Friday, August 26, 2011

Unrelated, but Awesome.

So, awhile back, while we were living in Puerto Rico, I wrote about the time I fell of of a motorized scooter and really messed up my wrist.  You can read all about it here.

Since returning to the Continental United States and entering the First World again, I’ve been to two orthopedists about it, as it’s still pretty messed up.  I wanted to share, with images, just how messed up it is.

A few weeks ago, I set up an appointment with a local orthopedic surgeon.  He took a look, X-Rayed it and we looked at the results together.  The results were hilarious.  We looked at them and he basically said “since it’s healed up like this, any surgery to fix it would be major and probably not worth it.  He did say, and I saw, that it was super broken and he would have operated on it the day I came in, were he the doctor in Puerto Rico.

You may recall wheat the doctor in Puerto Rico said to me, “it’s not broken”. 

The fact was, and I guess still is, it was super extra broken.  Really mangled.

Resigned to the fact that I would have a slightly off, very inflexible wrist for the rest of my life, the doctor mentioned that he would kindly refer me to a colleague of his, who specializes in hand surgery, for a second opinion.  He mentioned that she may be able to get some more test and get a better idea of what can be done, if anything, as that was her area of expertise.  I thanked him, made the appointment to see the hand specialist and left.

I went back the next week to see said specialist and she took a look at the X-Rays, played around with my hand a bit and told me to make an appointment for a CT Scan.

I went back once again a few days later for the scan.  They laid me down, I stuck out my arm and placed my hand into the tube.  the scanned it and sent me on my way.  The next step thereafter was to set up a follow-up appointment with the hand specialist, who was on vacation for two weeks.  Sweet.

Two and a half weeks later and I headed back into the clinic to talk about my mangled wrist.  She showed me the results of the scan, and here they are:


That’s a 3D image of my bones.  How cool is that?  Not very.  It shows how messed up things are.  If you can’t really tell how messed up they are, I will help:


The previous images are a few different shots of my bones.  If you’re not an idiot, you can easily see that something is really very wrong.  The big problem is how wide that weird bone on the bottom has become at the tip.  What apparently happened when I smashed into the ground was the tip of my bone broke off almost completely.  The rest of my hand bones then slid down into the space created  by the smashed bone.

Once I got the OK from the ER doctor in Puerto Rico, and thus didn’t anything fixed, my bones then started to “heal”.  This basically means that new bone started to grow into the new space, thus solidifying my fate.  That fate being either a super messed up wrist with extra mega arthritis in a year or so, or the other possible fate of a messed up surgically repaired wrist with extra mega arthritis later than within a year.

The hand surgeon, after taking a look at the scan result, wants to operate on it.  She wants to first make a couple of slits in the top of my wrist and stick a camera in there.  This will inform her of what to do in Part Two of Ryan’s Crazy Wrist Surgery.  Part Two of Ryan’s Crazy Wrist Surgery will basically consist of the surgeon flaying open the underside of my wrist/upper-forearm and going to town with some sort of bone saw.  She will cut out all of the new bone, then try to shove the old bone pieces back together, cast it and hope for the best.  I’m told it will be a very painful operation.  And a long one.

So yea, that’s the fun conclusion of my failed trip to Puerto Rico, where they hate white people enough to basically lie to them at hospitals about X-rays.

The surgery is scheduled for the 9th of September at 7:15am.  They told me to be there two hours in advance.  A 5:15 arrival is not likely to happen.

Once the surgery is finished, I’ll be in a cast for four to six weeks, then have super fun/painful physical therapy for awhile.  I’m really looking forward to it.  The best part?  When my useless wrist is immobilized in a giant cast, I won’t be able to do much around the house, so this blog will get really boring once again.

The good news is, I will try to get some hilarious cast color.  I’m hoping they have strips of casting material that look like American flags.  I think that would be really funny.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The First Floor

We’re taking a break from the usual here to show you some actual work.  No more hypothetical work on this blog (except for when I decide to write about the out of doors area of the house soon).

Last Thursday, we purchased about one-thousand dollars worth of laminate flooring.  That bought us about 500 feet squared of floor boards.  I planned on installing it over the weekend.  This is that story.

On Friday afternoon, I got started by tearing up the terrible, dog stained, old carpet in the Living Room and Dining room.  For reference, here’s what it looked like:


Beige with spots all over it.  Some spots (like the one under those windows) bigger than others.  It didn’t take me too long to tear up all of the carpet, roll it up and drag it out of doors.  Probably an hour or so, no big deal.  Here’s what I was left with:


Strangely, the under-carpet padding (made from recycled shoes, which is awesome) looks better than the old carpet.  Thinking of no good way to persuade Amanda to keep it as-is (as-was?), I sighed, and began the horrible, horrible process of prying up all of the seemingly miles of carpet tack strips laid about the perimeter.  The fun part of all of that was the fact that they were set into concrete, so it was just and awesome time:


It was even doubled up in some spots:


This process was just terrible.  Each nail was embedded into the concrete and each nail took a surprising amount of leverage to pop out.  Some of them even came shooting out of the floor, launched from my pry bar and flew to the ceiling in an attempt to embed themselves therein.  The process was made even worse by the old wood of the strips themselves.  Instead of coming off in one piece, or at least two or three pieces, they would stubbornly disintegrate, make my job that much more arduous.

No matter.  I persevered and after a few hand soreing (not a word) hours on the floor, fighting with each nail, I was finished:


Once each nail was removed from the subfloor, it was time for the baseboard molding to come off.  This process was much easier, as the builder used regular nails into regular sheetrock, so not much struggle was needed to pry the ugly molding off of the wall. 


Fun fact:  The builders put the molding onto the base of each wall before they created the masonry fireplaceJust an incredible idea and makes my life much easier.  No it doesn’t.  Here’s what it looks like (still):


I have since trimmed it back, but still.  There’s baseboard running behind the fireplace.  Crazy.

After that, it was time to pile the debris from the evenings work onto the yet-to-be discarded carpet padding.  There was a lot of debris, which I had to wrangle by hand, but it was finished up and the padding was rolled and out of the hour in an hour or so.  Here’s the fun pile of waste in our side yard:


The good news is, that pile will continue to grow, as pretty much every surface of our house has old and smelly carpet on it.

After the rolls were lugged outside, further cleanup began.  This time, vacuuming the floor to get rid of the piles and piles of old dirt.  Some of this dirt hasn’t seen the light of day since 1984.  That’s kind of great to think about:


The observant among you may notice the message written on the floor.  Here it is, in further detail (avert your children’s eyes, as it contains a curse word):


I have yet to call this Jeff Reeves fellow, as I am married and have no plans of infidelity, but if I ever get divorced because of some deeply hidden homosexuality, Jeff Reeves is my first call.  I hear he gives a good effword.  if anyone is looking for something like that, the area code of the greater Austin area is 512.  And in case you need it, I think that the last number, while barely legible, is a 3.

Once everything was nicely vacuumed and hopefully prepared for Saturday’s planned festivities, I watched some TV and went to bed.

The next day, I gave the floor one more vacuuming for good measure and the various items I had used off of it.  I was left with a semi clear canvas with which to paint a flooring masterpiece.  Just kidding.  It was a flooring paint by number at best.


The first step to a new laminate floor is the all important underlayment.  This keeps moisture from the subfloor from getting into the flooring and also adds a bit of a cushion to the flooring to both quiet it and keep you from dying when you fall on it.  It comes in giant rolls and goes down pretty easily:


One edge of the underlayment had an adhesive strip, so I basically rolled it out, squared it as best I could, then stuck it to its neighbor.  This took awhile, but it’s an important part of the job (I was told) so I wanted to make sure to get it right.  I probably did not get it right, but whatever, I tried.

The next step I took, which should have probably been the first step of the day, was to cut away a bit of the bottom of the door trim, as to give the flooring some room to go underneath it.  A coping saw and a few minutes later:


I am now a carpenter.  Just like your probable Lord and Savior.

This picture gives a good look at what the underlayment actually consists of.  I don’t know hat other underlayment is made of, but the cheapest kind that I could track down is Styrofoam balls sandwiched between two sheets of plastic.  I paid 22 cents per square foot of this stuff and it looks like I got gypsied on it.

Once the sawing was finished and cleaned up, it was on to the actual floor laying work.  The way to do it (I read) is to lay the first three or four rows of flooring, then put it in place.  I did just that:


You put the first few rows of flooring together (tongue and groove in this case) to give it some rigidity, then slide it into place along the wall, with some spacers:


Once those rows are as square as you can possibly get them, you can confidently lay the rest of the flooring knowing that the flooring won’t be off kilter (because those rigid few rows are square, hopefully), nor will it buckle or warp later on (as you left some gap with the spacers to let the floor breath, or expand and contract with the changing temperatures and relative humidity).  Either way, the floor was and is still square and there aren’t any giant frost heaves in it yet, so it might have worked.

Another thing to note, in that picture showing the first rows, please note that pretty much every box of that stupid flooring was dragged into the living room and opened.  This is because everyone recommends pulling planks from different boxes each time to lay one, as to make the flooring look ‘natural’ as a whole.  I can understand that with actual natural wood, but this laminate stuff is man made and thus, shouldn’t look all weird one way or the other.  I don’t know.  Get your essword together laminate flooring manufacturers.  I should just be able to pull planks from one box until it is empty, then move onto the next box, instead of traipsing all over the living room pulling planks for this box or that.

Now’s a good time for some random pictures.  This was where I did all of the fun cutting:


Our porch is still covered in sawdust.  I was hoping that the wind would take care of it, but apparently there is either no wind back there, or the wind is so pathetic that it cannot be bothered to lift the ultra light grains of dust that remain.

Amanda brought me some lunch of Wendy’s at noon.  I drank from this cup:


Why am I telling you this?  because before that cup, I had probably six full glasses of water.  I had that cup filled with lemonade from Wendy’s, then used this cup for the rest of the day.  I probably had between 15 and 20 full cups of water bringing my day’s total to about 26 adult sized containers of water.  Conservatively, each container full was maybe 16 ounces.  That’s, again conservatively, over 300 ounces of water during the day.  I did not urinate the entire day.  I am not kidding.  I was sweating like a maniac methamphetamine addict and couldn't replace the fluids fast enough. 

Wait.  Why did I tell you that?

Another fun picture.  This is me during the day:


I felt like Casey Jones from the Ninja Turtles.  Instead of an awesome golf bag filled with various sporting good implements used as weapons, I had super gay kneepads, and rubber mallet with a towel over it (as to not damage the flooring) and glasses.  Like an idiot.

Well, fun’s over.  Back to the floor.

I started working on the floor at 8:30 on Saturday morning, at 8:15 on Saturday night, I laid the last of the planks and called it an night.  Or so I thought.

When I was in bed, I was thinking of those last few planks.  I didn’t measure the gap between them and the wall, so I might have had some more work to do.  in the morning, I measured and whimpered a bit.  The gap was about an inch and a half.  Crap.

I got back to work, cutting a bunch of one inch strips of flooring and laid them in:


Stupid things.

once that was finished up, it was time to cut away the excess underlayment that was poking it’s way out of the flooring (see previous images for visual evidence).  This wasn't difficult, and was finished in a few minutes, but I did almost involuntary manslaughter this lizard:


Luckily, he avoided my utility knife blade and made it out alive.

During the process of cutting two sheets of plastic adhered to little balls of Styrofoam, you can imaging that little balls of Styrofoam go everywhere.  Your imagination is correct:


I vacuumed them up, along with a bunch of sawdust, and the floor was ready for some mopping, which Amanda kindly took care of:


After the mopping, it was finally time to bring our giant furniture collection back into the room.  Luckily, we have a giant foyer, or I don’t know where it all would have fit:


Just kidding.  We only have a couch and a TV stand right now.

We put the little felt “don’t scratch up that new floor that Ryan spent the last 14 hours on” pads on the legs of our furniture, dragged it into the room and relaxed.  New floor finished.


The next step in all of this is the floor trim.  I’ll get that, paint it and install it this weekend.  It will likely take less time and will likely make me less sore.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Mr. Stotzer’s Bathroom

This one is going to be super short and will cover things to be done in the second floor guest bathroom.


You may or may not be able to notice the shell shaped sink on that giant vanity.  Every bathroom sink in the house is shell shaped.  What?  Why was that ever popular?  Is my entire neighborhood filled with these things?  A new vanity and sink for said vanity can be had for less than $100 bucks.  The sink in said $100 or less vanity is shaped like a sink.  You can’t save up $300 over the course of eleven years to replace all of these sinks?  Terrible.  Another fun quirk?  Those cabinets in picture two are giant kitchen cabinets.  The same thing as the ones in our kitchen.  I guess they had a few extra and just hung them up in the bathroom?  They’re awful.

Here’s what’s going down in this room:

Paint the walls
Replace outlet/switch covers
Replace door hardware
Paint current vanity
Replace horrifying beach sink
Add hardware to vanity
Cover floor with new, but kind of crappy vinyl tiles

This room will be easy and likely be one of the last things we do.  The shower is almost brand new (bath fitters style) and everything is serviceable for now.  Plus, we never use it, so why bother spending money on it now? 

Monday, August 15, 2011

Master Lavatory

Almost finished up with the “here’s what we’re gonna do” posts.  I promise.  There’s this one, followed by another two more this week.  That’s it.  The good news is, I dragged these out long enough to paint a bunch of rooms, which is lame to write about, and get enough money to buy some flooring.  This coming weekend, I’ll be laying some laminate flooring while my knees swell to incredible proportions.

Anywho…  Here is the Master Bathroom:


Pretty big room with pretty big plans.  The room has two closets, a shower, a giant vanity/sink and a separate toiler room.  I’m glad I’m not claustrophobic, because that toilet room is tiny (see picture 2).  Oh.  Also super fun?  It’s carpeted.  Seriously.  Who carpets a bathroom?  Unreal.

Here’s what we’re hoping to do in there:

Paint the walls
Replace outlet/switch covers
Replace door hardware
Remove the carpet (ha!)
Install tile flooring

Not to mention:

Demo the closet to the right of the shower
Demo the shower
Drop a soaking tub to the right of the shower
Install glass doors in shower
Tile shower/tub surround

This room is going to be a doozy.  It will also ensure that Amanda takes a bunch of baths like a baller.  The biggest expense will be plumbing, as plumbers price fix.  I will be laying tile for the floor and the shower and the tub and it will likely take me about seventeen years.  The most fun part will be demoing the shower and closet as demoing is fun.  That will, sadly, likely take me forty-five minutes.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Sleeping Quarters

It’s been a bit since I’ve written.  I’ve been getting bent over at work recently, so I haven’t much felt like writing.  At any rate here’s the Master Bedroom:


First thing to note is how giant this room is.  It’s huge.  That first picture gives a decent idea of how long the room is and that last picture features the extra space that doesn't need to be there.  There’s like a little study or something attached to an already large bedroom without a wall separating them.  Pretty sweet.

Second thing to note is the crazy amount of outlet things in the room.  The people that had this house before us (and the owner before that) much have had three TVs in each room, along with seven phones per room.  These stupid, and ugly, outlets are everywhere.  They are a pain to deal with.

That said, here’s what’s happening in here:

Paint the walls (done!)
Replace the ceiling fan
Replace the outlet/switch covers (done!)
Replace door hardware
Remove the carpet (note the dog-made holes in that third picture)
Install hardwood floor
New curtains and hardware

The big job will obviously be the flooring.  Judging by the number of dips and weak spots you can feel walking around (I think Amanda is testing one out in that last picture), it’s going to be a big hassle.  And an expensive one, as the room is huge.

Another complaint:  The previous owners painted the walls in the house to get it ready for sale.  That’s fine.  Spending a few hundred bucks on paint to sell a place is something that I recommend.  What I don’t recommend?  Painting over blue walls with yellow paint unless you’re going to give it a few coats.  The previous owners only did one coat and thus, you can see the old blue walls through the yellow paint very clearly even in these crappy pictures.

Lazy jerks.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Mr. Stotzer’s Bedroom

One of the yet to be featured rooms on this blog is another of the three bedrooms which will serve as our guest bedroom.  I am tentatively naming it “Mr. Stotzer’s Bedroom”, as Mr. Stotzer, who is Amanda’s dad and thus, my father-in-law, is tentatively slated to be our first visitor.  He will likely be the first person to utilize the guest bedroom in its full capacity and so, he gets the tentative naming rights to the room.

That said, here’s the room (and the attached closet):


The room is the smallest of the bedrooms (and probably rooms period), but it’s perfectly suited for guest room work.  There’s room for a bed and some assorted other furniture, so no real space problems.  The attached closet is fairly enormous, especially compared to the size of the room, so that’s a nice bonus.

Another nice bonus?  That awesome light switch cover.  That there is a market for such things is just great.  I understand that peoples’ personal styles and aesthetic eyes will differ (my parents’ house has pink interior walls, despite their color denials), but come on.  That bear welcoming a hug is atrocious.

Here’s what we’re going to do to the room, after we murder the bear:

Paint the walls
Replace the unpictured ceiling fan
Replace the outlet/switch covers (with whatever the natural enemy of bears is)
Replace door hardware
Replace the carpet
New curtains and hardware
Closet organization stuff (shelves, hanger rods, etc)

Not much to do in there.  The biggest expense will likely be the carpet, but that won’t be too pricey.

Monday, August 1, 2011

I Hope the New Michael Scott Is Decent

Next up in the parade of old looking rooms and what we’d like to do to them is one of the three bedrooms.  This bedroom is the second largest one, so instead of making it a nice place for guests (of which we may have zero in our entire time living at the house), we instead are going to make it into an office of sorts.

Here’s what we’re working with:


A few fun things to note: 

Instead of purchasing closet doors, the previous owners instead have a projector screen installed above the closet molding.  Hilarious.  They did not own a projector, as far as we know.  The opposite wall, where one would place the projector, instead held two bunk beds (for two presumably rowdy and slightly obese boys) along with shelves full of participation trophies.  No projector.  Closet doors are like thirty dollars.

Secondly, please note all of the pain touch ups that the previous owners attempted.  The problem with them is that the paint they used is a more than slightly different shade of blue, making these touch up strokes something more like “look at where we patched up a hole” strokes.  Very nice.

I appreciate the effort though.  Previous homeowners of previous properties weren’t so eager with effort.

Observations aside, here’s what’s up for the office:

Paint the walls (done!)
Replace the ceiling fan
Replace outlet/switch covers
Replace door hardware
Install closet doors
Replace the carpet
New curtains and hardware
Hang a television

That’s it.  This is the room that I will go to when Amanda is watching Glee or doesn’t want to watch Braves games with me.

Next up is that other bedroom that isn’t the master bedroom.