Category Archives: General News

Introducing: My Office!


I considered taking pictures of the progress along the way, but the in-progress pictures were chaotic and not very representative. So I made you wait until it was done! Dunno about for you, but it was definitely worth the wait for me. It’s exactly what I envisioned, and I absolutely love it!

I haven’t moved anything into it yet. I need to give the shelves another 24 hours to dry. So these pictures are just the bare room.

This picture is taken from the doorway, peeking in to the right. One brown accent wall, three green walls. The ceiling slants upward at a pretty sharp angle. It’s wood with a “pickling stain,” which gives it a slight whitewashed effect, not terribly visible in this photo. The floor is Pergo to match the rest of the floor on this level of the house. All of the trim is simple and bright white.

This photo is from the doorway peeking to the left. My window is new and has a high energy rating. We’re gradually replacing all the windows in the house. You see two of the green walls. It’s hard to tell, but they’re actually different shades of green. The wall with the window is a bit darker than the other two green walls. The closet door matches the door to the room.

I stepped in and opened the closet. Swoooon! We built in wide, sturdy shelves, so I can store tons of STUFF in there. I adore my closet.

This final picture is the kind of weird one. I’m standing at the closet, and I turned back and UP. Remember, there’s a steep pitch to the ceiling so this wall is really tall. I’m going to have a sleeper sofa on that wall, so above that I had my contractor put three shelves. The bottom one is high enough that I can walk under it. The top one will require an actual ladder (not step-stool) to reach. You can see we added a ceiling fan too. It gives a lot of light, and my contractor said it does a great job of cooling the room.

I’m planning to move in on Sunday. The only furniture I’ll move in right now is my desk and desk chair. I need to buy everything else. I’m going to get a cabinet with a bookcase hutch to go with my desk, a brightly-colored sleeper sofa (maybe red?), a rug, and artwork for the brown wall. It will take some time and money to get all that though.

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Remodel update, end of May

Time for a remodel update!

My husband complained last week that I hadn’t done an update recently. That’s because nothing exciting had happened. But now we’re making progress.

Current state:

  • The electrical box has been completely replaced, updated, and inspected. This one will handle 21st century power needs, including a whole-house generator. I’d post a picture, but really, how interesting is an electrical box?
  • The outlets and switches on the first floor are being replaced and updated as I write.
  • We’ve got bids from a propane company and a plumber.

Next steps:

  • Once the electrical is done, our contractor is going to start working on my office. (Yay!)
  • I have picked the paint for my office, but I haven’t bought furniture yet. Looks like my overtime isn’t going to come through, so I may not be getting furniture anytime soon. Sigh.
  • After the office is done, we’ll be ready to do the electrical, plumbing, and propane in the basement.

And that’s pretty much it. I’m seriously bummed that I won’t be getting the overtime I had hoped for. That will definitely slow down the progress of the remodel beyond the steps I’ve listed. Other than that, though, life is good. We’re still having fun with the remodel, and the rest of life is terrific. Dogs are happy, we’re happy, everyone is healthy, work is good. We’re blessed!

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Bare feet

I spent most of my childhood barefooted. I grew up in the South with meadows, woods, and ditches right out the back door. I remember how tender my feet would be on asphalt and gravel when it first got warm in the spring, but within a few weeks, I hardly noticed. When I got horses as a teen, I wore shoes more often, but only because horse hooves are awfully heavy when they step on you. And because stables harbor tetanus. But mostly the former.

My mother blamed my wide feet on my going barefoot so much. It’s probably true.

At some point along the way, I stopped going barefoot much. Never outside. Inside until a massage therapist told me that my knee pain was caused by going barefoot. He told me to get orthotics in my shoes and never be without them, or I’d end up with knee and backpain for life. So for the last several years I’ve slipped on shoes as soon as I rolled out of bed in the morning.

It never seemed to be much of a problem. I mean, this is what grown-ups do, right? At some point I stopped being the tomboy who lived in the woods and became the woman who cringed away when “nature touched me.”

Last year, as I began delving into Paleo and Crossfit, I heard about barefoot running. Now, I’m not a runner and can’t imagine I ever will be. But I thought some of the arguments they made about bare feet being healthier than shod feet were interesting. I dropped the orthotics and switched to minimalist shoes. I looked at Vibrams — those glove shoes — but hadn’t taken the plunge yet. It didn’t occur to me to just kick off my shoes and go barefoot. Ew. My feet would get dirty and wet and cold. And there were bugs. And spiders.

A week or two ago, one of my daily meditations suggested going outside, taking off my shoes, and just connecting with the Earth. See above: bugs, spiders, cold, nature touching me. But it got sunny, and it was early spring…. It seemed silly, but I tried it.

I’d forgotten how cool the grass felt and how spongy the earth was. It felt… right. I walked on grass. I walked in dirt. I picked up a pinecone with my toes. I closed my eyes and felt the sun on my face and the ground under my feet, and I felt balanced and connected.

Today I walked to the mailbox and back barefooted. I avoided the honeybees on the dandelions and tried to ignore the plethora of little black spiders scurrying out of my way. I gritted my teeth and picked my way across the gravel road. (Want to pracitice mindfulness and “be here now”? Walk outside. With bare feet. On gravel. You will be here now. I promise.) There were moments I questioned the sanity of that choice, but when I got inside, my feet were happy. Truly happy.

It may take some time to build up those tough soles I had when I was a kid, but I want to give it a try. I really think all this shoe wearing has a price, and I don’t want to pay that price anymore. I miss the meadows and the woods and the ditches. I miss that connections. I think it may be time to let nature touch me again.

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Remodel update at the end of week 2

Wow, those two weeks went by fast. So far we’re still energized and excited by the project. The chaos hasn’t gotten on our nerves too much, and we’re not arguing with each other or our contractor. 🙂

Current state

  • The basement is completely naked — concrete floor, no walls, bare to the studs in the exterior walls and ceiling.
  • The guest bedroom (my future office) had the carpet removed and is completely empty. We’re going to do some electrical work in there, but we don’t have to take it to the studs to do it.

Decisions made

  • Our contractor worked with an engineer to figure out how to replace the beam down the center of the basement with steel in order to remove one of the posts. Ain’t happening. That post, it turns out, is the central point of the house and, because of how everything was built, it’s carrying the load of not only the floor above it but the roof as well. A steel beam would have to be 2 feet thick to compensate, which would mean we’d have to limbo to cross the room. Thus, we’re not going to mess with the beam or post at all. Money saved!
  • We’re adding the laundry room to the list of things being remodeled in this project, because the changes we want to make in there involve plumbing and propane. Makes sense to do those while we have the plumber here.
  • Our contractor gave us a bid for the complete remodel of my office. It will cost just under what we expected to pay to change the beam and get rid of the post. Because finishing the office will give us some space and get a lot of junk (and me!) out of the kitchen, my husband wants to put that at the top of the priority list.

Current tasks

  • Our contractor is arranging to bring in a plumber and an electrician.
  • My husband has found a propane provider, and he’s arranging for someone from there to come out and give us a bid for tank installation.
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Naked basement

The house has been shaking for the past two days as my contractor and some awesome neighbor kids have been demolishing my basement. They’re not completely done with the demolition, but they’ve done most of it. It’s so cool to get rid of that middle wall. It really gives me a better idea of what the space will look like later.

Biggest surprise? We discovered someone had done all the plumbing for a bathroom and then walled (and floored) over it! We’ll be able to put a small bathroom down there and add a ton of value to the house for not-very-much money. Score!

Here are some pics:

This, and the next two pics, are taken from the existing stairs (where my desk use to be). The old well room is that area behind the pellet stove. See the beam in the ceiling on the upper left edge of the picture? There used to be a wall running the length of that beam, separating the basement in half.


I pivoted about 45 degrees to the left. The opening in the right of this picture is in the left of the picture above. This area used to be Jay’s office and the storeroom. Kind of in the center, in the corner, you can see a tiny black circle on the floor. That’s part of the surprise plumbing. The bathroom would be put in that area. We want that beam in the center of the picture to GO AWAY.


And this is one more 45 degree turn to the right. The stairs are to my left (by the flashlight). The drain thingie is in that corner on the right. The bathroom will take up a portion of the right side of this photo. The left side will be an alcove at the back of the main room. We’ll probably build in bookcases and make a reading nook.


New vantage point — over by the pellet stove looking back towards the stairs, where I was standing in the last photos. These stairs will be closed up, and the new stairs will be at the right edge of the picture.




45 degree turn to the right. Looking into the corner where the reading nook will be. That post is the one going bye bye.





A turn further to the right. The bathroom will be on the left side of the photo. The hot water heater was in the old storeroom. It’s going to be moved to the well room, which is out of sight to my immediate right in this picture. We’ll rebuild the storeroom for just that — storage.



Final pic. I moved to stand in the new bathroom (sort of) to get a picture of the well room. This room is going to stay, but it’s going to be considerably smaller.

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