Upstairs Bathroom Remodel part 1

For months now, I’ve struggled with getting in and out of the bathtub to shower. With rheumatoid arthritis (and the other ones I have), stepping over the side of the tub has become increasingly more difficult. I already use a shower chair because standing for the length of a shower has become too difficult.

In the midst of the downstairs remodel (still have a few things to do down there), we decided it was time to make changes upstairs. Here are some before pictures:

For the most part, we are doing this remodel in two parts. Back in June we started making decisions on what we wanted in the bathroom. The first was to decide to go from a shower / tub combo to just the shower only.

I’ve never liked the tub. It was too shallow and too short. However, Ken used it so he was reluctant to get rid of it with no other full bathroom in the house. Fast forward fourteen years, we have the second full bathroom with a giant tub so going down to shower only upstairs works.

So in June we scheduled for the plumbers to come back and do the upstairs bathroom. There was a lot of discussion about whether to go with a shower surround or not. I really wanted tile. It was the one thing which I felt strongly about but we hadn’t done tile and hiring is more expensive. So initially we were going to put in a surround.

However, my middle daughter and husband figured out how to tile her bathroom wet room. This meant they were experienced at tiling and knew all the steps. We are going with tile rather than a surround!

Yesterday, we got first steps done. The plumbers took out the old tub/shower combo and put in the pan. More than that, they redid some of the plumbing so hopefully we have better drainage.

Bash Bear isn’t sure he likes the change. He spent a lot of time in there last night checking out all the changes. This morning he is less tentative. He loves being in the bathroom. He demands pets and snuggles from anyone (mostly) who goes in the bathroom.

Today, Ken has already put Killz on the spots on the 2x4s to reassure me there will be no mold. We’ve talked about where to put the niche, handicap bar, and rainfall showerhead. Surprisingly, there was no grumbling on either of our parts.

Next he’ll be putting up green board (i.e. drywall for bathrooms), adding 2x4s to framing for handicap bar and niche, membrane, and then painting some walls.

Balancing Act

With all the things going on in our house with the remodel, we’ve been discombobulated in the rest of the house. This means my crocheting has been stashed away. So I haven’t really been crocheting at all.

Love a great yarn sale…

Now there are two things which sooth me – crocheting and writing. There’s nothing better than having a movie weekend and working on a crochet project. Or to have a week off work and spend as much time as possible writing.

July I released Through Destiny’s Eyes. In August I was part of Into the Dark anthology and To the Moon and Back anthology. I loved both opportunities. They tapped into different writing challenges for me. Saturday I release Paranormal Investigator Files and I’ve been prepping for this event. I also have a release a month through February.

That’s a lot of marketing and promotional work. It’s detail work which is often repetitive. This is not my favorite thing to do but if I don’t then no sales. So it’s an essential activity I must do.

The opportunity to be part of another anthology came to me. Pushing myself to finish a short story in about a month made me realize how much I love writing. Pumping out anywhere from 2K to 5K or more in a night satisfies me in a way I don’t know that I can describe. It takes me to a place I rarely go. I feel fulfilled and satisfied with me. I get the same feeling when I crochet.

Clearly I need to find a balance. I’ve struggled with blurred and double vision and headaches because I’m spending so much time on the computer. So tonight instead of feverishly trying to get promotions done so I can squeak out some family and writing time, I spent tonight with family and not looking at my computer. I started designing a new pattern for crocheting and have really enjoyed crocheting – playing with colors and stitches and figuring out what works.

This was one of my best purchases

Tomorrow night, I’ll be working on the short story to edit, rewrite and see if I can squish it down to 15K. In my head, I’ve accepted I will end up publishing it myself. Don’t get me wrong – I want to be in the anthology. I just like a backup plan. So when I’m revising and editing, I’ll be looking at how to revamp it so I can expand it if I need to publish it myself if needed.

I need a little bit of all – practically I need to have time to promote my books, time to write and time to crochet and design. So I’m working on it. This weekend, a bit of promoting and crocheting. Then later this month I have a week off and I’ll spend those days juggling all three activities. My hope is I’ll be able to finish a project or two for writing. But also work on crocheting and designing. I have gifts to make for the holidays and biographies to watch (or movies or ???). Intertwined with those activities, I’ll work on promoting.

Short Story part 4

Done! I finished it very late on August 31 but slept – finally. The final word count 16469 – yup over. This is not uncommon for me because I refuse to cut short the story at a word count. It means in the editing phase – I’ll be cutting if it’s chosen.

As of 3 am on Sept 1, I hated the ending. I thought it rushed and who knows what else. I kept telling myself to go to bed and tried a couple of times but I couldn’t sleep. So story finished and next, I’m planning to read through it and smooth it out and add in a few things so it’s less abrupt. The reality is if this doesn’t get selected, I’ll make it a bigger story and publish it on my own.

If it does get selected and has to be spot on that 15K mark, then I’ll be cutting and smoothing as I go. Hopefully when I’m done, I will have a reasonable short story.

So waiting to hear whether this is chosen to determine what path this story will take. If it gets selected – well new territory for me with another anthology. If it’s not chosen, ultimately, it won’t be ready for this year so I have about a year to refine it if I’m on my own. That means about eight months to finish the writing (filling it out more) and editing before it would go up for preorder in either late September or October in 2022.

Short Story part 3

I realized last night when I couldn’t sleep I need to transition better for my third chapter. I thought about how I could transition and had no idea. It’s part of why I was up late late…

Today I got back into the story and created the transition I needed. It turned out beautifully and explained one of the key points in the story. Now I have to figure out what the key point will be for the other character. I’ve already hinted at it but I need to solidify her reasons.

I like the progress this is making. I like the characters and if it doesn’t get chosen, I’ve got a place for it. I’ve got a cover and I think it will make a nice holiday story to release on my own. I’d rather be part of the anthology but either way, the story won’t go to waste.

So progress and 1800 more words in the thing. I’m up to just over 7300 words. As I’m looking at it, I think I’ve got a sexy scene, an argument, and the make up scene and I’ll be done. Now that’s what I plan but my characters are frequently annoying and decide their own path. So if it truly is three scenes, each of those scenes can be right around 2500 and still stay under the 15K total. Only time will tell if I can actually do it.

Short Story Progress part 2

I had free time over the weekend. I should have been writing but the words just didn’t come. This happens to me when I finish things. I finished the other short story – alien prison planet. It’s so different from this short story, I think that’s why I’m hung up.

I made some progress today. I made myself do a schedule tonight. I have client work to get done. I spent an hour on that. I putzed around on social media for too long but still got stuff done. I answered emails.

Then I returned to my holiday romance. I finished writing a scene where I ran out of steam. I was thinking about how my couple could get closer… an idea just popped into my head. I’ll have to see how it pans out tomorrow because I’m trying to be responsible and it’s already midnight here.

I’m up to about 4500 words. I’m starting Chapter 3. And I just got an idea which has driven my words up to 5500. I like the scene. I might need to smooth it out a bit. Now – time for bed so I can do my day job.

Short Story Progress

By September 1st, I need to finish a holiday romance short story which is between 3,000 and 15,000 words. I started it two weeks ago. Up until today, I had 717 words written. I’ve got the premise and my two lovebirds but I hadn’t gone much beyond that.

Tonight when I should have been thinking about sleep (hahahaha) I opted to reread it. I got to the end, wrote a little more, and did some formatting. I didn’t think I’d much more than that. These characters have not pushed me at all. But I’ve given myself a setting where I have approximately seven weeks in which my two characters have to go from being a bit adversarial to in love as well as resolving something in her past (not sure what yet though I have ideas brewing) about the holiday season.

I wrote. I figured an hour and I’d see how awful it was. Well after doing age calculations, research on storage units, depression glass, antique glassware, and a few other things, I now have 2947 words written and I think I know the path I’m headed with this story.

My hope is I’ll stay inspired and finish the story in the next couple days so I can at least do an edit on it by the first.

Meanwhile I have a story in an anthology out on Wednesday and a short story which comes out September 4. I’m also prepping my October books’ files and getting started on my November release tasks.

I know I do this to myself. I should spread out my releases further. I guess with two of the remaining ones, I could spread them out a bit but they’re done… The reality is – they’re done so I want them out.

Each one of these releases I’m working on building marketing tools, publishing tools, and a skillset that will hopefully lead to me having higher sales. Will it work? No idea. But I’m trying this way for this round of things to be published. I’ll analyze how well it works as I go.

More Progress on Construction

I just reread the first post I did and laughed. Back in May I hoped to be done by the end of the month. Well that didn’t work. It’s now almost the end of June. We’ve made a lot of progress. Drywall is up in all three rooms and as of today, the ceilings all have drywall (though I don’t have pictures of that yet).

The next step tiling. Now Vicki’s done tiling but never on this scale. So a friend of hers does floors – including tile floors – and he agreed to drive down (he lives a couple hours away) and do the floor for us. In the wet room the floor has to be slanted so it’s easier to use a small tile. Vicki picked a small purple circle tile. Then in the main floor of the bathroom, she picked a gray – looks like storm clouds – 12″ x 12″ tile. She opted for gray grout except she wanted something special. He came down and worked for three days. I made him and his wife each a blanket as a special thank you.

As you can see (sorry about the blurry – I didn’t take the picture) in the grout she asked him to add in glitter. He didn’t think it would work. He thought the gray would overwhelm it but there’s a hint of it throughout the flooring.

Next we had to tackle the walls. Now our flooring guy said – no he does not do tiling on walls but he offered advice and suggestions. We had to wrap the whole wet room in a membrane. This is to add a protective barrier between the tiles / grout (in case the grout goes bad or you get a cracked tile) and the drywall behind it. It’s to prevent mold – which is a good thing.

Look I actually do know construction stuff… LOL

Ken built four niches into the wall for stuff – like shampoo bottles and such – those also had to have some sort of barrier but we got a system – which here I fail. I don’t have pictures of just the niches. Essentially you buy a kit (or we did) and you follow the directions so there’s water proofing in the niches area.

We were supposed to have help but unfortunately, they had medical issues and couldn’t make it. So we had to decide – wait or keep forging ahead. If you know me, my husband, or any of my daughters, you know we’re pretty damn stubborn and determined. So Vicki got down on the floor and started tiling. The tools were too big for her hands – why don’t they make them with smaller handles? Hey manufacturers of tools – there a whole marketing niche to make tools with smaller handles for smaller people!!! Not to be stalled by this, my daughter used her hands. She smoothed the thinset on the tile and the wall, used the thingy with the too large handle to create the grooves (I am so out of my depth here) and slapped the tiles up. The first day, she and Ken got one wall done.

While they were working on they worked on that, a friend also worked on priming the bedroom walls. Now one wall hadn’t been completed for mudding and sanding so she did three and a half walls. She got two coats on the walls. While I think I was sent a picture, I’m not showing it because… well white on white… you can’t really tell.

Vicki was covered in hives after doing this one wall so my husband took over and he got the other two walls of tile up.

So tile up! Niches still needed doing. Vicki watched a YouTube video and explained to her dad what he had to do. They discussed and there was some talk about waiting until Vicki could do but Ken tackled it on his own. At the top of the walls there was a small area which one of the 12″x24″ tiles wouldn’t fit. They determined it would be too hard to cut the bigger tiles – remember this is their first time doing this. So Vicki had these little gray circle tiles and they are at the top of the walls and around the outside of the niches.

Tile up on the walls and next step grouting. Again, first time doing this… Ken will have to clean out the thinset from the lines between the tiles – see them? They are fucking small. We bought yet another tool to do this. He’s probably tackling it tomorrow.

In addition to the tiling which was a challenge, Ken’s been working on other things. Including getting the drywall on the ceilings. One of his challenges was hvac stuff (pipes? vents? whatever) So he had to build a soffit around the one and then drywall it. Now the biggest problem – Vicki wanted a barn door for her bedroom door. If Ken built the soffit and drywalled it, there was no way she was getting a barn door… so sad to say, she nixed the barn door.

As you can see, ceilings are up and he covered the soffit with all the hvac crap in it. We had to go buy a drywall lift (that’s the yellow thing in the last picture). The drywall lift was expensive but looking at the ceilings and the fact it made it so Ken could do the ceilings by himself – it was worth it. But post reno – we’re probably going to sell it… maybe…

Seems like a lot to accomplish but this last weekend, Vicki also got paint on her walls and Ken got the bathroom painted. He still has ceiling to do but the walls are done.

So in case you didn’t notice, the bedroom walls aren’t painted to the ceiling. That’s for two reasons – first Vicki is short and she paints with a brush. It’s easier on her hands and she likes it better that way. Second, Vicki is a klutz. Ladders – no go for her. She will fall and hurt herself. She’s got one coat on three and a half walls.

Next steps – oy it feels endless. Grouting… the plumbers come back on the 28th to install all the rest of the bathroom. So the grouting and cleaning in the bathroom have to be done in the next week. Ceiling in the bathroom needs painting. Shelves have to be built and installed and the window has to be framed. I think that’s it for the bathroom.

Bedroom – painting, install window frame, and then floors – doesn’t sound like much but it is.

Closet – so this one is complicated. Once the bathroom is installed – i.e. the big ass soaker tub is carried through the closet, Ken will close up the doorway and build the wall. Then there will be drywall, mud, sanding, painting all around – ceiling and walls, install the closet unit.

From there, ceiling in the living room and drywall where the new wall is. We have one wall where the drywall on the living room side was bad – discovered it when we took stuff to the studs. Ken cleaned it but there was mold so taking it down on the living room side and replacing and painting. Then it will be put hands on EVERYTHING to clean all the dust – normal every day, wood and concrete. Then load things into her bedroom and her closet.

Once the ceiling is up in the living room, we’ll have the electricians back to finish the job. That will probably come before the move and the cleaning but who knows…

At this point, I’m hoping for end of July to be done but the reality is – we may never be done.

First Draft – DONE!!!!!!!

Its done!!! 59,017 words and the first draft is done!!! Now I send it off to my beta readers and see what they think.

Thank goodness for my daughter who nagged and pushed me. Thank goodness for my characters who I thought were off the rails but who came through in the end!

Now I send it off to the beta readers and I don’t touch it for at least three days (longer if I can stay away) and I work on something else. I’ve got two good hours of writing tonight.

Once I’ve let it sit for three days, I’ll read through it, do a spell check, and then start the editing process. Hopefully my beta readers get back to me ASAP so I can make any adjustments they spot. Then I do another edit, spell check, and adjust. I’m pretty sure I have question marks for names in one place. I should fix that. And that’s done while I think about it. Minor characters sometimes get that if I’m in the flow when I’m writing. I go back and figure out a name. When I wrote later, I came up with one name so the other was easy enough to fill in.

YEAH! This comes off my to do list. All my client work is caught up so more writing for me tonight.

Good Day… Good Words

There are days when you’re writing that it flows with such ease you cannot get the words on the page fast enough. These are golden days meant to be maximized. The more of these you have the more likely you are to finish things – at least that’s the theory.

Today was one of those days. One scene flowed into the next and the next. The first sex scene I wrote – needs work – it’s too fast. It’s a little awkward but I’m okay with that part. First time sex with a new partner is often a little awkward. But the timing isn’t quite right. I’ll fix it in editing I think. Unless I mull it over and go back to it.

Today I got more alone time to write. I wrote two plus chapters which is fantastic. It’s coming together better but I still don’t have my climax (in my sex scene I do) and I’m not sure if the plot is going the way I expected it too. I’m laughing at that. I know better than to plan things – the characters are totally in control and these are determined.

As I usually do, I reread part of the manuscript I’d previously written. This gives me perspective and gets me back into the world. I made some adjustments and found some errors which I fixed.

My progress has put me in a good place. I’ve written nearly 9900 words and total count I’m at 45K. This means I’m easily going to hit the mark. I just have to see where the characters take me.

Inching Closer

My writing time has been infringed upon. We’ve hit some bumps in the renovations we’re doing so much discussion has been needed and this has pushed into my writing time. By the time we’re done discussing, I’m so tired, I’ve not been able to write much.

Tonight I put my foot down and kicked people out. In a little over two hours of writing, I’ve made progress. The first love scene is coming up and then from there, I’ll start adding a hint of danger and throw in a few conflicts and bumps (and probably another love scene).

I’m edging towards the finish line. The funny thing – the scenes I thought were absolutely going to make it in are probably not going to. This is why I don’t plot out my books – the characters take me on their journey.

Tonight that journey included about 2500 words pushing me up over 35K. I’m to the back half of the book. Hopefully by the weekend, I am done with the rough draft. Fingers crossed…. I won’t know until the characters tell me their story…