Saturday, 27 April 2013

Sparks and Recreation

This Apartment Therapy link is all about games...something that Philip and I make a big part of our leisure time. You can find us playing a game at least 3 times a week, so maybe we'll have to make one of these. I'm especially loving the giant outdoor Scrabble board!

Since we've been talking about budgeting and finances lately, this blog post is a great addition to that. You can pay off your debt, and this is a great testimony to just that.

As Spring finally begins to arrive, some of you might be gearing up to do some gardening. This post talks about some of the great reasons to start a vegetable garden in your own backyard. 

Have a sticky label to remove? This DIY Goo Remover is a great solution, and the free printable labels are the icing on the cake. 

Hope you enjoy this weekend, I'm always tempted to buy rain boots when I see them in the store because they're so adorable but I talk myself out of it because "when will I wear them?". Today I would wear them. There are some very splashable puddles in our yard and I can't wait for it all to dry up so I can go and explore the yard we bought this house for. 

Friday, 26 April 2013

The Great Bathtub Caper of 2013

I had intended to leave this post room today for Philip, until something unexpected happened about an hour you can tell from the title, it was bathtub heist related. 

Let's start at the beginning...when we were gutting our bathroom, we had loaded up a trailer with some of the discards including the old vanity, bathtub, and some general debris. The trailer wasn't even close to full, so we left it for a bit until we could continue our project and fill it up. Philip was in the middle of Dinner Theater at the time so we didn't have a lot of time for gutting and were taking our time. It turned out it was my aunt and uncle's trailer and they needed it for a project, so they came to get it and we just emptied it out. Next to our garage there's an extra parking pad, and so we just put it there for the time being - like rednecks, we had a bathtub in our back lane now. 

For a few months now, it's rested there safely and securely, waiting for the long awaited journey to the dump. 

Yesterday as we were pulling into the garage, I noticed that the vanity was tipped. Didn't think a lot of it, wind was really gusting that day so just assumed it tipped through a combination of gusting wind and supportive snow melting away. It wasn't in good condition and was headed for the dump anyway so I wasn't worried enough to go check it out. 

This morning, it was soo nice outside, so I went to do a little walk around the yard, especially as I noticed that almost our whole garden is uncovered in the back! Yesterday only about 1/4-1/3 was exposed from under the snow, and now the whole thing is! Anyway...back to the tub. 

All of a sudden I was thinking...there's the tipped vanity...but where is the tub?? 

I could be wrong here, but I'm pretty sure someone stole our back lane dumpster bound bathtub. This is hilarious to me. I don't know why. It was peach colored  peeling, been outside in the Winnipeg Winter elements for a couple of months, and really really heavy. How did they pull this off without us noticing? 

We don't really mind, it actually saves us a trip to the dump because the rest of the stuff has been tagging along in the garbage bin each week as it fits, and this was the main big thing to get rid of. I wish they would have knocked on the door and asked, we would have easily let them have it for free and could have made a new neighborly bond out of it. Now instead we know there is a weird bathtub stealing neighbor on the loose! 

I'm happy for them though. They got a free tub, they're probably feeling pretty triumphant. I hope they're going to use it for something cool, like a super ugly backyard planter, or a toboggan! I hope that each time they use it they feel joy at their back-lane find. 

Thank you neighbors for saving us a trip to the dump, next time knock, if you're into weird old bath tubs we probably have some other neat stuff that would tickle your fancy...we could have been friends.

I hope this really strange Friday post was enjoyable to you, this stolen bathtub has brought me a lot of laughs today and I just thought I'd pass them on.

Thursday, 25 April 2013

It's Raining Terribleness

That title is not far from the truth when you're experiencing the take-down of insulation. This post is going to be long, because it was an epic project that takes many words to fully describe. 

Of the projects we've tackled so far, here'd be the top 3 worst:

3. Sanding Drywall when Patching Walls - So Dusty, this is a tie with Buying Closet Supplies
2. Patching the Ceiling - So Impossible
1. Taking down insulation - Everything Evil in the World

Mind you, we haven't done that much yet, but this was terrible, awful, horrible, the pits. 

Here's the basic rundown:

We decided to tackle this one without the help of family/friends just because it was a small space which didn't allow for much more than two people. Also, we knew it was going to be a frustrating job and didn't want to lash out at loved ones. We didn't know what we were doing, but sort of hashed it out in the week leading up to it and came up with the method we ended up using.

The Gear

  • Long Sleeved Shirts
  • Masks
  • Safety Goggles
  • Pants
  • Socks
  • Shoes
  • Hoodies (added later)
  • Huge Garbage Bags
  • Scissors
  • Shovel & Dust Pan
  • Step Ladder
  • Tarp
You can't see it, but we're still smiling.
Once we were dressed and ready, we went into the bathroom with enthusiasm. This died very quickly. 

The horrors!

The Method

Team Member A would stand on ladder and gently pull vapour barrier down in chosen region. Team Member B stands with garbage bag opened, attempting to catch the majority of fallen debris. 

We also had a tarp spread across the ground to prevent grossness from falling through to the basement and provide ease of cleanup. 

This actually worked surprisingly well, most went into bags and saved us some clean up time, the rest landed in eyes and hair. We took turns being person A and person B, with myself being A for the most part because I sucked so bad at B, I'd always look down and close my eyes because I hate stuff falling at my face, which didn't provide the best catching accuracy. 

No, this is not a "Before" photo. This was AFTER we cleaned most of the wood shavings up.

The Twists

That method will hopefully run smoothly for most people, and it did for us too except for a few twists that really threw our method off track.

First: When we were about halfway through the sawdust insulation removal, we noticed a build up of white powder in the section of insulation that had been bulging below the joist when we had taken down the ceiling a while back. I was concerned about it, and so we did some research online before going on to that section. 

Our best guess is that it was sodium flouride, which has been added to sawdust insulation to help with fire protection and deter intruders of the rodent variety. It's toxic if ingested, but didn't seem too worrisome if inhaled and we were wearing masks. Taking that section down was the worst, the powder seemed to be really heavy, a cloud of dust would make it so we couldn't see at all so we'd quickly get out and close the door to wait for it to settle so we could go back in and keep going. 

The breakdown, from bottom to top: drywall (already gone), vapour barrier, wood shaving insulation (mixed with suspected sodium fluoride), batts of fiberglass insulation, blown fiberglass insulation.

Second: After the sawdust insulation, there were batts. This part was tricky, because they run perpendicular to the joists, with blown insulation on top, so it was pretty hard to gain control. We wore hoodies tightened to just allow a hole to see, which made it really hard to breath and really, really hot. We were close to giving up at this point because we'd been working for hours, were tired, and it was really hard. We made it about 3/4 of the way, and Philip finished up the second day while I dealt with strep throat (still dealing with it, but close to normal-ish today). 

Ready for action!

"Should-ing" On Ourselves

Our pre-marital counselor taught us this term, and it's cleverness has stuck with us. (Read it out loud if it doesn't make sense.) There are a couple of things that we should have done during this project, having 20/20 hindsight. We'll share them here so that you can implement them if you ever do a similar project.
  1. Wear closed goggles. Sawdust is not fun to get in your eyes, we both put eye drops in the next two days and had swollen eyes from dust getting behind our glasses.
  2. Wrap your hair (or cut it all off first). If you have more hair than Philip's buzz cut, wrap it with a plastic bag. I had to shampoo three times and still had saw dust in my hair. I probably had over 100 pieces tangled in my pony-tailed hair - doesn't make for a refreshing after hard work shower. 
  3. Have a good imagination. The only way to get through the blown insulation shower that comes with taking down insulation is to be Team Member B and imagine that it's non-edible cotton candy falling, it makes the experience almost gleeful. Philip was up on the ladder disgusted by how much fluff was falling down and under my mask I had a huge smile just because of how much pink was falling all around me. 
  4. Be prepared for mystery substances. Wear a respirator or check ahead of time if there are any questionable things, or give yourself enough time to back away and get a professional when there is a weird white dust that might kill you. We probably could have seen that white dust ahead and looked into it, instead of having a last minute panic attack that could lead to a spousal dispute. 
  5. Wallpaper something before tackling this project. That, or pre-schedule a marital counselling session. You'll need to be as strong as ever with your spouse before showering your marriage in toxic substances, sawdust, and fiberglass. 

What's Next

Now that we've got our insulation out, here are the next couple of things that need to happen:
  1. Put up new vapour barrier
  2. Drywall the ceiling
  3. Have new insulation blown in
Have you taken down insulation recently? Did you love it as much as we did?

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Window Shopping Wednesday: Wardrobe Update

I don't know what it is, but I'm having a serious craving for a wardrobe upgrade. When I look in my closet in the morning I'm not seeing anything too exciting. It could be because Winter clothes have been out way too long and the switch to Summer will be enough to make my closet pleasing again, but I think I could use a few new items. 

Yesterday I started making a list of clothes to start keeping an eye out for. 

Jeans - I only have one pair right now and I don't care for them so have mostly been sticking to some of my more legging type pants.

Flats - Right now I only have one pair of nice flats, and since Philip is a bit shorter than me it would be nice to sell some of my fancy heels and trade them in for something more practical (getting old). 

Shorts - Again, only have one pair. I used to hate shorts and so I resisted buying them but I've started liking them a lot more and could use another pair.

Blousey Tops - I'm going crazy for these, so stylish and put together but super comfy. 

Blouse from The Gap

Cardigan - My Christian school upbringing and dress code has somehow managed to crush the idea that shoulder skin is scandalous into my brain and so I could use an extra cardigan to wear with some of my Summer tank tops. 

New Glasses - Getting tired of this pair, so going to make a visit to Zenni Optical soon, eye appointment next week and then with perscription in hand I can find a more stylish pair.

Glasses from Zenni Optical...I'm not sure if these are the ones I'll get, but something like this maybe?

Headbands - My headband feels like a vice on my head sometimes it is so tight, could use a couple more that are maybe a bit more cozy (is there such a thing?).

There's one more item that I don't need at all, but will likely buy. I go crazy for dresses, especially Summer dresses. They're so beautiful, comfortable to wear, and can be dressed up or down. The Joe line of Spring/Summer dresses are amazing this year! I haven't tried any on yet, but when I do, I have a feeling a couple might land in my cart unexpectedly. 

Where do you normally shop for your closet staples? You'll likely see me browsing Joe at Superstore (cheap and cute), The Gap, Espirit, and The Bay, oh and of course Winners. I certainly like to check out more interesting stores like some of the shops around Osborne (Hush, Out of the Blue), some other stores in the mall like Dynamite, Aldo, Forever 21, BCBG. Hopefully I'll be able to carve some clothing allowance out of the kitchen savings because I'm feeling a little stir crazy with my wardrobe right now. Yesterday I went through one drawer and got rid of a few of the more tattered or disliked items, making room to see the items that I actually like to wear. 

Have you been feeling tired with your wardrobe come Spring also or am I alone in this?

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Would You Tues: Earth Day

After a strep throat-induced sabbatical, we're back in action. The throat is still a bit sore, but I'm officially on no pain killers right now after my first night without them in a week. Strep throat is for sure the worst non-lethal sickness I've had. 

Anyway...moving on! 

Yesterday was Earth Day, and so I thought an Earth Day themed Would You Tues would be in order. 

What will you implement this year to take better care of the Earth?
a) Homemade or natural house cleaners
b) Recycling - behind the times a little
c) Plant a tree
d) Bike to work once the snow melts

As for us:
- Philip takes the bus to work
- We recycle, and with the DIY trend that's coming up, lots of us are searching thrift stores for great finds instead of buying a new product. 
- I'm hoping to keep up a small vegetable garden
- I'd really like to try some natural cleaners

Happy Earth Day!