Stairwell Repairs

Easter’s been here and gone, and it was a wonderful holiday. We had Good Friday off so Andy took me to a very rare dinner. We only have time and money to go out a couple times a year. He spent a good bit of the weekend with Lucy’s hockey, then on Sunday we and the girls all went to church together, and spent the day with his extended family. We had started shopping for Easter basket goodies about a month ago and probably had more fun stuffing and hiding them, than the girls did finding them! One of the places we thought to hide a basket was in the ceiling joists, as part of his drywall has been ripped down due to a second-floor tub leak. We didn’t hide anything there but if I can get him to guest write a blog, you may hear more about his drywall work. It was a great holiday.

20150403_11112120150404_155123I removed the extra handrails. Then I finished scraping the wallpaper and had two small DIY projects: drywall patching and stucco repair. You can see from the photo on the left, how horrid the wall was behind the paper. I remembered a trick from my days of actually building rooms from scratch. Smooth on a light coat of spackle to fill nail holes and other imperfections. When it is dry but not cured, run a damp sponge over it to wipe off excess paste and to get rid of the spackle edges. When it’s cured just a swipe of the sandpaper will do this way. Less dust, less work. I used a double-sided scrubby sponge for this task.

20150403_133552When I was removing the wallpaper, some of the DYI spray ran down to the first-floor ceiling, creating water marks. When I tried to wipe them off, the stucco itself came off! You can see the photos in this post. 20150404_173523To patch quickly and easily, I just took the scraper I was using to spread spackle, loaded it up with the spackling paste, and dabbed it overhead onto the ceiling to blend in. Since the ceiling was white, there was no need to paint. Another way of doing this is mixing the spackle compound with water until milkshake consistency and dab with a large-holed sponge. Unfortunately I didn’t have that type of sponge and had to make do!

I also deglossed all the doorway and baseboard moulding this weekend. The products from our stores that made this weekend easier were the ever-famous rubber gloves for the deglosser, and glasses and a half-mask respirator for the drywall. Even tho the sanding was minimal, there is dust all over the area. And you know if it’s on the wood, it would be in my lungs if not for the respirator!

Next weekend is yet another busy one. I sit for my graduate exam and Grace has a PMEA music concert. But I hope to start painting the walls.

I’ll Work On It

So I take a deep breath, look around me, and see possibilities and a ton of work. I am going to update a farmhouse, in real time, myself. I intend to do most everything I can myself, excepting if I add a second bathroom. That will require someone who likes to do plumbing more than I do. I am not even really sure what I want for each room so I will accept all ideas!

Let me tell you a bit about myself. I am a middle age woman living in a rural pocket on the outskirts of Pittsburgh, with seven acres of hillside in a dilapidated house that did not have indoor plumbing or a kitchen or bathroom in 1965. My dad bought the house for a few hundred dollars and he and his dad set out to do what our family does best: repurpose and build. His new wife would soon be pregnant for the first time, living in half a duplex. My dad worked all day and went to the house every evening and on weekends to dig out the cellar; add a garage, basement, and bathroom; and turn the cold spring house into a kitchen. Parquet floors were put in downstairs, salvaged from a school gym when it was torn down. Cut glass doorknobs and leaded doors were added to a built-in bookcase when the “new room” was added over 35 years ago. Slate flooring went on the landing, oak from the family barn was added here and there. The piece de resistance, however, is the old glass in the Dutch door, signed by etching pen by everyone who entered our family. My parents did a decent job of maintaining the large house through the years, and in retirement my father added a glorious mancave on the hillside overlooking the valley. There is a shooting range, and a storage barn. There is a chicken coop and playhouse and other outbuildings that should have been demolished decades ago, and over the years my parents became more reluctant to let things go. Add feathered and furry friends to line their now-empty nest, a mother whose heart condition precluded much physical activity, and a dad who was as busy as busy could be inventing his next irrigation system or perfecting a pie recipe. It’s a lot of house to handle.

Fast forward to December 14, 2013. I came home for my MBA class and visit with the folks for the weekend. My husband had filed for divorce earlier in the year and I scheduled a blind date. The as-yet-unknown man insisted we meet at a very public coffeeshop for my comfort. I challenged him to order for me and I would meet him there. Test #1. He gathered opinions, followed clues I left on my Facebook page, and made sure there was food at the coffeeshop (black coffee and raisin bread so I would have something in my stomach but not too much, if I was subject to nerves) and a pub nearby. He passed Test #1. We shook hands and I stood in the rain, watching him drive away in his minivan.

My sister and her family were coming to celebrate the holiday, too, that weekend. I drove my mom to church because she didn’t drive and my dad wasn’t feeling well. Halfway through the service, my cell phone rang. I memorized the message. “Don’t drive like a nut. I’m not dying or anything. I just want to go and have someone check me out.” Maybe I could take him in to the ER. My dad. Coming from a man who never missed a day of work in his life, I drove l like a nut. He felt a bit better by the time we got home, so he called off the trip to the hospital. We celebrated Christmas as a family. I offered to stay the next day and take him to the ER. He was hesitant. He didn’t want to inconvenience anyone. “It’s a lot less inconvenient to do it this way, Daddy, than to drive 2 hours mid-week to come do it.” After his tests, I sat and read Porky Chedwick articles to him while we waited for the doctor to come give him an antacid and send him home. Just when we were bored beyond belief, the doctor came in. Stage 4. Terminal. Pancreatic, lung, liver, lymph. The indestructible man’s head snapped back, then forward to his chest as if he had been hit as he heard the C word. “Ooof.”20140719_132626

Between my sister and I, we started living there 6 days a week, cooking, cleaning, feeding, driving, talking, administering pills, shopping, making phone calls. A month later he was gone.

His wife, the only woman he ever dated, the only woman he ever loved, is moving into an independent living apartment where we don’t need to worry about her heart. She can’t take care of the house on her own. The last six months have taken its toll on it. It hasn’t been scrubbed. Everything was as it was in the fall when my dad got it ready for winter: storm windows, covered landscaping ponds. My sister has stopped coming home for the summer, now that her kids are out of school. Packing my mother’s life into cardboard boxes takes every minute of housework time I have. We are lucky to get our laundry and dishes done.

20140622_091012The house is grimy. Some rooms are classically and tastefully done behind the disarray; others are simply outdated. Having only one bathroom is a problem. How quickly the beautiful English gardens have become overgrown with weeds! The new room – we still call it the “new room” – has never been re-wallpapered or re-carpeted. The paper is peeling and the carpet is beyond stained. The lighting is dim and the walls are scuffed.

So I am moving back into the house to see if I can handle it, financially, physically, and mentally; if not, it will be fresh for the market.

I did the same, on a grander scale, twenty years ago, when I bought my first house – a little hunting cabin with no heater and plaid carpet and velvet wallpaper that became something I loved with a cathedral ceiling and skylights and spiral staircase to loft and exposed fireplace. I wish I could do that here, but I feel my age and I think you would grow bored long before I finished. My goal is to keep each room or area to one month, and only spend $250/room on average to refresh it. I would like to add a bathroom, but I am not sure where yet.

I hope you will travel with me on this journey. You will meet my family and friends as we go. I will be highlighting some of the great products from Online Stores, Inc.’s three construction sites: SafetyGirlConstruction Gear, and Discount Safety Gear. I welcome your questions, advice, and comments.20140629_101530

First up will be the small bathroom. I want to give it a facelift and brighten it up, with the hopes of it becoming the second bathroom eventually. I will review our tool belt and disposable coveralls while I restore the cabinets, paint the floor (yes!!) and swap out hardware and accessories. The additional gear from our stores that I will be using for the bathroom will be a respiratorgloves, and safety glasses.

20140719_132838Please stop by often and let’s see what we can do!

Cheap Safety Glasses

In today’s economy it’s always pleasant to find budget-friendly safety glasses for under $2 a pair, especially safety glasses that are manufactured by names you know and trust, such as North, Pyramex, and Crews. Inexpensive and stylish, all the safety glasses below are available at quantity discounts for even more savings!

Cheap Safety Glasses

  • North Basic Safety Glasses (Amber lens) – North Basic safety glasses are budget-friendly and ideal for limited-use. The lenses on these safety glasses absorb more than 99.9% of harmful UV rays; protecting your eyesight. These glasses protect from both the front and the sides and meet and/or exceed ANSI Z87.1 and CSA Z94.3 requirements.
  • Crews Yukon Safety Glasses – These economical and stylish safety glasses with wrap-around lenses provide protection from the front and the sides. The shape of these safety glasses increases angular coverage and improves peripheral vision. Molded-in brow-guards and vented side-shields afford the wearer additional protection from flying debris. These glasses meet ANSI Z87+ 2003 and CSA Z94.3.
  • Pyramex Safety Glasses (Alair – Infinity Blue Lens) – The Alair safety glasses by Pyramex Safety have a sturdy polycarbonate frame and lens that features a special scratch resistant coating to enable the wearer to see clearer for longer. These safety glasses protect the eyes from the harmful effects of the sun by blocking more than 99.9% of dangerous UV rays. The safety glasses exceed ANSI Z87.1-2003 high impact requirements and are CE EN166 certified.
  • Starlite Safety Glasses (Clear) – For looks, practicality and economy, Starlite safety glasses are hard to beat. with their ultra light-weight design, sleek good looks and compact appearance, they remain popular with work-crews everywhere. The scratch-resistant lenses deliver two distinct viewing areas, each with a significant curvature for an enhanced field of vision. These safety glasses offer great impact protection.
  • North Safety Glasses (Squire) – These clear safety glasses with wrap-around lenses and black frame are suitable for indoor or outdoor applications. Lightweight with wide-angle vision they offer both comfort and style, and have an adjustable temple for maximum fit. The lenses are coated with anti-scratch, and anti UV coating to prolong the life of these excellent safety glasses. Meets and/or exceeds ANSI Z87.1 and CSA Z94.3 requirements.

Crews Safety Glasses

When it comes to eye protection we have a range of low-priced affordable safety glasses in an assortment of colors and styles to suit the most discerning workers. All of our safety glasses meet ANSI Z87.1+ 2003 safety compliance regulations to protect your eyes from sun, dust, dirt and flying foreign objects. Strength and durability coupled with stylish good looks—who could ask for more in safety glasses?

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  • Crews CheckMate Safety Glasses – For safety and excellent value these safety glasses are hard to beat! These safety glasses by Crews are extremely lightweight and they offer almost complete orbital eye protection due to their design. Featuring bayonet temples and universal nose-bridge, comfort is assured. The lenses filter 99.9% of UV radiation and come with an exclusive Duramass® Scratch-resistant lens coating for lasting protection against scratches. These safety glasses meet ANSI Z87.1+ 2003 safety compliance standards.
  • Crews CK2 Safety Glasses – Feature trendy styling coupled with maximum protection at minimum cost. Strong and lightweight, these safety glasses feature polycarbonate lenses that filter 99 percent of harmful UV rays. Lenses are treated with Duramass® scratch-resistant coating for longer lasting clear vision. These safety glasses meet ANSI Z87+ 2003 safety requirements.
  • Crews Triwear Safety Glasses – The launching of the aspheric safety lens shook the industry as it features the widest optically correct viewing zone, providing superior vision for most wearers. Polycarbonate aspheric lenses offer UV protection shielding the eyes from 99 percent of harmful rays. A trendy clip-on breakaway cord and satin carrying bag comes free of charge with each pair of safety glasses that you purchase. These safety glasses come with an onyx frame and a choice of lenses. ANSI Z87+ 2003 compliant.
  • Crews Winchester Mossy Oak Safety Glasses – These safety glasses blend right in with your camouflage field gear when you are out hunting, fishing, or whatever else! These safety glasses look just as good serving their purpose on the work floor as they do in the woods. Mossy Oak is a registered trademark of Haas Outdoors, Inc. and is used with permission. Meets ANSI Z87+ 2003 requirements.