The most exciting thing for me lately has been our new door bell. This is no ordinary door bell. How could an ordinary door bell be all that exciting, anyway? No, this is a unique and totally awesome DIY door bell. And it’s a door bell with a backstory that involves a dilapidated fence, new gates, and a fruitless search for an old-fashioned farm bell.
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December was interesting. Wifey was in hospital for a planned surgery. It was supposed to be 3-5 days for recovery before being discharged home. It turned into two surgeries, fifteen days in hospital, and two weeks at her parents’ before coming home. Thankfully she was discharged before Christmas, so we didn’t have to have Christmas dinner in the Tucson Medical Center cafeteria. We expect her home this weekend; she’s doing well and we’re excited to have her back in the house!

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I stained our concrete floor with fertilizer. On purpose.

Andrea and I think it looks awesome. It was also absurdly cheap and easy to do. So absurdly cheap and easy, it was harder to write this blog post than stain the floor. Okay, maybe that’s because I am actually not a fan of writing blog posts and uploading pictures, and I have more fun installing toilets than using a computer, but still… absurdly cheap and easy.

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The most exciting thing lately has been the shower. Over the last two weeks our tile setter has been working hard and doing a beautiful job tiling our shower.

Andrea and I decided to invest a lot of our savings from building our bathroom DIY into some nice finishes. Such as expensive, high-end tile. We found out later that the tile we picked out is truly an exclusive item: the factory in Italy went out of business, and we bought the last seven boxes of tile available anywhere.

Since we had a lot invested in the tile, finding a good tile setter was critical for us. We needed a pro who knew how to properly waterproof the shower. If the shower were to leak, our pretty and very expensive tile would have to be torn out to effect a repair. Our tile is irreplaceable, so a shower failure is not an option. We want this shower to outlast us.

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Back at the end of September we had the drywall done. It was a radical transformation of the inside. It was also something of an experience to see all my labor at electrical and plumbing concealed for the next fifty years (hopefully).


The drywallers did an excellent job.

The best part: I didn’t have to do it! Doing this addition mostly DIY taught me a lot about the value of labor. I actually enjoy doing drywall, but it is a very time-consuming process for me and it was totally worth it to have a crew come in and hang everything in one day, then tape everything in one day, then spend a few hours texturing over two or three days. If I had done it, it would have taken weeks.

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We passed a whole bunch of inspections over the past few days, yay! We’ve now passed all our inspections pre-drywall and are now on the downhill slope. We decided to hire out the drywall and tile, since both can be quite time-consuming and the cost savings over DIY are not that much relative to, say, plumbing.

Presently I am installing batt insulation in the ceiling; I have to be done by Friday because that’s when the drywallers come in. I’ve only got the evenings to work, though; hopefully I can work fast when it’s 8pm and I’ve already spent all day in the office or chasing kids at home.

Also working on the greywater line. It involves digging a lot of trenches. The ground is really hard so it is conducive to very big and very sore muscles. I hired Caleb’s brother Daniel to do most of the digging so I could just lay the pipe. He gets the muscles and I get black ABS cement on my hands.