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.

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