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Paint n Paper

Home Improvements
Watch it transform from hell hole to hovel.  It's amazing what a little paint n paper will do... ok and some tiles.


Something Funny

Don't throw toothpicks in the urinals, crabs pole-vault.  Come back next week for more inspirational

In the News

Family in the news, find highlights over the years here. Photo:  Daily Press photo 2020 of Lawson winning the Rock's Hockey Tournament.


Our House...

Our HouseOur House

In the middle of our street... honestly it doesn't look like this anymore.  Well it does but all those trees grew up.  Yes those little trees in front of the deck, just atop the grassy knoll, they are bigger than the house now... and those Manitoba Maples beside the house, well we tried to chop one down but it grew back.  the 5 evergreens along the river, well, we cant see the river anymore... and the rice paddy in the water... well that's the home of 4 million red winged black birds.  And 3 ducks... Oh and an Osprey... well the osprey was there until the Bald Eagle came along... I haven't seen the osprey in a while.  Interesting point... that house we live in on the grassy knoll... well it used to be down at the bottom of the hill at the rivers edge before they flooded the area when the electrical damn went in down stream.  Yes the house was moved up the hill onto a foundation the previous owners built to specs... THEN, who ever the hell brought it up the hill... put it on the foundation backwards.  Things that make you go Hmmm... it was pretty obvious as you start fixing things in an old house just what stories it has to tell you.  But you show me an original exterior door and I can go to the exact opposite side of the house and show you were the top 6 inches of the foundation is missing the same width as the door.  Don't ask why.  Then the addition went on the back... not us... I have to assume it was some time in the 80's, it housed a new master bedroom, a main floor bathroom, an exterior door to the driveway and a stairway into the new basement/rec-room.  Oh the horror.  Everyone leaves their marks on a home, some just aren't as pretty as others... Quote from one of this home's previous owner:  "You know I used a chainsaw to put in the dishwasher."  - 'Nuff Said.

Over the years we've had a lot of work done on the place... Updated Electrical, Updated Plumbing, Updated... wait... maybe I'm using the word updated wrong... does it count if something broke and you fixed it?  LOL  Ya, what ever.  Our most recent major purchase was a new high efficiency natural gas furnace.  The old one was 20 years old and had been giving us some problems for a few year... it sucks to wake up to negative numbers in the house.  Anyway, Matheson Plumbing and Heating came and took care of that for us... I took the opportunity to put in a few extra runs of duct work and hook up a few that were for some reason not hooked up when we bought the house.  It's novel to have heat to all the rooms now.   They also finished up some other small jobs that didn't get finished when the on demand hot water heater was put in... people keep asking me if I save money with that type of hot water heater... my answer is always the same... 'Pft!!! Like I care... I can take an hour long hot shower if I want.' - You definitely couldn't do that with the old water tank... hell who am I kidding, you couldn't fill up the bath tub with the old hot water tank.  I will post some photos of rooms we've worked on and jobs we've done over the years below.  Paint and paper goes a long way but some times you need a little more... I'm still looking to get more work done, if you're a skilled trades person and you want to be my friend, boy do I have a low paying job for you. ;)   Which reminds me, I have to call the electrician tomorrow. ROTFLMAO

Our SafeOur SafeSecurity (the vault room)

Installed a safe during the COVID Year One Renovation Frenzy... Unfortunately if we sell, it's going with the house... no screws or bolts here.  It was welded together, painted, put in place around the safe, the cage was welded around the safe, paint touched up and welded into place in the security closet.  Now if someone breaks in and robs the place, it's not just sitting on the floor by the door ready to be carried out and dumped in the back of someones pickup truck.  At one point in there I managed to save up $50 to put in the safe... but then we ran out of toilet paper and I had to cash in the 50 for a bag of TP... now the Safe holds our supply of TP.  It's a strange world we live in.  When the install was done I made it look all nice nice with some silver pinstriping to make the job look a little more professional.  And it just so happened that I had enough angle iron to make it high enough off the ground that the locking filing cabinet fit nicely under the safe with a whole inch to spare.  The best part about the whole install is that if you want something out of the safe, say another roll of TP... you don't have to get down on your knees because the damn thing is on the floor.



Our Dining-Room

Old Dining RoomOld Dining Room

This is a few photos from the day we were looking at the house before buying it. The doorway in to the kitchen was larger then... there were 3 thermostats on the wall, one for the old oil/wood furnace I tossed out when we moved in, one from the old gas furnace, and one from the old gas furnace... Umm... Ya, that's what I though... I took them all off the wall and threw them out. Problem solved. The space under the stairs had only a cold air return venting into it... the venting was removed when the new furnace went in. The floor was just, well bouncy and from the 80's... I'd say 70's but everything up here is 10 years behind civilization. The room only had one small light on the ceiling at the bottom of the stairs. The room was pink last time it was remodeled, pretty sure the bank had it painted white just to try and sell it after the last people abandoned the place.

Dining-Room first batch of tiles going inDining-Room first batch of tiles going in

The tiles went in slowly, I would normally have started in the middle of the room so the tiles met both walls with the same width tile on each side... but I calculated the width of the tiles and used the width of the spacing to make the job work out to an even full tile on both side of the room.  It was about a week of putting down scratch coats under each tile, a layer with the notched trowel, back buttering each tile, spacing them out with my special spacing stick I built... That all went well.  The major issue with the room was that wall with the vent in it.  I removed it and got in there, cut a bigger hole in the wall... none of the studs went all the way to the floor... the wall was more hanging off the ceiling.  Which would explain the cracks where the top of the wall met the ceiling.  Well that along with the fact that someone took out the stairs that used to go into the basement there... most likely when the back addition was added... this left the wall with no support from below.  Well I fixed that and jacked the wall back up into the ceiling, the crack disappeared and I rebuilt some of the wall from inside the new storage space below the stairs.  I carried the backer board right into the storage area and planned to tile right inside the space.

Tiles almost doneTiles almost done The tiles made it to the far wall and finished perfectly on another full tile... Almost like I kept my rows nice and straight with even spacing... who knew I was a perfectionist? Go figure. The guys were installing the furnace while I was working on the floor. We made a new cold air return in the floor. I have bought a new cast-iron grate to cover the hold and it showed up the day before it was to be installed. There is less than 1mm space all the way around it so I needed it in place when I did those last few tiles just to make sure things fit. I fixed the hole in the wall where I crushed the bottom half jacking it up where it belonged. I made the vent hole into a doorway and finished it to match the other doorways in the room... and I patched up all the bad spots in the wall with a little drywall compound... or a lot I guess.

Paint on the WallsPaint on the Walls
I ordered the paint and grout online, HomeDepot wouldn't mix paint at the time because we were in lockdown... sure they would sell you white paint but not anything that they had to mix because tinted paint contains COVID apparently. The big box store lost our business to a mom and pop place in Kirkland Lake. They were more than willing to mix us up some paint and bring it out to the car... they were a little concerned that I picked the colour from a bunch of colour chips on line... things don't look the same on the screen as they do IRL ( I know this, doing a lot of graphic art on the computer and getting things to look good when printed out is kinda the same thing, I'm good with that )… We chose an odd colour off the brown chart... it was almost gray and looked completely different in the sun light or at night with the lights on in the room. It went on well, covered well and we only used 1/2 the paint that we should have needed. With the paint on 3 of the walls it was time to work on the trim.  I had a large pile of wood in the driveway that was screaming to be used.  just scrap wood that was sold off as firewood, no real value... well that is until you make trim out of it...   Currently I'm working on finishing the trim and making shelves around the widow to hold the small plant farm we have going on in here.  I will post photos as these are finished... but we did get to move the furniture out the the kitchen and back into the dining-room after the grout was dry.  This is what it looks like now.

Dining-room with furnitureDining-room with furniture

So I got the shelves build for the front window, added some corebox fluted trim up the edges of the window and built a piece of baseboard trim that matches the cheap stuff you get in the store... problem was I didn't have a 10 foot long piece of the cheap stuff from the store so I made some out of the firewood in the driveway.  What a pain in the ass, a whole days worth of work for a $10 piece of wood.  Sure I saved $10 but... LOL  The plants have a nice place to live now and are enjoying the grow light as 9 months of the year the sun doesn't actually shine in the north.  Maybe sitting under them will raise my vitamin D levels... going to have to put a chair there.  Almost done.

Dining room front wallDining room front wall