27 April 2016

I Think I Can...

I Think I Can, Therefore I Can...


I've possibly mentioned before about a thousand times that the Texas house became beyond neglected while I was in Colorado. Apparently guys just don't see "stuff".

Eighteen months ago when I was in town I tackled the upstairs bathroom that 16 years ago we foolishly thought three kids could share. They did share but not without a fair amount of drama, most of which is still ongoing. Standards of cleanliness vary between the male and female children.

But anyway, the girls and I started stripping the original, very tired wallpaper and then after we were also very tired we gave up the stripping and just sealed the stuff. Over the last 16 years the wallpaper had become "one" with the  sheetrock underneath.

Original wallpaper.
Lovingly removed in 3" strips.

That paper around the mirror was NOT going to come off.  Once I came down from the chemical high from the oil based sealant, the Boy and I learned to texturize walls.

Wallpaper gone, walls textured
and painted. 
HUGE improvement.


YouTube is a wealth of information.
So are knowledgeable friends.

Then we painted. At some point a glass shower door was installed by the male inhabitants here. This was a very good thing since over the years, the knowledge of how and why to use a shower curtain had waxed and waned within my kiddo's heads.

Which gets me to this weeks project.
Baseboards.
The geniuses that built this house used MDF baseboards everywhere, including the wet areas of the house. MDF is Medium Density Fibreboard which is supposedly a pressed wood product. I'm pretty sure the stuff in that bathroom was pressed paper. No matter the composition, once wet this stuff expands. And cracks.


The baseboards in all the bathrooms are cracked and peeling. Shower curtains and sink drains are NOT idiot-proof.

I neglected to take a pic of the upstairs trim but "fortunately" 
the downstairs bathroom trim has the same problem. 
Cracked, separating, peeling paint.
If you don't put the shower curtain in, 
or if you plug the sink, turn on the water 
and get in the shower, the bathroom will flood.

Yesterday I decided I could replace baseboards. Removing them should be a snap- cut the caulk line with an Exacto-knife then pry them off. With only 14 linear feet of wall space involved, this should take 20 minutes tops.

Four hours later I was done.

Builder Bob had installed the baseboards, putting the finish nails low to the subfloor, THEN installed the tiles. And grouted. And caulked. With the swelling over the years from water exposure, those baseboards were in there TIGHT.

No problem, I figured I could pry them out.  Forty minutes into the first 30" run on the first wall, I almost gave up. I figured I just wasn't strong enough.  That had to be the problem because the boards would NOT come out of their gap.

I took a break, ate lunch, regrouped. Decided I had to be strong enough, there was another problem.

That was when I discovered those very low- now below the level of the tile- nails that were holding the trim back. Aha! Those rats.  I couldn't pull them out but I could sneak the needle nose pliers down between the wall and the trim and twist those suckers out.

Like I said, four hours later the baseboards were gone. I was left with huge gaping holes between the floor and walls.

Like the wallpaper, the trim also came off in 3" strips. 
What a mess. 

BUT!!
I did not put the hammer through any walls, I did not crack the toilet or the bathtub and I did not have to make even one trip to the Emergency Room for stitches. So I consider that a win.

This morning I mixed up some grout that will not match even though the color name is the same. I've just resigned myself to that fact and am hoping it won't matter. I stuffed a whole box of grout into those gaps and am waiting for it all to dry. (And maybbbbeeeeee turn into the correct color? Nah. Won't happen.)

Was I using the correct tools? Wait? Fingers aren't the correct tools?
No...
Do I care?? No....

Wiped the edges down, waiting for the haze to dry.
Yep, messed that wall up a little.

I've given the new baseboards a coat of enamel paint.  Tomorrow I will cut and nail and caulk.

Linen Enamel Paint. 
Probably the trim color for 90% of the houses in Sugar Land.

The moral of this story? If it isn't perfect it will still be an improvement on what was there.
If I think I can, then I probably can.
Project Sixty by Sixty was conceived with the idea that you are never too old to learn or try something new.

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A BFI. (My friend Cherrilla taught me this term.  Short for Big F**king Idea.)

HGTV needs to hire me to be the Nicole Curtis of the "over 60 home remodeling" set. I could learn on the job how to do all this stuff that requires skill and practice but is NOT brain surgery.

I will need some hunky helpers, please.
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Hopefully the finished project will be on next week's blog. Hopefully.