March 30, 2014


Thursday night we spent three hours visiting with Lori Eaton at Mercy San Juan, (a 82 year old friend that has attended Michael's Services at Atria for the past 2 years).  It was an unexpected change in our schedule; but, we were blessed to have been given the opportunity.  Michael sang and read passages from the Bible; Deni held her hand; and I rubbed her feet with lotion as she laid in bed.  They had given her a strong pain medication, so she was half-in and half-out of consciousness; but, she would occasionally open her eyes and acknowledge us.   The sweetest thing was to see her hand moving, as if leading a choir, while Michael sang her favorite song, "Holy, Holy, Holy."

While working on the house all day Friday, my day was filled with thoughts of Lori laying there in pain and suffering, and prayers for her peace and joy.   I knew that she loved Christ as her personal Lord and Savior and her prayer was to be with Him, not to stay here.

He answered her prayer yesterday.  We got a call that Lori had died Saturday at 10:30 am.  

Sorrow & Joy run together in a sweet stream of tears. Sorrow for our lose, and Joy because we shall meet again!

March 25, 2014

Tuesday - A Rose, A Rainbow and the smell of Grout!

As many of you know who have been following our progress, I am taking every Tuesday and Friday off from work to get the house ready to move in.  Tuesday morning we would be moving the 7 foot tall solid oak bookcases over to the house, which meant that we had to spend 5 hours Monday night getting them ready to move.  They were screwed to studs in our bedroom, due to the fact that the bedroom was carpeted which is not a stable flooring for 7 foot book cases.  We also had to move them out into the living area and determine the best way to get them onto the landing and ultimately down the flight of narrow stairs in the morning.  We finally went to bed with these towers looming over us as we slept.

Deni and Yvonne (a lady that lives on Deni's block) arrived each with a truck and we actually managed to get the three bookcases down the stairs and onto the truck without incident.  We had previously loaded the table saw onto Deni's truck knowing we would need it to cut 4' x 8' paneling to set up the wall for the book cases.

The only injury that occurred was while loading the bookcases and making sure they were secure, Michael,  wedged a shelf in between the bed of the truck and the back of the bookcase.  He didn't realize that his index finder was lodged between the back of the book case and the shelf as he forcefully pushed down!  Michael lost a pretty good chunk of skin and blood was flowing.  Of course the bandages were packed in a box somewhere in the apartment, so we wrapped is bloody stump in a paper towel and packing tap and set on our way to the house.

After unloading the trucks, Deni stayed at the house washing windows; transplanting (what we think is a)  Paginas Amarillas, and cleaning up the work areas, while Michael and I made a trip to Home Depot, to purchase the paneling.

After preparing the area with an extra support 2 x 4 and cutting the paneling to size, we were able to get the book cases in place.

An oak desk with hutch will be added to the open area between the bookcases.
 My primary project was to finish the bathroom counter.  Did I mention that I love the smell of grout?  This stuff is like frosting.  I had so much fun!  I have no idea how it will actually hold up, but it looks way better than it did.  I might even be able to live with the crayola crayon "Flesh" colored sink   What was someone thinking?  Both the bathroom and kitchen sink and the tub are this hideous color.

The day was filled with dark clouds and it rained on and off - thankfully after we had moved the bookcases.  Later in the afternoon, while I was working in the bathroom, the sun came out.  As I walked past the living room sliding door, I noticed Michael outside with the camera.  It was a double full rainbow that spanned the entire horizon.  As I walked to the end of the carport, to get a fuller view.  This was what appeared.

A Double Rainbow lands on the Wood's New Secret Garden!  
    and if that wasn't enough, the strange dead vine in our little back yard has blooms growing out of (what would appear to be) dead branches.

 ...and the single red rose bud, has also bloomed into a beautiful, full and fragrant blossom...

Okay - turning in for the night.  So much more to get accomplished; but, I am feeling very encouraged by the events of the day.

March 23, 2014

Twelve Hours in the Bathroom - or - Stopping to Smell the Roses

Michael and I arrived at the house bright and early on Saturday morning.  The plan was for me to prime and paint the dry rot repair area under the living room window and work on the bathroom.  The bathroom vanity back splash was painted apricot orange.  Michael was going to work on sealing the living room window with plexiglass in preparation for covering it with wall-to-wall oak book cases.

As I got to work, Michael grabbed the camera and disappeared.  Unbeknownst to me, he had noticed that the single rose bud, on our only rose bush in the garden, had little dew drops covering it and wanted to capture a picture.  He re-appeared after a few moments and started taking measurements and making preparations to seal the living room window.

Our First Rose!
   After Michael finished the preparation work, he went down to a family owned and operated, Plastics Shop, to purchase a piece of custom cut, Plexiglas and I proceeded to prime and paint the wall in the bathroom where we would be hanging our large framed mirror.  I got distracted by the skinny trim around the back splash, which had also been painted over with the apricot orange paint and decided to apply a bit of Jasco to it--I was so curious as to it's original appearance before it was covered with 2 or three layers of paint.  Well, guess what I discovered?   Gorgeous, shining chrome!   Just gotta love vintage!

The Original 1964 Chrome Trim - A discovery that set me back 6 hours!
Upon this discovery, I spent 4 hours removing every bit of the old paint from this trim and polished it up!  In between, I was running back and forth applying a second, third, and forth coat of primer to the new paneling that had been installed over the dry rot area.  The paneling had a finish on it that really did not want to be painted and I had no TSP at the house - so after 5 thin layers of primer, it finally gave into my perseverance and was covered.

Michael successfully finished the living room window project, and moved on to the bedroom.  He was cleaning each of the 17 drawers with Spic-and-Span and replacing the hardware.  After stripping the chrome trim, I moved on to the area where the contractors had removed the old Wedgewood Built in Oven.   Realizing that it would be quite sometime before we could afford a new oven, we knew we would have to do something, temporarily, to camouflage that giant hole!  We measured the area and brought over two black cubicle shelf units (that we had used at the apartment to store office supplies).  It turned out that they were the perfect dimensions and fit nicely after a bit of modification.  I had confiscated the Wedgewood Oven front plate and decided to clean it up and keep it as an art piece.  I was able to incorporate it into our new little storage area.  So, here is our new, temporary, non-oven, oven!

So much more to tell and so much more to do....we will keep you posted.

March 21, 2014

Friday at the Wood's New Secret Garden - It was a Magical Day!

Waiting at the light at Sunrise & Zinfindal - Starbucks in hand - 6:45 a.m.!
We found a wonderful contractor named Don to do a few of the "Out of our League" projects.  Today the team showed up (His friend Bill "the plumber" and his son Ryan "the Hulk")

Wonderful thing #1:  New water heater installed! It took approximately 5 hours to install!  Why?  Because 1964  Mobile Homes are not normal.  In other words, a lay person cannot just go down to Home Depot, purchase a water heater and think they can just install it.  Bill was a seasoned plumber who has installed more water heaters than you can count and yet he had to do some creative stuff to make everything fit.  Thanks Bill!

Wonderful thing #2:  Don fixed the dry rot in the window seal!  The damage had not gone very far and for that we were really relieved.  We were also really encouraged to see that our little home has been constructed with 2 by 4's!  Most moble home have 2 by 2's!   This is a really well built, sturdy little home.

Don working on the dry rot reconstruction! - Look at those 2 by 4's and that insulation!
Wonderful thing #3:  The old "WedgeWood" built-in oven had to go.  This was a real challenge!  It was as if the house had been built around the oven!   Seriously!  Ryan had to use the "jaws of life" to get this monster out!

Ryan - "The Hulk" carrying out the 1960 Wedgewood oven!  Look at those guns!
This is why people who paint over hardware should be shot.  Today we were finishing the bedroom with all the hardwood built-ins and had to soak the drawer pulls and cabinet hinges in JASCO for several hours with the hope to remove the three layers of white "clumped on" paint so that we could actually use the original 1964 hardware.  This was a very time consuming and perhaps stupid project.  I suppose we could have simply bought new drawer pulls and hinges.  But, have you priced them out lately?  My goodness! They want $6.85 a piece for some cheaply made "coated" metal.  When you need 21 drawer pulls that would be another $145.95 for the least expensive.

So after soaking them for 2 hours and then scrubbing them.  Dang that JASCO paint stripper is ALIVE!  My hands were on fire even while wearing gloves.  Michael took over for most of this project and I did the final cleanup after the chemical was deactivated.  Well here is what we ended up with.  Solid Copper, incrediable drawer pulls.  You cannot buy these anywhere!
Wonderful Thing #4: My best friend "Deni" (Denise McCool) devoted 8 hours of her time to help us. She is amazing! Her task was to prime the bathroom closet. The shelves are built in and not removable and she wanted to cover every inch. With the limited space, and the hardwood paneling that soaked up primer like a sponge, this would be a time consuming task which would also require some creative gymnastics. As far as we know she is still stuck! We told her we would check on her in the morning.

A truly magical day. On Tuesday we will have the range top installed and a several other "contractor" required projects accomplished. After 13 hours on my feet. I am tired, but, feeling so very encouraged by this "Magical Day"

More to come.........

March 20, 2014

Thursday Night Update!

With my new Tuesday and Friday off from my day job schedule (Thanks Sergeant) we are able to spend 4 or 5 hours each Monday and Thursday night at the house.

Well this was our Thursday night.  I had finished re-doing the border on the hand painted plywood sub-flooring and polyurethaned it last Tuesday night.  Here are a few shots of our new faux antique hardwood living room floor.  Although this only cost approximately $40 in supplies, it took 3 days of 10 or more hours a day of back breaking, knee destroying labor from start to finish and that is not counting the ripping out of the carpet and padding and removing the tack stripes and all the staples from the padding.

A Close-up!

A Fuller view - Notice the "Love" Painted on the right side wall panel!
We are really, really pleased with or faux painted sub-flooring.  It could use another coat of polyurethane - but that means sanding, cleaning, coating and waiting another 20 hours to walk on it.  That might have to wait.  After all, most of it will be covered with furniture.

When we arrived we did our walk around the yard and discovered that one of the plants in the flower bed had bloomed.  We have a feeling that the previous owner planted some wonderful heirloom plants.  (see previous posts).  Here was our first spring blossom!

Tonight was an exciting night.  We got the bedroom drawers painted; I was able to remove the built in "dirty clothes hampers from the lower area of the bathroom built in closets.  All I have to say is, "People who paint over hardware should be shot!"  The hinges were coated with two layers of paint so that you couldn't tell if the screws were Phillips heads or regular.  Just getting the hardware off took and hour.

Another full day project of cleaning 50 years of grossness hidden behind those built in clothes hampers, building shelves, priming and painting! 

Then at around 8:30 p.m., we hear a motorcycle stopping in front of the house.  I pull open the sliding door and some guy in a helmet and leather jacket says, "Hi Dianna!"   It turns out is was Don our contractor who is going to install our new range top, fix the dry rot in the front window, and several other "out of our league" home improvements.  Since he couldn't reach us at the apartment, he thought he would swing by to finalize tomorrows plans!   I was so excited!  We need that dry rot fixed and the water heater installed to be able to finish the living room and start moving some of our furniture in!  What a blessing to see him and to know that work will be done tomorrow!

Well - it's 10:45 pm on Thursday and we have a full day tomorrow.  Crawling in bed for the night......

March 18, 2014

Another 10 Hours at the house...

Michael and I arrived bright and early Tuesday morning, after spending 4 hours the previous night.  (I forgot to mention, I am taking every Tuesday and Friday off to work on the house.)

We had decided that today would be:  1) finish the living room floor, and 2) finish painting the bedroom.

I decided to totally change up the border on the hand painted sub-flooring and spent 3 hours, masking taping the new design while Michael removed all the drawers and doors from the built-in's in the bedroom and discovered that he also needed to clean the cubby holes from where the drawers had come---50 years of dust and dirt.  Yikes.

New Border Design - I will post the finished floor on Friday !
I was able to polyurethane the finished floor tonight and will post pictures after it has dried.  We love how it came out.  Really vintage looking.  In fact, we are tempted to tell people that "this is what we found when we pulled up the carpet".

The innards!  Look at that gorgeous hard wood paneling!  

Bedroom Built-in's - Hardware removed - cleaned, sanded and ready for a new coat of paint.
We are pretty much crippled tonight.  Wish I had more energy.  I would have slept in a sleeping bag and worked a few hours before going into the office tomorrow morning.

Things are finally coming along and I am feeling a glimmer of hope that we will actually be able to move in as originally planned.  But, aaahhh, the move!  We live in a second floor apartment.  Can you imagine.  Talk about a work-out.  The knees--I can feeling them screaming already!

Oh stop whining, Dianna!

P.S. Michael spent all day sanding all the old clumpy paint off the doors and drawers and then priming them.  So we didn't get the bedroom finished as we had planned.  Wish we could tolerate clumpy paint--it would make things so much easier; but, we can't - neither of us!

More on Friday Night!  The unveiling of the floor and a few more surprises.

March 15, 2014

Why did it take 2 people 10 hours (working non-stop) to paint two rooms?

No fancy pictures on this update, just two very tired, 50 something, husband and wife.  We took off at 7:00 a.m. and headed to Lowe's to pick up another gallon of paint and a few other needed items for full day of painting.  We arrived at the house at approximately 9:00 am this morning because we met a young man named Jack on our trip to McDonald's for a couple egg McMuffins.  Jack was sitting near the doors and asked if we might be willing to buy him some breakfast.  Michael said, "Of course.  Come on in with us."

While standing in line, we discovered that Jack was 22 years old and had been on the street (on and off) since the age of 12.  His dad had committed suicide and his mom was a Heroin addict who lived in Reno.  Jack was also diagnosed with bi-polar and found that smoking pot helped keep him mellow and kept his manic swings in check.  He was actually a very bright young man and extremely polite.

We spent some time talking with him about Christ and he shared with us that he has no use for churches.  He mentioned several personal experiences where he had been turned away from many Christian churches when he had gone to them for help.  How sad is that?  But, not unusual.  Unfortunately, many churches are more like Christian clubs that have no clue how to deal with suffering, lost sinners.  Anyway, we had a delightful time sharing with Jack and told him to not make a judgment about Christ by those he encounters that wear His name and yet dishonor Him by their behavior.  Okay - now on to the days progress.

In my mind, I had pictured masking off the  living room and bedroom, painting both of those rooms, and moving on to the hallway, bathroom and kitchen.  Clearly, I am delusional!  It took us two hours to mask off the two rooms (a wood ceiling requires precise masking if you want a clean line).

The masking tape was not sticking to the trim!  It was as if the trim was wet--but; it wasn't.  It was clean; but, somehow there was moisture in the house--not a good sign.  We determined that it was because we had left all the windows opened and the evenings had been cool.  Who knows?  A dehumidifier is now on our list.

Up and down, up and down, we were on the ladder--me in the living room and Michael in the bedroom.  Then cut in the ceiling, the windows and the trim.  Then roll the walls only to discover after it had dried, that it all needed a second coat!  Really????

Up and down, up and down for another 4 hours and a second coat was applied.

The real blessing of the day was that our best friend, Deni, spent 6 hours weeding the entire yard--front, back, and sides, and finished it off by spraying all the rock areas with soil sterilizer and all the rocks in the flower bed with Roundup.

The next project is take out the drawers in all the built-in and clean behind them (50 years of crud) and then to paint the built in closet and drawers, and the vanity.  I am thinking of going with something like this on the closet doors - but that might have to wait until after we have finished all the "Normal" stuff.

Or maybe something like this:


March 11, 2014

Bit off more than we could chew!

I had taken Monday and Tuesday off and thought we would be able to 1) pull out all the carpets and padding (which were 14 years old and rather disgusting); 2) remove all the tack boards and the padding staples; 3) clean the floor; 4) paint the bedroom and living room; and polyurethane the living room sub-flooring (which I knew was 4 inch sold plywood - not particle board or low end ply wood.

We had taken a peak under the living room carpet when we first say the house and were delighted with the quality of sub-flooring. The bedroom had the original oil based linoleum glued down to the sub-flooring, so we were going to clean it and live with it since our funds are limited right now.

Pulling out the carpet and padding was really disgusting. There must have been an inch of fine dust which would have accumulated over 50 years. What would have taken a couple hours turned into a day and a half and we never got through the list above. Everything ended up with surprises. The linoleum was 50 years old and brittle, so when we pulled up the tack boards, pieces of the linoleum would crack off along with it.

The sub-flooring which I was simply going to clean and polyurethane. Had several large water stains and built up grim. I had to clean the floor three times and then sand the entire floor with a palm sander. The edges had darkened over the years and so I realized that a boarder would be necessary to camouflage the darker edges. One thing led to another. Basically I decided to do a trompe l'oeil floor. The following gives you a step-by-step pictorial of this 20 hours project.  And it's not done yet.

After cleaning and sanding:

STEP ONE - Mask off your boarder:

STEP TWO - Paint your boarder using flat latex

STEP THREE - Mask off and paint your wood planks - I used 4 inch spacing so that the 4 foot paneling seems would be camouflaged along with the other painted strips.

STEP FOUR - Mask and paint your plank diving lines.

STEP FIVE - Paint your Trompe L'oiel brass nails.  I used gold enamel and then highlighted them with watered down black latex using a very thin-tipped brush.

STEP SIX - Paint your boarder design.  I still need to detail mine out; but I am pleased with the look so far.

STEP SEVEN - Once all your painting has dried over night.  Coat the entire floor with water based polyurethane for Floors.

I will send a picture of the completed floor.  As I mentioned this was a a 25 hours process and if you decide to take it on, be prepared.  It's like doing squats at a Gym all day long for 2 days.

  It is amazing how one can turn plywood sub-flooring into a work of art that looks like vintage hard wood floors with an antique painted border.

So much more work to do on the house.  I wish I was 20 years young.

Michael did some fancy stuff with the power saws and a box of laminate flooring.  The hallway (where the old linoleum had cracked and chipped was in need of a new covering.  Before I new it, he had installed laminate floor in the entire hallway.  Which was no easy task, because he had to cut around all the doorways and moldings.  Here is a before and after:

I have to return to my regular job tomorrow, so won't be able to do too much until Saturday.  I will do my best to keep everyone posted.

March 8, 2014

Today we get the keys....

Well, I guess it is really happening!   Today we get the keys.

After doing much research, we discovered that several of the items in the house are actually the ones that were originally installed when the home was manufactured, which means that they are celebrating their 50 Year Anniversary this year!  Should we hold a party?  Probably not.

For example:  The furnace is a Mueller Climatrol.

The Furnace:  Louis J. Mueller, Sr. began the manufacture of furnaces in 1857 in a small hardware and tin smith shop.  By the 1880′s he had developed the first patterns for warm air units.  L.J. Mueller Furnace Company was producing steam and hot water boilers.  L.J. Mueller Furnace Company merged with Worthington Corporation to become Mueller Climatrol Division of Worthington Corporation on August 1, 1954.
Here is an ad from a Newspaper dated December 1964.  Our little home was manufactured in 1964.
As much as we love "retro" and as well made as these little guys were, all the contractor's forums that address the Mueller Climatrol tell us that even these have a life span and ours is ready to retire.  The parts are nearly impossible to find, there is a higher possibility of carbon monoxide leaking (especially with this one which was never properly maintained) and there is also the energy efficiency issues.
My husband and I are not concerned about heating the house as we live in California and have only used the heat where we currently are three times for about 10 minutes this winter.  So, for now, it will stay, simply as a piece of nostalgic art; but, eventually we will be replacing it with a modern furnace. 
The Oven: The rather interesting discovery was while researching the built in oven. It is a Wedgewood. Wedgewood stoves were known for their durability, performance and certain key features. After gas burners were introduced, most Wedgewood stoves were built with this technology, a major advance for cooks accustomed to shoveling coal or wood into their stoves and continually monitoring heat levels. The company continued to grow and by 1931, it employed 350 people. Though Wedgewood stoves' manufacturing facility remained in Newark, the appliances were displayed in San Francisco, Los Angeles and Seattle in sales rooms. Wedgewoods remained exclusively wholesale, and by the 1930s, 95 percent of the stoves manufactured were gas burning. In the 21st century, Wedgewood stoves are still sold as working appliances and can be found through antique dealers, vintage and specialty kitchen suppliers, restoration specialists and--of course--private sellers. Working stoves usually cost around $1,000.

Ours is a built-in Oven which probably has little to no value in terms of resale. But, hey, it's a Wedgewood and so we plan to keep is if (after a good 2 hours of cleaning) it is safe to use.  I even found a website where we can get parts for it!  Yeah!

The Water Heater: There are several other items that will need replacing that are also celebrating their 50 Year Birthday! We believe the water heater is actually the original and will find out when we have a new one put in (there is usually a date printed near the serial number). Can you imagine any water heater made today lasting 50 years? I think not.

Well, almost time to head over to the Park to drop of the payment and get the keys. First step is to remove all window coverings and curtain rod hardware, pull up the carpet to check out the condition of the sub-flooring, prime over the "apricot" colored accent walls, and meet our new contractor, (who we pray will be able to help us get this place up to code).

First Step:   I can hardly wait to get the old curtains and other window coverings out of the house!  I hate carpet and window coverings, especially ones that have been in place for many, many years. Did you know that hundreds of thousands of dust mites can live in carpets or curtains and that these microscopic, insect-like pests generate some of the most common indoor substances – or allergens – that can trigger allergic reactions and asthma in many people.

And the games begin.........

March 5, 2014

A bit of a turn.....

Things have taken a bit of a turn.  My excitement has been checked by the reality of more practical issues.  We had a home inspection on Monday only to discover that there is much more that will need to be done before "pretty" takes place.  Yes, we are still buying the little house; but our focus (and our budget) has been shifted from decks and enhancements to practical things; like a new water heater, gas lines, wiring, plumbing, etc.

We are so blessed!   My husband is the most wonderful man.  He left me a voice mail at work where he simply read a few verses from Proverbs 31, which reads:

An excellent wife who can find?

She is far more precious than jewels.
The heart of her husband trusts in her,
and he will have no lack of gain.
She does him good, and not harm,
all the days of her life.
She seeks wool and flax,
and works with willing hands.
She is like the ships of the merchant;
she brings her food from afar.
She rises while it is yet night
and provides food for her household
and portions for her maidens.
She considers a field and buys it;
with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.
She dresses herself with strength
and makes her arms strong.
She perceives that her merchandise is profitable.
Her lamp does not go out at night.
She puts her hands to the distaff,
and her hands hold the spindle.

I was so blessed and encouraged by his sweet message.  He is so secure that he is able to recognize the gifts that God has given me and can encourage me in those gifts without feeling in the least bit threatened.  He was able, (in the midst of all of this real estate negotiations) to go visit a sweet Christian sister who has recently left Atria to life in a new residential care facility.

We were able to negotiate a deal on the house that would enable us to afford to make the health and safety improvements necessary so that we can move in by April 15th.

I am a blessed woman because the Lord has seen fit to give me such a wonderful man!  The passage he emphasized in his voice mail was:

She considers a field and buys it;
with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.

My husband trusts me and he trusts the Lord and that gives me wings on my shoes!    I am content to make this move knowing that it will be a long time before the little house is completely restored and will look like what I see in my minds eye.  But, I am at peace with the idea that our life will be filled with new adventures and we will be working side-by-side as we serve the Lord!  I welcome this change with all my heart!

I will do my best to keep you all posted.....