So much going on these past few days that it doesn’t seem that I’ve had time to do anything but work. Which is ironic, since today was my last day at my current contract position. I work in IT and very often do between 3 months and a year’s worth of work for a company and then just be done. It can be tough sometimes, just about the time I feel comfortable in the commute and start to really make some friends, it’s time to move on. I think the worst part is the looking for the next contract, which is almost constant, and I am getting to the point where I think I might like to settle into a company and stay a while.
Anyway, enough about that. Been just doing some long neglected chores around the house. The first was to re-caulk the floor tile in my master bedroom. When we first bought the house – new, almost ten years ago – there were a few things that I didn’t like and knew would have to be changed. This is in sharp contrast to the fact that I fell in LOVE with this house almost immediately and changed – or wanted to change – very little.
But the master bedroom bathroom was one thing that I had to change. Apart from the size and layout, almost everything else I disliked. From the builder grade fixtures and cabinets to the blah color of the walls and tile, this was a room that would require change. The very first thing was the fact that the main area of the bathroom was carpeted. CARPETED. Like you would have to step out of the shower or bath tub onto CARPET carpeted. Who does that? Want to talk about the perfect environment for mold and mildew? Carpet in the bathroom. Gah.
Unfortunately, find tile to match what was already in there was going to be tough. This is one time I almost wished they would have used white tile, at least finding something to match would have been easy. I still have about 15 samples of tile colors that I hoped would match but didn’t. I really wanted to rip everything out and start the whole thing over, but we did just buy the house and had already spent big bucks changing the layout of the dining room into the home office (I still need to write a blog about that), adding a new decks leading out the new french doors from the master bedroom and finishing the entire basement (nearly 1500 square feet), not to mention that everything in the bathroom was brand new. Seemed really tough to just rip all that out and throw it away.
So, I endured and finally stumbled onto a tile – being discounted and discontinued – that matched almost perfectly. I had done a fair amount of tiling in my other house in California and felt comfortable with this small area, so I ripped out the carpet and laid the tile. And since the tile was priced so right, that we bought enough for an area of the basement that would benefit from a nonporous surface.
Something wasn’t right though, and before long the grout started cracking. Kept getting worse, until I got fed up and removed it all and replaced it with caulking. Much more flexible and seemed to stay white longer. But over time, and this time more like 5 years, it did peel in a few places and wear. And it was getting dirty looking. So, all of it was scraped out and once again replaced. Only this time, it was done mostly by The Kid, since my knees don’t do so well with the arthritis.
But it is back to looking shiny and new again, so I can stand to look at it again. Until I get to the point where I get so fed up with it that I start ripping it out myself. That might be a while though, as I want a whole new look with subway tiles and a clawfoot tub and some beautiful old vanity to use as a cabinet. I have some wonderful ideas, but now with the contract ended, it is time to reign in the spending for a while.
The other thing that has driven me a little nuts was the kitchen sink. Actually, the upstairs bathtub (in The Kid’s bathroom) too. You see, they are not cast iron, but those fiberglass or plastic pieces. I am sure they are cheaper, easier to install since they are so light and initially they are pretty nice looking. But my experience is that they don’t stay nice looking long… especially if you use chemical cleaners and scrubbing pads to clean them. It seems like you take off the nice, white top layer and then it takes way too much effort to keep it looking clean. It is a little difficult to really see what I am talking about, but here is a photo of the old sink:
When it came to the kitchen sink, it was used so much that it didn’t take long for it to start looking dingy. I really wanted a farmhouse sink, but that would have taken some cabinet modification as well as counter top change. It is my intention to install new counters, but again, what I have in mind is just a little too expensive right now.
An avid Craigslist watcher, about six weeks ago I saw a cast iron sink listed – for free. I called up The Kid and had him go over and pick it up. Initially, I was thinking I’d snag it for the sink I wanted to put in the garage, but after cleaning it up, I realized that this particular sink was flawless. No porcelain chips, no stains or rust… it was incredible.
Well, I finally got husband and The Kid to install the sink. There are times, like this, that it is an advantage to be married to a plumber.
It might not seem like much, but to me, it is like night and day to me. It just gleams! I think it is just beautiful. The downside? Now every flaw that I used to be able to overlook is now front and center when I walk into the kitchen. Its that old conundrum that once you start updating something, everything next to it needs it now. I suppose that now that we’re approaching the ten year mark, things are in need of updating and changing. I have a mental list going… the house needs painting, I want to replace the two decks with a single, wider deck and a new staircase, kitchen cabinets need replaced or refaced and I want new counters. I hear this knocking from the washer and I am just holding my breath that the heating and A/C unit holds out another year or so. But first, gotta get back to work.