Updates, Bathroom Renovation … and the Demolition Playlist!

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My tornado memoir – “Twisted” was released on 05/22/12! click here for more details, or to purchase!
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Whew. It’s been a crazy few days. If you’ve been following on Twitter, you know the gist of it, but for the rest of you…

.. so it turns out, bathroom was damaged. We didn’t know, at the point the adjuster came by, but it doesn’t really matter – we blew past our coverage $30k in damages ago, so it’s a moot issue. Basically, the window dislodged – probably from the trees and crap that had gotten tossed between us and the neighbor on that side – and there’s a lot of water damage.

The guy who owned the house before us didn’t do the best job of … anything, really. House hasn’t had a permit pulled in over 30 years! So, after the storm, the window is sort of sagging – there’s about 1/2″ gap above it, straight out to the outside. Ew. That could explain some of the nasty bugs that have been getting in! Had we been living here / SHOWERING here, we might have noticed it earlier, but… like I said, moot point. We’d been planning to redo the bathroom anyway, so it’s not a HUGE catastrophe. We weren’t planning on having to make all these decisions / put out the money now, but… we just want it done. When the contractors are done in here, I want them done. I want all of the transitional crap, destruction, bare walls, and CHANGE done. I can’t see waking up ANYTIME soon and saying “hey… let’s tackle the bathroom now!”. We decided we need to just rip the bandaid off. Suck it up, get it all done. That’s what credit cards are for, right?

We picked out the new tiles for the bath/floor, and all of the stuff to do it. Then, the adventure began!

First off, I’ve got to be honest. I’m past the reaches of my ability to deal with people in my house. Nothing against the contractors, they’re all very nice… I’m just sick of the steady stream of people and activity in my house. I’m sick of not having a routine, I’m sick at being at the mercy of other peoples’ schedules… really just sick of it all. It’s been almost 6 weeks since the tornado now, and – aside from having a roof – I don’t feel much further forth than I did 2 DAYS after the tornado. Sigh.

So I decided to demolish my bathroom. By myself. Unsupervised.

Yesterday I just decided that I had enough with all of the waiting. Forget us trying to keep my Asperger’s in check, I’m Type A, damn it! This whole ordeal… I just can’t even put into words how frustrating it’s been. I have a lot of knowledge and skills in many areas, home renovation is NOT one of them. It’s been incredibly horrible to feel like I’ve had my hands tied for this long.

So first I pulled all the wall trim down. Easy enough. Took out the glass/mirrored shower door that I’ve always HATED. VICTORY!! Pulled the storage cabinet down. Done. Dismantled and pulled out the built-in medicine cabinet, pulled off the baseboard, pulled down the wallpaper…. then hit THE GOOGLE.

The Google taught me how to take out bathroom tiles… so I did. Grueling work, I found out – my delts are going to be amazing after all of that! So, I took all of the shower tile out, and eagerly awaited my husband’s return home after the work day – I was SO proud of myself! I let him watch as I took out the false header that ran under the over-shower storage area – the bathroom feels SO much bigger, and I felt pretty badass smacking it around with a sledgehammer.

It was all good, aside from the fact that the water damage was worse than expected, and the window sil and insulation was all wet and moldy. So… hubby informed me that we’d need to take the shower walls and insulation out. More stuff I’d never done before, and another quick peek at Google.

Well.. I just finished the demolition. I’ve hauled out all of the tiles, cleaned out the tub, and swept all the surfaces – ALL by myself. I’ve barely ever even held a hammer before, so pardon any silliness here – it feels good. I feel stinky and sore and gross, but USEFUL for the first time since the tornado. It’s a good feeling. Except for the realization that I’m sweaty and gross, and don’t have a SHOWER now, LOL!

Check out some photos:





Of course, it would be silly to destroy the bathroom without some sort of an idea of the final goal. EYES ON THE PRIZE, right? Here’s our design scheme – everything purchased and/or ordered, and ready to go!

I can’t even tell you how good it felt to have that entire set of decisions off our plate. We did all of that shopping on Saturday, and then all of the shopping for the deck/patio replacement on Sunday. All of the design, choosing, and ordering is done. DONE. Man that word feels good. It feels great. We have very little in the way of decision making left, which means a lot less stress and feeling of being completely overwhelmed. The amount of decisions we’ve had to make through this whole thing… staggering. It’s just been insane.

I’ve been making HEAVY use of music to get through the past couple of days. It was actually really cool, it’s almost like my radio station was tapped in to what I was doing – it seemed like any time my strength/resolve started to wane, they’d play something extremely uplifting/energetic, and it would help me power through it. It was cool – right as I was finished up – FINISHING, finishing – sweeping up and all – the radio played the first song below.. then when I sat down to rest, it played the second one listed. It felt like a big musical pat on the back for a hard job done!

So, I’d like to share my “Demolition Playlist” with you!

Lucenzo ft Big Ali – Vem Dancar Kuduro

Raghav – Fire

These Kings Wear Crowns – I wanna Dance with Somebody

LMFAO – Party Rock Anthem

Rednex – Cotton Eyed Joe

DaRude – Sandstorm

Black Eyed Peas – I Got a Feeling

Herbie – Pick it Up

Jennifer Lopez – On the Floor

Don Omar / Lucenzo – Danza Kuduro

Baltimora – Tarzan Boy

Herbie – Right Type of Mood

Marky Mark & The Funky Bunch – Good Vibrations

I’m pretty sure that the first three don’t get much/any play in the US – at least not locally – so if you enjoy them, please consider looking em up on itunes or whatever. I’d love to see them get more exposure down here!

In other news, our bedroom should be pretty much finished this week! The main hole – about 1′ across! – where a tree came through the wall into our bedroom has been patched, primed, and painted. The ceiling, which was hanging down by about 2″, has been screwed back into the rafters. All of the scratches, nicks, and dents from debris hitting the walls have been repaired, just need paint. Beyond that, I think all that’s left is to re-trim the one skylight that got destroyed when the roof was being replaced.

That’s good, as the cats are moving back on Monday! It’s a bit ahead of schedule – we wanted all of the major renovation done before moving them back, to prevent traumatizing them further. We’re already worried about how they’ll take to being in the house, given what they went through in the tornado. They’ve been at my father in law’s house for the past 6 weeks, and he needs his spare bedroom back. It’ll feel really good to have them back with us, it feels weird not having a blanket of cats on us when we wake up. It’s also been really sad to see Turbo grow up without us, sequestered into a single room with the other 3. She was just a kitten when this happened, and she’s coming back to the house as a CAT.

I think that’s about it. We’re looking forward to attending Convergence – a big geek convention – this weekend. As crazy as it sounds, we’re looking forward to the peace / sanity / normalcy. Yes, the tornado has seriously skewed our perception of EVERYTHING. It’ll definitely be a needed break – and it’s timed well. Where we have to watch every penny now, it’s cool to be able to schedule the hotel stay for when we need a hotel stay ANYWAY. All of the time in hotels, it feels like tossing the money out the window. At least this will feel like we get real value out of our stay!

WOO! NERDIGRAS, HERE WE COME!

On the afternoon of May 22, 2011, North Minneapolis was devastated by a tornado. Twisted recounts the Porters’ first 11 months, post disaster. Rebuilding their house, working around the challenges presented by inadequate insurance coverage. Frustration at repeated bouts of incompetence and greed from their city officials. Dealing with issues such as loss of control, logistics, change, and over-stimulation, as an Aspergian woman.

Subjects covered include: Opportunistic “Vultures”, gawkers, new friendships, a bizarre gingerbread house, unique decisions made with the rebuild – including an internet-famous kitchen backsplash, “Tornado Claus”, contractor drama, water balloons, DIY design and work, music, sensory overload, and details on how to cook jambalaya for almost 300 people, in the parking lot of a funeral home… should you ever find yourself in the position to do so. Order your hard copy here, or digital edition here.

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