Extracurricular Activities

After school the students have their athletics, band and choir practices and rehearsals. Lately my extracurricular activities have been showing up at meetings – the local school board and the county redevelopment commission (you can see me at about 27.5 minutes in MCRC meeting) – speaking out in favor of funding for the development of a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) program that would encompass grades 2 through 12 in our school corporation.

It’s early days and we are just developing proposals (and I have to say it’s a bit odd to not be integrally involved in the development but to have it handed to the science and math teachers from the administration but I daresay that’s due to my having been in management for so long) but the hope is to eventually have  a program that would bring people into the school and graduate students with strong skills in STEM fields.  We have a lot of local employers in healthcare who cannot fill all their jobs without looking outside the area so this would benefit them as well as the students.

Personally I feel strongly that all citizens should be scientifically literate so that they can understand the problems and opportunities facing us and the policies that are put forth to address them.  And issues aside, science is just fascinating! I subscribe to various science and technology newsfeeds and everyday there’s something new – sometimes daunting, sometimes exciting, sometimes life-changing. I’m hoping I’m still teaching when the program gets off the ground and I get to see some of the lives changed by it!

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

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

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | 2 Comments

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.


Posted in DIY, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 2 Comments