The Simple Bathroom Repair that Would Not Die

Or, Re-Caulking the Bottom of My Shower Door: Part 4.

I wish I was kidding. It seemed like such an easy fix. When we moved in the caulk was moldy and gross, as shower door caulk tends to get, and we figured we’d replace it eventually. A couple of days later I noticed water dripping from the corner of the door down onto the floor. Judging by the look of the caulk I’m guessing at some point someone had already re-caulked it, and apparently “actual waterproof seal” wasn’t very high on their list of requirements for the finished job. So we knew eventually we would replace it.

Finally, over a year later as the Thanksgiving holiday approached we decided this was the perfect time. A long weekend to give the door time to air out and give the new caulk time to dry so Nate wouldn’t have to use the shower right next to where Harper sleeps in the morning and risk waking her up really early. So on Thursday morning I stripped the caulk (Happy Thanksgiving! We didn’t celebrate til Friday, but that was for a whole different Harper illness thing), and did my best to dry the area. Saturday morning I re-caulked and the container said wait 36 hours before use so Monday morning Nate took a shower in the newly re-caulked bathroom.

I’m sure you can see where this is going.

The caulk I used turned from white to clear when it was dry. The one clear caulk was now mostly white again. I was frustrated, but whatever. Next time we’ll give it a few more days to dry and so I stripped it again, let it dry out for a couple of days and then caulked again.  This time we waited 5 days for it to dry. Well after all of the clear had turned white Nate finally (and happily) showered in the bathroom and when I went in later that morning once again the caulk was white. This time I was pretty pissed.

I stripped the caulk again and emailed a handy man who had done this work for us before and asked if he was available to come do it (he was not) or if he would offer pointers (he would). He said to make sure to use silicone caulk which to tell you the truth I had already heard and thought I was using but when I checked the caulk it said nothing about being silicone. It said “bathroom” and “tub” and “shower” and “fast dry” and stuff like that, but nothing about the type of caulk.

So I scoured the garage and found some silicone caulk and rejoiced and waited another 2 days to make sure the shower was dry and I caulked again. And the next day the caulk was still wet, and turning yellow even though it said shower ready within 8 hours this was most definitely not shower ready. I went to look at the caulk to see if there was a date on it and guess what. THERE WAS!

It was Dec 2012.

I laughed.

And then I stripped the caulk again and bleached and scrubbed the area and dried it with a blow dryer and went off to buy more silicone caulk and HOLY CRAP if this doesn’t with this time I swear I’m going to burn down my bathroom and start over because I have had it.

So everyone please hold my shower (and my sanity) in your thoughts as I wait another 2 or so days for it to dry out before I attempt to caulk it for the third time.

At this point I feel like I’m practically a pro.

Third Try’s a Charm!

In Feb 2008 Nate and I moved into a fabulous house in Apex, NC. It was big, it was pretty, it seemed like the last house we would ever need to live in and since it was next to an undeveloped commercial lot we felt like we got a pretty good deal on it.

In 2010 after Jack was born we started thinking maybe not. It was still a great house but the yard was crazy small and it would be nice to have a bigger yard and maybe be in a neighborhood with a pool and other fun kid things, so we put the house on the market for the first time.  Jack was a very little baby, we had very few lookers and gave up after a few months.

In 2012 Harper was born and we repeated the process with similar results. Apparently the empty lot next door which really never bothered us much was a deal breaker for a lot of people. So once again we took the house back off the market figuring if we were going to be stuck in a house it was a pretty great house to be stuck in.

Fast forward to 2014 and we were pregnant with baby 3 and everywhere you looked there were news stories about the real estate market and how there were more buyers than houses and what a great time it was to sell your house and so we talked to our very patient realtor and went back on the market. Holy cow those news articles were right! We maybe averaged one showing a week the first two times we tried to sell the house and this time it was at least 3-5? I think it took us 1.5 months or so, about 50 showings total to sell the house, but we actually managed to sell it! And then came the hard part.. finding a house to buy!

That doesn’t seem like it would be the hard part, right? Seems like it should be the fun part but man it was hard. I wish I had kept a count of how many we looked at.. maybe 20? Some good, some bad, some astoundingly awful. In the end we put offers on 3 houses total before one stuck. The first house the people weren’t willing to negotiate much and we felt they were over priced so we sadly walked away. (They wound up selling like two months later for less than what we offered so we weren’t the only ones thinking they were over priced!) The second house was a new build and we submitted a competing offer and lost, and the third house was one we walked through the first time and said ‘too much work!’ and almost didn’t go back to. Fortunately we were getting pretty desperate so we gave it a second chance and chose to see the potential over the amount of work, all of which was/is cosmetic.

And then we moved! I was 6 months pregnant by then so I wasn’t the most helpful mover in the world, but we managed and I have to say it’s pretty fabulous at the new house! Great house, huge yard awesome family friendly neighborhood. We really lucked out. 

Plus the house has enough future home improvement potential that we should be able to find fun projects to keep us busy, in case we ever get bored or find ourselves with free time with 3 kids. We’ll see. 🙂 We’ve already tackled several projects and I’m making a list of a ton more for.. some day!

Back Yard Upgrade (Part 127)

Or at least that’s what it feels like. When we moved in we had grass, and some plants and a tree.

Before - Back Yard Bed

Then we put in a patio on one side, and created a big pine straw area for the dogs to use the bathroom in (to keep the poop out of our yard, and also to spare the grass).

New Patio Finished

And expanded the flower bed on the other side.

Bird Area

Then we had someone put in rocks and sod (which I somehow don’t have an original picture of). (Also, that’s dormant zoysia on the ground there, with fescue coming up.)

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Then when we failed to sell the house for the second time we decided to put in a play set for the kids. Obviously we have a teeny back yard but we lucked out and found a really cool one to fit. So now we have a play set! And mulch, so very very much mulch. And now we’re questioning the need for the patio and the giant dog area, so there may be another update in the future.

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Tada! There are two slides (but no one likes the teeny slide so that’s kind of a bummer) and a climbing wall. Then a wooden phone and a steering column where Jack likes to “drive the car to the butterfly house.” It’s really been pretty fantastic so far.

Who, me?

Layne was playing in the living room on Saturday. She went running over to the dog beds, planted her feet on the green bed and swung her rear end around behind her. And into the wall. Where it left that hole.

Lucky for her all you can do in that situation is laugh because really… the dog put a hole in the wall with her butt?!

Also lucky for her I’ve had a lot of practice patching holes lately.

So I spackled over it and I’m sure it’ll turn out fine, but I also realized I’m out of sandpaper so it will just have to wait to be completely fixed.

Avoidance

I think I’ve made it pretty clear that recently I’ve been avoiding painting. Like the plague.

Last weekend it finally caught up with me.

Nate found a coupon for some organization company in one of the weekly ad papers and since our master closet was definitely lacking in the space efficiency department we decided to call them and get a quote on three closets. I tried desperately to convince Nate we could do our own closet upgrade but in the end we compromised and our master closet will be done on Wednesday by the professionals and the other closets in the house will be done at some future date by us.

Of course the company that will install our new closet does not do tear down. Not even for an extra charge. So we were responsible for removing the old closet shelving and racks, patching and painting.

takedown.jpg

And I discovered that there is something even worse than painting. Because the shelves that came in the closet when we moved in were very nice, and I think they covered holes from a previous wire shelving system that was taken down before we even saw the house. So we pulled down shelves, shelf support, all of which was caulked around and painted onto the walls. When I was spackling the mess I kept thinking how I had finally found something that sucked even more than painting!

spackled.jpg

Then 6 hours later when I was sanding I was thinking I actually found something that sucked more than spackling. Much, much more. So very more I wasn’t sure if I would ever be able to use my hands again and I really should have taken a picture of how covered in white dust I was, because it was impressive.

And then there was the touch up painting and we were shocked (shocked I tell you!) to find that the touch up paint color had the same not-quite-matching problem in the closet as it did in the living room. So we had to repaint the whole closet.

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I think it took us longer to tear down the old closet than it did to install our new closet in the last house. Except for the 10 days and 200 coats of paint I put on in the garage the week before hand, but that was nothing compared to this.

So that being said, new closet is installed Wednesday which can’t come soon enough because currently the bed in our spare bedroom is acting as our closet and it woefully lacking in the “usefulness” department.

We also plan on reusing the wood from our closet in the pet room upstairs to re-do that closet. Wire shelving sucks and pet treats and pet medications are small and tip over and fall through the cracks and we’re so over it. So it will be the first closet to be re-done and we’re totally recycling!

And also? Painting the master closet makes me want to paint every room in my house. I’m not even kidding but all I want to do is go paint the upstairs bathroom (along with every other room in my house)!

Can I Still Call it the New House?

We recently got the paperwork for our one year walkthrough punch list what’s broken whatever maintenance thing from our homebuilder. I freaking can’t believe we’ve lived here for almost a year!

When we moved in I was all excited because we were going to get to take it easy and not have the list of 500 home improvement projects that seemed to get bigger faster than it was getting smaller. Now that we’ve been here for almost a year I can’t help but feel like I haven’t done ANYTHING with this house. We have two rooms painted. Really only 1.5 rooms because one of them is a laundry room and the other one is the separate toilet area in the master bath. Does that even count?!

Unfortunately the thought of painting here is extremely intimidating because the rooms are bigger, so the walls are bigger and the ceilings are not popcorn and my ceiling edging ability is non-existent and every time I think about painting something I start having flashbacks of how I had to pry my hand off the roller and force is out of its death grip position.

I have three more rooms I want to paint. Two of them are bathrooms and one is an actual bedroom.

Every time I get even close to getting started I find something else to do to distract myself, like reading the same book for the third time because hey, it beats painting!

So I’m trying to pluck up the resolve to just DO IT already and start with painting the upstairs bathroom (because I already have the paint for it) and I think once I do that I’ll be inspired to keep going because the sense of accomplishment will be AWESOME and probably short lived and the only way to recapture it will be MORE PAINTING. Or something like that.

On the other hand I’ve been considering upgrading WordPress because that sounds like a pretty good excuse to spend a few more hours in front of my computer not painting while still gaining a (small) sense of accomplishment. Maybe.

Or maybe I’ll just suck it up already and paint.

Or I could at least start taping.

One thing at a time, right?

Ants

So far, since moving into this house we have killed a LOT of ants. Every time we get rid of one ant hill another pops up somewhere else and kind of we’re running out of ideas! First there was one up against the house by the garage door. Next it was out by the mailbox. Then there was one in the back yard, then another in the back yard, then when you picked up one of the gator bags on our baby trees there were more. We’ve gone through almost 2 cans of ant spray and 1.5 cartons of that stuff you sprinkle around and then get wet, but we can’t seem to shake them. I even killed a monster ant hill in the empty lot next door because 20 feet away is still WAY too close for comfort! Seriously, every time I think we have a foot up on them they turn up somewhere else!

We’re trying really hard to keep them out of under our deck because it’s too short for us to crawl around under there. I think we’re doing Ok with it so far, but I have seen ants on the deck (one or two at a time) and in my opinion that is like 12 ants too many.

So does anyone have any helpful tips for getting ants? We do have a quarterly contract with a bug company, but according to Nate they said they can’t really do anything about the ants unless there is an ant hill when they come out, and I, for one, do not want to just leave an ant hill in my yard while I wait for the ant people to come out. I mean what are they going to do that we’re not doing already??

And also fortunately we’ve managed to keep them out of the house. Thank god. Tili is an awesome fly catcher but I’m not sure she’s do so well against a ton of ants!

Heat Wave

So I think I may have mentioned last week how much I hated the part where it was either 100 or so close it didn’t matter. Hate. I hate the heat. I thought I hated the cold but I’ve recently decided that compared to the heat, the cold is freaking awesome and I miss winter.

You know what makes the heat suck even more?

Having your AC only working sometimes!

That’s right, it’s moderately hosed. On Friday we had an HVAC guy come out to look at the AC because the upstairs unit wasn’t working. Fan was on, condensing unit outside was not. It got up to around 90 up there and man was it not ok. Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it) the AC started working again on Thursday night and ran all night so all Nate could do was describe the problem. So anyways, like I said… HVAC guy came out to the house, checked the system over and decided that the problem was with the Lux programmable thermostat (highest rated model according to consumer reports, because I believe everything they say). The guy said that since we installed the thermostats ourselves after we moved in and the problem was the thermostat it wasn’t covered under our warranty and that would be $90. For him to do nothing. But he offered to sell and install a $135 Honeywell programmable thermostat for Nate. We passed and Nate said that if the problem was the thermostat and he was charging us for it then the least he could do was put the old one back on. So he did.

Fast forward to coming home from work, upstairs AC unit back off. Take that, HVAC guy! After a little more research we discovered the problem? It was with the load manager installed by the town we live in. they buy power from the nuclear plant near by and in order to keep prices low etc they do remote load managing. According to the plan we’re on (the 25% plan), if the power usage at our high is especially high they can turn things off for up to 7.5 minutes every half an hour. Turns out they were “load managing” our upstairs AC unit, only for hours at a time instead of the 7.5 minutes they were supposed to. So the guy came out, was SO apologetic (I think other people maybe didn’t take the problems as well as we did because he was SO sorry). He bypassed the system and said he’d replace the box on Monday.

So Monday we got home and it was 82 in the house, upstairs and down. We keep it set around 75, so 82 was not good. I went outside to look and there were 3 red lights on our load management box meaning that we were being load managed. 5 minutes later the downstairs unit came on for about 3 minutes. 15 minutes later I called the town, because obviously it was not actually fixed.

Poor guy came back out to our house, said there had been a glitch in the computer program that managed the house and he thought when they fixed the code it would fix out unit. Again, the units both came on like 2 minutes before the repair guy showed up. We kept saying the units had been off for 40 minutes straight. He kept trying to say it wasn’t necessarily the box unless we had watched it for 40 minutes and it was working now. Fortunately he was able to use a little machine thingie to get a history on the running of the box to see that it had been load managing us for the last 2 hours and 40 minutes.

So again, the box was bypassed and we’ll get a whole new box. One that had better work correctly or I may have to go shove it down the town’s throat. I mean I have to give them credit, both times we called them they sent someone over straight away, no arguing, no nothing, and shit definitely happens, we did have AC most of the time so we didn’t quite melt or anything, but it’s still kind of frustrating to have it keep turning off the freaking air conditioner when it’s 100 degrees outside!

Anyways, I’m sure that was more than anyone needed to know about the load management system going on in Apex, if you’re actually still reading. I just felt the need to get it off my chest, since I know it’s not the town’s repair guy’s fault I don’t want to take it out on him.

And also, the HVAC people are about to get a letter from me asking politely for them to refund our money like the nice technician said they should. Not only have they said that they won’t refund us (even though the technician said if it was the load manager they would),  the guy actually had the nerve to ask again if we wanted him to come out and install the top of the line Honeywell programmable thermostats for us… for cost.. $150 each! (We actually, coincidently, had dinner with a friend who works in construction that night who told us a good one should not cost more then $50).

Btw – looks like it’ll be between 88-92 over the next 7 days. We’re saved!

Just in Time for Summer

Meg got back from a class in Las Vegas and her AC was broken. Just in time for the awful weather. So I was telling Nate about it and how awful that would be. And then when he got home he called me and told me that our upstairs AC unit wasn’t working.

Awesome.

It’s actually been working, and then not working, and then working, and then not working all day.

Thank god for warranty. We have someone coming out to check it tomorrow. Fortunately we sleep downstairs, but the cats sleep upstairs so I felt a little bad. Fortunately they didn’t melt.  Meg also has someone coming out to look at her AC tomorrow. She definitely has it worse than we do though, because it’s her whole house that isn’t working any more! I expected her to be staying at my parents’ house but apparently she’s toughing it out!

I Knew It!

I got an email today from our closing agent that we used to sell the old house with. It said that the buyers’ agent called her to tell her that the buyers were surprised to move into the house and find there was no fridge. They were surprised, even though they said in the email that the agent and buyers knew that the fridge wasn’t mentioned anywhere in the contract or negotiations. They were also wondering if it was an extra fridge we would be willing to sell to them.

I feel a little bad. We sold the fridge only a week before the closing and would have happily sold it to them if we knew they were interested. But we didn’t know. And we may be nice people but we were not about to just leave the fridge with them out of the goodness of our hearts.

Ok, so I can kind of understand them thinking that since the fridge was still there after we moved the rest of our stuff out maybe we would just leave it, but at the same time did they really think that just because we had a fridge at the new house that meant we were going to leave this perfectly working fridge for them for FREE even though it was nowhere in the contract?

Oh well, nothing we can do about it now! I told her to tell them we suggest Craigslist because that’s where I listed it for sale and when I did it looked like there was a decent selection in the area!