It’s summertime and the living is messy

School’s out, camp hasn’t started and the plumbing job I thought was going to last for two days took five. To be fair, I must have missed a part of the conversation. After all, we’re talking complete pipe replacement. Every bit of the old galvanized pipes are gone, replaced with copper or PVC. So it’s hectic and messy here at Casa de Reno.

And my boys haven’t been a great help. Between outdoor water fights and quick changes into swimsuits so they can head to the pool, I seem to be finding random pairs of underwear all over the house.

I mean, my bathroom is fair game considering that they are using our shower until theirs is in service, but why did I find a pair in my husband’s office?  On the porch? The living room?

These kids act like they’re being raised in a barn. *sigh*

S’mores, FTW!

ingredients for smores, marshmallows, graham crackers and chocolateSo neither the s’more room nor the snore room plans were executed as we initially hoped, but we’re still living the dream. At the moment the dream feels a bit nightmarish given that we’re down two bathrooms, my living room looks like a warehouse for a plumbing supply outlet, there is dust everywhere and our wood floors are a mess. This is why we’re going low-key with our weekend entertaining.

By low-key, I mean not more than a few hours of advance planning and crossing my fingers that we keep the party, S’more Fest, outside. And also crossing my legs that no one has to use the bathroom during our short fete.

We bought a $5 metal fire pit at a garage sale last summer. I scraped off the rust, sprayed on new paint, and we were good to go.

The old girl, er grill, is still doing the job and we’re using remains of the bushes we chopped down last year for the fire, so if you discount the boatload of carbon emissions we’ll be releasing, it’ll be kind of a green party.

Anyhoo, given that last night’s practice mini-s’mores fest involving just five neighborhood boys resulted in the use of nearly an entire bag of marshmallows, I’m not sure how many bags I need to pick up for tonight.

(Especially because I’m not exactly sure who’s coming–see paragraph 2.)

(If you happen to read this before 8:00 on Saturday and you’re local, stop over!)

On a related note, I’m thinking of re-upping at Weight Watchers after a few months away. Apparently my dietary self-control is limited unless I’m paying someone to hold me accountable. *sigh*

This is not a sponsored post or party (see note about running to the store), but FYI, Hershey’s is giving away cool prizes like fire pits that are much nicer than the one we’ll be using tonight. Check out the Hershey’s Facebook page for deets and promise to invite me over if you win. In exchange I’ll teach you my special golden double-roasted marshmallow technique.

This Post is Brought to You by Depends

We finally have a plumber in here to work on the house’s two original bathrooms, and when I say work on the bathrooms, I mean replace the cast iron plumbing stack that runs from down in the basement up through our second-story roof, plus pretty much every other original pipe. Because we’re doing the demo ourselves, DH ripped out the toilets last weekend meaning I need to run up a flight of 14 stairs if I need to pee.

And I do mean run, because I turn into a Zombie when I’m at the computer and when it hits me that I’ve been making a mental note to take a pee break  for, oh, two or three hours, time is of the essence.

Happily, the plumbers are here now. I was worried the water would be shut off while they are working on the bathrooms, leaving me no choice but to depend on Depends. (Or pee into a cup and then dump the contents into the skunk den under our front stoop, but I think it only scares them if the urine has a high testosterone content. Also, the skunks occupy the den during the day so this idea is really a worthless idea all around).

Fortunately, the plumbers are able to keep the water running in other areas of the house.

I am so glad we’ve finally started moving ahead on the bathroom renos. We have many of our new fixtures sitting in the living room and the others are on order. After the plumbing rough-in inspection later this week, the electrician will take center stage. DH, AKA the general contractor, “indulged” me by going tile hunting the other day, but I don’t think I was being premature. I really hope to have everything up and running by July.

Follow Reluctant Renovator on Facebook for the latest updates on skunks, chipmunks and all of the other wildlife trying to #OccupyMyYard.

Introducing: The Rusty Nail

Rusty Nail Award from Reluctant RenovatorI shared the Reluctant Renovator’s first Golden Hammer a few weeks ago. It’s an award recognizing exceptional service, design or innovation. But every yin must have its yang and here it is: The Rusty Nail.

As one might expect, this award is something of a scarlet letter. It’s given for lack of customer service, shoddy products or poor workmanship. Bonus: it comes with free tetanus and lockjaw!

I’m careful about criticizing businesses, especially small ones, online, so I don’t award these lightly, but I’m going to pass them out as I see fit.

The first one goes to Lowes Home Improvement because they caved to a hate group last fall and pulled their advertising for TLC’s All-American Muslim show.

I haven’t shopped there since.

Hubs went on one final Lowes spree, however, because we had a store credit and when I suggested we pass it along to the local Muslim Community Center and let them spend it, he gave me a look and suggested I get a real job.

 

 

I’m Not Wearing Pants at the Moment

True, I’m not wearing pants. It’s my way of letting the world know that our window blinds were installed yesterday! Finally, I can lounge around the house in my skivvies without putting on a peep show for my neighbors. The sidewalk in front of our house sees a fair amount of traffic- parents with strollers, dog walkers, bikers, and joggers–including the boys’ cross country team from a nearby high school.

We installed vertical blinds in the upstairs bedrooms and a different types of cellular shades on the main floor. We chose the top-down/bottom-up style to allow the greatest amount of natural light into the rooms while still providing enough privacy to prance around naked inside the house.

Pics and video soon!

To clarify, we do not actually prance around or even sit at our desks naked and if we did, I would not put it on YouTube. I will post pics or videos of our blinds, though.

You’re welcome.

Since some of you are bound to ask, we bought the blinds from a Big Box store and paid them to do the measuring and the install. In all, we covered 16 windows, so the flat fee the store charged for measuring and installing turned out to be a pretty good deal. And now we don’t have to devote any of our weekend time to covering the windows, which is good because we’re on something like week 7 of bathroom demo. *DIY sigh*

Summer Family Outdoor Safety and Fun

Hi, I’m  Kim Moldofsky, the Reluctant Renovator. I took a break from gutting our bathrooms and headed over to Chicago Superstation WGN this morning to share a handful of products that will help you have a fun, safe summer. (Looking for the summer family travel items?)

On Reluctant Renovator I write about our house, which you can also read about in my Angie’s List column. In addition to writing, I make videos about our renovations and my family. Stay in touch by “liking” Reluctant Renovator on Facebook. And don’t miss out on these great giveaways that I’m hosting in honor of Reluctant Renovator’s first blogaversary!

I typically provide original content, but because I talked about so many products over the course of my two segments this morning, I’m leaning heavily on press releases:

1)  Thermacell Outdoor Lantern Thermacell Mosquito Lantern

The ThermaCELL Outdoor Insect-Repellent Lantern is the best option for keeping mosquitoes and other insects in any outdoor setting. The Patio Lantern is both a powerful insect repellent device and a functional and portable, long-lasting outdoor LED lantern, with both functions being usable separately or together. Providing a 15×15 ft mosquito-free zone, it is 98% effective (tested and used by the Department of Defense and the United States Army), making it the most effective insect repellent device on the market. It is also non-toxic, safe and non-intrusive, being DEET-free, silent, portable and odor free. Weighs only 13 ounces. $31.99

 

 

2)  Aquajogger Junior Aqua Jogger Junior

The AquaJogger Junior is an in-water device that helps kids to learn to swim, play water games and have fitness fun. The Aquajogger Junior is worn like a belt and comfortably suspends the child wearing it at shoulder level in deep water allowing her/him to breathe normally and move freely while performing a wide variety of water activities. Contoured to fit a child’s body, and both fully adjustable and secure, the Aquajogger Junior is easy to use and comfortable. Also available for older children are in-wate