Mini-remodel Main Bath

For some days/weeks/months we have made do with 2 functioning bathrooms.
This was due to equal parts available time, fear (of fixing it wrong), desire, with a dash of no-budget thrown in to boot. If it weren’t for the last bit I would have hired it done months ago.

Finally the stars aligned last weekend and I overcame the fear factor with the help of BopOp – there is no real substitute for experience.

Needed:
* new subfloor under the toilet
* tear out existing vinyl
* new underlayment floor to match existing floor height
* smooth underlayment floor (no high spots)
* new solid toilet flange
* new finish floor (went with inexpensive click-in vinyl ‘planks’)
* new toilet
* install toilet
* install trim

As of today I only have a small leak issue with the toilet-tank that should be resolved with a little sleuthing.

Per usual – 1000 words per pic.

The first three layers needed to be a total of 3/4″ + 3/4″ + 7/8″ (or was it 5/8″?) for a grand total of either 2.125″ or 2.625″ – I think it was the latter. Using the big, exterior grade, HD Oriented Strand Board (OSB) for the two 3/4″ layers we only needed to find a board with the goofy 7/8″ dimension.
Luckily – I’ve been doing pallet-board projects and I happened to have one pallet with good boards of exactly that dimension. They went down first.

Then we established how to successfully manage the lead elbow and the brass flange via TheInternets – credit to Erik Asquith and his video on how he replaced his similar setup

We finished day one about here – with some hard wood putty in the low spots. Decided not to go with self-leveler for the floor because it already looked pretty good to begin with.

And while parts of the putty were drying (and the paint behind the old water closet) we handcrafted a small cherry strip for the threshold rounding the edges with a simple belt-sander. Later you will see I stained the strip with a dark walnut and added two coats of shellac, buffed out with 0000 steelwool, for an almost TOO nice look. Shout-out to Brad Simmons for giving me some cool castoffs of Brazillian cherry from his first house build many many years ago. I knew I kept them for a reason.

On day two BopOp reminded me how to make a well-crafted fit, along an uneven edge, using a compass and after some more work on the underlayment we got started, slowly at first around the hard bits, and then much more quickly to finish…

…exactly where we planned; a full plank’s width against the south wall.

The red color of the cherry may clash, for a color-purist, against the straight browns of the floor in this closeup but in real life I think it lends a subtle and interesting accent crossing over from the varied colors of the slate into the new uniform browns of the bath floor.

Since I haven’t caulked along the tub yet, nor fixed the leak (I somehow managed) on the toilet tank; there is no final shot. The trim looks real nice though and if I didn’t do this post now – it might not happen.

TEASER: My next big picture post *should be* what I have done in the past 6 months to my bike garage. Been saving…er…procrastinating that one.

End of 2017

2017 has been something of a whirlwind. I suppose my lack of postings reflects that general truth.
This past 10 days we, as a family, have had some good relaxing together time playing games and enjoying our winter holidays without much commitment.

I welcome 2018; look forward to making ourselves better, keepin’-on with the typicals, and discovering some atypicals and unawares.

We made some gingerbread houses.
Gingerbread Family

Gingerbread Houses

Enjoyed our cozy christmas room.
Cozy, comfy, Christmas

The girls powered through a christmas tradition – making cookies.
Christmas Traditionals

And it started to snow…on Christmas Eve! We expected a dusting and awoke to about 5 inches (or half a small dog)!!
Christmas Morning 5" of snow

After we unwrapped presents (before first light) a nice mid-morning nap then we took to the snow. It was perhaps the most perfect packing snow…and I found two square buckets for making bricks.
Behold – 30 years later – another monolith!
Resurrecting the Monolith

The next day – we borrowed a 13foot ladder…
Bring out the gimp.

“forced” some serf’s up to the top…
Old Age and Treachery

and capped our beast off for an official record – it lasted about 15 minutes at this height.
Taller than the house

As I write this, 5 days of rain later, we still have a wee pile in the front yard.

It was a good end to the year.

Eclipse 2017

Much has happened – I’ll proceed in reverse chronological order.

Last weekend My Mermaids, me, my Brother, and my Dad all traveled to eastern Oregon, just south of Long Creek in the Malheur National Forest, to bear witness to a fantastic total solar eclipse.

I didn’t set aside much time to plan for *how* I would experience this, my third, total solar eclipse but I knew I had to do it. I continue to be happy that I was able to see it with so much family present.
The rest of the camping trip was extremely enjoyable too.

The younger mermaids got to take nature walks with my brother the botanist, saw some interesting wildlife, and had plenty of food and amenities typically not available to the unprepared – thanks to the elder mermaid.

We all had a good chat right up until the start of the eclipse.

The Mermaids enjoyed some early views of the partial shadow in their pinhole cameras / shadow boxes.
Mermaid in a box

An early attempt at taking quality pics with a peek-a-boo view through my solar glasses. Like I said, I didn’t prepare much but I made up for that to some extent with “photo hacking” and an amazing setting on my camera called Handheld Night Mode. This mode takes several images in rapid succession and, on camera, stacks them together for a crisp, decently exposed shot. It’s not perfect but it tends to work.
Partial eclipse

We were all dumbfounded by the sudden appearance and then rapidly retreating bands in the thin clouds that appeared. Thermal cause? I might submit this image to some experts for some advice.
Strange banding in the clouds at about 50%

Another through-the-glasses shot.
A decent shot at about 70% eclipse

And another – near totality – good crispness on the sun but a massive flare of the glasses. Looks good anyway.
an artifact of my technique (camera through solar glasses)

These artifacts – not through the glasses – were moments before totality and again using the handheld night scene. I like this shot because the green arc shows a reverse image (bounced around in the lense?) of the amount of sun visible in that super bright flare you see bottom right. Other bounced images in the lense is the green blur further up and the red hazy areas around the image.
Also notice the few red pixels top right – that edge of the sun coincides with flares I’ve seen in other images made with higher-quality equipment. Handheld! for the win.
More artifacts seconds before totality

And then totality – my second of two tries – very happy with the results.
Total Solar Eclipse 2017 - LZ

So far, the images I’ve got here have not eclipsed the sense of grandeur I can still recall in my minds-eye when viewing this eclipse with my own eyes. The memory is strong.

We drove down in the wee hours of Saturday morning in ~8 hours and home again on Monday in ~12 hours. Our theme song for the ride home was “Life is a Highway” singing and ‘dancing’ in our cars with a select few of our highway neighbors at an average of 4mph.