Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Some pictures for motivation.

Just took some pictures of the bathroom to get myself back into the project.

Below: Still need to strip the paint off the window. Oh, and tile the walls!

Below: I think the natural light gives a better idea of the wall color.

Below: Toilet area with dried thinset removed.

Friday, June 26, 2009

They pulled through!

Yes, the utility company actually got the rest of the tree removed! They came out yesterday at almost 8pm with 2 big trucks and a crew of 4. Not sure why they needed so many guys and for a second I thought they were going to trim the other tree that was hitting the power lines. Wishful thinking on my part, but at least the other tree is gone.

Maybe if we keep the front in its current overgrown state they will eventually remove all the trees for us! Again, wishful thinking...

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Hope the utility company pulls through.

A few months ago our utility company's tree contractor came to our house to "trim" back the branches of a tree that was hitting the power lines. The trimming turned into a topping in which we ended up with a 15ft stump. The tree was in pretty bad shape and was covered with poison ivy so I wasn't sorry to see it go. I would have just liked to see it all go.

A call to the utility ended with them stating that they just trim back branches and did not remove stumps. Stump!? If I had the skills I could make it into a totem pole! I ended up calling my town and they said they would remove it sometime in the fall.

Well, a few weeks ago the same tree crew came out and cut down the stump. But this time they left a long 10ft section in our yard and three 2ft sections next to, what is now, a real stump. It's been there for about 3-4 weeks and I figured they would come back and remove it. I would cut it up myself for firewood if it didn't have poison ivy vines all over it. Maybe the crew thought we wouldn't notice it in the Forest.

I finally had enough of waiting and emailed the tree supervisor at the utility. I was surprised to receive a quick reply stating that the rest of the tree would be removed early this week. It's Wednesday and we're still waiting, hopefully they will pull through.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The sink is in!

No, not in the main bathroom project; in the downstairs halfbath. Ever since the frozen pipe incident a few months ago, the hot water had been shut off to the sink. We had a little get together with some friends this past weekend so we figured it would be nice if they could wash their hands with warm water.

Here's the nice little pink number we've lived with for the past 6 years! Please don't flood my inbox with requests for this beauty!

Above: Checkout the painted PVC drain and copper supply lines!

Above: Tight clearance with the door limited the options for a new sink.

Here's the new sink purchased from Lowe's. Everything pictured came in the box, it also came with the pedestal that is not shown.

And here she is in place.

I'm surprised at how smooth everything went and now have more confidence to do the upstairs sink. The old sink came out without any major issues and attaching the new values was a breeze as I used these push-connect valves from Brass-Craft. I'm a little freaked out by how they work though as they are free to rotate while connected and still have fears of coming home to a flooded basement again.

All that is left to do is to seal under the faucet and the drain as I didn't have any plumbers putty and just wanted to get the sink in. Also, the sink has to be secured to the wall better. The bracket that came with the sink just doesn't have a big enough lip to catch the sink. And as the plastic (yes plastic) wall tile compressed from tightening the bracket screws, the short lip became more of an issue as it was pulled away from the sink.

The grand plan is to replace the tile with beadboard, tile the floor and replace the toilet. Or basically remodel the whole thing. But that shouldn't happen before The Nemesis is complete!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Where are all the bats?

The other day one of my neighbors and I were exchanging our recent house project war stories and he stated that at least I won't have a bat problem in my attic this year. I didn't know what he was talking about and after talking a little more we confirmed that it was one of our other neighbors that had the bat issue.

But now I wanted to know why he made the statement as my wife and I had talked about getting a bathouse to help control the mosquitoes in the yard. Turns out the bats in the Northeast are close to being wiped out by disease (NJ.com)! Not only is this bad for the bats, it's bad for everyone as a single bat consumes thousands of insects a night, including mosquitoes.

Hopefully, all the researches can figure out what's going on with the bats. In the meantime, we need to find another solution for mosquito control. I first heard of this product (my mosquito deleter) over at www.thisyounghouse.com and it looks like it will do the trick. I just ordered some and am awaiting their arrival, I will report the results in the near future.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Paying the Price for being Lazy!

Last night I spent a few hours scraping the dried thinset off the floor tile that we had put down on Friday night. Of course, the right way would have been to wipe off the mortar as it began to set while we were laying the tile. But at 4am, the last thing I wanted to do was stay on my aching knees and clean off the tile.

I would like to say that after a few hours all the thinset had been removed and the floor is ready to be grouted, but NO! I was almost finished the toilet area, what a B$&CH! I did find a good use for an old plastic gift card though, a thinset scraper. So there we have another useful DIY tip! I'd like to say that the whole reason I left the thinset to dry on the tile was to test out my new handy dandy thinset scraper, but NOPE! I was just being lazy.

Monday, June 15, 2009


I'm planning to enter the bathroom project in this contest.

It expires in September of this year so it will motivate me to finish the damn thing. We should win for "Longest bathroom renovation project in the history of the world!"

Another Late Night.

Stayed up 'til 5am on Friday night to finish tiling the floor. Didn't think it would take that long but I guess when you start at 11:30 pm that's what you get. The rest of the weekend was pretty much shot as usual so I'm glad Mrs. Forest and I spent the time to finish the floor.

Did I ever say that I'm not detail oriented? Or at least, not put little mosaic tile, piece-by-piece, along a wall, in a tight space, oriented? Well, I'm not! I'm just thankful that my wife did most of it.

Well, here's to the start of another week. Hopefully we can grout tonight, but wait a minute I need to go to Lowe's to get the darker grout! Looks like it's going to be another late one...

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


...cutting the floor tiles for the edges and toilet area. Now I just need to remove the dry thinset that squeezed it's way between the grout lines and in the areas where the cut tile will go. Looks like another tedious job.

On another note, I have a useful tip - at least we think it's useful. Since our house is brick and surrounded by trees it gets really humid inside. So we run a dehumidifier in the kitchen but it does not have bucket bypass hose connection. When the bucket fills up, which happens a lot, we use the water fill the toilet tank after we flush. Now isn't that just "Green" of us, or should I say "Brown"!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Why is our house called Forest Hall again?

Maybe because at any given moment you can observe wildlife right outside the window. We're not out in the sticks either, we are surrounded by houses but basically have trees as a fence. It's great for privacy and we have our own forest in the middle of the suburbs. I took this picture from our dining room window, wish I had a better zoom lens though. It's Father's Day coming up? (shameless hint)

A Lot of Progress!

Well, not exactly. I cut more floor tile on Friday night for the edges and toilet area. It's not hard just time consuming, plus getting interrupted by either one of our two boys waking up crying doesn't help. I have a few more tiles to go and hope to have the entire floor down and grouted by this week.

I really need to accept the fact that the weekends should be spent having fun with the family and not get bent out of shape when I don't make progress come Sunday night. The kids will only be young once, the house will always be old and need work!

I did get to install these water hammer arrestors at the washer supply lines. We had purchased a new front load washer last year and since then the pipes were banging like crazy in the basement. It doesn't fill and wash like a top loader, at the start it spins a little, fills a little and continues the spin-fill until there's enough water to do the next cycle. The whole starting and stopping of the water was terrible on the pipes, I tried sucurring the pipes in the basement but that didn't work. Then I saw an episode of Ask This Old House and saw them install some local water hammer arrestors. The ones on the show were different and probably a better system but the ones available at Lowes were the ones below.

Let me tell you these work great! No more banging pipes and repairing future leaks in the basement! The supply valves and pink walls are another story...

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Papa needs a new...

...anything from Home Depot!

Yes, another giveaway from One Project Closer and, yes, it's another Home Depot gift card! Just in time for Father's Day too, did I mention that I have 3 WONDERFUL children that make working around the house just THAT much easier?

So check out the One Project Closer site but please don't enter as I'd like to win! (Just kidding)

A new bathroom project!

As if there was not enough left to do with the main bathroom project, we decided yesterday to get a new sink for the half bath downstairs. Ever since the flooding of our kitchen this past winter, the hot water to the sink hasn't been reconnected. Believe me I tried reconnecting the hot water but the connection under the sink just wouldn't budge. So we decided just to get a new sink and have been looking for one small enough to fit. The bathroom isn't small, it's just if the sink is too long or deep then the door would hit it.

We were searching for a similar sink that is supported at the wall thinking that a pedestal or vanity would be too expensive. Well, last night we went to Lowe's and found a small pedestal sink called "Pedestal to go." It was surprisingly affordable at $99, plus it included the faucet, drain pipe and supply lines! We couldn't believe it and had to check the outside of the box 2 to 3 times for a "sold separately" line. It wasn't there so we said "SOLD!"

It's not exactly the style we wanted but for the price we couldn't pass it up. I plan to get it in this weekend but that may be a little optimistic.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009


Bathroom: Starting to lose steam again and only worked on cutting the floor tiles for the edges. Almost done with the sink wall. Thought I could create my own DIY useful tip by putting leftover thinset into a ziplock bag. Well, it works if you want to make bag shaped bricks! On to the next useful tip to be discovered.

Skunk: No luck in the trap, little bugger managed to reach the bait and not spring the trap on Saturday. On Sunday, something ate the bait and sprang the trap but was not available for an introduction. I'm still determined to catch tis thing without buying a bigger trap, but maybe I'll end up catching its babies!

Carpenter Bees: Sprayed the bathroom window with bee killer from Home Depot but have read online that only a powder (Drione) would work. The cost and whole process of the dust may warrant an alternative solution and I'm looking into this product (carpenter bee chamber) as a possible candidate. I also noticed more bees and sawdust at the garage and it may be the perfect place to hang the bee chamber.

Garage/yard Sales: My wife and I really like going to garage/yard sales and always manage to pick something up that we really need. Or at least need at the time that we see the item! If you ever come to our house don't be surprised if you start hearing a familiar theme song (ba-ba- bada).