October 29

Happy Birthday to Jennie! I won't disclose her age, but it rhymes with "dirty-jive". hehehe

We are celebrating her birthday tonight with our first ever, baby-less dinner date (Grammy & Grampy volunteered to babysit for the duration of the meal). This will be the first time in 8 months where we are not passing back and forth a fussy Daphne while the other "wolfs" down their meal as quickly as humanly possible. I forgot what chewing your food feels like... it seems we are now conditioned to inhale food and move on. Don't get me wrong, we would not trade Daphne for anything in the world, but she is a high maintenance, little princess (and has me wrapped around her finger).

Finally, my guest bathroom tiling project is finished! Today I attached the baseboards with a high-pressure finishing-nail gun and re-seated the toilet on the closet flange with a new wax ring. Can you believe it took me a whopping 6 weeks to tile my 70 square foot guest bathroom? Not too bad, eh? The time to complete the project should not be terribly shocking since I work full time and also assist in caring for 8-month old baby Daphne. I promise to post photos soon.

Jennie, Daphne, and my mother-in-law are still out shopping for bargains and running errands.

Our new deck is about 70% completed. It is starting to resemble a deck again! Photos before the weekend, honest Abe!

Until tomorrow,
Dave T.


October 27

Jennie and I woke up Saturday morning to the cooing (and gibberish talking) of Daphne over the baby monitor. As we carefully peeked into her room, Daphne was staring into her mirror and having a fun-filled conversation with herself. She was having a great time telling the reflection in the mirror all about her latest adventures!

Jennie's parents babysat Daphne at our house on Saturday night. We attended our second Nashville Predators game of the season and were barely treated with a victory. While we were away, Daphne was pulling up on furniture and used her Bumbo seat to perfect and practice her stance.

Then, Sunday morning started out with a loud crash and bang! Daphne finally pulled down her mobile... we knew it would be any day now. Luckily, she was not hurt and the mobile did not get damaged. Sitting up in her crib, we caught Daphne chewing on the mobile's stuffed animals as we entered her room.

Jennie sealed the grout twice in our guest bathroom yesterday. I should be ready to finish up the baseboards and re-install our toilet no later than this Wednesday.

Have a great Monday!

Until tomorrow,
Dave T.


October 26

Only a few days until Jennie's birthday!

A busy weekend has come and nearly gone. More to come tomorrow...

Some new photos from this weekend:

Waving to the camera...

Mommy & Daphne

Choosing a TV program at Grammy's house

Until tomorrow,
Dave T.


October 23

Happy Anniversary to me! Jennie and I are celebrating our 135th marriage anniversary today... yes, that's in months and not years. It may be a little unorthodox, but it gives us something to look forward to each month.

After grouting the guest bathroom floor yesterday afternoon, Jennie and I received our annual flu shot at a nearby clinic. Hopefully, (if all goes well) we will christen our guest bathroom's toilet on a freshly tiled floor this weekend. Jennie plans on sealing the grout tomorrow night so I can reattach the baseboard trim Saturday and re-seat the toilet. While I never imagined this project would take 5 1/2 weeks, it gives me great satisfaction to walk barefooted over fresh tile that I carefully measured myself...

Our new deck is starting to take shape! The framework is about 80% done and the twin landings are still being designed. I imagine this time next week we will be grilling wienies in style on our new deck. I will be sure to post a photo or two of the completed bathroom and deck.

Here are some new photos for your viewing pleasure:

Until tomorrow,
Dave T.


October 20

Each night, Daphne practices walking around the living room while holding onto my hands. I believe her record is 35 steps before falling to her bottom. She will be running around the house before I can blink...

Today began the deconstruction of my 10 year old deck. Don (an ex-coworker of mine) and Buck (his buddy) are doing a great job. They have sorted all the new boards and should begin the new framework tomorrow. Jennie and I are excited about the new deck -- it will be bigger, stronger, and assembled better than the original.

I am hoping to be finished with our guest bathroom floor this Wednesday (my next day off from work). All I have to do is grout, replace the trim, and re-seat the toilet. All in a day's work!

Here are some new photos for your enjoyment:

Until tomorrow,
Dave T.


October 18

Daphne tested out her vocals today more than ever (screeching, howling, talking gibberish -- I swear she said, "Daddy" several times). She grunts a powerfully cute motorcycle "vroom vroom" noise during her feedings now (of course, Mommy believes it to be a possible bowel movement). This weekend, Daphne officially moved into size 3 diapers and tips the scales at 16 pounds and a few ounces.

New trick: Daphne loves when you stand behind her, hold her hands, and help her walk. She's good for at least 10 - 12 steps before she plops down to the floor on her bottom...

Here are some new photos of our little pumpkin:

Until tomorrow,
Dave T.


October 15

Great news! Our water pressure issue was resolved yesterday by a local plumber friend of my father-in-law. Now, the water explodes out of the spigots with tremendous force and taking a shower no longer takes forever to rinse off the soapy suds. Apparently, our water pressure valve at the street had been turned down. While I know how to turn the water on and off out at the meter, I'm not sure how to adjust the water valve to increase the pressure. It has a flat head screw on top (which I previously tried turning both directions), but Jennie said the plumber used a ratchet and another tool for his task.

I have finished setting all of the cut tiles in my guest bathroom and I also installed the new closet flange. Once I grout the floor, replace the quarter round trim, and re-seat the toilet, I will be completely finished!

Today, Jennie and I exercised our civic duty by early voting at our town's civic auditorium.

Here are some new photos of Daphne and our guest bathroom progress:

Daphne loves her Daddy

Just a swingin'...

The new poop chute has been secured.

Until tomorrow,
Dave T.


October 13

The Predators posted a victory tonight against the Chicago Black Hawks in a shootout, 3 to 2. Unfortunately, team captain Jason Arnott and defenseman Kevin Klein left the game with undisclosed injuries. The injury bug shows no mercy...

A former co-worker of mine (perfectionist) and his contractor buddy (creative, experienced) will be rebuilding our deck beginning next week. I received the estimate a few weeks ago and added myself to his busy queue. Some of the highlights include: a custom-made, wooden baby gate at the top of the stairs, twin staircase landings, extra supports, and all boards will be screwed together (not nailed). Jennie and I have always felt our existing deck was poorly constructed and thrown together quickly by a bunch of inexperienced buffoons. This splurge will make us appreciate the house for years to come.

Later this week, a plumber (friend of my father-in-law) will attempt to troubleshoot our decreasing water pressure. Over the past 10 years or so, our water pressure has ever so slightly diminished. I tried flushing our water heater last weekend, but it was not the culprit. Hopefully, the issue can be resolved without digging up our yard between the water main and the water pipe entry under our house.

As promised, here are some photos from our Fall Creek Falls camping trip a week ago:

Ella holding a sleepy Daphne

Let's go for a hike!

Enjoying the evening campfire

Until tomorrow,
Dave T.


October 12

Happy Columbus Day! 516 years ago on this day, Columbus arrived in the Americas.

Daphne has a new trick. She pulls herself up to a wobbly, standing position, giggles in wide-eyed amazement, and falls to her tush. Next, she flaps her arms up and down, opens her mouth to a wide smile, and bounces on her behind while looking for approval. Finally, she targets another object and begins her trick again...

I finished all 29 tile cuts today. Yeah! On my first pass, 24 of the 29 cuts fit perfectly (within 1/32nd of an inch). I measured again and re-cut the final 5 tiles. All in all, six hours were consumed today measuring and using the tile saw. It's all a piece of cake from here on out (adding the closet flange, applying grout, replacing the trim, and reattaching the toilet).

Here are some photos (keep in mind I have not yet attached the freshly cut tiles to the floor with thinset mortar):

It is starting to resemble a floor again!

The toilet will be flushing soon...

Soon, I will choose a wooden transition to screw down between the tile and carpet.

Until tomorrow,
Dave T.


October 11

Jennie, Daphne, and I hiked four miles yesterday morning around the Bryant Grove Day Loop in Long Hunter State Park.

Last night, Jennie and I attended the Predators' home opener and were treated with a victory over the Dallas Stars.

I will post some tile progress photos tonight... I hope to be finished cutting tile this afternoon (assuming no interruptions).

Daphne loves hockey...

Predators win their home opener!

Until tomorrow,
Dave T.


October 8

Happy hump day! Tomorrow, the 91st NHL season begins in North America. Needless to say, I am giddy with excitement! The Nashville Predators begin their regular season schedule Friday night in St.Louis and the home opener against Dallas faces off Saturday night at 7pm. Yep, Jennie and I will be there cheering loudly (her parents are baby sitting little Daphne).

Speaking of Daphne, our wiggle worm continues to master crawling, pull herself up on furniture, and tries to pick up anything and everything. If it is within her reach, she must put it in her mouth...

I spent a few hours today laying tile, recording additional measurements, and preparing for the upcoming 29 tile cuts (the peripheral, border tiles).

Here are some new photos of Daphne crawling around the computer room today:

Until tomorrow,
Dave T.


October 6

Over the weekend, Daphne experienced Fall Creek Falls hiking firsthand in Mommy's baby carrier. Jennie wore baby Daphne (papoose style) from the nature center, across the swinging cable bridge, and up to the falls overlook. For the second half of the journey, Daphne slept on my back like a little angel.

In a rush to get camping, I forgot to take my camera (oops!). Luckily, our friends (Bill, Erica, and their daughter, Ella) took numerous digital camera photos of our weekend activities. As soon as I get a copy of the photos, I will post a few.

Nothing beats sitting around the camp fire and roasting marshmallows! I must confess that Jennie, Daphne, and I slept at the Fall Creek Falls lodge (a decent state park hotel). We thought it might be too challenging to "rough it" in our Coleman tent with a seven month old poop monster. So, long story short, we visited our friends' campsite until bed time and moseyed back to our room at the lodge.

Daphne cried every one and a half to two hours the first night (Friday) in the lodge's crib, but slept extremely well the second night (Saturday). We kept her bundled up in lots of layers to stay warm.

My tiling progress stands at 50%. As I have no new pictures of Daphne, I decided to share some tile project photos.

First step: Shut off the water to the toilet, flush remaining water, use a wet-vac to remove all water from toilet bowl. Remove two toilet base screws -- the nuts should only be hand tight to avoid porcelain breakage. Using your knees to lift (and not your back), raise the toilet (breaking the wax ring seal) and sit it on a heavy duty garbage bag (in another room). Remove bathroom door from hinges and place it in another room of your house. Estimated time: 30 minutes

Second step: Use a pry bar and spackle tool to remove the quarter round trim along the baseboard. Next, I removed all of the old vinyl flooring and disposed of it. Estimated time: 1 1/2 hours

Third step: Thoroughly vacuum subfloor, scrape away any vinyl glue (if floor is uneven), and (OPTIONAL) apply a diluted spray of grapefruit seed extract to kill any mold around old closet flange. I used 50 drops of extract to 8 oz of water. Estimated time: 1 1/2 hours

Under the house, I used my PVC saw tool to cut through the 3" PVC toilet waste pipe just below the PVC coupling. I had to do this to remove the old, rusted closet flange. Why do contractors feel compelled to use cheap, metal closet flanges? Yuck!
Estimated time: 1 hour

Fourth step: Measure, measure, measure! Determine the best way to lay the 3' x 5' sheets of Hardi-Backer cement board. I was able to score three sheets and make all my cuts in one day. Estimated time: 6 to 8 hours

Fifth step: Apply a very thin layer of mastic (thinset mortar) to the subfloor, place a sheet of cement board to the floor and screw it down using Hardi-Screws. Use mesh Hardi-Tape to connect each board. Estimated time: 2 to 3 hours

Sixth step: Apply an average amount of mastic to cement board, screed the thinset with your trowel, and lay your tile (press down with all your might and use your level constantly). For this project, I am using 3/16" rubber spacers. Estimated time: 4 to 6 hours

I still have to complete steps seven through ten (another 30 man hours, at least). These steps include cutting tile, replacing the toilet and closet flange, grouting, and replacing the baseboard trim. Tune in every few days to see my progress. I hope I have not bored you with this adventure!

Here are some photos for you visual folks:

Laying tile requires patience and precision...

Carefully level each tile in screeded, thinset mortar.

Here's where the toilet goes! Notice how the cement board is screwed down to the subfloor? The closet flange will rest comfortably on top of the cut tile.

Until tomorrow,
Dave T.


October 3

Chilly weather is here again! Morning temperatures have been dipping down to the low 40's all week, but our afternoons are still reasonably pleasant in the high 70's.

Unfortunately, this diverse swing in temperature wreaks havoc on Daphne's bedroom (morning shade, afternoon sun, and poorly insulated / ventilated by the builder). While the rest of the house is a comfortable 72 degrees, her bedroom measures five or more degrees cooler. The opposite occurs each afternoon as well (the rest of our house simmers at 75 degrees and Daphne's bedroom is a toasty 80 degrees).

As I left for work this morning, Daphne was sitting up (Indian-style with legs crossed) in her crib and talking to herself in her little mirror. She was saying nothing more than gibberish, but it is still cute to watch. She gets so excited and flaps her arms up and down like a pteradactyl...

Jennie, Daphne, and I plan on visiting Fall Creek Falls this weekend for some outdoor activity, seeing friends, and eating S'mores around a campfire. I will take lots of pictures!

Involved in a massive project at work, I have been traveling (lightly) the last couple of weeks. When it settles down, my blogging should resume at a normal pace.

LINK OF THE DAY: A really cool timepiece...

Until tomorrow,
Dave T.