the first day of spring... wet and cold and gloomy in Wisconsin. After all the snow we get in the winter, I suppose I should be glad to see the rain melt much of it away, but after our warm week in Kentucky, it's rather disheartening to return home to FitzWalkerstan (I had to throw that in, y'know!) and the muddy, cold, puddly mess that is Madison in the early spring. The doom and gloom from the other side of the globe has me worried as well. Is our military going to be mired in yet another messy, drawn-out war? (Remember, they thought Afghanistan would be a quick project, and Iraq as well. We're still there, and we still don't have many friends despite attempts to "spread democracy" with military might. Anyway.) What on earth will happen with those nuclear reactors in Japan? It's terrifying.

Our lives here continue more or less as usual, though. In fact, Stuart and I were able to put these things aside for a little while this afternoon as we contemplated flooring for the basement and other matters of home improvement. Work on the basement is progressing, in fact. I'm happy to report that the jackhammering was done and over with while I was out of town with the kids, pipe has been laid, and the concrete restored in the location of our future second bathroom. (Have I mentioned that Anya finally potty-trained about a month ago? Yeah, that bathroom won't be ready a day too soon.) A frame of 2x4s has been erected where the walls will go, ductwork has been removed, and new water piping is spread across the floor in anticipation of replacing the galvanized steel pipes that have been in place since the house was built nearly 60 years ago.

So Things are Happening, and even though it's still a little while before we will be able to call it "finished!", there are some final decisions to be made. Things like "What kind of vanity do we want in the bathroom?" which sounds like an easy decision, but it's not. Before I left town, we went to the lumber supply store our contractor likes to do business with, and within 20 minutes we had something all picked out...and then we changed our minds as we were walking out of the store. We turned right around and modified the order. I'm happy with the new decision, which is a good thing since it's been ordered and is now a done deal, but I have to say, the vanity is only the beginning. Today we went to a carpet/flooring place to look at flooring for the bathroom and pick out carpet for the rest of the basement. Even when you narrow down your choices according to price, it's a little overwhelming. It's not like we're working with an interior decorator or designer, so it's hard to know where to start. We'll just go with boring neutral colors and relatively plain texture and play it safe, I guess.

The one decision I feel really good about is tiling the bathroom floor. Until today I assumed we'd go with vinyl because it's much less expensive, and also, as our contractor pointed out, a tiled floor will feel pretty cold, especially in a basement. But you know what? I hate vinyl. I hate that it looks and smells like plastic. I hate that it's trying to look like stone or tile or mosaic or what-have-you when it obviously isn't. I hate that it's terrible for the environment. I hate that it can get gouged so easily. So we're going with tile, even though it's cold (that's what rugs are for, right?) and more expensive (we're talking 50 square feet here, maximum, not such a big deal), and I feel really good about that.

Just don't ask me what color we're going to paint the walls.


Mrs. Allroro said…
Have you considered linoleum? I just learned that it is "green." I don't it cheaper than tile? Is it ugly? Just recently heard that it was green, so I thought I'd mention it.

I hear ya on choosing stuff for the house. When Daniel and I were making decisions, we worked with a designer (the community we moved into had a 3 hour consultation with a designer as part of the deal). Our options were narrowed down, but we could still make substitutions if we wanted. Anyway, what worked for us was if I had something I was gung ho about, we got it. If Daniel did, we got it. If we had differing opinions, we held up what we were considering next to what we'd already chosen and then made the choice based on that. If we still couldn't decide, we chose based on resale value. We finished our 3 hour consultation in less than one hour. (It helps that we're both generally so indecisive that if either of us actually had a preference, then the decision was made.)
Anonymous said…
Colors? How about green and yellow, the colors of the Green Bay Packers?

(I think it is time for me to duck and hide.)

Strangeite said…
I am sure the slow progress of construction work is frustrating but it could always be worse.

Last September I started remodeling our second floor (basically adding a bath and doubling the square footage), I figured I would be done by Thanksgiving. We are now into March and the work is still ongoing.

I must say that my wife has been very patient and understanding, but she is getting impatient. My plan is to start hanging drywall this weekend, so there is light at the end of the tunnel, but I now have a deeper appreciation for just hiring someone to get it done.
Andrea said…
If you want a color consultant, I'd be happy to come over and offer ideas! I love doing that, and I can make suggestions as tame or as wild as you and Stuart would enjoy! :)
Claire said…
How exciting! Marc and I became expert tile-layers/grouters when my parents built their house (talk about a lot of decisions with a whole house! ACK! Glad they're done with that project!), so if you're doing it yourselves and want some help, give us a ring! Can't wait to see the progress!
Animal said…
Linoleum - TRUE linoleum, not just a synonym for "vinyl flooring - is definitely green, as it's only made of pressed wood pulp and linseed oil. But, beware: if you ask for "linoleum tiles" at someplace like Lowe's, they'll first try to sell you vinyl instead, and then insist that there's no real difference. Most do-it-yourself stores don't actually carry linoleum, but it's readily available online, in a gazillion colors & patterns.

Also? Beware carpet in the basement. Even though our new basement is dry from the OUTSIDE, a toilet overflow will have water dripping down from upstairs. Not…kidding. This happened to us just yesterday; it's AMAZING how water will take the path of least resistance, working its way under baseboard to find seams in the plywood underlayment, wetting about a dozen ceiling tiles (thus ruining them) before coming to rest on the floor of the basement. Run a dehumidifier all you want, but wet-carpet smell in the basement will NEVER. EVER. go away. Rugs are a good option, over something that'll take even the simple risk of water coming in…like vinyl or linoleum.

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