Update on home renovation projects

One of the greatest endeavors we undertook this year was buying our first home and doing much of the renovations. In Southern California the real estate market is over-inflated, and our search to find an affordable home took quite some time. The home buying process in itself is terrifying and tedious, however in a market where there are competing cash buyers another element comes into play. My husband and I wanted a home in an area with good school districts, safe and in between our job locations, which in this region is not easy to come by. We could have sacrificed these requirements and bought a newer and larger home, however in order to buy in our ideal neighborhood we chose to sacrifice new fixtures and size. At first my husband was gung-ho to do much of the renovations himself and wanted to get all the original popcorn ceilings and install new floors before we moved in. He had two weeks of paid paternity leave remaining from after our son was born, and chose to use it to work on our house. 

This project turned out to be a lot more than we anticipated. The first week included scraping off the popcorn ceiling that was throughout all the rooms, except the bathrroms. We used a dilution of dish soap and water spray and then scraped off the popcorn ceiling with paint scrapers. The process itself was fast, but left a huge mess all over the floors. The ceilings had to be prepped to be painted with dry wall mud. This was the most tedious task, in my opinion. Here is my husband scrapping dry wall mud in the stairwell.
This took several days with three people. The downstairs flooring in the bathroom, kitchen and living room was a nicer linoleum that was put in by the previous owners. My husband and I originally wanted to replace this floor, however were advised against it by several people familiar with flooring, who advised us it was not only expensive material, but also very water and scratch resistant. The stairs and the upstairs flooring, however had to go. There was shag carpet throughout the stairs and the upstairs. We took box cutters to all of that ourselves and ripped it out. We then had to go rip out the nails on the original plywood floors and rip out all the old baseboards with crow bars, a labor intensive project my husband and I (mostly husband) took on ourselves.

We were originally planning on putting in laminate flooring on the stairs and upstairs rooms, however were advised to put carpet on the stairs by several people due to our young son climbing the stairs. We picked out a carpet and paid to have that installed on the stairs, as well as a nice gray/brown laminate flooring in the upstairs hall and bedrooms. Throughout this whole process we had crown moulding installed, which ended up slowing everything down as we had to rip down the original poor work done by the first guy and hire another guy to redo it all! The final look came  out nice, but the process was a headache. We also picked out a new ceramic tile for the upstairs bathroom, and my husband with the help of our friend installed that. Our friend ended up priming and painting all of the walls a light gray color, which I am not actually sure of the brand or exact color. I eventually want to do an accent wall to break up all the gray, but that will be further down the line. Here are the after pictures of the upstairs.

Upstairs Bedroom Before

Upstairs bedroom after
Upstairs Bathroom Before (ignore the home inspector)

Upstairs Bathroom After

We replaced the tile in the upstairs bathroom with a new ceramic tile, which was cut and installed by my husband.  We have not replaced the toilet,vanity yet, or bathtub yet,however it's on the ever growing list of things we would like to replace.


Not much has been done to the kitchen yet. My husband installed a new range to give us more counter space, but we would like to get new cabinets and a stove and dishwasher eventually.
Stove and Range Before

With range installed after
Dining Area Before

Dining Area After

My husband installed this hanging light fixture in the dining area we bought from Lowe's. We also replaced the light switch and outlet coverings with more modern-looking ones.

New Outlet Coverings

Stairwell Before

Stairwell After
We replaced the carpet on the stairwell. We picked this one out from a flooring store and paid to have it installed. We also paid a welder to put in more rungs in the bannister for safety as advised by the home inspector. The bannister is extremely ugly, and on my list of things to replace when we get the extra cash.

Lastly, the upstairs patio is in need of some d├ęcor and plants. I am in the process of putting a raised bed and some plants up there to give it some more life.
That is all we have done so far. I will post more updates as it progresses.

"Thanks Doctor"

I don't write about my job much, mostly because I don't want to get sued or fired. I say this because everyone is so litigious these days, especially in healthcare , and I don't want to post anything that may be taken the wrong way. That being said, I am a nurse practitioner, which is an advance practice provider, and I work in the ER. Many people are often unfamiliar with what a NP is or does, even though the profession has been around for decades. NPs are mastered-prepared, and also are licensed as registered nurses. State laws on practice authority vary. In California there is full prescriptive authority, however a supervising physician is required. Furthermore, the scope of the NP practice is determined on standardized procedures in place at one's place of employment. Confusing? Yes. So often when patients call me "Doctor" or "nurse" I just don't have the time to explain my job function to them. I work in the ER, and have a lot of responsibility and autonomy. I worked in the ER as a RN, and it can be an area of burnout and dillusionment. I have definitely had my moments where I have felt burned out, especially on the days when you are the enemy of everyone... The angry patient waiting, the charge nurse for not getting an open bed fast enough, the doctor for not having the labs drawn fast enough. The ER is not like other units in the hospital where you get "thank you'd" often. Most people are not there in happy circumstances and waiting only makes it worse. The other day I had a thank you and it made me feel so validated! I had a nervous boy and his parents after he had a head injury requiring stitches. He and his family had very little experience being in a hospital, and were frantically asking me questions? Will he be healed by Christmas? Will he be permanently disfigured? Am I going to put him to sleep to do the stitches? The young boy asked, when I explained  I would inject lidocaine into his wound to numb it " you are going to inject into my brain?" When I successfully sutured his wound, without warning the boy jumped up and hugged me! "Thank you Doctor" I was so taken aback and touched, I didn't tell him " I'm not a doctor" His mom then hugged me "thank you Doctor!"  It's moments like this i love my job.

Reaction to San Bernadino Shooting

My intent for this blog was to write more light-hearted topics, however after the recent shooting at San Bernadino I feel compelled to write a more serious and perhaps political post. This shooting yesterday really affected me, maybe because of the proximity of the shooting to where I live, the possible involvement of a state agency where my husband works, and because the center this occurred served those with disabilities. Although the motive behind this horrendous act is still unknown, it is known that assault weapons were used. As President Obama pointed out in a statement to the press, there are people on the "No Fly" list that are able to buy assault weapons in this country. As someone who grew up in a state where the right to bear arms is strongly revered, I know how polarizing the topic of gun control is. I don't believe social media is the appropriate outlet to influence people on this topic, or other strongly charged ideological issues. I do urge you if agree that we need stronger laws in our country to write your state representative and vote for candidates that support gun control. I urge you to advocate to your legislators for laws not only for background checks and waiting periods, but bans on the sale of assault weapons. For those that live in California, here is a link to contact our Governor Brown.