The Month In Review: November and December 2013

Monday, December 30, 2013

I am a slacker. Obviously I haven't been keeping up with my blog posting but here is a little round up the last two months. We...

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Even though Christmas is the 25th my family and I celebrate on the 24th. We eat dinner, hang out and at the stroke of midnight we start opening presents!

Soooo on what I consider to be Christmas... Merry Christmas! The floor project sorted of sidetracked us and I didn't have time to send out our Christmas card this year. But I figured I can still share it here with all of you!

Under "Happy Holidays" it reads "Sending merry wishes to you and yours, Jonathan, Berennisse & Poseidon Stubblefield." 

Our photo with Santa was taken at our local Petsmart. They take photos with your camera, give your furry friend some treats and all the proceeds go to help homeless animals. The best part is that there was no line! Jonathan and I are seriously considering going to see this Santa instead of the one at the mall when we have kids. That way our fur kid can also be in it. 

The top right photo is from our trip to Salzburg, Austria. We are posing in front of the Mirabell Gardens  which some of you may recognize from the Sound of Music. On the bottom you can see us at Oktoberfest enjoying our first liter of the day. 

Merry Christmas! 

Halls Decked!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Our home is finally ready for Christmas!

Our stockings are by the chimney (with care, of course). Poseidon's bone shaped one is in the middle. 

To decorate our coffee table I spayed painted beer bottles with gold glitter. Yes, glitter comes in the form of spray painted. I sealed the bottles with a coat of clear acrylic (also in spray paint form).  I already had the long red and gold branches and Jonathan purchased the short leafy ones. 

I added a nutcracker (free on Black Friday!) and silver acorn to our side table. 

To accommodate the Christmas tree I had to move the console table into the dining area. I placed underneath the mirror and placed two of the dining chairs on either side. I made the wreath with some leftover deco mesh and bought the wooden "S." It also got the gold spray paint treatment. On the console table there's a faux tree that I bought for $2 from Big Lots five years ago. Next to it is a piece of  Styrofoam that I wrapped last year to stick all of the Christmas cards we received. We got a lot last year so I didn't use it this year. On top of it is a big salad bowl filled up with extra ornaments. 

Jon helped me move the dining table around (which I actually like a lot better) to make room for the console table. I left the tablecloth from Thanksgiving on it and added a black runner with gold snowflakes on it from Target years ago. My brother gave me the wine box and I just stuck in the six poinsettias I got on Black Friday. The red and green matched perfectly so I left it alone. 

I wrapped deco mesh, garland and lights around the handrail of our staircase. I added ribbon and decorative picks along the way. I also saved all of the holiday cards we received last year and hung them in between the spindles. 

Originally I wanted to put this little tree by the staircase window but the cord wasn't long enough so I had to place it here instead. 

Outside Jon opted for the traditional color lights but it was my idea to place the tree outside. 

Now all we're missing is some presents under our tree... but I don't really feel like wrapping them all just yet!

Laying Laminate

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Finally some FLOORS!!!!!

Okay, so it's not the best photo in the world but that's because all the pictures we took with our camera came out spotted. We think the dust got on the lens and unfortunately it took us a few days to completely clean it. Plus I think the floors are still dirty in this photo. When they're clean you can appreciate the red undertones so much more. 

You can read about the demolition, dust and water leak we had to deal with before actually getting to start the floor.

Before we could lay any of the laminate planks down we had to put down the underlayment first. The underlayment goes in between the concrete subfloor and the planks. It acts a sound and vapor barrier. The sound part is important because it absorbs some of the noise when you walk it (no creaks) and when you drop stuff. After looking at a ton of options we opted to get some Dreamwalk stuff from Lumber Liquidators. 

Jonathan rolled out the underlayment and cut it to fit across the length of our living and dining rooms. He used plain old duct tape to bind the rows together. You wouldn't think it but this part actually took a few hours.

Once that was done Jonathan was able finally lay the very first part of our new floors! 

The laminate came in individual planks that had tongue and grooves so you could snap them into place. Any planks that were going to be on the perimeter had to have the the tongue and grooves part that were sticking out cut off. Jonathan also had to place spacers around the perimeter. This gap was later covered up by our new baseboards. That space allows that floor to expand and contract with the weather. 

Jonathan also had to cut some of the planks so that it would be either a third or two thirds of the original length. Visually this gives the floor a staggered look that all hardwood and faux hardwood floors have but it is also important structurally to keep the planks as close together as possible. The tongue and groove makes it easy to attach the planks but you still have to use a mallet to get the pieces in flush. 

Jonathan worked his way across the room...

And pretty soon we were almost done! Once again- we = Jonathan. I did help by passing him planks and running out to get food. That's important right? I did try to help but Jonathan wouldn't let me since he "had to review all of my work" and he'd "feel better" doing it himself so he could "be sure it was done right." 

Finally we had the last piece of laminate to install!


We were finally able to move our couch back in. 

In a temporary place anyway. Our first floor is separated into two spaces since there is a small step at the entryway. Jon was able to finish laying the flooring on the larger space (living and dining areas) but we decided to save the entryway area for the following weekend. This meant that dust was still flying around and getting everywhere. We saw a lot of paw prints that week. 

Small price to pay for such pretty floors. Wait until you see it with the baseboards!

Water In The Wall

Friday, December 13, 2013

So after we spent a weekend removing tile and grout from our dining and living room (here and here) I came home to this.

At first I thought Poseidon couldn't wait until we got home and had an accident (so sorry little buddy!). Upon closer inspection I realized that it was water damage and it was coming from the wall. Great (please note the sarcastic tone). Isn't that what everyone wants to home to? 

Once Jon got home he started to investigate. On the other side of that wall is our fridge. Jonathan pulled out the fridge out of its little nook and found the source of the leak. The water line back there had a hole in it and caused a watery mess back there.

He decided just to disconnect the water line and allow it dry overnight. We figured that once it dried out a bit back there we could see what the real damage was. The next evening it seemed a lot better and Jonathan said that the damage wasn't too bad. We don't think it was leaking for too long back there. Good thing I really wanted new floors! Otherwise who knows how long that would have stayed back there. We did have to leave the fridge pulled out into the middle of the kitchen for a few days. See it behind me?

But it wasn't nearly as bad as we first thought. Jon still had to repair the wall with some wall mud stuff but our new baseboards ended up covering where the damage had been. Apart from the patch job the worst part was living with the refrigerator in the middle of the kitchen. As you can tell from the photo above it was a tight squeeze getting in and out of the kitchen but it's a small price to pay when you think of how bad it could have been.

Luckily this mini crisis didn't delay our flooring project and we were still able to proceed with laying the floors the following weekend!

Ein Bier, Bitte!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

When Jonathan and I started planning our long awaited delayed European honeymoon we knew we had to go to Munich. Why? OKTOBERFEST. 

Seriously, it was a bucket list item for Jon and since I knew first hand (I went in 2005) how awesome it is it was a no brainer. Our flight from Dublin arrived in the evening on the first day and dropped our stuff off at the hotel/hostel. Yeah... we booked a hotel but it was not the best and we both thought it should've been called a hostel. Expedia let us down. Anyway, once we were settled we made a beeline for the Hofbrauhaus. We've been to the one in Las Vegas (which is a pretty accurate replica) but nothing compares to the original. 

The next morning we had a quick breakfast and went to Oktoberfest. Don't judge us... it wasn't that early when we got there, maybe 11am? Oktoberfest is known for liters of beer but it's also a carnival. There are rides, games, tons of souvenir shops and of course the beer tents!

Clearly we were there for the beer. Jonathan wanted to visit as many tents as possible in order taste all the different beers. Our first tent was sort of crowded but we got seats on the upper level and ate a traditional German lunch. There was a German couple with a toddler in front of us. The parents were drinking and the little boy spent the majority of the time picking up his bottle and saying Prost (cheers in German)! The dad would clink glasses with him. The little boy also asked Jon and I to Prost with him. Precious. 

Tent 2 was also crazy full but we managed to get seats upstairs again. We ate one of the huge pretzels there because they are delicious and because we knew we needed to keep food in our bellies. 

At the third tent we snagged seats on the main floor by the band. Some kind doctoral students from Scotland let us sit with them. We also bonded with some German men sitting behind us. I think this was the first day of the government shutdown so one German kept telling us "America, America is kaput!" and the other was obsessed with Las Vegas. He said "I love Las Vegas!" a few times and asked Jon for his phone number so we could meet next time he was in the States. It was just as ridiculous as it sounds. We had the most fun in this tent. Our new drinking buddies were funny and super nice. We had a great time singing along with the band and Prost-ing with everyone in the vicinity. 

Three tents and a few liters later it was 4pm and time to go. Thanks to all the food we ate and the fact that we "napped" around 5pm neither one of us was in rough shape we woke up. We each drank a liter of water when our nap was over but that was the worst of it. 

Danke Oktoberfest! Best. Time. EVER. 

The Dust Bowl

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

On Monday I showed you guys our efforts from the first day of floor remolding project.

Yup, that's what we woke up to on Sunday. I had gone to Home Depot the previous evening to buy those big bags of trash bags (the ones that open up . Unfortunately they didn't have any so I had to settle for some big heavy duty trash bags.

As soon as I got up on Sunday I started to clean up. At first I just started putting big pieces into our trash can but that got full really fast. And it was super heavy. We had a couple of big boxes in our garage so I filled those up. There was still a ton of tile! Next I tried to use the trash bags. That didn't work out well since all the jagged long pieces poked holes in the bags. Tile is really heavy so I could only fill up the bags part of the way. In the end I broke up every tile square with hammer and gathered all the tiny pieces into the trash bags. It took forever.

Once we got all the fragments cleaned up we had to remove all the grout that was still stuck to the floor.  According to Jon this was a really important part of the project because we wanted all of our floors to be level when we were done. Always one for the details Jonathan wanted to absolutely sure the grout was gone.

My brother and mother came over to help us and between the four of us we started to remove the grout by hand. We had two scraper things and a two sets of hammer and chisels that we all took turns using. It was exhausting work. We were wiped out. I don't think my arms have ever hurt so bad. And we didn't really make that much progress. The only room we were able to completely de-grout- ify (yes, that's a real word) is the dining room.

The next day (it was Veteran's Day weekend) we decided to see if there was any liquid hat we could use to soften up the grout. Jon called Home Depot and to our shock and joy they did! He drove down to get some only to find out the person on the phone lied to us. Cruel, cruel lies.

Not wanting to come home empty handed Jonathan rented a huge power orbital sander. BEST TOOL EVER.

It allowed us to sand away the grout and left us with the smooth finish of the original concrete. My mom and I followed him around keep the cord out of his and sweeping up the super fine sand left behind. See the circles of the machine?

See how much sand was left behind? 

We had all the windows open and our fans on exhaust to help to get rid of the dust.

 We also wore googles and masks...

 but still dust got everywhere! In our ears, nose (so gross) and hair.

And that was our long weekend. Demo and dust. Dust everywhere. All of our furniture in the garage. A kitchen closed off by plastic tarps. Our house looked like a tornado had hit. And since the weekend was over we had to leave it until the next weekend.