Saturday, October 8, 2016

I feel like I'm in mourning! I am praying that my neighbors there are okay. I know they would have evacuated but several of my neighbors had very old cottages that were sitting right on the ground in the flood zone! :( How terrible! You can only get flood insurance if your house is built to current hurricane code. I want to cry!!

I remember Tybee peeps telling me that the last big hurricane to hit the island was way back in the 1800s! And that statistically, they should get hit once every 100 years! When I heard that I thought... hmmm.... wouldn't that be my luck. You know?
Corner of Naylor and Wilson.

My mom during the build. She fought ovarian cancer all this year and is in remission, thankfully.

the kids' treasure spot in the bedroom

this is Jeff and Scott's house across the street. They just renovated an old cottage and it was totally brand new in 2014. Very pretty!

Once upon a time, I shared the story on this blog of how I sold my house in Texas right before the whole neighborhood collapsed down a hill.
I never got to finish that house, only the first floor was done..
Last year when I sold the Tybee cottage, I was depressed that I never got to finish it all the way...
Recently, given the disaster of a house that I am currently working on, I briefly whined to God about this pattern. "Why can't I ever finish anything before I've got to leave it behind???" I cried. THEN I TURNED ON THE NEWS.
lots of weddings on the beach
My last trip to Tybee before I closed on the house - it was just me and my daughter.
I can't believe how little she looks here, even though it was only last year!
I almost lost my mom to cancer this year and I've spent a lot of time on my knees for better reasons.  I'd much rather be tearing out this horrible shower right now than worrying about rebuilding on Tybee. And that is saying something.

OKAY - Let's not be all negative and stuff. LOL! RIGHT! Let's believe that God is leading us on a winding path that we can only appreciate years after the fact, and can only wonder at all the near misses and catastrophes He has brought us through.

 :( and I really hope Sharon and Jeff and Scott and everybody on Tybee can overcome this. What a shock!!

Posted by Katy On 8:35 AM 3 comments READ FULL POST

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

{See Part 1 here. }
First, a happy picture:
Some of my booze (and my blue feather duster?) !! I follow all the decorators on Instagram who show pics of their stylishly dressed up bar carts full of chinoiserie and vintage stuff nobody probably uses, and then I pour myself a shot of tequila. I have to keep all the demolition dust out of my liquor so no bar cart for me :/
I have spent this week sitting in concrete rubble, rocks in my shoes, grit in my teeth and hair, desperately trying to get to the bottom of this horrible pit:

I need to get down to the plywood subfloor to move the shower drain. Everything is wet.. everything is screwed down to the STEEL FRAMING, and glued down layers of concrete board on top.

I was working with a hammer and a crowbar for the last week. The pick ax worked on the mortar pan, but i am worn out. I couldn't make headway on the black tiles at all so I am now ON STRIKE! Prince Charming will be demolishing the rest because I am DONE.
this is looking into the secret room we found behind the shower- spray painted on the subfloor was "SAUNA". We will be making it into a laundry.
At this point we are moving the wall forward to make way for a laundry room, so all the plumbing and framing has to move and we are just getting down to the subfloor. It is all wet so I think we are replacing all of the subfloor in the shower area.

Because this bathroom is the size of a house, we're not renovating the whole thing right now. Just the shower. So the other side of the bathroom will remain like this for the time being:
ROWR! I know you are jealous - the kids like to swim in the jacuzzi, we think the whole bathroom looks like the previous owner thought he was Hugh Hefner.

I'm a little pissed because I'm remembering when I begged Prince Charming to unload this dump and buy a smaller house with less problems.My wrists are swelling up and I hate this house so much i want to douse it with gasoline and set it on fire.
[EDITED TO ADD: I don't broudcast all this negativity to PC, I pull myself together before he gets home, and he doesn't read this blog. He can probably tell how I feel by the look on my face when he comes in the bathroom though! haha! I like to vent and then you guys can remind me about the real hell my life used to be and all the ways that this is nothing. I honestly appreciate it. xoxo]

Here is a picture of a pretty shower, so we can all catch our breath:

To be Continued. !!
Posted by Katy On 9:22 PM 8 comments READ FULL POST

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Once Upon a Time, I had this ugly Darth Vader shower the size of a football field:
The duct tape on the left wall is temporary - we found a hidden room behind the shower that I want to make into a laundry room!!

And Lo - it was an albatross. None of the faucets or attachments worked. I had to call a plumber just to get one shower head to spray hot and cold water (like a fire hose, you couldn't stand naked facing it unless you wanted to have your private bits stitched back onto your body.)

And it was a "steam shower", a very expensive 18-year-old piece of construction that required custom everything. 6 body sprays that my seasoned plumber had never even seen before (and he had no idea where to find parts for them).

The steam generator was up in the attic. The pipes burst in the attic one winter years ago, when the house was abandoned, and that was the reason for the first remodel. Prince Charming bought this house after they had replaced all the ceilings (but before they finished everything else, hence the good deal he got on this place. snort.)
This is why you use a freaking fiberglass shower pan instead of pouring a concrete one. !!!

I knew this bathroom had to be remodeled if there was a snowball's chance in hell of ever selling this place for what he paid for it. It was not scheduled for this year, however.

And then this week, as I was preparing to post my first "before and after" pictures on this blog of the master bedroom renovation (FINALLY! 99% finished!!!) - - the shower pan under this monstrosity "let go".

and we had flood #2. From this stupid, ugly, ridiculous, over-built, expensive, wasteful SHOWER.
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Now I am tearing this beast up, and the pan was poured concrete... which means I will need a pick ax... and I already injured myself so badly I probably need stitches (but I'm holding my thumb together with medical tape.)

A note to all the DIY geniuses on the internet who keep touting how wonderfully cheap and easy it is to build your own shower pan this way --- sure. Ok.  Rubber/vinyl "waterproofing" will not save it. Ours was built like a ton of bricks with all the precautionary layers, and it still failed. This is a total nightmare to remove. Everybody do yourself a favor and just buy a fiberglass pan, because sometimes modern technology REALLY IS BETTER THAN THE OLD (CHEAPER) WAY.

Incidentally, here is my master bedroom, after 9 months I still can't finish it because the laser cutting place is so backed up. :(
And the side patio is almost finished, but still no railings...

It's like riiiight when I think I'm close to my goal -- WHAM! another disaster. :)

Come to think of it, I think I've written that same sentence probably 100 times on this blog in the last 7 years. Hmmm....

If the bedroom ever gets done I will post the before and afters - until then, I'm hooked on Instagram.
Posted by Katy On 5:38 PM 10 comments READ FULL POST

Friday, July 22, 2016

Back when I thought I might end up in a homeless shelter (when I was newly divorced and searching for a job, and then 2 years ago after losing a job, and pretty much all the years in between because ANXIETY!!), I would look around at other people who seemed to have life easier and think "they are doing better because they are better at xyz" -- and my thinking always came back to performance.

I could not get away from the idea that if I could have worked harder... more hours... if I'd made different choices... gotten better grades in college... hadn't gotten married (anyone can tell you how being a single mom is your fault, in case you ever doubted it)... hell, if I'd chosen a different career altogether and moved to a different state... we could have avoided all this suffering.

That's the devil of personal performance: it's a slippery slope. "It's all your own fault!" you shout at yourself. Even if you worked hard at school, worked hard at your job, only had two children or less, raised them perfectly and then one day, an alligator leaps out of the lake at Disney world and eats your baby - it's your fault. (one extreme example I saw lately. You better believe a lot of secretly terrified people shouted on facebook that it was all the parents' fault because heaven forbid something like that happen to them. I call this phenomenon "the more popular method of shielding yourself from a voodoo curse".)

This past year has begun a totally new chapter of my life that looks nothing like the previous 15 years. My marriage to one of the "good ones" brought a lot of change. I don't have to be perfect in order to ensure that I am not in danger of being thrown out with the Monday trash, or handed a corporate threat or pink slip. Maybe he wishes I took a chill pill anxiety meds more frequently, but if so he never mentions it. ha!

First Anniversary! Still no hate! even though I panicked and almost fainted in the airport!
And even now I still have occasional nervous thoughts like "I better not gain weight" or "I should be cleaning the bathrooms more." We can't get free from every ounce of performance striving in this life, because it's written in our DNA. [The opposite affliction is NOTHING IS EVER MY FAULT - but that is reserved for those of us who are sociopaths and have no conscience, another genetic defect that 1 in 25 of us have. Sigh.]

We live in this world, yes, but most of us long for a change in our DNA. (Spiritual sight over physical sight, and all that.) If I only I could hang onto the right lenses consistently...
Posted by Katy On 3:43 PM 4 comments READ FULL POST

Monday, July 11, 2016

Well. I am sitting here with my concrete all torn up for the past month, still waiting for the civil engineering firm to come up with the "plans" to fix the bricks. This is not rocket science, people. I swear to God it is not. I SHOULD KNOW. The only reason I can't do this myself is because I am not registered and don't have my own stamp, so that means I had to hire these guys. SIGH.

So while we wait impatiently for these engineers to do something (I can't wait to see this bill!!) -- I've been making progress on the master bedroom.

Finally got a bed so the mattress isn't on the floor!!!!!
If you're following me on Instagram you've already seen some of this -- I ordered my drawer fronts and cabinet doors from a carpentry company (I'm tired) so the first shipment arrives tomorrow!

Okay. I am following a lot of trendy people on Instagram and Pinterest. You know, the hipster kind who swoon over very impractical, weird stuff. Like Kelly Wearstler, for example:
 OKAY. I am not a designer in Hollywood, so maybe I'm just way too out of touch. But I thought interior design was a separate category from "music video set design", or "modern art installation" ? I thought interior design was for people to live in.

Case in point: these photos going around the internet, as far as kitchen design trends:

"Antique rugs in the kitchen".. the latest craze. Like all the trends, this is very pretty and I like the look of it and all that. The issue is that I would NEVER purchase a precious, antique, expensive $$$$$ rug to put in the middle of my KITCHEN. I have 4 kids. I need a hose with a floor drain in there, not a precious rug! Am I the only one??
My kitchen rugs get disgusting and I have to take them out back on the patio and use the hose and a scrub brush on them, and then let them dry in the scorching Carolina sun.

I think I'm going to have to take a pass on high style, unfortunately. I actually feel a little rage when I look at these kitchens because I'm imagining my kids getting into the peanut butter and jelly. My kids are 9-13 years old so it's not like I have toddlers. (But really, I DO.)

I need to be able to relax in my house. Even if it takes valium and a little Slivovitz.

Posted by Katy On 9:23 PM 3 comments READ FULL POST

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

So the jackhammering came to a full.stop. because we discovered a bigger problem:

 the bricks were actually just stacked on top of the (improperly poured) concrete patios/porches. So not ONLY does the water drain up against the house, rot all the exterior doors, and can't be corrected without jackhammering up ALL OF THEM...

But now the bricks might fall off the house, so we had to stop and call a civil engineering firm to make a house call (that costs $500 here in Columbia, in case you were wondering, and does not include all the reports/plans and recommendations).

Today I had 3 of the contractors, 3 engineers, and 3 extra neighborhood kids here. While 6 kids swam off my dock (and I had to periodically shout at them to stop doing dangerous or destructive crap - seriously. wth is wrong with boys?), the crew of people here discussed the fate of my stupid ugly brick and patios.

Prince Charming is usually the calm one who does not worry about stuff. Strangely there has been a role reversal on this one. He's freaking out about the money and I'm like -- whatever. I built a beach house with less money than this, AND I lost my job and had to sell it. Frankly, I've been through the worst with A LOT CUTER HOUSE, so my senses are completely dulled now.

Rip all the bricks off the house or don't -  what do I care? They're all ugly and deserve to be ground up into parking gravel anyway. pffft. 

Babysitting kinda puts me in a bad mood. I was thinking I need to go back to work but it seems so impossible with everything going on right now. Oh and -- still plugging away on that closet. I post pics on instagram for that one. I'll do a "before and after post" when it's finished.  (@katmhaddad)
Posted by Katy On 8:01 PM 7 comments READ FULL POST

Friday, June 3, 2016

I want you to close your eyes and imagine yourself, as a person with plenty of money (note: not enough to live in California but enough to live like a king anywhere else.) and a strong desire to live on a beautiful lake. Pretend also that you are thinking of starting a kick-ass orphanage so you'll need a very large house, a dock, and multiple areas for TV watching etc. (JUST PRETEND OKAY??)  YOU, my friend, are on the hunt for a large luxury home on beautiful water, in the heat of the deep South. You like palm trees, jet skis, mint juleps, magnolias, and you don't mind large roaches. You are currently stuck in some God forsaken horrible climate like Chicago, and you are chomping at the bit to move here. Got it?
You open up Zillow and start looking at listings. When you pull up the interior photos, this is what you see:

and I don't mean to focus on just one house -- there are a bunch like this.

Are you feeling the dream slip away just a little bit? Are you disappointed? Were you hoping for something a little more "Sarah Richardson"?  And you walked into Miami Vice instead? Does this look like something you'd happily pay close to a million dollars for? Yes I realize that these are not California prices, but we're talking about the South here. In this price range you expect a lot.

In my efforts to plan this renovation, I have been checking out my theoretical "competition" by cruising Zillow and looking at pictures of million-dollar-lake-homes. Just to get the lay of the land, if you will.  Yes, the economy has been crap for a long time and there simply aren't that many buyers in this price range. So you have to work even harder to sell luxury real estate.  After searching MLS listings for a week, I am feeling both depressed and also hopeful about my chances at burning the comps.

{One night as I was flipping through photos of yet another 900k house on nice water - Prince Charming was sitting beside me and we saw a photo of a den with a wet bar. Someone had tried to force a mini fridge to fit inside an off-the-rack cabinet, but it was too deep so they turned it sideways and cut a hole in the side of the cabinet... and took the knob off the front door. It was awesome and terrible at the same time and I was laughing so hard I couldn't breathe. PC said "that could be us if we had slightly less awareness. It's very MacGuyver". What he meant to say is that he would totally do something like that if I wasn't here to stop him. ;)}
Posted by Katy On 10:35 AM 3 comments READ FULL POST

Friday, May 20, 2016

I know that I am the last person on earth to join Instagram but honestly - I don't love facebook so why would I jump on yet another sharing platform?  The thing is though, Instagram seems a lot easier to use for sharing photos of works-in-progress without having to write a whole blog post about it.
I am thinking of using Instagram to document the jackhammering and general construction chaos around here, since this place was mostly my nuerotic freak-out journal. Which I am sure that i will still need, never fear. :)
So far I like it better than facebook. Maybe Facebook and Twitter are for people who like to chat a lot (or get into online food fights), and Pinterest and Instagram are for the more visual? I like that I can follow all my arty friends and see their paintings and such, and also follow my favorite magazines... it's like Pinterest, only more personal. ? What do you think, and if you're on Instagram (and especially if you make art!!) say hello. We'll see how this goes.

Also, the jackhammering crew never actually showed up this week (like they said they would - LOL!)  so I have to see what's up with that. Still building a closet, and getting ready for my first anniversary trip with Prince Charming - we're going to the Dominican and I'm excited.

And here are my boards I threw together - I sent these to some local real estate experts to determine if my renovation plans would fly here. There aren't any houses like this on this lake, and I was worried that I was doing something that wouldn't be popular. Imagine that all the houses here are done in a very "Tuscan country estate" vibe, with loads of heavy dark wood and earthy stone and brick. I was trying to figure out if there was a market for my Frenchy-European-coastal-living vibe. ;)

I guess we're going to find out!

Posted by Katy On 7:39 PM 5 comments READ FULL POST

Thursday, May 12, 2016

As if I have time for a hobby right?

wine making supplies (and granite that I want to rip out.)

Thankfully brewing wine in my bathtub doesn't actually require lots of work.

I took my herd of minions to the strawberry farm, where I ordered them to Pick Berries!! For Mommy's Wine Making!! They decided this was fun so my plan worked.
I do let them eat some of the berries of course. I have finally found a practical use for 4 pre-teens. (Other than lying in front of the TV and trashing the kitchen 8 times per day)
Next I will be taking my minions to the blueberry farm. Because I will make ALL THE FLAVORS!

Using a cooler for the "fermentation tank" was the easiest way for us to make multiple gallons without buying more buckets.

And since our creepy black bathtub is not used for anything but storage of paint supplies right now, AND it gets a lot of warm sunlight for toasty yeast production, it makes a good fermentation area.
After 5 days of fermenting, we tried to use the hydrometer to measure the alcohol but according to our reading (we might have screwed this up), we had rocket fuel so we racked it quickly:

It looked really cloudy at first but after 3 weeks:
it looks clear and we are getting ready to rack again.

I hope it works out. FINGERS CROSSED!
Posted by Katy On 12:38 PM 2 comments READ FULL POST

About Me

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For many years I was a mechanical engineer by day, a house renovator by night, and a single mom. I previously built a tiny house on Tybee Island that I sold in 2015. Then I lost my day job, met Prince Charming, and now work full time demolishing (fixing) his lake house. ;) Stop by for the house stuff, stay for the never-ending disasters, pianos falling out of the sky, floods, threats of financial ruin, & panic attacks. It's like house flipping meets the zombie apocalypse! with lots of kids!

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