Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Home Reno II: The Upstairs Bathroom

Ever begin to peel an onion or an apple that you think might just be a little bruised but the deeper you go, the worse it gets until you start to wonder if the dang thing is even worth the effort?!? Our upstairs bathroom IS that onion and it would make anyone cry. 

We knew when we moved in that we would have to replace the bathroom floor. The linoleum was curling along the tub and wavy behind the toilet. We hoped it just had to do with the previous owners apparent fear of caulking and if we just replaced the linoleum the subfloor wouldn't be bad. After all, the previous owners kids had grown up and moved out years ago, so this bathroom had not been used much in a while. 

So, in the beginning of July, I pulled off the outer layer and removed all the baseboards.

 The pale green walls had once been pink!
 And I began to see black.
 And more black.
James removed the toilet and was appalled by the smell. Clearly the toilet had been leaking. The question became how bad and for how long.
 When we peeled back the linoleum, we were met with a lot of black. Clearly this was not recent, nor small.
 Under the linoleum was 1/4" plywood, all lack around the toilet area.
 Underneath that was 1/2" particle board that was, again, all black and disintegrating, because when particle board gets wet it expands and crumbles. I might add, in addition to the genius of using particle board in the flooring in a bathroom, none of the nails were galvanized so they were all rusted.
Underneath that was a layer of black paper that has beautifully become sticky and then flaky from the moisture.
 It had even leaked to the vanity and frayed its particle board from the corner in and turned it black.

So we threw that out as well.
 And underneath that was the final subfloor, a 1/4" plywood. Around the toilet it had been so compromised it was caving in. We removed the entire upper subfloors. The corners of the tub showed definite mold as well, though the wood had not been compromised.
 So we pulled out the final subfloor around the toilet pipe.

 Even the underside of the subfloor was black.
 And the drywall underneath the pipe had been significantly eroded.
 We cleaned out the corroded area and replaced the compromised sub-sub-sub floor with 1/4" new plywood.

 And I cleaned out the corners by the tub to remove any surface mold particles. Then we sealed the entire lowest subfloor with a layer of Kilz sealant and protectant against any further mold.
 Then, skipping the idiotic particle board, we put down a new subfloor of 3/4" plywood and screwed it down with galvanized screws.

 Since we had done so much work on this bathroom already, we figured now was as good a time as any to do a bit more. Now, all our walls and ceilings look like this:
 It looks like the walls have goosebumps, but they are so rough I have hurt myself, multiple times, to the point of bleeding on it. I hate it. So James picked up a sanding stick and I went over all the walls in the bathroom.
Then I painted all the walls with two coats of Nile Green. Before:

 After:

Next we put in the new vanity. I drilled many small holes to punch out holes big enough for the water lines and drainage pipe
Teresa said it was Mickey Mouse!
While James was in Indiana for a conference, I got the floor done. We went with vinyl tiles with a stone look to them.
Honestly, doing the toilet area wasn't hard. 
 It was doing the doorway that was a pain.
 But I got it done before he got back. And I love the way it looks!
 We shut down the power to the bathroom and I installed the new light fixture. The old one was the original from over 20 years ago and the outer coating had long deteriorated. James thought it was dust, it was really just corrosion. I love this new one so much more.
 James installed the new shower head. The old one gave frustratingly weak water pressure, and this one is pure heaven!
We got a new shower rod and shower curtain which matched the green paint well and, well, let's just say it is my style. :)


Then we got the sink with the new faucet back on. We scuffed the wall so I retouched the paint as well. Honestly, I hated the old faucet so much. It didn't have a separate hot and water handles, just one knob you pull and twist. My younger kids had trouble using it and it had accumulated so much grime and gunk underneath the clear knob it looked wretched. Hello, beautiful brushed nickel! 
It took a few tries to get the drain from the sink hooked back up without leaking. And then I scraped clean the side splash and installed it on the side of the sink.
Since the old baseboards were either broken or had black mold all over the back of them, I had to buy new boards, which I cut to the necessary lengths and angles, sanded the edges and then stained.
 I sealed them with polyurethane and then nailed them on.
 Add caulking on the baseboards near the tub and we were done. Two solid months later.



  We also put in a new, white and smaller air vent... the old one was gray, beaten to all heck, and unnecessarily long for a bathroom.









Saturday, August 29, 2015

Learning Notes XXXIV

Monday, August 24th, St. Bartholomew
The week got off to an early start as Elizabeth completed her handwriting in bed the night before and Felicity finished her geography and print handwriting before 8am. Before the morning was over, Felicity had also done her typing, script handwriting and vocabulary. After lunch she completed two pages of math as well. Elizabeth also did her english and 2 pages of phonics. Cecilia did her geography and a math lesson and began working on her new poem, "Hymn" by St. Thomas Aquinas. She has also been plowing through The Two Towers.
After a break where the girls played outside and I continued my cleaning/de-cluttering of their bedrooms, we did science and read "One Small Blue Bead" about the possible archeological significance of a single blue bead. Then we watched "The Cave of Forgotten Dreams" on Netflix Instant about the oldest cave paintings discovered in France's Chauvet Cave. It was a really neat and fascinating look at the cave and its paintings and other artifacts. They used lasers to scan the entire cave to build a map of it and talked about the bones and handprints found in the cave as well as the calcite formations and the variations in the drawings.
Felicity's, Elizabeth's and Brigid's room before. 
Their room after. It took me 5 days to clean both girls' rooms and resulted in about 10 bags worth of stuff to donate.  
Brigid kept me company. She loves reading over her bedtime books, which she has memorized and can speed through.
Felicity's and Elizabeth's beds. With a clean floor and stuffed animal chest that closes!

It was my huge plush black bear, which is bigger than Thomas, in his crib that tipped me off that someone had woken Thomas prematurely from his nap. I'm sure when I bypass most of Purgatory, I'll be very grateful to that girl but UGH! 
"Look, Mom, I got my bib off!"
Tuesday, August 25th, St. Louis, St. Genesius
Elizabeth had done a page of spelling before bed Monday night and finished it this morning. She also did two pages of math, completed her phonics, and memorized the first stanza of her new poem, "Once I Saw A Little Bird." Felicity did her english, spelling and another page of math. And Cecilia did another math lesson and her spelling. I never did get to any reading lesson with Teresa but she was playing so wonderfully with Brigid outside all day I didn't mind. Most of the girls spent most of the day outside. It was sunny and in the 60s... just gorgeous!

After lunch and a break, I sat down and did religion with the girls. We did chapter 4 which was all about angels. We talked about angels as creatures and the fact that people cannot become angels, that the word "angel" means messenger, and read from Revelation about the fallen angels and Luke about the temptations of the bad angels. We talked about the hierarchy of creation, both material and spiritual, and the 9 choirs of angels and what each, according to tradition, does. We talked about the role of angels in scripture and the three archangels mentioned by name. And we talked about guardian angels, how they help us, why we should pray to them every day, and that we should treat them with respect. We also discussed whether there are boy and girl angels, why they are usually shown wearing white and with wings and how intelligent they are. It sounded so simple when I called the girls to join me for religion: "We're going to learn about angels," but we really covered quite a lot about them.

Wednesday, August 26th, Our Lady of Czestochowa
Elizabeth finished her math and Felicity finished all but one page of her math. Felicity also memorized the first stanza of her new poem, "My Shadow." Cecilia did one math lesson and her english. And Teresa did another reading lesson.
In the afternoon we sat down to do some latin. We did two lessons adding the preposition "in" and the conjunction "et" to our vocabulary.

Thursday, August 27th, St. Monica
Honestly, I was quite lazy on Thursday. But Felicity did finish her last page of math and Cecilia did her math and vocabulary. And we did try to cook kale chips and zucchini chips. Honestly, the kale chips didn't turn out very well. I think I over oiled and over salted them. The zucchini chips turned out better but they would have been much better if cut thicker, spread out more and a little less salt (the parmesan goes a long way.)


Friday, August 28th, St. Augustine
I couldn't let this week of beautiful weather pass without going on an outing. I'd heard wonderful things about the Bookworm Garden in Sheboygan, so we drove up there for the morning and it was totally worth it.

 First we gave Harry the Dirty Dog a bath.

 Then they visited Horton's tree and helped hatch eggs.


 They had fun in the sand at the dinosaur dig. I told them they were being archeologists!

 There was a scene from a locally written book, Connor the Caddy, which takes place at the nearby golf course. And then there were the houses of the three little pigs.

All the girls loved the Playhouse for a Monster. They monitored the windows and the door and made cookies and had a blast. 

 Thomas hung out with me but he enjoyed looking around. Below Felicity knocks on Stuart Little's front door.
 There is a central building with bathrooms and a gift shop and a small reading library. The building itself though was so beautiful it merited its own picture.
 I think my favorite spot was Planting a Rainbow. So pretty!

 There were frames painted to resemble famous paintings from children's book and the kids could look through and even climb through the frames.

 Another highlight was the musical instruments beneath a group of pine trees. Honestly I think the kids could have just played there for an hour!



Thomas loved the waterfall.
He was babbling at it nonstop until, of course, I began filming him.




Teresa loved the statue of the ballerina and Cecilia found The Magic Treehouse!

They took turns going inside Winnie the Pooh's house.

Brigid was alarmed by the stump that had a hole in it. 

They swept and rang the gong at the Japanese Tea House.

I loved the Little House in Big Woods area.

The girls tried to get in the covered wagon for a group picture, but, probably true to life, the wagon was a bit on the small side.

Felicity, Elizabeth and Brigid took turns riding the sea serpent and sitting on the fairy mushrooms. Nearby were fairy houses and gnome shoes.



I insisted on a group picture in the Goldilocks and the Three Bears chairs.


Then we went on to the farm...
Where they have a Johnny Appleseed section with apple trees that the kids can help water when it has been too dry. Today was a no-watering day, so Teresa watered the dirt around us.

There were all sorts of vegetables and herbs in the garden, which the children can help pick when they are ripe, and there was Mr. McGregor's tool shed and "Some Pig" in the barn!

Brigid took Wilbur for a ride.

There was a quiet reading corner with marble books, I assume of big donors.

Teresa's favorite spot had to be McElligot's Pool. She loved the fish and it was stunningly beautiful.
Across the way, was Make Way for Ducklings.
On the way back to the car, we stopped by the Magic School Bus, which Teresa insisted on driving.


See the planter in front of the school bus. It has a kaleidoscope in front of it. I managed to snag a picture of the inside with my phone:
Afterwards we went to Culvers for burgers, chicken, fries and ice cream.
Thomas seemed to like his ice cream and french fries together.
Our final stop was the Kohler-Andrae State Park. My initial plan was to buy a day pass and get the kids out and explore the shore of Lake Michigan but by the time we got there Thomas and Brigid were asleep, so we just drove through and looked around.
Honestly, it was just as well. It was so foggy you couldn't see much of the lake and not long after we headed home it began drizzling. Another time I hope to explore further.

Saturday, August 29th, Beheading of St. John the Baptist, Elizabeth's Baptism Day

I spent most of Saturday working on the last couple of things for finishing the upstairs bathroom, but we did, per her request, get Chinese to celebrate Elizabeth's Baptism Day! Cecilia and Felicity made her a card too. And they played video games. It was a pretty muggy, rainy, gray day anyway.