Monday, July 28, 2008

Notes, various

Bathroom notes
We've decided to ditch the ceiling's acoustic tile altogether and put up new sheetrock--that tile is gross, anyway. And the new window will be all frosted glass, so I'll be able to ditch the blinds, as well. And the toilet lid I was thinking of changing to a color is staying white so as not to "draw the eye down and clutter up the 'openness' we are trying to achieve," sez my personal designer (sister A.). Sounds good by me.

Still haven't decided about the flooring, but I know the walls will be pale yellow except for a broad stripe around the room (including the tub/shower area tiles) to visually lengthen the room. The yellow paint is about the only known quantity at this point. But, hey! that's some progress! What color the stripe will be, I dunno yet. It depends on the colors of tiles we find while roaming around the home improvement stores.

Cat notes
Since I restarted the feral feeding program, I decided to take another shot at flea-doping Leo--and I got him. First time in two months, and I had to sneak up on him, of course. Now he can rub on me all he wants.

Minnie, that adventurous soul, has been spending a lot of time outside despite the hot, muggy weather. Why anyone in a permanent fur coat would want to hang out in a steam bath when they could lounge around in a nice cool house is beyond me. I guess she's just tough (or more interested in stuff outside). She also spends a lot of time outside when it's bone-chillingly cold.

Health notes
Haven't lost an ounce yet. In fact, I think I've gained another pound. *le sigh* Guess I better try harder.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

"Cavin' in here, boss!"

OK, I caved--the ferals' feeding station is in operation again. Yes, I'm a wimp, the limpest noodle in the bowl. Here's a photo of my boss, Leo, who has been pitching his piercing meows at me everytime he sees me, whether I'm inside or out. "FEED ME, FEED ME, FEED ME!" OK, so SHUT UP already! You'll notice in the picture that he fairly glows with demonic energy.

So much for independence from the stink of cat pee--I'm sure it'll come back along with most of my furry visitors.

Well, Minnie made it difficult, for one thing, because she sometimes doesn't come back from her morning constitutional in time for me to get her inside before I have to leave for work, which means she's stuck outside all day, which means she'll need food and water. Twice last week, I had to leave food and water outside--and I had to leave a lot, plenty for several cats, because otherwise Minnie wouldn't have gotten a bite all day. Leo lapped it up, of course, and took it as encouragement for a renewed attack upon my resolve (which was weakening already; I missed my feral kitties).

I'm not going overboard, though. One shelter, one food bowl, one water bowl--that's it. And if they want to fight about it, let 'em--I'm not breaking up fights anymore.

Anyway, I promised Leo's late big brother that I'd take care of him. And if one can't be relied upon to keep one's promises to dead cats, well, just what is the world coming to?!?

BTW, two points and a Kewpie doll to anyone who recognizes the origin of this post's homage-paying title. (Well, two points, anyway.)

Bathroom plan update

It turns out I won't be able to keep my current tub, after all--my bro-in-law, V. (who's probably going to be doing the work since he has beaucoups experience with it) says it's too rusted and trying to fix it would cost more than just replacing it. So I'll be getting a new iron tub (I don't like the plastic ones--they don't feel stable underfoot; makes me feel like I'm living in a motel room).

Also, my personal designer (sister A.) reminded me that the tall, narrow linen cabinet I was thinking about would mess up our goal of visually widening the bathroom space, so I'll be getting a slightly wider vanity instead, one that has shelves behind doors (instead of drawers and a sort-of useable space under the sink). I didn't know they made 'em like that. The wider vanity means I can get a wider medicine cabinet and put light sconces on either side instead of a light over the top. Nice....

It also turns out that an over-the-john cabinet can be recessed into the wall just like a medicine cabinet (well, of course!), so I can have extra storage there, too, without cutting too deeply into the space. Any amount of storage we can shoehorn into this little room is a great thing!

I took pix of my bathroom as-is and put them up on my Flickr page, along with three plans I drew yesterday while taking measurements. Now to start collecting goodies so they'll all be ready for my remodeler. Of course, that'll take quite a while, because I also have some debt left to pay off over the next several months, but I'll do what I can when I can. Just have to dial down my eagerness a bit.  :)  "All good things to those who wait...."

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Bathroom plan, short version

Sister A. whittled my scary-big list of remodeling tasks down to a list of work done in "layers," which sounds a lot less scary:
  1. Gut the bathroom down to the studs and subfloor. Send the tub to be refinished. Retain the toilet to be reset.
  2. Repair/replace subfloor as necessary and install new flooring.
  3. Reset toilet. (Sure hope these first three steps can be done in one day, or I'll have to rent a port-a-john!)
  4. Replace/repair electrical.
  5. Replace/repair plumbing.
  6. Install new vinyl-clad window and frame.
  7. Install new moisture-proof sheetrock.
  8. Reset tub.
  9. Tile tub area and set grab bars.
  10. Install new water heater closet door, medicine cabinet, vanity, and linen cabinet.
  11. Paint.
  12. Install new light fixtures.
  13. Install new towel bars, switch plate covers, cabinet knobs, and décor items.
Sounds easier, doesn't it? OK, maybe not, but it's shorter!

I've started compiling a list of goodies I want in my bathroom, thanks to Amazon's new Universal Wish List button, which allows you to collect wish list items from any online store. (Unsolicited plug, there.) I can put stuff from Home Depot & Lowe's & whoever else all in one place--very handy! Mom, you know how to find it.  :)

Today, I take pix and measurements. I'll post the pix on Flickr later.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Remodeling plans

Now that I can see the light at the end of the Debt Tunnel, I've started getting serious about remodeling my ugly, water-damaged bathroom, both for myself and for future sale of the house (way down the road). So far, I've got a list of work that needs to be done...and, boy, there's a bunch of it, more than I'd realized. Just as in programming a seemingly simple task, when you break it down into specific events, there's an amazing lot of 'em. Here's my list so far--and it doesn't even include color and design yet!

Bathroom Changes
  • remove ugly old brown masonite
  • replace drywall (there's probably water damage)
  • fix leak coming from outside window (to prevent more water damage)
  • remove carpet & replace with tile or vinyl
  • cover edge of hall carpet with metal carpet threshold (if necessary--not sure)
  • replace tub hardware (including built-in shower head); should match sink hardware (might have to replace sink faucet, too)
  • re-enamel rusty place on tub where a round metal thing (overflow drain cover?) used to go (want to keep tub, if possible)
  • remove wood trim around tub & replace with plastic trim or just caulk
  • tile tub/shower area
  • install safety bars in tub/shower area (cuz I ain't no spring chicken)
  • install beadboard halfway up wall in rest of room (maybe, if it doesn't make a small room look even smaller)
  • replace weird many-part door to water heater with a 1- or 2-part door (to look neater; just make from lumber & add door handle[s], since door will be an odd size) (Clarification: The space were the WH is used to be a linen closet with the WH up on a high shelf, of all silly things. But after the original WH died--and leaked all over my towels--I had the shelves taken out & the next WH put, sensibly, on the floor. Now, of course, there's no storage in the bathroom except for two little drawers in the vanity and the space under the sink with the broken floor where I keep a few cleansers & the litterbox-scooping stuff. My towels reside in the bottom drawer of my dresser.)
  • paint walls, trim, & new water heater door (off-white or pale yellow, probably)
  • take out rotten wood window sill over tub & replace with minimal plastic or other waterproof window frame
  • replace broken vanity with new one (including sink), possibly reaching from current right-hand point to wall at left (with sink in right half of vanity--not sure that's possible)
  • add narrow linen storage, either a tall unit to left of new same-size vanity or a short unit sitting on left end of new wider vanity
  • replace medicine chest & move it down to my (average) height (the person who installed the existing medicine chest must have been 7 feet tall!)
  • install light over medicine chest (the old one died & fell off the wall years ago)
  • replace ugly towel bars, switchplate, & drawer/door handles
  • replace ceiling light fixture with something that goes with new "look"
  • ditto towels, toothbrush holder, cup, etc.

Current Stuff to Keep
  • tub (just fix rusty area & add the hardware that goes there)
  • toilet
  • window
  • ceiling (maybe--see "Possible Repairs")

Possible Repairs
  • plumbing behind tub/shower wall
  • subfloor (check for rot)
  • update ancient wiring for light over medicine cabinet (it's weird in there)
  • ceiling has a leak stain; find/fix leak & replace ceiling tiles (might leave that for roof repair & insulation project later on)

Like I said, quite a bit to consider. Next stop: Home Depot for ideas about the vanity, hardware, and so forth...and some idea of how much the materials will cost. Labor is still up in the air.

There are other repair/remodeling projects coming later, but this one needs to be done first. I'd like to have the bathroom done after the last of my debt is paid off, but the tub faucet's growing leak might hurry things up a bit (it'd be stupid to replace the tub faucet before doing the remodeling, since it would all have to be torn up again later). I'll wait as long as the leak doesn't get too bad.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Magician cat

This pic turned up in my office email. Eat your heart out, David Copperfield!  :)

Monday, July 7, 2008

Another little step

OK, two more accounts are now paid off courtesy of my unexpected refund from the debt consolidation people and the amount I'd budgeted for their usual draft which--YAHOO!--is not being drafted anymore. That leaves the last two credit cards. One of those will be paid off in the next two months. The other should be paid off by May 2009, barring unforseen expenses (knock wood!).

Friday, July 4, 2008

Sounds like thunder to me!

Poor Minnie, she does not like thunder and lightning, and tonight we have both--artificial, of course, this being the evening of July 4th, but that makes no difference to my little scaredy-cat. Just as she does during storms, she's hiding under the furnace from the banging of fireworks.

I must say, the banging seems louder than usual. Must be some hot new type of firecracker. Joy.

Missions accomplished

Mission #1
Well, we got 'em married off! Everybody was happy and the whole thing went off without a hitch--although the bride had some extremely nervous moments when the groom failed to materialize on cue; neither he nor the best man had heard the music they were supposed to come in on. They got it on the second playing of that particular song, though, and it all sounded seamless. On our "cue" song, the bride and I made our stately way up the aisle, me with a giant man's ring hidden on one thumb (lest I drop it), she with a bit of a quiver to her bouquet. When we got up to the groom, she whispered that he'd scared the daylights out of her--LOL! But everything went fine (although the giant ring had to go on his pinkie for now because his ring finger is even more giant).

After the wedding and lots of picture-taking, the wedding party headed home to change out of our monkey suits, then went back to the church for the tail-end of a Bible study class and the wedding reception afterward. Lots of people turned up, and a good time was had by all. Then the bride & groom headed off on their mini-honeymoon and I went back to their place in their other car to crash after all the excitement and sugar and waaaay too many people. I had a nice, relaxing night cat-sitting. I headed home about 11am the next day.

And now here I am raising an imaginary glass of champagne, wishing them all the luck in the world.  :)

Mission #2
On July 2nd, to my surprise and vast relief, I got an email from the debt consolidation company I signed up with five years ago saying that my June payment to them covered the LAST of my debt and, on top of that, I had a big fat refund check coming! No more huge drafts from my account! My money is mine again! Now I can hammer away at the debt that accumulated while I was forking out nearly half my income to pay off the big debt and had no savings--a much smaller debt that I should have paid off by May 2009. Then I'll be FREE!!!

By the way, in case you're considering letting a debt consolidation company clean up your mess for you, DON'T. Read my tale of woe first. If I had it to do over again (which I will never do), I'd control paying off my debt myself instead of delegating it to someone else. It'd be slow going, but at least it wouldn't wreck my credit rating.