Tuesday, March 17, 2015

it takes a village... and 5 months

We remodeled our bathroom.

And as the title suggests, it took nearly everyone we know helping and about 5 months of time. For what could win the award for "World's Smallest Bathroom," I would say it's pretty impressive that we took so long.

In case you're one of those show-me-the-pictures-and-forget-the-story kinds of people, feel free to scroll...

Please excuse my goofiness in that last photo; just felt like being ridiculous.

So last fall I decided to pull up the linoleum in our small bathroom and replace it with a vinyl tile. They had this pretty peel & stick tile at Lowes and I thought it would be a piece of cake to lay. KJB helped me pull the toilet and vanity base out of the room and I riped up the old floor. Immediately I knew there was a problem because the concrete subfloor was holding water and the underneath side of the old flooring was soaking. Pretending it was NBD, I set up a fan to let it dry for a day or so.

I was convinced our toilet was leaking so we went out and bought new hardware to make sure our toilet was secure. The floor dried out and I went on with laying the new tile. P.S. the most difficult thing ever. I thought my room was a straight, 90 degree corner rectangle, because why wouldn't it be?

Don't kid yourself, your walls are never straight. I had to cut so many slivers of tile to fit into all those slanted corners my hand nearly fell off. Please don't make me relive it. Despite the difficulty level, I still decided to replace the flooring in our larger bathroom as well, because I really liked the pattern on the vinyl tile. Unfortunately, when I pulled up the flooring in the other bathroom which is on the other side of the wall, we discovered more water. At this point I realized that our shower in the tiny bathroom had to be leaking inside the wall, allowing water to stand on the subfloor and soak into the walls. I also realized this would be a huge job.

Our existing shower had ceramic tile walls and a solid concrete shower base. The demo was quite an adventure to say the least but after a week we had the tile demo'd and the walls (which were covered in mold - ew) down to the studs.

We decided to go back with an acrylic surround for a few reasons. First, neither of us had ever laid tile before and doing an entire shower seemed a bit overwhelming. Secondly, the size of the shower makes it difficult to clean, so I wanted something really simple to wipe down the walls. Third, we needed to keep cost down since it was an unexpected project. After calling in a plumber to upgrade the 1950's pipes and valves to more standard hardware, we selected a white surround and had the plumber install it.

Then, all we had to do was finish the walls and floor. We hung drywall and installed a gray ceramic tile. I never knew how bad I was a sanding drywall mud until this project and I've learned it's not my forte. But if you're going to do a boring job, might as well wear a pink bow in your hair.

Because of our schedule, it took us about 4 months to get the sanding, trim work, and painting completed. The first part of the project only took about 2 weeks, but we ran into Christmas, New Years, and then our 8-week basketball league, which really takes all our time.

The first weekend after the league ended, my butt was in that tiny room painting and singing Red Hot Chili Peppers at the top of my lungs. Finally, I got it finished and decorated. I did go for a mix of gold and chrome because I think it's really easy to pull that off in a bathroom. Mixing metals is my favorite.

We had never done a project like this before and I'm so grateful for our family teaching us how to do things. DIY's are always made to look so easy, but if you've never done it before, you can find yourself really overwhelmed.

Paint color: Valspar Ultra, Icy Mint  +  White base (I asked for a paint base without any color because I wanted a true white!)
Floor tile:Amazon
Shade: Lowes
Vanity: Lowes
Vanity Light: Lowes
Love One Another art: Hobby Lobby
Sea Urchin decor: Hobby Lobby

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

TBH: College lessons

You know how they say the older you get the wiser you are? Well I'm not sure about wiser, but I do know that you learn more lessons. And the more I learn, the more I understand about myself. Digging deeper into the decisions I made when I was younger reveals to me the type of person I was, and the type of person I am now.

My freshman year of college I rushed Phi Mu and I discovered myself in the most roundabout of ways. They were all things that I'm realizing now, seven years graduated, that I didn't know whilst in the thick of it. The listing of things could go on forever, but I'll just name a few...

-I was naive and comfortable being naive.
-I'm an introvert.
-That college was the beginning of having difficulty making friends.
-I can't "do" hard situations and when put in them I run away (I've been able to overcome this, thankfully).
-I wasn't like many of the other college girls that I met.

Unfortunately, all of these things were pretty negative discoveries and I was extremely uncomfortable with them. I didn't like having to make new friends, I didn't like drama, and I felt bad about myself after the majority of the social outings. Constant thoughts like, 'I should have said...' or 'Why didn't I just...' were reoccurring internal conversations. Those kinds of conversations make you feel bad about yourself.

Looking back, there were some girls that I was just supposed to meet. Girls that were comfortable in their skin and in their opinions that, without knowing it, encouraged me to be myself. Girls with morals, that I envied because they followed through with their beliefs. I saw what it's like to be a leader, even though I didn't appreciate it at the time. Girls that I haven't been able to tell how they impacted me, but they did.

There is a portion of the Phi Mu creed that has always stuck out to me. "To serve in the light of truth, avoiding egotism, narrowness, and scorn. To give freely of our sympathies. To reverence God as our Maker, striving to serve Him in all things." To be honest, I didn't do these things during college. I may have physically served, but it wasn't coming from the right place. I did it because I was supposed to.  I judged myself and I judged others. I pushed people away from helping me and I ran from situations that caused me to be vulnerable. And that's something I still need to work on. That passage was a wake up call for me a few years back, because I actually listened to the words as I said them out loud. When you have something memorized, sometimes you don't pay attention to what you're saying. Making that statement is a bold declaration, and it's one that I wanted to take more seriously.

Living in regret isn't something I like to do. If I start feeling like I'm struggling with the past, I analyze it, determine why it's bothering me, and come to peace with it. Some of the decisions I've made weren't the greatest (remember I mentioned running away?), and I would probably change them if I could. But it's okay. Having learned those things I listed up there, I'm able to broaden my comfort zone. Recognizing that I'm uneasy with things, helps me to digest situations easier, thus being able to get a grasp on them and be comfortable with them.

For me, that's what my life has about. Experiencing things that I'm uncomfortable with and growing from them. Encouraging myself and serving through that mess. It's a hard, messy way to do life, but I think it's the only way for me to do life. And that's okay.