Just keep swimmin, just keep swimmin….

Back in February, I started a DIY project. I wanted to have matching night stands and a dresser for our master bedroom. After reading lots of YHL and Bower Power (among other blogs…. you should see my Google Reader… it’s ridiculous) I decided “Hey, I can knock this out in a weekend.”

Oh, so very very VERY wrong. I found a pine dresser with matching nightstands for all of $100 on Craigslist. Here they are, in all there non-glory-pine-wood state.

BEFORE picture.

With my aunt and uncles van in tow, I picked it up after work. I gathered all my supplies which included a water based deglosser gel — red flag #1. Getting in over my head? No way… Do you know how many times I’ve read “how to stain your pine dresser” instructions?! I printed them out, read blog entries over and over and over again… Thinking all the while, I can do this.

Which I did but it took F-O-R-E-V-E-R. Yes, I was the one on the back porch in the cold with a headlamp at 11 pm. Yes, I was the one scraping that deglosser trying to get the old finish and stain off. Yes, I was the one who looked like a dump truck drove by me leaving me in the cold.

Once the deglosser was done (which DID NOT work as well as I had planned. And I did follow the directions to a T… which is big for me since my hubby always gives me a hard time for missing ingredients on a recipe… another day). The lady at Lowe’s said explicitly… “You have to let it sit for the FULL 20 minutes in order for it to work.” Yes ma’am. I can do that. Which I did… for a total of at LEAST 3 times. When we are talking 8 drawers, dresser, AND 2 nightstands… that’s a lot of painting and a LOT of waiting.

Then came the sanding. Oh, boy. I should have bought my own from the get go but I borrowed one. I went through at least 4 packages of sanding paper of all different grits. I worked my way up from 100 or 120 (can’t remember) to 220.  My trusty literature said that anything lower than 100 was not good for the pine since it was a soft wood.

After piles of sand dust later, I began the staining/painting. I drew pintspiration from here and here. I wanted to make our room lighter but still keep a warm, wood tone. So I decided to paint the outer shells white and stain the drawer fronts.

Here’s my mood board. I have since changed our duvet to plain white since I have a duvet issue. (There are just so many cool ones out there! I just need to play with pillows, not duvets. That gets pricey). I need to revamp the mood board since the media cabinet and canvas/elephants are now in the living room.

Mood board from back in the day….

Blarg. They didn’t dry right. Then it was Spring Break… note: it is now MARCH. Nicolas and I went out of town for a getaway. My LOVELY-BEST-GREATEST-SPECTACULAR-WONDER-WOMAN of a mom RESTAINED all the drawer fronts WITH the polyurethane. God bless her soul. I did not ask her to do it but since we are both helpers by nature she did it and man, they looked killer. When we got back from vacation I not only had a CLEAN house but COMPLETED drawers… staining, sanding, painted and all. She actually repainted the shells with a white gel trim painter that is stuff from the old Greek gods it’s so brilliant. It’s what we painted our dark brown mantle with (that’s a different post).

They’ve  been done for months. I still have yet to finish the drawer pulls. *sigh* Just keep swimmin’, just keep swimmin,….


plumbing mis-adventure

Alright people. I know you’ve heard stories like this. But this is quite a comical one for the books.

So Nicolas (my hubster) and I bought a house back in April. The first time we hooked up our washer/dryer there was a leak. Therefore, every time we did laundry, we have to turn off the water when we were finished. This got quite obnoxious considering we are NOTORIOUS B.I.G. for leaving clothes in the washer until they SMELL and we have to RE-WASH them. I know. We’re terrible. We both hate laundry.

Back to the story – so yes, 2 months has passed and we still do not have a fully functioning w/d. We just “make do.”

Until Thursday night.

So Thursday had already been a stressful day. We’ve been stressed out lately in general about finances, getting things done around the house, etc. All the normal things. So I asked Nicolas if we could spend time together that night. He said yes and it was exactly what I needed.

So I thought.

While driving home from work I get a phone call from my dearly beloved, 5:47 pm.

Him: “Hey, so I started working on the washer/dryer. I cut the copper pipe…”

Me: “What happened?”

Him: “Just don’t turn on the water when you get home. I’m on my way to Lowe’s right now.”

This can’t be good. So I go to HEB, get a rotisserie chicken with a meal deal, go home, start pulling the chicken apart as my stomach screams for nourishment and my hands are sticky. No water. So I make due and wipe my hands on a towel even though they are still sticky.

At this point, I am reeling. I am chatting with my mom on the phone telling her “I’m hungry and why are we doing this now? I know he is doing this out of love and wants to get stuff done but the guy at Lowe’s 2 months ago said don’t do this on a week day because then you could go waterless, why can’t he wait until I leave for vacation on Monday? What happens if this doesn’t work? Why didn’t I just call a plumber 2 weeks ago? Why didn’t he listen to me the first time……. ETC.” You get the picture.

So when Nicolas comes home I’m a little upset but not showing it. What can I do now? Let’s make the best of it.

So we break out the blow torch. Yep – you read it right. The BLOW TORCH. Can’t we just make creme brulee? No. So, we coupling on the copper pipe and we are getting ready to solder.

DEFINITION: solder: low-melting alloy, esp. one based on lead and tin or – for higher temperatures – on brass or silver, used for joining less fusible metals.

Nicolas is the blow torch and pipe holder and I am the solder holder. We fire it up and start. All is well for now except the solder keeps splattering on him and we have to stop. It splattered on my too – but I just sucked it up. Hehe.

So that seems ok. Then we have to put the new soldered pipe on the old pipe. Sounds easy, right? No. We get it ready with the fire retardant cloth behind it so the whole house doesn’t catch on fire. And my smart hubby says – Wait, let’s get the fire extinguisher. Good thinkin’ but luckily never had to be used.

Blow torch is fired up and the soldering isn’t working. And then we smell something burning… Say what?! So we cease fire and the old PVC pipe is burned. HA! Of course! We didn’t put the fire retardant cloth over it.


So we have to cut the old PVC pipe and cut a new piece from some he already bought. That’s my sweetheart – always thinking ahead. Gotta love him. Put how do you cut the new PVC pipe? By using a tool that looks like a jump rope with handles on a much smaller scale and I am holding the PVC while he cuts it. QUITE a sight to be seen. I am in a dress, barefoot, holding a pipe leaning against a wall while Nicolas is sawing away at the pipe trying to get an even cut.

We cement the new PVC to the old one but the cement dries so fast it’s 2 in too long and we couldn’t push it down all the way. FAIL. So we cut 2 more inches off.

Back to soldering – its not working. The water inside the pipe is boiling. The stuff is theoretically supposed to be “sucked up” into the pipe and the piece that holds it on. No. Not even after 10 minutes. At one point, something hot got on Nicolas’ leg and he jumped back with TORCH IN HAND and it got pointed at my FACE. Scared the living you know what out of me. I jumped back and was so grateful I hadn’t melted.

A few more minutes of blow torching and we think we got it. So we go to test it and turn the water back on. Oh – and Nicolas doesn’t know which way the off thing is for the faucet so he said just turn it the opposite direction if it starts spewing water. I can do that – fo sho.

NOTE: I made him promise that we would never do electrical or plumbing work. He said “Let’s see how the first test goes…”

When the water comes on, the faucets don’t spew water (THANK GOODNESS). I do turn it the other way just to be sure and a little spew comes out. Kinda funny. Unfortunately, water is leaking ALL DOWN THE COPPER PIPING. UGGGGH. So I tell Nicolas that and he wants me to turn the water to see for himself. So I do so – same results.

Followed by an “Ok, I promise.” With a great big hug that always calms my heart and slows everything down. That’s my soulie.

It’s 10:15 pm. I have to work in the morning. I am sticky, dirty, tired, pissed, waterless. I text our dear friend Karen and ask if she’s awake. I call her and say “I will explain later but can we come shower at your place?” Karen: “Together or separate?” GOTTA LOVE HER! Separate – goose! So we pack our stuff, take showers, get 5 gallons of water from HEB so I can at least brush my teeth in the a.m. All the while thinking, this is what marriage is all about. Crazy mis-adventures.

Friday comes along and Nicolas is able to get a plumber out to the house. IT TAKES HIM AN HOUR!!!!! Bahahahahaha. Gotta love those guys. No wonder they make the big bucks. They’re fixing the commoners mistakes.