Once there was a floor.....and now it is no more

This illustrates how much we could chisel off at a time.

I can't say I have ever been so happy to see concrete instead of flooring...

This was one of my favorite floors in the house but sadly it was lost to water damage from Hurricane Ike. So after a year we finally decided it was time to replace it. Like all home improvement projects it has been a slow process and we are only half way.

Old Floor

The original floor was glue-down engineered wood adhered to the concrete foundation (welcome to the wonderful world of no basements). It too was a do-it-yourself jobber. I firmly believe that Ike could have ripped our home off its foundation and that floor would have stayed comfortably glued.

Jared’s goal was to rip it out the week I was gone. After 8 hours of working on it he called and said it only had a 2*8 foot space cleared and that was after he bought out half of the Home Depot tool section. (Never send a man to buy tools, just because it “looks cool” does not mean it works. And if anyone is looking for some manly looking tools, I have a whole garage full, and they work wonderfully cough* cough* :).

When we got back from Iowa we decided it was time to hit it hard. We ended up purchasing an air chisel (which Jared was thrilled about) and a good set of hand chisels. So while he got to play with his new toy, his wife got to use the hammer and hand chisel. The project required both since sometimes the air chisel would just shred the flooring. It was many pain-staking hours of removing the floor inch-by-inch. We soon found out the original installer used way too much glue, thus each hit of the hammer would only remove 1-2” of flooring.

No, this is not to show off my sexy side, Eliza brought me "lunch" (the play cooking and strawberry on the floor)

Wood all removed

Just when we thought the worst was over, we hit the granite. I called my parents to see the best way to “pop” the granite tiles. There was non popping, each required sever hits with a sledge hammer and then required a hand chisel to remove the shards (still glued to the floor of course).

The granite

And then we were left with the glue (my new four-letter word). After two gallons of commercial-grade adhesive stripper, two days and a lot of final elbow grease we found concert. we patched a couple of holes in the concrete and celebrated not having a floor.

The Glue (we had a large outdoor trash can just of stripped glue).

Over all we have 40+ hours in demolition only :S We currently think the clean concrete floor is the most beautiful addition to our house in months!

Its clean!

This weeks goal is to seal the floor with a vapor barrier (for real wood floors) and then maybe just maybe start laying flooring. And yes we are laying glue-down wood flooring so the next own can have the same wonderful experience!


For G-ma

It been a hectic week. Long story short, Erin had the 24-hour flu (it was rough but glad it is over so quickly), Erin puked all over Eliza in the middle of the night, Eliza fell off the top bunk while jumping and managed not to break anything. But she was miffed at the chair she hit on the way down. I thought she hit hard enough to scare her for a while, but I found myself yelling the next morning to stop jumping on the bed. The kid must have a throng of angels assigned to her constantly because it’s a miracle she has not hurt herself. (And I am thankful for that blessing). Jared has his midterm this Friday (which means we might actually have time to work on our non-existent dining room floor this weekend). And Ike just takes everything in stride; he’s such a happy kid.


For the Board....

I never knew underwear could spur such conversations....

"We don't wear underwear on the outside of our clothes at other people's houses. (because at home I guess its perfectly appropriate). No Eliza, not even if you wear your swim goggles".

"We don't wear other peoples undies, even if they are prettier"

"Mom your underwear are totally boring! Maybe we should sew some pretty pink lace on them so you could have beautiful princess underwear like me!"


Hangin' with the sisters

Eliza has been doing very well..until yesterday. Isaac got pushed off the couch, had a wooden block hurled at his head and my favorite…Eliza got out the bumbo seat and decided that it was time Ike sat in it. I came up to find him half dazed (not crying) sitting up in the seat. She had dragged him from the next room, picked him up and somehow managed to sit him in the seat.

Besides yesterday Ike and Eliza have become buds since Erin started preschool. Eliza even made him laugh this week for the first time. She just had to give him a kind reminder who is the Alpha child in the house.

Erin’s first upholstery project

Our neighbor gave us a chair they didn’t need; it’s a great old solid oak chair. Erin needed one for her desk so I told her she could have it if she fixed it up. She picked out the material at hobby Lobby and helped put the new covering on and she did a fantastic job.


The Great Iowa Adventure

I spent 16 days en route and visiting family. Here are our 3,000 mile trip highlights:

1. – 750 miles – Houston to Springfield Missouri – Eliza boxes with the night stand at the hotel and loses the match. We leave the next day with a swollen face and black eye (see previous post).

2. – 550 miles - stopped at Mark Twain cave in Hannibal Missouri . Made it to my hometown of Strawberry Point, Iowa. My first encounter with Iowa wildlife - were greeted by a real giant moose head sitting on a neighbors car (classy).

3. NO LONGER A CLEAN INSURANCE RECORD… I had my second encounter with Iowa wildlife. On our way home from Wartburg college at 9pm on a dark country road I went coyote hunting with our van. Before I could even hit my breaks a black shadow darting out of the ditch ripping a hole in the radiator, and damaging the AC condenser, bumper, transmission tube and tie-rod.

The gash made the van overheat within a few miles so we pulled into the nearest farm. The farmer and his wife came out and offered his hose in hopes to refill the radiator and drive the last 10 miles to Strawberry. We soon found out that the gash was too large and so we called for a tow. Farmer and farmeress hung out in the driveway with us chatting for the next two hours. Like any Iowa farmer we talked about the new siding on their barn, her insurance business and how they have 20 barn cats because they started to spay and neuter them but every time one got hit on the highway she thought ‘Well there goes $60.00” so they decided it was cheaper to stop cat birth control and feed the masses. Needles to say the dozens of cats were the highlight of Erin and Eliza’s trip. The damage toll on the van was $1800.

To add insult to injury we just switched our insurance policy a few weeks before and decided to double our deductible since we have never had a claim in 5 years. However I firmly believe the world is a better place with one less coyote

4. OLD FRIENDS, STRAPPING BOYS….Visited a few friends from high school, we all had boys within three weeks of one another. Like any new mothers we spent the afternoon swamping our birth stories. one c-section, one 40 hour home birth labor and one non-labor. Welcome Lincoln, Isaac & Noah.

5. THE JEKYLL AND HYDE RACOON….My third encounter with Iowa y wildlife… Last fall my brother found an abandoned baby raccoon and nursed it back to health. As tame and cute looking this 25 pound wild animal is, its still stinks like a raccoon and my brother’s fiancĂ©e said it had to move out of Max’s house before she moved in. So naturally my parents inherited it and ironically he lives in their retired chicken coop. Erin and Eliza had a blast playing with him and then decided it would be fun to let him out in the yard. I soon found out that sweet fur ball was a ferocious animal as I chased him through the windbreak attempting to grab him with my unprotected arms. I finally caught this half-domestic animal as it attempted to knaw through my hand. I thought “Man, if I have to go to the ER how do I explain I was bit attempting to catch a wild animal”. But then I remember its rural Iowa, it’s probably something the hospital sees on a weekly basis.

Most of the days the girls just had fun playing in grandma's gardens and grandpas equipment.

6. THE LOST HUSBAND - After an afternoon of driving around NE Iowa I found my husband. He was scheduled to fly into Dubuque Iowa, a 60 minute drive from my parents. As I was in the Dubuque mall waiting for him I got a call that he didn’t make his flight when he got to o’hare. Dubuque is not much more than a concrete strip in the midst of corn fields and only has two incoming flights a day: the 4pm and 10pm. He called back and said he got a flight into Cedar Rapids at 5:30. So I jumped in the car and drove 80 miles to Cedar Rapids. We missed the dress rehearsal for the wedding but hit the rehearsal dinner at Pizza hut.

7. THE BIG DAY – my baby brother got hitched to a wonderful woman named Jodi. There is once again a Fenton woman (I’ve finally been replaced). It was your typical Midwest wedding, 300 at the ceremony and over 500 at the reception. They had a customary Midwest dinner, complete with meat, potatoes veggies and served with milk. They had beautiful weather and it was a perfect day. Erin danced the night away and even my grandma broke loose and was dancing to songs like “wild thing” and “whip it”.

8. THE BALL & CHAIN – A Fenchel/Fenton family tradition for over 30 years. It’s a 20+ pound bowling ball on a chain, paddle locked to the grooms leg. When Jodi was getting dressed for the wedding Katie and I pinned a key to the inside of her dress and told her not to lose it unless she wanted to spend the night in the locksmith shop.

9. OFF TO DES MOINES – Got to see the Great Grandparents and hang with the family.

10. FUN AT THE PARK – Erin and Eliza had fun with their Brooklyn and Jace in Ames.

11. THE STINKY CAR - Erin got car sick just outside of Des Moines so we made a pit stop for febreeze and crackers.

12. GOOD FRIENDS, GREAT PIZZA…Stayed in OK City with old friends and caught up on life.

13. THE OKLAHOMA CHURN…while driving south on I-35 we watch the sky grow black , then purple and the clouds began to billow then churn and finally we started to see rotation. Luckily we got out of dodge before we saw flying cows. On the outskirts of the front was this dust storm.

13. HAPPY ANNIVERSARY! We celebrated out 6th anniversary driving the last leg of our trip from Oklahoma city to Houston. We spent the day listening to Car Talk with Click and Clack on NPR as Jared wore my rhinestone sun glasses.

14. THE HOUSTON TRAFFIC…We drove over 3,000 round trip and hit our first traffic jam coming back at the woodlands, welcome home :)