Blogger…its working! WWW.CAMUSRD.BLOGSPOT.COM

So I got my blogger site working again. Apparently all I had to do was download Google chrome and now I can upload my photos. I wish I had known that 3 months ago and would have saved myself and my readers all the confusion. So I WILL NOT be loading any new posts on….though I do like this domain name better.  That’s another battle for another day right. So if you want to stay up to date on the building, please go to my blogger, . Its much prettier and that’s what matters. Thank you!

Sinks, Toilets and Tubs, OH MY!

Plumbing is not exactly a glamorous topic. But its pretty dang important. Last night I came home, and Kyle texts for me to come up to the house. The plumber had installed the kids bathtub that day. Kyle had been having all the dealings with the plumber, and his instructions were we just wanted a white tub in the kids bath. Pretty simple. Ok, now I walk into the bath and there is a tub, and its white, and it has some design thing on the front. Ok, I am not a design person. I just wanted a plain front. So I…..have a freak-out. This is the FIRST piece of what I consider the inside design of the house…and I hate it. And to make it worse, I can’t believe how upset I am over a tub. You bathe in it…that’s all. A shower curtain will cover the front of the tub, who cares that some design is on it. I said all of this to myself…and to Kyle. But it didn’t help. I hated the tub and flabbergasted about how Kyle and the plumber just assumed any white tub was fine.


ok I cannot rant about that tub anymore, that’s the jest of it and its all solved. Because my sweet husband told the plumber “that tub isn’t gonna work” and the plumber said no big deal, have her go pick one out. So I did, and it will be here in 10 days. Okay. Solved.

So while I was at the supply house…my eyes began wondering over things, like toilets and sinks. Trouble

Okay, I have some regular toilets from home depot picked out that are Kohler I think for like $174 each. Preferably I’d like them to be cheaper. The toilets at this other place were over $200 and up! I don’t understand why a $200+ toilet is way better, is it a flushing thing? the amount of water. Its white, porcelain and you visit it a few times a day. And yet I’m needing to decide if I want regular height, or tall…what shape tank do I want…a handle to flush or a fancy button thing. When did toilets get complicated?!

$$$$ $ HR

One of these toilets is $1200, one is $88, and one is the highest customer rated at $189. Can you tell which is which? P.S. for fairness all 3 are 1.28 GPF

And then there is my kitchen sink. I thought I knew what I wanted, but then I didn’t. And now I’m just confused. I am trying my hardest to figure out what pieces to splurge or invest in and what others its okay to go cheaper on. This is how budgets get out of control.

So, I have selected a stainless steel apron front sink by KRAUS, its $629 and includes a grate for the bottom, faucet, and a soap dispenser. Great deal. But now I worry about scratches. I get SS scratches, but I hear with an apron front that maybe the buttons of pants, zippers, etc will scratch the front. So then there are porcelain apron fronts, more $$ of course.


I emailed two bloggers I follow to get their advice and they said:

I love our sink, and I hate our stainless appliances. That pretty much sums up why we went with porcelain! When we remodeled our last 2 homes, we went with stainless sinks despite my resistance the 2nd time around. I think Nick finally caved for this house since if we are being real he isn’t the one cleaning anyway! I always felt like keeping a stainless sink clean i.e. no water spots was impossible. The thought of having a stainless surface for the farmhouse look was something I was completely not on board with. I would be battling water spots inside and on the front.
Our white porcelain sink is super easy to clean. I just use Bar Keepers friend for a quick scrub and multi surface cleaner on the front when I need to which isn’t very often. I hope that helps. I feel like this is a very passionate email about all things stainless. Ha! Have fun building!
– Amy Wills,
We got a screaming deal with Kohler so really I just pointed and picked.  Having had lived with our ss sink now for 3+ years it’s just fine.  For sure SS scratches easily but it only bothers you in the beginning where you see it.  3 years later there are so many scratches it all blends together.  Porcelain also scratches but I guess you just have to deal with it.  The other things I don’t love…I picked a huge single tub sink.  While I love that’s it’s a single tub it’s almost too deep (8.5 inches to be exact).  I really have to bend over the sink to wash dishes, etc.  I wish I would have picked something more shallow.  The other “meh” is I chose a very angular, modern sink.  It has true 90 degree angles where the bottom meet the sides.  As a result I have to either use my sprayer or my hand to sweep all the food to the disposal.  Food and muck stick in those hard 90 degree angles and I have to take a tooth brush to scrub the corners.  Next time I’ll get a sink with curved/rounded edges.  SS steal or porcelain are sixes to me.  I don’t prefer one over the other but I do LOVE the look of a porcelain apron front farm house sink.
Boy, I never knew I had such an opinion on my sink.  Hope that helps.  Let me know what you choose and how you like it!
– Michele Hinkley,
So now I’m asking the reader world, what are your thoughts on all that is plumbing?

OH yeah, we are building a house

OK, it you aren’t techy, this may not make sense to you. My blog was (and still is) hosted by a site called blogger. Well I haven’t blogged in over a month because blogger is not being very user-friendly, and I’ve had all these issues with uploading pictures. And when I do, it is not pretty. Anyone that knows me knows I like everything to be pretty and organized and nice looking. So….long story short, I’m trying to switch over to a new blog host, WordPress. Hoping to have a better experience and get back to actually blogging.

So the house, OMG, so much has happened since the last post, Wood and Walls. People, I have walls, I have a rooms, I have a freaking roof!! Oh, and now I have pipes for sinks, showers and toilets. Its like nearly move in ready 🙂 So yes that’s all the good news, with pictures below for you to view.

The not so fun part, bleeding money. We knew this was part of the process, but it is painful. First, we had to write a check for $20k for the trusses when they were delivered. I had to laugh, because for one thing Kyle had to write the check. How he did not hyper ventilate I do not know. Then I had to laugh, and ask him if he even knew how to spell that! Frankly, I would have really had to think that out because I have NEVER had to write a check that large. Well these checks have been common, there was the lumber package bill (gulp), I just paid for our windows, and our counter tops.

now you might be scratching your head, why are you buying countertops with lumber and windows. Very good question. So about a month ago Kyle and I came to the decision we really wanted soapstone counters. We liked the look and how it was rated to stand up to the use of a kitchen. We also knew it would cost a bit more than say granite. So we (me) started shopping. I searched all the way up to seattle and down to Portland. I talked to about six different fabricators and warehouses. In the end, I choose a local fabricator and told him what I wanted. A week or so later he called and said “funny thing, just got an email from my slab warehouse I use (meta marble in seattle) and their soapstone is on sale. SOLD. So he’s storing it for us until we need it. I’m so excited.

The roofing bill should be here next week as they are roofing as I am typing this! Thank you A-1 roofing! Again, painful. But hey it lasts 50 years right, not something I’ll need to buy again for a long time.

As far as life on the compound, well its been joyful as usual. I heard a phrase at a work training yesterday, and although it was applied to a different situation, I really felt it was perfect for our living situation right now. YOU NEED TO BE COMFORTABLE WITH BEING UNCOMFORTABLE.  Look, I don’t know where some of our stuff is a lot of the time, frustrating. I can’t find what I want in the fridge most of the time, frustrating. I can’t do laundry or take a shower when I want to at the exact moment, frustrating. But I am seeing a ton of positive from this too. I think…maybe its not true, but I am pretty sure I’m becoming a WAY better communicator with my spouse, and with his family. I think my problem solving skills are pretty dang polished. But I also know, with 100% certainty, that when our house is done I will not be sad to leave, and the in-laws will swiftly lock the door behind me.

Okay that’s the update for now. I’ll try to squeeze in a post next week on my trip to NYC last weekend.

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There was almost another house

In honor of my hate of Mondays, Sarah (Jimmy Fallon) sums it up perfectly.
So some of you have noticed, there have been no inspiration posts for the past few weeks, as well as no real house updates. I wasn’t sure what to say about the whole thing, as you see there was an “opportunity”. Well that has all been resolved now. I think, I hope, pretty sure….
So here’s the summary of what all happened: A while back SIL Karlye went to Gma Lois (house is on the compound/next door to in-laws) and asked if she would be interested in selling it to her and her husband Josh. **Rewind- Gma Lois is now in an assisted living facility.  Gma said no. Karlye left it at that and moved on in their search for a home.  Well time went by, and I suppose Gma thought about it some more. Karlye visited with her, and Gma said she would be willing to sell her house. So how this involved Kyle and I is this: Karlye and Josh weren’t sure what the agreeing price would be among the family, and if they would be able to afford it and remodel. Kyle and I talked and decided to halt our process and wait and see. Because if Karlye and Josh were not going to buy the house, Kyle wanted us to.

I was in a little shock at first. We talked a lot about how we would redesign and add-on to Gmas house. It would have been a nice house for us. So we waited, and waited and waited. Everyone waited…hence the waiting place post. Well yesterday a family meeting was held. Karlye and Josh made their offer of purchase, and explained how they arrived at the price. Gma’s sons discussed, and agreed it was fair and they would sell to Josh and Karlye. YIPPEE!! Really it’s a happy ending for everyone. I’m really excited that they will live on Camus Road with us and our kids will grow up with their kids. We are all pretty lucky. And now we all have a plan!

So I guess this week we will submit for our building permits $$$$$. Not having a plan is extremely hard to me. This was emotionally exhausting for me, and I think all of us. I was not so nice sometimes because I just wanted it resolved.

other updates in our life: Kyle is all done with football (yeah I survived another season, #8). Ellie will begin Cougar basketball soon, this will be her first time ever playing. Should be REALLY interesting. She’s also started up her hip-hop dance class. Its scary how well it suits her. They were dancing to “…I wish I was a little bit taller, wish I was a baller, wish I had girl so that I could call her…” OMG, Ellie’s lips were all puckered out, she was brushing off her shoulders, putting her hand up to her hear like a phone. Too much. I love watching her dance.

Peyton is again fascinated this week with his penis, how it gets longer then smaller when he pushes really hard when going to the bathroom. I just shake my head. He also is turning 5 here in a few weeks, and Kyle is obsessed with him learning the alphabet. He’s terrified he won’t know it by Kindergarten. I’m more lax about it.

I’ve been working hard at getting in better shape. I’ve lost 3lbs, and 1% body fat! So that equaled like 3in in my waist, 1.5in in my arms and 1in in my thigh! I’ll take it.

Oh, in my Sue’s stories: I played bunco with her and her friends Tuesday. We almost didn’t make it. Sue, me, and 3 of her friends all rode together. None of them knew the address to where we were going. Oh, I felt like I was going to be lost in the car with them forever. I was dying listening to them all try to remember where this lady lived. Finally we had a street name, I summoned Siri and we found it.
And her quote of the week: “I could never do one of those FYI shows”, Nicole: “Do you mean a DIY show?” “oh, yeah that kind”. I don’t know why everything is FYI with her, but it makes us laugh.

And Kyle and I took the kids out to Red Robin Friday night for dinner. I was getting dressed and look up and see Kyle putting on his North Face vest. I was like, hey I was going to wear my vest! I had no energy to change and already had my jeans and tee on. So we were twins. Very Pacific Northwest of us.


Inspiration: Do you know a guy?
Okay, so today’s “inspiration” post is more about finding the right guy/company do to the job. Since starting this whole “let’s build a house” project I have been asked quite a few times by friends about who I’m picking to do certain projects. I’m fortunate that Kyle is already in the construction business and knows a lot of people already. Not everyone has this connection and it can be really scary to hire someone you know nothing about.

We have all heard the horror stories of a bad contractor. The latest I heard was a family that hired a general contractor to build their dream home. They gave him thousands (!!) of dollars up front. They weren’t currently living near the building site so it wasn’t something they came to check up on, they just took his word for the things that were getting done. BIG MISTAKE. Eventually they came several months later to check on the project…And they came to learn they were totally ripped off. The contractor had not pulled any permits, the framing had been done- and nothing was square. And of course the contractor was no where to be found and he had screwed them out of nearly their whole budget for the house. They had nothing but a frame to show for all the money they had given him. I felt total heartbreak hearing my friend tell me this of this family who’s home was being built behind her.

There are several ways to ensure nothing like this ever happens to you. 1) talk to your friends. Ask them who they have used. 2) if you hire someone you just looked up, ask for several references. 3) Always check up on them. Yes you have hired a general contractor to do this for you, but when it comes down to it, it’s your house and it’s your money. You have to take some responsibility.

In today’s world we go to the Internet for everything. And shopping for a contractor on the Internet is now a possibility. There are several sites that can help you with this. If you don’t have knowledge of the industry or any recommendations from anyone, these sites can be really helpful.

One I recently stumbled upon was SmartReno. Here’s what peaked my interest about this site/company:

  • They find the contractor for you, based on your metro area and the project description you’ve submitted.
  • They gather the bids for you from several contractors so that you can compare
  • if you have a complaint or dispute with one of their contractors, they will serve as the mediator and help resolve the issue- huge stress relief you aren’t alone!

The contractors are only on here if approved by SmartReno, if the contractor is not fulfilling projects and/or getting several complaints, SmartReno won’t refer them.

So how do you work this service into your budget? You don’t, because it’s free.

I’m all about the one stop shopping. And I like that you can search for anything from a masonry to landscaping to a general contractor on this site. There is a lot of peace of mind in the fact that the contractor is held accountable by this company. This site is certainly worth looking into if you are having trouble finding a contractor to do a project or simply need more options to compare prices. You can never do too much research when looking for a contractor to do a project on your home. And this site does the search for you!

Now I’m off to get my GC (Kyle!) to get some work done. Otherwise I will have lots of complaints to submit.

All about the family

**WARNING: Photo Overload**

This weekend it was Halloween, so there was the family night of trick-or-treating. That consisted of Me and the kids, Lynise and her boys, Karley and Bailey all going over to our SIL’s Nicole’s house where SIL Alyssa meet us there, and WE ALL treated around Nicole’s neighborhood. We made it down the street and back and thru one cul-d-sac and we were done. The kids ran and ran. I was thinking that would tire them out, apparently not. One house handed out the glow necklaces, I thought that was a fabulous idea.

Ellie was adamant about NOT being a fairy or princess or anything similar to that this year. She wanted to be a vampire. I was not OK with that. So we came to a mutual agreement and went with a Monster High costume of skeleton girl (i forget her official name). Peyton and the boys were all Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Since there are only 3 boys, we were short a turtle. And Bailey in all her cuteness was Minnie mouse.

So then the next day I had scheduled family photos. We have not done family pictures in like 3 years, it was time. My good friend Melissa just enjoys taking pictures and has a great Cannon camera like we all do but never use. So she came over to the house and we just took pictures around the yard. We took 181 photos! And Peyton had a goofy face in 95% of them. So here is a picture overload for you of the session.

Camus Family 2010 (Peyton was almost 1!)

 My ❤
 Kyle’s face just screams I LOVE TAKING PICTURES

 And Peyton takes after his dad

HOUSE UPDATE: nada, nothing, blah, boring, maybe next week.

Outfits: I wore this great new plaid shirt I picked up at EXPRESS. My SIL Nicole snagged it too, because we like to pretend we are twins. This shirt is supposed to be a loose, boyfriend fit. I got it in a M, I probably could have done a small. I did wash it on hot and dried it to shrink it just a hair. Jeans are old Hudsons. Jewelery by BON LEMON. Shoes: JCrew.

Ellie’s sweater is from GAP last year. And GAP skinny Jeans, GAP biker boots. Peyton is Levi Jeans, old GAP tee and GAP shoes. Kyle, no one cares what he is wearing.

Blind as a Bat

We are approaching the end to our first week here living with my in-laws. Nothing too crazy has happened. Everyones been on their best behavior. Its been an adjustment, kids are sleeping together in the same room, our shower is SMALL- like can’t even hike my leg up to shave SMALL. But hey, thats OK, its rent free…and its only for a year.

So we have our cat, Breve, who up until now has been an indoor/outdoor cat. He’s been adjusting to life as an indoor cat. I’ve heard cats don’t move well, so I felt making him indoor was the safest. The first night was rough, with him howling to go out at 3am. I let him out and wished him the best of luck. The next day he had me hiking into the woods to rescue him. He hasn’t left since.

So four days later…he howls again in the middle of the night to go out. I kindly walk him to the door, he sticks his head out to assess the situation. I decide hey, i’ll just leave the door cracked for him, so he can dart back in if needed. Genius. I lay back down, and 5 minutes later he’s howling at my door like lassie the dog. Seriously cat…what now. I jot down the stairs and see him fixated on some blurry object on the floor. Ok, I am so blind. can not see ANYTHING without my glasses. So i can tell its not a mouse…and its making some weird noise…and moving FAST. Then its up in the air…and I’m shrieking…no the kids don’t wake up to their mom shrieking. Kyle bolts down, WHAT?! Oh its a BAT, a freaking bat is in my in-laws living room, and the cat is going nuts. I run up stairs for safety and leave Kyle to figure it out. He and the cat team up apparently. The bat is flying, the cat leaps to the back of the couch, and as the bat flies by, he leaps on it and takes it to the floor. Seriously where is the camera! Kyle throws a towel on it and tosses it outside.

Did I mention my in-laws are NOT home…not sure how I will explain how I let a bat into their house the first weekend we live here. Let see if this story stays in my top 10 after the first year. Kyle comes back to bed and says “what have we learned from this? we throw the cat out and SHUT the door.”

I excitedly tell the kids the next morning, and their only question is “who did it bite?!” I said well lets see who turns into a vampire and then we’ll know. They didn’t laugh.