Can’t Beat the Heat!

Our small air conditioner just can’t make much of a dent in the heat.  At 8:24 PM with the AC going full blast it was 90 degrees in the ‘cool’ part of the house.  The bedrooms are NOT in the cool part of the house. Tomorrow is supposed to be even hotter.  One reason to look forward to returning to school next week!IMAG2589

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Again with the home ‘improvements’

Our house has 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms. One bathroom is small but adequate and the other is larger and pretty much useless.  It has a tiny sink with no counter space at all, toilet (no issues there) and a large oval ‘garden’ tub that takes up nearly half the room.  Because of our water situation (scarce) we have never filled the tub, nor do I expect we ever would, so I decided to remove it.  That would give us an additional 25 square feet for storage or other use.

Once I decided to do this I approached  it with enthusiasm (after googling tutorials on the subject) and forgot to take any before photos.  The initial task was pulling the plastic surround off the walls and this photo shows the wall after it was removed. It came off in two large pieces (I had to cut around the faucets and you can see a bit of it left behind them).  IMAG2576It’s a cell phone picture and my phone takes the worst photos.  Behind the plastic sheets was old stained wall paper covered with lumpy streaks of dark brown glue.  Pretty ugly!

Next I had to remove the tub itself.  Loosening it from the wall was surprisingly easy but it was securely glued to the drain pipe (in the YouTube video the plumber just unscrewed it but that would not work). I could twist the tub to the side a little but couldn’t remove it. In the end I gave up any thought of preserving the integrity of the tub and took the guard off my circular saw and made punch cuts around the drain and then pulled the tub up and off the pipe, leaving bits of it attached to the drain. The tub turned out to be awfully flimsy and was easily turned on its side and rolled out the door.

tub removalUnder the tub was old linoleum, ants and mouse droppings! Yuck. Plus a sizeable hole in the wall and the floor.  A strip of wood was nailed to the walls to help support the tub. Unfortunately when I tried to pry it loose I just punched a hole in the flimsy drywall behind it. I’m now understanding why the shelves I installed in my room pulled out of the wall once I put things on them! No wonder mobile homes fly away in tornados.

The next step was removing the old linoleum and wall paper and getting all the debris out of the house! Now we were down to the dry wall and the naked floor – and the holes.

tub removal 2You can see there’s some mold/mildew around the drain area. That’s the next thing to tackle.  Rather than take out the drywall and remove all the plumbing fixtures I plan to cover them with a little box like structure (I could leave them but only if I’m willing to deal with the flooding that would inevitably happen due to my son’s predilection for turning knobs and fiddling with things he’s been told to leave alone), then paint and put down laminate flooring which I picked up at Habitat ReStore for a song. This will make it easy for some future person to restore the space to a “bath” or shower room if necessary while still giving us extra space.

The rest of the renovations will wait until payday when I can buy paint, padding for the floor and some lumber to cover up the fixtures. By that time I’ll be getting ready to head back to school but my college student will be home for two weeks to take over! I’ll post photos when it’s done.


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Soggy Summer

IMAG2498The one thing we have not lacked this summer is water! Each week it rains easily five out of seven days and sometimes seven out of seven.  We’ve had everything from refreshingly brief showers to torrential downpours, to severe thunderstorms.  State-wide rainfall for June was at 213 percent of normal, causing crop damage 0f over 480-million dollars. Everywhere you look the landscape is a lush verdant jungle. The zucchini and cucumber plants are running wild, sending shoots out of the garden to colonize the yard and if not picked quickly the squash reaches monster size! All in all that probably sounds nice to some, especially to our friends in California where brown is the color of the day, dried, cracked, parched brown.  IMAG2531

And I do appreciate having water in the cistern, being able to do laundry at home (at an average of 46 gallons per load we can put a dent in our 1,000 gallon cistern with just a few loads), and to shower when we want.  But the ground is super saturated, every step out of doors is like walking on a huge sponge – your feet sink down and water pools around them soaking your shoes. The clayey mud gloms on to everything and the driveway is a swamp – seriously there are small creatures – frogs or crayfish? – swimming in the tire tracks! The pasture is overrun with apparently unpalatable weeds and goat worms are flourishing. All the goats are looking a little run down – in addition to a higher worm load, they don’t like the rain and they aren’t getting in enough good grazing time. It’s hard to get all the outside chores done – I’m behind on building the new chicken coop and it’s looking like constructing a porch just won’t get done this summer.

It’s hot naturally, it is summer after all, and the combination of heat and wet are producing a bumper crop of mold, mildew, (which only exacerbate my son’s allergies), and bugs! The house is overrun with flies, fruit flies and ants washed out of their underground homes and the outdoors teems with gnats, mosquitos and lightning bugs (okay – I’m not complaining about the latter).

It’s too hot and wet to enjoy the outdoors and the kids are bored and uncomfortable. While I’ve enjoyed a couple brief breaks away from home at professional development workshops the kids have been stuck here for the most part, escaping only to go to work (and since my daughter works in a bakery that’s not much of an escape) or to visit friends. I never thought I’d say it but we are all looking forward to returning to school both for the engaging routines, social interactions and the air conditioning!

My son has a potential (surprise) opportunity to attend Camp Invention next week if I can raise part of the camp fee. We were told there were no scholarship funds available in June but on Friday I got an email saying there would be funds if we were interested (and could pay $150 of the $220 fee). If I can swing it he’ll have a week of fun building and inventing in an air conditioned building which should give him a break from his allergies as well.  Thanks to several supporters we are more than half way there!

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