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!

MSA Full-Mask Respirators

If you work in hazardous conditions or with dangerous chemicals, we don’t have to tell you the importance of having a high-quality respirator when you’re on the job. But, at Discount Safety Gear, we can tell you that we have some fantastic options for respirators at unbeatable prices. We offer a wide variety of full-mask respirators and supplies from MSA, one of the most popular and trusted safety equipment brands on the market. Check out one of these great models.

The MSA Advantage 3000 Respirator is one of the best choice for a full-mask respirator. This respirator features a soft, pliable silicone face piece for extra comfort when you’re wearing this mask on the job. To make this face piece, MSA actually took face measurements from over 8,000 people, so we can almost guarantee you’ll be happy with the way this mask fits you. The face piece design also allows for extremely low breathing resistance and also includes a nose cup that reduces fogging when working in cool temperatures or in high humidity.

The MSA Advantage 3000 Respirator lens is sure to meet anyone’s high expectations as well. The lens wraps around your entire face and is also scratch resistant, offering you the best in comfort, visibility, and safety. The lens meets protective eye and face requirements for ANSI Z87.1.2003.

This great respirator is also versatile, compatible with all MSA filters and cartridges, and Discount Safety Gear has a great selection of these as well.

Order the MSA Advantage 3000 Respirator today in size small, medium, or large for just $138.99. If you need to order extra quantities of this mask, you can order this one for as low as $125.09.

MSA Half-Mask Respirators

If you work with hazardous chemicals or in a hazardous environment, then you surely know the importance of having a high-quality respirator when you’re on the job. At Discount Safety gear’s online store, you’ll find a great selection of half-mask respirators and supplies by MSA, one of the most popular and trusted safety equipment brands on the market. Check out just a few of the MSA respirators and supplies available at Discount Safety Gear’s online store.

The MSA Advantage 200 LS Respirator with OV-N95 Cartridges is an excellent choice for safety workers looking for a half-mask respirator. This respirator is extra comfortable due to its lightweight; the new clear blue front face piece design subtracts about one quarter of the weight from the mask and also adds a noticeable softness to this popular respirator. The mask is made of a soft, pliable combination of rubber and plastic for an extra comfortable and customized fit. For extra safety, MSA’s patented Multiflex system allows the mask to seal equally over your face with unparalleled stability.

This great mask is available in sizes small, medium, and large for just $38.09. Discounts are also available for order in quantities of three or more. The mask also comes with two OV-N95 cartridges, and extra OV-N95 cartridges can be ordered from Discount Safety Gear’s online store for just $12.09.

The MSA Advantage 200 LS Respirator with MultiGas R95 Cartridges is another great choice for a half-mask respirator. Similar in quality and style to the MSA Advantage 200 LS Respirator with OV-N95 Cartridges, this mask also features the lightweight, clear blue face piece to make this mask comfortable to wear on the job. The mask is also made from the same combination of soft, pliable rubber and plastic and the patented Multiflex system that seals equally over your face. This mask is available at Discount Safety Gear’s online store in sizes small, medium, and large for just $41.09, and discounts are available for ordering quantities of three or more. The mask comes with two MultiGasR95 Cartridges, and extra MultiGas R95  cartridges can be ordered for only $13.09.

What Are the Differences Between Respirators?

This is a very common question considering several manufacturers describe identical products with different descriptions. Following is a comprehensive list of three different types of respirators. Included in the list is an overview of the advantages, disadvantages, limitations, and applications for each type.

Particulate Respirator

Disposable Dust/Particulate Respirators

Description:The majority of disposable dust/particulate respirators are designed to protect the wearer’s lungs from particle irritants as well as pneumoconiosis, fibrosis-producing dusts, and mists.

Advantages:Disposable dust/particulate respirators are lightweight, disposable, relatively comfortable, and economical.

Limitations:Offer minimal protection due to inferior sealing qualities. Wearers who have facial hair cannot use particulate respirators that come between the respirator and skin.

Applications:Welding, soldering and brazing, grinding, sanding, sweeping, bagging, stone quarrying, metal machining, fertilizer production, underground mining, polishing, buffing, glass etching, clay processing, and chemical processing.

Half Mask Respirator

Half Face Respirators

Description: Half face respirators consists of a rubber face seal that fits over the nose and under the chin. It is fitted with cartridges that purify the air as the user breathes. Different types of cartridges are available for different types of air contaminants.

Advantages: Half face respirators are relatively lightweight as well as offer good protection from many air contaminants. They offer good protection from many air contaminants and provide high mobility.

Limitations: Protection offered by these masks is not as good as that provided by a full-face respirator nor do they provide eye protection.

Applications: Agriculture, asbestos abatement, chemicals, construction, hazardous materials, mining, nuclear, oil and gas, paper and pulp, sanding and grinding, spray painting, and welding.

Full Face Mask Respirator

Full Face Respirators

Description: Full face respirators work on the same concept as half mask respirators described above. The face piece extends around the entire face covering the eyes, nose, chin, and mouth.

Advantages: Full face respirators provide a better seal and therefore, more protection than half mask respirators. They also protect the eyes and face from irritating vapors, mists, and splashed chemicals.

Limitations: Full face respirators are heavier than half masks and often less comfortable. Those who wear eyeglasses must assure that temple bars do not interfere with the face-to-face piece seal. Full-face respirators cannot be used in oxygen-deficient atmospheres, or in atmospheres that have high concentrations of contaminants.

Applications: Full face respirators are used when a greater degree of respiratory protection is needed or where face and eye protection are preferred. Agriculture, asbestos abatement, chemicals, construction, hazardous materials, mining, nuclear, oil and gas, paper and pulp, sanding and grinding, spray painting, and welding.

Keep in mind that both the half mask and full-face respirators both perform the same basic functions. The only significant difference is the full-face respirator provides coverage for the wearer’s entire face whereas the half mask type does not. Be sure to wear your respirator in hazardous environments and be safe.