Mar 6, 2016: Germs and Home Reno

Hello from the sick house! Well, only one of us is sick, actually—that would be me. So hello from me and three relatively healthy people. (Sam’s had a runny nose all week, but it seems to be nothing more than a runny nose. Mine, on the other hand, is a fever, sore throat, earache, and general achy-ness and malaise. Gross.)

I’m posting this on Saturday because I’m supposed to go to a three-day disability conference starting Sunday morning. We’ll see how that goes—I’m going to see how I feel when I wake up tomorrow.

Not all that much newsworthy this week. Sam had a little playdate with some friends with DS, which was fun. We met up with one other little boy and two little girls at a local play café. Sam seemed to have a good time, although he decided it was a good idea to use the play shopping cart as a battering ram, which earned him a few sideways glances from mothers who apparently don’t have children who play rough, boyish games. I only have boys, so rough, boyish play is all I know! As long as he wasn’t running it into people or destroying anything, I didn’t particularly see a problem. But some parents are more uptight about toys always being used for their intended purpose, so I chalked it up to that. I tend to be a bit more freeform, but to each her own, I suppose.

This morning we took the boys to Home Depot, which offers a free kids’ building workshop the first Saturday of every month. They’re really fun—Theo enjoys them, so we try to go whenever we don’t have something else planned. Today he built a little wooden wagon. Meanwhile, Sam and Chris looked for a new bathroom faucet. Ours are in rough shape from 23 years of hard water and sediment, so Chris is going to try replacing one on his own. If it’s not too tough, then he’ll do the rest as well. We’ll see how it goes. The plumber tried to get one of ours apart to fix it, and he was unable to even with his special tools—the years of hard water had basically hardened into some super-strength glue on the parts, and he couldn’t unscrew them!

The other big task of the week was redoing our banister! I’m kind of obsessed with this gel stain that I used on the fireplace, and I decided my next project would be the banister. I’m not sure the pictures do it justice, but it looks way better now—it matches the downstairs floor nicely. And I have to say, it was so very cost-effective! We watch a lot of home-renovation shows, and I’ve come to learn that replacing a banister is quite expensive—like, thousands of dollars expensive. We saw a similar one to ours be replaced on one of the shows, and it cost $7,000. In contrast, the gel stain and paint and supplies cost us all of $150, and the labor was maybe 12 hours of my time. And voila! We have a like-new banister!

All taped up and ready to go!
All taped up and ready to go!
Dark stain matches the floor now!
Dark stain matches the downstairs floor now!

2016-03-05 10.10.25

My next gel-staining project is a little cabinet at the top of the stairs. I want to stain it to match the banister, since they’re very close together. It should be a quick and easy project, as it’s a very small cabinet.

My ultimate dream is redoing the kitchen cabinets, but that would be a massive project, as we have a ton of cabinets! And I might be willing to take it on, except that the gel stain is dark enough that I think it would darken up our already-dark kitchen. So we’ll just keep saving our money, and someday I’ll pay someone to paint them all white. Painting, I’ve discovered, is much harder and less forgiving than staining. You inevitably end up with little paint drips and blobs. That’s why I think we’ll eventually have a professional do it—but it costs a couple thousand dollars, so that’s definitely a project to save up for someday. Either that or I’ll dive in and stain the cabinets dark and just make sure we install a very light countertop and backsplash and some better kitchen lighting so that it doesn’t look horribly dark in there!

In other news, we booked our summer travel! We didn’t think finances would allow us to fly, so we ended up booking about 10 days in Oregon/northern California. We’ll stay a week up in Portland (visiting friends and my sister, who will have moved up there by then), and then we’ll spend three days on the far-northern California coast, which is also the home of the giant redwoods. I think the boys will really dig the redwood forests, so I’m looking forward to that! And Portland…oh, I always love Portland. A pretty little city with lots of fantastic food and a used bookstore to die for—what more could one want?!

As it turns out, Chris got a bit of an extra bonus for a job well done on his giant project (wahoo!! very proud of him!), so we may decide to have the boys join me in Texas after the Rockin’ Mom retreat in September, so we can visit Chris’s family. We shall see…depends how much is left of said bonus after all the bills are paid. 🙂 At this point, I’m going to Texas for the retreat—whether they join me at the end remains to be seen.

Anyway, that’s about all we have newsworthy this week. I did write another post this week (click here to read it), but be warned that it’s not exactly cheerful. My heart is sad over some recent deaths and illnesses, and I decided to write it out.

But on a happy note, here are two cute videos of Sam—one saying his new favorite word (“TOO!!!!”) and one “dancing.”

And, of course, our usual photo gallery…

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