Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Home Improvement Weekend (Pictures Included)

This weekend I was all by myself while my wife attended the CFRI conference. As you guys found out yesterday, she had a great time and is so glad that she went. One thing about me being all alone at the house - it brings out the project manager in me. I think it's a combination of wanting to surprise Mandi upon her return and also just being able to focus on the tasks at hand. When Mandi is around during the weekend, the last thing I want to do is work. We work all week and for me, the weekend is a time to unwind and spend quality time together. Some of you may be saying, well why don't you do projects with her? The answer is, we do, but there is just simply stuff that we enjoy doing more together. Plus, I tend to get frustrated when I don't understand things and believe me, that happen A LOT with any project around the house. That's why I'm "showing off" with this blog, not to show you all of the cool things I did, but because I'm pretty proud of myself. If you guys knew my handyman abilities, I promise that you would be proud of me too. (And I have to give a shout-out to my handy neighbor who was around to supervise most of these projects to make sure I didn't burn down the house, thanks Rob!!!)

For whatever reason, I have always wanted a cross wall. I didn't care so much where it was, as long as we had one. We've been slowly collecting crosses since we've been married, but I've been way too chicken to actually hang them up on the side of our house. We still have more that we must collect to hang up, but I thought that this was a pretty good start.

In preparation to replace the bathroom lights in the master bath, I first had to remove the old ones. We had those long silver mirrored lights with about 6 bulbs in them that look like they're for a make-up artist. Not that I hate that look, it just didn't fit out bathroom. So after I ripped out the old lights I had to of course measure out where the new lights would be going and then close my eyes and cut the holes. It was a little tough cause before we had one light over the main counter space and one light over the vanity. We decided that we wanted only two lights over the main counter space and no light over the vanity. The first picture is of where the vanity light used to be. This next picture is of where the new lights are now. As you can see we have some dry wall repairs to make, but I wanted to make sure I painted the area so it wasn't a total shock to Mandi. The toughest part of the job was running the electricity to the new lights. We had to go through three separate studs to get the job done. Mandi loves the lights though so it was more every blown drill bit.

While we were at it, we also figured out why the lights over the tub and shower haven't worked since moving in. I did everything that I could think of to get them to work, but I just couldn't solve the mystery. Rob in all his genius tore the first can light out of the ceiling and discovered that a connection was loose in a little box before the first light that then made all lights inoperable. It's amazing how different the bathroom looks with lights on now!

Back to my fear of hanging things on walls. I don't know where it comes from, but I always think I'm going to ruin the wall. We bought this picture about 6 months ago and it has been leaning on our bedroom wall. Not anymore though!

So I didn't install that fan this weekend, but I did have to dismantle it somewhat in order to install some wall controls. Mandi can barely reach the little ropes to turn the light on and off or adjust the fan speed. We decided that we needed a way to control it without pulling the ropes. We found a little wall unit that controlled the light as well as 3 different fan speeds. We also liked the look of the actual wall control as well which is always a plus. We have been dreading taking the fan apart and re-wiring stuff, but I finally got the courage to tackle it this weekend and just get it done. It was a bit frustrating as I stripped a screw in the wall mount that took me 20 minutes to get out and I couldn't figure out which wire controlled the light, but after taking a deep breath and hitting up Google, it all worked out.

My neighbor works out of his garage a lot and I noticed that he always had way more light. Up until this weekend we just had a single little globe light that barley was noticeable. We replaced that with this more industrial fluorescent light that will darn near blind you.

A couple of weekends ago, Mandi attempted to clean our front porch light that was disgustingly dirty. There was only one problem, the bulbs were still hot. Match hot bulbs with cold water and you can have issues. Luckily only one light exploded, but it kind of put a damper on cleaning the light that day since it was supposed to be a quick job. This weekend I really took the time to scrub it all down and scrape some burnt bugs off of the thing. I also replaced all of the bulbs and now it lights up the entire neighborhood.

This one wasn't a big deal, but was sorely needed. I took the ol' shop vac to the master closet and sucked up all of the dog hair that we track in with our shoes. While I was at it I reorganized the way my shoes are displayed since it's the first thing we see when we walk into our closet

This last project may have been the most gratifying of them all. Since we've lived in this house, the fountain has never worked quite right. This was due because of the slight angle that was created when the fountain settled in to the ground. There are four little holes that stream water from top to bottom, but usually two were really strong and the other two were pretty weak. After the haboob (dust storm) rolled though our neighborhood a few weeks ago, not only was it lopsided, but it was super dirty. The water was brown and the motor couldn't even run because of all the dirt. The first step was to suck out all of the water with a shop vac. I then cleaned it all up with outdoor Oxyclean and gave it a good scrubbing. After filling it back up with water, that remained crystal clear, I still had the settling issue. We used shims and a level and many different attempts to get it perfectly level. It now works like an absolute charm. To finish the job, I hulled decorative rock (bucket by bucket since I don't own a wheel barrow) from one side yard that's never used and place it around the fountain and surrounding bushes. My back still hurts, but Mandi's smile acts as a pretty good pain reliever.

Well that's it. Sure feels like I did more, but like I said, with these "handyman" skills, I'll take all of the small victories I can get :)