Category Archives: House and home

Changing to a new office

Things have not slowed down much now, even though the new floor installations are complete. We have moved my office from the double size room at one end of the upstairs to the other end of the upstairs in a much smaller room. We then moved the guest bedroom furniture and some other pieces into the big room. Actually, we think it will work out quite well. I like it a lot. We put the hide-a-bed in there, so I have a sofa for reading and for Lorena to use while I am working. We will need to get some blinds for the room because of the glare problem in the office and privacy in the now very big guest bedroom.

We had out on a really short trip to Canada tomorrow, but still have some painting to do in the master bedroom before we can move back in there. I actually think we are getting toward the end of what we are going to do on the main floor and the upstairs of the house. The most important new thing will be the blinds. Then we need to move onto the outside and, maybe down to the daylight basement.

Done with hardwood installation for awhile

The floors are all in. Thankfully, we are done with hardwood floor installation for awhile and maybe even forever in this house. That does not mean the house is not still in complete upheaval. Lorena wants to paint the master bedroom before we put anything back into it. Then we have a ton of furniture moving and reassembly as well as some trips to the dump and Good Will. Seeing all the rooms in an uncluttered state inspired us to realize we still have too much “stuff.” In this last series of moves between North Carolina, Oregon, Washington, and Texas, we rid ourselves of much of it, but there is still a lot to go. If our goal is to truly downsize in the house after this one, then it will be quite a big job. There is just so much stuff we carry around that we will never, ever use again.

Sunrise between snow days

It is snowing again as we speak. We are glad Lorena was able to get out of the house to do a little shopping and running around, but it looks like it might snow for the next few hours at least. We saw the most amazing sunrise when we got up this morning and wondered whether it might have something to do with the snow and cold weather.

Master bedroom floor complete

This new floor installation has turned into a marathon process due to a gazillion things out of anyone’s control. Today it was the weather. Jamal called and was willing to come up. I told him not to come and it was a good thing I did. It snowed hard (for here) all the way up until 5 pm. There is no way it would have been a good move for him to come. Nevertheless, he put the last coat of finish on the floor yesterday before he went home and no Lorena has taken over and is painting up a storm (no pun intended). Actually, the upstairs guest room and half the library/landing are complete, too. I moved out of my office into the guest bedroom to work for the next several days say we can move things around to make way for the new floor. Hopefully, it will all be done before the end of the week.

Upstairs flooring starts

The work has finally started on the upstairs floor. The last coat of finish will go on the master bedroom floor tonight, too. We are still a couple of days away, but from what it looks like so far, we love it. It is a darker color than we thought we wanted initially, but seeing this, we have decided we were wrong. This color is way better than anything we might have chosen.

We are hoping they will be able to get everything finished. I have to move out of my upstairs office into another room while they work, which is a little bit of a disruption, but I should be able to handle it for a day or two.

Hardwood flooring half finished

Jamal put the first coat of finish on the floor on Thursday. We think it looks great, but will have to stay out of there until mid-week next week to give him time to put on the other coats and to let it dry before we move back in. Most of the upstairs floor space is prepped for the engineered wood to go down. We hope to move stuff back into the upstairs guest bedroom by Monday evening. It is interesting the product Jamal chose for us is actually nailed in place and not floating like some of the engineered floating products. It is amazing to me that the floor finish comes with a 25 year warranty. It is actual wood and can be sanded and refinished just like a regular hardwood floor. In addition to that, it has some kind of hardened and waterproof finish that allows it to be mopped and is relatively impervious to dents when stuff is dropped on it. Also we think it looks really good. We are excited to see what it looks like when it is installed and, even more so, what it does to the rooms where it is being put.

Sleeping on the hide-a-bed

The floor in the bedroom was all installed yesterday and partially sanded. The finish arrives today and we should be all done with that part by–oops, our floor guy just called in sick. So, now, the floor finishing will start early tomorrow morning and we should have a room or two of upstairs flooring finished tomorrow night.

We currently have all the stuff from the master bedroom stacked around and clogging up the living room, all the stuff in the upstairs guest bedroom and half the stuff from the upstairs balcony/library stacked around and clogging up the bonus room/office. We are sleeping on the hide-a-bed in the library until the floor in the upstairs guest bedroom is complete. Then we will shuffle everything around so they can do the library and then again, one last time, so they can do the bonus room. After that, there is still the stairs between the main floor and upstairs. Jamal tells us he should be done by early next week with all the hiccups happening to slow things down.

Bedroom hardwood floor

Our new buddies Jamal and Austin started actually putting down the hardwood in the master bedroom today. It is the same oak flooring in the rest of the main floor of the house. When they finish that, they will start on the stairway and upstairs engineered wood flooring. We hope we have enough pennies left over to pay for the engineered wood on the stairs leading to the bottom floor, but we do know the bottom floor is going to have to wait. We will put something synthetic down there. We are thinking of LVT when and if the time comes. Jamal and Austin are great. They work hard and do a super job. This is the third job Jamal has done for us and we highly recommend him. If you need some contact info, let me know.

A hardwood floor for the master bedroom

We emptied out most of the master bedroom last night so Jamal could start the installation of the hardwood floor there today. He got all the carpet out and started in on the underlayment. He thinks he could have that mostly installed by the time he goes home tomorrow afternoon. He says it might be little tight, but he will get close enough that he only has to do the cleanup and then start smoothing things out and finishing. Next week he will start on the stairs and the upstairs with an engineered wood product. We are very excited to see how it comes out. He did a great job on the last two remodel floors he did for us.

Lorena’s new (to her) computer

The old laptop Lorena used as her main computer died yesterday, so in the middle of my day job and bean project, I got to build her a new computer. I have to admit I had quite a bit of fun with it. It is based around a Kangaroo $99 computer with an Atom processor, bluetooth, wifi, etc. The computer is that is the smart phone shaped thing between the coffee cup and the terabyte hard drive. We have the following things connected:

  • Monitor
  • Mouse
  • Keyboard
  • 1 TB drive
  • Webcam

I ordered a cheap USB speaker and will get a microphone so we can use the system for Skype. It hooked up to the wireless internet with no problem. We installed Xubuntu on it which is a lightweight version of Ubuntu. It is actually pretty snappy and just what Lorena needs to browse the web. I kind of wish I had one myself. I will just have to be satisfied with my Raspberry Pi.

The last of the upgrades for the house beside the need roof and the outside paint. The flooring on the left goes on the master bedroom and the engineered product on the right goes on the top floor. We like it a lot. What we did not know was that the wood needs to sit in the house for a week or so to “acclimate” so it installs better. That means the installation will not start for another week or two. We cannot wait to get started.

The delivery guy, a nice kid named Austin, drove through Portland traffic from Salem, Oregon to bring it to us. He will be helping Jamal with the installation when the wood is ready. Lorena continues to paint upstairs and just has a few items left to touch up. It will be nice to not have the house in upheaval for awhile. The next pass will have to wait for better weather.

We have decided to wait a year or so before we turn the bottom floor into an apartment. We have decided to try to add a fireplace in the living room after we let our resources recover a little bit more.

Diet and blog update

We have been slammed since the first of the year so I have gotten behind on blogging and fell off the wagon on my diet at least a couple of times. Now however, the holidays are over, our annual church special meetings for the year are over, annual sales meeting up in Canada at my day job is complete so I will not have to try to lose weight on restaurant food or on big meals Lorena prepares for visitors. I actually did better than I usually do and currently at my lowest weight since I started the diet-16.5 lbs. lost. Only 44.5 lbs. to go.

In addition to the diet thing and my day job, I have a couple of side projects (a development project with my buddy Gene I plan to chronicle quite a bit more and a, believe or not, real estate project with my buddy Mark P.), and a three or four more remodel projects. So, I plan to write on all this until one of the side projects turns into a business and/or I retire and continue to try to find a work from home business. Over the next couple of days I will talk about the development stuff Gene and I are doing and the business idea/model behind it.

New flooring scheduled for install

We received an email from our flooring guy on Friday. It seems there is a sale on just the exact kind of flooring we want to put in the upstairs of our house. It should get shipped to the house within the next day or two after which it sits and “acclimates” in the house for a few days before it is installed. We were going to put it in the whole house, but decided we would only put it on the stairs and the top floor (money!), but we also decided that we would get rid of the nasty carpet in the master bedroom and replace it with the same stuff that is on the main floor of the living room and kitchen. We are excited to get started, but the house will be in upheaval again for a week or two more. We will have to get to the down stairs in a year or so.

Now the office is painted

Work in the home office has been somewhat chaotic over the last week. Lorena painted the whole thing “underneath” me. We shoved the furniture to the center as she went. Hopefully, we are only a few weeks from replacing all the dated carpet with hardwood and laminate flooring. In the mean time Kiwi continues to insert herself into the middle of everything. Notice her perched on my ever decreasing belly (Down 16 pounds now!) looking over my left shoulder. In a few minutes we are off to celebrate Lorena’s birthday.

Weight, travel, hobbies, and home improvement

Life is getting back to normal in the Chapman household. I guess I should make the caveat that it is about as normal as is possible based on adherence to the recently adopted New Year’s resolution to which I hope to stick. Lorena does not really have that first of the year resolution life modification thing because she sticks to what she is doing through thick and thin. Nevertheless, after one pretty big fall from the wagon and a brief smaller one, both due to visits and special circumstances, I am back in the game and hit a new “this diet” low in my quest to lose over sixty pounds.

My work is back in full swing with a trip to Canada and tentative trips to China and North Carolina in the works. I work on stuff that is of great interest to me and that is a gift. It is enough of a gift that I actually work on it as a hobby, too. Hopefully, within the next few months, I will be able to write about the hobby project some more because it is something that could have a fairly high level of interest for those in certain small businesses and maybe even for those with serious coffee snobbery. More on that when we (my buddy Gene and I) have more to show.

In the meantime, we continue with our home improvement projects. The entry to the house now looks less like an overgrown vacant lot, but only a little bit less like that. This month there is some good chance we will have all the new floors installed in our house, but that will depend on how often I have to travel and/or am stuck at home by myself while Lorena visits her mom in Mexico.

Back to normal after the holidays

Life is returning to normal now after the holidays. I am back on my diet–still 5 pounds over my pre-holiday high, there is too much work to do, company is coming for the weekend, Lorena returns to FINALLY finish up on the surgical work that started in North Carolina almost three years ago–after this she only returns to check on how it is all holding up, several short trips are planned after that, and we continue to work on getting the house fixed up. There are still four major remodel projects that I will try to post here. In the mean time, whenever I sit down to get a little reading, Kiwi lays on the arm I use to hold up my phone to read my book so I can move it until it finally starts going numb. When I finally move she is very disgusted with me and I deserve it.

The sun is shining in Western Washington

They say it is unusual for the sun to shine during the rainy season in Western Washington. It may be unusual, but it is not that unusual. For instance: today. The air is crisp, clean, and clear. You can see forever. It is a great day to be alive. It would even be better if I were not chained to a desk although I have to admit that I do not mind that.

Lots of people have asked us, incredulously, why we moved to Centralia, Washington. We tell them, besides the really nice people and a worldview (relatively speaking) common to our own, why would anyone not want to live in a temperate climate with a view like this. There are lots of other reasons, but these, by themselves, are enough.

We hope that it will even get better. Our gardener came to the house today to talk about some intermediate term plans to clean up the yard and to prune the fruit trees. If we have all of the above and home grown apples from the Apple State, people should really stop asking us that question. Next I will have to get one of those apple picker poles like Bob has. It is really hard to keep up with Bob and Gena.

Finishing the library on the landing

Lorena only has a little bit of touch up and some ceiling left before she completes the painting of the library on the upstairs landing. She did a great job and it looks a lot better. She plans to paint my upstairs office next so we will be ready for the new floor to go in sometime in mid January.The picture above shows what the landing looked like when she started.  The vision for what we want to do before we call the remodel “complete” (scare quotes because these things are never really complete) is now starting to form. God willing and I stay gainfully employed, we hope to put in new flooring on the first and third floors and in the master bedroom on the first floor, paint the first floor, paint the exterior, put a kitchen in the first floor, put on a new roof,  and rework the landscape (not extensively). Lots to do, but nothing crazy and, especially, nothing crazy expensive.