Monday, June 28, 2010

Extreme Floor Makeover

I realize I have been seriously slacking in the blogging department lately, both reading and posting, but it is mostly in part to a project that has taken over our lives the last few weeks.  We also ended up with an empty fridge, a whole collection of new weeds, and a sink full of dishes, so obviously the blog has not been the only thing being neglected. 

Brett and I were sick of our old dirty carpet, and decided to update with some hardwood floor.  We decided the best time to get the project done would be during Brett's three week break between graduation and residency.  Easy, maybe, except we also decided to do everything ourselves.  With alot of help and guidance from my parents we pulled out our carpet, pried up the carpet tack strips, scraped the carpet glue off the cement, removed all the baseboards, chiseled out our entryway tile, ground down the high spots in our cement, cut up the door jambs, repainted the baseboards, measured and cut the wood, laid the wood floor, and re-nailed and re-caulked the baseboards.  Seriously!!  It saved us ALOT of $$$, but it took many VERY long days (one night we didn't get to bed until 3:00am) of VERY VERY hard work.  I am happy to say we are now ALMOST done!!!  YAY!!!

I didn't get a "before" pic because I came home from work one day and Brett had moved out all the furniture and started ripping up the carpet.  These will have to do as "before" pics, although they are from 2007 so they are very outdated and don't show much.
The carpet and pad ripped out and the entryway tile chipped up.  The baseboards and tack strips still need to be removed from the hallways.
Leveling out the high spots in the cement.  Brett concocted this cover out of PVC pipe and plastic sheeting to help keep in the dust.  It did help, but the grinding took so much longer because we could hardly see thru the plastic.  Eventually we decided to ditch the cover.  I couldn't get anymore pics  at that point because we could hardly see across the room.  Our entire house was tarped in plastic to help keep the dust to the living room and hallway.
Starting to lay the wood.  Laying just the living room took 4 of us (Brett and I and my parents) 13 hours to do!  P.S. Notice I painted the wall while we had no baseboards or floor to worry about dripping on.
Taking a quick break to eat dinner in true workforce style: Filibertos' outside on the grass.
The wood is all laid!  The blue tape helps keeps the boards together until the glue dries. 
The final product!  I LOVE it!!  All we have left to do is to putty and paint over the new nail holes in the baseboards and then re-caulk them.  WAHOOO!!!!!!!

A few things we learned along the way:
It took 4 hours to remove all the old baseboard caulking by hand. Using a putty knife could have accomplished this in a few minutes.
When I'm ready to give birth all I'll need to do is volunteer to grind someone's cement again and this baby will come flying out.
Hot light bulbs don't like to be cleaned with cold wet rags. They explode.
Knees were not meant to be knelt on all day (and night).
It is very difficult to remove wood floor glue from wood floor.
It is very difficult to remove wood floor glue from skin.
It is very difficult to remove wood floor glue from clothing.
It is very difficult to remove wood floor glue from shoes.
It is very difficult to remove wood floor glue from carpet. (Are you seeing a pattern? I have decided that wood floor glue has got to be the nastiest stickiest stuff on planet earth.)
It is ESPECIALLY difficult to remove wood floor glue from dog paws and fur (just imagine glue paw prints everywhere!).
The table saw and miter saw get painfully hot when they sits out in direct sunlight all day.
You can clean one room for 8 hours and you'll still find cement dust days later.
Straight walls are never actually straight.
Straight wood is never actually straight.
Our little boy does not like it when mom works all day crouched down and hunched over, when she accidentally inhales cement dust or lacquer thinner fumes, when she is sleep deprived, or when she forgets to eat.  I don't like it much either.
They don't rent power jamb saws at Home Depot anymore. You now have to cut all your door jambs by hand.
Carpet tack strips don't feel good on bare feet.
Don't let your husband leave to Lake Powell during the middle of a project. It's much easier to get things done we he doesn't come home on crutches.
And finally...
There IS a reason the wood floor installers get paid so well!

Monday, June 14, 2010


We made it!!  It's official!  Brett is now, Dr. Brett Blaser.  On Friday, June 4, 2010, Brett graduated from Midwestern University with the degree of Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine.  I can't believe it's all over and I could not be more proud of my hard-working husband. 
The ceremony was absolutely beautiful, and it was so exciting to watch him receive his doctoral hood and be named a physician. 
Can you spot him?  Second row, right in the middle

SO proud of my graduate! 
Our family who came to support him - Brett's parents, and my parents, grandma, bro, and sis
It was so fun to have Brett's parents here for a few days to join in the celebration
It was a very bittersweet moment as we celebrated four years of VERY hard work, and at the same time said our last goodbyes to the friends who've helped us through these last four years.
Kevin & Kalie Chamberlain
Jon, Mandy, & Maddie Willms; Jeff, Hilary, & Sophie Gardiner; Kevin & Jill Gardner; Kalie & Kevin Chamberlain
Jon, Mandy, & Maddie Willms
Hilary Gardiner, Jill Gardner, & Kalie Chamberlain
Congrats Brett!  I am so proud of you and love you so much!

Up next: Brett starts his 3 year Family Medicine residency at St. Joe's in Phoenix on June 28th.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Brett's Walkabouts

walk·a·bout (wôk-bout) 1: a temporary return to traditional Aboriginal life, taken especially between periods of work or residence in modern society and usually involving a period of travel through the bush.

Apparently in his 3 week break from rotations before graduation, Brett decided he needed to become a real man. Or become one with nature. Or put some variety in his life. Or whatever it is the Aboriginals do when they drop everything and head out into the wilderness on a walkabout for extended periods of time. Brett's own version of this involved two back-to-back outdoor adventures to pass the time and get in some excitement before graduation and residency. His last hurrah, if you will.

His first adventure was a 5 day backpacking and hiking trip to Havasupai, a small Native American village and tropical oasis in a remote part of the Grand Canyon. We've been here twice before and had a blast hiking, camping, and cliff jumping; but with my current status (bun in the oven) there was no possibility of me going, so Brett convinced his brother BJ to go with him. Once in the campground, they met up with a large group of friends coming from UT, which included our friends Chris and Nicole. Brett was able to survey the damages/changes to the campground and waterfalls since the major flash flood in 2008. Although Navajo Falls is now completely dried up, they did have fun discovering a few new waterfalls (Rock Falls, New Navajo Falls, and Hidden Falls) and many new cliff diving spots! The only casualties were Brett's big toes, which are now a bright shade of black from Brett making the uphill 10-mile hike out without ever tightening his shoe laces! Dumb boy. :)
Clean, well rested, and smiling before the hike in
Mooney Falls
Havasu Falls
The Whole Gang
New Navajo Falls

Brett takes our camera for a dive off Hidden Falls!

After a quick 1 day turn-around to do laundry and re-stock on supplies (i.e. food), Brett headed out for his second adventure with our friend Kevin; a 5 day rock climbing and backpacking trip thru Zions National Park. The first two days were meant to be solely for rock climbing, but Brett's toes were still sore from his hike out 2 days prior, so he sat out on the second day of climbing and visited his friend John who lives in St. George. Monday morning Kevin and Brett set out for their planned 3 day "Bear Grylls" adventure. Intending to live off the land and drink from the stream, their plans were quickly thwarted when they learned from the park ranger that the route they had designed was filled with chest deep 40* water. They changed plans and headed uphill. The only problem: uphill = higher elevation = colder weather. The boys packed clothes for sunny warm weather and ended up hiking thru snow! They had a great time hiking and climbing, but cut their hike short by a day because they decided they could not survive another 20* night with shorts and thin sleeping bags. Let's just say, they didn't get much sleep shivering all night and were EXTREMELY tired when they got home!

The only pic of the boys climbing (actually...rappelling after the climb)
Visiting John, Jessica, Gabby, and Max
Headed off on their backpacking trip!

After hearing about all Brett's adventures, I'm glad he was able to have such a fun time before residency starts, but I'm even MORE glad he is back home with me and still in one piece! Thanks to BJ, Chris, Kevin, and John for FULLY entertaining my husband for a week-and-a-half! And for returning him safe and sound!