Tag Archive for 'Home Improvement'

Sneak Peek at the New Kitchen Floor

Yesterday, installers came and transformed my kitchen into a space I’d never seen before…

…except in my dreams.

I love it.

Yes, we still need to install baseboards (and when we do, I’ll probably do another post just to show off my hubby’s handiwork), but the finish line is in sight!  Nearly 10 years of working on this house is almost behind us.

I wasn’t sure when this day would come.

Last night, my husband looked at me and said, “Is it weird that I want to sleep in here tonight?” to which I replied, “Let me get my pillow!”


I hope it doesn’t attack some poor seaside village.

We have double-sinks in our master bath. My husband has his, and I have mine. My husband’s is closer to the medicine cabinet where our tooth brushes are, so his actually gets used more than mine, which is over by the door. Back when we were both getting ready at the same time, double-sinks was a life-saver, if not a marriage-saver.

Now, it’s not so critical.

Still, imagine our dismay when his sink appeared to be clogged. Nothing is more annoying than a clogged drain, and one day, he decided to put one of the heavy-duty clog busters down it. He even taped off the sink so that we wouldn’t forget to leave it alone while the chemicals worked their magic.

That night, the clog still held a tight grip on the plumbing.

So, he tried another treatment.

Again, the clog claimed victory.

The weekend came and went. The week did the same. The next weekend proved to be full of other home-improvement projects. (I’ll get to that later this week…) We didn’t have time to address the clogged-sink issue.

By Monday, I’d had enough. Daddy is so busy with other things, that I didn’t have the heart to nag remind him. How hard can it be? I know what needs to happen, and as long as I’m careful, I can fix this clog.

After eight years in the home-improvement trenches, there aren’t many tasks that could scare me away completely.

I knew enough about plumbing that you have to take out the U-joint-thingy. Other parts may have to come apart, too, and as long as you pay attention to where they go when you put them back, you’ll be fine.


I’m prepared.

Claire and I had Ballet that morning, and I told her that when we got back from that, we’d have lunch, and then we’d fix the clog in the sink.

She was all excited. “After lunch, we get to figure out the sink…right, Momma!?”

“Right!” I’m good at faking enthusiasm. In fact, the better you are at pretending, the more enthusiastic you really become.

I got out my dish-gloves and laughed at the fact that they matched my hot-pink strappy sandals. What an awesome coincidence!

I got down on my hands and knees and assessed the situation. I cleaned out the cabinet (okay, truth be told, I just shoved stuff over to make room), and put a bucket under there to catch the water from when I unscrewed the pipe.

See? I know what I’m doing.

I carefully unscrewed the connectors, got the U-joint-thingy out of there and then nearly passed out from the stench.

Stench!? I had NOT anticipated that.

“Momma!? What’s wrong!?” Claire asked, concerned. “Why are you making those noises?”

Somehow I kept it all together. I think the thought of spilling this black goopy slime on the bathroom floor helped me stay focused. The thought of having to clean up barf in addition to that terrible mess gave me added resolve.

“This smells terrible, Claire. I’m trying not to gag.”

For whatever reason, she thought the word gag was the most hilarious word ever, and she kept singing it as she danced around.

“It’s okay, Momma,” she said when her song was finished. “I’ll help you!”

With my little plumber-apprentice right on my heels, I made several trips to the kitchen with the pieces of the sink’s underbelly. Using a bucket from the shed, I cleaned all the parts and didn’t barf once.

I knew in the back of my mind that there was another section of the sink that could be the hiding the Creature of Black Doom, but I was hoping that all the grossness I’d already eradicated was the key.

I got all the pieces put back on.


I turned the water on.

No leaks!

…but no water draining from the sink at all.

All of this torturous activity and clog was still there!?

I summoned every ounce of my energy and went in again, telling myself that I had made progress, just not enough.

Our sinks have really fancy-schmancy stoppers. You can’t just pull up the plug and take them out. You have to unscrew a part in the back, under the sink, to release it from the drain, and all of this is easier to do when you take apart the other pieces. Again.

I figured out how to do that. I took apart the pipes again so that I could get a good view.

I will not describe to you what I removed from that section of pipe. Only Mulder and Scully would be able to determine exactly what it was. I did not let Claire see it. I ran to the toilet before it had a chance to lash out at me, and I flushed it away.

I can only hope it isn’t attacking some poor seaside village as we speak.

I got everything put back together, and the water runs freely now. The clog is gone! Now, does anyone have any Mental Drano®? **No, we don’t use Drano®, because it’s not good for older pipes. Images from that little foray into plumbing are still clogged in my brain, and there are just some things you can’t un-see.

In the meantime, Claire thinks it’s pretty awesome that Momma can take apart (and put back together) a sink. I think the hot-pink gloves and and matching sandals made all the difference.

Flagstone Patio Project Sneak Peek

Normally, I wait until a project is somewhat complete to write about it here on the blog, but I’m bending the rules a little this time.

This weekend, we got started working on our Flagstone Patio Project, and we aren’t done yet. But, I want to share some sneak peek pictures!

Who says divas can't be backyard landscapers?

Who says divas can't be backyard landscapers?

The three of us take a break.

The three of us take a break.

Here’s a little background:

When we bought the house 8 years ago, there was a 3-tiered deck on the back.  We instantly fell in love with it. A couple years ago, when we were going to repair one of the levels, we discovered a flagstone patio underneath. We knew there were flagstones under the deck, because we’d “harvested” them for other projects around the property:

We relocated these flagstones from under one part of the deck.

But, until we’d removed the dilapidated wood in that section of deck, we had no idea the flagstone patio was so extensive and elaborate…it even had a step! Rather than replace the deck with wood, we decided to rip out part of that section and restore the flagstone patio.

We were able to rip out the wood and finish the edge on that level of the deck. It’s taken longer to muster the energy to tackle the flagstone patio project, but this weekend, we decided to give it a go.

Do we know how to do this?


Has that ever stopped us before?

Of course not.

We’ve been doing this for so long that our concept of “easy” home-improvement projects is a tad distorted, and we often bite off much more than we can chew.  But, we both have good appetites and strong teeth.

You won’t be able to see the finished product, because that hasn’t happened yet, but we’ve got a wonderful start.

So, stay tuned for the full story…in the meantime, here are some pictures!

Close-up of the patio.

Close-up of the patio.

Please ignore the sand on the deck.  Please?  Thank you.

View from the top.

You can see the flagstone patio off to the right.  This photo gives you perspective.

You can see the flagstone patio off to the right. This photo gives you perspective of the deck as a whole.