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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Busy Little Bees

We've been busy little bees lately!

At work...


At Play...

At the fair...

At the house...

Speaking of the house... A lot has happened since my last house related post.

We tore out a concrete pad behind the house.  Which brought up a common conversation in our relationship that usually goes something like this:

Nurse: "So we have to break up all the cement?"
Nerd: "It's concrete."
Nurse: "Ok.. whatever, same thing."
Nerd: "No, not the same thing.  This is concrete, not cement. Concrete has aggregate in it, you know that."
Nurse: "ok fine, concrete!"

We have probably had the same conversation a thousand times.   Maybe for him it would be the difference between a vein and an artery.... then again, I'm pretty sure he knows the difference.  I guess that's why he's the nerd and I'm not! :-)

But I digress, see that door behind Michael?  That door is gone now.  It led into the kitchen.  We wanted to get rid of it so that we would have more cabinet space in the kitchen.  Plus, I didn't really want future kiddos running through the kitchen from outside with river juices dripping off of them. 
Boy was that a day of hard work.  We were exhausted!

Since the electrical work and plumbing was finished, we could finally re-insulate the exterior walls.   We decided to do a layer of spray foam insulation and then fill the rest of the wall depth with blown-in insulation.  Hopefully, it will make for a very energy efficient home.

And, because the insulation was installed,  we got to start hanging drywall !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 First we did all the ceilings.

We worked till the wee hours... you know, like 9:30pm. 

Then we started on the walls.

 Thanks to my Aunt Janet who helped photo-document the day so I didn't have to drop my drill to pick up a camera.

Also thanks to all the family that came to help out! 

We got a lot done, had a lot of fun, and laughed a lot.  There was a lot of screw-related humor that I'm not proud of... it got pretty bad (screw this, screw that, screw it, screwed up, screwy, screw ball.  And yes, we laughed pretty hard about "screwing in the closet".  We even briefly considered making it the blog post title, but, hey, this is a family blog.  We're keeping it clean here people.)
screwing in the closet

That's that! Once the walls are mudded and taped, I can start painting.  What?!!?! That's crazy! And awesome!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

How I Work Night Shift and Love My Life

 I get asked pretty frequently about working night shift.  I think people are really curious since it is such a different lifestyle than most people live.

I mean look at this!
Doesn't it look glamorous?!  Apparently it's going to be a new show on NBC this fall.  Betcha I won't like it.  Don't even get me started about the doctor in jeans and a v-neck with the IV pole.  I won't be able to stop. 

Anyway, Night Shift.  Since I get so many question from people, I thought I would blog about some of the night shift FAQs which are: When do you sleep?  Do you switch back and forth?  When do you eat?  Is it is hard on your marriage?  When are you going to switch to day shift? 

First, let me start out by saying that I love working night shift!  Are you surprised?  For some night shifters, they love it all their life.  For others, it is a season that is very difficult to get used to so they switch as soon as they get the opportunity.  While I would say it is a season for me, its a season I am really enjoying.  Michael and I have a fairly uncomplicated life right now.  It's just us two, no dog, no kids.  A big house renovation,  but that is about it! Someday that will change, and so too, maybe, will my perspective on working night shift.  But for now, I love it.

But it is a very foreign concept for most people so I hope to give you a little insight into the life of a nightshifter.


When do you sleep?

There are two main strategies for switching to a night shift schedule.  

Strategy #1: This is the strategy I use most often for switching from sleeping at night to sleeping during the day.  What I do is I stay up as late as I possibly can (typically about 4am) and then sleep during the day.  Pretty simple.  And the nice thing about this strategy is that I can be pretty productive.  So I cook, clean, bake, blog, research/shop for house stuff, do laundry, exercise, craft, etc.. Sometimes I really look forward to that time.

Strategy #2: In this strategy, in order to switch to a night shift schedule, all I do is take a nap.  Usually in the afternoon before I work nights, I just take a couple hour nap.  This is probably the most common strategy.  You wouldn't guess it, but I typically feel the best when I do this.  It seems to make for an easier transition.  It is also nice if I have things I need to do in the morning.

Do you switch back and forth?

Yes, because I am a nurse at a hospital I get the glorious opportunity to work 12 hour shifts.  That means I get to work 3 days a week and still be full time.  So with anywhere between 3 days off in a row to up to 5, it gives me plenty of time to switch my sleep schedule back to normal.  To switch back to a normal sleep schedule, commonly, most night shifters (including myself) will sleep for a couple of hours when they get home from work -till about noon- and then wake up and go about the day.  Then sleep at night.   It works pretty well most of the time. (Except for this morning where I woke up at 5:30am thinking about this blog post). 

Things that help the transition: Room darkening shades over the window, melatonin, and benadryl!

When do you eat?

I just kind of eat when I am hungry.  When I am on a night schedule, I eat dinner with Michael when he gets home from work in the evening, I eat lunch at around 2am, and I eat a light breakfast at around 5:30 or 6am. 

Is it hard on our marriage? 

Overall, I would say no. Actually, night shift works pretty well for us.  Michael usually gets home from work at around 4:30pm which gives us two quality hours to catch up with each other before I have to leave for work around 6:30pm. We have dinner, I hear about his day, I tell him about my night, we talk about the house, etc.. Michael gets the best of my day, instead of, if I worked day shift, the exhausted worked-all-day Laura.  

When are you going to switch to day shift?

I got this questions a lot from family and friends when I  first started working nights. Probably because, I was so vocal about wanting to work days, and NOT wanting to work nights.  But it didn't take long for me to be hooked on night shift.

 There are so many things I love about working nights
1. You get paid more
 Holla for shift differential!

2. It is less stressful than working day shift
 Less doctors, less orders, less procedures, less drama.... most of the time. :-)

3. I get evenings with my family
This is particularly a plus on holidays.  When I work a holiday, I usually don't have to miss out since I always have a couple of good hours before I go into work to celebrate.

3. I get to work and bond with some amazing people
Since night shift is typically less chaotic and stressful than day shift, we really get the opportunity to bond with our fellow night shifters.  We work hard, but we also laugh, cry, vent, and share life.  I truly have never worked with a better group of people. 
Just some of the wonderful people I work with

So that's the jist of things! If you have other questions or things you are curious about, feel free to ask me!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Laying It All Out

As one of the areas in our house gets prettier...

another area gets pretty ugly.

As you can see in the first picture, we got our wood flooring installed.  Last week the guys from Hoosier Hardwoods came in to patch the floors where we had taken down walls.

They did a great job.  Once the floor is all sanded and re-stained, things will really start to look seamless. 

Since I mentioned taking down walls, I realize it might be hard to visualize what walls were taken down, what walls were moved, and what were bumped out.  So let's talk layout.

Here's our house's layout Before:

1.)Living Area: The wall between the kitchen, dining, and living room came down in order to open up the spaces.  Our biggest goal for our home is to use it to host people and parties.  We hope that the new layout in our living area will allow us to do more of both.  Plus we are better able to enjoy the view of the river without those pesky 'ol walls in the way. 
2.)Master Bathroom: The bathroom has been transformed into a larger room by taking out the many closets around it.  Previously, the bathroom opened to the hallway.  But we decided it was important to us to have our master bedroom on the main floor.  So we relocated the entrance to the bathroom from the hall to the master bedroom to make it a proper master suite. Our new bathroom allows us enough room for a shower, tub, and double vanity.
3.)Master Bedroom & Closet: What was the 2nd bedroom is now becoming the new master bedroom in order for us to be able to have it connected to the new master bathroom. To make it larger, we took the old master bedroom closet and added it to our new bedroom square footage.  It still is probably a small master bedroom by today's standards, but we are sure it will suit our needs just fine.  We also took up room in the old master bedroom to establish a master walk-in closet for ourselves. 
4.)Foyer: Back out in the living space, we wanted the foyer to feel a little more open so we widened the entrance from the foyer to the living room.  Someday we plan to open up the stairway and have a nice exposed banister which will also help open up the foyer to make it feel larger. But that is down the road once we finish the 2nd floor. 
5.)Fireplace: We are removing a window the the left of the fireplace.  We decided to do this in order to create more symmetry around the fireplace.  Plus someday, I would really like to install built-in book shelves around the fireplace. 

Here's the Before again:
 As you can see in the after, the kitchen is all opened up to the living space (you might remember the beam we installed).  The bathroom is now nice and wide - 9x9ish.  The master bedroom has now grown as well and our master closet has been formed.  Which then creates a smaller office/future nursery.  (Future being the key word there.  Sorry Mom!)  Here's another view for the more technical minded reader out there:


Oh and the yellow box?  That is a future project too.  We plan to add on a larger garage and convert the old one car garage to a mudroom and half bath.  To help you visualize, I have come up with a very sophisticated rendering via Microsoft Paint!  It also includes the front porch we would like to add.  You know, just a little weekend project or two for a later date.  :-)

 At this point you are probably thinking...."Geez, why didn't they just scrap the whole house and just build?"

Yep! That question still goes through my head.  But really, I wouldn't have it any other way.  Going through this process has been so much fun.  Michael and I have enjoyed the challenge of having to work with what we got, but still dream a little bigger.  Plus, there is no way we would be able to get our hands in there as much as we have with this house.  We have so many stories, already! I can picture us someday, sitting by our fireplace, gazing out at the river and laughing about all the walnuts we found, or about how bad the basement use to smell (hopefully past tense!).  That, to me, has become so valuable, more valuable than any new foundation ever could be.  Because, lets face it, that's basically the only thing we haven't touched. 

I've learned its good to keep a good sense of humor through a renovation.  When we first set out on this journey, my Uncle Steve (who, if you remember, is doing the majority of the work on our house) told me I had to watch the movie "money pit".  I'm not sure if I completely see the similarities, but maybe I'll let you be the judge. 

"Two weeks!" (If you don't know what that means, then you haven't seen the movie)