Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!

Halloween greetings from our fierce lion and her brave lion tamer!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Great Ceiling Project

The ceiling is done! Actually, let me clarify. The ceiling is not quite done. We have some nail holes to fill with putty, a little caulking, and then some touch up painting. That should be done in the next couple of days, though, and that work is not visible in the following photos, so for the purposes of this blog, we will consider the ceiling done. Here's how it all went down:

Actually, before I get into the run-down, I must say a HUGE thank you to all of our vertically gifted friends who took the time to help us. As we quickly found out, this was not a one-person job, nor was it a short-person job. It took at least two tall men to get it done. So, thank you, thank you, thank you to Aaron, Andrew, and David.

Last Saturday was our planned installation day. We planned, perhaps a little optimistically, to finish it all in one day (except the moulding). That didn't quite happen, although lots of progress was made. I, of course, had to work. So, I was there to help and see the project get underway in the morning and I saw about two hours of work happen before I had to leave. The beginning was fairly easy. Especially given the fact that Aaron didn't need a ladder.

When I left for work, the ceiling was looking about like this and I started to have concerns about it not getting finished that day:

When Aaron had to leave a couple hours later, they had only gotten about a quarter of the way done. We realized that they must have used all of the difficult boards that morning because when Andrew stepped in after Aaron left, the boards went in great and they started cruising through. Apparently Mr. Frisby had some time to get a little creative as well:

In spite of the pace picking up with the easier boards, they weren't quite able to finish before Andrew had to leave and when I returned home that night after work, they had done about three quarters of the ceiling. When I walked into the house, I loved how it looked and was pretty impressed. But, since we had to empty out our living room to work on it, we immediately started making plans for getting it all done. So, we arranged with David to come help us finish it up on Tuesday. He came and after only a couple of hours, they were nearly done. And then we ran into another little problem. We were ONE board short. Just one. At that point, we decided we would get the moulding and get it all ready so we could put in the last board and a half and the moulding all at the same time and be done with it. Scout was very helpful in trying to clean up the sawdust:

Over the next couple of days, we got the final board ready, got the moulding, painted it and made arrangements with David to come back and help finish. They got to work Friday evening and had the last boards up on the ceiling very quickly. It looked fantastic, I thought.

Next it was time for the moulding and that's when things got tricky. Moulding is not the easiest project in the world. Especially for DIYers with minimal experience. I got more and more worried the more Mr. Frisby and David discussed angles and bevels and miters and how they were going to do this corner and that corner and how they needed to set up the saw for each cut. I got really worried when they decided it was time to consult the internet for some instruction. The great moulding debate:

The discussion and figuring out how to cut the moulding probably took three times as long as the actual cutting and installing. Once they figured out the angles and how to set up the saw for each one, the installation went very quickly.

After several hours of hard thinking, they finished. And, all of their figuring and measuring and making test cuts and double-checking numbers paid off because the moulding matched up great and the ceiling looked fantastic!

I'm very happy with how it all turned out and as soon as we finish caulking and doing the touch ups with the paint, we'll be able to put our living room back together. And, now that Mr. Frisby has done one room, the master bedroom ceiling should be a cinch!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Subterranean Termite Blues

Recently, Mr. Frisby got a bonus. We were thrilled, immediately thinking of all the things we could get for our new house with the bonus money. Then, a couple of days ago, I was out in the backyard and saw a scene much like this:

They were crawling out of a piece of wood near the patio - swarms of them! My first thought was termites. But, they looked a little like ants and I, having never seen a termite before, chose to think positively and assume they were ants. So, I called Mr. Frisby to see what we had that I could spray them with to kill them. He suggested Round-Up. I wanted something closer to where I was, so I chose CLR. You know, the kitchen/bathroom cleaner. It killed them immediately and then our patio was littered with carcasses. When Mr. Frisby got home, he looked at them and decided they were not ants. So, we googled termites and found the above picture. And, that was exactly what was now all over our patio.

The Terminix man came yesterday to do the free inspection. He looked at our patio battlefield and confirmed our fears. He then went under the house and found evidence there as well. Fortunately, these termites are the subterranean variety so we don't have to have our house tented. But, the extermination process is still pricey. Can you guess where Mr. Frisby's bonus is going?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

A Sneak Peek

Saturday was ceiling installation day. Unfortunately, we didn't quite get it finished. We made a lot of progress, though, and we're hoping to get it finished tonight. Here's a sneak peek of how it was looking earlier in the day. Complete story and more pics to follow when we get it done.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Two Stories

It's been a little crazy here at the Frisby home. Story #1:

Scout got spayed on Wednesday. Poor dog. When I brought her home that evening, she just moped around for awhile. Towards the end of the night, she was perking up a little and even went over to sniff at her toys. Yesterday she was doing very well and was almost back to her crazy, energetic self. But, she had a bad case of the runs. I mean, really bad. So, she was doing okay in the morning with potty breaks here and there and then I had to go to work. Usually we put her outside while we're gone, but her post surgery instructions said she should be kept in a kennel or very small room for the first day or so to limit activity. So, I decided to leave her in her kennel for the 4 or 5 hours I would be at work. She went to the bathroom before I left and then I put her in her kennel with some water and a few treats. I knew she could typically hold it for that long, but in the back of my mind I knew the diarrhea could pose a problem. I figured if she had an accident in her kennel we would just clean it out. I left for work and hoped for the best.

I arrived home just minutes after Mr. Frisby. When I walked in, it smelled a little funny. Then I saw Mr. Frisby outside with Scout with a not very pleasant look on his face and I figured it wasn't good. He came inside to get some paper towels. When he saw me, he said, "Scout went poo in her kennel. Now I'm just cleaning dried poo out of her butt fur. When I walked in and it smelled like a nursing home, I knew we were in trouble." Mr. Frisby is a smart man. I went outside to hold Scout while he cleaned off her butt. Obviously a bath would've been the easiest and quickest solution, but we can't get her incision site wet. So, we just used wet paper towels to wipe her all off. That done, I retrieved her contaminated kennel and brought it outside for a thorough cleaning. Mr. Frisby took her bedding into the bathroom to rinse it out before throwing it in the washer. When I looked in the kennel, I saw Scout's puddle of poo (puddle, not pile) in the back corner of the kennel with one of her toys right on top. Ugh. I got the toy out and soaked it in disinfectant and then proceeded to clean out her kennel. With everything cleaned up, we went inside and opened up all the windows to air the house out. I told my sister that Scout had had the equivalent of a blowout (since she's been cleaning up her fair share of those lately) and that we had spent the last half hour cleaning everything up. After that, we all settled down for a relaxing evening.

Story #2:

We decided it best not to chance Scout having an accident in the middle of the night, so I got up at 2:30 am and took her out to the bathroom. After she went and was back in her kennel I got back in bed and went back to sleep. I was awakened at 4:14 am by the sound of gushing water. Not what you want to hear in your new house in the middle of the night. I knew the sprinklers were on, but this was not the sound of a fine spray of water over the lawn. I got out of bed and walked through the house. The gushing was definitely outside, so I opened the front door to have a look and, lo and behold, there was Old Faithful in our front yard. I quickly thought, "this is bad. I don't know how to turn this off." So, I went back to the bedroom to get Mr. Frisby. Tapping him on the shoulder, I said, "do you know how to turn the sprinklers off?" He said, "yeah, I think it's in the garage." So, I said, "well, can you come do it?" "Ugh" was his reply as he got out of bed. As we headed down the hall, I explained to him the problem. He turned off the sprinklers and then we opened the front door. Even in the dark, we could see that everything was wet. Another project to add to our list. We headed back to bed.

As I lay there trying to fall asleep, I thought about the geyser in our front yard and a lot of things started making sense. Like, no wonder everything on the porch is wet after the sprinklers go on. And no wonder the office window (and only the office window) is completely covered in water spots. As I thought about the water spots on the office window, I remembered that we had left that window open to air out the nursing home smell after Scout's accident. I also remembered that our computers and other technological paraphernalia were sitting directly below that window. And if that window is normally covered in water and it was now open...well, I was a little afraid to survey the damage, but I got out of bed and headed into the office. Without turning on the light, I touched my computer and felt some drops. So, I grabbed the paper towels out of the kitchen and went back into the office to clean up. When I turned on the light, I saw how much work was ahead of me. Fortunately the blinds were down (though not turned vertically), so they shielded the water pretty well. It only took me a few minutes to wipe the water off my computer and the desk (with no harm done to the computer). But, the blinds were soaked and there were puddles of water on the window sill. I went to work wiping everything off and half an hour later I got back in bed. I'm not sure Mr. Frisby even noticed I was gone. At this point, I was pretty awake, so since I couldn't go back to sleep, I pulled out my iPhone and played Angry Birds for awhile until I got sleepy. I finally went back to sleep, but it was painfully short amount of time before the alarm went off.

We've had no shortage of excitement, we added another project to our list, the blinds are clean, and Scout's kennel is super clean. I guess it's been a productive 24 hours.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Step Two

Step two of our ceiling project was adding the polyurethane coat to the wood. I have to admit, after we finished staining the wood, I began having second thoughts about the whole plan. I mean, I liked the color, but I just wasn't thrilled about how the wood looked. And if I didn't like how the wood looked sitting on some sawhorses in my garage, I didn't think things would change when it was on the ceiling. Enter the polyurethane.

The polyurethane soothed my troubled heart and made everything all better. Amazing what a can of toxic, highly aromatic chemicals can do. With a nice sheen on it, the wood is looking great and I'm pretty excited to see how it looks on the ceiling. I hope I'm still excited about it after it goes up. Installation day is this Saturday (anyone want to help?) so we'll see how it all turns out.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

A Day Off

Mr. Frisby and I love our new house and we love being able to do with it what we want. But, since moving in, every spare moment has been spent working on all different projects. And we've been busy with work, school, etc as well. We decided we needed a break from everything so we could get away and have some fun. So, Mr. Frisby took Friday off work and we made some plans. Originally, we had planned to head down to Carmel, but things changed a little and we headed to Half Moon Bay instead. We decided it was high time Scout be introduced to the beach and there are some good eats in HMB, so away we went (not that we couldn't have gotten that in Carmel - the Cheese Shop there is amazing - but we decided to head north instead of south). The weather ended up being absolutely amazing despite a prediction of some chilly temperatures and we had a fabulous day away from our everyday lives. We started the day off at the beach. Specifically, Montara Beach. Just north of HMB, it's one of my favorite little beaches in the vicinity. It was still a little early, so the morning chill hadn't quite worn off yet and the water was really too cold to play in as it often is around these parts. But, Scout loved the beach anyway. We didn't know how she would do in the sand, but she had no qualms about it and was running around like a champ. She got a little too close to the water at one point and got her little paws wet. I think it was cold enough that she decided that wasn't happening again. But, she was brave enough to follow me down near the water and then she would turn and run as the waves came up on the beach.

Mr. Frisby was a great photographer, but as such, he didn't get in any of the pics. Oh well. He was there, I promise. After playing on the beach for awhile we headed to downtown HMB to poke around the shops on Main Street. Scout made friends with everyone she saw and we enjoyed a mid-morning snack of Mitchell's Pumpkin Ice Cream (I won't go on about Mitchell's Ice Cream of San Francisco. It deserves its own post. But, if you haven't had it, do yourself a favor and get on that). We poked around a bit more and then decided to go to Garden Deli & Cafe for lunch.

We discovered their amazing sandwiches on a previous trip to HMB. Deliciousness on homemade bread. I went with the Hot Pastrami on French Bread and Mr. Frisby went for the Hot Pastrami on Wheat. I should've taken a picture, but I was too busy stuffing my face. Plus, my hands had mayo and pastrami juice on them. Mmmm. So tasty! We opted to get the sandwiches to go and then take them to the beach to eat. What better way to pound a sandwich than sitting on the beach watching the surfers and watching Scout make friends with all the people that passed by. After lunch we made our way back to the car and then, being a little tired from our adventures, we headed back south. We had a fabulous day and it was a much needed break for both of us!

Monday, October 4, 2010


This is how we started off General Conference weekend:

Pumpkin pancakes with chocolate syrup and whipped cream. Mmmmm!

Friday, October 1, 2010

The Ceiling Project

Before I get started on our progress with our ceiling, I did complete a little project in the kitchen. I put up a valance over the ginormous kitchen window. I made it myself and I think it looks pretty good. Take a peek:

Now I just need to get a small shelf put up above the window and then it will be all done.

Okay, on to the ceiling. Based on the start we've had to this project, I have a feeling that I'll really regret it if I don't document the project from start to finish. Although we're not done with the ceiling yet, it's had a lively start. A couple weeks ago, Mr. Frisby headed off to Lowe's to get the wood and stain for our ceiling project (a quick recap for those not aware of what we're doing: after scraping the popcorn ceiling before we moved in, our plan is to put up tongue and groove paneling on the vaulted ceiling in the living room. After much debate on the color of the wood, we decided to stain it a nice cherry color). I was not home when he went and I couldn't go with him, so our color decision was made with me looking at a Minwax brochure and directing him via the telephone. He got all the wood and then we agreed on what looked like a nice cherry color in the brochure. It was called "Cherry Blossom".

We set up shop in the garage and began prepping all the wood for the stain.

When it was time to stain, I opened up the can of "Cherry Blossom". Upon seeing a very bright purple color staring back at me, I called Mr. Frisby in. "Does this look right?", I asked. "Wow", was his response. After commenting on the brightness of the purple color, Mr. Frisby said he didn't know what it was supposed to look like because he'd never stained before. I was in the same boat, so it's pretty much the blind leading the blind over here. We decided to try the stain on one board and see how it turned out. It wasn't pretty and it wasn't at all what we had in mind. Behold, the Cherry Blossom:

My sister's comment upon seeing the Cherry Blossom in all its glory pretty much summed up my feelings: "You can't put that up in your house." Agreed. Cherry Blossom is out. And, it looked nothing like it did in the brochure. The next day I headed to Home Depot. I looked at the wood samples they had for all of the Minwax colors. When I saw the Cherry Blossom wood piece, it was indeed the bright pink color we had sitting in our garage. Blasted brochures! Why can't they make them more accurate?

Scout didn't like the Cherry Blossom either.

After looking at the samples, I decided on a new color called "Rosewood". This hue was a more natural hue - one that might actually occur in nature. So, I picked up a couple quarts and headed home to see what we could do. The new color was a huge improvement. In fact, both Mr. Frisby and I decided it was a nice color and it should look good in our living room.

So, now that we're back on track with the wood color, we have a garage full of wood to stain and then coat with polyurethane. And, then we'll finally get to see if all of this hard work will be worth it. Hopefully there will be no more surprises.