Ten years ago if I’d told you I spent the weekend on my knees in the bathroom, it would have meant I’d had QUITE a weekend of partying. Now that I’m older, wiser, and the proud owner of a fixer-upper home, it has nothing to do with drinking and everything to do with spending hours tearing up layers of old vinyl tile off a concrete floor!
Mike and I decided to divide and conquer Saturday morning, especially because the bathroom is tiny and it’s hard to work with more than one person in there. So he started painting primer in the living room while I worked in the bathroom.
My first task was to scrub the floor. My plan was to put down the new vinyl stick-down tile ON TOP of the existing tile. It just needed to be cleaned so there weren’t any lumps from debris. I started to scrub the floor, and pull up some double-stick tape that was on it to hold a rug in place … when I pulled the tape, an entire tile pulled up with it. I tugged at the corner of the next tile over, and it popped right off too.
Well, shoot. At that point, there was no choice but to start pulling up tile. So that’s what I did … for HOURS. I probably should have gone to my parents’ house and borrowed their heat gun, but I was feeling stubborn. So I stood, sat, and kneeled, chipping away at the tile with a broken putty knife and a hammer.
When I needed a break from working on the cement floor, I switched off to painting. I did the bottoms of the walls in grey first, then busted out the purple paint for the top. (I was saving the most exciting for last.) I was seriously worried the first few passes with that purple. I’ve never committed to such a saturated wall pait color before! I even called Mike in to ask him if we were REALLY sure…
We also ripped out the old toilet. This is the second time in the last year that I’ve lifted a toilet and had to scrape out a nasty old wax ring. The silver lining is that removing and installing toilets are one of the easier “large scale” home-DIY projects I’ve ever tackled. (It’s just … yucky.)
Mike was a little skeptical about installing the new toilet ourselves without consulting anyone for help. I’d already replaced a wax ring with my dad a few months prior, so I felt pretty confident it wouldn’t be hard. Besides, I reasoned, there were directions on the side of the box — and if the directions were simple enough to only require 6 steps (photos only, no words), it couldn’t possibly be THAT hard.
Turned out, it was SUPER easy! I went back on Sunday and Monday just to double and triple check that everything was still working and that there were no leaks, and everything was just fine!
So what’s left?
- Finish laying the new flooring. – I was running out of time and energy so I only put down the first few tiles under where the toilet needed to be installed.
- Hang and paint the wallpaper border. – This will be my first time attempting to wallpaper. Wish me luck! (I’m glad it’s only a border, and I only have maybe 6 feet total do…)
- Finish painting. – Most of the painting is done, but some spots need a second coat or touch-up.
- Paint the linen closet doors. – The linen closet has two louvered doors that I’ve been avoiding; I’m hoping we’ll get some nice weather so I can take them out and spray them along with some other things that need spray painting.
- Install the new vanity, sink and faucet. – This is just waiting on having some plumbing shifted. I have someone coming to take a look at that soon. *fingers crossed*
- Hang the mirror and medicine cabinet. – We’re getting a new cabinet for over the toilet and using the mirror we already have (though we may add a frame to it).
Though the remaining to-do’s look like quite a list, we’ve really come a long way, and I am super excited to share the finished results with you — hopefully soon!
Paint: Behr “White Fur” / Olympic “Tin Lizzie” / Glidden “Silver Cloud”
I love fair season. When I was in school, I remember being jealous of my classmates who got to leave early to take their 4H livestock to the county fair. I wanted to BE one of those kids. Unfortunately, I grew up in the suburbs and my parents weren’t about to let me have a pony.
As autumn approaches, there are at least four sizable county fairs held within driving distance. We try to make it to at least one each year to enjoy the food, games and sightseeing.
Mike and Ben much prefer the midway and the rides, but you’ll find me in the barns with the livestock. I’ve been that way since I was a kid. Even if all the cows and pigs start to look the same after a while, I still like to “meet” them all. This year, I was so excited for Myles to see the animals too! Lucky for me, he seems to take after his mama, being just as enamored with all the critters.
I’ve talked about having a hobby farm for years. I have stacks of books on the topic and love reading about farming and homesteading. I’ve just never lived somewhere that I could make it work. I plant a few tomatoes or peas from time to time, but it never felt like much.
Seeing Myles’ face when he saw horses, cows and chickens for the first time and petted a sheep … that sealed it for me. He was SO happy.
I know kids love animals, especially approachable, friendly farm animals. It goes deeper than that. When I saw the delight in Myles’ eyes as we wandered through the barns, it made me think about the type of childhood I want him to have.
I’m sure it’s a romanticized notion, but I feel like growing up a “farm kid” has a lot of positives:
- A priority placed on home and family
- Learning the values of hard work and responsibility
- Understanding of where food comes from
- Appreciating homemade things and not being as caught up in “consumer culture”
- Taking time to make your own fun at home instead of being constantly on-the-go
That’s the childhood I want Myles to have and remember. That’s the childhood I hope will shape him into a strong, hardworking, caring, and gentle man someday. I want him to love his home and his family, and not be afraid to get his hands dirty. I want him to take pride in a hard day’s work. I want him to take pleasure in the simple things, and use his imagination and creativity to have fun.
Building a chicken coop so we can have hens and fresh eggs next year isn’t just a whim; it’s about the life I want to craft for my family. It’s the beginning of something much, much bigger.
It is the beginning of disciplining myself to slow down and unplug too. Hungry livestock can’t wait. Gardens need tending or the harvest is lost. It’s a commitment to myself, to my family, and to the living things that depend on us to unplug and engage with Mother Earth.
- Change up your tunes.
Make a new playlist of songs. If you’re tired of music, try listening to stand up comedy albums. Spotify has lots you can stream on your phone. (My favorites are Jim Gaffigan, Kathy Griffin and Hal Sparks.) If those don’t appeal to you, try podcasts or the NPR app. If you always run with headphones, try a quiet run without any music at all.
- Get new shoes.
There’s nothing like a shiny new pair of shoes to break in! Especially if your shoes are worn or bothering your feet, treat yourself to a new pair. Splurge and go to a local running shop where they can analyze your stride and fit your feet. Having a new pair of shoes to break in should get you out the door, and having better-fitting shoes should keep you moving!
- Turn off the trackers.
If you’re obsessed with your Garmin or run-tracking app on your phone, scrutinizing your splits and distances… maybe it’s time to turn it off for a while. Try taking an “unplugged”, free run.
- Run with friends.
I’m typically a solo-runner, but there is something to be said for running with friends. Having a buddy or joining a running club makes you accountable to get out there and put in those miles! It also gives you people to commiserate with when you’re having a bad day…
- Read running blogs and/or start your own running blog.
If you don’t have friends that are interested in running, finding a running community online can be the next best thing! Reading running blogs has been a huge motivator for me, and blogging to share your own running successes and failures makes you accountable to keep going!
- Change your scenery.
Instead of running your same old route, seek out a new place to run. If you’re usually a road-runner, try a trail run to change things up.
- Sign up for a race.
Put down the money and commit to a race, then commit to a training schedule to prepare!
- Try mind tricks.
If you’re not in the mood to run, make yourself at least go for a 10 or 20 minute walk, then decide if you want to keep going or quit. Once you’re dressed and out the door, it’s much easier to talk yourself into going just a few more minutes or miles.
- Take care of any injuries.
Don’t delay a trip to the doctor if something is bothering you. The fastest way to halt your running career is with an injury.
- Go easy on yourself.
It’s not all-or-nothing. Even a short walk/run is better than not going out at all!
What keeps you running? Share your tips in the comments!