The writing is off the wall
OR
Painting the bathroom

Goodbye orange paint!

Goodbye orange paint!

Last weekend (the 19th and 20th) we painted the bathroom. This is one of the last steps in our bathroom re-model, and one we had been very much looking forward to. I think one thing we have learned is that if we ever rent out a place, we will not let the renters paint, since they frequently do a very sloppy job. Though we are trying very hard, I sometimes wonder if we will be able to even get the house looking as good as it did the day Ellen and Dave left for Arizona. Bit by bit though, we are undoing and covering up the damage that previous renters had done, including, yes, writing on the wall.

Water stains on the ceiling

Water stains on the ceiling

On Friday night I did one final sanding of the drywall mud and washed the walls. I also took off the light switch covers (something the renters who had painted before us did not do).

Walls are ready for painting

Walls are ready for painting

Saturday morning we put a coat of Killz primer on it. We did the ceiling first, and then the walls. I did the trimming and Clare did the rolling. The ceiling is textured, so we used a nappy roller for the ceiling. We used the same roller for the walls with the primer, but then switched to different roller for the paint. We also tried out a little trick that our friend Tim told us. Instead of cleaning your brushes and rollers between coats, you can wrap them in saran wrap and put them in the refrigerator. We tried this with the nappy roller, since we were going to be using white paint on the ceiling, and the primer was also white. It worked pretty well. We didn’t use this method overnight though.

Rob trims the walls

Rob trims the walls

The primer coat took us a good 3 or so to complete. After that was done, we had some lunch, and took a little break. The primer claimed that it only needed an hour to dry, and it did dry very quickly. We probably gave it a good 2 hours or so. We used some leftover Killz ceiling white for the ceiling. I continued trimming with a 2″ brush for the ceiling, and Clare continued rolling. Once we were done with the ceiling, I switched to a 1 1/2″ angle brush for trimming, my father’s favorite. One definitely can get a lot more accurate with a slightly smaller brush. This coat went a bit quicker, maybe 2 1/2″ hours, plus some time to rinse out the brushes (in the newly re-installed laundry tub – more on that in an upcoming post).

Primer coat is complete

Primer coat is complete

We chose “ginger” for the walls, which is a beige-ish color — the same color we used in the livingroom and our bedroom. We liked it so much that we decided to use it in the bathroom too. We discussed some different colors, but we wanted to keep it fairly light, since the bathroom doesn’t get much sunlight. We also decided to go with a semi-gloss finish, as we had in the upstairs bathroom, since it is a bit more water-resistant than a satin or a flat, and is easier to clean.

No more water stains

No more water stains

Sunday morning we slept in a bit and had a leisurely breakfast, so I started trimming around 9:45 while Clare talked to her parents. I think she started rolling around 10:30, but it didn’t take long for her to catch up. After surveying the first coat, we decided not to put a second coat on the ceiling, but just to touch up a few places with a brush, after we had finished painting the walls. There were a few spots on the ceiling that were a bit thin, and also a few places where we had gotten some wall paint on the ceiling. That’s why we did it afterwards. We used drop cloths the whole time, and always had a wet rag handy in case we got some paint on the wood, tile or some other place we didn’t want paint, but there is nothing one can do about getting wall paint on the ceiling, except to cover it up later. (Again, former renters apparently did not have the forethought to wipe paint off trim with a wet rag, nor do many other people, as we have recently learned).

Walls are finished

Walls are finished

It really is amazing what a fresh coat of paint can do to a room. There are still several more finishing touches to be done, but it is really coming together. Just in time for mowing season.

Mmmm. Ginger

Mmmm. Ginger

Now we know where we live
OR
The puzzle is solved

puzzle of the house

Jigsaw puzzle of our house. The piece circled in red (shaped like a house) is where we live. The pinkish portion south of the house is the town of Spencer

Among other great gifts such as quality screwdrivers and saw horses, my parents got me and Clare a fun present for Christmas last year – a jigsaw puzzle constructed from a geological map of our house in Owen County, Indiana. Clare pulled it out a couple weeks ago to give it a go. It turned out to be pretty challenging. Clare and Liz did most of the puzzle, though a few friends (Sam, Charlie, and Phil) and Aubrie and I put in a few pieces. One of the challenges was that it did not come with a solution. Now that is done, the question is what to do with it? Put it back in the box? After all that hard work? I guess so. At least now we know where we live.

Spigot
OR
Faucet

Tee valve

Tee valve

The bathroom is still a work in progress, getting closer to completion all the time. A week or so ago I set out to put up the last piece of drywall. This was possible once the washer faucets had been turned into the utility room, but there was one last project I wanted to complete. Our house did not have a spigot outside. I don’t find the need for water outside that often, but occasionally I do. Last summer I simply ran a hose through the window. But this required opening the window, and potentially letting in insects. I asked Dave and Ellen at some point why they didn’t have a spigot, and as always, they had a very sensible answer: they had a spigot on the cabin, and had problems with the pipe freezing. I had a solution to this though. I would have a shutoff inside the house, so I could shut off the water in the winter.

Hose in the wall

Hose in the wall

In fact, I decided to use the same shutoff I had been using last year. I had been hooking up the hose to the cold water faucet to the washer, which required disconnecting the washer hose. I had gotten tired of this, so I bought a Y-joint. I decided to simply run a hose from this Y through the wall and to the outside. Like most of my projects, it started with a trip to Pell’s hardware store. I got a 5′ washer hose (a steel reinforced one so it should last quite a long time). I also bought a 1 1/2″ wood drill bit to drill holes in the studs so I could run the hose through the wall. I decided to put the spigot right above the dryer vent, since there was already an additional board there. So I simply drilled a hole through the wood there, and then started feeding the hose through the wall. I then drilled holes in the studs to pass the hose through there as well.

Spigot is installed

Spigot is installed

Once I had the hose all hooked up (it was just long enough), I turned the water on and gave it a try. It seemed to work fine, so I finished by driving a couple screws into the wood in the notches in the faucet. Unfortunately, it was leaking, but I didn’t realize this until two days later. As it turns out, you can already see in the photo of the spigot that the wood looks wet. When I went to use the hose several days later, it was quite wet. Of course I discovered this right before going to bed, so I had all night to worry about it. The next morning I checked it and it was getting worse. I feared that I might have punctured the hose somehow. So I unscrewed the spigot from the wood, and checked the connections. It turns out that I had simply not tightened the connections enough. I had used 1 wrench, but not 2. I got them nice and tight, and let it sit for several hours. After waiting awhile it seemed that the wood block was drying out, so I drilled in some new screws in new holes. I can’t believe that I went so long without a spigot!

Spring Falls

Upper Cataract Falls

Upper Cataract Falls

A few weeks ago my parents visited us. One of the activities we chose was to check out Cataract Falls, which is only about 10 miles away from us. It is supposedly the largest waterfall in Indiana (by volume). We hopped in the car and were there in about 25 minutes. It was a sunny day, though quite windy, which made it a bit chilly. We spent some time looking at the covered bridge, which is the only one in Owen County, and admired the falls. We have had a lot of rain this winter/spring, so they were really flowing fast.

Lower Cataract Falls

Lower Cataract Falls

Cataract Falls actually has 2 sets of falls, an upper and a lower one (much like Tacquamenon Falls in the upper peninsula of Michigan). When we got to the lower falls, we were quite perplexed. According to their website, the upper falls drops 20 feet, and the lower falls 18 feet. We did not see any lower falls at all. The closest thing was the few ripples in the water seen in the picture here. We discovered the reason why later when we stopped at the general store in Cataract and looked at some postcards of the falls which looked very different from what we had seen. The creek was simply so flooded that the water in the lower falls simply rose to the level of the water above it. Pretty amazing.

Greenwells\' Falls

Greenwells’ Falls

Though Cataract Falls was very nice, we actually have a couple nice waterfalls on our own road, so I finally got around to taking some pictures of them. Our next door neighbors, the Greenwells, actually built a little waterfall on Fall Creek themselves, simply by piling up some rocks where there was already a bit of a fall. Apparently Tim Greenwell, their son, had started this process. At some point Vic also added some cement to the rocks, because he got tired of the neighbor kids kicking the rocks down.

Morgans\' Falls

Morgans’ Falls

The neighbors next to the Greenwells, the Morgans, have a couple natural waterfalls in the creek by their place. Clare is particularly fond of these, with good reason. You can really see the natural limestone on the sides of the banks.

The bread trick
OR
Pipes pointing into the utility room

This past weekend my parents visited, and we tried to keep them entertained by doing fun things like going to some waterfalls, and visiting a local winery. We were trying hard not to rope them into doing any work, but Saturday afternoon they made the mistake of asking us what projects we would be working on if they weren’t there, so we ran down the laundry list. So we ended up doing a little work, but we mostly stuck to having fun.

newly sweated pipe

Saturday afternoon my dad helped me get the blades off the riding lawn mower. I had already tried it once before by putting it up on cinder blocks and crawling underneath it, but I couldn’t get enough leverage. Our neighbor Vic Greenwell, who was the original owner of the mower, said that he had put the mower up on its back wheels and rested it against a wall. So we tried that. I ended up kind of holding it up instead of leaning it against the wall, and wedged a 2×4 in by the blade while my dad used the wrench to get the blades off. Now I just need to find the right replacement blades. (Walmart in town didn’t have the right ones)

Sunday morning we were thinking of what to do, since the winery didn’t open until 1 p.m. I convinced my dad to help me turn around the pipes to the washing machine. The washing machine pipes used to turn into the bathroom slightly, which is where the washing machine used to be. We moved the washing machine next door, and wanted to turn the pipes around so we can finish the drywall in the bathroom. I said it would only take an hour or so, and I was sort of right. After an hour, we had successfully cut the pipes, and sweated a coupling onto each pipe with the faucets now angled slightly into the utility room. To do so, we had to turn the house water off and drain the pipes. But we couldn’t get all the water out of the pipes, so we used the bread trick. Shove some bread down the pipe a little ways so the water doesn’t come all the way to the top of the pipe. If there is water where you are trying to sweat, the copper won’t get hot enough to melt the solder.

The bread trick worked just fine, except for the final part of turning the water back on and the bread coming out. After a minute or so the bread came out of the hot water pipe, but not the cold water pipe. I decided the best thing to do would be to wait awhile. We waited an hour or so. No luck. We went to the winery tour and tasted some nice wine. When we got back 4 hours later, we tried again. No luck. We started brainstorming different ideas. We tried sticking a coat hanger in it, but couldn’t get it past the first bend in the faucet. We tried backflushing it by hooking up the hot water to the cold water through a laundry hose. All no luck. I decided to wait longer.

the faucets now face the other way

Monday. No luck. I was starting to think it would never come out and I would have to re-cut and sweat the pipe, so I asked Clare to buy some more couplings. I also decided to ask Rich Dibble, Dave’s brother, who taught us the trick in the first place. He gave some similar suggestions. Dave suggested trying to put some acid in the pipe or something. Tonight I decided to fix it once and for all. I tried turning the water on and off a couple times, and tried back-flushing it. I also tried putting some vinegar in the pipe through the hose. None of this seemed to help. On Sunday my dad had mentioned that he thought that the faucet might not be working. I had disregarded this possibility as having an extremely low probability, since it had been working fine right before we started the project. He suspected that the faucet was not opening correctly. It turns out he was on the right track. I did not want to take the faucet apart on Sunday evening, because I feared that we might end up with a leaky faucet or worse yet a faucet that wouldn’t stop at all, and we would have to turn the water off to the whole house, instead of simply not having a washer for a few days. Today however, I decided to try taking off the faucet. I had the water turned on as I started taking it off, and this weird brown goo started coming out. I quickly turned off the water to the house, then continued taking the faucet off of the pipe, and grabbed a bucket. Finally the bread came out. It had been clogged up in the faucet. I got out the coat hanger and cleaned out some of the bread, then hooked it back up and flushed it out with the water back on. I did one more cycle of turning the water off and on, and put some teflon tape on the faucet. Then I hooked the washer back up and re-leveled it, and it seems to be working fine. I am happy that it worked out, but feel a little stupid that I didn’t try taking off the faucet on Sunday. Oh well. What is that saying about things ending well?