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!

Safety Glasses Care

Eye safety is a huge factor to consider when doing any type of construction work. But what happens once you have made your purchase? There are many regulations, articles, and blog posts about the benefits of wearing safety glasses, how to choose prescription safety glasses, or where to buy them. But your eye safety doesn’t end when you put your safety goggles on; you need to take particular care of them as well!

Pyramex Safety GlassesThe first rule is to treat your safety glasses in the same manner as your prescription safety glasses. If you don’t take care of equipment, it will not be able to stand up when you really need the protection.

Each time you wear them, check the glasses lens for scratches or dents and make sure the frame and nose-piece is not bent. Any scratching on the lens will not only impair your vision, but weakens the structure. The same principle applies if the frame or any other part of the safety glasses are compromised. Be sure to replace any damaged part with the exact manufacture’s piece. A quick fix or mismatched part will not offer quality protection.

safety glassesOnce you have completed the inspection, clean your safety glasses. This can be as simple as using anti-bacterial soap and warm water; however, OSHA recommends that a disinfectant such as germicidal deodorant fungicide be used. This is especially true when multiple employees use the same pair of safety glasses. After soaking for 10 minutes, suspend the safety glasses and leave to air dry in a clean place. Do not rinse after disinfecting.

safety glassesFinally, store your safety glasses in a cool, dry place inside of a dust proof container. This can be anything from a glasses case to a zip lock bag.

Now your safety glasses are clean and ready to continue giving you quality protection! By taking care of your safety glasses from day one, you are sure to, not only get a lot of good use out of them, but you’ll never have to worry about your eye safety.

The Importance of Eye Protection

Do you know how important eye safety is at the workplace?I am guessing you are one of those people thinking, “Nothing will ever happen to my eyesight.” Well, think again, eye injuries in the workplace are very common. While nearly 24,000 people per year injure their eyes what’s worse is 10-20% of these injuries lead to temporary permanent vision loss. By taking a proactive step in your eye safety, these statistics can be drastically reduced.

I know that the prior mentioned statistics are startling, but they are very real. Now the question remains, “How do I prevent myself from a job related eye injury?” Good question and you are in luck. Listed below is a summary of various types of eye protection gear matching the hazards at your workplace.

Safety Glasses with Side Protection

Are you a person who has a job that exposes you to particles, flying objects, or dust? Perhaps you are a construction worker, landscaper, machinist, etc. Those of you who work with flying debris need safety glasses with side protection. This design of safety glasses works well because it protects your eyes from debris flying at you from the front, side, or below.

Safety Goggles

How about those of you who work with chemicals? Are you a chemical operator, chemical engineer, lab technician, etc.? People working in this field need adequate eye protection as well as ventilation. Safety goggles with hooded ventilation (indirect airflow) are recommended for these jobs. They do a good job protecting your eyes against splashes and have indirect vents to allow air without harmful irritants passing through.

Welding Helmet

Anybody working with molten metal, hazardous radiation, or sparks? Calling all welders, laser operators, mechanical engineers, etc.! For the people who work with blinding light, welding helmets are the right matches for you. This type of eye protection is ideal  because it protects your eyes from harmful radiation and still allow you to see what you are doing.

Now you are properly informed about buying the right safety glasses and goggles for your job. Make use of this newfound knowledge and practice good eye safety.