Week 2 of the second bathroom installation!

A little more work has been done by putting up studs (I helped a little with the shorter side):

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There wasn’t much room to work, so putting together the shorter side was REALLY difficult for my husband. It kept on falling apart here and there, so we had to improvise and lean the frame on the open door to the basement:

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Basement door in the back was open slightly, so the frame was leaning on top of it while I was holding one side and my husband was balancing on a step stool with one foot on the wall to nail the studs from the top.

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Bathroom fan will go above toilet. It will have a humidity sensor, so will automatically turn on to keep the room from getting too foggy.

There is some water damage from the upstairs bath, but we’re hoping it’s not too extensive and only the top layer will have to be replaced…but that’s for another renovation, and another post. :)

Plumbing is the next step, stay tuned!

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Normally Mondays are when  I share a new Flavor of the Week, but this weekend was once again filled with home renovation projects that took up more of my time than I anticipated, so it’ll be postponed until next Monday. Today’s post is a mix of home renovations and a very fun and frolicky episode of 23 Paws, sponsored by Cinnamon at Eat, Pray, Tri! I’ll start with the serious business of home renovations first. :)

It all began on Saturday with my husband opening up a wall panel out on the porch and discovering an infestation of these picnic crashers in a corner post which has supported this lovely house for over 200 years (I made the picture small in case anyone doesn’t care for bugs/insect pics, click on the picture to see a larger view):

Carpenter ants

Carpenter ants! The closet on the porch had some water damage. After opening up the wall panel, we realized how extensive the damage really was. These carpenter ants are eating away at one of the main posts of the house. It seems their nest has been exposed, but we’re definitely having an exterminator come over to get rid of them once and for all!

After seeing this damage, I got really upset…more like mad…more like pee-ohed! I felt invaded by these tiny creatures, and the added expense getting rid of them just pushes back other projects we had planned. There was nothing I could do about these ants, or about the rotting pillar, and I needed to take my anger out on something…ah, the kitchen floor!

Before: cracked and water-damaged vinyl tiles made the kitchen floor uneven, dirty, and our chairs always got caught up on the curled-up edges of the tile.

After: the bare wood floors are nice and even, no water damage.

It took about 2 1/2 hours to remove all the nailed-down sheets of tile, and the thousands of nails that were used excessively to hold them down. The next day, my plan was to move out the stove and a section of cabinets to remove the rest of the old tile. The cabinets were nailed to the floor as well as the walls, but my husband and I were able to pry and saw it free! After that, I decided to start painting.

Still had enough anger the next day to prime some of the cabinets, part of the wall, and spray paint the handles shiny silver.

All in all, it took about 5 1/2 hours to pry the cabinets from the floor & walls, get rid of the tile underneath, and paint just this section. Still lots more to go, and if it weren’t for the discover of the ants, I would have never been motivated to get started. Funny how these things work out, isn’t it?

Okay, now to the fun part of today’s post: it’s 23 Paws, hosted by Cinnamon at Eat, Pray, Tri23 Paws is a monthly meet-up for bloggers showing off pictures of their favorite animals in action. Since the first half of my post was all serious and a bit stressful, here are some not-so-serious and very relaxing photos of my cats enjoying their favorite plant: catnip!

Here’s Sammy hogging the catnip shortly after I planted it. I thought that plant wouldn’t make it through the week, but it’s pretty resilient.

That catnip plant that used to be picked on grew like the weed that it is! Sammy is going nuts over a freshly crumpled leaf. That’s his drool that he’s lying in. :)

Awww…Wolfie had a whole branch of catnip and Trixie cautiously looked on.

Trixie, unabashedly giving herself to the allure of the catnip.

Do you have any catnip for your cats? How do they react to it? :D

As fun as it is to load up my Pinterest board with ideas for a dream kitchen or dream outdoor kitchen, I realized (after watching my husband do all the dirty work,) that nothing is more important than taking care of the basics: electrical and plumbing.

Last Sunday he started ripping out parts of our kitchen floor to replace some old pipes and wiring that ran from the basement to the kitchen. He installed a new line and electrical for our washer and dryer that’s now located outside on the porch:

You can see the box he installed behind the washer. All new pipes & electric.

It was pretty difficult because he couldn’t access the pipes from under the kitchen floor; there is the stone foundation directly underneath so he had to rerun the lines the same way as the old ones by going horizontal about 10-12 feet amidst the laid-up foundation and wooden beams supporting the kitchen. It wasn’t a straight shot and the space was pretty snug, but thanks to fish tape and an assistant with smallish hands, he was able to get the new pipes and electrical through.

Then the next difficult part was soldering elbow pieces to fit the small spaces, then to solder them together in tight spots, like under the sink and within the wall. After he made sure the water lines were leakproof, he moved out the washer and we now have an empty corner in the kitchen for our future bathroom!

Not sure how we’ll do it, but we’ll get a bathroom down here.

With all the stuff going on inside, the garden outside is growing. Despite my parents raising tomatoes and roses commercially, I didn’t inherit their green thumb. This is my first time having a garden and I love seeing new growth every day:

cucumber tendril

I planted chamomile where I could see the flowers from the kitchen.

Sammy by the squash. He is the most camera shy out of the three cats.

A gray and rainy morning giving our plants a good soak.

Salamander enjoying the much needed rain.

I hope your Friday morning is off to a good start. I’ll be back tomorrow with a light lunch recipe for this month’s Recipe Redux!