Tuesday, July 29, 2008


I hate to brag...
actually I'm happy to do it. I just came back from a week long trip to Costa Rica and it was absolutely divine. Here are some of the highlights:

minutes before a sweaty 1500 stair sunset "hike" , infinity pool on our patio ,
life is hard at the four seasons

my Costa Rican boyfriend loved my girly du rag, Our daily nachos

Festival in Liberia(Costa Rica, not Africa silly) -
On the right - Major humidity/sweat issues!

on the trail between zip lines

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Hi everybody!
As most of you know, I'm officially a licensed Nursing Home Administrator. Well, I have a provisional license anyway (which is just like a regular one, but for 100 days). I passed my State Exam but still need to take my National one. I have a little less than 60 days. Due to scheduling conflicts and my DNS being on vacation, I couldn't make the test happen fast enough. In the meantime, I have a building and all of the responsibility (scary word) that goes along with it. It was just going to be a short-term interim thing, but I was recently told if things worked out and I wanted it, it could be mine. So, Timberview Care Center in Albany Oregon is where it looks like I'm landing. So far it's good being the boss (people actually do what I ask them to do), but I'm sure the honeymoon won't last long. I have a good crew though and we have a ton of potential. We're really getting into the "culture change" movement and it feels good to be making a difference. We have a boat load of Dementia residents and no secure unit, so that's a blast. It's pretty funny - - the things that come out of some of our residents mouths.

I'll be sure to keep you all updated. In the meantime, this is a picture of my building and my official nametag.


Sunday, July 20, 2008

It has been a very busy last couple of weeks since my last post. We are still trying to be ready to move out of the apartment and into the new house by the end of the month, and what originally seemed to be an impossibility now seems like it might just work, but barely.

The week after my last post, I pretty much took the week off of work to work on the house, and I even hired one of my co-workers to help me with the demolition (pulling the plaster and lath from the outside walls to get ready for the insulation.) That was a pretty good decision, as Russ had a lot of fun pulling it down, and I even caught him laughing a couple of times. We made great progress, and in about two and a half days we had most of it done, and we just had piles of debris in each room:

The kids enjoyed helping with the demolition as well:

We then spent the rest of that week cleaning up the mess, and I also worked to get the electrical boxes on the exterior walls in place and with wires running to them, so that they would be ready for when the insulation people were coming (last monday).

That saturday (one week ago) we had a pretty good crew show up from our branch to help finish getting ready for the insulation. One of the members who does construction reframed a door that was bowing because it had not been originally built with a proper header, and he also expanded the opening for our front and rear entry doors and put in 2 36-inch doors for us, so that was a great help. Another member helped me get new plumbing run to the first floor bathroom toilet and sink, so we can now actually flush and have at least one running sink.

George (the same guy that helped me with the plumbing) also helped me get the outlet boxes in the exterior walls of the first floor and wire run down to the basement, so I could hook it up later, but it was at least ready for insulation.

We also had crews pulling nails and cleaning up debris, so we really made a lot of progress that day.

On Monday and Tuesday of this week the insulation company came and did their thing, filling the wall cavities with spray-in celullose insulation. Before they sprayed it in, they first went around with cans of foam and sealed all the holes they could find, like where a wire went up to the attic, or down to the basement, and sealed around the windows and door frames, etc. When they were done, it looked like this:

After letting it dry out for a couple of days, they came back on Thursday and covered it with 5 mil poly (plastic sheeting). While we were waiting for it to dry, I spent my mornings and evenings at the house tying in the wire we had shoved up to the attic in the frantic race to be ready for monday, and finishing off the rest of the 2nd floor electrical, which is now done, except for putting the outlets in the exterior walls, which has to wait until the drywall has gone up.

Saturday we had a branch picnic, after which we picked up some drywall and had a drywall party with several members of the branch again, and we got most of the drywall we need up to the second floor and we got drywall up in two rooms.

We are trying to be moving in on Saturday, and to meet that we need to get the house drywalled, taped and mudded, and get some more plumbing in (at least finish the 1st floor plumbing). Then I can finish rewiring the first floor after we move in.

So we still have our work cut out for us, but we have more help from the branch scheduled to come, so I think we at least have a chance to make it. We really don't have to be moved until the last day of the month, but it would be nice to have a few extra days to get the place cleaned up and left in good condition.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Have a deadline

Last saturday, Laura went to talk to our landladies (they run the store next to our apartment) to let them know that the work on the house was going slower than we expected and that we might need another month. It turns out that one of the ladies was planning on moving in to the apartment in August. So it turns out that we will need to move out of this place by the end of the month!

As a result, we have kicked into high gear on the renovation, and I have shifted my focus from the electrical system to demolition. We are removing all the plaster and lath from the exterior walls so that we can be sure we are not going to miss any small pockets or openings.

I have had Russ helping me with the demolition yesterday and today, and we have really made good progress. We should have the tear-down completed tommorrow, and then we need to clean up the mess we made and put in all the electrical outlets and wiring for the exterior walls.

We have the insulation guys scheduled tentatively for next monday, if we are ready for them. They should only take 3-4 days, and then we get to drywall it all in and mud and tape it.

We were planning on having the hardwood floors refinished, but we got a quote that it would cost around $4000 and take a week to do. Also, the floors would be a lighter color than they are now, and Laura prefers the darker color, so we may skip that step or only do the first floor, we are still making up our minds on that one.

We got the water turned on yesterday and today, which was an adventure in itself. Two guys from the city showed up, and while one turned on the water from the street, the other went to the basement and connected the meter. When they tried to open the shutoff valve inside the house, it started spraying water everywhere - it had cracked over the winter. So they shut it off at the street, and since my propane torch and flux and solder were here at the apartment in Daggett, they were nice enough to loan me their torch, some flux, solder, and a piece of pipe they had left over from another job, and said they would come back later to turn it on again once I had replaced the shutoff.

So I went to the hardware store and got the valve and fittings I needed, and went back and tried to put it together. When they came back and turned the water on again, 2 of the 4 joints Russ and I had done leaked. So they shut it off again and said they would come back today.

This morning, I went to the house and did some demolition work while I waited for the stores to open, then I got the new parts to replace the ones I messed up on. This time I had brought my own flux and solder and torch from home, and when I put it all together and turned the water on (they left me the wrench to turn it on from the street when I was ready) none of my sweat joints leaked. So I assume the problem was with the flux or solder they had lent me.

Then when I opened the shutoff valve to send water to the house, I quickly discovered that I have at least one other leak in the basement, so I shut it off again. At least from this point I can turn it off myself without needing the city guys, using the new valve I installed. So I have some plumbing ahead of me as well.

We brought the camera to the house today to take some pictures to send of our adventures, but Clara took pictures and played with it on the way to the house, so when we got their the battery was dead. So instead I have attached two older pictures we took, showing the wood floor and old style heat register, and the banister at the top of the stairs.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

House remodel update

Hi everyone,

Thought I would post a short update on how the remodel is going. We have got the power on, and I have got lights rewired and up in the basement and attic, and I have also completed a little over 2/3 of the 2nd floor, and I will probably finish the second floor this week.

We have decided to remove the plaster and lath from the inside of the exterior walls so that we can have insulation sprayed into the wall cavity. That way we can be sure we didn't miss anything, and it will be tighter/better than if we put in the rolls of fiberglass insulation.

Since we will be essentially redoing the outside walls anyway, I have been thinking about getting new windows put in at the same time, so we may be calling in some window companies for quotes. We were planning to start doing that next year, but we may just move it up to this year.

I'll have to post some photos later.

Party on!