the roof.

I’m so glad Newt has “head space” above our freezers.  Oh wait… that is why I sacrificed those 6 inches- it didn’t flipping matter!

@^#$*- Why can’t people just do what I ask/pay them to do?

I disdain being a homeowner.

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What a Bad Day Looks Like

If you have ever remodeled, you know there are bad days and really bad days.

Never been through a remodel… well let me help you with a visual.

What a bad day looks likeThis is the middle of the bad day.

The first part of the bad day was finding water gushing from the bottom of my house AFTER the plumbers had put in new water lines.  Because you know, the old pipes leaked and I didn’t want to deal with leaky pipes.

I had gotten home after midnight the night before and taken vacation to get some texturing done before our busy season started.  Little sleep, no time to buy groceries thus no food to pack for a decent lunch or snack or nibble.

So I was tired and crabby and hungry and in a hurry.  Finally, I finished texturing a room and went to clean up.  My friend Dave showed me how to climb on the bucket and lid and it would pop the lid shut.

I wondered to myself if Dave had ever fell off.  I was pretty sure I would fall off, but so far I stayed on top.

Until today, when the lid collapsed into the bucket of drywalling mud.  We are now at the middle of the bad day.

My right tennis shoe sunk to the bottom- mud oozed up my pant leg. With a loud, rushing OOOSSSHH, I pulled my shoe from the goop.  I didn’t realize the white blob, except for the two laces sticking out.

I thought of leaving my shoe as is, but that mud turns to cement.  So I rinse out my shoe and sock, put on my insulated winter boots (yes- it was 95 degrees that day) and finished up at the house.

Are we done with my bad day?  No, the end is coming.

ReeRee and I went up to the arena to watch Newt and his 13 year old nephew, Sparky, team rope.  Since I was sweating in my insulated boots and cold sloppy joe meat wasn’t tasting so good, I convinced ReeRee to leave the “rodeo” and go home.

There was one roping steer that jumped THROUGH the fence several times.  He was jumping through gate #2 as Sparky chased him to the corner.

Sparky got off to open the wire gate and drug it behind him.  Roddy, our beautiful buckskin horse, followed behind and stepped into the wire dragging behind Sparky.

I jumped from my car and ran down the hill.  We were going to sell Roddy next year- he was my ticket to paying our taxes and maybe a new refrigerator, now pulling back the gate tight with his leg still tangled up.

Then I noticed Sparky was nowhere to be seen.  He had been hit by the horse or the gate post and laid in a pile with his t-shirt pulled over his head.  He wasn’t moving- at all.

Roddy, by this time, had pulled the gate all the way over to the fence, where he fell into the wires.  Fearful the horse would freak out again and trample Sparky, I tried to move him.

As soon as I touched him, Sparky woke up.  We managed to get out of the way on the other side of the fence.  He had some pokes in his arm from the barbs, and a scratch on his eye where he got hit, but nothing else.

Newt untangled Roddy in the meantime.  Roddy had two pokes on either side of his hoof, but nothing else.

That bad day could have ended a lot worse!

Categories: Home Remodel, Ranching in the Sandhills | Leave a comment


Work on the house has been dragging on.  Mostly because my army of one is wearing down.

Newt took ReeRee for a couple days, so I could try to finish… something!  I like checking things off my list and so far I have an entire list of partially done projects.

To try to kill the boredom of mudding beads around the windows and doors, I brought my new Johnny Cash CD to the “new” house.

At first, I listened to all the songs.  Then I mixed it up with random selection.  Then I realized I how long I was mudding and how little I was getting done when the songs started over.

So I kept “Hurt” playing.  Over and over and over.  For a whole afternoon.  Time flies when you can’t tell how many hours you’ve been mudding trimwork.

I have a talent of listening to a song a million times and not remembering how it goes.  Then I wondered what the song is about-did Johnny beat his battle with cancer?  Or did his wife die?

I listened to the song so many times, I started guessing myself on the words.

So I looked up the lyrics and you will see, I was wrong about most of the song.

(originally by Nine Inch Nails-WHAT? 9 ” Nails, Johnny didn’t write the song!)

I hurt myself today (I shot myself in the hand with a staple gun, but that was last weekend)
To see if I still feel
I focus on the pain (Yep, I must have hit a nerve with the staple.  The hand is a little tingly.)
The only thing that’s real
The needle tears a hole (ouch)
The old familiar sting  (I hear ya, Johnny.  Had a few injections in my life…)
Try to kill it all away
But I remember everything (The feel-good drugs haven’t kicked in yet)

What have I become
My sweetest friend (I thought it was “Swedish” friend for a while)
Everyone I know goes away
In the end
And you could have it all
My empire of dirt (Estate planning anyone?)
I will let you down (Sounds like Estate Planning or lack of)
I will make you hurt (Like the staple gun hurt?)

I wear this crown of thorns
Upon my liar’s chair (I thought it was “wired” chair.  Again, I thought the song was about Johnny’s battle with cancer.  Nine Inch Nails ruined that thought.)
Full of broken thoughts
I cannot repair (But a good mudder can fix about any broken drywall hole.  Broken thoughts-no.)
Beneath the stains of time  (Who wrote this song?  It is so descriptive!)
The feelings disappear (Old hurts- gone.  Old people seem to mellow with age.)
You are someone else
I am still right here (Coming from the guy who just asked who he was a chorus ago… Either he is mental or the drugs via the needle sting kicked in.)

[Chorus again]

If I could start again
A million miles away
I would keep myself
I would find a way

The CD player refused to play the next day.  I killed it with “Hurt”.

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House Colors- which would you choose?

Unfortunately for our budget, we need a new roof and siding.

The color combinations are endless, but I narrowed it to 3 options, depending on the availability of the siding.

You have one week to vote!

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Knock Down Panda Paw Texture

My friends, C & D, move a lot.  They also like to buy rundown old houses and fix them up.  Then when they move again, they rent them out.

I love their current home.  It is full of old wood trim, wood floors, and super-cool texture on the walls.  (I also like their bullnose trim, but let’s focus on texture today.)

Since my house does NOT have old, high quality character, I copied the texture on the wall.

Here is the technique for Panda-Paw Knock Down Texture.

First tape, mud with Durabond (because we used sticky tape, not the paper kind), sand-and-sand-and-sand (Durabond is very hard), apply a second coat of Sheetrock mud in the green bucket, sand, apply the third coat of green mud, and sand.

By now you are slightly crazy from all the mudding.  And your fingers hurt from the mud sucking out all the moisture in your skin.

Now mix up some “green” mud with some water.  It should be the consistency of toothpaste (the runny stuff that falls off your toothbrush and onto your freshly cleaned countertop).  Label your bucket as “texture mud”.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt is loose enough to drip off the mudding knife, but sticky enough to hold onto a wall.

Fill a container with the texturing mud.  Grab your clean Panda Paw.  (I kept calling it the Panda Butt.  Maybe you can see why…)

Clean paw

Now dip, ever so gently, the Panda Paw into the texturing mud.

Dip your Panda Paw in the texture mud- just a little bit on the edges.

Dip your Panda Paw in the texture mud- just a little bit on the edges.


Make sure the wall has 3 coats of mud and has been sanded.

Make sure the wall has 3 coats of mud and has been sanded.

Now WHACK the wall!

Now WHACK the wall!

Most of the YouTube videos I’ve seen on Panda Paw-ing, they stop here.  You have one impression of the paw on the wall.

That is not how C&D taught me.  Keep whacking until the coat of mud is even.

Continue to move the mud around, so an even coat remains.

Continue to move the mud around, so an even coat remains.

The texture is quite rough (and wet at this stage).  Now you have to wait for the mud to dry to the perfect consistency.

When the mud is dry to the touch, but still wet enough to dent with your finger, grab a trowel and WHACK the mud for the “knock down”.

This will flatten the mud, so your walls have a smoother texture that will be easier to clean.

I do not have pictures of the knock down, as all the mud seems to dry at once.  I was knocking down like a mad man and only realized when I was done, I forgot pictures.  (The hazards of working by yourself with no camera man.)

If the mud still too wet, your trowel will become smeared.  Too dry and the mud doesn’t smack down at all.

Since we put up new drywall and primed/taped over the old sheetrock with “wallpaper” on it, the two surfaces dry at different rates.  The vinyl wallpaper takes FOREVER for mud to dry. However, the seams where I taped and mudded don’t.

I finally gave up waiting for the texture to dry on the vinyl.  I will sand the rough spots out when the burnout is over.

I am going to wait until the next hot day when the inside of the house is 100 degrees and texture the old vinyl drywall.  Doesn’t that sound like fun?

(Note: Clean your tools and bucket immediately with clean water.  Once the mud dries, it is NO fun to clean off.)


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Burn out and Blocks

If you have Type 1 diabetes, you realize the cycle of the disease.

Sometimes diabetes runs you over like a Mack truck.  Other times it is the slow, constant nagging and care of the disease, but everyone experiences burnout.

After constant weekend warrior work on the “new” house, a tad bit of sickness, and looking over the edge of “diabetes burnout”, I’ve lost interest.  I left the house early on Saturday, even though the cement guys were there, and I had to finish texturing the last wall of the kitchen.

I was just too tired and sick of it all.  I also didn’t take a bloodtest for most of the day.

I felt like I hit a brick wall…

Finished blockwork(Yes, I am asking you to stand on your head.  I have resaved, re-rotated, and tried everything under the sun on this photo, so please practice your handstands while viewing this picture.)

I should feel great that our block has been laid, but there isn’t even a smidge of excitement in me.

I blame running into the brick wall.  And this stupid picture is the last straw…

Categories: Diabetes- Type 1, Home Remodel | Leave a comment

Makes it worth it

When my sanity was nearly gone while working on the “new” house, I looked out my living room window.

View from living room window

I could see Newt filling the caker from my living room window.  And ReeRee’s curly head bouncing up and down in the pickup seat.

Sigh.  I can’t wait to move in.

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Mudding Humor

I have spent too many hours drywalling and mudding.

I found this humorous.

Drywall Humor

I think I need to stop smelling the mud fumes.

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The Work (and Stress) Continues

I would like to say my life is full of butterflies, and unicorns, and fully functioning islet cells, but it’s not.

The remodel continues, or unravels, depending on when you ask… contractors NEVER show up when they say.

The masonry guy came this week, twice.  The first day he unloaded, the next day he got rained out (although the sun came out an hour later).  He says our slab isn’t deep enough and sooner or later the blocks will crack.  The house is set crooked- blah, blah blah.

So maybe someday we will have blocks to keep the mice out and the heat in.

Blocks after rainMom helped mud this weekend and watch ReeRee.  Between diabetes, job, ranch, kid, house to remodel, house to run, and husband, I am at my wits end.  It’s nice to have someone take one responsibility, even if it is just as small as giving ReeRee her bath.

On to the House Remodel Update:

*Kitchen received the final coat of drywall mud on 3 of the 4 walls.  I am also chipping away at the linoleum floor that caused all the mold.

3rd coat kitchen

*Living room wall was Panda-Pawed and textured.  Check.

South Living Room after Texture

*Dave will be so proud of me- I drywalled (all by myself) behind the kitchen range.  I also had to patch around the holes the drywallers made for the outlets they moved.

Wall before…

Behind stove before

Wall after…

Drywalled behind stoveSo if the plumbers ever come, and the block layers make it back, and the roof/siding/mud-room-adder-on-er guy makes it up, we should be almost ready to move in!

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