My Arkansas House

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My husband and I have begun renovations on a century old house in Arkansas. I am hoping to document the progress here with before and after photos along with my observations on the process.  There is so much to do. So, so much!  Realistically, we will probably never finish it all, but it will be interesting to see what we can accomplish with the resources and time we have at our disposal.

I will also include my attempts to tame an unruly yard, which has been left to its own devices for far too long. I have never done much gardening before so now that I am retired, I have the time and even the inclination to give it a go. I have 3 cats and a dog that will get their moment in the sun and I’m certain to include ramblings about other topics such as family and hobbies as well. Please feel free to follow along with me if you feel so inclined.

Last Year’s Resolutions

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I decided to discuss my New Year resolutions from last year and update my progress. My goals were:

  • Lose some weight
  • Move more
  • Really get serious about limiting my salt intake

The first goal was to lose some weight, which I did. As of today, I have lost a total of 58 lbs. I had lost 60, but then came “The Holidays” which added about 2 back. That is a little over a pound a week. I still have about 15 pounds to go.

The second goal was to move more. That was pretty vague, but I was pretty sedentary. It still surprises me when my Fitbit reminds me that I still have 250/250steps left for the current hour with 10 minutes remaining in the hour. That means I have been sitting at my computer for almost an hour without moving. On January 23, 2015, when I posted my original resolutions, I stated,  “I haven’t attained anywhere near the 10,000 steps a day yet, my average is 4357.” I remember thinking that I would never be able to get that many steps each day, but somewhere along the way I just decided that I would. It was like a lightbulb moment. I realized that it was a decision I was making, either I would or I wouldn’t, it was that simple. Since then, I have reached that goal almost every day. I have even had over 20,000 steps on occasion. My total steps for the year were 3,347,000! That’s 1,382.08 miles. I also climbed 3672 flights of stairs.

My third goal was to get serious about limiting my salt intake. This one was really harder than you might think. I have tried, but I think I could do a lot better. I guess I will just have to carry it over to 2017.

I don’t plan on making any new resolutions this year. I’ll just keep working on the ones I made last year.

Happy New Years!

Noel Is Gone

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Noel was put to sleep on Halloween morning. No more suffering for our sweet pup. It was so hard to see her deteriorating before our eyes. I think of her a hundred times a day as I go about my routine tasks. I miss her terribly.

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Brand new Christmas puppy.

 

 

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After her first grooming.

 

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Fun in her first snow.

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Farewell, my little friend.

When Your Pet is Losing Her Battle

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One of our cats showing her support.

 

October has been a tough month for me. Our family pet, Noel, has been slowly losing her battle with congestive heart failure. We got her in December of 2003. She is almost 13 years old. She has had increasing dosages of medicine to reduce the fluid buildup. She hates taking it. She is to the stage where she can no longer keep food down. Her appetite is nearly nonexistent. When we took her to the vet on Monday, he said she might make it through the week. This is so very hard.

Entryway Flooring

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I may get myself in over my head here, but I have removed the old carpeting from the entryway and I plan to refinish the old  hardwood floors.

I did it in stages. I removed the carpet by the stairs, down the entryway, about halfway. I took out the carpet and old padding and then the tack boards around the walls. Then I pulled all the staples that had been used on the padding. When I started on the other end I had to contend with that 12′ piece of sheetrock, moving it from side to side.

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Eventually, I had it all out.

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You can see that the carpet continued into the pool room, (the front room as well), but’s that’s for another time.

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That sheetrock is the main thing keeping me from continuing with this project. I have to find a new home for it before I can rent a sander. It may be a while before I update you on this project, but I’m really happy to be rid of that musty old carpet!

 

Entryway Day 4

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2016-08-19-14-03-40My husband moved the huge dresser down to the wall I had already painted so I could go ahead and get started on the last section of the entryway wall. The 12′ sheet of drywall was still there too, leaning against the wall on the opposite side.

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There were wallpaper cutouts to be removed on this wall as well, so that’s what I got started on first. I washed down the wall to get rid of any of the remaining wallpaper remover gel after they were scraped off. After that, I added the spackling compound to any holes and sanded them before painting.

I added two coats of paint.

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I had purchased a small can of door and trim paint that I used on the small closet door and the outside stair trim that had never been finished.

Oh, and the huge dresser was finally hauled off, but the drywall remains. Baby steps!

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Sunday Scones

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I recently traveled to Houston and did a bit of shopping at World Market. I spotted a scone pan that I thought would be great for cornbread as well. In the food section I found a chocolate chip scone mix that I decided to try .

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These were really easy to make and tasty too.

After returning home I looked online for recipes and found one I decided to give a try. My son said he thought these were even better than the mix.

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The left over batter was cooked on this cookie sheet.

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These are the scones I made from scratch.

 

Entryway Day 3

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Wall after first coat of paint. The  nail spots that I used spackling compound on really showed.

I located some fine grit sandpaper and did some sanding on the nail holes.

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Then I used a paint roller to paint the 2nd coat of paint on the wall.

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Wall after sanding nail holes and applying second coat of paint.

Much better!

My husband changed out the two light switches by the front door from almond to white, and I added a new cover that I had on hand from the upstairs remodel.

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Now I have to get rid of the huge dresser, sheetrock, and other miscellaneous items located in the entryway. so I can repeat the process on the opposite wall. This could take a while.

Entryway Day 2

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In the past I have purchased Valspar paint from Lowes.

I decided to give Walmart’s Glidden Complete a try, mainly because there is a Walmart in town but no Lowes. It is also about $10 a gallon cheaper. As I started painting, I decided that it provided about the same coverage.

I started by cutting in around the baseboards and door trim.

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Then I moved on to rolling paint on the walls. I quit for the day after I had one coat on.

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The following morning I painted the very top with a brush.I could barely reach it on my six foot ladder. We have an eight foot ladder that I believe I used the last time I was painting. It felt much safer. (I’m a bit afraid of heights) I waited for that to dry and then brushed a second coat around the top molding.

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I realized while waiting for the paint to dry that I  had forgotten to sand the nail holes that I had filled the first day, and it showed. Ugh! I guess I need to look for my sanding stuff and get after it.

Entryway

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Yesterday I started the prep work necessary to paint the entryway. I am anxious to pull up the old carpet in this area, but I want to paint before doing that. Removing the carpet is my main motivation to paint though (due to pet odors, enough said!) I had to get some odds and ends moved out of this space including a safe, a treadmill, and a wooden cabinet. That is just from one side of the entryway. On the other side, I have a huge dresser, speakers, a non-working paper shredder, a 12’ piece of sheetrock, and whatever is behind the sheetrock, namely record albums.

Previous owners had cut designs from wallpaper and applied them in various places on walls, ceilings, and doors.

The door to the closet under the stairs had one running vertically and there were two running horizontally on the walls on each side of the entryway.

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So far I have removed the one from the closet door and the two from the side of the entryway I will be painting first. I sprayed them with wallpaper remover and scored the wallpaper with a putty knife to let the liquid seep through.

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Then I scraped them off and washed the wall.

I removed the outlet/switch covers and used Dap to fill all the nail holes.

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Tomorrow I will buy paint and get started.

Swimming!

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My husband enjoying the fruits of his labor!

We have finally been able to get the pool to hold water again. It is still losing a small amount of water, but the improvement is dramatic. We were finally able to start swimming on July 4th. It is wonderful!

This pool is bigger than our previous pool and much older too. It uses a different filter system. Our pool in Texas used a DE filter and this one uses sand. We think we might like sand better. In Texas we had a Polaris to vacuum the pool automatically, an automatic chlorinator, an automatic pool water leveler, and a pool pump timer. We don’t have those things for our pool here. We have purchased the pump timer, but it isn’t hooked up yet.

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New pool timer box.

Those are additions we didn’t want to make until we could actually get it to hold water. That is rather important after all. I think we might actually have our old chlorinator. We replaced it when we were preparing to sell our Texas home so there wouldn’t be any problems when we were  away in Arkansas. My husband kept it because he thought it could be fixed to use here. Who knows where it is after the move though. I guess our next decision is whether to use the cheaper pool cover from last year or to go ahead and spring for a proper cover when we get ready to close the pool this fall. I’m leaning towards a proper cover, but that will mean we need to add the hooks into the concrete to attach the cover to. Right now it’s just nice to be able to swim again! Hope your summer is fun filled.

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Just relaxing!