Friday, August 29, 2014

Week 2 of Fleurty Summer Challenge recap/recap in general

I haven't done a proper recap of whats been going on in my world in a while now so this is going to be a mega post to cover all the bases!

Goals recap for the End of Summer Challenge - 

1. Still hanging tough with no alcohol!
2. Water, meh, I'm not doing great with that this week.  I did much better last week with it.  I'll try to get it all in today and through the rest of the weekend.
3. Enter all food into MFP.   Kicking butt and taking names there.  Food has been really good all week (with the exception of last night.  We caved and ordered Chinese food.)
4. No weighing.  Um, yea, I need to hide the scale from myself.   I know what I weigh and it will just have to be a surprise for y'all.  :)
5. Get below 186.  See #4.
6.  Blog at least 2x per week.   Well the bedroom remodel recaps may have counted so yea, I guess that does count!
7.  Weekly meal plan.  Did it last week but didn't follow it per se.  (Had a lot of leftovers so it all worked out and I didn't have to cook as much so, still a win!

Exercise recap -

Pretty good so far and consistent, which is what I want.  I did skip tennis last night because Wednesday at clinic, I tweaked my knee a bit and it is still giving me a little grief.  I only walked for 20 minutes yesterday and I just attempted a walk just now and mustered only 8 minutes with a sharp stabby pain every few steps.  Um, slightly freaking out about it.   May skip the walking for today and either give the elliptical a try after work or go for a swim (I've been wanting to do that anyway) so that will keep some of the pressure off of my knee until it decides to act right.   As of right now, I'm not sure what I should do about tennis tomorrow.  I'll play it by ear - and it may get rained out anyway.

Tennis recap -

So after my really awesome day last week, this week has been an epic fail at tennis.  Moreso at the net.  I could not do a damn thing during Round Robin on Tuesday.  The scores were 4~6, 6~0 (yay!) and 0~6.  So only one set won.  The good news is that my serves are getting better and more consistent.  I just need to work out some kinks with the serve and get some speed to it.  My net game was absolute dismal though.   We also had drill and play Wednesday (where the knee tweak occurred).  Practice part was really good and fun and then we played a couple of sets.  I must have a mental block going on but every time I play an actual match, it's like I forget everything.

Other stuff -

The scale doesn't always tell the truth.  I bought this shirt last year (almost to the day) to wear for our "LSU" day at work.  I ultimately decided not to wear it last year, so I thought I'd give it a whirl today.   It definitely fits better than last year and I'm really only a few pounds off from when I took this pic.
August 30, 2013 - 193.2 lbs
August 29, 2014 - 190.2 lbs (from the last time I weighed which was 8/20)

And here's some random pics from the last week or so.

Made Butterfinger Protein shakes for mom and I

Hard to tell, but that girl is wearing slippers on the treadmill! Yes. Slippers!

I made the perfect Grocery Tetris last weekend.

Doyle says "Draw me like one of your French Girls, Jack".

And finally today, I just wanted to mention that 9 years ago Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast.  Here's an excellent link that shows pictures of the disaster to present day recovery.   And another link just about the preparation, landfall, and recovery.  The second link there may be hard to look at for some, so there's a disclaimer.  I think everyone needs to see it though.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The Great Bedroom Remodel - Part 3 The End

Day... um.. .not a freaking clue. They're all kinda running together at this point, but here is what all the fuss was about. Notice the natural stone-like texture? Unplanned. I'm sure the Germans have a word for "something that came out entirely different than what was planned but everyone seems to think it looks pretty good, and well, at least it's unique and interesting and hey, you can put tile down if your realtor advises it in a year or two". The Germans have a lot of very specific words.

Also, the more observant of you might have noticed that the walls are purple. Yeah, I'm as surprised as you are.

This is my wife. Our bed is in the kitchen. The hall is impassable from the sheer number of tools, paraphernalia and junk clogging it. The floor is done and the end is in sight.

At the point in the bedroom floor project where Rosie the Riveter herself could have been forgiven for saying, "Screw this. Let's put the furniture back in," my darling wife shook her head, rolled up her sleeves, cursed Rosie for a pathetic slacker and said, "Let's paint!"

I want to go on record as saying I don't hate this color, but I do have to document how we decided on it. I said, "Honey, I think with a dark brown floor, we should stick to earth tones. How about a nice green?" She said, "No. This."

Problem solved. The room's theme is now "Spring Comes to the Stone Quarry."

"Nah, dude. I'm sure it's cool to hang out here. Nobody would dare paint us purple in an effort to teach us not got get underfoot."

No animals were harmed (yelled it isn't harming!) or painted purple at any point in this project.

Some wives delve into the depths of their husband's closet and find... things. Porn. Letters from old girlfriends. Posters for progressive rock bands. No, my closet is far more shameful.
I'm not normally a fan of photos of me, but I hate painting (and home improvement in general, really) and since I'm pretty sure photo captions don't allow me to use the 1000 words I'd need to convey just how much, here's a picture.
My brother, David "Will Work for Food" Marshall and me moving the dresser back into the room. I have yet to push him past limit of what he'll do for a Caniac Box. I'm further sickened by the fact that he's the thin one.
"Did you hear something?"


"You sure? It sounded like a 'squeak'."


"Dude, it was pretty loud."

"No, I didn't hear a thing, it's late, I'm tired and we still have to move the bed in. Do you want that Caniac box or not?"

We spent all this time and energy painting this room and for two-thirds of any given day, the only ones who are there to look at it are colorblind.

Thank you guys for tagging along in our first real adventure into DIY projects!  Because Chris is busy at work and can't write a proper ending to this, I'm just going to go ahead and hit the ole 'publish' button but I wanted to take a few minutes and seriously tell you how amazing and awesome he is.  He single-handledly took on this mountain of a project (and with his brothers help!) and made this happen!  What started out as a simple carpet pickup and removal turned into a 2 and a half week long major project but in the end, we couldn't be more pleased with how it came out.   My only contribution was with the painting.  So big time kudos go out to Chris and David for doing all the hard stuff.   

Monday, August 25, 2014

The Great Bedroom Remodel Part 2

Part 1 can be found here

When we left off, Mr. Skinny Geek was applying many bandages after trying to remove primer off of kitty paws.  We now continue with our journey (Also note, he was typing this as we did for his facebook page so that's why some of the references were from 'tonight' etc..).

Day four dawns on a room full of dried primer. At this point in the project, this bucket ($7.99) is the scariest piece of equipment I've bought yet because....
... it will contain the first substantial concrete we have to put down. This is 2 of 4 50 lb. bags of self-leveling concrete. The purpose of this is to fix some of the obvious dips in the floor that will be more obvious when the baseboards are reinstalled as well as to mask the tack strip repairs. I'd briefly thought of doing the entire room, but at $30 a bag, 15 bags of the stuff was cost prohibitive. Any unevenness in the center of the floor was just going to have to stay.
 Hopefully the fear in my face isn't too obvious. The mud mixer ($30 rental) is easy to use but this whole project just jumped a few skill points above changing light bulbs.
 Imagine pouring 20 gallons of very runny pancake batter onto your floor. There's no going back, changing your mind, or undoing it if you make a mistake because, oh yeah, it's not pancake batter; it's freaking concrete. Furthermore, imagine explaining all of that to the contractor you're going to have to call in to save your ass when you screw it up.
We ended up doing the entire closet and just the edges of the bedroom with the self-leveling compound. Turns out there was really nothing to worry about - it was extremely easy to use. We just had to wait about 15 minutes before taking a trowel and feathering the edges down to the level of the existing concrete. There are no pictures of this process just because we had so little time to get it applied, but this is pretty much what the end of day four looked like.
This stuff. Day five was an utter waste of time thanks to this stuff.

We'd poured the self-leveler, re-primed and were ready to put down something called a micro-topping. It's another type of concrete/polymer mix designed to be applied at about 1/8" thickness for decorative concrete work. We spent all of day five searching 8 stores in Baton Rouge and couldn't find it anywhere. We eventually got in touch with a Sherwin-Williams store in Opelousas that held 4 bags for me ($49.99 per bag) that I picked up on day 6. I thought I was going to find a dapper Frenchman and a tribe of Hovitos warriors waiting outside the temple of Sherwin-Williams to steal my prize.

This stuff is apparently the equivalent of a prescription drug in the wild world of concrete. If you don't know how to use it and don't buy it by the pallet then you have no business having it and therefore no instructions are included on the bag like every other product I've purchased so far for this project. That was my first clue that I might be in trouble.

Every corner of the internet assured me that this stuff was easy to use (just mix with water, spread evenly) but the material data and instructions that I finally found at the manufacturer's website were marked 'For Professionals Only'. But then, right under that ominous warning it said nothing more than "mix with water, spread evenly".

Panic set in as we spread this first uneven, splotchy, and awful-looking coat of micro-topping on half of the floor. We used the closet as our test area and it came out slightly better due to a thicker application, but this was downright terrifying. There are only a few pictures of this because the dry time on this is shorter than the self-leveler. 10 minutes and it gets too thick to work with; 30 and its dry enough to walk on. No time for selfies.

 We pressed on and made a startling discovery. The second coat looks pretty amazing. I'm not sure if you can see the difference, but this is the area of floor just off to the left of the last picture that, I assure you, looked just as terrible at the end of the first coat. After application of the second coat (that we put down a little thicker) it came out much better. It's a little rough in places, but very few trowel marks - nothing some sandpaper shouldn't take out. There are some color differences here just because it hadn't finished drying when this shot was taken.
We don't even know when he got in there, but one of the cats left his seal of approval on the micro-topping in the closet. You can see some of the drip marks we made but those smoothed right up with the scraper.
 End of day 6 - unfortunately, the room + closet = 350 square feet and one bag of topping only does around 250, so one bag doesn't yield one coat and I have to cook dinner and get a good night's sleep for work tomorrow. At this point, half of the room looks pretty nice; the other half still needs a second coat of topping and it the whole thing will need sanding.

This is my artistic representation of the concussion that I feel like I have narrowly avoided today.
Fun fact #1: my home does not provide enough power to correctly run a floor buffer with a 100 grit sanding screen.
Fun fact #2: the idea of tipping the buffer up a smidge, starting it then lowering it to the floor is a bad one. It angers the buffer and causes it to run amok in a crazed, whirling dervish fashion in tribute to the buffer god.
Fun fact #3: with sufficient motivation (i.e. knowledge that you don't know anything about sheet rock repair) you can stop a runaway floor buffer with your body.
Fun fact #4: orbital sanders ($69.99) and knee pads ($14.99) are on sale at Home Depot.

All that's missing are the little stars that go around your skull just like Bugs Bunny
This is my 5" random orbit sander. There are many like it, but this one is mine.

My 5" random orbit sander is my friend. It is my life. I must master it as I must master my life.

My 5" random orbit sander, without me, is useless. Without my 5" random orbit sander I am useless.

We're finally getting the random trowel marks and the larger imperfections out of the micro-topping. It's not fast and not perfect (my new floor will still have 'character') but it's starting to look pretty damn good if I do say so myself.

After the first round of test stains last night, the color didn't really seem so much absorbed into the concrete as it seemed to be lying listlessly on top asking to be drawn like one of those French girls. I found a book on concrete staining written by none other than Jerry Garcia (citation needed) who advised, "More acid." So that's what I did.

I decided to work with different dilutions of muriatic acid and water, all applied in addition to last night's 5:1 mix. From right to left are applications of night's single application of 5:1, double application of 5:1, 3:1, 2:1, and 1:1.

From top to bottom of the frame, dilutions of water-based stain from undiluted to 1:1, 2:1 and finally 3:1 at the bottom.

This is only one of two coats of stain to be applied, no gloss has been applied, and I have lousy lighting in my closet so it's a terrible picture, but you guys who have put up with reading this (both of you) deserve closure, dammit! In person the difference in these is pretty obvious. It looks like 1:1 acid dilution with undiluted or 1:1 stain (far top left and one down) will be the winner. We'll know for certain after I do the second coat late tonight and we check the dried product in the morning.

 For those of you still following this... the first stain is down. There's still a second stain to go, then sealer, then gloss and wax so It's WAY too early to judge how I feel about it but my optimism is waning fast.

I feel like the stain just brought out every single imperfection in the microtopping that wasn't visible while it was white: every trowel mark, every change in elevation, every different type of concrete, every pothole on a parking lot in China on the exact opposite side of the earth, every errant breeze caused by the breath of a newborn baby in Australia. It resembles the lunar landscape rent asunder by a portal to Hell that opened up in the wrong place. It looks like someone set it on fire and tried to put it out with a pitchfork.

The upside is that however ugly it may turn out, the concrete patched, level (enough) and will need very little additional work should we end up having to just put down a laminate tile. We'll know for sure tomorrow morning after sealing and waxing.

Looking much less tragic after the second coat of stain. Looking a little less like the aftermath of an apocalyptic caramel factory accident. A definite improvement.

Part 3 will hopefully be up and ready either tonight or tomorrow.  He needs to finish the rest!  

The Great Bedroom Remodel Part 1 - as told by Mr. Skinny Geek

Desiree' here - Hubby is taking over the blog today to give the tale of how the Bedroom Remodel went!  Enjoy.  (I"ll likely be breaking it down into a few parts.)   But if you don't want to read the whole sordid detail - here's a before and after:

Mr. Skinny Geek -
I took a week off of work with the full intention of relaxing, playing some PlayStation and just generally chilling. As usual with my vacations, it didn't work out that way. This is my adventure into the frustrating world of decorative concrete.

So our cats decided to start a turf war on our turf, ruining our bedroom carpet in the process. My brother and I (hereafter referred to as 'we') pulled up the carpet to expose the concrete foundation, and after a little internet research, decided that a decorative concrete stain was the most economical method of fixing this mess.

What!? Chris is attempting home improvement stuff? He can't even change a light bulb! I gotta see this...! Oh, and sorry about the carpet.
I went to the Internets and noticed that concrete staining looked nice, pretty easy, and super cheap by comparison to tile.

No sooner had I closed my browser and ripped up the carpet when we noticed these funny diagonal stripes on the concrete underneath the carpet, bringing a swift end to day one as we tried to figure out what to do about it.

At least I got to buy some new tools. Shop vac: $49.99. Belt sander: $59.99.

Day two: closeups of the mystery stripes (cat provided for scale). We wracked our brains trying to figure out where they came from but they sure as hell weren't coming up.

After a few attempts at scraping, sanding and vacuuming. See the difference? No, neither did we.

None of my research hinted at the possibility that the people (i.e. idiots) who build our house might have used our bedroom floors as a staging area to prime and paint every door in the house without cleaning up after themselves.
We discovered some oddness in the closet as well - something that looked like concrete repair or possibly primer of some kind.
And on top of everything (well, underneath everything, actually) we had this little crack that ran pretty much the length of the room. Patching this up with some concrete/polymer mix was our first order of business.

We probably should have attacked the stains first, but never having done a project of this scale before, I wanted to try to try my hand at the intimidating part to see if I was going to have to give in and just call someone to fix all of this. When your home maintenance skill set consists of little more than changing light bulbs, it's best to find your limits early.

The crack, patched. I wasn't sure if I needed to angle grind it wider before patching it, but the patch compound went in nicely and feathered easily with a trowel.
I don't have a 'before' picture, but this was the next foray into concrete work. These are the holes left by the tack strips that held down the carpet. We had to get a little tub of concrete patch to put down over each hole. All. The. Way. Around. The. Room.
The patch concrete dried to a color almost the same color as the original concrete. I'll explain shortly why it ended up not mattering at all. This was the end of day 2.
Day 3: the concrete repairs were successful but the floor still had to be cleaned. Enter this beast rented from Home Depot - it's a basic rotary floor maintenance tool ($65 rental) but with a Diamabrush ($35 rental) instead of a buffer pad. Google it. It's actually made of diamonds! Just for all you Borderlands 2 players, I called it Butt Stallion for the remainder of the time we had it.
The floor with the worst of the paint picked up. Those two little piles on the left and right of the picture are made of of the latex and primer that the diamabrush scoured off.
Fortunately, the scouring didn't mess up the tack strip repairs (seen along the edges of the floor).
In all of the research I did, the only thing that any of the resources I found could agree on was that surface preparation was key. So down went a thick coat of primer.

And down onto the thick coat of primer went a cat. As you can see, it was still wet but there are no pictures of me dipping the cat's paws in a sink full of water. Day three ended in blood. You should be able to pick out the Band-Aids on me in some of the upcoming pictures.

That's all for Days 1 - 3 for now.  I'll try to put more up later today (and waiting on Mr. Skinny Geek to finish commentary on a couple of pics too).  I'm off work today so I'm heading to the gym!  Laters!