Nothing Much Archive

The Impromptu Bathroom Remodel

Posted December 12, 2014 By Ruth

This is the only  picture I have of the master bathroom before we pulled it apart:


Taken shortly after we moved in if I recall right.

The bathroom is only 54″ wide.  Its very long, at least for whats in it, but 54″ wide is tiny.  At some point the previous owners had pulled out the original tub and surround and replaced it with a corner shower.  To be fair, any tub that would fit in that space would be tiny, so I’d not have put in a new tub either.  Under the shower base we could just see the corners of two boards, we assumed that they’d been put there to help angle the base correctly for draining.

Back at the end of Oct my husband came out of the bathroom to tell me that the bit of one board was soaking wet.  When I checked it I confirmed that not only was it soaking wet, it had been for a while, it was black with collected mold.

We’ve got a water leak somewhere.  Oh fun.  Although we could access the shower water shut offs without pulling down the shower we had no idea where the leak was, or how much water damage had been done, so we made the decision to just pull down the shower (which wasn’t exactly a high end unit), fix whatever needed to be fixed, and replace it.  Since we have a 2nd full bathroom, complete with the original tub/shower combo the lack of shower wasn’t going to be an issue and we could take our time getting it done once the leak and damage was fixed.

Pulling up and out the shower we discovered that there wasn’t a leaking pipe after all.  The shower base itself had cracked just a bit at that corner allowing water to dribble right onto that supporting board.  The drywall that the board had been right up against showed a little water damage, but after cutting that out I was able to confirm no real water damage due to the leak.  Yay!  Right?

Like all projects in a not new house it wasn’t that simple….

The shower walls had been supported by a series of 2×4’s screwed into the wall.  Counting every single screw (of which there were over 20), 3 actually hit studs.  The rest just went into drywall.  With no drywall anchers.  In two cases the only thing holding the boards on was the fact that they’d also used silicone.  I have no clue how the whole mess stayed on the wall.  We were able to literally just pull most of the boards straight out from the wall without removing the screws first.

Then there was what we found under the shower base:



I’m not sure what the hole on the left was, but I’m guessing old water damage that they “patched” when they replaced the tub.  See the plumbing on the right?  They had to redo the drain when they put in the shower.  The pipe itself sticks up above the floor level by almost half an inch.  The boards under the shower base weren’t to help tilt it for drainage.  They were to support it so that it didn’t crush the plumbing.  Cause that makes lots of sense……

See the kinda groady patch of vinyl between the two holes?  It flexed in a very nasty way when we started to step on it in the process of pulling down the whole mess.  When I pulled up the vinyl and very carefully put a foot on the spot it collapsed under a very small portion of my weight.  Old water damage that was never fixed.  Thankfully there didn’t appear to be any mold, just dry rot.


See those little black specs?  Mouse turds.  The visible insulation was full of them.  SO MUCH FUN!!!  Arg.

So I pulled up the “patch” on the left hole, confirmed the presence of mouse turds in the insulation under it.  Pulled and threw away all the insulation in both holes, and then cut out the old water damaged spot and made the whole hole mostly square so it would be easier to patch:


The spot under the old water damage had basically no insulation (and more signs of mice).  My cut opened up the next cavity that extends back under the floor of the rest of the bathroom.  You’ll notice there’s not much insulation there too.  At least there wasn’t any mouse turds in it.  But a flashlight and an awkward angle to peer into the cavity confirmed what we’d suspected about the whole house.  There was barely an inch of insulation under the rest of the floor.

We’d been pretty sure that the whole house needed to be re-insulated, but I wasn’t thrilled to get conformation of that fact.

I stuffed every nook and cranny I could reach full of insulation and made a quick patch till we could decide what we wanted to do.


(actually I took the picture prior to insulation, but you get the idea)

We’d hoped to put off any bathroom renovations till a few years down the road when we’d planned to spend several grand doing it right.  We’re going to need to reinsulate obviously, the bathroom is the coldest room in the house.  We want to put in heated floors.  And a custom, 54″ wide, shower stall.  So we weren’t interested in spending a fortune getting this done.

In the end we picked an inexpensive corner shower, made out of better quality plastic than the old one.  Which of course meant we had to move the drain.  But my Father-In-Law was able to do that for us, and while he was at it he fixed the too high plumbing.

And we put up the shower walls.  And discovered that the corners of the room aren’t square.  Not sure why I expected them to be, but you know how that goes….


There’s a piece of cement board under the shower now, to help with water control.  And we’re in the process of putting down 1/2″ thick rubber matting on the floor to help with the cold floor problem……but otherwise the bathroom is done.  Well.  For now……

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Christmas Music

Posted December 11, 2014 By Ruth

I’m not a fan of most Christmas music.  Working retail for extended periods will do that to you.

When I do listen to Christmas music it tends to be fairly non-standard.  Like Twisted Sister’s Christmas Album.

I found another one to add to my list today though.



And then when you’re on Itunes buying the album go listen to the teaser for their Christmas Can Can too…..


H/T to Greg @ Dum Vivimus, Vivamus

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Home projects

Posted December 6, 2014 By Ruth

I’ve been watching Bogie’s home improvement projects with interest, as alot of what she’s done is stuff that we’re going to eventually need to do.  Her latest acquisition is a spice cabinet for her craft supplies.  And it reminded me of a project I REALLY want to do here….

First, I have to explain the house.  The original structure is a 20+yr old double-wide (which is still skirted *sigh* another project….).  At some point someone added onto the living room, doubling the size of that space.  And someone ran an enclosed breezeway from the garage to the 3rd bedroom, turning said bedroom into a mud room.  The washer and dryer are in an alcove right inside the back door, which happens to be directly off the kitchen.

I SO want to move the washer and dryer into the closet space of the mudroom, they’ll fit with a little room to spare.  And then turn that alcove into a proper pantry space, with spice cabinet, and put a built in dishwasher into the washer hookups (we’re currently using a portable-roll-away dishwasher, and it works fine, but it takes up space in the already small kitchen).  Unfortunately there is zero plumbing and electrical already in the space I want to put the washer and dryer, so putting in the needed plumbing and wires is going to be a major job.  So its not happening any time soon……there are to many other projects that NEED to be done to spend the money on something we don’t NEED *sigh*.

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Unusual coloring

Posted December 4, 2014 By Ruth

I’ve been delighted by the “gummy” vitamin phase since I first saw them.  I HATE taking big huge pills, I’m capable, but I hate it, and so the gummies were a wonderful invention as far as I’m concerned.  They cost more than regular vitamins, but I don’t dread taking them either.

I’d recently noticed that they were coming out with the “mens” and “women’s” formulas, and this last time I picked up the women’s formula, though there’s not much of a difference from the regular formula.  Last night I stopped to read the ingredients.  The gummies are, of course, colored, and I’d assumed they used the standard food dyes.  I was wrong.  The colorings are blueberry juice concentrate, carrot juice concentrate, and purple carrot juice concentrate!  A quick check of the other formulas showed the same.  Not what I’d expected to see.  But kinda cool!

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I’m dreaming of a white…..

Posted November 27, 2014 By Ruth





Somewhere in the 3-5″ range, its that nasty wet “heart-attack” snow, but it sure looks pretty!

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Posted November 14, 2014 By Ruth



I didn’t think the ground was cold enough for it to accumulate that way, but obviously I was wrong!  On the other hand we finally got our killing cold last night……


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Smoked Turkey Breast and Hot Wings

Posted November 7, 2014 By Ruth

So on a whim I picked up a boneless turkey breast to smoke, and, after poking around a couple places, I picked up some chicken wings to try too.

Turkey breast was brined for 6hrs in an impromptu brine of water, salt, raw sugar, onion powder, garlic powder, powdered mustard, pepper, a bay leaf, and allspice.  Smoked (with hickory) for 2.5hrs, with the smoker running about 200-225.  It weight 1.8lbs raw.  Internal temp was 155 when I pulled it off the smoker, I wrapped it in foil and carryover brought it to 160.

Wings were brined in water, salt, sugar, and garlic.  Smoked for 2hrs 15minutes.  Hot sauce was butter (1stick), 1/4cup of Red Hot, 1/2tsp of garlic, 1/4tsp salt, and one chopped habenaro.  It was brushed on the wings before smoking, and every 45minutes during smoking.

Oh yah, we’ll be doing that again!

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Mice and Rats and…..

Posted November 1, 2014 By Ruth

Probably the only thing I miss about Evil Kitty roaming the neighborhood is the way he kept the rodent population in check.  He was doing a better job at it than I realized.  He disappeared last winter, and this summer the mouse population skyrocketed.  

A couple weeks ago I started putting out traps in sheltered spots near the obvious mouse holes around the exterior of the house, as well as near the corners where we’d heard mice.

Almost immediately started catching mice.  Had to swap out several of the cheap wood snap traps for some of the sturdier plastic ones as the wood ones didn’t handle the wet well, but pretty  much every trap was catching at least one mouse a day.  We were having a few empty triggered traps, but not a lot.

Then I couldn’t find one of the traps…..finally found it a solid 10ft away from where I’d placed it.  It contained a mouse head.  No body, just the head inside the trap.  

Then I started getting ALOT of empty triggered traps.  And then traps started disappearing….

I set up the trail camera to watch the spot where a couple of the traps are and caught this:

0075INFORMATION_STRIP_ON__TAG 29.45 inHg 37"F  10/25/14 05:32 AM  MYCAMER1

Yah, your guess is as good as mine.  Current running vote is raccoon.

Then Thursday Arty suddenly went berserk at one of the windows.  I figured squirrel, but looked out the window to check…..thats a funny looking squir….THATS A RAT DAMMIT!  And its FRICKING HUGE!!  Something tells me that explains the empty triggered traps, and maybe even the missing traps (though it still doesn’t explain the bodyless head in the one trap).


Started looking at rat traps.  I’ll be picking up some huge snap traps this week.  But I’m also looking at some of the electric zapper traps, since they’ll absolutely kill anything that gets into them, and is marginally less likely to snap on a dog paw when I’m not fast enough to keep them away from a trap…..

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Posted November 1, 2014 By Ruth

Borepatch reminded me that I’d found an article by a guy who’s studied “Halloween Sadism” and then never posted it, so there it is.  I’d assumed that most of the freak out over poisoned candy was the media’s fault, but I hadn’t realized how much of it was….

A casual friend was upset when she discovered we didn’t hand out candy.  But then she’s never met Apollo in guard mode either.  Not that it matters if we wanted to hand out candy, we’re rural enough that we don’t even see Trick or Treaters passing us by.  Most of the kids in the neighborhood know that knocking on Apollo’s door is a good way to get your socks scared off anyway….

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Posted October 19, 2014 By Ruth


I keep seeing lots of “why are you scared of Ebola when your chances of catching X disease are 20times higher!!!” or “death from obesity/violence is 10 times more likely!”.

Here’s the thing though. 

Sure, my chances of catching the flu are way higher than my chances of catching ebola.  But my chances of DYING from the flu are WAY smaller since I have a nice and healthy immune system.

And you can’t catch obesity from the guy sneezing next to you on the plane or bus. 

And if the guy next to you on the bus gets shot down by an out of control cop (which yes, was one of the meme’s circulating) a couple hours later you don’t have to worry about whether you caught your own death or not.

In the over all scheme of things I’m not overly worried about my risk of catching ebola honestly.  At least not till it spreads further.

Though I have to say that with the ebola mess, on top of the news that most register receipt tapes contain BPA that can rub off on your fingers, I’m really happy I’m not working retail right this moment.

But when I saw the news that one of the hospitals in Syracuse had been picked as one of the major response centers for potential ebola patients I really wasn’t pleased.  The “human factor” has been just to much of a problem with this particular ebola outbreak.  There are to many things going wrong, frequently by people who REALLY ought to know better……

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