Chris emailed me this article today. I found it rather inspirational

German man builds wall, traps himself in cellar

BERLIN (AFP) – A German DIY enthusiast accidentally walled himself into his own basement and only managed to escape by drilling his way through to his neighbours, police said Thursday.

The 64-year-old pensioner in the eastern town of Gumperda had -- inexplicably -- aimed to seal off the entrance to his cellar and went downstairs armed with bricks, mortar as well as food and drink.

"Whoops, you could say," the police station in nearby Kahla said in a statement. "He was on the wrong side of the wall when his work was finished."

The pensioner, whose name was not released, spent the weekend trapped in the basement but on Monday decided to take action.

Using a drill hammer, he went to work not on his own wall but on the firewall separating his home from his neighbours'.

The neighbours, with whom the pensioner had already been quarrelling for months, called the police when they heard the loud drilling.

Officers were waiting for the hobby handyman when he broke through to the other side.

(original article found here)

I'm happy to say Chris and I have never fucked up at that bad. We may have striped trim we didn't need to, not stucco patched a window properly, or taken FOREVER to do things, but at least we've never trapped ourselves in the basement.


The Stove is In!

Mark it off the list the stove is in!

What we had to do to get there: install the backsplash, grout the backsplash (more on that later), get the granite cut, run some electrical, push that sucker in, fire it up!

When we initially got the granite installed they templated and cut it REALLY close. We thought about fixing it then, but didn't know what kind of stove we would eventually get, and I was just too fucking pissed off at our granite installers to bother. I know that's completely lazy and would eventually be a waste of money, but I fucking HATED our granite people so the sooner they got out of our house the better.

First Chris made the cut on our plywood underneath the granite

Next we called a well known granite place here, Baker Marble and Granite (to ensure we got a company that wouldn't fuck us like our initial granite installers) and had them come make a cut to make our new, 3/4 of an inch bigger stove with the backsplash fit (I scampered out while the guy was getting something from his truck to snag this pic)

When he was done it looked AMAZING

There's a tiny little spot of uncut granite against the wall that he couldn't get to because we'd installed the backsplash already and he didn't want to risk cutting into the wall or tile. But it will be behind the stove, so no big deal.

Next we had to run some electrical so we could actually plug it in. Our old stove was electric and when we renovated we ran a gas line because we knew we'd eventually get gas, so this was just the last step

(this is Chris asking me, "What the hell are you doing taking these pictures and not getting to work, Missy?" And I'm saying back, "HELLO, you made me wake up at 6 am to drive back from LA and I'm still sick, buster.")

But then we got back to work, or me back to handing him tools....where oh where is Samantha when I need her...

And then we shoved that sucker in! And it looks soooooooooo nice. I LOVE it

Look at that 17,000 BTU's of action!

I am QUITE excited to make tacos tomorrow night. BAHHHHH!!!!!


Samantha the Renovating Cat

Warning, many cat photos in this post.

Chris and I headed down to LA for Thanksgiving this year. It's been 2 years (gasp, BAD girlfriend) since I've been down to see his family, so I knew it was time I paid a visit. Sadly I was sick most of the time :( but we did get some nice family visiting in, so that's always good.

While Chris was there his grandma Max had him work on a few tasks around her house. Thankfully, because I felt like crap, I got to take some time off :) but I did diligently hand him tools. We also had another helper, one of Max's new cats Samantha who is just about the most curious, friendly, and fearless cat I have ever met.

She was just as helpful as I was throughout the projects Chris worked on

I tried to think of ways I might kidnap her, but alas, I knew Max loved her and she couldn't abandon (the appropriately named) Scamp - the other cat in the house, so I just decided I would miss her lots and lots.

She was a good worker cat and an excellent cuddle buddy if by chance I took a nap in the middle of the day. Oh Samantha the Renovating Cat how I miss you so much already... :)


Thwarted by the Sicky

Chris and I had grand plans to grout last night, but I came down with a cold and all the damn tile shops were sold out of the grout we needed. DAMNIT! Instead, I laid on the couch and fell asleep at 7:45 and Chris watched some movies.

I feel a little guilty about not being productive, especially with our long list of things to accomplish before the new year. But now that I feel terrible (I've been up since 4 am with a sore throat, sniffles, sneezing, coughing...) I think it was probably a good decision.

Here's to hoping I don't infect everyone on Thanksgiving. Happy (almost) Turkey Day everyone, see you next week!


A Wall Calendar

I really like to plan things out and have things organized. Working and living in a construction zone doesn't allow much organizing, so I try to insert it in crazy ways where I can.

I am a planner. When we went on our 3 month road trip I had a binder where I kept all of our tickets, resources, a calendar of things we needed to get to, etc. I am the organizer for family events. I planned our 5 year anniversary road trip just a FEW months in advance. When I was in high school my friends called me Monica (from Friends).

So you get it. I am a crazy organizer/planner.

Chris and I both keep schedules of what's going on both on our own and together. The problem is we've keep those lists separate so I always have to make sure to write my stuff on Chris' calendar so he knows what I've got going on, and him on mine.

But then I got a GREAT idea for what should go on this big blank wall in the kitchen

A full size wall calendar. BAHHH!

We had bought a sheet of white board from Home Depot a while ago, so we cut down the leftover sheet to my planned size...

...and I got to griding it all out (yes, that's right I have a to-scale graph paper drawing sitting on top of the white board. I told you, I am crazy).

Drywall squares are great for cutting and hanging drywall, but they also come in handy for drawing out hundreds of 1" x 1 1/4" squares

Once I'd gotten everything drawn out in pencil, I went for it with the sharpie. I used the sharpie on all the calendar grid lines because they don't wipe off

Like an idiot I extended the lines for each day into the area where the month would be written, but it was okay because I had a little plan to make that area a bit more exciting... :)

First I spread out some contact cement (VERY carefully)

Then I cut out some paper and spread out contact cement on the back...

...waited 15 minutes and then VERY precisely stuck it down (because the SECOND the two surfaces of contact cement touch, they STICK)

And now it sits happily on the wall for me to plan and dry erase away!

And each month has fun, seasonal scrap paper

And it's already in use!

We've got November and December of this year going...

I LOVE our calendar!!!! It's so happy and HELPFUL (we still need to frame it out).


Backsplash on the Opposite Wall

Saturday we checked two things off our insurmountable goal list: finishing installing the backsplash and going to the football game. Good Saturday.

Saturday night's game was the Causeway Classic, the annual football game between rivals UCDavis and Sac State. Chris graduated from Davis and I went for two years. The new football stadium was built a few years ago and Chris and I have been wanting to go for a while, so we figured the rivalry game would be the time to go see it. It was QUITE a game. A friggin' tornado practically blew in and the game was postponed due to lightning

We left at halftime because they didn't notify people what was going on and Chris and I were SOAKED. We went to dinner with some friends and when we got home we found out they had resumed play about 30 minutes after we left, but there was only one score in the rest of the game. So we didn't really miss anything. I felt bad for the players for having to play in that mess though

Davis won by a field goal. (photos courtesy of the Sac Bee)

Now on to house stuff.

In the few hours before we left we were able to get a lot of tiling done, which was very exciting.

Here's where we started

And we tiled and tiled and tiled (thank goodness 12x12 sheets go faster than the subway tile)

Spreading the thinset behind the faucet area was a little difficult

And by the end of the day we had FINISHED!

Next on the list: grouting


An Insurmountable Goal?

I have stated goals and made proclamations about how much we intend to get done on a given weekend, by the end of a week, or whatever. They have rarely ever been completed so I have stated that I shouldn't state them anymore. And so, it would only be fitting for me to state one again :)

So here it goes:

We want to FINISH the bathroom, kitchen and foyer by the end of the year. That's right, just 6 weeks.

Writing that just sounds ridiculous. It's quite a lofty goal.

Here's what it entails:

Kitchen (this was a project started as soon as we moved in nearly 2 years ago, and after not having an operable kitchen for 7 months, as soon as we could cook in it, we moved on)

Finish installing the door and window trim and paint it
Install upper cabinet trim and baseboards and paint them
Finish installing the backsplash
Grout backsplash
Seal backsplash and counters (a once a year task)
Install frame on wall calendar and paint it (more about that project later)
Finish electrical for stove and install it
Enclose fridge? (not sure about this one)
Cut down, stain and install pass-through
Install switchplate covers

Foyer (we didn't have a front door for the first 5 months we lived here. Yes, that's right, NO FRONT DOOR. We revisited this project earlier this year to finish it up, but didn't quite get there...)

ALL we have to do for this one is stain and install the baseboards


FINISH installing the tile and trim
Grout tile
Seal tile (floor and walls)
Install ducting for fan
Figure out and install a shower enclosure
Install sink
Install toilet
Install cabinet over toilet and mirror over the sink
Figure out bathroom artwork, get it, put it up
Move in "accessories" (corner cabinet, towels, soap dish, blah blah blah)
Finish last touches on door reversal
Paint and install door

What we have standing in the way

I have two afternoon/evening fairs
A day long fair
A entire WEEKEND fair
A weekend in LA
Family Christmas celebrations
A football game to attend
Painting at my brother's
A day long movie watching extravaganza (Chris and my's Christmas day tradition)
48 more movies to watch (Chris has a yearly goal of watching 300 and we're currently 48 short)
Our jobs

Clearly we're delusional if we think this is at all possible...


Starting the Backsplash

With the prep work done for the backsplash, it was time to get started installing it. And of course, we've chosen all the most difficult and annoying tile to install thus far, so the backsplash was no different.

Basketweave bathroom floor: TINY mosaic pieces that were so difficult to cut and annoying to lay to make sure every piece was on the same level.

Glass subway tile: made us buy a new blade for the tile saw and has no beveled edges so the face is completely flat, therefor if any piece sticks out even 1/16th of an inch more you can tell and it looks like poop.

Glass mosaic backsplash: crackle glass with some sort of epoxy over it. If you don't cut SUPER slow the crackle glass cracks all over the place and the line looks terrible. The glass is also sitting on a layer of some sort of thinset product already and the tile saw gets REALLY mad about cutting through two different materials and will kick back sometimes. It is a FUCKING BITCH to cut

Why oh why do we pick the most difficult tile to install?

Once we figured out how the hell to cut it without the tile saw exploding, we got to work.

The good news: it goes up a lot faster than both the basketweave and the subway, woo-hoo!

I LOVE LOVE LOVE it with the countertops. There is just a hint of green in it to compliment the counter color.

We got a bit on the opposite wall as well, but only two sheets, so it's rather unexciting. Hopefully soon I'll be able to share that WHOLE wall :)