Fresh Sawdust Replaces the Pink Water Closet

The theory which states that any given amount of work will fill all available space and time is not a theory.  It is real, as proven by our latest renovation project.

Trying to keep the disruption of renovating a small basement bathroom confined to a reasonable area near the bathroom being renovated is an exercise in futility similar to cat herding.

A few weeks ago I wrote about the beginnings of the transformation of the tiny, ugly bathroom into what we expect will be a somewhat larger and more attractive one. We thought “it really shouldn’t be that disruptive since we have another bathroom available”. Sure.

Step one was the relocation of laundry room cabinets as the wall behind them would be coming down. This is where we keep things like cleaning supplies, laundry detergent, paper towels, Pepsi, etc. We are a stock-up-when-it-is-on-sale type of family. This task only took one full Saturday afternoon of our time.

The second step was the complete removal of all the fixtures, pink toilet included. This was relatively painless and quick as the professional construction cavalry arrived and took over. 

Pink Toilet Is First To Go

Next was the destruction of the concrete block walls. All of the interior walls in our basement are block. They are very thick and removing them would be the magical key to creating a more spacious bathroom. Removing concrete block walls raises a lot of dust. This fine white dust ends up on everything despite our workers’ best efforts to stop the dust with the pretty blue plastic tarps. A new furnace filter and a portable HEPA air purifier came to the rescue, along with Endust and Swiffers.

Sledgehammer Practice

The removal of one concrete wall necessitated removing all the items from my wife’s hair salon cabinets as those were on the opposite side of the wall. A major part of that endeavor was the removal and temporary relocation of a rather large and intimidating mirror. Walking or placing anything anywhere near this relocated mirror is to be avoided because it would surely cost a fortune to replace if it were to be broken. Not to mention the mega dose of seven years bad luck. So rope that space off with lots of yellow tape please.

As walls came down, new stuff began to make its way into our house. Things such as lumber, plumbing supplies, wallboard and new fixtures (including a shiny new toilet which is NOT PINK) all needed a place to reside while the project continued. What better place than our Client Consultation Room slash TV Room, which is conveniently located adjacent to the war zone. When that area became too small to temporarily house the new oak vanity which arrived later, more space was requisitioned in my office, which, incidentally, doubles as a temporary holding area for the former laundry room storage cabinets mentioned earlier. Hopefully I won’t need to get anything out of my file cabinets in the near future.

Couch Can Hold A Lot Of Stuff!

It was now time to start cutting wood to form the new walls and ceiling. This heralded the arrival of the sawdust. Now, when one stands anywhere near the new room to admire the progress being made, all of the sawdust on the floor somehow migrates to the bottom of your shoes, even if you try to only stand in one spot. The sawdust then inherently releases itself from the bottom of your shoes when you set foot in a “designated clean area” of your home, such as your living room or kitchen, despite one’s using the special rug for wiping your feet. Some of the sawdust is specifically designed to remain on your footwear until you arrive at your master bedroom, two full flights of stairs upward.  It then detaches from your shoe to create a sort of a random brown pattern on the carpet.

Next morning the fresh wood cuttings affix themselves to your bare feet, and the sharpest, most abrasive pieces manage to find their way into the socks you wear to work.

I haven’t even touched upon how all of the sawing and pounding noise has raised the threat-stress level of our cat to “orange”.

Don’t get me wrong. I think the guys doing the work are great. I am happy to see the progress they are making and I think they are very careful to keep the disruptions to an absolute minimum. The end results are going to be worth it.

Now please excuse me while I go run the vacuum.

Renovation Progress Update Week 2

We are into week 2 of our office/bathroom construction and the dust continues to fly!  Most of the demolition work is completed and the reconstruction is well under way.  

Phase one of our project involves the demolition and rebuild of the bathroom which adjoins the Black Tie consultation room, office and Robin’s hairstyling salon.  Last week we posted some of the before photos and the demolition in progress.  Today we can see some real progress on the rebuild and can get a rough idea of the layout of

Beginnings of a new custom shower, insulation and reroute of hair salon plumbing located on opposite side of wall.

the new room. 

The walls of the new shower are now being constucted and the plumbing for Robin’s hair salon, which is on the opposite side of the wall, has been redone.  The salon bowl previously was routed to a floor drain (which wasn’t good) and now goes to an actual drain.   The shower plumbing has been moved from the outside block wall to an inside wall to prevent freezing.  Additional insulation is being added to ensure a nice warm bathroom. 

We are in the process of selecting floor and wall tile and new fixtures.  The fun continues!

View from laundry room. Rooms will eventually be separated again.

Old floor outline visible along with the beginnings of the new layout.

Shower walls being formed.

Office Renovation, Pink Watercloset Is No More

Pink toilet

Pink throne competes heavily with red countertop!

At long last we are beginning the much anticipated renovation of Black Tie’s consultation room and rest room facilities.  Those visitors who have had the opportunity to use our office restroom have long been confronted with quite possibly the world’s most dysfunctional, hideous and unattractive bathroom facility.  And that was even after Robin covered up the bright red wallpaper with a more urban design after we moved in. 

The first feature which captured everyone’s attention was the bright red, and I do mean BRIGHT RED, countertop and sink bowl.  You might say this fixture really “popped”, in home decorating terms.  This arrangement was nicely complimented by the Perfectly Pink shower and toilet bowl.  Deteriorating ceiling tiles and warped vanity doors were  great accent pieces.  The entire space was surrounded by thick concrete block walls, thus shrinking the total bathroom down to a size just big enough to turn around in.  It was definitely time for an improvement. 

Red Vanity

Fire Engine Red vanity and bowl scream for attention.

Phase 1 of our office renovation involves a heavy duty demolition project.  Everything must go, including fixtures, floor coverings, ceilings, plumbing and the dreaded concrete block walls.  It has begun.  Over the next few weeks it will be my pleasure to document the messy and painful process which will lead to a beautiful new bathroom and eventually a spruced up consultation room as well.  Let the fun begin!

Let the demolition begin!

Where red vanity and sink were….now gone!

Area completely gutted. Block walls gone. New water heater installed. A blank canvas ready to be painted on!


Saying good-bye to a shade tree

For the entire 20 years we have owned our home we have enjoyed the shade provided by a large ash tree on the southwest side of the house.  Because of that tree we were able to sit comfortably on our deck on the warmest days of summer.

The old tree in its last hour

The old tree in its last hour

The surgery begins

The surgery begins

A few years ago we noticed that the trunk of that big old tree was starting to rot.  Unfortunately it was rotting on the side directly facing our house.  Each year the bottom of the trunk became noticeably smaller and it appeared that the old shade tree had become a major liability.  It was time to say good bye.

And so this morning the big trucks and chain saws arrived.  The crews worked swiftly and efficiently, and in just a few hours the job was completed.  No more worries during windy days or ice storms; just a higher air conditioning bill to look forward to.  It’s time to go shopping for a fast growing shade tree!

Looks a little bare

Adventures in landscaping!

A Great Day For The Irish!

The corner of Second Street and Harrison in Downtown Davenport Iowa was a sea of green as we waited for the arrival St. Patrick’s Day Grand Parade XXIV on Saturday afternoon.  Appropriately, my wife Robin and I were standing in front of Shenanigan’s Irish Pub as we people-watched until the parade’s arrival.  We saw a young lady dressed as a Leprechaun complete with wooden cane, all manner of green framed sunglasses in the shape of clovers, and even dogs with green sweaters. If it was green it was good!

Shenanigans Pub

Shenanigans Pub

Second Street-Waiting for Parade Arrival-Cell Phone Photo

Second Street-Waiting for Parade Arrival-Cell Phone Photo

In previous years we have watched the parade on the Illinois side of the river in Rock Island.  For a change this year we elected to join the Iowa crowd in Davenport.  The bright sunshine and balmy 55 degree temperatures brought out thousands to watch the grand, green spectacle.

St. Patrick's Society Float-Taken with cell phone camera.

St. Patrick's Society Float-Taken with cell phone camera.

It would have been a great day to have my Canon Power Shot camera with me, but lacking that,  a cell phone camera is handy.  Armed with a device that is ill suited for taking good photos in bright sunlight  it’s basically a matter of holding it up, pointing, and hoping a picture of something comes out.

And yes, my wife and I did manage to catch 3 sets of green beads that were thrown from passing floats.  This annual bi-state Grand Parade is just one more reason we’re happy to be living in the Quad Cities!

Celebrity Apprentice-What was Scott Hamilton thinking?

I admit I’m not a big fan of reality television.   I don’t care for “Survivor”, “The Bachelor”, “Amazing Race” or any of the other spinoffs.  But there is one reality show that really grabbed me years ago and kept me hooked ever since.   That show is “The Apprentice”.  I like Donald Trump. And I find the whole concept of the show as intriguing as the mystery of the Donald’s unusual hair.   And since my blog title contains the word “entertainment”, and since television IS “entertainment” I feel perfectly comfortable blogging about this season’s “Celebrity Apprentice”.  More particularly what happened on last night’s episode.

Donald Trump

Donald Trump

For those of you who haven’t watched the new season yet here’s a capsule summary.  The men, TEAM K.O.T.U. (which is an acronym for Kings of the Universe, or something like that) were soundly defeated by the women, TEAM Athena, last week in a battle for who could raise the most money by making and selling cupcakes.  This obviously seems like a task more suited for the women.  Comedian Andrew Dice Clay was the first to be fired, essentially for not doing anything except for complaining about not having any bagels supplied in the meeting room.

Last evening’s task was to invent a comic book character and a storyline as an ad promotion for the online seller of shoes and accessories,  Team Athena invented a comic book superhero named “Mizz Z”, obviously picking up on the “Z” in Zappos.  Despite a rather awkward and bungled presentation to the CEO, Team Athena easily won the challenge.   And why wouldn’t they?  After all, Team KOTU (the men) decided to saddle itself with a comic book superhero they named, of all things, “EEE”.

“EEE”????!!  EEE is a superhero name you would create if you were selling brassieres.  Or if your company was named Reebok, or anything with a lot of “E”‘s in the name.  Not if you were pitching to a company named  There are no letter E’s in Zappos that I can see.

How did a team of supposedly intelligent men, all of whom were masters of their craft, make such a colossal blunder?  “EEE”, which stood for “Everything, Everywhere, Everytime” was the brainchild of Scott Hamilton, the champion figure skater and commentator, and project manager for this task.

Scott, what were you thinking?

Scotty, what were you thinking?

Not even Tom Greene (the comedian) jumping up and down like a Jack Russell Terrier hopped up on caffeine could stop little Scotty from authoring the inevitable failure.  As soon as the name became official I thought to myself-Show Over.  Donald, take everyone into the board room right this very minute.  Whose idea was the “EEE”?  Oh, you Scott Hamilton?  You’re fired.  This is too easy.  The rest of you go have dinner.

Things don’t look good for Team KOTU next week either.  The task will be to sell wedding dresses.  We’ll probably be saying farewell to Tom Greene.

Find A Patch Of Sunlight and All’s Well With The World

No matter how bad the economy gets, sometimes all you need is just a little patch of sunlight to make everything peachy!

A great place for a mid-day nap!

I don't care that the stock market dropped 250 points today! I just need my nap!

On most sunny days this is where you’ll find her sacked out.    Now if only she didn’t have to wake up and move every ten minutes!  Such a life………