Sunday, August 29, 2010

Everything but the bathtub...

For the last month and a half we have been in the process of renovating our bathroom. It has been an epic saga involving having to use the neighbor's toilet for 4 days, dealing with unexpected plumbing, flooring, lighting and paint issues. Yes, just about everything we've redone has had problems. It's been a real learning experience to say the least. But I proudly present our before, during and after pictures for all to see. Well, our "after" pics are not all the way done actually. I need to do a little decorating, but I thought that could come in a separate blog entry.

Before. Short, small sink, linoleum, "lovely" oak vanity, sink and lighting ensemble. (We put the vanity and sink out in the alley for someone to take it for free, but the only thing that anyone took was the faucet. The garbage guys finally took away the rest) Paint is a very neutral brownish. We had already replaced the noisy, yet still working toilet at this point for a quiet water efficient one (that came with a seat cover made of cardboard- don't sit on it!)

First thing that happened was tearing out the floor and installing tiles. I bought them at a discontinued tile store and realized half of them were slightly different sizes, but that turned out not mattering much after putting in the grout. I let the grout dry too much before cleaning off the excess and Bry and I spent about 3 hours scraping it off the tiles one night. It was bonding. The light was a huge improvement. Taking out the old one involved using a saw to cut it to pieces so it could come off the wall. I wasn't sad to throw it all in the dumpster.

The plumbing issues took the longest. Many trips to Home Depot and combining the advice of about 3 different employees (much of it was conflicting), we were able to tear out the wall, change the size of the outlet tube thing patch the wall back up and make it the plumbing knobs look fancy (because that's the most important part), and install a sink that I absolutely love and it's higher up on the wall (yea). It was lots of "fun" for Bryan and his friend Trent to hang the sink on a plaster wall. We took off the vanity frame and mirror and ordered a new frame that we will drill holes in to replace the old frame.

This pic depicts the progression of the other side of the bathroom. I had to patch up the wall at the bottom because there were about 7 layers of paint that came off with the base boards and that left big gaps wall. I had to strip the paint off the recessed cabinet because it would not take another layer of paint (already dripping with about 7 layers and not shutting very well). The stripping process took a few weeks and 3 two hour sessions of using toxic paint stripper that felt like a bee sting when it hit my arm. The last pic is the finished product of the cabinet, decorated with some leaves. (I painted the backs of leaves and stamped them on there.) It looks better in real life, trust me.

Here is Pearl offering you some Skittles. Unfortunately by the time you view this, they will all be gone. It also shows the color of paint I chose. It's called "Muscari" from Martha Stewart. Who would have thought up a name like that? Here I have an empty canvas just waiting for some cool decorating ideas. I'm excited to try some vinyl wall art and modge podge. This also depicts the baseboard, caulking and new vent job.

This is the final product of the vanity combo. I picked a lighter wood color for the medicine cabinet and that seems to help match the paint. Woohoo!
Stay tuned for the next installment.


Turns out that Pearl likes to run in the rain.



Pearl is getting much more talkative. Here is a clip of her making various sounds from one of her favorite books "Oh the Wonderful Sounds Mr. Brown can Make."


Thursday, August 5, 2010

Never Summer Wilderness

The name "Never Summer Wilderness" sounds so mysterious and cold. I hoped as I embarked on a 3 day, 19 mile trek through them that they were named with the same intention that Iceland was named- that it was such a beautiful place that the founders wanted to keep people away by naming it something foreboding and unattractive sounding. This theory came to be true. This "wilderness" was indeed one of the most gorgeous places I've ever seen, complete with fields of vivid wildflowers and clear, shimmering lakes. It was a brutal hike, but worth it. I uploaded the pictures in backwards chronological order.
This is our "after" picture. I ended up taking off my boots and hiking in my flip flops towards the end of the trail because of some pesky blisters. We took a route called "Baker to Bowen Gulch."
I decided to take a swim in Bowen Lake. The water was crystal clear and the bottom was lined with lovely soft, silt. It was a spa experience to walk on the bottom. The water wasn't too bad either.

From left to right, Annie, Danna and me. The three amigas at Bowen Lake.

Wildflower glory.

Our tent we rented from REI. It was absurdly complicated to figure out how to set up. This camp site turned out to be an elk potty ground too. I was a little disappointed we didn't see any though. We were surrounded by small streams and the air was so wet we couldn't even burn dry paper for more than a few seconds.

Yes, more wildflowers.

This is Parika lake, the first lake we camped at. We pronounced it like "paprika" because it was fun that way. This is where we discovered much to our dismay that my water filter didn't work, but were luckily able to borrow one from another camp.

Here we are, not very refreshed after not sleeping well at the freezing shore of Parika lake, but excited for the day ahead when we would cross the continental divide.

Leading up to Parika Lake.
Here I am early on in the trail where my hair doesn't look so bad and I don't stink much yet.

We found scores of different kinds of mushrooms. This was my favorite because it reminded me of a video game I used to play.

One of my favorite aspects of the trail was the wild strawberries and huckleberries that were all over the place. They were small, but sweet and delicious!
In all, it was a fantastic journey and I'm glad I went. I breathed in the pine-smelling air like a cocaine addict and got enormously high. It was a natural medicine that I really needed and am still pinging from it.